Title:
End cap and weight for sports equipment having a hollow shaft
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An end cap and weight system to increase the weight of a hollow shaft of a sports stick and to provide a hand removable end cap for a sports stick. The end cap has a knob, a bolt, a nut and a compression plug. The end cap is removably mounted to the hollow shaft so that the shaft may be cut to a desired length and/or weight can be added to or removed from the hollow shaft without the need for tooling.



Inventors:
Taylor, James Z. (Yarmouth, ME, US)
Curry, Craig S. (Yarmouth, ME, US)
Application Number:
10/852013
Publication Date:
12/09/2004
Filing Date:
05/24/2004
Assignee:
TAYLOR JAMES Z.
CURRY CRAIG S.
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
473/256, 473/457
International Classes:
A63B49/04; A63B49/08; A63B59/00; A63B59/02; A63B69/36; (IPC1-7): A63B59/02; A63B59/14; A63B69/36
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
CHAMBERS, MICHAEL S
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Bourque & Associates, P.A. (Manchester, NH, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. An end cap that is removably mounted on a sports stick having a hollow shaft, the end cap comprising: a knob having an opening and a cavity; a bolt having a head coupled to and mounted in the cavity of the knob, and a threaded shaft portion extending through the opening in the knob; a nut, for threading on the threaded shaft of the bolt; and a compression plug operatively mounted between the knob and the nut and disposed about the threaded shaft portion of the bolt, wherein when the knob of the end cap is rotated, the compression plug is compressed between the knob and the nut and expands to contact one or more inside surface of the hollow shaft of the sports stick at a sufficient pressure to thereby generally firmly hold the compression plug of the end cap to the inside surface of the hollow shaft of the sports stick.

2. The end cap for the sports stick according to claim 1, wherein the head of the bolt has a horizontal surface with teeth extending vertically therefrom and penetrating the knob, thereby securing the head of the bolt to the knob.

3. The end cap for the sports stick according to claim 2, further including at least one washer having an opening for receiving the threaded shaft portion of the bolt, and wherein the at least one washer is operatively mounted between the compression plug and the knob.

4. The end cap for the sports stick according to claim 1, wherein the cavity in the knob includes a notch for receiving a lens.

5. The end cap for the sports stick according to claim 1, wherein the lens has a pocket for housing an insert having either a design, name, trademark, logo, or combination thereon.

6. The end cap for the sports stick according to claim 1, wherein an end of the threaded shaft portion includes one of a weld thereon, flattened threads, distorted threads and damaged threads, thereby precluding the nut from traveling off of the threaded shaft portion.

7. The end cap for the sports stick according to claim 1, wherein the compression plug is made from a resilient material.

8. The end cap for the sports stick according to claim 7, wherein the resilient material is rubber.

9. The end cap for the sports stick according to claim 1, wherein the compression plug is either round or octagonal.

10. The end cap for the sports stick according to claim 1, wherein the lens is flexible.

11. The end cap for the sports stick according to claim 3, wherein the at least one washer is made from metal.

12. The end cap for the sports stick according to claim 1, wherein the nut is a propeller nut.

13. An end cap and weight system for a hollow shaft of a sports stick, the end cap and the weight system comprising: a knob having an opening; a bolt having a threaded shaft portion, for extending through the opening of the knob, and the bolt having a head; a nut, for threading on the threaded shaft of the bolt; a compression plug operatively mounted between the knob and the nut and disposed about the threaded shaft portion of the bolt, wherein when the knob is rotated, the compression plug is compressed between the knob and the nut and expands to contact one or more inside surfaces of the hollow shaft of the sports; and at least one weighted member, said at least one weighted member for insertion into the hollow shaft of the sports stick, thereby increasing a weight of the sports stick.

14. The end cap and the weight system according to claim 13, wherein the at least one weighted member is contained in a tube and wherein the at least one tube containing the at least one weighted member has an outside dimension that is smaller than an inside dimension of the hollow shaft.

15. The end cap and weight system according to claim 14, wherein the at least one weight is metal, and the at least one tube is ABS plastic.

16. The end cap and weight system according to claim 14, further including a plurality of set screws through the at least one tube at ends of the at least one weight.

17. The end cap and weight system according to claim 14, wherein the at least one weight is bonded to an inside surface of the at least one tube.

18. The end cap and weight systems according to claim 17, wherein the head of the bolt has teeth extending from the head and penetrating the knob, thereby securing the head of the bolt to the knob.

19. The end cap and weight system according to claim 13, further including at least one washer between the compression plug and the knob.

20. The end cap and weight according to claim 14, wherein the tube has crimped members, for crimping and substantially precluding the at least one weight from moving freely in the at least one tube.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

[0001] This application claims priority from U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/475,878, entitled “End Cap And Weight For Sports Equipment Having a Hollow Shaft,” which was filed on Jun. 4, 2003.

TECHNICAL FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0002] This invention relates to sports equipment, and more particularly, to end caps having compressible members and removable shaft weights for lacrosse sticks, hockey sticks, golf clubs, and other sports sticks having hollow shafts.

DESCRIPTION OF THE RELATED ART

[0003] Lacrosse sticks generally have a hollow shaft. An end cap is placed over a first end and a head is attached to a second end of the hollow shaft. The hollow shaft of the lacrosse stick is formed from a suitable material including, but not limited to, plastic or metal. The hollow shaft is typically octagon shaped having an elliptical cross-section. The end cap has a cylindrical or round shape and is typically placed over an open end of the hollow shaft. A disadvantage with this type of design is that the end cap is either very difficult to remove, or not sufficiently gripped to the shaft of the lacrosse stick and must be taped on rendering it not readily removable.

[0004] It is known to have end caps that have insert members that expand; however, tools are required to cause the insert members to expand. This is a significant disadvantage because tools are not readily available on a playing field, and the time required to obtain, use, and return the tools is considerable.

[0005] In addition, there is a desire for increasing the weight of lacrosse sticks, hockey sticks, golf clubs, and other sports sticks having a hollow shaft when a player is practicing or training. The increase in the weight improves the conditioning and strength of the player at the speed and in the motion of the particular sport. It is desirable for the player to practice with his or her own playing stick. Further, it is important that the weight added to the sports stick or club is readily removable so that the weight can be removed with ease prior to a game. To that end, there is a need to provide an end cap that is readily removable so that the weight can be added and readily removed from the hollow shaft of the lacrosse stick, hockey stick, golf club, or sports stick.

[0006] The present invention is directed to overcoming one or more of the problems set forth above, and providing a device for satisfying needs that the prior art does not meet.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0007] The present invention is to provide an apparatus for overcoming one or more of the problems, disadvantages, and needs set forth above. The present invention is a novel end cap and insertable shaft weight that are used to improve the strength and conditioning of a player. The end cap is removably mounted to a first end of a hollow shaft of a sports stick. A portion of the end cap is placed into and removed from the hollow shaft without tooling. The weight is added to the hollow shaft so a player can practice or train with their own sports stick although heavier than normal, thereby improving his/her strength and condition. A portion of the end cap is removed from and inserted into the hollow shaft as needed to add and remove the weight into the sports stick. The components of the end cap include a knob, a bolt, a nut, washers, and a compression plug, which facilitate the removal and replacement of the end cap so that weight housed in a tube can be added to or removed from the hollow shaft without the need for tooling.

[0008] The present invention also discloses a novel end cap that is easily removed and replaced. In addition, the end cap minimizes the potential for a player's hands from inadvertently sliding off of the shaft during use and also allows for a looser grip, which is desired.

[0009] It is important to note that the present invention is not intended to be limited to a system or method which must satisfy one or more of any stated objects or features of the invention. It is also important to note that the present invention is not limited to the preferred, exemplary, or primary embodiment(s) described herein. Modifications and substitutions by one of ordinary skill in the art are considered to be within the scope of the present invention, which is not to be limited except by the following claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0010] These and other features and advantages of the present invention will be better understood by reading the following detailed description, taken together with the drawings wherein:

[0011] FIG. 1 is a cross-sectional view of an end cap removably mounted to a hollow shaft of a lacrosse stick, hockey stick, golf club, or other sports stick according to the present invention;

[0012] FIG. 2 is a cross-sectional view through the middle of the end cap showing the knob, shaft, compression plug, washers, and nut assembled thereto and grooves for receiving a lens according to the present invention;

[0013] FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional view of a weight and a tube inserted into the hollow shaft of a lacrosse stick, hockey stick, golf club, or other sports stick according to the present invention; and

[0014] FIG. 4 is an enlarged view of the weight shown in FIG. 3 in an alternative embodiment.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0015] FIG. 1 shows a sports stick having a hollow shaft 15 with an end cap 12 in accordance with the present invention removably mounted to a first end 31 and a head 30 attached to a second end 32 of the hollow shaft 15. The hollow shaft 15 has a shaft cavity 33.

[0016] The end cap 12 of the present invention includes a compression plug 14 for insertion into the shaft cavity 33 of the hollow shaft 15. The compression plug 14 is made of a compressible, resilient material, such as rubber, that expands outwardly from a central region when compressed. The compression plug 14, when not compressed, has a smaller diameter than the inside diameter of the shaft cavity 33 of the hollow shaft 15. The compression plug 14 is typically cylindrical; however, in alternative embodiments, the compression plug 14 may have one or more outwardly protruding tabs or may be in the shape of an octagon or other shape of the central region 15 of the sports stick. The compression plug 14 has a first outside diameter 18 that is dimensioned slightly smaller than an inside diameter of the shaft cavity 33 of the hollow shaft 15 of the lacrosse stick, hockey stick, golf stick or sports stick with which the end cap 12 of the present invention is used.

[0017] FIG. 2 illustrates an exemplary knob 10 in accordance with the present invention. The knob 10 includes a bolt or other threaded member 11 having a head 36. The head 36 has an outside diameter that is larger than the hole diameter 38 of the knob 10. The knob 10 has a cavity 22 in the top surface 20. The cavity 22 has a circumferential groove 23 for receiving the edges of a clear or colored lens 21. The lens 21 may be used to display some indicia advertising, logo or the like. The lens 21 is flexible, typically made from plastic or some other similar material, such that the lens 21 can be slightly bent to mate the edges of the lens 21 with the groove 23 of the knob 10. Assembling the edges of the lens into the groove 23 holds the lens 21 securely to and proximate the knob 10. The lens 21 can be customized to include colors, designs, names, trademarks, and logos. In an alternative embodiment, the lens 21 is transparent and has a pocket or internal region, which is used to hold inserts having designs, names, trademarks, and logos thereon.

[0018] The bolt 11 has a threaded end 52 to receive a nut 13. The bolt 11 is, preferably, operatively secured to the knob 10 with teeth 34. In an alternative embodiment, the bolt 11 is molded, bonded, or otherwise fastened to the knob 10 such that when the knob 10 rotates, the bolt 11 travels up the bolt 11.

[0019] The nut 13 holds and compresses the compression plug 14 to the knob 10. The nut 13 is preferably a propeller nut. Two washers 40, 42 have openings for receiving the threaded shaft of the bolt 11. The washers 40, 42 are operatively mounted between the knob 10 and the compression plug 14. The washers 40, 42 are, preferably, metal to facilitate rotation.

[0020] The end cap 12 is assembled by placing the bolt 11 through the knob 10 and then through openings of the washers 40, 42 and then through the hole 16 of the compression plug 14. Thereafter, the nut 13 is threaded onto threads 44 of the bolt 11 until it contacts the compression plug 14. The threads 44 of the bolt 11 proximate the threaded end 52 of the bolt 11 are flattened, distorted, or welded after installation of the nut 13 to preclude the nut 13 from being removed from the threaded end 52 of the bolt 11. In an alternative embodiment, the nut 13 is formed as part of the compression plug 14.

[0021] To assemble the end cap 12 to the hollow shaft 15, the compression plug 14 of the end cap 12 is inserted into the hollow shaft 15 of the sports stick so that the knob 10 abuts the first end 31 of the hollow shaft 15. The user then turns the knob 10 by hand, thereby causing the nut 13 to travel up the threads of the bolt 11 toward the knob 10. As the nut 13 moves toward the knob 10, the nut 13 compresses the compression plug 14 causing the outside diameter 18 of the compression plug 14 to expand. The user will continue to turn the knob 10 until the compression plug 14 contacts the inside walls of the hollow shaft 15 at a sufficient pressure to hold the end cap 12 firmly within the hollow shaft 15.

[0022] To remove the end cap 12 from the hollow shaft 15, the user turns the knob 10 in the opposite direction than turned when compressing the compression plug 14, thereby causing the nut 13 to travel down the threads 44 of the bolt 11 away from the knob 10. As the nut 13 moves away from the knob 10, the nut 13 allows the compression plug 14 to return to its original shape or to decompress causing the diameter of the compression plug 14 to narrow. The user will continue to turn the knob 10 until the end cap 12 is readily removable from the hollow shaft 15.

[0023] FIG. 3 shows a weight 27 in accordance with one aspect of the present invention for insertion into the hollow shaft 15 of a lacrosse stick, hockey stick, golf club or other sports stick. The weight 27 can be made from various materials; however in the preferred embodiment, the weight 27 is a round, metal rod. The length of the weight 27 is dependent upon the desired weight. The diameter of the weight 27 is varied to accommodate the size and shape of the hollow shaft 15. For example, the diameter of the weight 27 will be reduced for narrower hollow shafts 15 and increased for wider hollow shafts 15. In an alternative embodiment, the profile of the weight 27 has the same profile as the hollow shaft 15 of the lacrosse stick, hockey stick, golf club, or other sports stick.

[0024] The weight 27 is housed in a tube 28. The tube 28 may have a cylindrical shape; however, the shape of the tube 28 can be any shape so long as the tube 28 can be inserted into the hollow shaft 15 of the sports stick. Typically, the profile of the tube 28 is consistent with the profile of the weight 27. The tube 28 can be made from various materials; however, in the preferred embodiment, the tube 28 is a hollow ABS plastic tube. The length and diameter of the tube 28 is dependent upon the length and diameter of the weight 27 to be used. In the preferred embodiment, the weight 27 is bonded, glued, or fastened into an inside surface of the tube 28, FIG. 3. In an alternative embodiment, the tube 28 has crimp members 29, so that when the weight 27 is inserted into the tube 28, the crimp members 29 are located at both ends of the weight 27, FIG. 4. Once the weight 27 is inserted into the tube 28, the crimp members 29 are crimped at both ends of the weight 27 to preclude movement of the weight 27. A number of weights 27 and tubes 28 can be inserted into the hollow shaft 15, if so desired.

[0025] The end cap 12 and the tube 28 having the weight 27 therein are used together to add weight to the hollow shaft 15 of the lacrosse stick, hockey stick, golf club, or other sports stick during practice and training to improve the player's conditioning and strength. Specifically, the end cap 12 is easily removed, as explained above, thereby allowing the player to add the tube 28 and weight 27 to the hollow shaft 15 thereby increasing the weight of the sports stick. The end cap 12 is then reassembled to the hollow shaft 15 after the tube 28 and weight 27 are removed.

[0026] The weight 27 is, preferably, one-pound; however, the weight of the weight 27 may be increased or decreased. For example, two of the one-pound weights 27 may be inserted into the hollow shaft 15 to increase the weight of the sports stick by two-pounds.

[0027] It is preferred that the tube 28 housing the weight 27 extends from the first end 31 to the second end 32 of the sports stick to reduce shifting or movement of the weight 27. However, if the weight 27 also extends the same distance, the sports stick may be too heavy. As such, the weight 27 may not extend the full length of the tube 28 in the hollow shaft 15 of the sports stick. For example, a one-pound weight 27 will not extend as far along the hollow shaft 15 as the two-pound weight 27. In addition, the tube 28 may come in a standard length to accommodate a number of sports sticks. In that case, the tube 28 may need to be shortened or cut down to size so that it fits in the hollow shaft 15 of the sports stick as explained below.

[0028] In the preferred embodiment, a screw 60 fastening the head 30 to the second end 32 of the sports stick is removed, and a plug 64 is placed within the hollow shaft 15 of the sports stick obstructing a hole for the screw 60 that is used to fasten the head 30 to the sports stick, FIG. 3. The plug 64 is, preferably, a rubber sleeve having a hollow core; however, other materials and solid materials may be substituted. Thereafter, the screw 60 is used to refasten the head 30 to the sports stick. In doing so, the screw 60 is screwed through the plug 64, thereby holding the plug 64 stationary and precluding it from moving within the hollow shaft 15.

[0029] After the head 30 is reattached to the sports stick, the user selects the weight 27 to be added to the hollow shaft 15 of the sports stick. The end cap 12 is removed as previously explained, and the weight 27 and tube 28 are slid into contact with the plug 64. Because the tube 28 may extend beyond the first end 31 of the sports stick, the user will measure the exposed end of the tube 28 extending from the sports stick. In the preferred embodiment, the user will cut an additional 1¼ inches off of the exposed end of the tube 28 to provide sufficient room 66 for the compression plug 14 of the end cap 12. After the tube 28 is sized or cut, the weight 27 and tube 28 are placed back into the hollow shaft 15 of the sports stick and the end cap 12 is assembled as explained above.

[0030] In an alternative embodiment, the weight 27 and tube 28 assembly may be sectioned. For example, the weight 27 and tube 28 may have the same length, and the total weight may be one-pound. The user can then add two of the one-pound weights 27 to increase the sports stick by two-pounds or one of the one-pound weights 27 to increase the sports stick by one-pound. As previously explained, the plug 64 is attached to the second end 32 of the hollow shaft 15 before the weights 27 are added. Thereafter, a combination of weights 27 may be added. However, because the weight 27 and tube 28 sections may not fill the length of the hollow shaft 15 of the sports stick, hollow tube 28 sections not having the weights 27 therein are used to fill the length of the hollow shaft 15. After the appropriate weights 27 added, a number of tubes 28 are added to extend the full length of the hollow shaft 15. As explained above, because the hollow tube 28 may extend beyond the first end 31 of the sports stick, the user will measure the exposed end of the tube 28 extending from the sports stick. In the preferred embodiment, the user will cut an additional 1¼ inches off of the exposed end of the tube 28 to provide sufficient room 66 for the compression plug 14 of the end cap 12. After the tube 28 is sized or cut, the weight(s) 27 and tube(s) 28 are placed back into the hollow shaft 15 of the sports stick and the end cap 12 is assembled as explained above.

[0031] Other variations of the above principles will be apparent to those who are knowledgeable to the field of the invention, and such variations are considered to be within the scope of the present invention.

[0032] It is to be understood while a certain embodiment(s) of the invention is/are illustrated, it is not to be limited to the specific embodiment or arrangement herein described and shown. It will be apparent to those skilled in the art that various changes may be made without departing from the scope of the invention and the invention is not to be construed limited to what is shown in the drawings and described in the specification.

[0033] As mentioned above, the present invention is not intended to be limited to a system or method which must satisfy one or more of any stated or implied object or feature of the invention and is not be limited to the preferred, exemplary, or primary embodiment(s) described herein. Modifications and substitutions by one of ordinary skill in the art are considered to be within the scope of the present invention, which is not to be limited except by the following claims.