Title:
Paintball deflection and collection apparatus
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A paintball apparatus is provided and includes an enclosure having a floor, a pair of upstanding side walls, an upstanding rear wall and a top wall resting on the upstanding walls. The enclosure further includes a curtain suspended from within the enclosure. The enclosure has a collection bin coupled thereto. A support structure supports the enclosure. The enclosure entraps discharged or propelled paintball pellets. The curtain absorbs the energy and impact of the pellets and prevents the damage or breakage of the pellets, thereby facilitating the ability to recycle the individual pellets for continued target practice and/or for subsequent use in competition.



Inventors:
Remillard, Martin E. (Englewood, FL, US)
Application Number:
11/494850
Publication Date:
01/31/2008
Filing Date:
07/28/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B63/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
GRAHAM, MARK S
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Jeff Martin, Suite 200 P. (2120 SEA MOUNTAIN HWY, P. O. Box 4369, N. MYRTLE BEACH, SC, 29597, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. An apparatus for impeding and collecting discharged paintball pellets, the apparatus comprising a chute having a curtain for impeding the pellets.

2. The apparatus of claim 1 further comprising a collection bin for receiving the discharged pellets.

3. The apparatus of claim 2, wherein the chute comprises a pitched floor communicating with the collection bin, the floor urging the pellets toward the collection bin.

4. A paintball shooting apparatus comprising: an enclosure having a pitched floor and a curtain; and a collection bin coupled to an end of the floor.

5. The apparatus of claim 4, wherein the curtain downwardly depends from a top of the enclosure.

6. The apparatus of claim 5, wherein the curtain comprises a plurality of tassels or bands, each one of the tassels or bands having a fixed end and a free end, the free end having a spaced relationship to the floor and permitting pellets to move toward and into the collection bin.

7. The apparatus of claim 5, wherein the curtain comprises at least one sheet having a plurality of slits formed at a free end thereof, the free end having a spaced relationship to the floor and permitting pellets to move toward and into the collection bin.

8. The apparatus of claim 4, wherein the collection bin comprises a removable cover.

9. The apparatus of claim 4 further comprising a support structure supporting the apparatus.

10. The apparatus of claim 9, wherein the support structure is adjustable for selectively setting an elevation of the apparatus.

11. A paintball apparatus comprising: an enclosure having a floor, a pair of upstanding side walls, an upstanding rear wall and a top wall resting on the upstanding walls; a curtain suspended from within the enclosure; a collection bin coupled to the enclosure; and a support structure supporting the enclosure.

12. The apparatus of claim 11, wherein the floor is pitched toward the collection bin.

13. The apparatus of claim 11, wherein the curtain downwardly depends from the top wall.

14. The apparatus of claim 13, wherein the curtain comprises a plurality of tassels or bands, each one of the tassels or bands having a fixed end and a free end, the free end having a spaced relationship to the floor and permitting pellets to move toward the collection bin.

15. The apparatus of claim 13, wherein the curtain comprises at least one sheet having a fixed end, and having a plurality of slits formed at a free end thereof, the free end having a spaced relationship to the floor and permitting pellets to move toward the collection bin.

16. The apparatus of claim 11, wherein the collection bin comprises a removable cover.

17. The apparatus of claim 11 further comprising a support structure supporting the apparatus.

18. The apparatus of claim 17, wherein the support structure is adjustable for selectively setting the elevation of the apparatus.

19. The apparatus of claim 11, further comprising a series of curtains suspended from within the enclosure, the series of curtains are spatially-aligned in a longitudinal orientation with respect to the floor.

Description:

RELATED APPLICATIONS

The present invention was first described in Disclosure No. 601,697 filed on Jun. 5, 2006 under 35 U.S.C. §122, 37 C.F.R. §1.14, and MPEP §1706. There are no previously filed, nor currently any co-pending applications, anywhere in the world.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates generally to paintball retainers and, more particularly, to a paintball impedance and collection apparatus.

2. Description of the Related Art

The sport of paintball warfare has gained ever-increasing popularity. The sport of paintball employs hand held paintball air compression markers or guns which forcefully discharge small caliber diameter paintball pellets. These pellets are semi-hard, hollow, gelatin-filled, frangible plastic balls containing various colored dyes which leave a colored mark on objects they strike. It is highly advantageous to fire rapidly and continuously in order to increase the chances of striking an opponent. However, because paintballs burst upon impact, continuous rapid firing results in a substantial expenditure of paintballs.

In addition, many paintball players engage in target practice and/or chronography prior to competition in order to enhance their paintball firing accuracy, thus resulting in substantial expenditure of paintballs.

Accordingly, a need has arisen for a means by which paintball pellets can be discharged into an enclosure which is adapted to absorb the energy imparted by discharged paintball pellets in a manner so as to inhibit damage or breakage thereof quickly, easily, and efficiently, thereby maximizing the useful life of the paintball pellet for repeated usage.

A search of the prior art did not disclose any patents that read directly on the claims of the instant invention; however, the following references were considered related.

The following patents disclose various sports practice nets and assemblies for retaining, catching, retrieving, and intercepting various sports balls:

U.S. Pat. No. 5,496,040, issued in the name of Amburgey et al.;

U.S. Pat. No. 4,063,739, issued in the name of La Rose;

U.S. Pat. No. 6,749,520 B1, issued in the name of Neskudla et al.;

U.S. Pat. No. 5,569,094, issued in the name of Macaluso et al.;

U.S. Pat. No. 4,913,439, issued in the name of Elington;

U.S. Pat. No. 5,018,731, issued in the name of Doyle;

U.S. Pat. No. 5,823,885, issued in the name of Stempfer;

U.S. Pat. No. 5,273,292, issued in the name of Pardi et al.; and

U.S. Pat. No. 4,997,185, issued in the name of Bartasius.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,708,843 B2, issued in the name of Santangini et al. discloses a portable paintball container tube loading stand which facilitates the loading of paintballs into paintball container tubes.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,725,852 B1, issued in the name of Yokota et al. discloses an ammunition magazine for dispensing uniformly-sized spherical projectiles such as frangible paintballs into a gun adapted to shoot said projectiles.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,055,975, issued in the name of Gallagher et al. discloses a high volume reservoir adapted to be carried by a user for loading paintballs into the hopper of a paintball marker.

Consequently, a need has been felt for a means by which paintball pellets can be discharged into an enclosure which is adapted to absorb the energy imparted by discharged paintball pellets in a manner so as to inhibit damage or breakage thereof quickly, easily, and efficiently, thereby maximizing the useful life of the paintball pellet for repeated usage.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Therefore, it is an object of the present invention to provide an apparatus for impeding and collecting discharged paintball pellets.

It is another object of the present invention to provide an enclosure having a pitched floor, at least one curtain, and a collection bin.

It is another object of the present invention to provide an enclosure into which paintball pellets may be fired or discharged.

It is another object of the present invention to provide at least one drape or curtain depending downwardly from an interior portion of the enclosure, wherein drape or curtain is adapted to absorb the energy imparted by discharged paintball pellets in a manner to inhibit damage or breakage of the pellets.

It is another object of the present invention to provide an enclosure which includes a floor being pitched at an angle from horizontal so that the discharged and undamaged/unbroken paintball pellets gravitate toward the rear of the enclosure toward and eventually into the collection bin.

It is another object of the present invention to provide a support structure adapted to support the paintball impedance and collection apparatus, which may include supporting such apparatus from the bottom of the enclosure or from the top of the enclosure.

Briefly described according to one embodiment of the present invention, an apparatus for impeding and collecting discharged paintball pellets is described, the apparatus comprising a chute having at least one curtain for impeding the pellets. The apparatus further comprises a collection bin for receiving the discharged pellets. The chute comprises a pitched floor communicating with the collection bin, the floor urging the pellets toward the collection bin.

In another embodiment of the present invention, a paintball shooting apparatus is described, the apparatus comprising an enclosure having a pitched floor and at least one curtain, and a collection bin coupled to an end of the floor.

In another embodiment of the present invention, a paintball apparatus is described, the apparatus comprising an enclosure having a floor, a pair of upstanding side walls, an upstanding rear wall and a top wall resting on the upstanding walls. The enclosure further includes at least one curtain suspended from within the enclosure. The enclosure also includes a collection bin coupled to the enclosure. The enclosure also includes a support structure supporting the enclosure.

In the aforementioned embodiments, the floor is pitched toward the collection bin. Furthermore, the curtain(s) downwardly depends from the top wall. The curtain(s) may comprise different elements. In one embodiment, the curtain(s) may comprise a plurality of bands, each one of the bands having a fixed end and a free end, the free end having a spaced relationship to the floor and permitting pellets to move toward the collection bin. In another embodiment, the curtain may comprise at least one sheet having a plurality of slits formed at a free end thereof, the free end having a spaced relationship to the floor and permitting pellets to move toward the collection bin. The collection bin may comprise a removable cover.

The aforementioned embodiments may further comprise a support structure supporting the apparatus, which may include supporting the apparatus from the bottom of the enclosure or from the top of the enclosure. The support structure may be adjustable for selectively setting the elevation of the apparatus to a height suitable for variously sized users.

The use of the present invention provides a means by which paintball pellets can be discharged into an enclosure which is adapted to absorb the energy imparted by discharged paintball pellets in a manner so as to inhibit damage or breakage thereof quickly, easily, and efficiently, thereby maximizing the useful life of the paintball pellet for repeated usage.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The advantages and features of the present invention will become better understood with reference to the following more detailed description and claims taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which like elements are identified with like symbols, and in which:

FIG. 1 is a front perspective view of one embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a top view of another embodiment of the present invention illustrating a series of curtains;

FIG. 3 is a front view of an embodiment of the present invention illustrating a single curtain or drape, and wherein a partial cross-sectional view of the top is also illustrated;

FIG. 4 is a side view of the embodiment depicted in FIG. 3 having a support structure coupled to the bottom of the enclosure;

FIG. 5 is another embodiment of FIG. 3, with the support structure coupled to the top of the enclosure;

FIG. 6 is a front view of one embodiment of the curtain having a plurality of bands of tassels;

FIG. 7 is a front view of another embodiment of FIG. 6, the curtain having at least one sheet with a plurality of slits; and

FIG. 8 is a front view of the curtain shown embellished with a decorative image.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

1. Detailed Description of the Figures

Referring now to FIG. 1, a paintball apparatus 10, hereinafter referred to as apparatus 10, is shown and depicted in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention. The apparatus 10 comprises a chute 12 having at least one downwardly depending drape 14 and may further comprise a collection bin 16 coupled to one end of the chute 12. The drape 14 is mounted between opposing sidewalls 12a, 12b of chute 12. The apparatus 10 impedes paintball pellets 90 discharged from a paintball gun (not shown) into the chute 12 via the drape 14. A single paintball pellet 90 strikes the drape 14, with the drape 14 absorbing the impact of the paintball pellet 90 so that the paintball pellet 90 falls undamaged and unbroken to be collected in the bin 16 via a floor 18 that is pitched toward the bin 16. The apparatus 10 generally has a front 20 and a rear 22 opposite to the front 20.

In another embodiment, depicted in FIG. 2 through FIG. 5, the apparatus 10 may be described as comprising an enclosure 50 into which paintball pellets 90 may be fired or discharged. The enclosure 50 generally has a front 52 and a rear 54 opposite to the front 52. The enclosure 50 comprises a floor 56 with a collection bin 58 coupled to an end of the floor 56 corresponding to the rear 54. The enclosure 50 also comprises upstanding walls 60 and 62 depending from the floor 56. The front 52 defines an open portion 52a providing passage through enclosure 50. The enclosure 50 also comprises an upstanding rear wall 64 disposed between the walls 60 and 62. The enclosure 50 also comprises a cover or top 66. Cumulatively, the walls 60, 62 and 64, the floor 56 and the cover or top 66 form the enclosure 50 used for target shooting of paintball pellets 90.

The floor 56 is pitched at an angle from horizontal so that the discharged and undamaged/unbroken paintball pellets 90 move toward the rear 54 of the enclosure 50 toward and eventually into the collection bin 58 via an open top 58a thereof. The pitch of the floor 52 may be described in a variety of ways, dependent upon the perspective of the observer. If viewed from the front 52, the pitch of the floor 56 forms a decline from front 52 to rear 54. Conversely, if viewed from the rear 54, the pitch of the floor 56 forms an incline from rear 54 to front 52.

The walls 60 and 62 are arranged in a spaced relationship. Each of the walls 60, 62 and 64 provide a vertical barrier to prevent discharged paintball pellets 90 from escaping the enclosure 50. The walls 60 and 62 may be aligned in parallel or in an unparallel arrangement. If observing the wall 60 or 62 from a side view perspective, the wall 60 and/or 62 may have the geometric appearance of a rectangle or a trapezoid, among other geometric varieties envisioned. The rear wall 64 is disposed between walls 60 and 62 and upstanding from the floor 56 to form an end wall at the rear 54 of the apparatus 50. The rear wall 64 may be aligned in a variety of manners, including substantially vertical or pitched toward or away from the rear 54 of the apparatus 50, as may be desired to influence deflection of stray paintball pellets 90.

The cover or top wall 66 is oriented to rest on the top margin of each of the walls 60 and 62 and along the top margin of the rear wall 64. As with the walls 60, 62 and 64, the cover or top wall 66 provides a barrier to prevent discharged paintball pellets 90 from escaping the enclosure 50.

Within the enclosure 50, and depending downwardly from the interior portion of the cover or top 66, at least one drape or curtain 68 is placed or suspended. The drape or curtain 68 absorbs the energy imparted by a discharged paintball pellet 90 in a manner to inhibit damage or breakage of the pellet 90. Maintenance of the physical integrity of the paintball pellet 90 is desirable so as to maximize the useful life of the paintball pellet 90 for repeated usage in a target shooting session or sessions. Also, in extending the useful life of a paintball pellet 90, the user is able to minimize the cost expenditures necessary to maintain a cache of paintball pellets 90 for practice and for competition.

FIG. 2 illustrates a series of curtains 68 mounted between upstanding walls 60 and 62. The series of curtains 68 are spatially-aligned in a longitudinal orientation with respect to pitched floor 56.

The drape or curtain 68 may have a variety of forms and compositions. One envisioned embodiment includes the utilization of a plurality of tassels or bands 70 oriented substantially adjacent to one another in a substantially parallel manner. A single tassel or band 70 may overlap adjacent tassels or bands 70 to maximize the ability of the drape or curtain 68 to effectively dissipate the energy generated by the propelled and discharged paintball pellet 90. Each tassel or band 70 comprises a fixed end 70a and a free end 70b. As depicted in FIG. 6, the fixed end 70a is coupled to the interior of the cover or top 66, and the free end 70b extends vertically downward toward the floor 56. It is envisioned that the terminal margin of the free end 70b is in spaced relationship to the floor 56 so that sufficient space exists for an intact paintball pellet 90 to move along the pitched floor 56 and toward the collection bin 58. Another envisioned embodiment of the drape or curtain 68 includes the utilization of at least one sheet 72, or a plurality of sheets 72 having a fixed end 70a, and having slits or other perforations 74 at a free end 70b (see FIG. 7). Other embodiments such as shape-memory, flexible beaded tassels are also envisioned. The drape or curtain 68 may be fabricated from a variety of materials including rubber, vinyl, nylon, or other softened material and combinations thereof adapted to absorb energy from a propelled paintball pellet 90 in a manner so as to inhibit damage or breakage thereto.

The collection bin 58 is coupled at the rear 54 of the enclosure 50 and in communication with the floor 56. The top margin of the collection bin 58 is oriented substantially aligned with or slightly subjacent to the rear margin of the floor 56. This orientation allows the collection bin 58 to receive discharged paintball pellets 90 that have moved from the interior of the enclosure 50 along the pitched floor 56 and toward the rear 54 of the enclosure 50. Thus, intact paintball pellets 90 may be recovered and recycled for subsequent use through the utilization of the drape or curtain 68, the pitched floor 56 and the collection bin 58. In lieu of enclosure by a rear wall 64, the collection bin 58 may be enclosed by a removably attachable extension 66a of the cover or top 66, as shown in FIGS. 4 and 5. Collection bin 58 may also include a removable cover 59 (FIG. 4) as well as a door 59a (FIG. 1) adapted to be opened to allow retrieval of discharged, fully-intact paintball pellets 90. The extension 66a of the cover or top 66 may comprise material consistent with the cover or top 66, or may comprise a material more flexible and softer in composition.

The enclosure 50 may further comprise a support structure 76 for supporting and/or elevating the enclosure 50. It is envisioned that the support structure 76 may comprise elements that are coupled to and support the enclosure 50 from the bottom or may comprise elements that are coupled to and support the enclosure 50 from the top. For instance, and in one envisioned embodiment, the support structure 76 is coupled to the bottom of the enclosure 50 and may comprise a plurality of legs 78 reinforced by bracing 80, as illustrated in FIG. 4. It is envisioned that the support structure 76 may be vertically adjustable and/or foldable. The support structure 76 may be adjustable for selectively choosing the proper or desired elevation of the apparatus 50 for use by users of a variety of heights. The support structure 76 may be foldable for storage and/or transport, if so desired. In another envisioned embodiment, the support structure 76 is coupled to the top of the enclosure 50 and may comprise a plurality of leads 82, such as cables, for suspending the enclosure 50 from a roof or other elevated support elements 92 (such as building rafters), as shown in FIG. 5.

Referring to FIG. 8, the drape or curtain 68 is shown embellished with a decorative image 100, such as a target 102. More specifically, bands 70 or sheet 72 include a decorative image 100 suitably transposed about a frontal surface 74 thereof to provide amusement as well as a practice target. Decorative image 100 is envisioned to include but is not limited wild and exotic animals, faces, caricatures of public figures, and any other image desired by user and capable of being transposed to curtain 68.

It is envisioned that the apparatus 10 may generally be fabricated from a rigid material, including metal or hardened plastic. It is envisioned that the chute 12 or enclosure 50 is fabricated from steel, aluminum, or plastic material. It is also envisioned that the bin 16 or 58 is fabricated from the same or similar material as is the chute 12 or enclosure 50, including a textile material. Likewise, support structure 76 is envisioned to be fabricated from steel, aluminum, plastic, or a textile material.

2. Operation of the Preferred Embodiment

To use the present invention, user simply aligns himself at the front 52 of enclosure 50, aims paintball gun toward curtain 68 and fires. After striking curtain 68, discharged paintball pellets 90 fall freely and fully-intact to the pitched floor 56 of enclosure 50. Thereafter, pellets 90 move from the interior of the enclosure 50 along the pitched floor 56 and gravitate toward the rear 54 of the enclosure 50 and finally into the collection bin 58. User opens door 59a of collection bin 58 and collects the intact paintball pellets 90 thus allowing pellets 90 to be recycled for subsequent use.

The use of the present invention provides a means by which paintball pellets can be discharged into an enclosure which is adapted to absorb the energy imparted by discharged paintball pellets in a manner so as to inhibit damage or breakage thereof quickly, easily, and efficiently, thereby maximizing the useful life of the paintball pellet for repeated usage.

Therefore, the foregoing description is included to illustrate the operation of the preferred embodiment and is not meant to limit the scope of the invention. As one can envision, an individual skilled in the relevant art, in conjunction with the present teachings, would be capable of incorporating many minor modifications that are anticipated within this disclosure. The foregoing descriptions of specific embodiments of the present invention have been presented for purposes of illustration and description. They are not intended to be exhaustive or to limit the invention to the precise forms disclosed, and obviously many modifications and variations are possible in light of the above teaching. The embodiments were chosen and described in order to best explain the principles of the invention and its practical application, to thereby enable others skilled in the art to best utilize the invention and various embodiments with various modifications as are suited to the particular use contemplated. It is intended that the scope of the invention be defined by the Claims appended hereto and their equivalents. Therefore, the scope of the invention is to be broadly limited only by the following Claims.