What I claim is
1. An apparatus for the tossing of disc-shaped objects comprising a frame, a main shaft carried by the frame, an ejector arm mounted on and extending transversely from said main shaft, a crank arm mounted on the main shaft, an ejector spring connected at one end to the crank arm and at the other end to the frame, a worm wheel mounted concentrically on the main shaft, a worm gear drivingly engaging said worm wheel, a motor connected to drive the worm gear, a double coupling means comprising a one-sided overrunning clutch to allow the shaft to overrun the motor drive and said last mentioned means further having a releasable clutch interposed between and interconnecting the worm wheel and the main shaft to release the shaft from the worm wheel when the crank arm is in its dead center position and the spring fully tensioned, a trigger means for locking and releasing the releasable clutch in a position in which the ejector spring is fully tensioned and the crank arm is in its dead center position, said trigger means including an actuating means to cause the release of the releasable clutch allowing the motor to drive the main shaft and crank arm via the worm gear and the worm wheel through the one-sided overrunning clutch for a few degrees while moving the ejector arm and driving the crank arm off its dead center position whereupon the ejector spring acts via the one-sided overrunning clutch to produce the additional speed necessary to launch a clay pigeon from the ejector arm and without causing an initial jerk when the ejector spring is permitted to act on the ejector arm.
2. An apparatus according to claim 1 further comprising a magazine for a stack of clay pigeons and a unit for collecting clay pigeons one by one from the magazine and transmitting them to the ejector arm, said unit comprising an elevator and a holding clamp for retaining a portion of the stack, means for operating said elevator, said last mentioned means comprising a guide roller mounted on an arm rigidly connected to the elevator and co-operating under the action of a spring with a first guide wheel secured to the main shaft and having a downwardly extending curved path disposed concentrically around the main shaft, said curved path comprising a section adapted for causing the raising of the elevator during at least the first part of the movement of the ejector arm from the position corresponding to the dead center position of the crank arm, means for controlling said holding clamp comprising a second guide wheel secured to the main shaft so that a bottommost clay pigeon may drop down on the elevator only when the elevator is in its uppermost position.
3. An apparatus according to claim 1 wherein the ejector arm is provided with a counter weight.
4. An apparatus according to claim 1 wherein the ejector spring is tightly enclosed by a sleeve of a soft resilient material.
5. An apparatus according to claim 1 further comprising a soft resilient pressure member, directed downwardly towards the path of movement of the ejector arm for adjusting the positioning of the clay pigeon on the ejector arm, the pressure member being mounted to be vertically adjustable with respect to the ejector arm.
6. An apparatus according to claim 5 wherein the pressure member is laterally adjustable also with respect to the position of the clay pigeon.
This invention relates to an apparatus for tossing discshaped objects, the so-called clay pigeons. The said apparatus is mounted on a frame and comprises an ejector arm extending transversely from a practically vertical or slightly inclined main shaft mounted in the frame and supporting also a crank arm connected to one end of an ejector spring, the other end of which is connected to the frame, the said main shaft being adapted to be driven by a motor through a worm gear whose worm wheel is mounted concentrically on the main shaft.
It is the aim of the invention to provide an apparatus of the said type which is simpler and more reliable than the previously known apparatus and, moreover, to achieve a more accurate tossing of the clay pigeons than was previously possible. The invention is founded inter alia on the recognition that the precision with which the clay pigeon is tossed depends to a very great extent on the size of the rotation imparted to the clay pigeon at the moment of ejection and on the absence of other moments of motion which might tend to cause the pigeon to tilt or perform other unsteady movements during the flight.
To ensure that the flight of the pigeon achieves the greatest possible precision and steadiness the pigeon when positioned on the ejector arm must perform but one clean roll outwardly along the arm, which means that it must not in any way slide in relation to the roll path of the ejector arm, neither must it slip the contact with the roll path at any time before reaching the end thereof. To achieve this specific and proper tossing of the pigeon the apparatus according to the invention is provided with a double coupling arrangement interposed between the worm wheel and the main shaft and consisting of a one-sided overrunning clutch and a releasable clutch provided with a trigger means for releasing this clutch by co-operation with a manoeuvring device disposed in or immediately adjacent to the trigger means in the position corresponding to the fully tensioned state of the ejector spring and the dead centre position of the crank arm. When the said manoeuvring device is placed as indicated, the ejector arm, at the moment where the pigeon is deposited thereon and the arm is to be ready for tossing the pigeon, i.e., the start position of the ejector arm, will be located so that the crank arm is directed substantially towards the ejector spring, that is in the dead centre position or closely thereto, so that the spring in this position is actually incapable of triggering the ejector arm, and it will be the worm gear that triggers the movement of the arm. The initial movement will thus be steady and relatively slow and only when the crank arm has moved a certain distance, i.e., has rotated 5°-6°, the ejector spring will be actuated and accelerate the rotation of the ejector arm. This results in the smoot acceleration right from the start which causes the clay pigeon to roll with great precision along the roll path and reach the maximum rotation without being subjected to other deleterious effects but capable of flying through the air as steadily and unaffected by the wind as possible. During the tossing movement the ejector arm will be entirely free as a result of the operation of the one-sided overrunning clutch, and this ensures full utilization of the power of the spring so that great tossing lengths can be achieved with less spring power than was required in the known apparatus.
If the manoeuvring device is maintained inoperative while the apparatus is being used so that the clutch is constantly operative, the apparatus can be used for continuous tossing, because such apparatus are often provided with a magazine from which clay pigeons are deposited on the arm. The ejector arm will then move steadily towards the start position, where it receives a pigeon, and continue its steady course, still under the influence of the worm drive, until the crank arm has turned slightly away from the dead centre position, on which the spring takes over the function as explained above, the tossing of the pigeon will occur, and the arm continues its movement and returns to its starting position to effect a new toss in a like manner.
To obtain further stabilization in the starting position it will be expedient according to the invention that the manoeuvring device is also adapted to retain the main shaft in the position in which the releasable clutch is disconnected. This retention will be discontinued simultaneously with the release of the releasable clutch and the clutch is again connected.
The invention relates specifically to an apparatus of the said type which is provided with a magazine for holding a stack of clay pigeons and a unit for removing the pigeons one at a time from the magazine and transmitting it to be deposited on the ejector arm. The said removing unit comprises an elevator and a retaining clamp for retaining the stack and controlled by a guide wheel on the main shaft. The start position of the ejector arm being identical with the dead centre position of the crank arm, the removal of a clay pigeon from the stack will occur quite calmly and without any risk of the pigeon being pushed away from its position or dropping from the ejector arm, but the invention also aims at constructing the removing unit so as to ensure a simple and reliable operation which contributes to statilization of the smooth movement of the ejector arm. This has been accomplished according to the invention by operating the elevator by means of a guide roller mounted in an arm rigidly connected to the elevator and co-operating under the influence of a spring, with a guide wheel having a downwardly extending curved path disposed concentrically about the main shaft and a curved section of which is adapted to raise the elevator during at least the first part of the movement of the ejector arm from the position corresponding to the dead centre position of the crank arm. The pressure exerted by the elevator guide roller on the said curved section of the path of the guide wheel will in itself produce a slight additional moment of rotation to the ejector arm, a moment in the same direction as the moment caused by the ejector spring, and this construction of the removing unit therefore does not only tend to stabilize the movement of the ejector arm, it also increases the moment of ejection. This effect becomes particularly distinct where the said curved path is given a relatively large diameter, and this can be done without difficulty because the curved path is concentric with the worm gear, which, owing to the load to which it will be subjected, must in any case have a relatively large diameter.
In a relatively strong side wind it has been found to be difficult to make the clay pigeon follow a desired, substantially rectilinear path. To adjust the positioning of the pigeon on the ejector arm it is normal to provide a soft resilient pressure member immediately adjacent to the support plate or the elevator and directed downwardly towards the path of movement of the ejector arm. The invention aims at providing specific measures which make it possible to control the path of movement of the clay pigeon so as to compensate for the influence of a side wind. This has been accomplished according to the invention by mounting the pressure member to be vertically adjustable relatively to the ejector arm. Thus the pressure member, which is normally a brush, can be actuated to holding back more or less the the clay pigeon deposited on the ejector at the inner section thereof, that is the pigeon's start position on the arm, and this will cause a slightly greater or slightly lesser delay of its rolling movement along the ejector arm. It also results in a variation of the moment at which the pigeon leaves the outermost point of the ejector arm and thereby a change of the actual direction of ejection, the direction being dependent on the time of ejection because it will always be tangential to the path of movement of the outermost point of the ejector arm. This possiblity of variation in itself involves a possibility of adjustment to account for the force and direction of the wind. But the said arrangement also involves that the pigeon in its flight gets a slightly different inclination according to the variation of the time of ejection, i.e., the adjustment of the height of the pressure member, in that the main shaft of the apparatus on which the ejector arm is mounted is slightly inclined from the vertical, and consequently the plane in which the clay pigeon is situated at the moment of ejection, that is the moment when it leaves the ejector arm, will depend on whether the ejection occurs a little sooner or later, and the inclination imparted to the pigeon in its flight through the air will also, on account of its specific shape, abate the influence of the wind and thus ensure not only an adjustment to compensate for side wind at the moment of ejection but also that the movement of the pigeon follows a path that is as straight as possible even when the pigeon gradually loses speed.
To obtain the greatest variety of possibilities of adjusting the action of the pressure member on the pigeon it will be expedient according to the invention to make the pressure member laterally adjustable relatively to the position of the clay pigeon. This whole arrangement of the pressure member is extremely simple but has surprisingly been found to produce the specific advantages explained above with the result that an apparatus constructed as specified by the invention can actually be employed with great security and high precision under all conditions.
The invention and further details thereof will be explained below with reference to the drawing, in which
FIG. 1 presents a vertical picture of the ejector and manoeuvring device of an apparatus according to the invention,
FIG. 2 is a section along the line II--II in FIG. 1, viewed downwardly in perspective,
FIG. 3 is a section along the line III--III in FIG. 1, viewed upwardly in perspective,
FIG. 4 presents a perspective view of the specific section of an apparatus according to the invention provided with an adjustable pressure member,
FIGS. 5 and 6 illustrate schematically the ejection in side wind from the left and from the right, respectively, and
FIGS. 7 and 8 show the flight position of the clay pigeon in the two positions illustrated by FIGS. 5 and 6.
FIG. 1 shows a clay pigeon tossing apparatus comprising a frame 1 supporting two projection brackets 2 and 3. In these brackets is mounted a main shaft 4, in the upper section of which is mounted an ejector arm 5 with a roll path 6.
The main shaft 4 is driven from a worm gear 7 which is connected through a coupling arrangement 8 to the main shaft 4 and driven by a worm 9, which is shown in FIG. 3 and which in turn is driven by a motor 10. The coupling arrangement 8 is of the type comprising a double clutch consisting of a one-sided overrunning clutch and a releasable clutch, and the release of the clutch is effected by means of a projecting pin 11 co-operating with a pawl 12, the construction of which is shown in greater detail in FIG. 3. The pawl 12 oscillates about a pivot 13 on an arm 14 projecting from the frame, and at the end which co-operates with the pin 11 the pawl is provided with a hook 15, and at the other end it is connected to a draw rod 16 extending from a magnet coil 17. The coil is secured to the frame 1 by means of a pair of support rods 18. A push rod 19 is mounted in the frame 1 and is so connected to the pawl 12 that in case of manual operation it will actuate the pawl in the same direction as does the magnet coil 17, which is connected to an electrical manoeuvring device in a manner not shown here.
The main shaft 4 is provided at the lower end with a crank arm 20 connected to one end of a spring 21, which is the actual ejector spring and connected at the other end to the frame 1. The pawl 12 is positioned so that the pin 11 hits the hook 15 approximately in the position in which the ejector arm is turned outwards about 180° from the position shown in the drawing, i.e., in the position in which the crank arm 20 has tensioned the spring 21 to the maximum degree, and the coupling arrangement 8 is adapted to retain also in this position the main shaft 4 so that the ejector arm 5 will only be activated when the pawl 12 is actuated either by the magnetic coil 17 or by means of the rod 19.
The apparatus moreover comprises a magazine 22 for clay pigeons 23. For collecting the pigeons one by one from the stack contained in the magazine 22 the apparatus is provided with an extractor device comprising an elevator 24 controlled by a pair of guide columns 25 and actuated to upward movement towards the springs 26, the said columns being slidably mounted in a bracket 27 on the frame 1. The elevator 24 is further supported by a column 28 having a transverse arm 29 which supports a roller 30 co-operating with a guide wheel 31. This guide wheel has a downwardly curved path 32 on which the roller 30 runs under the pressure from the springs 26, and the curved path 32 is formed to ensure that the elevator 24 performs the up and downward movements in correct synchronisation with the movements of the ejector arm so that the elevator 24 is in its bottom position when the ejector arm 5 is to pass over the elevator and collect a pigeon for ejection. The curved path 32 is moreover formed to co-operate through a curved section 33 with the roller 30 during the first part of the movement of the ejector from its starting position, whereby the pressure exerted by the springs 26 on the curved path section 33 imparts a component force to the ejector arm in the same direction as the rotary movement imparted by the spring 21 to the ejector arm. The direction of the rotary movement is indicated by the arrow 34 in FIG. 1, the arrow 35 in FIG. 2 and the arrow 36 in FIG. 3.
On the main shaft 4 and above the ejector arm 5 is mounted a guide wheel 37, which is shown in greater detail in FIG. 2. The guide wheel co-operates with a roller 38 on an angular lever 39 swingably mounted on a pivot 40 and the other arm of which supports a pair of retaining rollers 41 which serve to retain the bottom pigeon 23 in the magazine 22. In the position illustrated in FIG. 2 the retaining rollers 41 are raised free of the pigeon 23, in that the roller 38 is urged away from the main shaft 4 by means of a cam 42 on the guide wheel 37 so as to permit the clay pigeons to drop down on the elevator 24, which in the position shown here is in its top position, which again corresponds to the roller 30 running against the uppermost section of the curved path 32.
The operation of the individual parts and the interaction thereof will be explained in greater detail below by a description of a complete working cycle of the ejection apparatus.
The apparatus, as already stated, is shown in the drawing in a position where the ejector arm 5 is turned approximately 180° away from the starting position, and from this position the ejector arm will continue its rotary movement in the direction indicated by the arrows 34, 35 and 36. The main shaft 4 is then driven through the coupling arrangement 8 from the worm gear 7, which in turn is driven by the constantly rotating motor 10. When the pin 11 reaches the hook 15 on the pawl 12 the releasable clutch of the coupling arrangement 8 will be disconnected and the shaft 4 is retained in the position where the ejector spring 21 is fully tensioned while the crank arm 20 is in its dead position in relation to the action of the spring. During the movement which has taken place the roller 30 has been carried downwards under the influence of the curved path 32 and thereby the elevator has been lowered to a position which permits the ejector arm 5 to pass over the elevator and collect the clay pigeon deposited thereon. Before the downward movement of the elevator the guide wheel 37 has turned so that the roller 38 no longer rests on the cam 42 but has moved inwardly towards the main shaft so that the rollers 41 have been carried into engagement with the lowermost clay pigeon in the magazine 22 thus retaining the whole stack of pigeons.
When the pawl 12 is disengaged from the pin 11 the coupling arrangement 8 will be engaged so that the one-sided overrunning clutch again actuates the main shaft 4 and the worm gear will therefore start the rotary movement of the main shaft 4 and thereby also of the ejector arm 5. During the first short length of this rotary movement the spring 21 will be practically without effect because it started from the dead centre position, but after having turned a few degrees the spring will begin to exert its pull and accelerate to rotary movement, which will get such a smooth and strong acceleration that the clay pigeon deposited on the ejector arm will roll perfectly smoothly outwards along the roll path 6 and will be tossed when the ejector arm has turned 90°. During this first 90° rotation from the starting position the elevator will be raised, in that the roller 30 runs upwards on the inclined curved path section 33 thus generating a further component force to support and stabilize the moment of rotation exerted by the spring 21. Since the coupling arrangement 8 contains a one-sided overrunning clutch, the shaft 4 and thereby the ejector arm will be able to move forward before the rotation of the worm gear and thus be independent of the drive of the worm gear. The ejector arm passes the position shown in the drawing, in which the spring 21 is most relaxed and in the second dead centre position, and when the spring begins to oppose the further rotation of the main shaft the worm gear will take over that rotation through the one-sided overrunning clutch and the operation will continue ad described above. During the last part of the rotation towards the starting position the cam 42 on the guide wheel 37 has passed the roller 38 and thus for a brief period relieved the retention of the pigeons in the magazine, whereby the stack has subsided on the elevator 24, which before this happens has been raised to the position indicated in the drawing, and when the elevator has been lowered a short distance the rollers 41 will again engage the stack so that only the lowermost pigeon is free to follow the downward movement of the elevator immediately before the ejector arm 5 reaches its start position and receives the pigeon.
In order to dampen vibrations during the first stage of the rather violent movement of the ejector arm, the ejector arm in the embodiment shown in the drawing has been provided with a counter-weight 43. It has also been found that the spring 21 in this first stage of the movement of the ejector arm may be caused to oscillate, and the spring in the embodiment shown here has therefore been provided with a sleeve 44 of a soft resilient material such as rubber which encloses the spring tightly.
FIG. 4 shows part of the frame 51 of the apparatus which supports a holder 52 for clay pigeons 53 which by means of a mechanism (not shown here) can be deposited on the innermost section of an ejector arm 54 with a guide rail 55.
The clay pigeon 53a deposited on the ejector arm is retained in position by a pressure member in the form of a brush 56 having a curvature corresponding approximately to the periphery of the pigeon and secured to the frame 51 by means of an upstanding arm 57 with a slot 58 co-operating with a bolt 59 which is screwed into the frame 51 to retain the arm 57 and thereby the brush 56. The pressure member is laterally adjustable with respect to the position of the clay pigeon.
FIG. 5 is a schematic illustration of the tossing of the pigeon in the situation where a side wind comes from the left and where the clay pigeon has been held back by means of the brush so much that it leaves the ejector arm only when the arm has passed the position in which it is perpendicular to the main direction of the apparatus. In consequence the pigeon will tend to follow a course that is slightly inclined towards the left and thus compensates for the influence of the wind.
FIG. 6 illustrates the opposite situation where the side wind comes from the right.
FIGS. 7 and 8 show the position of the clay pigeon during the flight in the situations illustrated in FIG. 5 and FIG. 6 respectively.