Title:
Reinforced goal connectors
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The present invention relates to a sports goal having tubular members connected by a connector joint. The connector joint is reinforced to increase joint strength and fracture resistance.



Inventors:
Oister, Michael J. (Superior, CO, US)
Boettcher, William C. (Denver, CO, US)
Doherty, Thomas M. (Denver, CO, US)
Application Number:
10/428277
Publication Date:
11/04/2004
Filing Date:
05/02/2003
Assignee:
OISTER MICHAEL J.
BOETTCHER WILLIAM C.
DOHERTY THOMAS M.
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
273/407
International Classes:
A63B63/00; F16B7/04; (IPC1-7): A63B63/00; F41J1/10
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
CHAMBERS, MICHAEL S
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
HOLLAND & HART, LLP (SALT LAKE CITY, UT, US)
Claims:

We claim:



1. A modular sports goal, comprising: a plurality of tubular frame members; at least one joint; the at least one joint comprising at least one sidewall; the at least one sidewall having a first side and a second side; the plurality of tubular frame members connected by the at least one joint; and at least one reinforcing member coupled to the at least one joint, wherein the strength of the joint is increased to provide increased resistance to fracture.

2. The sports goal of claim 1, wherein the at least one reinforcing member is coupled to the at least one joint using at least one of an adhesive, a tape, a glue, a thermal bond, a fusion bond, a solder, a weld, and a molding.

3. The sports goal of claim 1, wherein the at least one reinforcing member comprises a sheet.

4. The sports goal of claim 1, wherein the at least one reinforcing member comprises a plurality of ribs.

5. The sports goal of claim 1, wherein the at least one reinforcing member is coupled to the first side.

6. The sports goal of claim 1, wherein the at least one reinforcing member is coupled to the second side.

7. The sports goal of claim 1, wherein the at least one reinforcing member is steel.

8. The sports goal of claim 1, wherein the at least one reinforcing member is fracture resistant plastic.

9. The sports goal of claim 1, wherein the at least one joint is at least one of curved and straight.

10. In a sports goal having a plurality of tubular members connected by at least one joint, the at least one joint including an inside wall surface and an outside wall surface, the improvement comprising: at least one reinforcing member coupled to the at least one joint.

11. The sports goal according to claim 10, wherein the at least one reinforcing member is coupled to the inside wall surface.

12. The sports goal according to claim 10, wherein the at least one reinforcing member is coupled to the outside wall surface.

13. The sports goal according to claim 11, wherein at least a second reinforcing member is coupled to the outside wall surface.

14. The sports goal according to claim 10, wherein the at least one reinforcing member is a sheet of material.

15. The sports goal according to claim 14, wherein the sheet is at least one of metal and fracture resistant plastic.

16. The sports goal according to claim 10, wherein the at least one reinforcing member is a plurality of ribs.

17. A sports goal, comprising: a plurality of tubular members; means for connecting the plurality of tubular members; and means for increasing the strength of the means for connecting, such that the means for connecting has an increased resistance to fractures.

18. The sport goal according to claim 17, wherein the means for connecting comprises at least one joint.

19. The sport goal according to claim 17, wherein the means for increasing the strength comprises at least one of at least one metal sheet lining the means for connecting, at least one plastic sheet lining the means for connecting, at least one metal rib lining the means for connecting, and at least one plastic rib lining the means for connecting.

20. The sports goal according to claim 17, wherein the means for increasing the strength is coupled to the means for connecting by at least one of an adhesive, a glue, a tape, a solder, a thermal bond, and molding.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0001] The present invention relates to sport goals and, more particularly, to portable sport goals useful for soccer, football, lacrosse, hockey, field hockey, and the like.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] Sports using goals, such as hockey, soccer, football, lacrosse, and many others are becoming more popular. With the increase in popularity, a need is developing for portable goals to allow individual to the flexibility to play these sports in, for example, backyards and fields.

[0003] FIG. 1 shows a perspective view of a portable goal 10 useful for hockey. The goal comprises a frame 12 and a mesh 14. The frame 12 generally comprises a plurality of tubular members 18, such as plastic, steel, or aluminum tubing connected by a plurality of joints 20. While shown as oval or circular tubing, other shapes are possible. Also, tubular members 18 could be solid pieces that fit into joints 20. The mesh 14 generally comprises webbing made out of cloth, nylon or the like. As one of ordinary skill in the art would recognize, however, the frame and mesh can be made out of multiple materials.

[0004] To attach mesh 14 to frame 12, a sleeve 16 is attached to the mesh 14. The sleeves can be stitched or otherwise attached to mesh 14 and generally has a diameter sufficient to encircle the corresponding portion of tubular member 18 and allow the parts to slide within the sleeve.

[0005] It has been found, however, that a singular blow, or repeated blows, to the goal 10 can cause conventional joints to fracture and fail. Thus, it would be desirous to provide joints with increased strength to resist fracture.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0006] To attain the advantages and in accordance with the purpose of the invention, as embodied and broadly described herein, a modular sports goal having a plurality of tubular members and at least one joint is provided. The at least one joint includes a reinforced member to increase the strength of the joint.

[0007] The foregoing and other features, utilities and advantages of the invention will be apparent from the following more particular description of a preferred embodiment of the invention as illustrated in the accompanying drawings. Further, the advantages and purpose of the invention will be realized and attained by means of the elements and combinations particularly pointed out in the appended claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0008] The accompanying drawings, which are incorporated in and constitute a part of this specification, illustrate embodiments of the present invention, and together with the description, serve to explain the principles thereof. Like items in the drawings are referred to using the same numerical reference.

[0009] FIG. 1 shows a prior art modular sport goal;

[0010] FIG. 2 shows a cross-sectional view of a joint consistent with an embodiment of the present invention; and

[0011] FIG. 3 shows a cross-sectional view of another joint consistent with an embodiment of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0012] Some embodiments of the present invention are described with reference to FIGS. 2 and 3. While the present invention is described in relation to a conventional portable hockey goal, one of ordinary skill in the art would understand that the present invention could be used in any type of modular sports goal, such as a soccer goal and a lacrosse goal.

[0013] FIG. 2 shows a cross sectional view of a tubular, curved joint 22, which would be used to replace conventional joints 20 shown in FIG. 1. While shown with a single curve, joint 22 could be straight to connect two straight sections of tubes. Further, joint 22 could have combinations of straight and curved sections. Also, joint 22 could be a T shaped joint to connect 3 tubular members, a quad shaped joint to connect 4 tubular members, etc. Joint 22 includes first receptacle 24 and a second receptacle 26. First receptacle 24 and second receptacle 26 are designed to mate with tubular members 18 of portable goal 10 in a conventional manner. Joint 22 includes a sidewall 28 having a first side 30 internal to joint 22 and a second side 32 external to joint 22.

[0014] As shown in FIG. 2, reinforcing sheet 34 is coupled to first side 30 of sidewall 28. Alternatively, reinforcing sheet 34 could be coupled to second side 32 of sidewall 28. Reinforcing sheet 34 could be a fracture resistant plastic or metal, such as steel.

[0015] FIG. 3 shows another joint 36. Unlike joint 22, joint 36 is straight. Instead of reinforcing sheet 34 (as shown in FIG. 2), joint 36 contains a plurality of reinforcing ribs 38, but is otherwise identical to joint 22.

[0016] Reinforcing sheet 34 or reinforcing ribs 38 can be attached to joint 22 or joint 36, respectfully, using adhesives, fusion or thermal bonding, glues, tapes, solders, injection molding or the like.

[0017] While the invention has been particularly shown and described with reference to some embodiment thereof, it will be understood by those skilled in the art that various other changes in the form and details may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention.