Title:
Apparatus For Shooting
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An apparatus for shooting is disclosed, incorporating a chamber, a gas injection nozzle at the rear end of the chamber connecting to a pressurized gas source, a tubular structure at the front end of the chamber for propelling bullets, and a trigger mechanism for releasing pressurized gas from the gas source into the chamber, wherein the tubular structure includes a nozzle at the front end for molding the bullet from moldable material. The apparatus can mold bullets from moldable material immediately before propelling the bullets, wherein a user can easily changes the size and shape of the bullets by installing different nozzles. The use of moldable material as bullets also provides safety and is suitable for toys, war game weapons, and riot control weapons.



Inventors:
Chung, Chun Hing (Hong Kong, CN)
Application Number:
11/673409
Publication Date:
08/14/2008
Filing Date:
02/09/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
F41B11/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
TILLMAN, JR, REGINALD S
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
TROUTMAN SANDERS LLP (600 PEACHTREE STREET , NE, ATLANTA, GA, 30308, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. A shooting apparatus comprising: a chamber having a front end and a rear end; a gas injection nozzle at the rear end of said chamber connecting to pressurized gas source; a tubular structure at the front end of said chamber for propelling bullets, the tubular structure having a front end and a rear end; and a trigger mechanism for releasing pressurized gas from said gas source into said chamber; wherein said tubular structure comprises a nozzle at the front end for molding said bullet from moldable material.

2. A shooting apparatus of claim 1, further comprising: a first piston at the rear end of said tubular structure, a rear portion of said tubular structure being positioned within said chamber; means for mounting said tubular structure for sliding movement between a first position and a second position, wherein in the first position, said nozzle is retracted from said moldable material, and in the second position, said first piston is in proximity to the front end of said chamber, said nozzle is protruded toward said moldable material to mold bullets from said molding material; means for isolating said chamber and said tubular structure when said tubular structure is not in said second position, wherein the gas pressure in said chamber urges said first piston and therefore said tubular structure to said second position from said first position; means for discharging the gas pressure of said chamber into said tubular structure to propel bullets molded and held by said nozzle when said tubular structure is in said second position; and a first resilient member for urging said tubular structure rearwardly from said second position to said first position when the gas pressure in said chamber is discharged.

3. A shooting apparatus of claim 2, further comprising: a second piston being disposed in said chamber and coupled to the rear end of said chamber by a second resilient member urging said second piston forwardly; a channel through said first piston, wherein said second piston blocks said channel until said tubular structure slides to said second position, during which time air pressure is discharged from said chamber into said tubular structure.

4. A shooting apparatus of claim 3, wherein said second piston comprises a conical head fitting into said channel of said first piston.

5. A shooting apparatus of claim 2, further comprising an auxiliary channel for directing gas pressure from said chamber to said tubular structure when said tubular structure is in said second position, said auxiliary channel blocked when said tubular structure is not in said second position;

6. A shooting apparatus of claim 1, further comprising a bullet strap for storing said moldable material, wherein said bullet strap comprises two conveyors for holding and transporting said moldable material therebetween.

7. A shooting apparatus of claim 6, further comprising means for translating the forward sliding movement of said tubular structure to scrolling movement of said bullet strap.

8. A shooting apparatus of claim 6, wherein said two conveyors have elements for gears to engage with.

9. A shooting apparatus of claim 1, wherein said nozzle is of the shape selected from the group consisting of funnel shape, hourglass shape, and funnel shape with an extended cylindrical outlet.

10. A shooting apparatus of claim 1, wherein said moldable material comprises: colored material at a front portion such that the bullet leaves a colored mark upon hitting a target; and lubricant at a rear portion to facilitate the propagation of the bullet through said tubular structure.

11. A shooting apparatus of claim 1, wherein a front end of said gas injection nozzle and the rear end of said tubular structure are made of flexible material.

12. A shooting apparatus of claim 6, wherein said bullet strap comprises a series of cartridges connected with each other, wherein each said cartridge houses a lump of said moldable material.

13. A shooting apparatus of claim 1, wherein said moldable material is selected from the group consisting of modeling clay and modeling dough.

14. A shooting apparatus of claim 1, wherein said nozzle has a sharp edge at a front end for cutting said bullet out of said moldable material.

15. A shooting apparatus of claim 1, further comprising a barrel with helix-shaped grooves in the inner surface for imparting a spin to said bullets.

16. A shooting apparatus of claim 6, wherein said bullet strap comprises protruding portions to push said gas injection nozzle backward after firing a bullet, said gas injection nozzle then blocking the gas supply from said gas source; and recess portions to allow said gas injection nozzle to move forward, said gas injection nozzle then ceasing to block the gas supply from said gas source, and a bullet is propelled by the increased air pressure.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates generally to a method and apparatus for shooting, and more particularly to shooting by gas propulsion bullets made of modeling clay.

2. Description of Related Art

Toys are one of the most important entertainments for kids as well as adults. Toys such as robots, military models or action figures are always accompanied with guns or shooting weapons that never shoot. This not only disappoints those who want their toys to be as real as possible, but also greatly reduces the fun of playing with these toys. For war game fans, they have always been dreaming of toys with the function of launching missiles, shooting cannons or bullets to make the game more exciting and interesting.

Although guns or shooting apparatuses are readily available in the market as toys, for instance air gun or air compression type shooting apparatus, their structures are too complicated and they have too many components to be put inside toys like the gun of a miniature soldier model. Obviously, there is a need for a new shooting mechanism to make the implementation of shooting in small toys feasible.

Nowadays the bullets used by toy guns or similar shooting apparatuses are made from plastic or metal. These bullets are shaped and sized when produced, and each type suits only specific gun models. This is inconvenient for players, because they need to buy various types of bullets from time to time. If the bullet can be readily made and formed with the desired shape and size, it will bring a great convenience to the users.

Furthermore, most existing bullets usually do not adhere to the target they hit, and those that do are associated with powerful, but dangerous, shooting apparatuses that fire bullets powerfully enough to penetrate into objects, making them unsuitable to be used as a toy. It is evident that, if the bullets would stick onto the target, it will be much easier to figure out the point of impact, and to see if it is a hit or miss.

Additionally, it can be imagined how troublesome it will be if a new bullet has to be loaded every time a shot is fired. Preloaded bullets together with a continual shooting mechanism can make the toy easier to play and more interesting, without bothering the players with the need to keep loading bullets for every new shot.

It is the object of the present invention to overcome substantially, or at least ameliorate, one or more of the disadvantages of existing arrangements.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In accordance with a preferred aspect of the invention, there is provided a shooting apparatus comprising: a chamber; a gas injection nozzle at the rear end of the chamber connecting to a pressurized gas source; a tubular structure at the front end of the chamber for propelling bullets; and a trigger mechanism for releasing pressurized gas from the gas source into the chamber; wherein the tubular structure comprises a nozzle at the front end for molding the bullet from moldable material.

The shooting apparatus can further comprise a first piston at the rear end of the tubular structure, the rear portion of the tubular structure being positioned within the chamber; means for mounting the tubular structure for sliding movement between a first position wherein the nozzle is retracted from the moldable material and a second position wherein the first piston is in proximity to the forward end of the chamber, the nozzle being protruded to mold bullets from the molding material; means for isolating the chamber and the tubular structure when the tubular structure is not in the second position, wherein the gas pressure in the chamber urges the first piston, and therefore the tubular structure, to the second position from the first position; means for discharging the gas pressure of the chamber into the tubular structure to propel bullets molded and held by the nozzle when the tubular structure is at the second position; and a resilient member for urging the tubular structure backward from the second position to the first position when the chamber gas pressure is discharged.

The shooting apparatus can further comprise a second piston being disposed in the chamber and coupled to the rear end of the chamber by a resilient member urging the second piston forwardly; and a channel through the first piston wherein the second piston blocks the channel until the tubular structure slides to the second position, during which time the air pressure is discharged from the chamber into the tubular structure.

The second piston comprises a conical head fitting into the channel of the first piston.

The shooting apparatus can further comprise an auxiliary channel for directing the gas pressure from the chamber to the tubular structure when the tubular structure is at the second position, the auxiliary channel being blocked when the tubular structure is not at the second position.

The shooting apparatus can further comprise a bullet strap for storing the moldable material, wherein the bullet strap comprises two conveyors for holding and transporting the moldable material therebetween.

The shooting apparatus can further comprise means for translating the forward sliding movement of the tubular structure to scrolling movement of the bullet strap.

The conveyors can have slots or ridges for gears to engage with.

The nozzle can be, for example, in the shape of a funnel, an hourglass, or a funnel with an extended cylindrical outlet.

The moldable material comprises colored material at the front portion such that the bullet leaves a colored mark upon hitting a target; and lubricant at the rear portion to facilitate the propagation of the bullet through the barrel.

The front end of the gas injection nozzle and the rear end of the tubular structure can be made of flexible material, such as rubber.

The bullet strap comprises a series of cartridges connected with each other, wherein each of the cartridge houses a lump of the moldable material.

The moldable material can be, for example, modeling clay or modeling dough.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

These and other objects, aspects and embodiments of the present invention will be described in more detail with reference to the following drawings, in which:

FIGS. 1a, 1b illustrate the method of making a modeling clay bullet according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2a shows a cross-sectional view of a funnel shaped nozzle according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2b shows a cross-sectional view of an hourglass-shaped nozzle according to another preferred embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2c shows a cross-sectional view of a funnel-shaped nozzle with an extended cylindrical outlet according to still another preferred embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2d shows a cross-sectional view of a nozzle with a slightly enlarged opening according to a further preferred embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 3a shows a bullet strap according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 3b shows the cross-sectional view of the bullet strap in FIG. 3a;

FIG. 3c shows a cross-sectional view of a bullet strap with a funnel-shaped cavity according to another preferred embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 4a shows a flexible bullet strap according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 4b shows the cross-sectional view of the flexible bullet strap in FIG. 4a;

FIGS. 5a, 5b show a shooting apparatus with a bullet strap according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 6 shows a model toy incorporating a shooting apparatus according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention;

FIGS. 7a to 7d illustrate the a mechanism for an inner tube to move a gear according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention;

FIGS. 8a to 8d illustrate a shooting apparatus with a conveyor according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 9a shows the prospective view of the conveyor in FIGS. 8a to 8d according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 9b shows the front view of the conveyor in FIG. 9a;

FIG. 9c shows a front view of a conveyor according to another preferred embodiment of the present invention; and

FIGS. 10a to 10d illustrate a shooting apparatus with a conveyor according to another preferred embodiment of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Methods and apparatuses for shooting modeling clay bullets are described hereinafter. In the following description, numerous specific details, including manufacturing materials, device structures, and the like are set forth. However, from this disclosure, it will be apparent to those skilled in the art that modifications and/or substitutions can be made without departing from the scope and spirit of the invention. In other circumstances, specific details may be omitted so as not to obscure the invention.

Where reference is made to any one or more of the accompanying drawings to steps and/or features, which have the same reference numerals, those steps and/or features have for the purposes of this description the same function(s) or operations(s), unless the contrary intention appears.

In accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention, moldable material such as modeling clay is used as the material for making bullets. It can be shaped into many desired forms as well as many sizes. Moreover, bullets can be easily made by filling the outlet with an appropriate amount of modeling clay until the device runs out of modeling clay. The more modeling clay used to make a bullet, the more air pressure is built within the chamber before projecting the bullet, hence providing a greater propulsive force to shoot the bullet over a longer distance.

In order to identify the point of impact at the target, U.S. Pat. No. 6,250,294 discloses a bullet structure having a Velcro fabric attached thereto. Such a bullet adheres to a target after impact if made of the corresponding Velcro fabric. However, such an arrangement requires the target to be made of Velcro fabrics in order to have the bullet adhered to the point of impact. In the present invention, the modeling clay bullet itself can stick to most solid surface due to its adhesive nature.

In one embodiment of the present invention, it can mold bullets from moldable material immediately before propelling the bullets, wherein a user can easily changes the size and shape of bullets by installing different nozzles.

Moreover, due to the soft texture of moldable material such as modeling clay, bullets molded therefrom provide a smaller collision force on the target and are therefore suitable for toys, war game weapons, and riot control weapons where safety is a critical issue.

FIG. 1 shows how the modeling clay bullet can be made according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention. A piece of modeling clay 102 is placed at the outlet of the nozzle 103. Then a mechanical force 101 is applied to insert the modeling clay in the nozzle. A portion of the modeling clay is pressed into the nozzle 103 and seals the outlet as shown in FIG. 1b. As a result, a modeling clay bullet 104 is formed, having a corresponding shape and size as the cavity within the nozzle 103. Moreover, since the modeling clay gets stuck inside the nozzle 103 and sticks to the interior wall of the nozzle, it seals the end of the nozzle 103, enabling air pressure to build up inside the nozzle 103 until such pressure is great enough to fire the bullet 104. The nozzle 103 may have a sharp edge at the front end for cutting bullet 104 out of the modeling clay 102.

FIGS. 2a to 2d show the cross-sectional view of various forms of the nozzle. These include the funnel shape 210 in FIG. 2a, the hourglass shape 220 in FIG. 2b, and the funnel shape with an extended cylindrical outlet 230 in FIG. 2c. The flared portion of the nozzle can be in various forms such as cubic, cylindrical or conical, depending on the bullet shape that the user desires to have. The structure of the nozzle determines the contact area and adhesive force between the modeling clay and the interior wall of the nozzle. Compared to a cylindrical structure, a conical structure provides a stronger adhesive effect since a force component of the inserting force is pressed against the inclined wall. A larger contact area also provides a stronger adhesive effect. Accordingly, a greater force is required to discharge the modeling clay bullet 203. Because a greater pressure can be built within the nozzle before the modeling clay bullet shoots out, a more powerful shot can be achieved.

FIG. 2d shows a nozzle according to another preferred embodiment of the invention. The nozzle 240 has a slightly enlarged opening, which provides excess adhesive effect and hence a stronger propelling force. Such an enlarged opening structure can be applied to various forms of nozzles mentioned above.

As shown in FIG. 2a, gas is injected into the nozzle 210 through an orifice 202 at the inlet of the nozzle 210. After the modeling clay is inserted into the nozzle, a resilient member 204 helps to push away the remaining clay. The resilient member 204 is secured on the nozzle 210 at a resilient member support 205. Elastic material 201 such as rubber encloses the edges of the nozzle inlet and outlet to provide air sealing when the nozzle is coupled to other parts of the shooting apparatus, such as the gas chamber and barrel.

Another preferred embodiment of the present invention provides a continual shooting mechanism for shooting apparatuses using a modeling clay bullet. The shooting apparatus comprises a bullet strap that contains a plurality of cartridges. Each cartridge is loaded with at least one bullet made of modeling clay. On the bullet strap, there is provided securing slots for a gear to engage. As such, a mechanical translation system such as a gear set can move the strap, and sequentially shift the cartridges over the gas chamber outlet. When the receiving position of a cartridge is coupled to the outlet of the gas chamber, the gas in the gas chamber discharges through the outlet and applies pressure on the bullet in the cartridge. As the pressure accumulates to a certain level, it eventually overcomes the adhesive force between the bullet and the cartridge, and the bullet is propelled into the air.

FIG. 3a shows a bullet strap according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention. FIG. 3b shows a cross-sectional view of the bullet strap in FIG. 3a. The bullet strap 300 comprises a series of cartridges 310. Each cartridge 310 has a cavity that penetrates through the cartridge 310 and holds a modeling clay bullet 301. There is a bowl-shaped recess region 302 on each cartridge 310 for engaging the gas injection nozzle 501. There are slots 303 on each cartridge for gears to engage with so that the gears shift the bullet strap 300 over the gas chamber outlet cartridge by cartridge. As shown in FIG. 3c, the shape of the cavities can be selected from a group consisting of funnel shape, hourglass shape, and funnel shape with an extended cylindrical outlet.

FIG. 4a shows a bullet strap with flexible connection members according to another preferred embodiment of the present invention. FIG. 4b is the cross-sectional view of the bullet strap in FIG. 4a. Cartridge 410 is linked by a flexible connection member 401 to the adjacent cartridge 420 to provide flexibility to the bullet strap 400. The flexible connection member 401 and the gap between adjacent cartridges 410, 420 allows the bullet strap to bend or roll up when adjacent cartridges tilt towards each other as shown in FIG. 4b.

FIGS. 5a and 5b shows a shooting apparatus with a bullet strap according to another preferred embodiment of the present invention. FIG. 5a shows the bullet strap 510 in an initial position. A protruding structure coupled to the trigger 520 engages an empty cartridge to lock the bullet strap 510 from shifting down. The gas injection nozzle 510 is pushed backward by the protruding portion of the bullet strap 510. As the gas injection nozzle 510 remains at the backward position, the channel for gas to flow into the gas chamber 508 from the gas supply is blocked.

FIG. 5b shows a shooting apparatus in FIG. 5a when the trigger is pulled. The bullet strap 510 is now pushed downwards by a resilient member at the top. When the bullet strap is shifted to a position between injection nozzle 501 and barrel 502, the injection nozzle 501 moves forward and engages in the bowl-shaped recess region 503 of cartridge 511. When injection nozzle 501 moves forward, the channel for gas to flow from the gas supply is no longer blocked, and gas is allowed to inject into the gas chamber 508. At the same time, the barrel 502 also engages into the bowl-shaped recess region 504 on the other side of cartridge 511. The injection nozzle 501, cartridge 511 and barrel 502 now form a complete channel. Air pressure from the gas chamber 508 is exerted against the bullet 507 inside cartridge 511, and thereafter propels the bullet out of the shooting apparatus through the barrel 502. After the bullet in cartridge 511 is fired, the bullet strap 510 continues to scroll down, and cartridge 512 is engaged between gas injection nozzle 501 and barrel 502. As such, bullets in following cartridges will be continuously shot out until the trigger 520 is released. The shooting apparatus then returns to the state in FIG. 5a.

FIG. 6 shows a model toy plane incorporating a shooting apparatus according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention. The clay bullets stored in the bullet stray 605 are propagated through a bending barrel 601 such that a bullet can be shot out from an outlet 602 offset from the axial 604 of the firing bullet cartridge 603.

The bending barrel 601 allows the bullets to be shot out at various positions of the model toy instead of a fixed position aligned with the bullet cartridge 605. The nozzle 603 can be either in various shapes such as funnel-shaped, hourglass-shaped, or funnel-shaped with an extended cylindrical outlet as described in FIGS. 2a to 2d.

According to another preferred embodiment of the invention, a modeling clay bullet is molded by a nozzle immediately before the bullet is shot out. The modeling clay used as bullet material is made into strip and carried by conveyors. The nozzle moves in and out of the modeling clay to continuously mold and shoot out bullets. At the same time, the conveyor is shifted across the nozzle to supply new modeling clay for bullet molding.

The conveyor can be driven by the movement of the nozzle. FIGS. 7a to 7d illustrate the mechanism for the nozzle to drive the conveyor in a single direction according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention. FIG. 7a shows a nozzle 705 with a protruding structure on the top. The protruding structure comprises a piston 702 housed in a housing 703. A resilient member 706 is disposed below the piston 702 to push it upwards. The piston 702 has a top surface inclined towards the front of the shooting apparatus. Initially, the nozzle 705 is at a backward position as shown in FIG. 7a.

FIG. 7b shows the nozzle 705 moving forward with the piston 702 just passing under the gear 701. The gear 701 is designed to rotate in a single direction, which is counter-clockwise in this example. When the piston 702 passes under the tooth of the gear 701, a force component pushes the piston 702 downward against the resilient member 706. This allows the nozzle 705 to move further without being obstructed by the gear 701.

FIG. 7c shows the nozzle 705 moving forward further than the position in FIG. 7b. After the piston 702 passes through the gear 701, the resilient member 706 pushes the piston upward again. The nozzle 705 is now in a position inserting into the modeling clay in the conveyor.

FIG. 7d shows the nozzle 705 moving backward after a bullet is molded from the modeling clay in the conveyor. When the piston 702 meets the gear 701 again during its backward course, it does not move downwards because its top surface is not inclined towards the back. Instead, the piston 702 drives the gear 701 to rotate in the counter-clockwise direction. As a result, the back and forth movement of the nozzle 705 only drives the gear 701 to rotate in a single direction. Hence the conveyor, which is driven by the gear 701, also moves in a single direction.

FIG. 8 shows a shooting apparatus with conveyor according to another preferred embodiment of the present invention. The shooting apparatus molds a bullet from modeling clay 801 immediately before shooting out the bullet. The modeling clay 801 is transported by the conveyor 802 by holding the modeling clay 801 therebetween. The conveyors 802 have slots or ridges for gears to engage with so that the conveyors 802 together with the modeling clay 801 are moved across a fixed tube 803. Plates 804 can be found at the interfaces between the conveyor 802 and the fixed tube 803 to guide the conveyor moving across the fixed tube. The modeling clay 801 is transported into the fixed tube 803 in a sheet form with one side facing the barrel portion 808 of the fixed tube 803 and the other side facing the movable inner tube 806. The front end of the inner tube 806 is installed with a nozzle for molding bullets from the modeling clay 801. The inner tube 806 slides back and forth within the fixed tube 803. The other end of the movable inner tube 806 is closed by a back piston 807 that slides along the inner wall of the fixed tube 803. A front ring-shaped piston 805 is attached around the body of the movable inner tube 806 and a resilient member 809 is arranged between the rubber plate 804 and the front ring-shaped piston 805. An orifice 814 through the body of the movable inner tube 806 is arranged between the front ring-shaped piston 805 and the back piston 807.

A gas supply 810 is coupled to the end of the fixed tube 803. Gas is injected from the gas supply 810 through a gas injection nozzle 811. The pressure inside the gas chamber formed by the back piston 807 and the fixed tube 803 can be controlled by a pressure controller 812 with a switch 813 to control the gas flow from the gas supply 810. A bypass channel 830 is arranged to connect the front and rear portions of the fixed tube 803 as separated by the back piston 807. After loading the conveyor 802 in the fixed tube 803 as shown in FIG. 8a, the switch 813 can be triggered to inject gas into the fixed tube 803 from the gas supply 810.

In FIG. 8b, the injected gas 821 is shown pushing the back piston 807 as well as the movable inner tube 806 forward. The nozzle at the front end of the inner tube 806 starts to cut into the modeling clay 801 and molds the bullet 820. The protruding structure 840 at the top of the inner tube 806 moves under the gear 841 according to the mechanism illustrated in FIG. 7b.

FIG. 8c shows the shooting apparatus when the back piston 807 is pushed past the back end of the bypass channel 830 by the build-up of pressure. Injected gas 831 goes through the bypass channel 830 into the section between the back piston 807 and the ring-shaped front piston 805, and further goes through the orifice 814 into the movable inner tube 806. Injected gas 831 increases the pressure inside the movable inner tube 806 until the point when the pressure is great enough to discharge the modeling clay bullet 820 out of the movable inner tube 806. The discharged bullet 820 is guided by the barrel portion 808 of the fixed tube 803, and is propelled out of the shooting apparatus.

FIG. 8d shows the shooting apparatus when a modeling clay bullet 820 has just fired. The pressure within the movable inner tube 806 is released, and the resilient member 809 restores the movable inner tube 806 to its backward position. On the way back to the backward position, the protruding structure 840 at the top of the movable inner tube 806 engages with the gear 841, and turns the gear 841 in a counter-clockwise direction under the mechanism illustrated by FIG. 7d. The rotating gear further drives the conveyor 802 downward to reload a new section of modeling clay 801 into the fixed tube 803. Thereafter, the shooting apparatus returns to the status shown in FIG. 8a, and becomes ready for another shot.

FIG. 9a shows the prospective view of the conveyor in FIGS. 8a to 8d according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention. The conveyor has teeth to engage with the gear 841, and hence be driven by gear rotation. FIG. 9b shows the front view of the conveyor in FIG. 9a.

FIG. 9c shows the front view of a conveyor according to another preferred embodiment of the present invention. The teeth on the two sides of the conveyor in FIG. 9a are replaced by slots that can be engaged by the teeth of the gear 841.

FIG. 10a shows a shooting apparatus with conveyors according to another preferred embodiment of the present invention. At the rear end, the fixed tube 1001 is coupled to a gas supply 1002 which injects gas to the shooting apparatus under the control of a pressure controller 1003. The pressure controller 1003 adjusts the pressure inside the fixed tube 1001 and has a switch 1004 for switching the gas supply on and off. At the front end of the fixed tube 1001, a conveyor 1005 with modeling clay 1006 held inside is inserted across the fixed tube 1001 for providing the shooting apparatus with modeling clay. A gas channel 1007 is connected to the gas supply 1002 along the interior wall of the fixed tube 1001. A conical-head piston 1008 is arranged at the core of the fixed tube 1001 with a resilient member 1009 connecting it to the rear end of the fixed tube 1001. A movable inner tube 1010 that slides inside the fixed tube 1001 along the axial direction is arranged with a nozzle at the front end facing the modeling clay 1006. The rear end of the movable inner tube 1010 is open for the insertion of the conical-head piston 1008. The rear end of the movable inner tube 1010 is also coupled to the fixed tube 1001 through a ring-shaped piston 1011.

FIG. 10b shows the shooting apparatus in FIG. 10a when the gas supply 1004 is switched on. Gas is injected into the fixed tube 1001 through the gas channel 1007, pushing the movable inner tube 1010 forward. The conical-head piston 1008 is also pushed forward to follow the movable inner tube 1010 by the resilient member 1009, and keeps blocking the opening at the back of the movable inner tube 1010. The nozzle at the front end of the movable inner tube 1010 starts penetrating through the modeling clay 1006 to mold a bullet. The protruding structure at the top of the inner tube 1010 moves under the gear according to the mechanism illustrated in FIG. 7b.

FIG. 10c shows the shooting apparatus in FIG. 10a when the conical-head piston 1008 has reached a position that the resilient member 1009 returns to the relaxed state and no longer pushes the piston 1008 forward. The pressure built inside the fixed tube 1001 continues to move the movable inner tube 1010 forward, and the conical-head piston 1008 loosens from the opening at the back of the movable inner tube 1010. Gas starts to flow into the movable inner tube 1010 through the separation between the conical-head piston 1008 and the movable inner tube 1010. Eventually, the pressure inside the movable inner tube 1010 becomes great enough to discharge the modeling clay bullet 1006 through barrel 1012.

FIG. 10d shows a shooting apparatus in FIG. 10a after the bullet is fired. The pressure within the movable inner tube 1010 and the fixed tube 1001 becomes the same as the ambient pressure. The restrained resilient member 1011 between the movable inner tube 1010 and the front end of the fixed tube 1001 extends back to its relaxed state, and restores the movable inner tube 1010 to the initial position where its back opening is blocked by the conical-head piston 1008. When the movable inner tube 1010 slides backward, the protruding structure at the top of the movable inner tube 1010 engages with the gear 1013 and turns it in a counter-clockwise direction under the mechanism illustrated in FIG. 7d. The rotating gear further drives the conveyor 1005 downward to reload a new section of modeling clay 1006 into the fixed tube 1001. Thereafter, the shooting apparatus returns to the status in FIG. 10a and becomes ready for another shot.

According to a preferred embodiment of the invention, the barrel may have helix-shaped grooves in the inner surface for imparting a spin to the bullets.

According to another preferred embodiment of the invention, the gas supply can be a pressurized gas cylinder to make the shooting apparatus portable as well as handy to carry.

According to a further preferred embodiment of the invention, the shooting apparatus has more than one outlet so multiple bullets can be simultaneously shot out.

INDUSTRIAL APPLICABILITY

It is apparent from the above that the arrangements described are applicable to the toy and weapon industries.

The foregoing describes only some embodiments of the present invention, and modifications and/or changes can be made thereto without departing from the scope and spirit of the invention, the embodiments being illustrative and not restrictive.