Title:
Toy vehicle flip/jump stunt device
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The stunt device is positioned within the travel path of a toy vehicle and is supported by a support frame. A flip device is pivotally coupled to the frame and positioned to receive a toy vehicle from a portion of the trackset. A spring is coupled to the flip device and is restrained by the trigger. The trigger is positioned within the toy vehicle travel path upon the vehicle entrance to the stunt device. As the toy vehicle impacts the trigger, the spring is released causing the flip device to pivot rapidly thrusting the toy vehicle into the air in a somersault projection.



Inventors:
Sheltman, David A. (Irvine, CA, US)
Pohlman, Joe K. (Westchester, CA, US)
Finizza, Michael (Los Angeles, CA, US)
Mayer, Mark (Woodland Hills, CA, US)
Andrews, Mike (Los Angeles, CA, US)
Tam, Nelson (Torrance, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/041096
Publication Date:
12/29/2005
Filing Date:
01/21/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63H18/00; A63H18/02; (IPC1-7): A63H18/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
NGUYEN, KIEN T
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Roy A. Ekstrand (El Segundo, CA, US)
Claims:
1. A flip/jump stunt device for use in combination with a toy vehicle and toy vehicle trackset, said stunt device comprising: a support base; a trackway segment support secured to said base; a track segment supported by said base having a proximate end; a frame supported by said base; a launcher pivotally supported by said frame and movable between a first position generally aligned with said proximate end and a second position defining an upward angle; a trigger release having a trigger in alignment with said launcher in said first position so as to be impacted by a toy vehicle entering said launcher; and a spring coupled to said launcher urging said launcher toward said second position.

2. The stunt device set forth in claim 1 wherein said launcher defines a toy vehicle receiving portion and side rails on opposed sides thereof.

3. The stunt device set forth in claim 2 wherein said launcher defines a first end close to said proximate end in said first position and a second end pivotally secured to said frame.

4. A toy vehicle flip/jump stunt device comprising: a support base; a trackway segment support; a track segment having a proximate end; a frame supported by said base; a launcher pivotally supported by said frame and movable between a first position generally aligned with said proximate end and a second position defining an upward angle; a trigger release within said launcher impacted by a toy vehicle entering said launcher; and a spring coupled to said launcher urging said launcher toward said second position, said launcher pivoting rapidly when said trigger is impacted to hurl a toy vehicle thereon.

5. The stunt device set forth in claim 4 wherein said launcher defines a toy vehicle receiving portion and side rails on opposed sides thereof.

6. The stunt device set forth in claim 5 wherein said launcher defines a first end close to said proximate end in said first position and a second end pivotally secured to said frame.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims priority of Provisional Application 60/538,953 entitled TOY VEHICLE FLIP/JUMP STUNT DEVICE filed Jan. 23, 2004 on behalf of the applicants of the present application.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates generally to toy vehicle tracksets and particularly to stunt device utilized therein.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Toy vehicle manufacturers have endeavored to provide toy vehicle tracksets which maximize the amusement and entertainment provided to the user. Such toy vehicle tracksets have evolved from simple closed loop track devices to relatively complex multiply curved and looped travel path sets. To further enhance the attractiveness of such toy vehicle tracksets, practitioners in the art have provided a variety of so-called stunt devices. Stunt devices vary substantially but usually include some type of toy vehicle movement or action. Typically, stunt devices have been provided which cause collision between the toy vehicles on the trackset or which cause looping or jumping and, in some instances, launching of the toy vehicles. Such toy vehicle trackset stunt devices include devices which are actuated and controlled by the user as well as devices which are self-actuating in that they are triggered by the movement of toy vehicles upon the trackset. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 4,094,089 issued to Sano sets forth a JUMPING RAIL for use within a toy vehicle trackway. The jumping rail includes a base, a platform defining a vehicle path and a pivot supporting the jumping rail. The jumping rail is movable between a first position generally aligned with the base to facilitate a vehicle passing over the platform and continuing travel upon the trackway and a second position in which the platform is raised to an upwardly angled orientation causing the toy vehicle to be launched into the air or “jump”. A mechanism is supported upon the base for operation by the toy user to select the position of the jumping rail.

U.S. Pat. No. 3,204,574 issued to Frisbie, et al. sets forth a JUMP RAIL for use in a toy vehicle trackway having a first upwardly angled launching ramp together with a second downwardly angled receiving ramp. The launching ramp and receiving ramp are supported in a spaced apart relationship by a intervening track which passes beneath the launch ramp and the receiving ramp. As a result, toy vehicles traversing the gap between the two ramps pass over the track below upon which other vehicles may be traveling without interference.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,216,600 issued to Verret sets forth a JUMPING RAMP FOR MOTORIZED TOY VEHICLES having a jumping surface along which a toy vehicle can travel together with a frame pivotally connected to the jumping surface. An arm is connected to the frame and to the jumping surface for fixing the jumping surface at a desired angle with respect to the frame. A spring is connected to the frame and supports the jumping surface. The jumping surface includes a flat surface and a support structure connected by a pivotal attachment to the frame. First and second side rails extend upwardly from opposite sides of the flat surface and are pivotable between folded and upwardly extending positions.

U.S. Pat. No. 1,725,536 issued to Marx sets forth an ACROBATIC TOY having a toy vehicle trackset which includes a raised end having a launch position at the upper portion thereof and defining a downwardly angled incline. At the bottom of the incline, a vertical loop is formed within the trackway. At the exit of the vertical loop, a spring-loaded pivoting bar is supported upon a base. The spring-loaded pivoting bar is released as a toy vehicle travels across the base engaging the toy vehicle from beneath and causing it to be launched upwardly and to tumble or somersault.

U.S. Pat. No. 4,689,034 issued to Dubois, et al. sets forth a FIGURE TOY WITH PROJECTILE LAUNCHING MECHANISM having a creature-like figure capable of a walking action. A secondary figure or projectile is secured to a spring-loaded launch mechanism within the figure toy and is launched upwardly from the figure toy when a trigger release is actuated.

While the foregoing described prior art devices have to some extent improved the art and have in some instances enjoyed commercial success, there remains nonetheless a continuing need in the art for evermore improved interesting and amusing toy vehicle trackset stunt devices.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Accordingly, it is a general object of the present invention to provide an improved toy vehicle trackset. It is a more particular object of the present invention to provide an improved toy vehicle trackset stunt device.

The present invention provides a toy vehicle stunt device which imparts a flip and jump action to a toy vehicle. The stunt device is positioned within the travel path of a toy vehicle and is supported by a support frame. A flip device is pivotally coupled to the frame and positioned to receive a toy vehicle from a portion of the trackset. A spring is coupled to the flip device and is restrained by the trigger. The trigger is positioned within the toy vehicle travel path upon the vehicle entrance to the stunt device. As the toy vehicle impacts the trigger, the spring is released causing the flip device to pivot rapidly thrusting the toy vehicle into the air in a somersault projection.

In accordance with the present invention, there is provided a flip/jump stunt device for use in combination with a toy vehicle and toy vehicle trackset, the stunt device comprising: a support base; a trackway segment support secured to the base; a track segment supported by the base having a proximate end; a frame supported by the base; a launcher pivotally supported by the frame and movable between a first position generally aligned with the proximate end and a second position defining an upward angle; a trigger release having a trigger in alignment with the launcher in the first position so as to be impacted by a toy vehicle entering the launcher; and a spring coupled to the launcher urging the launcher toward the second position.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The features of the present invention, which are believed to be novel, are set forth with particularity in the appended claims. The invention, together with further objects and advantages thereof, may best be understood by reference to the following description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in the several figures of which like reference numerals identify like elements and in which:

FIG. 1 sets forth a perspective view of a toy vehicle trackset;

FIG. 2 sets forth an alternate toy vehicle trackset; and

FIG. 3 sets forth a perspective view of a flip/jump device constructed in accordance with the present invention.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT OF THE INVENTION

By way of overview, the present invention flip/jump device utilizes a supporting frame coupled to a track segment of a toy vehicle trackset. The supporting frame includes a pivotally supported launcher which is aligned with the track segment and which is capable of receiving a traveling toy vehicle. A spring mechanism is operative upon the launcher to pivot it rapidly in an upward direction when a latch and trigger release mechanism is actuated. The trigger and latch release mechanism is operated in response to the impact of a toy vehicle traveling from the coupled track segment onto the launcher element. Once the trigger is released, the energy stored within the spring mechanism rapidly pivots the launcher upon the frame thrusting the toy vehicle thereon in an upward and forward somersault travel path.

FIG. 1 sets forth a perspective view of a toy vehicle trackset constructed in accordance with the present invention and generally referenced by numeral 10. Toy vehicle trackset 10 includes a scaffold-type support generally referenced by numeral 11. Support 11 includes a number of base elements such as base 12 which utilize a plurality of support rods such as rod 13. Trackset 10 further includes an intersection 30 supported by scaffold support 11. Intersection 30 includes an outer ring 31 pivotally supported upon support 11 and an inner ring 32. Inner ring 32 is small enough in diameter to fit within the interior of outer ring 31. Inner ring 32 is pivotally secured to outer ring 31. As a result, both outer ring 31 and inner ring 32 are pivotable both with respect to each other and with respect to support 11. Outer ring 32 is coupled to a pair of track portions formed by track loop 22 and track ramp 23. Similarly, inner ring 32 is coupled to one end of track loop 22 and to track segment 21. Because the end portions of track loop 22 are spaced from ramp 23 and track segment 21 respectively, a gap or “jump” is formed across outer ring 31 and inner ring 32. The angle between the jump paths thus formed within intersection 30 is determined by the pivotal positions of outer ring 31 and inner ring 32.

Trackset 10 further includes a booster 15 fabricated in accordance with conventional fabrication techniques which accelerates a toy vehicle passing downwardly upon ramp 23. Trackset 10 further includes a flexible multiple apertured panel 16 which in turn is supported by an adjustable support 17. The remainder of trackset 10 is coupled by a track segment 19 coupled to panel 16 and forming a U-shaped portion together with a straight track segment 20. Track segment 20 is coupled to track segment 21.

Track segment 21, loop portion 22 and ramp 23 are fabricated to provide a trackway which is highly flexible in use and readily adjustable to a variety of curves, loops and twists. Thus, for example, ramp 23 is formed of track segment 18 comprising an elongated frame 33 supporting a plurality of guide rail posts such as posts 34 and 35. Posts 34 and 35 are supported along each side of frame 33. A pair of flexible generally rod-like rails such as rails 36 and 37 are secured within posts 34 and 35 as well as the remaining posts along frame 33. The utilization of frame 33 together with supporting posts such as posts 34 and 35 and flexible guide rails such as guide rails 36 and 37 provides a track structure which facilitates bending the resulting track into a variety of curves, loops, twist and the like which are maintained in shape due to the secure attachment of guard rails 36 and 37 on each side of the track frame. In the preferred fabrication of the track segments, the fit and attachment of the guard rails utilizes an extremely tight snap-fit attachment for secure holding of the guard rails. Conversely, the positioning of the guard rails after the track frame has been shaped as desired allows the snapped in guard rails to maintain the curvature or twist or other shaping of the track segment.

FIG. 2 sets forth a perspective view of a toy vehicle trackset constructed in accordance with the present invention and generally referenced by numeral 40. Trackset 40 differs from trackset 10 in its utilization in a different arrangement of components and a different combination of components but functions basically the same. Accordingly, trackset 40 includes a loop segment 41 supported by a support structure 42 together with a loop segment 44. Loop segment 44 is coupled between a curved panel 43 having a support 45 and a booster 15. Booster 15 is fabricated in accordance with conventional fabrication techniques and is used to accelerate a toy vehicle passing through the booster stage. An intersection 30 fabricated in the manner described above in FIG. 1 is positioned with an outer ring 31 and an inner ring 32 in a flat or coplanar relationship. Thus, outer ring 31 is coupled to track loop 41 and booster 15 while inner ring 32 is coupled to the remaining end of loop 41 and curved panel 43.

Loop portion 41 and loop portion 44 of trackset 40 are fabricated in the above-described manner in which a track frame supports a plurality of posts which in turn are secured to a pair of flexible guide rails. It will be noted by examination of FIGS. 1 and 2 that this track structure provides substantial flexibility and variability in shaping the contours of the trackset.

In the horizontal configuration of intersection 30 shown in FIG. 2, the jump portions formed by the respective track segments are generally coplanar and generally horizontal. This allows intersection 30 to provide a more conventional toy vehicle-intersecting jump.

FIG. 3 sets forth a perspective view of a flip/jump stunt device constructed in accordance with the present invention and generally referenced by numeral 120. Stunt device 120 includes a frame 122 supported by a support structure 121. Support structure 121 further supports a track segment 65. Frame 122 further includes a spring mechanism 126 operatively coupled to a launcher 123. Launcher 123 is pivotally secured to frame 122 by a pivot 124. Spring 126 produces a force against launcher 123 which urges launcher 123 toward a pivotal movement in the direction indicated by arrow 125 about pivot 124. A latch mechanism 128 is operatively coupled between frame 122 and launcher 123 to restrain the spring-driven pivotal movement of launcher 123. A trigger 127 is supported within the vehicle receiving portion of launcher 123. Trigger 127 is operatively coupled to latch 128 such that impact of a toy vehicle such as toy vehicle 66 against trigger 127 pivots trigger 127 in the direction indicated by arrow 129. The movement of trigger 127 in the direction indicated by arrow 129 produces a corresponding pivotal movement of latch 128 in the direction indicated by arrow 130. This pivotal movement releases the restraint against spring 126 allowing spring 126 to rapidly pivot launcher 123 upwardly in the direction indicated by arrow 125.

In operation, a toy vehicle such as toy vehicle 66 travels down track segment 65 in the direction indicated by arrow 67. As toy vehicle 66 transitions from track segment 65 to launcher 123, the toy vehicle impacts trigger 127. The energy of toy vehicle 66 against trigger 127 pivots trigger 127 in the direction indicated by arrow 129. This pivotal movement releases latch 128 allowing spring 126 to rapidly pivot launcher 123 about pivot 124 in the direction indicated by arrow 125. The rapid pivotal movement of launcher 123 thrusts toy vehicle 66 upwardly and forwardly in a somersault flight path.

What has been shown is a novel flip/jump stunt device for use in a toy vehicle trackset. The flip/jump stunt device provides a simple but highly entertaining mechanism which allows the user to enjoy a dramatic self-triggering or “automatic” stunt activation in response to a toy vehicle traversing the trackset.

While particular embodiments of the invention have been shown and described, it will be obvious to those skilled in the art that changes and modifications may be made without departing from the invention in its broader aspects. Therefore, the aim in the appended claims is to cover all such changes and modifications as fall within the true spirit and scope of the invention.





 
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