Title:
Suspension Structure and Model Vehicle
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A suspension structure that is easily processed and assembled, and by which production cost of the suspension structure can be reduced. A suspension structure (1) is installed at the inner bottom surface of a vehicle body (71). A bar-like member (20) is formed of a steel wire and has predetermined torsional elasticity. At both ends of the bar-like member (20), the steel wire is bent into an annular shape to form a first annular section (21) and a second annular section (22). The first annular section (21) is fixed to a projection section (75) on the inner bottom surface of the vehicle body (71). A pivot shaft (30) is attached to the second annular section (22). A swing arm (50) is attached to the other end side of the pivot shaft (30), and the swing arm (50) pivots together with the pivot shaft (30) in the range that the torsional elasticity of the bar-like member (20) allows.



Inventors:
Araki, Shigeki (Shizuoka, JP)
Application Number:
10/587484
Publication Date:
04/24/2008
Filing Date:
01/27/2005
Assignee:
TAMIYA, INC. (Shizuoka-shi, JP)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63H17/26; A63H17/045; A63H17/14; A63H17/267
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
YOUNG, SCOTT E
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
WENDEROTH, LIND & PONACK, L.L.P. (Washington, DC, US)
Claims:
1. 1-11. (canceled)

12. A suspension structure for use in a model vehicle, comprising: a bar-like member having torsional elasticity; a securing section that secures one end of said bar-like member to a vehicle body of said model vehicle; a pivot shaft attached to the other end of said bar-like member; a swing arm attached at a proximal end thereof to said pivot shaft; and a wheel attached to a distal end of said swing arm.

13. A suspension structure according to claim 12, wherein a first annular section is formed at one end of said bar-like member, said securing section being a projection section projecting from said vehicle body, said first annular section being fitted to said projection section, thereby securing the one end of said bar-like member to said vehicle body.

14. A suspension structure according to claim 12, wherein said pivot shaft has a slit into which the other end of said bar-like member is inserted.

15. A suspension structure according to claim 14, wherein said bar-like member has at the other end thereof a second annular section that is inserted into said slit.

16. A suspension structure according to claim 15, further comprising: a securing ring that prevents said second annular section inserted into said slit from falling out of said slit.

17. A suspension structure according to claim 16, wherein said pivot shaft has a projection that prevents said securing ring from falling off a distal end of said pivot shaft.

18. A suspension structure according to claim 16, further comprising: a securing ring retainer that slidably supports said securing ring with respect to said vehicle body.

19. A suspension structure according to claim 18, wherein said securing ring retainer has a curved surface that abuts against said securing ring.

20. A suspension structure according to claim 16, further comprising; a restraining section that restrains said securing ring from moving axially of said pivot shaft.

21. A model vehicle having said suspension structure according to claim 12.

22. A model vehicle according to claim 21, having said suspension structure for a right wheel and said suspension structure for a left wheel, wherein said suspension structure for a right wheel and said suspension structure for a left wheel are disposed alternately.

Description:

TECHNICAL FIELD

The present invention relates to a suspension structure for use in a model vehicle. More particularly, the present invention relates to a suspension structure having a torsion bar for use in a model tank.

BACKGROUND ART

A conventional model tank suspension structure utilizes the torsional elasticity of a plate spring that is fitted to a pivot shaft of a swing arm.

FIGS. 7 to 9 show a conventional model tank having such a suspension structure. FIG. 7 is a structural side view of a conventional model tank. The vehicle body of a model tank 100 is equipped with tracks, sprocket wheels, road wheels, etc., which are not shown in FIG. 7. The road wheels are attached to the inner surface of the vehicle body bottom 101 through a suspension structure.

The suspension structure 102 is shown in FIGS. 8 and 9. Plate spring securing members 103 each formed into an L-shaped sectional configuration by sheet metal working are disposed parallel to each other and secured to the vehicle body bottom 101. A plurality of metallic plate springs 105 are attached to the plate spring securing members 103 through respective openings provided in the plate spring securing members 103. One end of each plate spring 105 is inserted into a slit of a pivot shaft 106. It should be noted that the other ends of the plate springs 105 are restrained from moving axially by respective stoppers 109 formed on the plate spring securing members 103.

A swing arm 108 is attached to the other end of each pivot shaft 106. A road wheel (not shown) is attached to the distal end of the swing arm 108.

If a force is applied to a road wheel upward from below, the associated swing arm 108 pivots, causing the associated plate spring to be twisted as shown by the plate spring 105′. Consequently, the swing arm 108′ rotates to absorb the force.

DISCLOSURE OF THE INVENTION

Problem to be Solved by the Invention

The conventional suspension structure 102 involves a complicated manufacturing process and takes time and labor to process and assemble the components because the plate spring securing members 103 are made by sheet metal working, and hence suffers from an increase in production cost.

An object of the present invention is to provide a suspension structure for use in a model vehicle that is easy to process and assemble and hence capable of reducing the production cost and also provide a model vehicle.

Means for Solving the Problem

To solve the above-described problem, the invention set forth in claim 1 provides a suspension structure 1 for use in a model vehicle. The suspension structure 1 includes a bar-like member 20 having torsional elasticity, a securing section 75 that secures one end of the bar-like member 20 to a vehicle body 71 of the model vehicle, a pivot shaft 30 attached to the other end of the bar-like member 20, a swing arm 50 attached at the proximal end thereof to the pivot shaft 30, and a wheel (road wheel) 74 attached to the distal end of the swing arm 50.

According to the invention set forth in claim 2, a first annular section 21 is formed at one end of the bar-like member 20. The securing section 75 is a circular columnar projection section 75 projecting from the vehicle body 71. The first annular section 21 is fitted to the projection section 75, thereby securing one end of the bar-like member 20 to the vehicle body 71. According to the invention set forth in claim 3, the pivot shaft 30 has a slit 32 into which the other end of the bar-like member 20 is inserted.

According to the invention set forth in claim 4, the bar-like member 20 has at the other end thereof a second annular section 22 that is inserted into the slit 32. According to the invention set forth in claim 5, the suspension structure 1 further includes a securing ring 40 that prevents the second annular section 22 inserted into the slit 32 from falling out of the slit 32.

According to the invention set forth in claim 6, the pivot shaft 30 has a projection (ridge) 31 that prevents the securing ring 40 from falling off the distal end of the pivot shaft 30. According to the invention set forth in claim 7, the suspension structure 1 further includes a securing ring retainer 77 that slidably supports the securing ring 40 with respect to the vehicle body 71.

According to the invention set forth in claim 8, the securing ring retainer 77 has a curved surface that abuts against the securing ring 40. According to the invention set forth in claim 9, the suspension structure 1 further includes a restraining section 76 that restrains the securing ring 40 from moving axially of the pivot shaft 30.

The invention set forth in claim 10 provides a model vehicle 70 having the suspension structure 1. According to the invention set forth in claim 11, the model vehicle 70 has the suspension structure 1 for a right wheel and the suspension structure 1 for a left wheel. The suspension structure 1 for a right wheel and the suspension structure 1 for a left wheel are disposed alternately.

Effects of the Invention

The suspension structure and the model vehicle according to the present invention are easy to process and assemble because the component configuration is simple, and hence enable the production cost to be reduced. Unlike the conventional practice, the present invention dispenses with plate springs and press forming dies for forming securing members, which leads to an initial cost reduction.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a side view of a model tank having a suspension structure according to the present invention.

FIG. 2 is an exploded perspective view of the suspension structure according to the present invention.

FIG. 3 is an exploded side view of the suspension structure according to the present invention.

FIG. 4 is a top view showing a state where a bar-like member is attached to the bottom of a vehicle body.

FIG. 5 is a perspective view showing the suspension structure according to the present invention that has been assembled.

FIG. 6 is a plan view showing the assembled state of the suspension structure according to the present invention.

FIG. 7 is a structural side view of a conventional model tank.

FIG. 8 is a plan view of a suspension structure used in the model tank shown in FIG. 7.

FIG. 9 is a perspective view of the suspension structure shown in FIG. 8.

EXPLANATION OF REFERENCE NUMERALS

1: suspension structure

20: bar-like member

21: first annular section

22: second annular section

30: pivot shaft

31: ridge

32: slit

40: securing ring

50: swing arm

60: securing member

70: model tank

71: vehicle body

74: road wheel

75: projection section

77: securing ring retainer

78: restraining section

BEST MODE FOR CARRYING OUT THE INVENTION

An embodiment of the suspension structure and the model vehicle according to the present invention will be explained below with reference to FIGS. 1 to 6. Although in this embodiment the suspension structure is applied to the suspension of a model tank, the present invention is not necessarily limited to model tanks but is also applicable to other model vehicles such as tracked vehicles and automobiles.

FIG. 1 is a side view of a model tank 70 to which the present invention is applied. The model tank 70 is modeled after “Leopard 2”. The model tank 70 has a vehicle body 71, a turret 72 rotatably provided on the top of the vehicle body 71, and a gun 73 vertically movably provided on the turret 72. A plurality of road wheels 74 are provided on each side of the vehicle body 71. The suspension structure 1 according to the present invention supports each road wheel 74 vertically movably to serve as a suspension for the road wheel 74.

In the following FIGS. 2 and 4 to 6, the vehicle body 71 is shown only at a part thereof in the vicinity of the suspension structure 1. FIG. 2 is an exploded perspective view of the suspension structure 1. The suspension structure 1 according to the present invention is attached to the inner bottom surface of the vehicle body 71, which is made of a resin. A bar-like member (torsion bar) 20 is formed of a steel wire and has predetermined torsional elasticity. At both ends of the bar-like member 20, the steel wire is bent into an annular shape to form a first annular section 21 and a second annular section 22. A pivot shaft 30 is cylindrical and attached to the second annular section 22. The pivot shaft 30 is formed at one end thereof with a slit 32 into which the second annular section 22 is inserted. The second annular section 22 is secured to the pivot shaft 30 by inserting the second annular section 22 into the slit 32 from one end of the pivot shaft 30.

With the second annular section 22 inserted into the slit 32 from one end of the pivot shaft 30, a metallic securing ring 40 is attached to the pivot shaft 30. The securing ring 40 prevents the second annular section 22 from falling out of the slit 32. The pivot shaft 30 has at one end thereof a ridge 31 provided over the entire circumference to prevent the securing ring 40 from falling off the end of the pivot shaft 30 at which the slit 32 is provided. The ridge 31 abuts against the securing ring 40 to prevent falling off of the securing ring 40. A swing arm 50 is attached at the proximal end thereof to the other end of the pivot shaft 30 so as to pivot within a predetermined range together with the pivot shaft 30. A road wheel 74 (not shown) is rotatably attached to the distal end of the swing arm 50. One side of the vehicle body 71 is formed with a tubular opening 76 that accommodates the pivot shaft 30.

The inner bottom surface of the vehicle body 71, which is made of a resin, is integrally formed with a circular columnar projection section 75 projecting upward from the bottom surface. The outer diameter of the projection section 75 is substantially the same as the inner diameter of the first annular section 21, so that the first annular section 21 is fittable to the projection section 75. In a state where the first annular section 21 is fitted to the projection section 75, a securing member 60 is attached to the distal end of the projection section 75 to prevent falling off of the first annular section 21. The securing member 60 is brought into abutment against the first annular section 21 and secured to the projection section 75 with a screw (not shown). Thus, the first annular section 21 side of the bar-like member 20 is secured to the vehicle body 71.

FIG. 4 is a plan view showing a state where one end of the bar-like member 20 is attached to the inner bottom surface of the vehicle body 71. A part of the vehicle body 71 in the vicinity of the tubular opening 76 is integrally formed with a securing ring retainer 77 projecting upward from the vehicle body 71 and having a curved surface that abuts against a curved surface of the securing ring 40. As shown in FIG. 6, the securing ring 40 is slidably supported by the securing ring retainer 77. In addition, a restraining section (restraining wall) 78 is integrally formed with the vehicle body 71 so as to extend perpendicular to both side surfaces of the securing ring retainer 77, i.e. the axial direction of the pivot shaft 30, and abut against the lower portions of both side surfaces of the securing ring 40 to restrain the securing ring 40 from moving axially of the pivot shaft 30.

FIGS. 5 and 6 show the above-described suspension structure 1 installed on the bottom of the vehicle body 71. The swing arm 50 is attached to the bar-like member 20 through the pivot shaft 30. The swing arm 50 is rotatable within a range allowed by the torsional elasticity of the bar-like member 20. Although not shown in either of FIGS. 5 and 6, if the road wheel 74 rides over an obstacle during traveling of the model tank, an upward force is applied to the road wheel 74. The force causes the distal end of the swing arm 50 to move upward. That is, the pivot shaft 30 rotates about the bar-like member 20 as an axis of rotation. Consequently, the bar-like member 20 is twisted because one end thereof is fixed to the bottom of the vehicle body 71, thereby absorbing the force applied to the road wheel 74. When the road wheel 74 has passed the obstacle, the applied force disappears. As a result, the bar-like member 20 is deformed so as to untwist, causing the pivot shaft 30 and the swing arm 50 to rotate in the opposite direction to the above. Thus, the road wheel 74 moves downward.

It should be noted that the suspension structure 1 according to the present invention is attached to all the road wheels 74 of the model tank 70 shown in FIG. 1. That is, suspension structures 1 for road wheels 74 attached to the right side of the vehicle body 71 and those for road wheels 74 attached to the left side of the vehicle body 71 are installed on the inner bottom surface of the vehicle body 71 alternately and parallel to each other, although not shown in the figures.