In this article, we’ll be discussing a Reusable Cup for Cable Lubrication by McCall, US patent 11,148,744. The publication date is Oct 19th, 2021 and the filing date is Oct 23rd, 2018. This patent is granted.
I’m hoping this one inspires you mechanics to look at what you’re doing and see if you’ve made anything you believe is new, because that’s exactly what this dude did.
Brief Summary (tl;dr)
This one’s short enough not to need this part.
If you’ve ever seen any bike in the last century, the primary mode of actuation on any component is a cable. Shifters and mechanical brakes use steel cables surrounded by a hard coating of plastic cable housing, which protects the cable. The ends of the housings are fit with ferrules at the end, and the ferrules sit inside cable stops. This allows a continuous pathway for the cables with low friction. The reality is that cable actuation can work without the ferrules and housings, but it would work like shit due to friction on the cable stops or whatever the cable touches.
So, why do older bikes have multiple cable housings and exposed cable? To further reduce friction. I’m sure there are other reasons, but that’s the primary reason. Over time, the insides of the cable housings can be lubricated, rather than replaced, for smooth shifting and braking; which is where this idea comes in.
Additionally, this is supposed to replace any pressurized system.
Because this is such a simple design, it looks like the attorney had to get real deep into the scope of this idea and explain it in excruciating detail. Rather than explain it to you, I’ll just put it here:
…said cable lubrication device is configured to be placed around a cable housing via said longitudinal slit, said cable housing is configured to be received in said opening, said cinching flap is configured to stretch across a portion of said longitudinal slit that extends along said outer wall, and said locking hole is configured to be pushed onto said locking post.
FIGs. 1 and 2 show the little cup, called the ‘cable lubrication device’. It’s got a hole and is slit to surround the cable housing and the sides are raised to hold the lubrication. Then, the outside has what they’re calling a ‘cinching flap’ to close and lock the cup together against the cable housing. Super simple.
FIG. 3 shows the cup in its closed position. This is when you’d add the lubrication.
Based on the images, this is primarily designed for older bikes with external cable routing with external cable stops for the cable ferrules, shown in FIG. 7 below. But, this could probably work on newer bikes with internal routing, maybe, not sure. It actually might be able to get the lube down the housing from the shifter to the derailleur, which would be awesome.
So, here’s how this thing works. The mechanic will release all the ferrules from their cable stops, so all the cable housings are free to move. The inventor is noting that adding a rag (300 below) to the cable for a little weight will help point the housings downward. Then, you attach the cups 10 to the top sides of each of the cable housings and snap them closed. You then fill the cup with lubrication, and gravity will pull the lube down into the housings so you can go take a few sips of your disgusting IPA. After a few minutes, you should see the lube on the bottom side of the cable housings. FIG. 8 shows all of this.
FIGs. 9 and such show different examples that can be used.
Simple and creative. I hope this guy can get this into production (if he hasn’t already) and sells a million of them. But, the reason I’m sharing this one is to show you that you don’t need some crazy-ass electronic system or insane suspension design to get a patent. No matter how small you think it is, it’s important, and you’ll be able to die knowing you’ve created something new.