Title:
Quick connecting mechanism for trampoline legs and safety fence posts
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A quick connecting mechanism for trampoline legs and safety fence posts includes an elastic connecting element mounted between an upper and a lower section forming the trampoline legs and/or posts. The upper and the lower section are correspondingly provided with upper and lower radial holes. The elastic connecting element is integrally formed from a metal material to include two inclined arms normally elastically extended outward at predetermined inclinations, and one of the two arms is provided with at least one retaining head diametrically slightly smaller than the upper and lower radial holes. The elastic connecting element is mounted in the lower section with the two arms elastically compressed in a diameter-reduced upper end portion of the lower section and the retaining head engaged with and partially projected from the lower radial hole into the upper radial hole to quickly connect the upper and the lower section to each other.



Inventors:
Wang, Teng Yi (Taipei, TW)
Wu, Chang I. (Taipei, TW)
Application Number:
10/930793
Publication Date:
03/02/2006
Filing Date:
09/01/2004
Assignee:
Shen-Tai Industry Co., Ltd.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B5/11
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
DONNELLY, JEROME W
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Troxell, Law Office Pllc (SUITE 1404, 5205 LEESBURG PIKE, FALLS CHURCH, VA, 22041, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A quick connecting mechanism for trampoline legs and safety fence posts, comprising an upper and a lower hollow sections, and an elastic connecting element mounted between said upper and said lower section; said lower section including an upper end portion that has a reduced outer diameter equal to an inner diameter of a main body of said upper section, and is formed at a predetermined position with at least one lower radial hole corresponding to at least one upper radial hole formed at a predetermined position on the main body of said upper section; and said elastic connecting element being integrally formed from a metal material to include two arms that normally elastically extend outward from a common point at predetermined inclinations, and one of said two arms being provided at a free end with at least one sideward and outward projected retaining head, which is diametrically slightly smaller than said upper and lower radial holes; and said elastic connecting element being adapted to locate in said lower section with said two inclinedly extended arms elastically compressed in said diameter-reduced upper end portion of said lower section and said at least one retaining head engaged with and partially projected from said at least one lower radial hole.

2. The quick connecting mechanism for trampoline legs and safety fence posts as claimed in claim 1, wherein said at least one retaining head and said two arms of said elastic connecting element are integrally formed from a sheet metal material, and said at least one retaining head being a hollow cylinder having an axial slit to provide said hollow cylinder with a desired tolerance for a solid insert to plug therein.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a quick connecting mechanism for quickly and conveniently assembling and disassembling two vertically adjacent sections forming legs and/or safety fence posts of a trampoline.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Conventional trampolines have an open jumping bed that tends to cause accidents when a child jumps thereon. Therefore, a protective net located around a space above the jumping bed has become a required item for a trampoline. U.S. Pat. No. 6,261,207 B1 discloses a trampoline having a safety fence for enclosing a space immediately above a jumping bed. The jumping bed of the trampoline disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 6,261,207 B1 is usually supported to a predetermined height by connecting to a legged frame via a plurality of radially extended elastic elements, such as springs. The elastic elements are fixedly connected at an inner end to an outer periphery of the jumping bed, and at an outer end to the legged frame, which is normally round or rectangular in shape.

To mount the safety fence around the space above the jumping bed, a plurality of spaced and upward extended posts are connected to the legged frame for holding a protective net thereto. The posts for supporting the safety fence are usually assembled from a plurality of sections to have a height sufficient to covera user's bouncing height above the jumping bed.

The legged frame of the trampoline also includes legs assembled from a plurality of vertical sections. A trampoline manufacturer would usually ship the trampoline in a disassembled state, and different components of the trampoline, including the sections for forming the legs and safety fence posts, are assembled at the site for erecting the trampoline. In the conventional trampoline, two vertically adjacent sections forming the legs and the safety fence posts are connected by means of screwing them to each other, and therefore, a lot of time is required to assemble the sections for use and disassemble the sections for storage.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

A primary object of the present invention is to provide a quick connecting mechanism for effectively assembling and disassembling two vertically adjacent sections forming trampoline legs and/or safety fence posts at largely reduced labors and time.

To achieve the above and other objects, the quick connecting mechanism for trampoline legs and safety fence posts according to the present invention mainly includes an upper and a lower hollow sections, and an elastic connecting element mounted between the upper and the lower section. The lower section includes an upper end portion that has a reduced outer diameter equal to an inner diameter of a main body of the upper section, and is formed at a predetermined position with at least one lower radial hole corresponding to at least one upper radial hole formed at a predetermined position on the main body of the upper section. The elastic connecting element is integrally formed from a metal material to include two arms that normally elastically extend outward from a common point at predetermined inclinations, and one of the two arms is provided at a free end with at least one sideward and outward projected retaining head, which is diametrically slightly smaller than the upper and lower radial holes. The elastic connecting element is mounted in the lower section with the two inclinedly extended arms elastically compressed in the diameter-reduced upper end portion of the lower section and the at least one retaining head engaged with and partially projected from the at least one lower radial hole.

In a preferred embodiment of the present invention, the at least one retaining head and the two arms of the elastic connecting element are integrally formed from a sheet metal material, and the at least one retaining head is a hollow cylinder having an axial slit to provide the hollow cylinder a desired tolerance for a solid insert to plug therein.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The structure and the technical means adopted by the present invention to achieve the above and other objects can be best understood by referring to the following detailed description of the preferred embodiments and the accompanying drawings, wherein

FIG. 1 is an assembled perspective view of a quick connecting mechanism for trampoline legs and safety fence posts according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is an exploded perspective view of FIG. 1;

FIGS. 3A to 3C shows the manner of assembling and disassembling the present invention;

FIG. 4 is an assembled perspective view of another embodiment of the present invention; and

FIG. 5 is an exploded perspective view of FIG. 4.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Please refer to FIGS. 1 and 2 that are assembled and exploded perspective views, respectively, of a quick connecting mechanism for trampoline legs and safety fence posts according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention. As shown, the quick connecting mechanism of the present invention mainly includes an upper and a lower hollow sections 10, 20, and an elastic connecting element 30 mounted between the upper and the lower section 10, 20.

The lower section 20 includes an upper end portion 21 that has a reduced outer diameter equal to an inner diameter of a main body of the upper section 10, and is formed at a predetermined position with a lower radial hole 22 corresponding to an upper radial hole 12 formed at a predetermined position on the main body of the upper section 10.

In the illustrated preferred embodiment, the elastic connecting element 30 is a substantially V-shaped member integrally formed from a metal material to include a first and a second arm 31, 32 that normally extend outward at predetermined inclinations. In the illustrated embodiment, the first arm 31 has an inclination smaller than that of the second arm 32. The first arm 31 is provided at a free end with a sideward and outward projected retaining head 33, which is diametrically slightly smaller than the radial holes 12, 22 and preferably has a rounded free end 34.

The retaining head 33 and the two elastic arms 31, 32 are integrally formed from a sheet metal material. The retaining head 33 is a hollow cylinder formed by pressing, and is provided at a predetermined position with an axial slit 35 that provides the hollow retaining head 33 with a desired tolerance for a solid insert 36 to plug into the hollow retaining head 33.

Please refer to FIGS. 3A to 3C. To connect the upper and the lower section 10, 20 to one another, first position the elastic connecting element 30 in the diameter-reduced upper end portion 21 of the lower section 20, so that the outward inclined first and second arms 31, 32 are inward compressed by an inner wall surface 23 of the diameter-reduced upper end portion 21 with the retaining head 33 engaged with the lower radial hole 22, as shown in FIG. 3C. Then, insert the diameter-reduced upper end portion 21 of the lower section 20 into a lower end of the main body of the upper section 10, so that the retaining head 33 of the elastic connecting element 30 in the lower radial hole 22 of the lower section 20 is in contact with and radially depressed by an inner wall surface 13 of the upper section 10, as shown in FIG. 3C. Thereafter, keep moving the upper and the lower section 10, 20 toward each other until the lower end of the upper section 10 reaches at an inner end of the diameter-reduced end portion 21 of the lower section 20 to align the upper radial hole 12 with the lower radial hole 22, as shown in FIG. 3B, so that the previously depressed retaining head 33 of the elastic connecting element 30 springs due to a restoring force of the elastic arms 31, 32 into the aligned lower and upper radial holes 22, 12, as shown in FIG. 3A, to quickly complete the connection of the upper and the lower section 10, 20 to each other. Reversely, when it is desired to disassemble the upper and the lower section 10, 20 from one another, first manually depress the projected retaining head 33 shown in FIG. 3A, so that the retaining head 33 is disengaged from the aligned lower and upper radial holes 22, 12, as shown in FIG. 3B, and then move the upper section 10 upward to separate from the lower section 20, as shown in FIG. 3C.

Although only one elastic connecting element 30 is provided in the above-described preferred embodiment for quick connection of two vertically adjacent sections 10, 20 of the legs and/or safety fence posts of a trampoline, it is understood more than one elastic connecting element 30 may be used to ensure a stable connection of the two sections 10, 20.

FIGS. 4 and 5 illustrates another embodiment of the present invention. In this embodiment, two retaining heads 331, 332 are spaced on one of two elastic arms of an elastic connecting element 300 mounted between an upper and a lower section 100, 200 to separately elastically engage with two sets of aligned radial holes 121, 221 and 122, 222 formed on the two sections 100, 200.

With the quick connecting mechanism of the present invention, two vertically adjacent sections forming the legs and/or the safety fence posts of a trampoline could be quickly and conveniently assembled or disassembled to effectively save a lot of labor for assembling the trampoline.

The present invention has been described with some preferred embodiments thereof and it is understood that many changes and modifications in the described embodiments can be carried out without departing from the scope and the spirit of the invention that is intended to be limited only by the appended claims.