US20110244756A1 - Toy Projectile and Launch Device - Google Patents

Toy Projectile and Launch Device Download PDF

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Publication number
US20110244756A1
US20110244756A1 US13156977 US201113156977A US2011244756A1 US 20110244756 A1 US20110244756 A1 US 20110244756A1 US 13156977 US13156977 US 13156977 US 201113156977 A US201113156977 A US 201113156977A US 2011244756 A1 US2011244756 A1 US 2011244756A1
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hooks
body
member
toy
means
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Abandoned
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US13156977
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John Stanley Christoffel
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Funsource Partners d/b/a Funtastic USA
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Funsource Partners d/b/a Funtastic USA
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    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63HTOYS, e.g. TOPS, DOLLS, HOOPS, BUILDING BLOCKS
    • A63H29/00Drive mechanisms for toys in general
    • A63H29/18Driving mechanisms with extensible rubber bands

Abstract

A launch device, soft-body toy projectile, and system are provided, wherein balanced launch force tension is isolated from the body through the launch device.

Description

    RELATED APPLICATIONS
  • This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 61/460,094, filed Dec. 27, 2010.
  • BACKGROUND
  • This invention relates to toy projectiles, such as rockets, planes, etc., which are launched by storing mechanical energy and releasing it.
  • In the past, toy projectiles have been launched in a number of ways. Generally, however, tension is applied to a hook (for example, with a rubber band). The hook is located off the center axis of the projectile, and the body is pulled, applying tension through the hook and the body. When the body is released, the rubber band shoots the projectile. See, e.g., U.S. Pat. Nos. 6,500,042 and 3,445,954 and U.S. Publication No. 2007/0006861, all of which are incorporated herein by reference.
  • As materials for toy projectiles have become lighter, they have become less stiff and have less tensile strength. For example, many such toys use a foam material for the body and nose. This results in less force being applied to the hook, and the bending moment between the hook and the location where the body is gripped causes the body to flex. This results in a shorter flight path for the toy. Likewise, repeated use of the toy results in deterioration of the body, in part because of the low tensile strength of the body.
  • There is a need, therefore, for a device and toy that allows for longer flights while still using relatively soft materials for the body and nose of the projectile and while using design and material that are inexpensive.
  • SUMMARY OF THE EXAMPLES
  • According to at least one aspect of the invention, a launch device is provided for a soft-body toy projectile, the launch device comprising: at least two hooks positioned at differing angular locations defining an axis, and a pull member connected to the hooks and extending longitudinally from the hooks.
  • In at least one example, the launch device also includes a nose receptacle ring connected to said at least two hooks for receiving a compressible nose for the projectile. Such an example may also include a body receptacle ring connected to the at least two hooks for receipt of a foam body section. In at least one such example, the nose receptacle and body receptacle are formed in a ring member attached to the hooks, wherein tension applied to the hooks is isolated from a nose and a body inserted in the receptacles by a pull member connected to the ring member. In some examples, the pull member comprises a member connecting the hooks to each other through the axis and at least one tensioning member extending longitudinally from the hooks. In some more specific examples, the member connecting the hooks to each other comprises a disk, a rod, a ring, or any other such structure that will occur to those of skill in the art.
  • In at least one more specific example, hooks are formed integrally with the ring member that includes a nose receptacle and a body receptacle; an integral rod extends radially across the ring structure, and a string, rod, or other elongated member acts as a tensioning member, attached at a location near or on the axis, at what can be thought of as a location for drawing the launch device when tension is applied to the hooks. “Drawing” can be thought of as both a physical movement backward or merely holding the launch device in place as elastomeric bands are draw away from the launch device hooks. The elongated member extends from the rod substantially along or parallel to an axis defined by the ring member. With such a launch device, for example, a toy projectile nose is inserted in the nose receptacle and a body, having a substantially cylindrical inner diameter, is inserted in the body receptacle, wherein the tensioning member extends through the body.
  • When tension is applied to the hooks, the tensioning member is held or pulled while the bands lengthen. Release of the tensioning member causes the toy to be launched with more force than could otherwise be applied, if the tension had not been isolated from the body or only one hook had been offset from the longitudinal axis of the toy.
  • In an even further example, the pull member comprises at least two members extending from the hooks, the at least two members being connected to a grip member located longitudinally along the body. In one such example, the at least two members extend longitudinally along the body (inside or outside, at an angle to the axis or in parallel), the grip member comprises a string connected (directly or indirectly) to the at least two members. For example, the grip member may comprise a tension rod connected (directly or indirectly) to the at least two members. In at least one specific example, the pull member comprises a ring positioned longitudinally from the hooks and attached to the hooks by at least one tension member. For example, such a ring attaches to the hooks by an extension member from the ring, and each extension member is connected to a hook. In such an example, a hollow, toy projectile having an opening through which the hooks can be accessed is slid over the hooks and the extension members; elastomeric bands are attached to the hooks; and the ring is held or pulled as tension is applied from the elastomeric bands to the hooks. In this manner, the body, which may be made of soft, compressible foam, is isolated from the launch tension.
  • According to another aspect of the invention, a soft-body, projectile toy is provided having a longitudinal axis comprising: at least two hooks positioned at differing angular locations about the axis, a pull member connected to the hooks and extending longitudinally from the hooks, and body portion attached to the hooks, isolated from any tension between the hooks and the pull member. In some examples, the nose is integrally formed with the body; in others, the nose is connected to the hooks and the body is separately connected to the hooks.
  • In an alternative manner of describing various aspects of the invention, a system is provided for applying a launching force to a soft-body, projectile toy having a longitudinal axis. The system comprises: means for receiving a first pulling force at a first force-receiving location off the longitudinal axis and isolated from the soft-body, means for receiving a second pulling force at a second force-receiving location off the longitudinal axis and isolated from the soft-body, wherein the second force-receiving location is approximately 180 degrees from the first force-receiving location, means for transferring the first pulling force and the second pulling force to a drawing location isolated from the soft-body, and means for connecting the drawing location to a gripping location outside the toy and isolated from the soft-body, wherein the gripping location is longitudinally displaced in parallel with the longitudinal axis. In at least one, more specific example, the system also comprises a means for applying the first launching force at the first force-receiving location and a means for applying the second launching force at the second force-receiving location. In at least one example of the system, the first and second means for receiving comprise at least one hook.
  • In one such example, the means for applying the first launching force and the means for applying the second launching force comprise elastomeric bands. Other acceptable means for applying launching force include weights and cord (as used in catapults), bent members with strings (as used with bows) and other devices that will occur to those of skill in the art.
  • In a further example, the system also comprises a means for holding the gripping location, wherein the means for holding comprises a flexible tensioning member (e.g., a string) attached to the drawing location. In an alternative example, the means for holding comprises a rigid tensioning member attached to the drawing location (e.g., a rod). In some examples, a means for gripping the means for holding is attached to the means for holding.
  • In some examples, the system further comprises a body portion connected to both means for receiving, wherein the body portion comprises material having a tensile strength that is less than the tensile strength of the means for connecting. In some such examples, a compressible nose portion (e.g., foam) is connected to the means for receiving.
  • In some examples, the means for transferring comprises a means for connecting the means for receiving a first pulling force to the means for receiving said second pulling force, and the means for connecting comprises a member substantially normal to the axis and attached to both of the means for transferring. In some examples, the member comprises a rod, disk, or other member that will occur to those of skill in the art.
  • In an even further example, the means for connecting comprises a first connecting member attached to the first means for receiving and positioned substantially parallel to the axis and a second a connecting member attached to the second means for receiving and positioned substantially parallel to the axis. In at least one such example, the first connecting member and the second connecting member have connecting member ends terminating at the drawing location, the drawing location is longitudinally displaced from said first means for receiving and said second means for receiving, and the connecting member ends are attached to each other (directly or indirectly). In an alternative, the connecting member ends are attached to the means for connecting; and, in at least one such example, the drawing location and said gripping location are the same. In one specific example, the means for gripping comprises a member attached to the connecting member ends, and the member attached to said connecting member ends comprises a disk. In at least one alternative, the member attached to said connecting member ends comprises a ring. Other members will occur to those of skill in the art.
  • In an alternative example, the means for connecting comprises a first connecting member attached to the first means for receiving and positioned at an angle to the axis and a second a connecting member attached to the second means for receiving and positioned at an angle to the axis. In at least one such example, the first connecting member and the second connecting member are have connecting member ends terminating at the drawing location longitudinally displaced from the first means for receiving and said second means for receiving. In some examples, the connecting member ends are attached to each other (directly or indirectly), or the connecting member ends are attached to said means for connecting. In some such examples, the drawing location and gripping location are the same. And, in some examples, the means for gripping comprises a member attached to said connecting member ends. In one such example, the member attached to said connecting member ends comprises a disk, ring, or other member that will occur to those of skill in the art.
  • The above summary is given by way of example only and is not intended as a limitation on the invention or interpretation of any term used in the claims, unless expressly stated as such. Other means and methods of achieving the invention will occur to those of skill in the art.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • FIG. 1 is a side view of an example of the invention.
  • FIG. 2 is a section view of the example of FIG. 1.
  • FIG. 3 is an exploded view of the example of FIG. 1.
  • FIG. 4 is a section view of a portion of the example of FIG. 1.
  • FIG. 5 is a perspective view of a portion of the example of FIG. 1.
  • FIGS. 6 and 7 are assembly views of alternative examples of an example of the invention.
  • FIG. 8 is a perspective view of use of an example of the invention.
  • FIG. 9 is a side view of an example of the invention.
  • FIG. 10 is a section view of the example of FIG. 10.
  • FIGS. 11, 12, and 13, are perspective views of various examples of the invention.
  • FIG. 14 is a side view of an example of the invention.
  • FIG. 15 is a section view of the example of FIG. 14.
  • FIG. 16 is a side view of an example of the invention.
  • FIG. 17 is a section view of the example of FIG. 16.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF EXAMPLES OF THE INVENTION
  • FIGS. 1, 2, 3 and 8, illustrate an example of a soft-body, projectile toy 10 (in this example, a rocket) having a longitudinal axis 12 and at least two hooks 14 a and 14 b positioned at differing angular locations about the axis 12 (here, about 180 degrees apart). A means for pulling or pull member is also provided that comprises a member 16 (a rod in the illustrated example; see also, FIG. 4) connecting the hooks 14 a and 14 b to each other and a means for tensioning or tensioning member 18 (e.g., a string) extending longitudinally from the hooks 14 a and 14 b through the body 20. In an alternative example, the member connecting the hooks 14 a and 14 b to each other comprises a disk, a ring, or any other member that will occur to those of skill in the art. In at least one example, the tensioning member is connected to a means for gripping or grip member (e.g., a ring 32).
  • As illustrated, the body portion 20 is attached to the hooks in body receptacle ring 22, which isolates body 20 from tension between the hooks and the pull member. A compressible nose 24 is positioned longitudinally from the hooks 14 a and 14 b in nose receptacle ring 26. See also FIGS. 4 and 5 illustrating an example launch device 40 for use with a soft nose 24 and body 20. In some examples, launch device 40 comprises plastic (e.g., having the following specifications: moldable plastic suitable for molding a launch device. In other examples, launch device 40 comprises the following materials: wood, metal fiberglass, or any other material having a tensile strength greater than the tensile strength of the body, as will occur to those of skill in the art.
  • Referring again to FIG. 3, fins 30 are attached to body 20 at slots 34, which are curved in the example of FIGS. 1, 3, and 6, and straight in the example of FIG. 7. Body protector ring 54 is attached to the body 20 as shown (for example, with glue, friction fit, or other manner that will occur to those of skill in the art), and is acceptably made from the same material choices as launch device 40.
  • In an alternative example, seen in FIGS. 9, 10, and 11, a nose 124 is integrally formed with a body 120, and the hooks 114 a and 114 b protrude thought holes 126 in the body 120. In at least one such example, a means for pulling or pull member comprises a rod 160 attached to body protector 152, to which at least two tensioning members extend from the hooks 114 a and 114 b. In this example, a means for pulling comprises at least two tensioning members 180 a and 180 b and members 160 which are connected to a grip member 118 located longitudinally along the body. In one example, the at least two tensioning members extend longitudinally along the body. In some examples (not shown), they may extend inside the body at an angle to the axis or (as shown) in parallel. Fins 130 stabilize the projectile in flight.
  • In some examples, balance weighting is applied through weighting and positioning longitudinally of the launch device; in addition, weighting is applied though variable body density, in some examples, as well as other means for balancing that will occur to those of skill in the art. No particular balance or weighting system has been found critical, which is a surprising result of the invention. Application of a balance point in at least the from (or top) half of the projectile, is acceptable, preferably about one-third from the front or top end.
  • As seen in FIG. 12, an alternative launch device is shown in which hooks 214 a and 214 b are connected to a disk having slots that define a pull member 260 to which a means for tensioning (e.g., strap 218) is attached. As best seen in FIGS. 14 and 15, spikes 216 attach a nose 224 and body 220. Body protective ring 252 is attached at the rear of the projectile, with glue or other means for attaching that will occur to those of skill in the art. Fins 230 are attached to body 220 for flight stabilization.
  • As seen in FIG. 13, another alternative launch devices is shown in which hooks 314 a and 314 b are connected to a disk having slots that define a pull member 260 to which a means for tensioning (e.g., strap 318) is attached. As best seen in FIGS. 16 and 17, tube 316 is inserted in body 320 and nose 324. Body protective ring 352 is attached at the rear of the projectile, and fins 320 stabilize the projectile in flight.
  • Described in alternative terms, as seen in FIG. 8, system 80 for launching a toy projectile is provided, including a device for applying a launching force to a soft-body, projectile toy having a longitudinal axis 12, the system comprising: means (e.g., a hook 14 a) for receiving a first pulling force at a first force-receiving location (e.g., the location of the hook 14 a) off the longitudinal axis 12 and isolated from the soft-body 20, means (e.g., a second hook 14 b) for receiving a second pulling force at a second force-receiving location off the longitudinal axis 12 and isolated from the soft-body 20, wherein the second force-receiving location is approximately 180 degrees from the first force-receiving location, means (e.g., members 16, 160, or 260) for transferring the first pulling force and the second pulling force to a drawing location (e.g., a midpoint between two hooks) isolated from the soft-body, and means (e.g., a string, rod or other means that will occur to those of skill in the art) for connecting the drawing location to a gripping location outside the toy and isolated from the soft-body, wherein the gripping location is longitudinally displaced but substantially parallel or along with the longitudinal axis.
  • In a further example, a means (e.g., an elastomeric band—for example, a rubber band) is provided for applying the first launching force at the first force-receiving location and a means (again, for example, an elastomeric band) is provided for applying the second launching force at the second force-receiving location.
  • In some examples, a means (e.g., a ring, tab, t-bar, or any other means that will occur to those of skill in the art that may be attached to a string or rod) is provided for holding the gripping location stationary.
  • In some examples, a body portion 20 is connected to both means for applying a launching force, wherein the body portion 20 consists essentially of material (e.g., foam) having a tensile strength that is less than the tensile strength of the means for connecting (e.g., plastic), and launch tension is isolated from the body portion.
  • In some examples (for example, FIGS. 9-11), the means for connecting comprises a first connecting member (e.g., members 180 a and 180 b) attached to the first means for receiving 114 a and positioned substantially parallel to the axis and a second a connecting member 180 b attached to the second means for receiving 114 b and positioned substantially parallel to the axis, and the first connecting member 180 a and the second connecting member 180 b have connecting member ends terminating at the drawing location (e.g., at body protective ring 152 of FIG. 11). In some such examples, the drawing location is longitudinally displaced from said first means for receiving and said second means for receiving (as seen in FIG. 11). In the illustrated example, the connecting member ends are attached to each other, and the drawing location and gripping location are the same.
  • An example of the use of a launching device is seen in FIG. 8, where tension is applied to hooks 14 a and 14 b for example, by rubber bands held by hand. In alternative examples, the bands are held by a frame (not shown), or stiff extensions (e.g., rods) which, in turn, are held by hand. A gripping means is held below the projectile, substantially along axis 12 and, as tension is increased on hooks 14 a and 14 b, through the tensioning member, tension is isolated from body 20. This allows a much higher launching force to be applied to the projectile than if the body is used for pulling against a rubber band.
  • In further examples (not shown), the means for connecting comprises a first connecting member attached to the first means for receiving and positioned at an angle to the axis and a second a connecting member attached to the second means for receiving and positioned at an angle to the axis. In at least one such example, the two connecting means are directly attached to each other near the axis, and drawing member is attached to the connection between the two.
  • The above description is of examples of the invention and is not intended to limit the definition of the invention. The invention is defined solely by the claims that follow. Other examples of the invention will occur to those of skill in the art and are not precluded simply because they differ in some way from the above, it being the intent that only the claims of this document define the scope of the invention.

Claims (16)

1. A launch device for a soft-body toy projectile, the launch device comprising:
at least two hooks positioned at differing angular locations defining an axis, and
a pull member connected to the hooks, wherein the hooks and pull member create a launch tension path through the device for isolating launch tension from the body.
2. A launch device as in claim 1 further comprising a nose receptacle ring connected to said at least two hooks.
3. A launch device as in claim 1 further comprising a body receptacle ring connected to said at least two hooks.
4. A launch device as in claim 3, further comprising a nose receptacle ring connected to said at least two hooks, wherein said nose receptacle and said body receptacle are formed in a ring member attached to said at least two hooks.
5. A launch device as in claim 4 wherein a tensioning member is connected to the said ring member.
6. A launch device as in claim 1 wherein the pull member comprises a member connecting the hooks to each other and at least one tensioning member extending longitudinally from the hooks.
7. A launch device as in claim 1 wherein the pull member comprises at least two tensioning members extending from the hooks, the at least two members being connected to a grip member located longitudinally along the body, wherein the at least two members extend longitudinally along the body.
8. A soft-body, projectile toy having a longitudinal axis comprising:
at least two hooks positioned at differing angular locations about the axis,
a pull member connected to the hooks, and
a body portion attached to the hooks, and isolated from tension between the hooks and the pull member.
9. A toy as in claim 8 further comprising a compressible nose positioned longitudinally from the hooks.
10. A toy as in claim 9 wherein the nose is integrally formed with the body.
11. A toy as in claim 9 wherein the nose is connected to the hooks and the body is connected to the hooks.
12. A toy as in claim 11 wherein the nose and the body are separated by a member connecting the hooks to each other.
13. A toy as in claim 12 wherein the pull member is connected to the member connecting the hooks to each other.
14. A toy as in claim 8 wherein the pull member comprises a member connecting the hooks to each other and a tensioning member extending longitudinally from the hooks through said body.
15. A toy as in claim 14 wherein the pull member comprises at least two tensioning members extending from the hooks, the at least two members being connected to a grip member located longitudinally along the body.
16. A system for applying a launching force to a soft-body, projectile toy having a longitudinal axis, the system comprising:
means for receiving a first pulling force at a first force-receiving location off the longitudinal axis and isolated from the soft-body,
means for receiving a second pulling force at a second force-receiving location off the longitudinal axis and isolated from the soft-body, wherein the second force-receiving location is approximately 180 degrees from the first force-receiving location,
means for transferring the first pulling force and the second pulling force to a drawing location isolated from the soft-body, and
means for connecting the drawing location to a gripping location outside the toy and isolated from the soft-body, wherein the gripping location is longitudinally displaced in parallel with the longitudinal axis.
US13156977 2010-12-27 2011-06-09 Toy Projectile and Launch Device Abandoned US20110244756A1 (en)

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US9682327B2 (en) 2014-08-05 2017-06-20 Mattel, Inc. Toy launcher
US9687750B2 (en) 2014-10-06 2017-06-27 Mattel, Inc. Pivoting disc launching toy

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Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
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US9687750B2 (en) 2014-10-06 2017-06-27 Mattel, Inc. Pivoting disc launching toy

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