Title:
Dumbbell assembly system
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Fixed dumbbell and barbell systems are provided which comprise a handle or bar connected to at least one weighted device on each side of the bar and a locking member which is placed into an aperture common to both the weighted device and the handle. The entire dumbbell assembly thus provided may thereafter be coated as appropriate to provide corrosion resistance and the proper esthetics.



Inventors:
Lincir, Tom I. (San Pedro, CA, US)
Application Number:
10/954315
Publication Date:
04/06/2006
Filing Date:
09/30/2004
Assignee:
Ivanko Barbell Company
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
482/106
International Classes:
A63B21/072; A63B21/075
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
DONNELLY, JEROME W
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
K&A Associates (La Verne, CA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A fixed hand held weight system comprising: a bar adapted to be gripped by at least one hand; at least one weighted device connected to said bar; an opening in said at least one weighted device and an opening in at least one end of said bar which communicates with said opening in said at least one weighted device, and a locking member which is applied in an aperture comprising the opening in the at least one end of said bar and the opening in the weighted device which communicates with same to permanently lock said weighted device to at least one end of said bar.

2. The fixed hand held weight system as defined in claim 1 wherein said weighted device comprises a plate.

3. The fixed hand held weight system as defined in claim 1 wherein said bar has disposed thereon at each end a male member, a weighted device having disposed therethrough a female connection adapted to connect with said male member, an opening in said weighted member on the outer periphery of said member and an opening on said gripping member which communicates with said opening in said weighted member, and a locking member which is applied through the aperture created by the opening in said gripping member and said weighted member to permanently lock said weighted members to said gripping member.

4. The fixed hand held weight system as defined in claim 1 comprising a bar in a barbell configuration.

5. The fixed hand held weight system as defined in claim 1 comprising a bar in a dumbbell configuration.

6. The fixed hand held weight system as defined in claim 1 wherein the weighted device is coated with a protective coating.

7. The fixed hand held weight system as defined in claim 1 wherein the gripping member comprises a metal.

8. The fixed hand held weight system as defined in claim 1 wherein said weighted member is selected from the group consisting of carbon steel, steel and cast iron.

9. The fixed hand held weight system as defined in claim 1 wherein the configuration of said weighted device is round.

10. The fixed hand held weight system as defined in claim 1 wherein the configuration of said weighted device is multisided.

11. The fixed hand held weight system as defined in claim 6 wherein said protective coating is applied employing injection molding.

12. The fixed hand held weight system as defined in claim 6 wherein said protective coating is applied employing open pour molding.

13. The fixed hand held weight system as defined in claim 6 wherein said protective coating is applied employing cast molding.

14. The fixed hand held weight system as defined in claim 1 wherein said locking member comprises carbon steel.

15. The fixed hand held weight system as defined in claim 1 wherein said locking member comprises a screw.

16. The fixed hand held weight system as defined in claim 6 wherein said protective coating comprises polyurethane.

17. The fixed hand held weight system as defined in claim 6 wherein said protective coating is selected from the group consisting of rubber and epoxies.

Description:

I. FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates generally to an apparatus and method of locking and, more particularly, an apparatus and method for assembling and locking fixed dumbbells and barbells which employ a threaded handle or bar which is connected to at least one weighted device on each side of said bar and a locking member which is placed into a common area of both the weighted device and the handle.

II. PRIOR ART

It is known to employ barbell systems which include an elongated cylindrical bar or handle onto which matching disk shaped weights are placed at either end and are releasably or permanently attached to the bar. There are elongated bars which are designed for two-handed lifting and considerably shorter barbells which are designed for one-handed lifting, also known as dumbbells.

A variety of methods and apparatus have been employed to releasably and removably attach weights to the handles of barbells and dumbbells. A typical apparatus includes an elongated cylindrical bar, a hollow cylindrical handle placed over the bar and a pair of ring-shaped retaining members placed over the bar. A weight is slidably placed on each side of the bar between the handle and the retaining member. The retaining members each have a single bolt extending radially therethrough. The bolt has suitable surfaces on the head thereof to enable the user to hand turn the bolt. As the bolt is screwed or turned into the retaining member, the tip of the bolt extends inwardly from an inner surface of the ring-shaped retaining member and comes into contact with the bar. As the bolt is further tightened, the retaining member is held securely against the bar. The weight is thus held securely on the bar between the immediate adjacent handle and retaining member.

A second common system includes an elongated bar with a central handle position and with an externally threaded portion at either end of the bar. The handle bar has a greater diameter than the threaded portion. Loose weights are placed on either side of the bar and large nuts with internal threading are screwed onto the bar to retain the weights between the nuts and the handle portion of the bar.

A third system of attaching disk shaped weights to a barbell or dumbbell is disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 1,672,944. This system includes a hollow internally threaded bar and a pair of screws with enlarged heads which may be inserted through the holes in the disk shaped weights and screwed into the bar to secure the weights to the bar.

Further systems are disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 4,579,337 which include a bar with a series of circumferential grooves on each side thereof and a fixed raised protuberance or lip on the bar adjacent to each of the innermost grooves. This system also includes a pair of locking members to be placed on the bar with each member containing a pair of cylindrical members which are believed to be rotated relative to each other to allow or restrict steel balls to move freely within the locking member or to be restrained to be in engagement with one of the aforementioned grooves. As can be appreciated, this barbell system includes a fixed weighted bar which is much longer than necessary in addition to requiring a slow and cumbersome method of attaching the locking members to the bar.

Still other systems for affixing weights to a barbell or dumbbell are disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 4,638,994, including a technique providing a hollow internally threaded bar and a pair of locking pins having a head which engages with a flat locking collar designed to hold a ring-shaped weight against the hollow bar. The locking pin also includes a shaft having a spring biased tooth which is yieldingly urged radially outwardly from the shaft to engage with the threads of the hollow handle. Thus the pin can be quickly inserted into the hollow handle but must be screwed out of the handle to remove the pin.

Other systems are known as are depicted in Design Patent No. 327,517 and U.S. Pat. No. 6,602,169. In addition to U.S. Pat. No. 4,579,337 directed to radially movable locking members, U.S. Pat. No. 4,638,994 is directed to a quick bolt locking system, U.S. Pat. No. 4,893,810 is directed to quick release collars as well as U.S. Pat. No. 4,948,123 and U.S. Pat. No. 5,163,887 which are also directed to the same subject matter. U.S. Pat. No. 5,346,449 is directed to a barbell system with improved locking feature and U.S. Pat. No. 6,007,268 is directed to radially and axial locking release collars as applied to these systems.

These prior art systems, although they include the ability to quickly and securely connect weights to the bar and quickly disconnect weights from the bar, do not have features with the added convenience of a barbell or dumbbell system which does not extend longitudinally outside of the weights. Furthermore, none of the locking systems, especially in the case of dumbbells, have been proven to provide secure locking as in the case of fixed dumbbells and barbells which have been used for over fifty years in commercial exercise environments, for example, health clubs, gyms, schools and the like. As in any commercial environment, it is to be expected that high use and punishing operating conditions will be experienced. The fixed method means that the adding or subtracting of weight is not possible by the user so that pairs of dumbbells or sets of barbells in set increments such as five pounds, ten pounds, thirty pounds and so forth are permanently fixed normally by the use of a handle or bar where individual weight plates are put on each end of a handle or bar. The weights are secured by either a washer and bolt or an end plate which is a larger version of a washer used to conceal the bolt and a bolt to provide a safer method to do heavy training without the concern of the dumbbells or barbells coming loose and injuring the user. To improve locking in these weight lifting devices, a liquid thread locking compound or similar nylon patch was put on the bolt to eliminate the bolt from loosening and backing out. This method has only been found to provide fair results even when the internal threads are free of oil and other residue upon initial installation. In many cases the locking compounds never provide a proper seal so that repeated loosening and tightening diminish the holding power considerably, whereas once loosened, full strength cannot be achieved without reapplication of compounds. Furthermore, the shock from banging together during use and the dropping on the floor when the user is finished puts stress on the bolt causing it to loosen and back out. It is found especially in heavier weights that the shock experience will cause the bolt in some cases to shear and therefore the dumbbells and barbells can come apart potentially causing injury to the user. In these applications individual plates are put on both ends of the handle or bar so that the last plate extends out past the handle or the bar to provide tightening with either the washer or the end plate. This results in the danger of an unsupported area between the end of the bar or handle and the bolt. In some cases the installer will consider it sufficient and safe connection as long as the handle or bar is barely into the last plate which increases the stress during shock. A more efficient method would provide that every size weight increment have a handle or bar that extends just to the outer periphery of the last applied plate thus reducing the unsupported area to a minimum. This is difficult to do due to the multiple handle or bar requirements in addition to conventional castings having inconsistencies and thickness which require that even more handles or bars are required. Attempts to reduce the unsupported area to a minimum even when taken to the extreme do not eliminate the blind unsupported area between the handle and the back of the washer or end plate.

Although conventionally there are a multiplicity of dumbbell handles and barbell bars employed in various applications, the highest degree of strength and safety is not obtained even where the handle or bar is provided near flush with the last plate installed prior to tightening since after a high degree of usage, internal plate wear causes the handle to protrude in some cases past the last plate making tightening impossible. When this problem occurs, it is also experienced that although the bolt may be tight, the plates are not. This is highly undesirable to the user who in many cases, if not always, does not have the special tools required to remove broken bolts or even to be able to tighten and loosen them.

Solid steel dumbbells seemingly provided a solution to these problems and apparently eliminated the loosening and breaking problem. However, they too their own deficiencies. To provide these solid dumbbells or barbells, precise methods of welding to insure strong safe bond are required which is far more expensive and difficult to manufacture than with the use of cast iron. These solid dumbbells or barbells also cause the user to experience a sharp ringing sound when they make contact with each other.

Further, it is found in many if not all applications where both permanently fixed barbells and dumbbells or solid steel barbells or dumbbells are used in addition to the above noted deficiencies and problems, there is also experienced excessive damage due to dropping them on other equipment or flooring and corrosion which is both unsightly and unsafe. There is therefore seen to be a continuing need to supply fixed dumbbells and barbells which are securely and safely locked for frequent use.

III. OBJECTS OF THE INVENTION

It is therefore an object of this invention to provide barbell and dumbbell systems devoid of the above noted prior art deficiencies.

Another object of this invention is to provide improved barbell and dumbbell systems which provide permanently fixed weights which remain securely fastened under heavy and punishing use.

Still another object of this invention is to provide permanently fixed weighted dumbbells and barbells which are corrosion resistant.

Yet another object of this invention is to provide safe securely fastened permanently weighted barbells and dumbbells which reduce damage by impact in their working environments.

Yet another object of this invention is to provide permanently fixed weighted barbells and dumbbells which, in addition to being safer for the user and the work environment, are aesthetically pleasing.

Still another object of this invention is to provide permanently fixed weighted barbells and dumbbells which are both pleasing to the eye and easily discernible as to their specific weights.

IV. SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

These and other objects of this invention are accomplished generally speaking by providing fixed dumbbell and barbell systems that may comprise, for example a handle or bar which is connected to at least one weighted device on each side of the bar and a locking member which is placed into a common area of both the weighted device and the handle. More specifically, for example, a handle with a male threaded member on each end which is screwed into a weighted plate having a female receiving screw thread connection wherein both weighted plates are stabilized by providing an opening in each of said plates which communicates with an opening in the handle into which is inserted a stabilizing member. Thus, for example, in one embodiment a handle having male threads on each end is screwed into weighted plates on each end so that the aperture or opening in the weighted plates aligns in each case and communicates with the opening in each case with the handle on either end and thereafter a stabilizing pin is inserted. In its simplest adaptation a handle which is appropriate for lifting weighted devices is supplied with male screw threads in either a barbell or dumbbell configuration and is screwed into weighted plates on each of its ends. Thereafter, an aperture is created by either drilling or tapping into an area which is common to both the end of the handle and the weighted plate on each end of said handle and then a stabilizing member, for example a screw, is inserted in each end to stabilize the weighted plates to the handle.

For convenience sake, the remaining discussion of the system of the instant invention will be discussed in terms of dumbbells only but it is to be noted that these teachings apply also to barbells.

The locking mechanism thus applied may be made flush with the surface of each of the weighted plates and result in a dumbbell which may be safely used by one who wishes to exercise. However, the system of the instant invention also, in addition to supplying safe fixed dumbbell configurations, includes the capability of providing other advantages such as aesthetically pleasing dumbbells, calibrated and marked dumbbells, as well as dumbbell systems that are corrosion proof and minimize damage in the exercising environment. Thus, for example, a dumbbell system is prepared in accordance with the principles of the instant invention and is thereafter coated appropriately to maintain the proper weight with polyurethane. Once the appropriate coating, for example polyurethane, has been applied, aesthetically pleasing decals, in addition to informational materials such as weights in pounds or kilos, may be applied.

Any suitable material may be used to fabricate the gripping member of the system of the present invention. Typical materials include iron, steel and the like.

The gripping member of the instant invention may comprise any suitable handle configuration for single hand use or bar configuration for two-handed use.

The fixed weight system of the present invention may employ any suitable material to fabricate the weighted member of the instant invention. Typical materials include carbon steel, steel, cast iron and concrete, among others.

The weighted device of the instant invention may be configured in any suitable configuration. Typical configurations include plate, square, hexagonal shaped, multisided, spherical, semi-spherical and the like.

The locking member may be configured in any suitable adaptation. Typical locking members include expansion members, screwed members, set screws and the like.

Any suitable coating method may be employed in applying a protective non-corrosive coating to the fixed weight system of the instant invention. Typical coatings include polyurethane, epoxies, rubber coating and the like.

Any suitable method may be employed to apply the coating to the fixed weight system of the instant invention. Typical methods include injection molding, open pour, cast and various other coating techniques.

The locking member of the system of the instant invention may comprise any suitable material. Typical materials include carbon steel, steel, epoxy resins and other hardened plastic materials.

Any suitable aesthetically pleasing design may be applied to the fixed weight system of the instant invention. Typical designs include decals, logos, weight denominations and the like.

Although the fixed weight system of the instant invention has been described in terms of one locking member, any suitable number of locking members may be employed. Typical number of locking members include from one to at least four depending on the desired stability and function of the device sought.

V. BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The fixed weight system of the instant invention having been described in terms of its components and functions will be better understood with reference to the drawings.

FIG. 1 is an illustrative embodiment of a dumbbell employing the fixed weight system of the instant invention.

FIG. 2 is an illustrative embodiment of the locking mechanism which may be employed on the ends of the dumbbell system as depicted in FIG. 1.

In FIG. 1 there is seen a handle (100) adapted to conform to the grip of a human hand when employed as a dumbbell or, in the alternative, by two hands when employed as a barbell which is adapted at each end (300) to be joined to weighted device(s) or weighted members (200), a locking member (500) is inserted into an opening (210) shown in FIG. 2 which communicates between the end of the handle (300) and the weighted plate (200) locking the plate (200) to the end of the handle (300). A coating (400) is thereafter applied to the weighted plates (200).

In FIG. 2 there is seen in cross section a side view of the fixed weighted system of FIG. 1 depicting the weighted member (200) which is carried by the end of the gripping member or handle (300). The locking member (500) (not shown) fills the aperture (210) which is created as illustrated in the end of the handle member (300) which communicates with an aperture of the weighted member (200).

As previously described, aperture (210) may be repeated at any suitable location along the periphery of the end of the handle (300) such as (220), (230) and/or (240). If further stability is sought or required, a further locking mechanism may be employed at position (220) (not shown).

While the present invention has been particularly described with respect to certain elements in its preferred embodiment, it will be understood that the invention is not limited to these particular systems described in the preferred embodiments, or the final structures depicted in the drawings.

On the contrary, it is intended to cover all alternatives, modifications, and equivalents as may be included within the spirit and scope of the invention defined by the appended claims. In particular, the scope of the invention is intended to include, for example, those devices and methods employing, for example, automated aperture(s) created in the handle and a weighted device common area for application of locking members. In addition, other methods and/or devices may be employed in the system of the instant invention as claimed with similar results.