US20150367245A1 - Soft block for game playing and educating toddlers or children, and method for manufacturing same - Google Patents

Soft block for game playing and educating toddlers or children, and method for manufacturing same Download PDF

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Publication number
US20150367245A1
US20150367245A1 US14/652,461 US201314652461A US2015367245A1 US 20150367245 A1 US20150367245 A1 US 20150367245A1 US 201314652461 A US201314652461 A US 201314652461A US 2015367245 A1 US2015367245 A1 US 2015367245A1
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US
United States
Prior art keywords
block
magnet
soft
coating
coupler
Prior art date
Legal status (The legal status is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the status listed.)
Abandoned
Application number
US14/652,461
Inventor
Hee Jung AHN
Gil Su CHA
Tae Jin JEON
Jin U PARK
Current Assignee (The listed assignees may be inaccurate. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation or warranty as to the accuracy of the list.)
Hee Jung Ahn
Bubble Block Co Ltd
Original Assignee
Hee Jung Ahn
Bubble Block Co Ltd
Priority date (The priority date is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the date listed.)
Filing date
Publication date
Priority to KR1020120147327A priority Critical patent/KR101279847B1/en
Priority to KR10-2012-0147327 priority
Application filed by Hee Jung Ahn, Bubble Block Co Ltd filed Critical Hee Jung Ahn
Priority to PCT/KR2013/010542 priority patent/WO2014098379A1/en
Assigned to HEE JUNG AHN reassignment HEE JUNG AHN ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST (SEE DOCUMENT FOR DETAILS). Assignors: AHN, HEE JUNG, CHA, GIL SU, JEON, TAE JIN, PARK, JIN U
Assigned to Bubble Block Co., Ltd. reassignment Bubble Block Co., Ltd. ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST (SEE DOCUMENT FOR DETAILS). Assignors: AHN, HEE JUNG
Publication of US20150367245A1 publication Critical patent/US20150367245A1/en
Abandoned legal-status Critical Current

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Classifications

    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63HTOYS, e.g. TOPS, DOLLS, HOOPS OR BUILDING BLOCKS
    • A63H33/00Other toys
    • A63H33/04Building blocks, strips, or similar building parts
    • A63H33/046Building blocks, strips, or similar building parts comprising magnetic interaction means, e.g. holding together by magnetic attraction
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63HTOYS, e.g. TOPS, DOLLS, HOOPS OR BUILDING BLOCKS
    • A63H33/00Other toys
    • A63H33/04Building blocks, strips, or similar building parts
    • A63H33/06Building blocks, strips, or similar building parts to be assembled without the use of additional elements
    • A63H33/08Building blocks, strips, or similar building parts to be assembled without the use of additional elements provided with complementary holes, grooves, or protuberances, e.g. dovetails

Abstract

The present invention relates to a soft block for play or education of children. The soft block includes a block body formed from expandable polypropylene (EPP), and a coating substance formed from silicone rubber material, which covers the entire surface of the block body. A male coupler and a female coupler are formed on the top surface and bottom surface, respectively, of the block body. A first magnet is built into the male coupler, and a second magnet is built into the female coupler. The coating part covers the entire surface of the block body having the first magnet and the second magnet built therein.

Description

    TECHNICAL FIELD
  • The present invention relates to a soft block for play or education of children.
  • BACKGROUND ART
  • A toy block typically has a male coupler at an upper end thereof and a female coupler at a lower end thereof so that the male coupler of the block can be interlocked with the female coupler of another block to construct various objects.
  • “Lego” is a popular brand of toy blocks and is very popular among children for the reason that various objects can be constructed by using the toy blocks.
  • However, since conventional toy blocks are typically made of hard plastic, children (particularly toddlers) are often injured by colliding with the sharp corners of the toy blocks. Moreover, even adults are prone to hurt their feet by carelessly stepping on the toy blocks when the toy blocks are scattered on the floor.
  • In order to solve these problems, soft blocks that are made of a soft material have been manufactured. FIG. 1 is a perspective view illustrating a soft block.
  • The soft block illustrated in FIG. 1 is similar with conventional Lego-type hard blocks in that a male coupler protrudes from the top surface of a block body and a female coupler is formed at a lower end of the block body, but differs in that the soft block is made of a soft material.
  • Soft blocks are typically manufactured by foam-molding a resin that is frequently used for foam molding such as ethylene vinyl acetate copolymer (hereinafter, abbreviated to EVA).
  • Korean Patent No. 10-1102054 (registered on Nov. 27, 2011), titled “Method for Manufacturing Soft Blocks,” discloses a conventional art.
  • As disclosed in the conventional art, conventional soft blocks are typically manufactured using EVA foam.
  • Such a conventional soft block is advantageous over a conventional hard block in that it has elasticity and shape memory properties that are basic properties of a foam piece.
  • Since soft blocks are played with by children, they have to be manufactured in consideration of the risk of children biting them.
  • In addition, soft blocks are relatively lightweight compared to hard blocks. The lighter the soft blocks, the more enjoyable experience children may have playing therewith.
  • That is, conventional soft blocks still have problems to be solved. For example, the soft blocks have to be more lightweight and more durable so as not to be damaged even when children roughly handle them.
  • In addition, soft blocks have to have shape-matched male and female couplers so that they can be interlocked with each other.
  • However, conventional soft blocks made of EVA foam are not sufficiently lightweight to give children an enjoyable experience due to the characteristics of EVA foam. Further, such soft blocks are easily damaged, and it is difficult to form shape-matched male and female couplers thereon.
  • EVA foam is known to have a density of about 0.2 to 0.4 g/cc. It is difficult to lower the density of EVA foam to under that range. Even if the density can be lowered to under that range, there is a problem that a soft block made of such EVA foam with a density under that range is easily damaged due to the low density.
  • DISCLOSURE Technical Problem
  • The present invention has been made keeping in mind the above problems occurring in the related art, and the present invention is intended to provide a soft block that is more lightweight so as to provide a more enjoyable experience during play, that is not easily damaged so as to have durability even when children roughly handle the soft block, and that has shape-matched male and female couplers.
  • Technical Solution
  • In order to achieve the above object, according to one aspect of the present invention, there is provided a soft block for play or education of children, including a block body made of expandable polypropylene (EPP) and a coating part made of silicone rubber which covers the entire surface of the block body. The block body has a male coupler and a female coupler formed on the top surface and bottom surface, respectively, thereof. A first magnet is built into the male coupler and a second magnet is built into the female coupler so that the second magnet can be combined with a first magnet of another soft block by magnetic attraction. The coating part covers the entire surface of the block body having the first magnet and the second magnet built therein.
  • The block body may have a density of 0.02 to 0.06 g/cc, and the coating part may have tensile strength that is 4.4 to 55 times stronger than that of the block body.
  • According to another aspect of the present invention, there is provided a method for manufacturing a soft block for play or education of children, the method including preparing a block body made of EPP, and forming a coating part on the entire surface of the block body, using silicone rubber, in which the block body has a male coupler protruding from the top surface thereof and a female coupler that is recessed from the bottom surface thereof and is shape-matched with the male coupler; the block body is manufactured through molding of EPP foam; and a first magnet and a second magnet are insert-molded within portion of the block body at which the male and female couplers are to formed, when the molding of the EPP foam is performed.
  • The forming of the coating part on the surface of the block body may be performed by inserting the block body into an injection mold and injecting liquid silicone rubber into the injection mold so that the liquid silicone rubber is applied to the surface of the bloc body.
  • The block body may have a density of 0.02 to 0.06 g/cc, and the coating part may have a tensile strength that is 4.4 to 55 times stronger than that of the block body.
  • Advantageous Effects
  • As described above, the present invention provides a soft block that has elasticity and shape memory properties, is more lightweight so as to give a more enjoyable experience during play, is not easily damaged so as to have durability, even when toddlers roughly handle the soft block, and has shape-matched male and female couplers.
  • DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS
  • FIG. 1 is a perspective view illustrating a soft block according to a related art;
  • FIG. 2 is a perspective view illustrating a soft block according to one embodiment of the present invention;
  • FIG. 3 is a schematic cross-sectional view of the soft toby block of FIG. 2; and
  • FIG. 4 is a flowchart illustrating a method for manufacturing a soft block according to the embodiment.
  • BEST MODE
  • Hereinafter, an embodiment of the present invention is described with reference to the accompanying drawings so that those ordinarily skilled in the art will easily practice the present invention. However, the present invention can be embodied in many forms and thus is not limited to the embodiment described below. Parts that are not relevant to the present invention are not illustrated in the drawings to more clearly describe the present invention. Like parts are denoted by like reference numerals throughout the following description of this specification.
  • It will be understood that the terms “comprise”, “include”, “have”, etc. when used in this specification, specify the presence of stated elements, parts or steps but do not preclude the presence or addition of one or more elements, parts, or steps.
  • FIG. 2 is a perspective view illustrating a soft block according to one embodiment of the present invention. FIG. 3 is a schematic cross-sectional view of the soft block of FIG. 2. FIG. 4 is a flowchart illustrating a method for manufacturing a soft block according to the embodiment.
  • A soft block 100 according to the embodiment includes a block body 110, a first magnet 121, a second magnet 122, and a coating part 130.
  • The block body 110 is made of expanded polypropylene (EPP).
  • The block body 110 has a rectangular-parallelepiped body portion, a male coupler 111 protruding from the top surface of the body portion, and a female coupler 112 that is recessed from the bottom surface of the body portion and is shape-matched with the male coupler 111.
  • Apart from the rectangular parallelepiped shape, alternatively, the body portion of the block body 110 may take a cylinder shape or a faceted cylinder shape.
  • According to the embodiment, the block body 110 has two male couplers 111 and two female couplers 112. However, the number of male couplers 111 and the number of female couplers 112 may vary as necessary.
  • The male coupler 111 of one block body 110 is inserted into the female coupler 112 of another block body 110.
  • The block body 110 basically functions to maintain the shape of a soft block, and the density of the block body is preferably in the range from 0.02 to 0.06 g/cc.
  • While the density of typical EVA foam is in the range from 0.2 to 0.4 g/cc, the density of the block body 110 according to the embodiment is only 1/10 times lower than that of conventional EVA foam. Accordingly, the block body 110 according to the embodiment is much lighter than conventional block bodies.
  • In addition, a first magnet 121 is built into the male coupler 111 of the block body 110 and a second magnet 122 is built into the female coupler 112 of the block body 110.
  • The first magnet 121 and the second magnet 122 are arranged such that the first magnet 121 built into one soft bock can be combined with the second magnet 122 built into another soft block by magnetic attraction.
  • The first magnet 121 and the second magnet 122 are provided to solve the problem that the male coupler of a soft block is not easy to be press-fitted into the female coupler of another soft block. That is, the combination of the soft blocks is enhanced by magnetic attraction.
  • The structure in which the first magnet 121 is built into the block body 110 include not only a structure in which the first magnet 121 is completely embedded in the block body 110 but also a structure in which only the side and bottom surfaces of the first magnet 121 are embedded in the block body 110 but the top surface of the first magnet 121 is exposed from the upper surface of the block body 110.
  • This structure also applies to the structure of the second magnet 122.
  • The entire surface of the block body 110 is coated with the coating part 130 made of silicone rubber.
  • When the first and second magnets 121 and 122 are built into the block body 110 according to the embodiment, the entire surface of the block body 110 into which the first and second magnets 121 and 122 are built is coated with the coating part 130.
  • The coating part 130 is preferably formed from liquid silicone rubber.
  • Typically, EPP has a tensile strength of 2 to 9 kg/cm2 and a tear strength of 1 to 6 kg/cm at most, but silicone rubber has high tensile strength and tear strength, 40 to 110 kg/cm2 and 6 to 45 kg/cm, respectively.
  • The tensile strength of the coating part 130 according to the embodiment is 4.4 to 55 times stronger than that of the block body 110.
  • The coating part 130 prevents the soft block from being damaged even when children roughly handle the soft block, so that the durability of the soft block is improved.
  • A method for manufacturing the soft block will be described with reference to FIG. 4.
  • The method for manufacturing the soft block includes (1) preparation of a block body 110 and (2) formation of a coating part.
  • (1) Preparation of Block Body
  • Preparation of the block body 110 includes a step of obtaining EPP foam and a step of molding the block body 110 using the EPP foam.
  • A first magnet 121 and a second magnet 122 are insert-molded within portions of the block body 110 at which a male coupler 1111 and a female coupler 112 are to be formed during the step of obtaining EPP foam. In this way, the EPP foam into which the first magnet 121 and the second magnet 122 are built can be obtained.
  • After obtaining the EPP foam into which the first magnet 121 and the second magnet 122 are built, the EPP foam is molded to take the form of the block body 110, which includes a basic body portion with a rectangular parallelepiped shape and male and female couplers.
  • According to the manufacturing method described above, since the EPP foam is prepared first and molding of the EPP foam is performed afterward, it is possible to form precisely shape-matched male and female couplers 111 and 112.
  • When directly manufacturing the block body using a conventional expanded foam molding, it is difficult to improve shape matching of molded objects.
  • (2) Formation of Coating Part
  • After the block body 110 is manufactured, the block body 110 is coated with liquid silicone rubber so that the entire surface of the block body 110 is covered with the coating part 130.
  • Coating with liquid silicone rubber is performed by inserting the block body 110 into an injection mold and injecting liquid silicone rubber into the injection mold.
  • The liquid silicone rubber can be injected at atmospheric pressure and room temperature or at relatively low pressure and temperature or cured under similar conditions. Accordingly, there is no risk that the surface of the block body 110 may be damaged or the shape of the block body 110 may be deformed due to high pressure or high temperature.
  • Alternatively, the coating part 130 may be formed by dipping the block body 110 into liquid silicone rubber.
  • When the coating part 130 is obtained through injection molding, the coating part 130 may have a more uniform thickness so that precisely shape-matched male and female couplers 111 and 112 can be formed.
  • The soft block according to the embodiment has the following advantages.
  • (1) Since the soft block has adequate elasticity and shape memory properties, which are characteristics of soft foam, it is possible to prevent an accident where a user is injured by colliding with sharp corners of a hard block.
  • (2) The soft block according to the embodiment is lighter than conventional soft blocks made of conventional EVA foam, is not easily torn when children bite the soft block, and has precisely shape-matched male and female couplers.
  • (3) The soft blocks according to the embodiment can be easily combined with each other due to the first and second magnets, and the combination of the soft blocks can be strongly maintained.
  • Although a preferred embodiment of the present invention has been described for illustrative purposes, those skilled in the art will appreciate that the disclosed embodiment may be easily modified into other specific forms, without departing from the scope and spirit of the invention. Therefore, the embodiments of the present invention are disclosed only for illustrative purposes and should not be construed as limiting the present invention. For example, one element presented in the description may be implemented by plural divided elements. Likewise, plural elements presented in the description may be implemented by a unified single element.
  • The scope of the present invention is defined by the following claims, and also various alternatives, modifications, equivalents and other embodiments that are deprived from the spirit and scope of the claims should be construed to be included within the spirit and scope of the present invention as defined by the appended claims.
  • INDUSTRIAL APPLICABILITY
  • The present invention can be used for play or education of children.

Claims (5)

1. A soft block for play or education of children, the soft block comprising:
a block body made of expandable polypropylene (EPP); and
a coating part made of silicone rubber,
wherein the block body has a male coupler and a female coupler formed on a top surface and a bottom surface, respectively, thereof, wherein a first magnet is built into the male coupler and a second magnet is built into the female coupler so that the second magnet can be combined with a first magnet of another soft block by magnetic attraction, and wherein the coating part covers the entire surface of the block body having the first magnet and the second magnet built therein.
2. The soft block according to claim 1, wherein the block body has a density of 0.02 to 0.06 g/cc, and the coating part has a tensile strength that is 4.4 to 55 times stronger than that of the block body.
3. A method for manufacturing a soft block for play or education of children, the method comprising:
preparing a block body made of expandable polypropylene (EPP); and
forming a coating part on the entire surface of the block body using silicone rubber,
wherein the block body has a male coupler protruding from the top surface thereof and a female coupler that is recessed from the bottom surface thereof and is shape-matched with the male coupler,
wherein the block body is manufactured through molding of EPP foam, and
wherein a first magnet and a second magnet are insert-molded within portion of the block body at which the male and female couplers are to formed, when the molding of the EPP foam is performed.
4. The method according to claim 3, wherein the forming of the coating part on the surface of the block body is performed by inserting the block body into an injection mold and injecting liquid silicone rubber into the injection mold so that the liquid silicone rubber is applied to the surface of the block body.
5. The method according to claim 3, wherein the block body has a density of 0.02 to 0.06 g/cc, and the coating part has a tensile strength that is 4.4 to 55 times stronger than that of the block body.
US14/652,461 2012-12-17 2013-11-20 Soft block for game playing and educating toddlers or children, and method for manufacturing same Abandoned US20150367245A1 (en)

Priority Applications (3)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
KR1020120147327A KR101279847B1 (en) 2012-12-17 2012-12-17 Soft block for children's playing
KR10-2012-0147327 2012-12-17
PCT/KR2013/010542 WO2014098379A1 (en) 2012-12-17 2013-11-20 Soft block for game playing and educating toddlers or children, and method for manufacturing same

Publications (1)

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US20150367245A1 true US20150367245A1 (en) 2015-12-24

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US14/652,461 Abandoned US20150367245A1 (en) 2012-12-17 2013-11-20 Soft block for game playing and educating toddlers or children, and method for manufacturing same

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US (1) US20150367245A1 (en)
KR (1) KR101279847B1 (en)
CN (1) CN104968401A (en)
WO (1) WO2014098379A1 (en)

Cited By (7)

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US20170203607A1 (en) * 2016-01-16 2017-07-20 Philip J. Holmes Wall Mounted, Portable, Stackable White Board Assembly
US20170348604A1 (en) * 2016-06-02 2017-12-07 Hadali Toys, Llc Magnetic building blocks and methods of manufacturing thereof
US9868268B2 (en) 2015-08-06 2018-01-16 Hydra Heating Industries, Llc. Magnetic clasps for insulation
US9914284B2 (en) 2015-08-06 2018-03-13 Hydra Heating Industries, LLC Magnetic insulation
WO2018226085A1 (en) * 2017-06-09 2018-12-13 Orrantia Coppel Hector Enrique Resilient toy construction blocks
US10197210B2 (en) 2015-07-16 2019-02-05 Hydra Heating Industries, LLC Magnetic closures for pipe insulation
USD905177S1 (en) 2018-11-13 2020-12-15 Hector Enrique Orrantia Coppel Toy building brick

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NO337137B1 (en) * 2013-10-17 2016-01-25 Beljo Holding As Construction set
CN204601631U (en) * 2015-04-10 2015-09-02 许志强 A kind of soft or hard building blocks
KR101854999B1 (en) * 2016-10-24 2018-05-04 채상택 Magnet block
IT201600110762A1 (en) * 2016-11-03 2018-05-03 Geomagworld S A Magnetic block for composing game assemblies
CN107973977A (en) * 2017-11-08 2018-05-01 东莞市众享发泡胶制品有限公司 EPP material turf pads and preparation method thereof
RU193528U1 (en) * 2019-09-10 2019-10-31 Общество с ограниченной ответственностью "Магматик" Design detail

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JP2799282B2 (en) * 1993-07-14 1998-09-17 株式会社学習研究社 Soft block
JPH0871258A (en) * 1994-09-09 1996-03-19 Oskar:Kk Sponge block toy and manufacture thereof
WO2008060619A2 (en) * 2006-11-15 2008-05-22 Jakks Pacific, Inc. Connectable blocks
KR100987575B1 (en) * 2008-09-30 2010-10-12 이규휘 a magnet block toy used child
KR20110129651A (en) * 2010-05-26 2011-12-02 송기혁 Wall structure of house
CN202061388U (en) * 2011-01-30 2011-12-07 宁波市胜源技术转移有限公司 Polypropylene resin building block

Cited By (7)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US10197210B2 (en) 2015-07-16 2019-02-05 Hydra Heating Industries, LLC Magnetic closures for pipe insulation
US9868268B2 (en) 2015-08-06 2018-01-16 Hydra Heating Industries, Llc. Magnetic clasps for insulation
US9914284B2 (en) 2015-08-06 2018-03-13 Hydra Heating Industries, LLC Magnetic insulation
US20170203607A1 (en) * 2016-01-16 2017-07-20 Philip J. Holmes Wall Mounted, Portable, Stackable White Board Assembly
US20170348604A1 (en) * 2016-06-02 2017-12-07 Hadali Toys, Llc Magnetic building blocks and methods of manufacturing thereof
WO2018226085A1 (en) * 2017-06-09 2018-12-13 Orrantia Coppel Hector Enrique Resilient toy construction blocks
USD905177S1 (en) 2018-11-13 2020-12-15 Hector Enrique Orrantia Coppel Toy building brick

Also Published As

Publication number Publication date
KR101279847B1 (en) 2013-06-28
CN104968401A (en) 2015-10-07
WO2014098379A1 (en) 2014-06-26

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Legal Events

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AS Assignment

Owner name: HEE JUNG AHN, KOREA, REPUBLIC OF

Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:AHN, HEE JUNG;CHA, GIL SU;JEON, TAE JIN;AND OTHERS;REEL/FRAME:035842/0713

Effective date: 20150612

AS Assignment

Owner name: BUBBLE BLOCK CO., LTD., KOREA, REPUBLIC OF

Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:AHN, HEE JUNG;REEL/FRAME:036148/0535

Effective date: 20150707

STCB Information on status: application discontinuation

Free format text: ABANDONED -- FAILURE TO RESPOND TO AN OFFICE ACTION