Title:
Treadmill with an automatically foldable treadbase
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A treadmill includes a base frame, a treadbase, a support bar unit, and a drive unit. The base frame has front and rear frame ends. The treadbase has front and rear base ends, and includes a treading member disposed above the base frame. The support bar unit has a first bar portion pivoted to the treading member, and a second bar portion pivoted to the base frame. The drive unit includes a drive motor mounted on the base frame, and a telescopic arm having a front arm end coupled to the treadbase, and a rear arm end connected to the drive motor.



Inventors:
Wu, Chieh-ming (Taipei-City, TW)
Application Number:
10/334993
Publication Date:
03/25/2004
Filing Date:
12/31/2002
Assignee:
WU CHIEH-MING
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B22/02; (IPC1-7): A63B22/02
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
NGUYEN, TAM M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
HUSCH BLACKWELL LLP/Milwaukee (MILWAUKEE, WI, US)
Claims:

I claim:



1. A treadmill, comprising: a base frame having front and rear frame ends; a treadbase having front and rear base ends, and including a treading member disposed above said base frame; a support bar unit having a first bar portion pivoted to said treading member, and a second bar portion pivoted to said base frame; and a drive unit including a drive motor mounted on said base frame, and a telescopic arm having a front arm end coupled to said treadbase, and a rear arm end connected to said drive motor; wherein said drive motor is operable so as to extend forward or retract rearward said front arm end of said telescopic arm, whereby rearward retraction of said front arm end results in movement of said front base end toward said rear frame end and in upward folding movement of said treadbase.

2. The treadmill of claim 1, wherein said base frame includes left and right frame portions and a connecting frame portion interconnecting said left and right frame portions at said rear frame end.

3. The treadmill of claim 2, wherein said support bar unit includes left and right bars, each of which connects said treading member to said connecting frame portion adjacent to a respective one of said left and right frame portions.

4. The treadmill of claim 2, wherein said drive motor is mounted pivotally on said connecting frame portion.

5. The treadmill of claim 2, wherein at least one of said left and right frame portions is formed with a slide rail that extends from said front frame end toward said rear frame end, said front base end of said treadbase being coupled slidably to said slide rail.

6. The treadmill of claim 5, wherein said treading member is provided with a roller at said front base end for coupling slidably with said slide rail.

7. The treadmill of claim 1, wherein said telescopic arm includes an internally threaded sleeve tube connected pivotally to said treadbase, and a screw rod inserted threadedly and telescopically into said sleeve tube and connected to and driven rotatably by said drive motor.

8. The treadmill of claim 1, wherein said telescopic arm includes an internally threaded sleeve tube connected pivotally to said treading member at said front base end, and a screw rod inserted threadedly and telescopically into said sleeve tube and connected to and driven rotatably by said drive motor.

9. The treadmill of claim 1, wherein said treadbase further includes a lifting frame member having a first frame portion pivoted to said treading member and a second frame portion coupled slidably to said base frame and movable between said front and rear frame ends, said front arm end of said telescopic arm being connected to said lifting frame member, said treadmill further comprising a releasable fastening unit for fastening immovably said lifting frame member to said treading member; wherein, when said fastening unit releases said lifting frame member from said treading member, extension and retraction of said telescopic arm due to operation of said drive motor varies inclination of said treading member; wherein, when said fastening unit fixes said lifting frame member to said treading member, extension and retraction of said telescopic arm due to operation of said drive motor results in movement of said treadbase between folded and unfolded states.

10. The treadmill of claim 9, wherein said base frame includes left and right frame portions and a connecting frame portion interconnecting said left and right frame portions at said rear frame end.

11. The treadmill of claim 10, wherein said support bar unit includes left and right bars, each of which connects said treading member to said connecting frame portion adjacent to a respective one of said left and right frame portions.

12. The treadmill of claim 10, wherein said drive motor is mounted pivotally on said connecting frame portion.

13. The treadmill of claim 10, wherein at least one of said left and right frame portions is formed with a slide rail that extends from said front frame end toward said rear frame end, said second frame portion of said lifting frame member being coupled slidably to said slide rail.

14. The treadmill of claim 13, wherein said lifting frame member includes a pair of lifting bars pivoted to said treading member, and a first crossbar interconnecting said lifting bars.

15. The treadmill of claim 14, wherein said first crossbar is provided with a roller for coupling slidably with said slide rail.

16. The treadmill of claim 15, wherein said telescopic arm includes an internally threaded sleeve tube connected pivotally to said first crossbar, and a screw rod inserted threadedly and telescopically into said sleeve tube and connected to and driven rotatably by said drive motor.

17. The treadmill of claim 15, wherein said lifting frame member further includes a second crossbar interconnecting said lifting bars and parallel to said first crossbar, said telescopic arm including an internally threaded sleeve tube connected pivotally to said second crossbar, and a screw rod inserted threadedly and telescopically into said sleeve tube and connected to and driven rotatably by said drive motor.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

[0001] This application claims priority of Taiwanese application no. 091214891, filed on Sep. 20, 2002.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] 1. Field of the Invention

[0003] The invention relates to a treadmill, more particularly to a treadmill with an automatically foldable treadbase.

[0004] 2. Description of the Related Art

[0005] Treadmills are indoor exercising equipments preferred by many users. However, conventional treadmills are difficult to store and occupy much space because of their irregular shapes and bulky sizes.

[0006] To solve this problem, various designs for treadmills with foldable treadbases are currently available on the market. Conventional treadmills with foldable treadbases allow users to manually fold or unfold the treadbases of the treadmills.

[0007] One problem with the treadmills having manually foldable treadbases is that the treadbases are difficult to manually lift to the folded state and may cause back strain or other injury. Heavy treadbases are also hazardous when released from the folded state as they will rapidly fall and could injure the user.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0008] Therefore, the object of the present invention is to provide a treadbase that can be folded and unfolded automatically.

[0009] According to the present invention, a treadmill comprises a base frame, a treadbase, a support bar unit, and a drive unit. The base frame has front and rear frame ends. The treadbase has front and rear base ends, and includes a treading member disposed above the base frame. The support bar unit has a first bar portion pivoted to the treading member, and a second bar portion pivoted to the base frame. The drive unit includes power unit mounted on the base frame, and a telescopic arm that has a front arm end coupled to the treadbase and a rear arm end connected to the power unit. The drive motor is operable so as to extend forward or retract rearward the front arm end of the telescopic arm. Rearward retraction of the front arm end results in movement of the front base end toward the rear frame end and in upward folding movement of the treadbase.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0010] Other features and advantages of the present invention will become apparent in the following detailed description of the preferred embodiments with reference to the accompanying drawings, of which:

[0011] FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the first preferred embodiment of a treadmill according to the present invention;

[0012] FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the first preferred embodiment with a treadbase in an upright folded state;

[0013] FIG. 3 is a perspective view of the second preferred embodiment of a treadmill according to the present invention;

[0014] FIG. 4 is a schematic side view of the second preferred embodiment with a treadbase in an inclined unfolded state;

[0015] FIG. 5 is a schematic side view of the second preferred embodiment with the treadbase in a horizontal unfolded state;

[0016] FIG. 6 is a schematic side view of the second preferred embodiment with the treadbase in an upright folded state; and

[0017] FIG. 7 is a perspective view of the third preferred embodiment of a treadmill according to the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

[0018] Before the present invention is described in greater detail, it should be noted that like elements are denoted by the same reference numerals throughout the disclosure.

[0019] Referring to FIGS. 1 and 2, the first preferred embodiment of a treadmill according to the present invention is shown to include a base frame 1, a treadbase 2, a support bar unit 4, and a drive unit 3.

[0020] The base frame 1 has front and rear frame ends 114, 113, and includes left and right frame portions 11 and a connecting frame portion 12 that interconnects the left and right frame portions 11 at the rear frame end 113. Each of the left and right frame portions 11 has an inner surface 112 formed with a slide rail 111 that extends from the front frame end 114 toward the rear frame end 113. An upright prop 14 for mounting a control panel has a lower end portion secured to the base frame 1 at the front frame end 114.

[0021] The treadbase 2 includes a treading member 20 that has left and right base portions 21, 22 and connecting base portions 23, 24 that interconnect the left and right base portions 21, 22 and that serve as front and rear base ends of the treadbase 2. The treading member 20 is disposed above the base frame 1. The connecting base portion 23 is provided with rollers 34 that are coupled slidably and respectively to the slide rails 111.

[0022] The support bar unit 4 includes left and right bars 41 adjacent to a respective one of the left and right frame portions 11 of the base frame 1. Each of the left and right bars 41 has a first bar portion 412 that is connected pivotally to a respective one of the left and right base portions 21, 22, and a second bar portion 411 that is connected pivotally to the connecting frame portion 12 of the base frame 1.

[0023] The drive unit 3 includes a drive motor 33 and a telescopic arm. The drive motor 33 is mounted pivotally on the connecting frame portion 12 of the base frame 1. The telescopic arm includes an internally threaded sleeve tube 31 and a screw rod 32. The sleeve tube 31 has one end which serves as a front arm end 311 of the telescopic arm and which is connected pivotally to the connecting base portion 23 of the treading member 20. The screw rod 32 is inserted threadedly and telescopically into the sleeve tube 31 and has one end that serves as a rear arm end 312 of the telescopic arm and that is connected to and driven rotatably by the drive motor 33.

[0024] When it is desired to fold the treadbase 2, the drive motor 33 is operated so as to rotate axially the screw rod 32 in a clockwise direction, which causes the screw rod 32 to thread into the sleeve tube 31. This results in rearward retraction of the front arm end 311 relative to the connecting frame portion 12. This, in turn, pulls the connecting base portion 23 and causes the rollers 34 to slide along the slide rails 111 toward the rear frame end 113 of the base frame 1. Due to the pivotal connection of the support bars 41 to the treading member 20 and the base frame 1, the treadbase 2 rotates about a pivot axis (A), which results in upward folding movement of the rear base end of the treadbase 2, until the treadbase 2 reaches an upright folded state, as best shown in FIG. 2.

[0025] Accordingly, when the drive motor 33 is operated so as to rotate axially the screw rod 32 in a clockwise direction, the screw rod 32 is threaded out of the sleeve tube 31, thereby resulting in forward extension of the front arm end 311 relative to the connecting frame portion 12, sliding movement of the rollers 34 along the slide rails 111 toward the front frame end 114, and downward unfolding movement of the rear base end of the treadbase 2 until the latter reaches a horizontal unfolded state (not shown). Thus, movement of the treadbase 2 between the folded and unfolded states can be done automatically.

[0026] FIGS. 3 and 4 illustrate the second preferred embodiment of a treadmill according to the present invention. When compared with the first preferred embodiment, the treadbase 2 of this embodiment further includes a lifting frame member 25. The lifting frame member 25 includes a pair of lifting bards 251, each having a first frame portion 2511 and a second frame portion 2512, and a first crossbar 253 that interconnects the second frame portions 2512 of the lifting bars 251. The first frame portions 2511 of the lifting bars 251 of the lifting frame member 25 are pivoted to the left and right base portions 21, 22 of the treading member 20, respectively. In addition, the first crossbar 253 of the lifting frame member 25, which serves as the front base end of the treadbase 2 in this embodiment, is provided with the rollers 34 for coupling slidably to the slide rails 111 of the base frame 1. The first crossbar 253 is thus movable between the front and rear frame ends 114, 113 of the base frame 1. Moreover, the front arm end 311 of the telescopic arm is connected pivotally to the first crossbar 253 of the lifting frame member 25.

[0027] With further reference to FIG. 5, the treadmill further comprises a releasable fastening unit 26 for fastening immovably and selectively the lifting frame member 25 to the treading member 20. The fastening unit 26 has a first fastening lug 261 provided on the treading member 20, a second fastening lug 262 provided on the first crossbar 253 of the lifting frame member 25, a fastening screw 263, and a nut 264. The fastening screw 263 and the nut 264 can be used to fasten together the lugs 261, 262, thereby fastening immovably the first crossbar 253 of the lifting frame member 25 to the treading member 20.

[0028] When the fastening unit 26 releases the first crossbar 253 of the lifting frame member 25 from the treading member 20, the drive motor 33 can be operated so as to rotate the screw rod 32 for rearward retraction or forward extension of the front arm end 311 of the telescopic arm. This, in turn, results in sliding movement of the rollers 34 along the slide rails 111 to raise or lower the treading member 20 relative to the base frame 1. Thus, the inclination of the treadbase 2 can be varied automatically in this embodiment to suit the user's requirements.

[0029] When the fastening unit 26 fixes the first crossbar 253 of the lifting frame member 25 to the treading member 20, extension and retraction of the front arm end 311 of the telescopic arm due to the operation of the drive motor 33 results in movement of the treadbase 2 between the folded and unfolded states, as best shown in FIG. 6. The operation is similar to that of the first preferred embodiment and will not be detailed further for the sake of brevity.

[0030] FIG. 7 illustrates the third preferred embodiment of a treadmill according to the present invention. When compared with the second preferred embodiment, the lifting frame member 25 further includes a second crossbar 254 that interconnects the left and right lifting bars 251 and that is parallel to the first crossbar 253. The front arm end 311 of the telescopic arm is connected pivotally to the second crossbar 254 of the lifting frame member 25. Since the operation of this embodiment is similar to that described hereinabove in connection with the second preferred embodiment, a detailed description of the same will be dispensed with herein for the sake of brevity.

[0031] It has thus been shown that the treadmill of this invention includes a treadbase 2 that can be folded and unfolded using the drive motor 3. The inclination of the treadbase 2 can also be varied using the same motor in the second and third embodiments of this invention. Accordingly, the user can fold, unfold, and vary the inclination of the treadbase 2 of the treadmill without undue physical strain. Further, the telescopic arm and the drive motor 33 cooperate to prevent rapid falling of the treadbase 2 during an unfolding operation, thereby making the treadmill of this invention safer to use as compared with conventional treadmills.

[0032] While the present invention has been described in connection with what is considered the most practical and preferred embodiments, it is understood that this invention is not limited to the disclosed embodiments but is intended to cover various arrangements included within the spirit and scope of the broadest interpretation so as to encompass all such modifications and equivalent arrangements.