Title:
Toy vehicle, especially for track-guided racetracks
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A toy vehicle, in particular for track-guided racetracks, is driven by an electric motor which cooperates via a first gear wheel provided on a drive shaft, with a second gear wheel connected to an axle shaft carrying wheels, where the distance between the drive shaft of the electric motor and the axle shaft is variable for the use of different first and second gear wheels such that different transmission ratios can be implemented. In a preferred embodiment, the axle shaft is supported in offset apertures in support bearings located in a receptacle frame, and the distance between the drive shaft and the axle shaft can be varied by rotating the bearings relative to the receptacle frame.



Inventors:
Reuter, Uwe (Althengstett, DE)
Weidner, Thomas (Besigheim, DE)
Kroener, Ralf (Bietigheim-Bissingen, DE)
Doan, Cong-uan (Muehlacker, DE)
Application Number:
11/076248
Publication Date:
09/22/2005
Filing Date:
03/10/2005
Assignee:
Dr. Ing. h.c.F. Porsche AG (Stuttgart, DE)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63H17/00; A63H17/26; A63H18/00; A63H18/08; A63H29/22; (IPC1-7): A63H18/00
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Primary Examiner:
CEGIELNIK, URSZULA M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
CROWELL & MORING LLP (WASHINGTON, DC, US)
Claims:
1. Toy vehicle for track-guided racetracks, driven by an electric motor, said electric motor cooperating via a first gear wheel provided on a drive shaft, with a second gear wheel connected to an axle shaft having wheels, wherein a distance between the drive shaft of the electric motor and the axle shaft is variable such that different transmission ratios can be implemented by using different first gear wheels and varying the distance as required to maintain the first gear wheel engaged with the second gear wheel.

2. Toy vehicle as claimed in claim 1, wherein the axle shaft is surrounded by supporting bearings which are spaced a distance apart and which produce a change in the distance between the drive shaft and the axle shaft through changing an orientation of the support bearings in receptacles in a receptacle frame.

3. Toy vehicle as claimed in claim 2, wherein the change is produced by rotating the supporting bearings in the receptacles by 180°.

4. Toy vehicle as claimed in claim 2, wherein each supporting bearing has a bearing section for the axle shaft and the bearing section has an approximately rectangular shape in a plane transverse to the axle shaft, with upright bearing walls, horizontal bearing walls, and a center axle aperature in the bearing section which is offset at different distances from the opposing upright bearing walls.

5. Toy vehicle as claimed in claim 4, wherein each receptacle has guide sections for the horizontal bearing walls and a stop for the upright bearing walls.

6. Toy vehicle as claimed in claim 2, wherein identification markings for transmission ratios are provided on the supporting bearings.

7. Toy vehicle as claimed in claim 2, wherein the receptacle frame receives the electric motor.

8. Toy vehicle as claimed in claim 7, wherein the receptacle frame carries the electric motor therein such that the end walls of the electric motor are bordered by side walls of the receptacle frame.

9. Toy vehicle as claimed in claim 2, wherein the supporting bearings of the axle shaft are held in place in the receptacles by fixation arms of an additional frame, and wherein the additional frame protrudes with a cross part into a receptacle section of the receptacle frame.

10. Toy vehicle as claimed in claim 2, wherein the electric motor, the axle shaft with the rear wheels and the receptacle frame together form a rear axle unit which is attached to a central frame of a chassis.

11. Toy vehicle as claimed in claim 10, wherein a plug connection is in effect between the rear axle unit and the central frame, said plug connection having a tension fork which is mounted on the receptacle frame, said tension fork engaging in a corresponding receptacle device of the central frame.

12. Toy vehicle as claimed in claim 11, wherein the outsides of prongs of the tension fork are provided with barb-like enlargements which are supported on supporting walls of the receptacle device.

13. Toy vehicle as claimed in claim 1, wherein the drive shaft protrudes with its first gear wheel beyond a side wall of the receptacle frame and meshes with the second gear wheel of the axle shaft.

Description:

This application claims the priority of German patent document no. 10 2004 011 936.8, filed Mar. 11, 2004, the disclosure of which is expressley incorporated by reference herein.

BACKGROUND AND SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to a toy vehicle, in particular for track-guided racetracks.

The value of a toy vehicle is increased if, in addition to the simple joy of play, the user can also influence the mechanical driving properties of said vehicle through targeted equipment conversion measures. Especially with younger users, pedagogic principles of a technical/physical type can thus be demonstrated.

An electric race car for model car racetracks with a slot guide and sliding contact strips is known (DE 34 29 539 A1); it is provided with an electric motor which directly drives both wheels of a rear axle. The electric motor is mounted on a supporting part of a chassis.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,062,943 describes a mobile toy vehicle, preferably for a racetrack with guide rails, having an electric motor for the rear axle. The electric motor is provided with two output shafts that run across the longitudinal direction of the vehicle, their free ends having drive disks. The drive disks cooperate directly with wheels on the rear axle.

German Utility Model DE 200 05 174 U1 describes a toy vehicle for a track-guided racetrack, whereby an electric motor is installed crosswise in the vehicle. The electric motor cooperates via a first gear wheel with a second gear wheel of the rear axle, the first gear wheel having a smaller diameter than the second gear wheel.

The object of this invention is to take measures involving an electric motor and an axle shaft of a drive axle installed in a toy vehicle such that the torque and rotational speed of the electric motor can be adapted to defined profiles of routes on which the toy vehicle is operated. However, it should be also be certain that such adaptation is readily possible by using simple means.

According to this invention, this object is achieved by a toy vehicle driven by an electric motor which cooperates via a first gear wheel provided on a drive shaft, with a second gear wheel connected to an axle shaft carrying wheels, the distance between the drive shaft of the electric motor and the axle shaft is variable for the use of different first and second gear wheels such that different transmission ratios can be implemented.

The main advantages achieved with this invention may be regarded as the fact that the toy vehicle not only increases the joy of young people in particular as well as those with technical interests in playing with the vehicle but also demonstrates lessons of physics and mechanics for them. This is accomplished through the technical design, whereby the distance between the drive shaft of the electric motor and the axle shaft is adjustable for the purpose of varying the transmission ratio. Thanks to the design embodiment of the supporting bearings for the axle shaft and their arrangement in suitable receptacles, a change in the distance between the drive shaft can be implemented easily in an exemplary manner. These supporting bearings and their receptacles are easily converted. Finally, this also applies logically for the receptacle frame for the electric motor whereby said receptacle frame cooperates with the carrier of the chassis by means of a highly effective plug connection.

Other objects, advantages and novel features of the present invention will become apparent from the following detailed description of the invention when considered in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 shows an inclined view of a chassis of a toy vehicle according to an embodiment of this invention,

FIG. 2 shows multiple structural units of the chassis according to FIG. 1 in an exploded diagram,

FIG. 3 shows an oblique view of a rear axle unit according to FIG. 2,

FIG. 4 shows an exploded drawing of the rear axle unit according to FIG. 3,

FIG. 5 shows a view in the direction of arrow X in FIG. 1,

FIG. 6 shows an oblique of the rear axle unit from the rear.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

A toy vehicle 1 is designed for operation on a track-guided racetrack (not shown here) and includes a chassis 2 with a rear axle unit 5 having rear wheels 3 and 4 and a front axle unit 8 having front wheels 6 and 7, a middle frame part 9 extending between said axle units 5 and 8. An electric motor 10 is used to drive the toy vehicle 1; as seen in the direction of travel A, the electric motor is arranged in front of an axle shaft 11 of the rear axle unit 5 connected to the rear wheels 3 and 4. The electric motor 10 and a drive shaft 12 of the latter are arranged across the longitudinal direction B-B of the vehicle. A first gear wheel 13 which meshes with a second gear wheel 14 of the axle shaft 11 is mounted on the drive shaft 12. The distance As between the drive shaft 8 of the electric motor 10 and the axle shaft 11 of the rear axle unit 5 is variable, namely for the use of different gear wheels 13 such that different transmission ratios can be achieved. Thus, for example, there is the possibility of providing the second gear wheel 14 with fifty teeth and providing the first gear wheel 13 with twelve teeth or, as a variant, with thirteen teeth.

The axle shaft 11 is surrounded by the supporting bearings 15 and 16 (FIG. 4), which are arranged with a distance between them, and through an appropriate arrangement in the receptacles 17 and 18, they produce a change in the distance As between the drive shaft 12 of the electric motor 10 and the axle shaft 11 of the rear axle unit 5. To do so, the supporting bearings 15 and 16 are rotated by 180° in the receptacles 17 and 18 (FIG. 5).

Each supporting bearing 15, for example, rests in the respective receptacle 17 and includes a bearing section 19 for the axle shaft 7, said bearing section 19 being provided with a center ZI. When seen from the side, the supporting bearing 15 has an approximately rectangular shape with upright bearing walls 20, 21 and horizontal bearing walls 22 and 23. The distances AsI and/or AsII between the center ZI and the upright bearing walls 20 and 21 are designed to be different so that the distance As from the drive shaft 12 to the axle shaft 11 is adjustable accordingly. In addition, the receptacle 17 has guide sections 24 and 25 spaced a distance apart for the horizontal bearing walls 22 and 23 and a stop 26 for the respective upright bearing wall 20 or 21. Identification markings 27 and 28 are applied to the supporting bearing 15, indicating the number of teeth (12 or 13) of the effective first gear wheel 9. In addition, defined enlarged areas 29 and 30 may be provided on one of the upright bearing walls 20 or 21.

The receptacles 17 and 18 are cut in a basket-like receptacle frame 31 for the electric motor 10, having a bottom 32, side walls 33, 34 as well as a front wall 35 and a rear wall 36. The side walls 33 and 34 border the end walls 35 and 36 of the electric motor 10, whereby the drive shaft 12 and the first gear wheel 13 which is in operative connection to the second gear wheel 14 protrude beyond the side wall 33. The supporting bearings 15 and 16 of the axle shaft 11 are held in position in the receptacles 17 and 18 by means of securing arms 37 and 38 of an additional frame 39. The additional frame 39 protrudes with a transverse part 40 into a receptacle section 41 between the receptacles 17 and 18 and is mounted on the receptacle frame 31 by screws SchI and SchII (FIG. 6) arranged with a distance between them.

The electric motor 10, the axle shaft 11 with the rear wheels 3 and 4 and the receptacle frame 31 form the rear axle unit 5 which is mounted on the central frame 9 of the chassis 2. Between the rear axle unit 5 and the central frame 9, a plug connection 42 (FIG. 3 and FIG. 4) is provided with a tension fork 43, said tension fork 43 being part of the receptacle frame 31 of the rear axle unit 5 and engaging in a corresponding receptacle device 44 (in the exemplary embodiment, it is rectangular). Finally, the outsides 45 and 46 of prongs 47 and 48 are provided with barb-like enlargements 49 and 50 which are supported on supporting walls 51 and 52 of the receptacle device 44.

The foregoing disclosure has been set forth merely to illustrate the invention and is not intended to be limiting. Since modifications of the disclosed embodiments incorporating the spirit and substance of the invention may occur to persons skilled in the art, the invention should be construed to include everything within the scope of the appended claims and equivalents thereof.