Title:
Kinetic sculpture and method of assembling same
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A kinetic sculpture comprises an axis of rotation, a plurality of spiral vanes, and a first assembly member. Each of the vanes has a longitudinal length that spirals about and along the axis of rotation and opposite first and second longitudinal end margins. The first assembly member connects the first end margin of each of the vanes to each other in a manner such that the first end margins of the vanes are circumferentially spaced from each other about the axis of rotation.



Inventors:
Sater, Neil A. (Solvang, CA, US)
Cunningham, Robert Dan (Solvang, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/140875
Publication Date:
11/30/2006
Filing Date:
05/31/2005
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
446/236
International Classes:
A47G35/00; A63H1/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
VERDIER, CHRISTOPHER M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Thompson Coburn LLP (St. Louis, MO, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A kinetic sculpture comprising: an axis of rotation; a plurality of spiral vanes, each of the vanes having a longitudinal length that spirals about and along the axis of rotation and opposite first and second longitudinal end margins, the first end margin of each of the vanes having a width and a thickness that are each transverse to each other and to the longitudinal length of said vane, the width of the first end margin of each of the vanes being larger than the thickness of said first end margin, the first end margin of each of the vanes having an orientation plane that is defined as being tangential to the width and the length of said first end margin; and a first assembly member, the first assembly member connecting the first end margin of each of the vanes to each other in a manner such that the first end margins of the vanes are circumferentially spaced from each other about the axis of rotation and such that the orientation plane of the first end margin of each of the vanes is oriented at most five degrees from parallel to the axis of rotation.

2. A kinetic sculpture in accordance with claim 1 wherein the first end margin of each of the vanes is oriented in a manner such that the width of said first end margin extends along an axis that is at most five degrees from parallel to a line that intersects the axis of rotation and also bisects the width of said first end margin.

3. A kinetic sculpture in accordance with claim 1 further comprising a second assembly member, and wherein the second assembly member connects the second end margin of each of the vanes to each other in a manner such that the second end margins of the vanes are circumferentially spaced from each other about the axis of rotation.

4. A kinetic sculpture in accordance with claim 3 wherein the second end margin of each of the vanes has a width and a thickness that are each transverse to each other and to the longitudinal length of said vane, the width of each of the second end margins is larger than the thickness of said second end margin, the second end margin of each of the vanes has an orientation plane that is defined as being tangential to the width and the length of said second end margin, and the orientation plane of the second end margin of each of the vanes is oriented at most five degrees from parallel to the axis of rotation.

5. A kinetic sculpture in accordance with claim 1 wherein the first assembly member comprises a plurality of slots, and wherein the first end margin of each of the vanes is at least partially positioned within one of the slots.

6. A kinetic sculpture in accordance with claim 1 wherein each of the vanes has a center portion that is symmetrically located between the first and second end margins of said vane, the first end margin of said vane is positioned a first distance radially from axis of rotation, the center portion of said vane is positioned a second distance from the axis of rotation, and the second distance is greater than the first distance.

7. A kinetic sculpture comprising: an axis of rotation; a plurality of spiral vanes, each of the vanes having a longitudinal length that spirals about and along the axis of rotation and opposite first and second longitudinal end margins; and first and second assembly members, each of the first and second assembly members comprising a plurality of slots, the first assembly member connecting the first end margin of each of the vanes to each other in a manner such that the first end margins of the vanes are circumferentially spaced from each other about the axis of rotation, the first end margin of each of the vanes being at least partially positioned within one of the slots of the first assembly member, the second assembly member connecting the second end margin of each of the vanes to each other in a manner such that the second end margins of the vanes are circumferentially spaced from each other about the axis of rotation, the second end margin of each of the vanes being at least partially positioned within one of the slots of the second assembly member.

8. A kinetic sculpture in accordance with claim 7 wherein the first end margin of each of the vanes has a width and a thickness that are each transverse to each other and to the longitudinal length of said vane, the width of the first end margin of each of the vanes is larger than the thickness of said first end margin, the first end margin of each of the vanes has an orientation plane that is defined as being tangential to the width and the length of said first end margin, the orientation plane of the first end margin of each of the vanes is oriented at most five degrees from parallel to the axis of rotation.

9. A kinetic sculpture in accordance with claim 8 wherein the first end margin of each of the vanes is oriented in a manner such that the width of said first end margin extends along an axis that is at most five degrees from parallel to a line that intersects the axis of rotation and also bisects the width of said first end margin.

10. A kinetic sculpture in accordance with claim 7 wherein the first end margin of each of the vanes has a width and a thickness that are each transverse to each other and to the longitudinal length of said vane, the width of the first end margin of each of the vanes is larger than the thickness of said first end margin, and wherein the first end margin of each of the vanes is oriented in a manner such that the width of said first end margin extends along an axis that is at most five degrees from parallel to a line that intersects the axis of rotation and also bisects the width of said first end margin.

11. A kinetic sculpture in accordance with claim 7 wherein the first end margin of each of the vanes is in a resiliently deflected condition within the respective slot of the first assembly member in a manner such that the resiliently deflected condition at least partially restrains said first end margin from being removed from said slot.

12. A kinetic sculpture in accordance with claim 7 wherein each of the vanes has a center portion that is symmetrically located between the first and second end margins of said vane, the first end margin of said vane is positioned a first distance radially from axis of rotation, the center portion of said vane is positioned a second distance from the axis of rotation, and the second distance is greater than the first distance.

13. A method of assembling a kinetic sculpture, the method comprising: providing a plurality of spiral vanes, each of the vanes having a longitudinal length that spirals and opposite first and second longitudinal end margins; providing a first assembly member, the assembly member having an axis; and attaching the first end margin of each the plurality of vanes to the first assembly member in a manner such that the first end margins of the vanes are circumferentially spaced from each other about the axis of the first assembly member.

14. A method in accordance with claim 13 wherein the step of providing the assembly member occurs in a manner such that the assembly member comprises a plurality of slots, and wherein the step of attaching the first end margin of each the plurality of vanes to the first assembly member comprises at least partially inserting the first end margin of each of the vanes is at least into one of the slots.

15. A method in accordance with claim 14 wherein the step of attaching the first end margin of each the plurality of vanes to the first assembly member comprises resiliently deflecting the first end margin of each of the vanes.

16. A method in accordance with claim 13 wherein the step of providing the plurality of spiral vanes occurs in a manner such that the first end margin of each of the vanes has a width and a thickness that are each transverse to each other and to the longitudinal length of said vane, such that the width of the first end margin of each of the vanes is larger than the thickness of said first end margin, and such that the first end margin of each of the vanes has an orientation plane that is defined as being tangential to the width and the length of said first end margin, and wherein the step of attaching the first end margin of each the plurality of vanes to the first assembly member occurs in a manner such that the orientation plane of the first end margin of each of the vanes is oriented at most five degrees from parallel to the axis of the first assembly member when the vanes are attached to the first assembly member.

17. A method in accordance with claim 15 wherein the step of attaching the first end margin of each the plurality of vanes to the first assembly member occurs in a manner such that the first end margin of each of the vanes is oriented in a manner such that the width of said first end margin extends along an axis that is at most five degrees from parallel to a line that intersects the axis of the first assembly member and also bisects the width of said first end margin.

18. A method in accordance with claim 13 further comprising a step of providing a second assembly member, the assembly member having an axis, and a step of attaching the second end margin of each the plurality of vanes to the second assembly member in a manner such that the second end margins of the vanes are circumferentially spaced from each other about the axis of the second assembly member.

19. A method in accordance with claim 18 wherein the step of providing the plurality of spiral vanes occurs in a manner such that the first end margin of each of the vanes has a width and a thickness that are each transverse to each other and to the longitudinal length of said vane, such that the width of the first end margin of each of the vanes is larger than the thickness of said first end margin, such that the first end margin of each of the vanes has an orientation plane that is defined as being tangential to the width and the length of said first end margin, such that the second end margin of each of the vanes has a width and a thickness that are each transverse to each other and to the longitudinal length of said vane, such that the width of the second end margin of each of the vanes is larger than the thickness of said second end margin, and such that the second end margin of each of the vanes has an orientation plane that is defined as being tangential to the width and the length of said second end margin, and wherein the step of attaching the first end margin of each the plurality of vanes to the first assembly member occurs in a manner such that the orientation plane of the first end margin of each of the vanes is oriented at most five degrees from parallel to the axis of the first assembly member when the vanes are attached to the first assembly member and the step of attaching the second end margin of each the plurality of vanes to the second assembly member occurs in a manner such that the orientation plane of the second end margin of each of the vanes is oriented at most five degrees from parallel to the axis of the second assembly member when the vanes are attached to the second assembly member.

20. A method in accordance with claim 19 wherein the step of attaching the first end margin of each the plurality of vanes to the first assembly member occurs in a manner such that the first end margin of each of the vanes is oriented in a manner such that the width of said first end margin extends along an axis that is at most five degrees from parallel to a line that intersects the axis of the first assembly member and also bisects the width of said first end margin, and wherein the step of attaching the second end margin of each the plurality of vanes to the second assembly member occurs in a manner such that the second end margin of each of the vanes is oriented in a manner such that the width of said second end margin extends along an axis that is at most five degrees from parallel to a line that intersects the axis of the second assembly member and also bisects the width of said second end margin.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

(1) Field of the Invention

The present invention pertains to the field of three-dimensional, geometric sculptures. More particularly, the present invention pertains to a kinetic sculpture comprising a plurality of spiral vanes that is configured to rotate about an axis of rotation and to a method of assembling the same.

(2) General Background

Spiral kinetic sculptures are popular as home and garden decorations and various types of spiral kinetic sculptures exist. One type of kinetic sculpture that has been very successful comprises a plurality of thin spiral vanes that spiral about a common axis of rotation. The vanes of such sculptures are often formed of metal and are often blade-like in that the width of each vane is typically many times larger than the its thickness.

In use, a spiral kinetic sculpture is often suspended from a line or chain in a manner such that the sculpture is generally free to rotate about a vertical axis. In view of the spiral nature of the sculpture, any slight updraft or downdraft of wind striking the sculpture creates a torque on the sculpture, and thereby spins the sculpture about its axis of rotation. Additionally, by providing the vanes with a camber, horizontal drafts or winds also act to spin the sculpture. The spinning of such sculptures is aesthetically pleasing to most people.

While the spiral kinetic sculptures are known to be successful, the inventors of the present invention have appreciated that the typical configuration of such sculptures has several drawbacks or disadvantages. As an example, U.S. Design Patent No. D497,833 discloses a spiral kinetic sculpture of the type described above. Such spiral kinetic sculptures are typically formed by securing the vanes of the sculpture to each other at their opposite ends. This is typically done by brazing, welding, or soldering the vanes to each other. This step of securing the vanes to each other requires appreciable skill and time, which contributes significantly to the costs of manufacturing the sculptures. Additionally, this step typically requires the vanes of the sculpture to overlap each other at their opposite ends and thereby limits the possible configurations of the overall shape of the sculptures.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention overcomes some of the disadvantages of prior art spiral kinetic sculptures. In general the present invention can be formed without any step of brazing, welding, or soldering the vanes to each other, and thereby reduces the skill and time required to manufacture a spiral kinetic sculptures. Additionally, the present invention broadens the possible configurations of spiral kinetic sculptures, thereby allowing such sculptures to have particular aesthetically pleasing configurations.

In a first aspect of the invention, a kinetic sculpture comprises an axis of rotation, a plurality of spiral vanes, and a first assembly member. Each of the vanes has a longitudinal length that spirals about and along the axis of rotation and opposite first and second longitudinal end margins. The first end margin of each of the vanes has a width and a thickness that are each transverse to each other and to the longitudinal length of the vane. The width of the first end margin of each of the vanes is larger than the thickness of the first end margin. The first end margin of each of the vanes has an orientation plane that is defined as being tangential to the width and the length of the first end margin. The first assembly member connects the first end margin of each of the vanes to each other in a manner such that the first end margins of the vanes are circumferentially spaced from each other about the axis of rotation and such that the orientation plane of the first end margin of each of the vanes is oriented at most five degrees from parallel to the axis of rotation.

In a second aspect of the invention, a kinetic sculpture comprises an axis of rotation, a plurality of spiral vanes, and first and second assembly members. Each of the vanes has a longitudinal length that spirals about and along the axis of rotation and opposite first and second longitudinal end margins. Each of the first and second assembly members comprises a plurality of slots. The first assembly member connects the first end margin of each of the vanes to each other in a manner such that the first end margins of the vanes are circumferentially spaced from each other about the axis of rotation. The first end margin of each of the vanes is at least partially positioned within one of the slots of the first assembly member. Likewise, the second assembly member connects the second end margin of each of the vanes to each other in a manner such that the second end margins of the vanes are circumferentially spaced from each other about the axis of rotation. The second end margin of each of the vanes is at least partially positioned within one of the slots of the second assembly member.

In yet another aspect of the invention, a method of assembling a kinetic sculpture comprises steps of providing a plurality of spiral vanes, providing a first assembly member, and attaching the first end margin of each the plurality of vanes to the first assembly member. The step of providing a plurality of spiral vanes occurs in a manner such that each of the vanes has a longitudinal length that spirals and opposite first and second longitudinal end margins. The first assembly member has an axis. The step of attaching the first end margin of each the plurality of vanes to the first assembly member occurs in a manner such that the first end margins of the vanes are circumferentially spaced from each other about the axis of the first assembly member.

While the principal advantages and features of the invention have been described above, a more complete and thorough understanding of the invention may be obtained by referring to the drawings and the detailed description of the preferred embodiments, which follow.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is an elevation view of a first embodiment of a kinetic wind sculpture in accordance with the invention.

FIG. 2 is a partial elevation view of the kinetic wind sculpture shown in FIG. 1, and details the upper portion of the sculpture.

FIG. 3 is a partial top view of the kinetic wind sculpture shown in FIG. 1, and shows the sculpture in a partially assembled configuration.

FIG. 4 is perspective view of another embodiment of a kinetic wind sculpture in accordance with the invention and shows the sculpture in a partially assembled configuration.

Reference characters in the written specification indicate corresponding items shown throughout the drawing figures.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS OF THE INVENTION

A first embodiment of a kinetic sculpture 20 of the present invention is shown in its entirety in FIG. 1. The kinetic sculpture 20 preferably comprises a plurality of vanes 22 and top 24 and bottom 26 assembly members. The vanes 22 are preferably formed out of metal, such as copper, and may be coated with decorative finishes or allowed to patina. The assembly members may be formed out plastic, metal, wood, or any other suitable materials.

The vanes 22 of the kinetic sculpture 20 are preferably identical in shape and spiral about the axis of rotation 28 of the kinetic sculpture. Each vane 22 is preferably die cut in a spiral pattern from a flat piece of sheet material and is thereafter stretched out of plane such that the vane longitudinally extends along the axis of rotation 28 as it spirals thereabout. Each vane 22 has a longitudinal length 30, a width 32, and a thickness 34 that are mutual transverse to each other at each point along the vane. Additionally, each vane 22 preferably comprises opposite top 36 and bottom 38 end margins, and a center portion 40 that lies longitudinally between the top and bottom end margins. Each vane 22 is preferably shaped such that the center portion 40 is farther from the axis of rotation 28 than are either of the top 36 and bottom 38 end margins. Still further, the width 32 and thickness 34 of each vane 22 are preferably generally constant along the longitudinal length 30 of the vane. Optionally, a barb 42 may be formed into each of the top 36 and bottom 38 end margins of each vane 22 as shown in FIG. 3. Such barbs 42 may facilitate assembly of the kinetic sculpture 20, as is described below, and could be die cut simultaneously with formation of each vanes 22.

The top 24 and bottom 26 assembly members of the kinetic sculpture 20 are preferably substantially identical to each other. Preferably, the outer surface 44 of each assembly member 24,26 is a concave surface that is symmetric about the axis of rotation 28. The axially opposite surface 46 of each assembly member 24,26 preferably has a plurality of slots 48 that extend into the body of the assembly member. The slots 48 are preferably equally spaced from each other circumferentially about the axis of rotation 28. Each slot 48 preferably extends into the assembly member 24,26 parallel to a plane that intersects and includes the axis of rotation 28. The top assembly member 24 preferably comprises an eye-screw 50 that is aligned with the axis of rotation 28.

The kinetic sculpture 20 is assembled primarily by simply inserting the vanes 22 into the slots 48 of the top 24 and bottom 26 assembly members. In particular, the top end margin 36 of each vane 22 is inserted at least partially into one of the slots 48 of the top assembly member 24, with one vane per slot. If the vane 22 is provided with a barb 42 or the like as discussed above, the insertion may cause the barb 42 to resiliently deflect such that the barb flattens against the remainder of the end margin 36. It should be appreciated that the resiliency of the barb 42 would then cause the barb to press against one of the side walls of the slot 48, and thereby act to frictionally secure the vane 22 to the assembly member 24. Alternatively, adhesives, fasteners, welds, or any other means known in the art could be utilized to secure the vanes 22 to the assembly member 24. It should also be appreciated that the bottom end margins 38 of the vanes 22 are connected to the bottom assembly member 26 in a similar manner.

As assembled, the width 32 and length 34 of a portion of each of the end margins 36,38 of the vanes 22 are oriented in planes that each include the axis of rotation 28 as a result of the orientation of the slots 48. In other words, a theoretical plane defined by the width 32 and length 34 directions of a portion of each of the end margins 36,38 of the vanes 22 is parallel to and intersects the axis of rotation. This orientation provides the kinetic sculpture 20 with a unique aesthetically pleasing geometry. Additionally, the radially outermost contour of the vanes 22 preferably is nearly tangent to the contour of the outer surface 44 of the top 24 and bottom 26 assembly members. As such, the assembly members 24,26 appear generally to be unitary with the vanes 22 as the kinetic sculpture 20 rotates. Moreover, the convex contour of the outer surfaces 44 of the assembly members 24,26 are preferably shaped such that the overall contour of the kinetic sculpture 20 appears to be generally asymptotic with the axis of rotation 28 at its opposite axial ends. These features add to the appeal of the visual effect of the kinetic sculpture 20 as it rotates about the axis of rotation 28.

The kinetic sculpture 20 may be suspended from a line, chain, rod, or the like via the eye-screw 50 of the top assembly member 24. It should be appreciated that it is well know to utilize a spinner mechanism (not shown) to allow kinetic sculptures to rotate without twisting whatever it is that supports the sculpture. It should also be appreciated the top assembly member 24 could comprise any sort of pin or the like that is fixed to the assembly member in a manner allowing it to rotate about the axis of rotation 28 relative to the rest of the kinetic sculpture 20. Still further, the kinetic sculpture 20 could be supported by either the top 24 or bottom 26 assembly member and could be connected to a powered drive shaft that forcibly rotates the kinetic sculpture.

A second embodiment of a kinetic sculpture 20′ in accordance with the invention is partially illustrated in FIG. 4. The primary difference between the kinetic sculpture 20′ of this second embodiment, as compared to the kinetic sculpture 20′ of the first embodiment is the configuration of the assembly members. To illustrate this difference, the bottom assembly member 26′ of the kinetic sculpture 20′ is shown with a vane 22′ attached thereto. The bottom assembly member 26′ is preferably cut from a piece of metal plate material using a wire EDM process or other suitable fabrication processes. The bottom assembly member 26′ comprises a plurality of spokes 60 that extend radially from a ring 62 of material. A plurality of notches 64 are preferably formed in each of the spokes 60. Similar to the first embodiment, the bottom assembly member 26′ comprises a plurality of slots 48′. Each slot 48′ preferably bisects a spoke 60 and extends radially and parallel to the axis of rotation 28′.

The vanes 22′ of the kinetic sculpture 20′ of the second embodiment are connected to the bottom assembly member 26′ in a manner only slightly different from the first embodiment. As shown, the bottom end margin 38′ of the vane 22′ is partially inserted within one of the slots 48′. A pair of threaded clamping members 66 are then utilized to clamp the spoke 60 against the vane 22′. The clamping members 66 are preferably partially positioned within the notches 64 of the respective spoke 60 to further radially secure the vane 22′ and the clamping members themselves to the assembly member 26′. It should be appreciate that, when fully assembled, other vanes 22′ are inserted in the other slots 48′ and the kinetic sculpture 20′ preferably comprises a top assembly member that is similar to the bottom assembly member 26′.

While the present invention has been described in reference to specific embodiments, in light of the foregoing, it should be understood that all matter contained in the above description or shown in the accompanying drawings is intended to be interpreted as illustrative and not in a limiting sense and that various modifications and variations of the invention may be constructed without departing from the scope of the invention defined by the following claims. For example, it should be appreciated that the vanes could have any cross-sectional shape and need not be formed of flat sheet material. Additionally, the vanes and assembly members could be shaped in various different configurations. Thus, other possible variations and modifications should be appreciated.

Furthermore, it should be understood that when introducing elements of the present invention in the claims or in the above description of the preferred embodiment of the invention, the terms “comprising,” “including,” and “having” are intended to be open-ended and mean that there may be additional elements other than the listed elements. Similarly, the term “portion” should be construed as meaning some or all of the item or element that it qualifies.