Title:
Sectional three-dimensional model
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Disclosed herein is a sectional three-dimensional model, which can be assembled by use of an independent single type of pieces without requiring several kinds of pieces having different shapes from one another, and achieve a three-dimensional connection of the pieces. The sectional three-dimensional model includes a plurality of spherical pieces, and each spherical piece includes a pair of coupling recesses symmetrically formed in the spherical piece along a center axis of the spherical piece, and a plurality of coupling protrusions integrally formed at an outer surface of the spherical piece to be arranged in directions perpendicular to the coupling recesses, thereby allowing the plurality of spherical pieces to be connected to one another via insertion of the coupling protrusions into the coupling recesses.



Inventors:
Jeon, Dong-in (Bucheon-si, KR)
Park, Sun-ah (Seoul, KR)
Application Number:
11/490553
Publication Date:
04/05/2007
Filing Date:
07/21/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63H33/12
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
RICCI, JOHN A
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
CANTOR COLBURN LLP (Hartford, CT, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A sectional three-dimensional model comprising: a plurality of spherical pieces, each spherical piece comprising a pair of coupling recesses symmetrically formed in the spherical piece along a center axis of the spherical piece, and a plurality of coupling protrusions integrally formed at an outer surface of the spherical piece to be arranged in directions perpendicular to the coupling recesses, thereby allowing the plurality of spherical pieces to be connected to one another via insertion of the coupling protrusions into the coupling recesses.

2. The model according to claim 1, wherein each coupling protrusion of the spherical pieces, which has a circular cross section, comprises: a semi-spherical end; an annular locking groove formed at an outer circumference thereof to correspond to a raised locking portion formed at an inner circumference of an associated one of the coupling recesses; and a stopper formed at a rear side of the locking groove.

3. The model according to claim 2, wherein each coupling protrusion is provided at a root thereof with a notch piece.

4. The model according to claim 3, wherein the notch piece comprises: a plane portion having a quadrilateral cross section provided at the root of the coupling protrusion; and a pair of symmetrical V-shaped notches formed at upper and lower surfaces of the plane portion.

5. The model according to claim 1, further comprising: one or more connection rods having an elongated bar shape and formed with protuberances at both ends thereof, the protuberances having the same shape as the end of each coupling protrusion of the spherical pieces to be inserted into the selected coupling recesses of two spherical pieces, respectively, for the connection of the two spherical pieces.

6. The model according to claim 5, wherein each protuberance has a semi-spherical shape, and is externally formed with an annular locking groove corresponding to the raised locking portion formed at an inner circumference of the associated coupling recess of-the spherical piece.

7. The model according to claim 6, wherein the protuberance has a slit communicating with the locking groove.

8. The model according to claim 5, wherein the connection rod has a pleated flexible portion formed at a center portion thereof.

9. The model according to claim 1, further comprising: one or more connection pipes each configured to allow the selected coupling protrusions of two spherical pieces to be inserted into both ends thereof, respectively, for the connection of the two spherical pieces.

10. The model according to claim 9, wherein each connection pipe comprises a pair of raised locking portions formed at an inner circumference thereof at positions of both the ends thereof, each locking portion corresponding to the locking groove formed at the outer circumference of the associated coupling protrusion of the spherical piece.

11. The model according to claim 10, wherein the connection pipe further comprises a pleated flexible portion formed at a center portion thereof.

12. The model according to claim 9, further comprising: one or more connectors each comprising protuberances formed at both ends thereof and having the same shape as the end of each coupling protrusion of the spherical pieces, and an annular raised stopper formed at a center portion thereof, thereby being used for the connection of the adjacent spherical pieces as well as for the connection of the adjacent connection pipes.

13. The model according to claim 12, wherein each connector further comprises: a pair of annular first locking grooves formed at opposite sides of the stopper, each first locking groove corresponding to the raised locking portion formed at the inner circumference of the associated coupling recess of the spherical piece; and a pair of annular second locking grooves formed between the stopper and the respective first locking grooves, each second locking groove corresponding to the raised locking portion formed at the inner circumference of the connection pipe.

14. The model according to claim 13, wherein the connector further comprises slits communicating with the first locking grooves.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to a sectional three-dimensional model, and more particularly, to a sectional three-dimensional model, which can be assembled by use of an independent single shape of pieces without requiring several kinds of pieces having different shapes from one another, and achieve a three-dimensional connection of the pieces.

2. Description of the Related Art

Generally, sectional three-dimensional models are assembled to have a desired shape by combining a plurality of kinds of pieces having different shapes from one another. The sectional three-dimension models are utilized mainly as educational toys for infants and children.

Currently commercialized three-dimensional models, however, have a problem in that the assembling of a model requires to combine a plurality of pieces having different shapes from one another, and therefore, may be impossible when losing only a part of the pieces.

In particular, since the sectional models are intended to be used by infants and children lacking in the concept of proper arrangement, the models are easy to fail to fulfill their assembling function due to the loss of their constituent pieces. Disposal of these sectional models, which are no longer useful, results in economical waste.

Another problem of conventional sectional models is in that they are assembled mainly by adopting a two-dimensional connection, and therefore, it is impossible to assemble a model having a specific shape requiring a three-dimensional connection, such as for example, a regular or rectangular hexahedral model having a corner portion.

More particularly, in the case of conventional sectional models adapted to be assembled by use of a two-dimensional connection including an X-axis and Y-axis, they have a limit to obtain a hexahedral shape including a right-angled corner portion because the corner portion requires a Z-axis perpendicular to the X-axis and Y-axis.

In conclusion, conventional sectional models are easy to fail to fulfill their functions even when losing only a part of their constituent pieces because they have a necessity for combining several kinds of pieces having different shapes from one another, and have a no ability to obtain various shapes of models including a model, which requires a three-dimensional connection, such as a hexahedron, etc., because it has only a two-dimensional connection.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Therefore, the present invention has been made in view of the above problems, and it is an object of the present invention to provide a sectional three-dimensional model, which can be assembled by use of an independent single shape of pieces without requiring several kinds of pieces having different shapes from one another, and achieve a three-dimensional connection of the pieces.

It is another object of the present invention to provide a sectional three-dimensional model, which includes a plurality of spherical pieces and length-adjustable connectors for the spherical pieces, thereby achieving a free connection between straight and curved portions as well as easy regulation in distance between the spherical pieces.

It is a further object of the present invention to provide a sectional three-dimensional model, which can be assembled via the coupling of a recess and protrusion while preventing the protrusion from being inserted incompletely into the recess due to a pneumatic pressure applied into the recess.

It is yet another object of the present invention to provide a sectional three-dimensional model, which can be assembled via the coupling of a recess and protrusion without the risk of unintentional separation of the protrusion from the recess.

In accordance with an aspect of the present invention, the above and other objects can be accomplished by the provision of a sectional three-dimensional model comprising: a plurality of spherical pieces, each spherical piece comprising a pair of coupling recesses symmetrically formed in the spherical piece along a center axis of the spherical piece, and a plurality of coupling protrusions integrally formed at an outer surface of the spherical piece to be arranged in directions perpendicular to the coupling recesses, thereby allowing the plurality of spherical pieces to be connected to one another via insertion of the coupling protrusions into the coupling recesses.

Preferably, each coupling protrusion of the spherical pieces, which has a circular cross section, may comprise: a semi-spherical end; an annular locking groove formed at an outer circumference thereof to correspond to a raised locking portion formed at an inner circumference of an associated one of the coupling recesses; and a stopper formed at a rear side of the locking groove.

Preferably, each coupling protrusion may be-provided at a root thereof with a notch piece.

Preferably, the notch piece may comprise: a plane portion having a quadrilateral cross section provided at the root of the coupling protrusion; and a pair of symmetrical V-shaped notches formed at upper and lower surfaces of the plane portion.

Preferably, the sectional three-dimensional model may further comprise: one or more connection rods having an elongated bar shape and formed with protuberances at both ends thereof, the protuberances having the same shape as the end of each coupling protrusion of the spherical pieces to be inserted into the selected coupling recesses of two spherical pieces, respectively, for the connection of the two spherical pieces.

Preferably, each protuberance may have a semi-spherical shape, and may be externally formed with an annular locking groove corresponding to the raised locking portion formed at the inner circumference of the associated coupling recess of the spherical piece.

Preferably, the protuberance may have a slit communicating with the locking groove.

Preferably, the connection rod may have a pleated flexible portion formed at a center portion thereof.

Preferably, the sectional three-dimensional model may further comprise: one or more connection pipes each configured to allow the selected coupling protrusions of two spherical pieces to be inserted into both ends thereof, respectively, for the connection of the two spherical pieces.

Preferably, each connection pipe may comprise a pair of raised locking portions formed at an inner circumference thereof at positions of both the ends thereof, each locking portion corresponding to the locking groove formed at the outer circumference of the associated coupling protrusion of the spherical piece.

Preferably, the connection pipe may further comprise a pleated flexible portion formed at a center portion thereof.

Preferably, the sectional three-dimensional model may further comprise: one or more connectors each comprising protuberances formed at both ends thereof and having the same shape as the end of each coupling protrusion of the spherical pieces, and an annular raised stopper formed at a center portion thereof, thereby being used for the connection of the adjacent spherical pieces as well as for the connection of the adjacent connection pipes.

Preferably, each connector may further comprise: a pair of annular first locking grooves formed at opposite sides of the stopper, each first locking groove corresponding to the raised locking portion formed at the inner circumference of the associated coupling recess of the spherical piece; and a pair of annular second locking grooves formed between the stopper and the respective first locking grooves, each second locking groove corresponding to the raised locking portion formed at the inner circumference of the connection pipe.

Preferably, the connector may further comprise slits communicating with the first locking grooves.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The above and other objects, features and other advantages of the present invention will be more clearly understood from the following detailed description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view illustrating one piece of a sectional three-dimensional model according to a first embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a sectional view illustrating the coupling of two pieces of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a perspective view illustrating the assembled state of a plurality of pieces of FIG. 1;

FIGS. 4 to 8 are plan views illustrating different alternative examples of FIG. 1;

FIG. 9 is a perspective view illustrating a connection pipe according to a second embodiment of the present invention, which is partially cut-away;

FIGS. 10A to 10C illustrate a connection rod according to a third embodiment of the present invention, FIG. 10A being a front view, FIG. 10B being an enlarged view of the circle “A” of FIG. 10A, and FIG. 10C being a sectional view taken along the line B-B of FIG. 10B;

FIG. 11 is a sectional view illustrating the coupling of the connection pipe and connection rod of the second and third embodiments of the present invention relative to the piece of the first embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 12 is a perspective view illustrating the assembled state of the connection pipe of the second embodiment of the present invention and the piece of the first embodiment of the present invention; and

FIGS. 13A to 13C illustrate a connector according to a fourth embodiment of the present invention, FIG. 13A being a front view, FIG. 13B being a sectional view of one use example, and FIG. 13C being a sectional view of another use example.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Now, the configuration of a sectional three-dimensional model according to preferred embodiments of the present invention will be explained in detail with reference to the accompanying drawings.

FIG. 1 is a perspective view illustrating one piece of a sectional three-dimensional model according to a first embodiment of the present invention.

As shown in FIG. 1, the sectional three-dimensional model according to the first embodiment of the present invention includes a plurality of spherical pieces 10, and each spherical piece 10 has a pair of coupling recesses 11 and a plurality of coupling protrusions 12. The pair of coupling recesses 11 are symmetrically formed in the spherical piece 10 along the center axis of the spherical piece 10, and the plurality of coupling protrusions 12 are arranged in directions perpendicular to the coupling recesses 11. With this configuration, as the coupling protrusions 12 of one spherical piece 10 are selectively inserted into the coupling recesses 11 of another spherical piece 10, two or more spherical pieces 10 can be connected to one another.

Each coupling recess 11 of the spherical piece 10 has a semi-spherically dented bottom, and correspondingly, each coupling protrusion 12 has a semi-spherically protruded end. The coupling protrusion 12 is shaped to have a circular cross section.

To allow each coupling protrusion 12 of one spherical piece 10 to be inserted into the corresponding coupling recess 11 of another spherical piece 10 without the risk of unintentional separation, the coupling recess 11 is formed at an inner circumference thereof with an annular raised locking portion 11a, and correspondingly, the coupling protrusion 12 is formed at an outer circumference thereof with an annular locking groove 12a for the engagement of the raised locking protrusion 11a. Also, to prevent the raised locking protrusion 11a from being pushed inward beyond the locking groove 12a upon receiving an excessive pushing force, the coupling protrusion 12 is formed at a rear side of the locking groove 12a with a stopper 12b.

In addition, to guarantee flexible bending of the coupling protrusions 12 of the spherical piece 10, the spherical piece 10 has notch pieces 13 integrally formed at respective roots of the coupling protrusions 12. Each notch piece 13 includes a plane portion 13a having a quadrilateral cross section and a pair of symmetrical V-shaped notches 13b formed at upper and lower surfaces of the plane portion 13a.

FIG. 2 is a sectional view illustrating the coupling of two pieces of FIG. 1.

As shown in FIG. 2, in the first embodiment of the present invention, a plurality of spherical pieces 10 can be successively connected to assemble a sectional model as the coupling protrusions 12 of one spherical piece 10 are selectively inserted into the coupling recesses 11 of another two or more spherical pieces 10. In this assembling manner, it should be noted that the sectional model of the present embodiment can be assembled by use of a single shape of pieces, and a pair of the coupling recesses 11 or coupling protrusions 12 are perpendicular to a pair of the coupling protrusions 12 or coupling recesses 11, thereby enabling the assembling of a three-dimensional model including a three-dimensional connection.

Specifically, differently from conventional models assembled by a planar connection including an X-axis and Y-axis, the model of the present invention further includes a Z-axis perpendicular to the X-axis and Y-axis as a result of arranging the coupling recesses 11 perpendicular to the coupling protrusions 12, thereby realizing a three-dimensional connection as shown in FIG. 3. Such a configuration is particularly advantageous to assemble a three-dimensional model requiring a three-dimensional connection including the X-, Y- and Z-axes, for example, a corner portion of a regular or rectangular hexahedron, etc.

In addition to realize the above mentioned hexahedral shape, the sectional model of the present invention can achieve a variety of three-dimensional shapes by changing the number of the coupling protrusions 12 of each spherical piece 10 as shown in FIGS. 4 to 8. For example, each spherical piece 10 is externally provided, perpendicular to the coupling recesses 11, with three coupling protrusions 12 equidistantly arranged by a distance of 120 degrees as shown in FIG. 4, with four coupling protrusions 12 equidistantly arranged by a distance of 90 degrees as shown in FIG. 5, with five coupling protrusions 12 equidistantly arranged by a distance of 72 degrees as shown in FIG. 6, with six coupling protrusions 12 equidistantly arranged by a distance of 60 degrees as shown in FIG. 7, or with eight coupling protrusions 12 equidistantly arranged by a distance of 45 degrees as shown in FIG. 8.

Meanwhile, although the model of the present invention can be assembled by use of a single shape of pieces, additional pieces as shown in FIGS. 9 and 10A to 10C may be used to guarantee more proper use of the spherical pieces 10 of the first embodiment in a case where it is desired to increase distances between the spherical pieces.

FIG. 9 is a perspective view illustrating a connection pipe according to a second embodiment of the present invention, which is partially cut-away. The connection pipe 30 has an inner diameter suitable to be fitted around the coupling protrusion 12 of the spherical piece 10. The connection pipe 30 is internally formed at opposite ends thereof with a pair of annular raised locking portions 30a each corresponding to the locking groove 12a of the associated coupling protrusion 12.

The connection pipe 30 has a pleated flexible portion 30b formed at approximately the center portion thereof. Providing the connection pipe 30 with the flexible portion 30b allows free bending of the connection pipe 30, and thus, is advantageous to assemble a curved model. Furthermore, the connection pipe 30 having the flexible portion 30b is length adjustable. Accordingly, for example, the length adjustable connection pipe 30 can be used to constitute a longer length side of a right-angled triangle connecting the remaining two same length sides of the triangle perpendicular to each other. As a result, there is an advantage in that a single connection pipe efficiently deals with an increased distance between two pieces to be connected to each other, without requiring a plurality of connection pipes having different lengths from one another.

FIGS. 10A to 10C illustrate a connection rod according to a third embodiment of the present invention, FIG. 10A being a front view, FIG. 10B being an enlarged view of the circle “A” of FIG. 10A, and FIG. 10C being a sectional view taken along the line B-B of FIG. 10B.

As shown in FIGS. 10A to 10C, the connection rod 20 is shaped as an elongated bar having a circular cross section. The connection rod 20 has protuberances 21 formed at opposite ends thereof. Each protuberance 21 has the same semi-spherical shape as the end of the coupling protrusion 12 of the spherical pieces 10, so as to be inserted into the coupling recess 11 of the spherical piece 10. To allow the protuberance 21 of the connection rod 20 to be inserted into the coupling recess 11 of the spherical piece 10 without the risk of unintentional separation thereof, the protuberance 21 is formed with an annular locking groove 21a for the engagement of the raised locking portion 11a formed at the inner circumference of the associated coupling recess 11 of the spherical piece 10.

In addition, the protuberance 21 is also formed with a slit 22 communicating with the locking groove 21a. When the protuberance 21 of the connection rod 20 is inserted into the coupling recess 11 of the spherical piece 10 as stated above, the slit 22 serves to eliminate an insertion trouble due to a pneumatic pressure present in the coupling recess 11 of the spherical piece 10.

Similar to the above mentioned connection pipe 30, the connection rod 20 has a pleated flexible portion 23 formed at approximately the center portion thereof. Providing the connection rod 20 with the flexible portion 23 allows free bending of the connection rod 20, and thus, is advantageous to assemble a curved model. Furthermore, the connection rod 20 having the flexible portion 23 is length adjustable. Accordingly, for example, the length adjustable connection rod 20 can be used to constitute a longer length side of a right-angled triangle connecting the remaining two same length sides of the triangle perpendicular to each other. As a result, there is an advantage in that a single connection pipe efficiently deals with an increased distance between two pieces to be connected to each other, without requiring a plurality of connection pipes having different lengths from one another.

As shown in FIGS. 11 and 12, in a case where the connection pipe 30 is fitted around a selected one of the coupling protrusions 12 of the spherical piece 10 and the connection rod 20 is inserted into the coupling recess 11 perpendicular to the selected coupling protrusion 12 of the spherical piece 10, the connection pipe 30, connection rod 20 and spherical piece 10 can realize a three-dimensional connection.

After completing the above described insertion, furthermore, the raised locking portion 30a formed at the inner surface of the connection pipe 30 is engaged with the locking groove 12a formed at the outer surface of the coupling protrusion 12 of the spherical piece 10, and the locking groove 21a formed at the outer surface of the connection rod 20 is engaged with the raised locking protrusion 11a formed at the inner circumference of the coupling recess 11 of the spherical piece 10. Therefore, there is no risk of unintentional separation of the connection pipe 30 and connection rod 20 by an external force. Since both the connection pipe 30 and connection rod 20 have the flexible portions 30b and 23 at their approximately the center portions, moreover, there is an advantage in that various shapes of three-dimensional models including both straight and curved portions can be assembled.

FIGS. 13A to 13C illustrate a connector according to a fourth embodiment of the present invention, and FIG. 13A is a front view of the connector.

The connector 40 of the present embodiment may be used to connect two spherical pieces 10 to each other as shown in FIG. 13B, or may be used to connect two connection pipes 30 to each other as shown in FIG. 13C. For this, the connector 40 has protuberances 41 formed at both ends thereof and having the same shape as the end of the coupling protrusion 12 of the spherical piece 10, and an annular raised stopper 42 formed at the center thereof.

A pair of annular first locking grooves 43 are formed at opposite sides of the stopper 42 close to the respective protuberances 41, and also, a pair of annular second locking grooves 44 are formed between the stopper 42 and the respective first locking grooves 43. Each first locking groove 43 is configured to engage with the raised locking portion 11a formed at the inner circumference of the coupling recess 11 of the spherical piece 10, and each second locking groove 44 is configured to engage with the raised locking portion 30a formed at the inner surface of the connection pipe 30.

Similar to the connection rod 20, the protuberance 41 is formed with a slit 41a communicating with the first locking groove 43a. When the protuberance 41 of the connector 40 is inserted into the coupling recess 11 of the spherical piece 10, the slit 41a serves to eliminate an insertion trouble due to a pneumatic pressure present in the coupling recess 11 of the spherical piece 10.

With the above described configuration, as shown in FIG. 13B, the connector 40 may be used to connect the two spherical pieces 10 to each other as the first locking grooves 43 thereof are engaged with the raised locking portions 11a formed at the inner circumference of the coupling recesses 11 of the two spherical pieces 10. Also, as shown in FIG. 13C, the connector 40 may be used to connect the two connection pipes 30 to each other as the second locking grooves 44 thereof are engaged with the raised locking portions 30a formed at the inner surfaces of the two connection pipes 30. In the latter use example, the two connection pipes 30 are connected and assembled to each other such that they face each other about the stopper 42 of the connector 40.

As apparent from the above description, according to the present invention, a sectional three-dimensional model can be assembled by use of a single kind of pieces having the same shape as one another, differently from conventional sectional models which are assembled by combining various kinds of pieces having different shapes from one another. With this assembling manner, even if a part of constituent pieces of a model is disappeared, the model has no risk of failing to fulfill its function. Also, since the model of the present invention includes a plurality of spherical pieces each having at least one coupling protrusion and at least one coupling recess perpendicular to each other, the present invention has the effect of assembling various shapes of three-dimensional models by virtue of a three-dimensional connection realized by the coupling of the protrusion and recess perpendicular to each other.

Further, according to the present invention, length adjustable connection pipe and connection rod having center flexible portions can be combined with each spherical piece of the model. This guarantees not only free change in the distance between the spherical pieces suitable to realize a proper assembly, but also simplicity in the assembling of the model by virtue of easy connection of straight and curved portions obtained from the bending of the flexible portions.

Furthermore, the connection rod of the present invention is formed with slits adjacent to protuberances thereof. When the protuberance of the connection rod are inserted into the recesses of the spherical piece, the slits allow a pneumatic pressure applied to the interior of the recesses to be transferred to the outside of the recesses. This has the effect of facilitating easy insertion of the protuberances into the recesses.

Finally, by providing the coupling recess and coupling protrusion of the spherical piece with locking means, the coupling protrusion can be strongly inserted into the coupling recess without the risk of unintentional separation from the recess, thereby achieving an improvement in stability of the assembled model.

Although the preferred embodiments of the present invention have been disclosed for illustrative purposes, those skilled in the art will appreciate that various modifications, additions and substitutions are possible, without departing from the scope and spirit of the invention as disclosed in the accompanying claims.





 
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