Title:
Laser-cut frame for exercise machine and method
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A method of making an exercise machine from a pair of spaced apart, laser-cut sheets of metal of substantial identical shape and connected together to form a relatively flat frame, which comprises the steps of first examining a pre-existing exercise machine of the type having a three dimensional frame made from horizontal vertical and transverse frame members, all the frame members being interconnected to form the three dimensional frame upon which are mounted the necessary handles, levers, pistons, crank arms, operating rods and linkage to provide a given exercise for the operator of that exercise machine, the step of examining being performed to determine, from the three dimensional frame, the vertical and horizontal extent of the pre-existing machine, secondly, making a two dimensional pattern whose vertical and horizontal extent conforms to the vertical and horizontal extent of the pre-existing machine based upon the examination thereof, thirdly, cutting a pair of steel side frame members from steel sheeting using the two dimensional pattern created herein, fourth, placing the two side frame member in spaced parallel relation, fifthly, welding a plurality of transverse braces to the plates at predetermined intervals around the peripheries of the plates, and thereafter mounting between the plates and on the plates, the necessary handles, levers, pistons, crank arms, operating rods and linkage to provide the given exercise.



Inventors:
Chapman, David F. (Tupelo, MS, US)
Application Number:
10/726715
Publication Date:
06/09/2005
Filing Date:
12/03/2003
Assignee:
CHAPMAN DAVID F.
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
482/148
International Classes:
A63B1/00; A63B21/00; A63B21/06; A63B26/00; B23K26/38; A63B21/008; (IPC1-7): A63B21/06; A63B1/00; A63B26/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
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20060160682Training device for exercising muscle groups of the entire bodyJuly, 2006Maloy et al.
20070066459Low-impact portable exercise deviceMarch, 2007Lemmex
20090062087ADJUSTABLE EXERCISE APPARATUSMarch, 2009Poppinga
20080280737Weighted Exercise Chaps and MethodNovember, 2008Cook
20090239713Cyclic skating motion exercise machinesSeptember, 2009Chu
20100093493System for training athletesApril, 2010Eldridge
20090170661Power supply arrangement for body fitness machineJuly, 2009Hsiao
20070213186Linked stretch tubingSeptember, 2007Longo
20090105049EXERCISE DEVICE WITH ADJUSTABLE STRIDEApril, 2009Miller
20080161162WHEELCHAIR-ACCESSIBLE FITNESS SYSTEMJuly, 2008Dokshutsky



Primary Examiner:
DONNELLY, JEROME W
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
William S. Dorman (Tulsa, OK, US)
Claims:
1. A method of making an exercise machine from a pair of spaced apart, laser-cut sheets of metal of substantial identical shape and connected together to form a relatively flat frame, which comprises the steps of examining a pre-existing exercise machine of the type having a three dimensional frame made from horizontal frame members, vertical frame members, transverse frame members, all the frame members being interconnected to form the three dimensional frame upon which are mounted the necessary handles, levers, pistons, crank arms, operating rods and linkage to provide a given exercise for the operator of that exercise machine, the step of examining being performed to determine, from the three dimensional frame, the vertical and horizontal extent of the pre-existing machine, making a two dimensional pattern whose vertical and horizontal extent conforms to the vertical and horizontal extent of the pre-existing machine based upon the examination thereof, cutting a pair of steel side frame members from steel sheeting using the two dimensional pattern created herein, placing the two side frame member in spaced parallel relation, welding a plurality of transverse braces to the plates at predetermined intervals around the peripheries of the plates, and thereafter mounting between the plates and on the plates, the necessary handles, levers, pistons, crank arms, operating rods and linkage to provide the given exercise.

2. A method of making an exercise machine from a pair of spaced apart, laser-cut sheets of metal to form a substantially flat frame as set forth in claim 1 which includes the further steps of mounting a seat on the relatively flat frame, mounting a back support on the relatively flat frame, mounting a pair of pistons between the two plates of the frame adjacent a lower portion thereof, mounting a pivotal handle on a rotary shaft extending transversely across the upper portion of the relatively flat frame, connecting the rotary shaft to a first crank arm, mounting a second crank arm pivotally between the two plates and below the first crank arm, connecting a rod from one portion of the first crank arm to a first portion of the second crank arm, mounting a piston rod between a first piston of the pair of pistons and said second crank arm, mounting a second piston rod between a second piston of said pair of pistons and said second crank arm, whereby rotating said handles in a given rotary direction to cause the first crank arm to exert a lifting force on said rod whereby to rotate said second crank arm in said given rotary direction thereby moving the piston rod upwardly with respect to one of the piston and simultaneously downwardly with respect to the second piston.

3. A method of making an exercise machine from a pair of spaced apart, laser-cut sheets of metal to form a substantially flat frame as set forth in claim 1 which includes the further steps of mounting a seat on the relatively flat frame, mounting a back support on the relatively flat frame, providing a pivotal vertical leg adjacent a forward portion of said relatively flat frame, providing two pairs of spaced rollers connected to the bottom of said pivotal vertical leg with sufficient space between the two sets of rollers for the insertion of the ankles of a person seating on the seat, inserting a pair of pistons between the plates of the relatively flat frame, mounting a pivotal crank arm between the two plates forward of the pistons, connecting piston rods at spaced locations to the crank arm, connecting a rod between the crank arm and a central pivotal location on the pivotal vertical arm whereby, a person sitting on the seat can place his ankles between the two sets of rollers and urge his legs forward to pivot the vertical arm in a given direction such that the rods connecting from the vertical arm to the crank arm will cause the piston rods to move inwardly with respect to one of the pistons and move outwardly with respect to the other piston.

4. A method of making an exercise machine from a pair of spaced apart, laser-cut sheets of metal to form a substantially flat frame as set forth in claim 1 wherein the step of welding a plurality of braces to the plates includes the further steps of providing a tab of reduced width at each end of each brace, inserting the tabs into rectangular slots located around the peripheries of the plates, clamping the plates together with clamps prior to welding the braces and removing the clamps subsequent to welding, whereby the braces hold the plates apart in essentially parallel relation.

5. A method of making an exercise machine from a pair of spaced apart, laser-cut sheets of metal to form a substantially flat frame as set forth in claim 4 wherein the step of welding a plurality of braces to the plates is preceded by the step of clamping one of the plates to a flat table and unclamping said one plate from the flat table after the welding step.

6. A method of making an exercise machine from a pair of spaced apart, laser-cut sheets of metal to form a substantially flat frame as set forth in claim 4 wherein the step of welding a plurality of braces to the plates is preceded by the steps of clamping a vertical straight edge to one of the plates, clamping a horizontal straight edge to said one of said plates, and unclamping the straight edges from said one plate after the welding step.

7. A vertically flat frame for an exercise machine consisting essentially of a pair of laser-cut sheets of steel of substantially identical shape and connected together in spaced parallel relation to form said relatively flat frame, the plates being held together in spaced parallel relation by a plurality of braces which extend across the width of the flat frame and around the periphery of the plates, the resulting frame having a heel portion, a vertical portion extending above the heel, a lower base portion extending forwardly of the heel and a seat portion extending forwardly from the vertical portion above the base portion, the seat portion providing means for attaching a seat thereto and the upper portion above the seat providing a means for securing a back support thereto.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to exercise machines. More particularly, the present invention relates to exercise machines of the type including a plurality of tubular frame members extending longitudinally, transversely and vertically and upon which various devices are mounted including pistons, cylinders, rods, crank arms, levers and other devices. To that end, the present invention relates to an exercise machine which constitutes an improvement over the last mentioned description wherein the sides of the machine are made of flat laser-cut side plates or frame members which are connected together in spaced parallel relation with the devices, such as the pistons, etc, being mounted between or on the two frame members. The laser-cut flat frame members generally eliminate the need for having any horizontally extending, vertically extending and/or transversely extending tubular frame members.

2. Prior Art

A patentability search was conducted on the present invention and the following listed patents and references were uncovered in the search.

WeirPub. No. US 2003-0109364Pub. Date Jun. 12, 2003
HughesNo. 4,798,414Jan. 17, 1989
HatfieldNo. 5,605,526Feb. 25, 1997
TornabeneNo. 6,544,151 B2Apr. 8, 2003
CasiniNo. 6,367,874 B2Apr. 9, 2002
GambleNo. 5,634,687Jun. 3, 1997
JohnsonNo. 5,085,486Feb. 4, 1992
BirchNo. 4,367,870Jan. 11, 1983
StinchfieldNo. 4,109,960B1Jul. 26, 1994
OlssonNo. 3,879,083Apr. 22, 1975
Ware, Sr.No. D441,553SMay 8, 2001
Watson et alNo. Des. 357,128Apr. 11, 1995
FonvilleNo. Des. 327,180Jun. 23, 1992
BarlewNo. Des 521,321Mar. 13, 1979

With respect to the Weir publication, it might seem, at first blush, that FIG. 6 of the drawing could be considered as relevant. However, it is believed that this is a mere incidental disclosure of a flat surface that is not used at all in the sense of the present invention. In Weir, the device itself is a box-like construction. Weir does not recognize the problem solved by the present invention: i.e. the rather clumsy appearance and structure of existing exercise machines and the desire of the present invention to simplify existing machines by preparing a pair of plates laser-cut from steel to form the sides of the exercise machine. Between the two plates of the device of the present invention, and at various locations, are the elements which form additional and necessary parts of the exercise device. This consideration was not dealt with anywhere in the Weir disclosure.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention provides a frame structure for an exercise machine. The frame structure consists essentially of a pair of vertically supported, horizontally extending parallel laser-cut plates. The laser-cut plates or side members are cut from a piece of {fraction (3/16)} inch steel and are connected together in spaced parallel relation, about 7 inches apart. The space between the two plates is sufficient to provide room for elements of the exercise machine such as, levers, pistons, cylinders, crank arms, etc. When constructing an exercise machine in accordance with the present invention, a pair of identical side plates are spaced vertically in a predetermined spaced relationship. A plurality of braces, about 7″ long with ends that fit into rectangular slots spaced about the peripheries of the side plates are inserted into the slots and the resulting sandwich structure is held by clamps, such as c-clamps, after which the ends of the braces are welded to the plates along with a plate for the seat and a plate for the book support. After the two plates have been secured together by welding the ends of the braces plus the plates for the seat, back support, the c-clamps are removed. At this point, additional elements of the exercise machine are placed in the device between the two flat plates including, for example, pistons and cylinders, handles and rods, crank arms, etc. For the most part, horizontal tubular members, vertical tubular members and transverse tubular members such as are used in prior art exercise machines are eliminated thus providing a slick appearing exercising machine with two flat sides and the operating mechanisms being located between or on the two flat sides.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is an elevation of one of the laser-cut side frames of the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of an exercise machine in its preliminary stages of construction utilizing two of the laser-cut side frames shown in FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a prior art exercise machine for which the laser-cut side frames of FIG. 2 are designed to replace ultimately.

FIG. 4 is a view similar to FIGS. 1 and 2 but showing, in dotted lines, the additional elements (pistons, arms and legs) needed to complete the illustration in FIG. 2 to the equivalent of the prior art device in FIG. 3.

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of the new exercise machine shown in FIG. 4.

FIG. 6 is a side elevation of a second type of exercise machine constructed in accordance with the present invention utilizing laser-cut side frames;

FIG. 7 is a perspective view of the prior art exercise machine which the construction of FIG. 6 is designed to replace.

FIG. 8 is an elevation of a brace used to hold the side plates together.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Referring to the drawings in detail, FIG. 3 shows an existing exercise machine 10 for which the laser-cut side members of the invention (later to be described) are designed. The exercise machine 10 in FIG. 5 includes a back support 12, a seat 14 and a foot rest 16. Moveable handles 18 are mounted above the person (not shown) seated on the back support and seat and constitute a means for providing exercise for the shoulders and the muscle group including the deltoids, triceps, latissimus dorsi, and triceps. The manner in which the handles 18 provide exercise for the shoulders will be described in hereinafter. Sufficient to say, however, the elements just described are all mounted on a frame 20 which includes a horizontal tubular member 22, a vertical tubular member 24 connected at the rear of the horizontal member 22 and a cross tubular member 26 mounted at the point of intersection of members 22 and 24 to serve as a stabilizing foot for the rear end of the machine. Finally, there is a rear frame cover 28 which extends from the vertical member 24 to the upper end of the back support 12. Also shown in FIG. 3 are a pair of cylinders 30 and 31 which operate in conjunction with the handles 18, as will hereinafter appear, to provide the type of exercise desired.

One of the problems, or disadvantages, of the exercise machine 10 disclosed in FIG. 3 is that it requires too many different frame members such as members 20, 22, 24 and 26 to be arranged and connected together so as to provide the frame for the machine itself.

The present invention involves the idea of making a pair of side frame members to replace most of the individual horizontal members, vertical members and cross members shown in FIG. 5 so as to provide an esthetically superior appearance for the exercise machine. The present invention provides a cheaper method of manufacture and an ease of assembly as well as saving in shipping costs.

The present invention involves a method of redesigning a pre-existing exercise machine of the type having a plurality of horizontally extending tubular members, vertically extending tubular members and transversely extending tubular members with various handles, levers, piston, cylinders, rods and crank arms mounted on the tubular members, which consists of first taking an overall look at the prior art machine to comprehend, in a three dimensional sense, the horizontal and vertical extent of the machine; then secondly, designing a two dimensional pattern (not shown as such, but the shape as frame members 32 and 34) for a side plate which would comprehend the three dimensional vertical and horizontal reaches of the prior art machine; thirdly, utilizing the pattern for cutting a second side frame member and having the identical peripheral shape as the first side frame member; fourthly, providing openings and/or holes in the two resulting frame members in opposition to each other; fifthly, providing braces of equal length to be received in the openings in the two plates when placed in spaced parallel relation; and welding the braces to the two plates along with any other desirable cross plates to provide a frame structure for an exercise machine; thereafter adding seats, back supports as required together with the necessary piston, cylinders and levers to construct an exercise machine operable in the same manner as the prior art machine.

The side frame member of the present invention is represented by side frame member 32 shown in FIG. 1. This side member is laser-cut from a piece of {fraction (3/16)} inch thick steel.

FIG. 2 shows an isometric view which includes two of the side frame members 32 and 34 in spaced parallel relation. As will hereinafter appear, the various elements of the exercise machine 10 shown in FIG. 3 are placed between and along the side frame member 32 and 34 to produce the exercise machine 11 shown in FIG. 5 as a replacement for the exercise machine 10 shown in FIG. 3. When the side frame members 32 and 34 are laser-cut from the {fraction (3/16)} inch thick steel plate, relief openings 36 and 38 are provided, where necessary, to cut down on the weight. Also, various holes and slots are automatically cut into the frame members 32 and 34 at places where cross braces can be inserted and where various bolts are employed to hook on pieces that would normally be mounted on the frame shown in the prior art machine of FIG. 3. FIG. 8 is an elevation of a brace 122 which is cut from the same {fraction (3/16)} inch steel stock as the sides 32 and 34. Brace 122 is 7⅜ inches long with 1 inch wide tabs on the ends. The brace itself is 3 inches wide for the 7 inch extent between the tabs.

In any event, the technique for building a piece of exercise equipment will be drastically modified by the present invention because it will merely involve the cutting of plates 32 and 34 from {fraction (3/16)} inch steel and will eliminate the need, for example, for horizontal member 22, vertical member 24 and the right angle leg 26 shown in FIG. 3. The plates 32 and 34 in FIG. 4 are held in spaced relation by inserting the tabs or ends 124 of braces, such as brace 122, into the rectangular slots 126 located about the peripheries of the plates. The ends of the braces are then welded to the plates. After the ends of the braces 122 and flat cross members 44, 46, 48 and 50 (shown in FIG. 2) are welded into place, the-clamps can be removed and the frame structure consisting of the side members 32 and 34 will hold in a flat condition after which various pistons, cylinders and levers etc can be mounted between the two plates 32 and 34.

In the aforementioned description, the cross members 44 and 46 in FIG. 2 are narrow plates (or braces) of flat steel that serve as a backing for the back support 12 (not shown in this figure) whereas the cross member 50 is another piece of flat steel which serves as a support for the seat 14 (not shown in this figure). The forward cross member 48 is also a piece of flat steel which serves as a foot rest itself or a support for a wider foot rest which is actually shown in FIG. 5.

Before commencing with the foregoing procedure which involves the connecting of the two plates 32 and 34 together, it may be desirable to clamp one of the plates to a flat surface or to otherwise flatten the same as a result of incidental warping that might have occurred during the laser cutting operation. To this end one of the plates, such as plate 34 can be clamped to a flat table, the braces inserted into this flat plate 34 and the plate 32 connected onto the projecting ends of the braces 122. The remainder of the connecting procedures as described above, will remain the same except that the plates 32 and 34 are now horizontal in this variation of procedure. After removing the C-clamps which hold the two plates together, the plate 34 will then be unclamped from the flat table. A second way of compensating for any warping that might occur during the laser-cutting operation would be to take an essentially horizontal straight edge and clamp it to plate 34, for example, and then clamp a vertical straight edge (not shown) to a vertical portion of the plate 34 and then continue with the connecting procedure as described above. After removing the c-clamps which hold the two plates together, it is then only necessary to remove the two straight edges and the clamp that hold them to the plate 34.

In FIG. 4, which represents the exercise machine for the deltoids, triceps, latissimus dorsi and triceps muscles, the laser-cut frame member 32 is connected to and mounted over the side member 34 (not shown in this view). Between the side members are mounted the pistons (cylinders) which are necessary for the operation of this machine. The handle 18 can be raised and lowered by the operator who rests on the back support 12 and the seat 14. The remote end of the handle 18 is connected to a horizontal shaft 54 which is connected to a rocker arm 56 (partly shown in dotted lines). The left hand end of the rocker arm 56 is provided with a pivot end 58 (shown in dotted lines) which is held by a pin that extends through holes in the side members 32 and 34 as desired. The right hand end of the rocker arm 56 is connected at 60 to an elongated rod 62. The lower end of the elongated rod 62 is connected to the right hand end of a second rocker arm 63 which is pivoted at a convenient point or location which can be varied depending upon the preferences of the operator. A pair of piston rods 64 and 66 extend upwardly from the pistons 30 and 31, respectively, and connect at their upper ends pivotally to the second rocker arm 63. Thus, when the handle 18 is elevated the rocker arm 56 moves to lift the elongated rod 62 turning the second rocker arm 63 in a counter-clockwise direction lifting up on the piston rods 66 and pushing downwardly on the piston rod 64. The pivot point for the rocker arm 63 can be adjusted to increase or decrease the effort required to lift the handle 18. When the handle 18 is pulled downwardly a different set of muscles or different sets of muscles come in to play and the movement of the pistons 30 and 31 are reversed.

FIG. 5 is a perspective of the elements shown in FIG. 5 and represent an attractive appearing exercising machine as opposed to the machine shown in FIG. 3. A horizontal tubular member 52 is attached transversely to the lower left hand end of the frame structure to provide lateral stability for the machine 11.

FIG. 6 represents a different type of machine from that shown in FIGS. 1 through 5 but it represents a machine which is constructed using the same principles as illustrated in FIGS. 1, 2, 4 and 5 in that the machine 15 is constructed from a pair of spaced parallel plates 68 and 70 (the latter not appearing in FIG. 6 because it is behind the front plate 68). The plate 68 is provided (as is the case with plate 70) with relief openings 72, 74, 76 and 78 in an essentially arbitrary manner as is the case with respect to the relief holes 36 and 38 shown in FIG. 2. The exact shape and size and number of these relief openings can be determined by trial and error as they are merely provided to cut down on the weight of the plates without causing any loss in strength. The exercise machine 15 shown in FIG. 6 represents the replacement for the exercise machine 13 shown in FIG. 7, the latter being the prior art exercise machine for exercising the legs, the quadriceps and the hamstring muscles.

In FIG. 6, the leg machine 15 is shown as being provided with a pair of forward rollers 80 and a pair of spaced rear rollers 82. The rollers 80 and 82 are rotatably mounted on the ends of shafts that pass through the rollers and which also pass through a horizontal support member 84 which, in turn, is connected to a vertical leg 86. The upper end of the leg 86 is pivotally attached to a bracket 88 and an elongated rod 90 is pivotally connected to the vertical leg 86 below and adjacent to the bracket 88. The other end of the elongated rod 90 is pivotally connected to the right hand end of a rocker arm 92. The rocker arm 92 is pivotally connected to a piston rod 96 adjacently a lower portion of the rocker arm whereas the upper end of the rocker arm 92 is pivotally connected to a second piston rod 98. The rocker arm 92 is itself pivotal around an axis which is located between the points of attachment of the piston rods 96 to 98. Piston rods 96 and 98 connect with pistons (cylinders) 100 and 102, respectively. To operate the machine of FIGS. 6 and 7, the operator sits on the seat 14 with his or her back being supported by the back support 12 and then places his or her ankles between the rolls 80 and 82; by swinging the legs forward or back, the vertical leg 86 is pivoted around its upper end causing the elongated rod 90 to move back and forth causing the rocker arm 92 to move back and forth around its pivot point causing the pistons 100 and 102 to be alternately compressed and expanded.

In the prior art exercise machine 13 of FIG. 7, the back support 12 rests against the upper ends of a pair of elongated tubular structural members 104 and 106. The seat rests upon a horizontal structural member 108. The horizontal support 112 connects with a second horizontal support 114 which is disposed at right angles thereto. At the point where the two horizontal supports 112 and 114 come together a vertical support 116 is provided. The vertical support 116 is located behind the back support 12. The pistons 100 and 102 are connected to vertical member 116 and also forwardly to the rocker arm 92 (not clearly shown in this Figure).

A comparison of FIGS. 6 and 7 will show that the flat side structure of FIG. 6 creates an esthetically better appearance than the exercise machine shown in FIG. 7.

Despite the superior appearances of the two different exercise machines shown in FIGS. 5 and 6, a more important advantage is achieved by being able to provide an exercise machine constructed of a pair of laser-cut side frame members which permit the interposition of the various elements, such as pistons, etc., to provide a complete and operating exercise machine.

Although the present invention discusses two specifically different exercise machines such as shown in FIGS. 4 and 6 represented by the creation of the machines starting with flat side plates 32 and 68 respectively, there are features of plates 32 and 68 that have common attributes. For example, each plate has an upper end A which serves to provide the portion of the plate for holding the back support 12. Also, the lower left hand end of each plate 32 or 68 is provided with “heel” portion B. Again, each plate is provided with a right hand projecting portion C intermediate the right hand edge of the plate for the purpose of supporting the seat 14. Finally, each plate 32 or 68 is provided with a lower base portion D which extends horizontally from the “heel” portion B. In the case of the device shown in FIG. 4, the portion D extends into a foot rest whereas the machine of FIG. 6 does not have a foot rest.

Whereas the present invention has been described in particular relation to the drawings attached hereto, it should be understood that other and further modification can be made within the spirit and scope of this invention.