Title:
Hexagonal-cell inflated watercraft
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
In inflatable watercraft made of recyclable materials is presented, where the interior structure of the watercraft is a honeycomb of plastic cells, each with an inflation hole. The board can be made lighter than air, or made of transparent material, and requires a minimum amount of molding.



Inventors:
Brown, Eric E. (Oceanside, CA, US)
Stephens, Karen C. (Oceanside, CA, US)
Stephens, Willy (Oceanside, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/495864
Publication Date:
01/17/2008
Filing Date:
07/28/2006
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
441/74
International Classes:
B63B35/58
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
SWINEHART, EDWIN L
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
STEVEN W. WEBB (Oceanside, CA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A hexagonal cell inflated watercraft, said watercraft comprised of a body, a top skin, and plurality of fins, the body comprised of a honeycomb of hexagonal cells, the honeycomb in a generally flat shape, the hexagonal cells each possessing sides one inch in length, each side of each hexagonal cell possessing an air hole, the body in the shape of a surfboard or a sailboard, the walls of the hexagonal cells of varying width depending on the strength requirements of different areas of the body, the body possessing an integral bottom skin that is molded in one piece with the honeycomb of hexagonal cells and covering the bottom surface of the honeycomb of hexagonal cells, the integral bottom skin possessing a plurality of one-way, snap-in slots capable of accepting fins, the body assembled by casting the honeycomb of hexagonal cells and the bottom skin in one piece of body material, the top skin comprised of body material and separately cast and attached to the upper surface of the honeycomb of hexagonal cells such that the upper surface is completely covered, the top skin possessing a plurality of sealable air holes, the hexagonal cell inflated watercraft capable of being inflated by means of pumping gas into the invention at one or more of the sealable air holes.

2. The hexagonal cell inflated watercraft of claim 1, where the body is comprised of either PET or PTEG plastic.

3. The hexagonal cell inflated watercraft of claim 1 where the number of sealable air holes is two, one at each end of the top skin.

Description:

RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application completes and extends Provisional Patent Application 60/808,845, filed May 30, 2006.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to boards and boats for recreational use, including surfboards and boogie boards. The invention also relates to lightweight construction, inflatable aquatic equipment, and composite construction.

OBJECTS OF THE INVENTION

It is an object of this invention to provide a design for a lightweight, rigid, inflatable watercraft.

It is an additional object of this invention to make the inflatable watercraft out of recycled and recyclable plastics, such as PTEG or PET, that are commonly available.

It is an additional object of this invention to provide an inflatable watercraft with hexagonal cellular construction that permits individual cells to be inflated with lighter-than air gases.

It is an additional object of this invention to provide one-way snap-on fins that are sealed with plastic after being snapped on to the watercraft.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 Top view of preferred embodiment

FIG. 2. Front cross-section view of the invention

FIG. 3. Top view of cell walls

FIG. 4. Perspective view of cell walls

FIG. 5. Top view of cell walls showing relative size

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

As shown in FIG. 1, this invention 100 consists of a plastic skin stretched over a board-shaped structure comprised of hexagonal cells 110, the cells 110 and the skin 101 manufactured from recyclable plastic, such as PET or PTEG. The skin is a maximum thickness of ⅛ inch at stress points, but may be substantially less on other parts. In FIGS. 1 and 2, it can be seen that the fins 103 are separately constructed and inserted in one-way, snap-in slots 104.

The invention 100 can be configured as a surfboard or boogie board, or as a sailboard or other flat aquacraft. The preferred embodiment is as a surfboard.

The honeycomb of hexagonal cells 110 will be molded as a single flat layer of cells, in one piece with the skin 101 forming the bottom surface of the board. The top skin 102 will then be vacuum-formed over the structure and heat-sealed or glued to the bottom assembly skin 101.

As seen in FIGS. 2 and 4, the cell walls 111 possess air holes 112 that allow the board to be filled with gas, including lighter-than-air gasses. The gas pressure is set at the two pressurization holes 115,116 set in the top of the nose and tail. The air holes 112 are made in the cells 110 after the bottom assembly is formed by means of heated punches penetrating the walls 111 of the cells 110.

Based on the desired strength and rigidity of sections of the board, the cell walls 111 can be of a variety of thicknesses, varying from place to place depending on strength demands. The skin 101,102 of the board can also vary in thickness depending on the strength requirements of individual board features. For example, the fin assemblies 103 and snap-in slots 104 will require stronger and therefore thicker plastic because of strength requirements, while the upper and lower surfaces can be relatively thin.

The size of the hexagonal cells 110 is illustrated in FIG. 5, relative to a typical human foot 120. As shown, cells 110 are typically two inches in diameter with a 1″ hexagon side. A typical board 100 would be between 5½ and 9½ feet in length with a width between 18 and 25 inches.

This invention has other applications, potentially, and one skilled in the art could discover these. The explication of the features of this invention does not limit the claims of this application; other applications developed by those skilled in the art will be included in this invention.