BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
FIG. 1 is a partial cutaway perspective view of a 5 solar window film sheet including solar window film and release liner utilized in the present invention.
FIG. 2A is a perspective view of the solar window film sheet of FIG. 1 having cuts substantially through the solar window film. 10
FIG. 2B is a a perspective view of the solar window film sheet of FIG. 2A wherein a region of the solar window film defined by the cuts is removed.
FIG. 3 is a perspective view of the solar window film sheet of FIG. 2B having transfer tape attached to the 15 surface of the solar window film defining a premasked solar window film sheet.
FIG. 4 is a perspective view of the pre-masked solar window film sheet of FIG. 3 being applied to a carrier film sheet. 20
FIG. 5 is a perspective view of the pre-masked solar window film sheet of FIG. 4 having the solar window film sheet release liner and transfer tape removed from the surfaces of the solar window film.
FIG. 6 is a perspective view of the carrier film sheet/- 25 solar window film of FIG. 5 having colored solar window film within a vacent region of solar window film.
FIG. 7A is a perspective view of the support film sheet including support film and a release liner used in the present invention. 30
FIG. 7B is a perspective view of the carrier film sheet/solar window film of FIG. 6 having the support film attached to the solar window film.
FIG. 8 is a cross-sectional view of the application of the solar window film graphic to a window surface. 35
FIG. 9A is a perspective view of the prefabricated solar window film graphic constructed in accordance with the present invention.
FIG. 9B is a cross-sectional view of the prefabricated solar window film graphic taken along lines a—a of 40 FIG. 1.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE
The present invention incorporates the use of com- 45 puter-aided design (CAD) and computer-aided machining (CAM) to a method of fabricating a solar window film graphic for attachment to a substantially planar panel such as a window of a storefront.
The method of the present invention basically in- 50 eludes generating a design on a computer-aided design system for fabrication of a solar window film graphic. Preferably, the design is generated by selecting one or more graphics from a data base of graphics stored in the CAD system including faces, animals, objects and bor- 55 der elements. If more than one graphic from the data base is selected, the images are combined in accordance with the requirements of the user to generate a new combined design. Preferably, each image contained in the computer data base is stored as a vector-based im- 60 age. The combination of two designs (vector-based images) results in a combined vector-based image. If necessary, the combined vector-based image may be reviewed for excessive nodes (machine control points) which define the cutting blade movements required to 65 produce the design. If the number of control points can be reduced without the loss of design detail, the user may alter the design and corresponding control points.
Thereafter, respective regions of the design are color shaded with the assistance of the CAD system to achieve a rendering of the final design to be produced. The CAD system may then group all similar color shaded regions of the design together for the purposes of machining.
An alternative method of generating a design includes scanning a custom hand or stock illustration into the CAD system. If such an illustration is used, the art work should be analyzed to ensure that all stray marks have been removed from the illustration and that all shaded regions are properly filled before scanning the design into the computer. Thereafter, the illustration is scanned into the CAD system using a scanner as known in the art to provide a raster image (BIT map). Once the design has been provided to the computer, the computer rendered design is reviewed to ascertain the accuracy of the scanned design and to correct any inaccuracies.
Internally within the CAD system and as is known in the field of computer-aided design, the raster image (BIT map) is vectorized to produce a Bezier curve image (vector image). Thereafter, the vector image is reviewed to ascertain whether the vector image contains an unnecessary amount of nodes (control points). The review of the nodes is necessary, as previously mentioned, because the number of nodes corresponds to the number of machine cutting instructions provided to the CAM system. An increase in machine cutting instructions corresponds to an increase in the machining time necessary to perform the total cutting process. In order to reduce the number of nodes, the vector image corresponding to the scanned illustration can be altered by providing a better fitting Bezier curve than that generated internally by the CAD system. Thereafter, elements of the illustration are color shaded to provide a color rendering of the final design.
Referring now to FIG. 1, once the desired vectorbased image is determined, an appropriate size and color of a first film sheet 5 is provided to the CAM system for cutting. The film sheet 5 preferably includes a first side defined by a solar window film 10 coupled to a release liner 15 defining a second side. The solar window film 10 typically includes an adhesive 20 on one surface of the film to enable the solar window film to adhere to various media. Generally, solar window films are translucent to a viewer looking through either side of the film after the release liner is removed. Other solar window films are opaque to a viewer on one side of the film and translucent to a viewer on a second side of the film after the release liner is removed. Examples of suitable solar window films for use with the method of the present invention include those sold under the trade names SUN GUARD ®, NUN SUN ®, LLUMAR ®, REFLECTO SHIELD ®, MADACO ®, M ACAL ® and DTI window films.
Before the machining process begins, the cutting blade depth of the CAM system is preferably adjusted so that the blade cuts through the solar window film 10 but only slightly scores the release liner 15 of the film sheet 5. Thereafter, the vector-based image representing the desired representation of the design is provided to the CAM system. Based upon the desired representation of the design and the color of the solar window film to be cut, the cutting blade cuts the solar window film 10 of the first film sheet 5 in accordance with the cutting instructions to provide cuts 25. Then, if desired, an appropriate size and color of a second film sheet is