Title:
VANE FOR BOLTS, ARROWS, AND THE LIKE
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The present disclosure is directed to vanes and/or fletch members having a rearward, extended, flanged base portion for use in association with fletch holders and lighted nock assemblies such as are utilized with crossbow bolts, arrows, and the like. The rearward, extended, flanged base portion provides a floor against which a small-profile LED and battery assembly can bear during firing and subsequent LED activation.



Inventors:
Marshall Jr., John F. (Destin, FL, US)
Application Number:
14/090243
Publication Date:
05/29/2014
Filing Date:
11/26/2013
Assignee:
MARSHALL, JR. JOHN F.
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
473/578, 473/586
International Classes:
F42B6/06; F42B12/36; F42B12/42
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
RICCI, JOHN A
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
THE WEBB LAW FIRM, P.C. (ONE GATEWAY CENTER 420 FT. DUQUESNE BLVD, SUITE 1200, PITTSBURGH, PA, 15222, US)
Claims:
What is claimed:

1. A vane or fletch member for use in association with a fletch holder, the fletch holder for use in association with a string-fired projectile, the vane or fletch member comprising: a flanged base; said flanged base further comprising a rearward, extended, flanged base portion; wherein said flanged base further comprising said rearward, extended, flanged base portion is configured to be associated with, and removably captured by, a slot formed in the fletch holder.

2. The vane or fletch member of claim 1 wherein said rearward, extended, flanged base portion is disposed in association with the fletch holder to act as a floor against which an LED and battery assembly can bear during firing and subsequent LED activation.

3. A slotted fletch holder for use in association with a string-fired projectile, the slotted fletch holder comprising: a vane, said vane comprising a flanged base, said flanged base further comprising a rearward, extended, flanged base portion.

4. The slotted fletch holder of claim 3 further comprising a ferrule, said ferrule capturing said flanged base of said vane within the slot of the fletch holder.

5. The slotted fletch holder of claim 4 further comprising a lighted nock assembly.

6. The slotted fletch holder of claim 5 wherein said lighted nock assembly further comprises a translucent nock.

7. The slotted fletch holder of claim 5 wherein said lighted nock assembly comprises an LED and battery assembly.

8. The slotted fletch holder of claim 7 wherein said rearward, extended, flanged base portion of said vane is disposed in association with the fletch holder and said ferrule to act as a floor against which said LED and battery assembly can bear during firing and subsequent LED activation.

9. The slotted fletch holder of claim 8 wherein said lighted nock assembly comprises a nock, said nock comprising a shoulder configured to abut an end of said ferrule.

10. The slotted fletch holder of claim 9 wherein said nock comprises an internal recess comprising an internal surface, said internal surface for contacting the LED portion of said LED and battery assembly.

11. The slotted fletch holder of claim 9 wherein at least a portion of said nock is configured to fit in frictional engagement within a recess of said ferrule.

12. The slotted fletch holder of claim 9 wherein said LED and battery assembly may be configured to comprise an activation gap.

13. The slotted fletch holder of claim 12 in a ready-to-fire configuration comprising a firing gap between said shoulder of said nock and said end of said ferrule, the firing gap being greater than or equal to said activation gap of said LED and battery assembly.

14. The slotted fletch holder of claim 3 further comprising a projectile disposed forward of said slotted fletch holder.

15. The slotted fletch holder of claim 14 wherein said slotted fletch holder is removably affixed to said projectile.

16. The slotted fletch holder of claim 14 wherein said projectile is selected from the group consisting of an arrow and a cross bolt.

17. The slotted fletch holder of claim 3 further comprising: a. a ferrule, said ferrule capturing said flanged base of said vane within the slot of the fletch holder; b. a lighted nock assembly, said lighted nock assembly comprising a nock and an LED and battery assembly; said nock comprising a shoulder configured to abut an end of said ferrule, and an internal recess comprising an internal surface for contacting the LED portion of said LED and battery assembly; said nock comprising at least a portion configured to fit in frictional engagement within at least a portion of said ferrule; c. said rearward, extended, flanged base portion of said vane disposed in association with the fletch holder and said ferrule to act as a floor against which said LED and battery assembly can bear during firing and subsequent LED activation.

18. A process for using a lighted nock assembly in association with a string-fired projectile, the process comprising the steps of: (a.) inserting a vane comprising a rearward, extended, flanged base portion into a slot of a fletch holder; (b.) inserting a deactivated LED/battery assembly into a ferrule of said fletch holder, the tail end of the LED/battery assembly abutting a floor formed by said rearward, extended, flanged base portion of said vane; (c.) inserting a nock over the LED/battery assembly and into the ferrule; (d.) establishing a firing gap between a shoulder of the nock and a face of the ferrule, the firing gap being greater than or equal to an activation gap of the LED/battery assembly.

19. The process of claim 18 further comprising step (e.): nocking the arrow onto a bowstring.

20. The process of claim 19 further comprising step (f.): drawing and releasing the bowstring, driving the nock into the LED/battery assembly; thereby, closing the firing gap and the activation gap, and illuminating an LED lamp associated with the LED/battery assembly.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

The present U.S. non-provisional patent application claims priority to, and full benefit of, each of the following: U.S. provisional patent application Ser. No. 61/729,901, filed Nov. 26, 2012, and entitled, “Universal Lighted Nock And Processes Therefor;” U.S. provisional patent application Ser. No. 61/749,050, filed Jan. 4, 2013, and entitled, “Vane For Bolts, Arrows, And The Like;” and U.S. provisional patent application Ser. No. 61/749,262, filed Jan. 5, 2013, and entitled, “Lighted Nock Activation Means And Processes Therefor;” the disclosures of each being incorporated by reference herein.

TECHNICAL FIELD

The present subject matter relates, generally, to vanes and fletch members for use in association with string-fired projectiles; and it relates, more particularly, to vanes and fletch members having a rearward, extended, flanged base for use in association with lighted nock assemblies such as are utilized with crossbow bolts, arrows, and the like.

BACKGROUND

Vanes, sometimes called “fletch members,” “fletching,” or “feathers,” are typically affixed near the aft, or rearward, end of a string-fired projectile, such as an arrow, crossbow bolt, and/or the like, for purposes of stabilizing the projectile during firing and during flight. Traditionally, vanes are affixed by bonding each vane to the surface of the projectile.

Vane affixation by bonding is well-known to be suboptimal, as is described in greater detail in Applicant's U.S. Non-Provisional patent application Ser. No. 12/714,064, filed on Feb. 26, 2010, now U.S. Pat. No. 8,382,616, issued on Feb. 26, 2013; which was a continuation-in-part of U.S. Non-Provisional patent application Ser. No. 11/805,590, filed on May 24, 2007, now U.S. Pat. No. 7,892,119 issued on Feb. 22, 2011; which was a continuation-in-part of U.S. Non-Provisional Utility patent application Ser. No. 11/657,676, filed on Jan. 24, 2007, now U.S. Pat. No. 7,758,457 issued on Jul. 20, 2010; each of which was entitled “Fletching System and Method Therefor;” the disclosure of each of which is incorporated herein by reference.

As described therein, and exemplary of some of the problems associated with traditional vane attachment processes, vane members typically are attached to the outside of an arrow shaft using an adhesive. Correct alignment and positioning of the vane members during attachment is usually attempted by using a fletching jig that retains the vane members in the proper position while the adhesive cures. Unfortunately, the process of applying the vane members using conventional jigs is tedious, difficult, time-consuming, and does not ensure accurate results. For example, one or more vane members may become misaligned, and/or excess adhesive may flow out from between a vane member and the arrow shaft, making a mess and potentially interfering with the proper function of the vane members.

In addition, the jig is an expensive piece of specialized equipment and can only be used to apply vane members to a single arrow shaft at a time. Since the jig must remain attached to the arrow shaft until the adhesive cures, fletching techniques using a conventional jig are limited in their efficiency. Thus, fletching using a conventional jig typically takes a long time and is done well in advance of the time when the arrow is to be fired. This means that arrows are typically transported with the vane members attached, whereby the vane members may be damaged or become detached from the arrow shaft, thereby necessitating time-consuming repair.

Still further, conventional fletching techniques cannot practically be performed in the field in the event that a vane member is damaged during use or transportation, due to inconvenience of carrying the jig, as well as the long curing time associated with the use of adhesive. Thus, archers typically carry more “spare” arrows than they would need if vane member repair could practically be performed in the field.

Accordingly, in Applicant's above-referenced patent documents, fletching systems and methods therefor were disclosed which have removed the need for use of traditional bonding processes and which, additionally, provided several distinct advantages over use of such prior art bonding processes. Specifically, in some embodiments, Applicant's fletching systems and methods therefor provide for capture of a flanged base of each vane within a respective slot formed in a fletch holder, the fletch holder configured to be removably affixed to the shaft of a string-fired projectile, such as an arrow, cross bolt, or the like. One end of an end cap member, or ferrule, serves to compress each slot of the fletch holder sufficiently to grasp the flanged base of a corresponding vane. An opposite end of the end cap member is configured to receive a nock. Of course, it is well-known that a bowstring fits into the nock and serves to propel the projectile from the bow or crossbow upon release.

With the advent of translucent plastic nocks, along with the advent of small-profile light emitting diode (“LED”) and battery assemblies, it was recognized that the tail portion of an arrow could be lighted by fitting a small-profile LED and battery assembly within the translucent nock. It was recognized, advantageously, that such a lighted nock could provide a means to track arrow flight and targeting, such as may be useful at night, in low light conditions, or in poor visibility situations.

Notwithstanding, reliable, consistent, and convenient activation of such small-profile LED and battery assemblies has proven challenging to manufacturers. This problem was described in greater detail in Applicant's U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 61/729,901, filed on Nov. 26, 2012, entitled, “Universal Lighted Nock and Processes Therefor,” the disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference.

As described therein, U.S. Pat. No. 4,340,930, issued Jul. 20, 1982 to Carissimi, and U.S. Patent Application Publication U.S. 2012/0100942 by Minica, published Apr. 26, 2012, provide examples of such lighted nock products. Disadvantageously, such products typically are formed in integral units, wherein a user cannot substitute a nock or a small-profile LED and battery assembly of his own choosing. Rather, a user is captive to a particular manufacturer's device construction, nock and LED color selections, and product availability. Additionally, due to the sealed and/or closed nature of such devices, switching off the small-profile LED and battery assembly after activation can sometimes be difficult and can tax one's dexterity—especially in field-use conditions.

Accordingly, in Applicant's above-referenced patent document, Applicant further disclosed embodiments of lighted nock subject matter that solve the aforedescribed activation problem for many projectile configurations. Advantageously, Applicant's disclosed subject matter provides a more universal construction, whereby a user conveniently may gain access to the working components, whereby those components may be transferred to other arrows, whereby the user may substitute nocks and small-profile LED and battery assemblies of his choice, and whereby the user can more easily access the small-profile LED and battery assembly to activate and deactivate the assembly without undue difficulty—all in field-use conditions.

Similarly, it would be advantageous to extend the functionality and benefits attendant such aforedescribed lighted nocks to fletch holder systems, including, but not limited to, those referenced above; while further providing for reliable, consistent, and convenient activation thereof so as to avoid the deficiencies observed within the prior art.

It, further, would be beneficial to provide for use of a standardized size, length, style, and/or configuration of small-profile LED and battery assembly within any of the variety of fletch holders that have been developed for use with the several standardized arrow and crossbow bolt sizes available in the marketplace. In order to provide for use of such a standardized, small-profile LED and battery assembly, however, one must accommodate the varied geometry as between different models of fletch holder systems. In order to do so, it would be beneficial to provide a vane having a rearward, extended, flanged base portion to span extended space within the ferrule, the extended portion serving to close the gap between the end of the small-profile LED and battery assembly in its firing-ready position within the nock, and to provide a floor against which the small-profile LED and battery assembly can bear during firing and subsequent LED activation.

Accordingly, it is to the disclosure of such vanes having a rearward, extended, flanged base portion that the following is directed.

SUMMARY

In general, the present disclosure is directed to vanes and fletch members for use in association with string-fired projectiles. Specifically, the present disclosure is directed to vanes and fletch members having a rearward, extended, flanged base portion for use in association with fletch holders and lighted nock assemblies such as are utilized with crossbow bolts, arrows, and the like. A vane member, so configured with a rearward, extended, flanged base portion, allows for use of a standardized size, length, style, and/or configuration of small-profile LED and battery assembly within any of the variety of fletch holders that have been developed for use with the several standardized arrow and crossbow bolt sizes available in the marketplace, notwithstanding the varied geometry as between different models of such fletch holder systems.

So configured, a vane having a rearward, extended, flanged base portion may span an extended space within a ferrule of the fletch holder, the extended, flanged base portion serving to close the gap between the end of the small-profile LED and battery assembly in its firing-ready position within the nock, and to provide a floor against which the small-profile LED and battery assembly can bear during firing and subsequent LED activation.

In ready-to-fire position, the small-profile LED and battery assembly is placed within the fletch holder ferrule in deactivated position, the deactivated position comprising an activation gap between the LED lamp and the body of the battery assembly. A corresponding gap, greater than or equal to the activation gap, is left between the shoulder of the nock and an aft end of the ferrule.

When fired, the bow string drives an internal surface of the nock into the front end of the small-profile LED and battery assembly. Because the tail end of the small-profile LED and battery assembly is in contact with the floor provided by the rearward, extended, flanged base portions of the plurality of vanes disposed within the fletch holder, the driving force of the nock acts to close the activation gap; thereby, illuminating the LED lamp.

To reset the assembly for firing anew, one simply removes the nock and resets the small-profile LED and battery assembly to its deactivated position, which is done by pulling the LED lamp to reopen the activation gap. One then places the small-profile LED and battery assembly and nock into their ready-to-fire position within the ferrule, leaving a gap as described above.

Accordingly, and advantageously, the subject matter of the present disclosure achieves the goals set forth above and provides a vane member with a rearward, extended, flanged base portion that allows for use of a standardized size, length, style, and/or configuration of small-profile LED and battery assembly within any of the variety of fletch holders that have been developed for use with the several standardized arrow and crossbow bolt sizes available in the marketplace, notwithstanding the varied geometry as between different models of such fletch holder systems.

These and other features and advantages of the various embodiments of devices and related systems comprising , as set forth within the present disclosure, will become more apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art after reading the following Detailed Description of Illustrative Embodiments and the Claims in light of the accompanying drawing Figures.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Accordingly, the within disclosure will be best understood through consideration of, and with reference to, the following drawing Figures, viewed in conjunction with the Detailed Description of Illustrative Embodiments referring thereto, in which like reference numbers throughout the various Figures designate like structure, and in which:

FIG. 1 illustrates a partial exploded view of a fletch holder in association with a vane member having a rearward, extended, flanged base portion, the fletch holder further being illustrated in association with a lighted nock assembly in assembled, ready-to-activate configuration, all in accordance with the subject matter of the present disclosure;

FIG. 2 illustrates an end view of the fletch holder and vane member of FIG. 1, but without ferrule and nock, in accordance with the subject matter of the present disclosure;

FIG. 3 illustrates a partial exploded view of the device of FIG. 1 in assembled, activated configuration, all in accordance with the subject matter of the present disclosure;

FIG. 4 is a flowchart illustrating a process for using a vane member having a rearward, extended, flanged base portion in association with a fletch holder and lighted nock assembly, all according to the subject matter of the present disclosure; and

FIG. 5 is a flowchart illustrating a process for resetting and reusing the lighted nock assembly of FIG. 4 according to the subject matter of the present disclosure.

It is to be noted that the drawings presented are intended solely for the purpose of illustration and that they are, therefore, neither desired nor intended to limit the invention to any or all of the exact details of construction shown, except insofar as they may be deemed essential to the claimed invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF ILLUSTRATIVE EMBODIMENTS

In describing the several embodiments illustrated in the Figures, specific terminology is employed for the sake of clarity. The invention, however, is not intended to be limited to the specific terminology so selected, and it is to be understood that each specific element includes all technical equivalents that operate in a similar manner to accomplish a similar purpose. Additionally, in the Figures, like reference numerals shall be used to designate corresponding parts throughout the several Figures.

Illustrated in FIGS. 1-3 are preferred embodiments of vane 10, also sometimes called fletch member 10, for use in association with fletch holders and lighted nock assemblies such as are utilized with crossbow bolts, arrows, and the like. Fletch member 10 comprises flanged base 20. Flanged base 20 further comprises rearward, extended, flanged base portion 22. In the embodiments of FIGS. 1-3, fletch holder 30 is of the type designed for use in association with crossbow bolts; however, it should be recognized that the general subject matter of the present disclosure and, specifically, embodiments of vane 10 having rearward, extended, flanged base portion 22 could be used, in appropriate designs and circumstances, with any of the variety of fletch holders used in association with arrows and other string-fired projectiles. Also illustrated in FIGS. 1-3 is a preferred embodiment of lighted nock assembly 40 for use with fletch holder 30, according to the subject matter of the present disclosure.

Fletch holder 30 is typically affixed, as via cooperating threads 50, to an aft end of a crossbow bolt shaft or, in some embodiments, an arrow shaft. Into fletch holder 30 are typically inserted three vane or fletch members 10, fletch members 10 used to stabilize the bolt or arrow during flight.

Fletch holder 30 captures flanged base 20 of each vane 10 within a respective slot 60 formed in fletch holder 30, fletch holder 30. One end of end cap member 70, sometimes called ferrule 70, serves to compress each slot 60 of fletch holder 30 sufficiently to grasp flanged base 20, including rearward, extended, flanged base portion 22, of corresponding vane 10. An opposite end of ferrule 70 is configured to receive lighted nock assembly 40, including nock 80 thereof Of course, it is well-known that a bowstring fits into nock 80 and serves to propel the bolt or arrow from the respective crossbow or bow upon release.

Nock 80 is configured to provide internal recess 90. Internal recess 90 is configured and dimensioned so as to receive head end 110 of small-profile LED and battery assembly 100 therewithin.

We now turn specifically to FIG. 2, which depicts an end view of fletch holder 30 without ferrule 70. It may be observed that rearward, extended, flanged base portion 22 of vane 10 fills an extended portion of slot 60 which is, in conventional fletch holder embodiments, ordinarily empty—that is, devoid of any portion of a conventional vane member—within a portion of fletch holder 30 that is configured to cooperatively receive ferrule 70, as by cooperating threaded means. Accordingly, and advantageously, extended, flanged base portions 22 serve to close the gap that would otherwise exist between tail end 120 of small-profile LED and battery assembly 100 in its firing-ready position within nock 80 and the otherwise deeper-set ends of flanged base 20 of conventional vanes 10; and, thereby, provide a floor against which small-profile LED and battery assembly 100 can bear during firing and subsequent LED activation.

In operation, head end 110 of small-profile LED and battery assembly 100 fits within internal recess 90 of nock 80. Tail end 120 of small-profile LED and battery assembly 100 abuts the floor formed by rearward, extended, flanged base portions 22 within ferrule 70 and fletch holder 30. In most circumstances, it is preferred that small-profile LED and battery assembly 100 initially be in open, deactivated configuration, so that the user's night vision is not interrupted by the brightly illuminated LED lamp thereof, and so that a user's field position remains concealed prior to firing.

In ready-to-fire position, best seen with reference to FIG. 1, nock 80 fits over small-profile LED and battery assembly 100 and into ferrule 70. As described above, small-profile LED and battery assembly 100 preferably remains in deactivated position, comprising activation gap GA between the LED lamp and the body of small-profile LED and battery assembly 100. A corresponding firing gap GF, greater than or equal to activation gap GA, is left between shoulder 130 of nock 80 and ferrule 70.

Best seen with reference to FIG. 3, when the bolt or arrow, so configured, is fired, the bow string drives upper portion 140 of internal recess 90 of nock 80 into head end 110 of small-profile LED and battery assembly 100. Because tail end 120 of small-profile LED and battery assembly 100 is in contact with the floor formed by rearward, extended, flanged base portions 22 within ferrule 70 and fletch holder 30, the driving force of nock 80 acts to close firing gap GF, and, in turn, activation gap GA; thereby, illuminating LED lamp of small-profile LED and battery assembly 100.

To reset lighted nock 40 for firing anew, one simply removes nock 80 and resets small-profile LED and battery assembly 100 to its deactivated position, which is done by pulling the LED lamp to reopen activation gap GA. One then places small-profile LED and battery assembly 100 and nock 80 into their ready-to-fire position within ferrule 70, leaving firing gap GF as described above.

It is noted that, in some embodiments, small-profile LED and battery assembly 100 may comprise an LED with built-in, pin type lithium battery, such as the JNJ R-type assembly (JNJ Co., LTd., Korea). Suitably configured; however, lighted nock 40 may be used in association with any of a variety of LED/battery assemblies currently on the market. Advantageously, however, the present subject matter allows for use of a standardized size, length, style, and/or configuration of small-profile LED and battery assembly 100 within any of the variety of fletch holders that have been developed for use with the several standardized arrow and crossbow bolt sizes available in the marketplace, notwithstanding the varied geometry as between different models of such fletch holder systems.

Turning now to FIG. 4, the above-described steps for configuring and firing an arrow carrying a lighted nock in accordance with the present disclosure are outlined in process flowchart form. At step 400, one inserts a vane, such as, for example, vane 10 comprising rearward, extended, flanged base portion 22, into slot 60 of fletch holder 30. At step 410, one inserts a deactivated small-profile LED and battery assembly, such as, for example, small-profile LED and battery assembly 100, into a ferrule, such as ferrule 70. A tail end of the small-profile LED and battery assembly should abut a floor formed by rearward, extended, flanged base portions 22 within the ferrule and fletch holder.

At step 420, a nock, such as, for example, nock 80, is inserted over the deactivated small-profile LED and battery assembly and into the ferrule. A firing gap greater than or equal to the activation gap of the small-profile LED and battery assembly should be maintained.

At step 430, the bolt or arrow, configured as described above, is nocked onto the bowstring. At step 440, the bowstring is drawn and released, driving the nock into the LED/battery assembly; thereby, closing the firing gap and the activation gap, and illuminating the LED lamp.

Referring now to FIG. 5, the above-described steps for resetting and readying for refiring a bolt or arrow carrying a lighted nock in accordance with the present disclosure are outlined in process flowchart form. At step 500, the nock is removed. At step 510, the small-profile LED and battery assembly is reset to a deactivated condition by opening the activation gap. At this point, one may ready the lighted nock for refiring by returning to the process of FIG. 4, step 410.

Having thus described exemplary embodiments of the subject matter of the present disclosure, it is noted that the within disclosures are exemplary only and that various other alternatives, adaptations, and modifications may be made within the scope and spirit of the present invention. For example, while the disclosure set forth hereinabove has been provided with reference to bolts for use in association with crossbows, the subject matter could be extended to use in association with conventional arrows, or the like, without limitation.

Furthermore, the subject matter of the present disclosure may be utilized in association with target practice, situational shooting, and/or the like, as well as with hunting and other in-field uses.

In some embodiments, the subject matter of the present disclosure may be provided in packaged form comprising one or more suitably configured nock, small-profile LED and battery assembly, fletch holder, and vane comprising a flanged base with rearward, extended, flanged base portion. In such form, a user may utilize his own bolt or arrow in association with the subject matter of the present disclosure

In some embodiments, the subject matter of the present disclosure may be provided in packaged form comprising one or more suitably configured bolt or arrow, along with one or more suitably configured nock, small-profile LED and battery assembly, fletch holder, and vane comprising a flanged base with rearward, extended, flanged base portion.

Accordingly, the present subject matter is not limited to the specific embodiments as illustrated herein, but is only limited by the following claims.