Title:
System for improving the stability of a trampoline
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A system for improving the stability of a trampoline, including a trampoline frame having a sidebar assembly having a top rail and a leg stub disposed parallel to the top rail, wherein the top rail is welded at one or more locations along the parallel traversing portion of the leg stub. Corner members attach adjacent top rails. Leg members attach adjacent leg stubs of adjacent sidebar assemblies. Forces exerted by use of the trampoline are distributed across the several welds along the top rail, rather than at a single butt weld at the leg stub.



Inventors:
Wyman, Dean (Dickinson, TX, US)
Application Number:
11/297623
Publication Date:
06/01/2006
Filing Date:
12/08/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B5/11
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
GANESAN, SUNDHARA M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Arnold & Saunders, LLP (Rosenberg, TX, US)
Claims:
1. A trampoline frame comprising a plurality of sidebar assemblies, each of said sidebar assemblies comprising: a top rail having a first end and a second end; a leg stub having a first end and a second end, wherein a portion of said leg stub is disposed parallel to the axial direction of said top rail; and wherein said leg stub is affixed to said top rail at least partially along said portion of said leg stub.

2. The trampoline frame of claim 1, wherein at least one of said top rail and said leg stub further comprises 11-gauge pipe material having an approximate 0.220-inch wall thickness and an approximate 1.990-inch diameter.

3. The trampoline frame of claim 1, wherein at least one of said top rail and said leg stub further comprises pipe material having a flash-coated galvanized exterior and a zinc-coated interior.

4. The trampoline frame of claim 1, further comprising a rectangular mat.

5. The trampoline frame of claim 1, further comprising a square mat.

6. The trampoline frame of claim 1, further comprising a circular mat.

7. A trampoline system comprising: a plurality of sidebar assemblies, wherein each of said sidebar assemblies further comprises a top rail having a first end and a second end, and a leg stub having a first end and a second end; and a plurality of leg members, wherein each of said leg members further comprises a first end and a second end; wherein each of said first end of said leg members is attached to said first end of a first leg stub, and each of said second end of said leg members is attached to said second end of a second leg stub; and wherein said first end of said top rail is connected to said second end of a second top rail.

8. The trampoline system of claim 7, wherein a portion of said leg stub, disposed parallel to the axial direction of said top rail, is affixed to said top rail.

9. The trampoline frame of claim 7, wherein said first end of said top rail is connected to said second end of a second top rail using a plurality of corner members having a first end and a second end, wherein said first end of the corner member is attached to said first end of said top rail, and said second end of the corner member is attached to said second end of a second top rail.

10. The trampoline frame of claim 9, wherein one or more of said corner members have swaged ends.

11. The trampoline frame of claim 9, wherein one or more of said corner members further comprise a setback hole positioned approximately three inches from each end of said corner member.

12. The trampoline frame of claim 7, wherein at least one member selected from a group including said top rail, said leg stub, and said leg member further comprises 11-gauge pipe material having an approximate 0.220-inch wall thickness and an approximate 1.990-inch diameter.

13. The trampoline frame of claim 7, wherein at least one member selected from a group including said top rail, said leg stub, and said leg member further comprises pipe material further comprises a flash-coated galvanized exterior and a zinc-coated interior.

14. The trampoline frame of claim 7, further comprising a rectangular mat.

15. The trampoline frame of claim 7, further comprising a square mat.

16. The trampoline frame of claim 7, further comprising a circular mat.

17. A trampoline frame comprising: a plurality of sidebar assemblies, each assembly comprising: a top rail having a first end and a second end; a leg stub having a first end and a second end and a portion of said leg stub parallel to the axial direction of said top rail; wherein said leg stub affixed to said top rail at least partially along said portion of said leg stub; a plurality of leg members, each member having a first end and a second end; wherein each said first end of said leg members is attached to said first end of a first leg stub and each said second end of said leg members is attached to a said second end of a second leg stub; and a plurality of corner members, each corner member having a first end and a second end; wherein each said first end of said top rails is attached to a said first end of a first corner member and each said second end of said top rail is attached to a said second end of a second corner member.

18. The trampoline frame of claim 17, wherein said leg stub is affixed to said top rail by welding said top rail to a portion of said leg stub, wherein said portion is disposed approximately parallel to the axial direction of said top rail.

19. The trampoline frame of claim 17, wherein one or more of said corner members further comprises swaged ends.

20. The trampoline frame of claim 17, wherein said corner members further comprise a setback hole positioned approximately three inches from each end of said corner member.

21. The trampoline frame of claim 17, wherein at least one member selected from a group including said top rail, said leg stub, said corner member, and said leg member further comprises 11-gauge pipe material having an approximate 0.220-inch wall thickness and an approximate 1.990-inch diameter.

22. The trampoline frame of claim 17, wherein at least one member selected from a group including said top rail, said leg stub, said corner member, and said leg member further comprises pipe material having a flash-coated galvanized exterior and a zinc coated interior.

23. The trampoline frame of claim 17, further comprising a rectangular mat.

24. The trampoline frame of claim 17, further comprising a square mat.

25. The trampoline frame of claim 17, further comprising a circular mat.

26. A method of constructing a trampoline system having a plurality of sidebar assemblies, a plurality of leg members, and a plurality of corner members, the method comprising the steps of: connecting a first end of each of said leg members to a first sidebar assembly; connecting a second end of each of said leg members to a second sidebar assembly, thereby connecting each pair of adjacent sidebar assemblies and connecting the second sidebar assembly to the first sidebar assembly; connecting a first end of each of said corner members to a first sidebar assembly; connecting a second end of each of said corner members to a second sidebar assembly, thereby securing each pair of adjacent sidebar assemblies and securing the second sidebar assembly to the first sidebar assembly; attaching a first end of each of a plurality of springs to said sidebar assemblies; and attaching a second end of each of a plurality of springs to a mat.

Description:

STATEMENT OF RELATED CASES

The present application is a continuation-in-part of prior United States non-provisional application Ser. No. 11/269,915, filed Nov. 7, 2005, which claims the benefit of prior U.S. provisional Application No. 60/626,008, filed Nov. 8, 2004.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates generally to trampolines, and more particularly, to an improved frame for supporting the bouncing surface of a trampoline.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Generally, trampolines are circular, rectangular, or square in shape. Trampolines are typically constructed with a frame having a top rail that encompasses a mat. The mat is typically attached to the top rail of the frame using a number of extension springs. The frame, springs, and mat are elevated off the ground by attaching legs to the top rail. The legs are typically a straight piece of pipe with a foot end cap to make contact with the ground. A tube or pipe is typically welded to the top rail at each location to receive a leg. The legs are attached to the frame by inserting into the welded tube or pipe. This allows for flexing and movement of the trampoline when jumping on the trampoline. These forces exerted by using the trampoline are concentrated on the weld joints holding the pipes that are holding the legs, effectively creating single points of strain. In some cases, the forces created by the flexing and movement of the trampoline causes one or more of these weld joints to break apart, separating the leg from the trampoline. Such failure of the trampoline frame may result in injuries or cause a product recall of the trampoline.

The present invention avoids design defects caused by single points of strain by distributing the transfer of trampoline forces to the legs through multiple points in a linear fashion. The present invention reduces the opportunity for frame failure while maintaining the desired flexing, movement, and stability of the trampoline.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates generally to trampolines, and more particularly, to an improved frame for supporting the bouncing surface of a trampoline.

Provided is a trampoline system comprising a plurality of sidebar assemblies, each said sidebar assembly having a top rail having a first end and a second end, each sidebar assembly further having a leg stub having a first end and a second end, and a plurality of leg members, with each leg member having a first end and a second end. Each first end of the leg members attach to a first end of a first leg stub and each second end of the leg members attach to a second end of a second leg stub. Each first end of the top rails connects to a second end of a second top rail.

Also provided is a trampoline frame comprising a plurality of sidebar assemblies, each sidebar assembly comprising a top rail having a first end and a second end, and a leg stub having a first end and a second end. A portion of the leg stub is parallel to the axial direction of the top rail. The leg stub is affixed to the top rail at least partially along said portion that is parallel to the leg stub.

Further provided is a trampoline frame comprising a plurality of sidebar assemblies, a plurality of leg members, and a plurality of corner members. The sidebar assemblies each comprise a top rail having a first end and a second end and a leg stub having a first end and a second end. A portion of the leg stub is affixed to the top rail at least partially along a portion of the leg stub that is parallel to the axial direction of the top rail. The leg members each have a first end and a second end. Each first end of the leg members attach to a first end of a first leg stub and each second end of the leg members attach to a second end of a second leg stub. The corner members each have a first end and a second end. Each first end of the top rails attaches to a first end of a first corner member, and each second end of the top rails attach to a second end of a second corner member.

The sidebar assembly has a top rail and a leg stub welded together adjacent to each other, with an object of providing double strength. The leg stub is bent at both ends to an approximate ninety-degree turndown. This allows the leg members of the trampoline to be inserted into the bent end portion of the leg stubs, instead of to a single-point welded stub. The leg member then connects across the corner of the trampoline to the next sidebar assembly, and continues in such manner until all four sides are connected together. After all four leg members are inserted, four swaged corner members are inserted into the top rails of the sidebar assemblies, completing the perimeter of the frame. The trampoline frame of the present invention provides a continuous connection from one sidebar assembly to the next sidebar assembly through the leg members and corner members, resulting in improved stability of the trampoline.

Also provided is a method of constructing a trampoline system having a plurality of sidebar assemblies, a plurality of leg members, and a plurality of corner members, the method comprising the steps of: connecting each leg member to a first sidebar assembly and a second sidebar assembly, thereby connecting each pair of adjacent sidebar assemblies and connecting the last sidebar assembly to the first sidebar assembly; connecting each corner member to a first sidebar assembly and a second sidebar assembly, thereby securing each pair of adjacent sidebar assemblies and securing the last sidebar assembly to the first sidebar assembly; and attaching each of a plurality of springs to the sidebar assemblies and to a mat.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective exploded view of the trampoline frame of the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the trampoline frame with mat and padding installed of the present invention.

FIG. 3 is a frontal perspective view of the sidebar of the trampoline frame of the present invention.

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of the leg of the trampoline frame of the present invention.

FIG. 5 is a plan view of the corner member of the trampoline frame of the present invention.

REFERENCE NUMERALS IN THE DRAWINGS

The following elements are numbered as described in the drawings and detailed description of the invention:

1sidebar2top rail
3leg stub4weld points
5leg member6corner member
7mat8mat springs
9pad16swaged end
26setback hole

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 illustrates an exploded perspective view of the trampoline frame of the present invention. As illustrated for an approximately rectangular-shaped trampoline, there are four sidebar assemblies 1, one for each side of the trampoline. Sidebar assembly 1 is generally horizontal. Sidebar assembly 1, which is further detailed in FIG. 3, has a top rail 2 and leg stub 3. Top rail 2 and leg stub 3 comprise one or more of pipes, tubes, channels, conduit or other similar frame materials.

In a presently preferred embodiment, the components of the trampoline frame, including top rail 2 and leg stub 3, are made of 1.990-inch diameter, 11-gauge pipe material having a 0.220-inch wall thickness. To delay corrosion, the pipes may be galvanized flash-coated on the outside diameter and otherwise zinc coated on the inside diameter. Such pipe may be acquired from a variety of sources, including the Allied Tube & Conduit business unit of Tyco Electrical & Metal Products, 16100 S. Lathrop Avenue Harvey, Ill. 60426-6021 USA.

Top rail 2 is generally linear or otherwise conforming to the desired shape of a portion of the circumference of the trampoline. As illustrated, top rail 2 is positioned as a pipe with horizontal ends. Leg stub 3 is generally linear or otherwise conforming to the shape of the mid section of top rail 2. The ends of leg stub 3 bend away from the mid section of leg stub 3, preferably at approximately a ninety-degree angle. Leg stub 3 is positioned generally parallel and adjacent to top rail 2. Weld points 4 affix top rail 2 to leg stub 3, generally along the mid sections of top rail 2 and leg stub 3 where top rail 2 and leg stub 3 are generally linear or conforming in shape. Weld points 4 may be any of a variety of weld or affixing methods, such as spot welds, seam weld, bead weld, normal weld, temper weld, and the like. Leg member 5 comprises a pipe, tube, channel, conduit or another, similar frame material having a mid section and two ends, each end of leg member 5 bending away from the general longitudinal axial direction of the mid section of leg member 5, preferably at an approximately ninety-degree angle. One end of a first leg member 5 fits securely into a first end of a first leg stub 3 and the second end of first leg member 5 fits securely into a first end of a second leg stub 3.

Corner member 6 is a pipe, tube, channel, conduit or similar frame material having two ends. Corner member 6 generally conforms to the shape of a portion of the circumference of the trampoline disposed between two adjacent top rails 2. One end of a first corner member 6 fits securely into a first end of a first top rail 2, and the second end of first corner member 6 fits securely into a first end of a second top rail 2. The two adjacent sidebar assemblies 1 are secured to each other by this connection of leg member 5 and corner member 6 to their respective ends of top rail 2 and leg stub 3.

The other sidebar assemblies 1 are secured in a like manner to complete construction of the trampoline frame.

One end of a second leg member 5 fits securely into the second end of the second leg stub 3, and the second end of second leg member 5 fits securely into a first end of a third leg stub 3. One end of a second corner member 6 fits securely into the second end of the second top rail 2, and the second end of second corner member 6 fits securely into a first end of third top rail 2.

Likewise, one end of a third leg member 5 fits securely into the second end of the third leg stub 3, and the second end of third leg member 5 fits securely into a first end of a fourth leg stub 3. One end of a third corner member 6 fits securely into the second end of the third top rail 2, and the second end of third corner member 6 fits securely into a first end of a fourth top rail 2.

Completing this illustration, one end of a fourth leg member 5 fits securely into the second end of the fourth leg stub 3, and the second end of fourth leg member 5 fits securely into the second end of the first leg stub 3. One end of a fourth corner member 6 fits securely into the second end of the fourth top rail 2, and the second end of fourth corner member 6 fits securely into the second end of the first top rail 2.

Different trampoline shapes may use a different total number of sidebar assemblies and corresponding leg members and corner members.

FIG. 2 illustrates a perspective view of the assembled trampoline frame with mat and padding installed. One end of springs 8 attach to sidebar assemblies 1. Typically, springs 8 vary in length from approximately five inches (5″) to approximately ten and a quarter inches (10.25″), depending upon the desired use for the trampoline. Springs 8 are typically extension springs made of metal, with attachment hooks disposed on either end. Typically, the attachment hooks on one end of springs 8 fit into corresponding holes in sidebar assemblies 1. The attachment hooks on the opposite end of springs 8 attach around the perimeter of a trampoline mat 7 of desired size and shape. Mat 7 may be composed of any of a variety of materials or fabrics, typically chosen for various performance characteristics, such as porosity to reduce air resistance, bounce, strength, and resilience to ultraviolet light exposure.

Typically, the attachment hooks on the opposite end of springs 8 fit into corresponding holes in the mat 7. Alternatively, clips for receiving the attachment hooks of springs 8 encompass the perimeter of mat 7. Perimeter stitching of mat 7 typically provides additional strength to prevent springs 8 from damaging the holes, or tearing away the clips, of mat 7. Variations on connecting springs to trampoline mats exist, such as the use of composite clips attached to the mat, with the springs attaching to the composite clips. Pads 9 provide a safety feature typical on many trampolines. Pads 9 lie over springs 8, attaching to sidebar assemblies 1. Typically, pads 9 are attached to sidebar assemblies 1 by tying with tie straps or other suitable technique. Pads 9 typically cover most or all portions of the exposed horizontal portion of the trampoline frame, sidebar assemblies 1 and corners 6.

FIG. 3 illustrates a frontal perspective view of the sidebar assembly 1 of the trampoline frame of the present invention. Sidebar assembly 1 has a top rail 2 and leg stub 3. Top rail 2 is generally linear, or otherwise conforming to the desired shape of a portion of the circumference of the trampoline. As illustrated, top rail 2 is positioned as a pipe with horizontal ends. Leg stub 3 is generally linear or conforming to the shape of the mid section of top rail 2. The ends of leg stub 3 bend away from the mid section of leg stub 3, preferably at approximately a ninety-degree angle. Leg stub 3 is positioned generally parallel along the longitudinal axis and adjacent to top rail 2. Weld points 4 affix top rail 2 to leg stub 3, generally along the mid sections of top rail 2 and leg stub 3 where top rail 2 and leg stub 3 are generally linear or conforming in shape.

In a presently preferred embodiment, top rail 2 is affixed to leg stub 3 at the same horizontal elevation, with ends of leg stub 3 extending downward, and leg stub 3 positioned to the exterior of the area to be enclosed by the trampoline frame. The ends of top rail 2 are shaped to fitably receive an end of corner member 6. The ends of leg stub 3 are shaped to fitably receive an end of leg member 5.

In the preferred embodiment, leg stub 3 is illustrated as a single, continuous pipe member. However, one or ordinary skill in the art will readily appreciate that leg stub 3 may be broken into two or more pipe members anywhere along the mid sections of top rail 2 and leg stub 3 where top rail 2 and leg stub 3 are generally linear or conforming in shape.

FIG. 4 illustrates a perspective view of leg member 5 of the trampoline frame of the present invention. Each end of leg member 5 bends away from the general longitudinal axial direction of the mid section of leg member 5, preferably at an approximately ninety-degree angle. The ends of leg member 5 are shaped to fitably receive an end portion of leg stub 3.

FIG. 5 is a plan view of corner member 6 of the trampoline frame of the present invention. Corner member 6 may be generally conforming to the shape of a portion of the circumference of the trampoline between two adjacent top rails 2. One end of a first corner member 6 fits securely into a first end of a first top rail 2 and the second end of first corner member 6 fits securely into a first end of a second top rail 2. Corner member 6 may have swaged ends 16 to effect greater ease in fitting top rail 2 to corner member 6. Additionally, corner member 6 may have a setback hole 26, positioned approximately one inch (1″) from the attachment location of the corresponding end of top rail 2. Setback hole 26 is used to attach a spring 8, providing a better alignment of the mat springs.

Typically, a trampoline according to the invention is assembled by connecting a first leg member 5 to a first sidebar assembly 1. The first leg member 5 is then connected to a second sidebar assembly 1. Additional leg members 5 are connected to the sidebar assemblies 1 until the last sidebar assembly 1 is connected to the first sidebar assembly 1. Corner members 6 are connected to each pair of adjacent sidebar assemblies 1 until the last sidebar assembly 1 is connected to the first sidebar assembly 1, completing assembly of the trampoline frame. A mat 7 is loosely laid out within in interior of the frame. One or more springs 8 are then attached about the perimeter of mat 7, such as near the corners of a square or rectangular mat. Springs 8 are then attached to their corresponding locations on the sidebar assemblies 1 or corner members 6. This places mat 7 in approximately the elevated horizontal position. Additional springs 8 are connected to mat 7 and the sidebar assemblies 1, as needed. For a square or rectangular mat, the springs corresponding to one set of opposite ends are attached first, and then the springs corresponding to the other set of opposite ends are attached. Optionally, pads 9 may be attached to cover the springs.

Although the description above contains many specifications, these should not be construed as limiting the scope of the invention but as merely providing illustrations of some of the presently preferred embodiments of this present invention. Persons skilled in the art will understand that the method and apparatus described herein may be practiced, including but not limited to, by the embodiments described. Further, it should be understood that the invention is not to be unduly limited to the foregoing which has been set forth for illustrative purposes. Various modifications and alternatives will be apparent to those skilled in the art without departing from the true scope of the invention, as defined in the following claims. While there has been illustrated and described particular embodiments of the present invention, it will be appreciated that numerous changes and modifications will occur to those skilled in the art, and it is intended in the appended claims to cover those changes and modifications which fall within the true spirit and scope of the present invention.