Title:
Paintball gun handle grip
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A paintball gun handle grip is provided. The grip may comprise left and right rigid members. Each of the left and right rigid members may define an interface surface having a cavity for receiving protrusions protruding out of a handle of a paintball gun. Outer surfaces of the left and right rigid members may define a joint member mounting surfaces. The joint member may be attached to the left and right rigid members at the joint member mounting surfaces via any attachment method known in the art or developed in the future.



Inventors:
Marques, John (Tustin, CA, US)
Corcino, Chris (Temecula, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/712166
Publication Date:
05/08/2008
Filing Date:
02/28/2007
Assignee:
P.R.D., INC.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
F41B11/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
WEBER, JONATHAN C
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
STETINA BRUNDA GARRED & BRUCKER (ALISO VIEJO, CA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A grip for a paintball gun handle to make the handle of the paintball gun aesthetically appealing and functionally gripable, the grip comprising: left and right rigid shells, each of the left and right rigid shells defining an interface surface and an outer surface, the interface surfaces having a cavity for receiving a protrusion protruding from left and right sides of the paintball gun handle, the outer surfaces of the left and right rigid members defining joint member mounting surfaces; a joint member defining left and right side portions and a flexible middle portion, the mounting surfaces of the joint member being mountable to the joint member mounting surfaces of the left and right rigid members; wherein the left and right rigid members and the joint member may be wrapped around a front surface of the paintball gun handle, the left and right rigid members may be mounted to left and right surfaces of the handle, respectively for providing an aesthetically appealing paintball gun handle grip and friction material interfacing the user's hand.

2. The grip of claim 1 wherein the joint member further comprises a left channel the disposed between the left side portion and the flexible middle portion, a right channel disposed between the right side portion and the flexible middle portion, the left and right channels relieving stress such that the flexible middle portion may be flush against the front surface of the handle when the left and right rigid members are mounted to the left and right surfaces of the handle.

3. The grip of claim 2 wherein the left and right channels have a V shaped configuration.

4. The grip of claim 2 wherein the joint member has a thickness of about ⅓ of a thickness of the flexible middle portion at the left and right channels.

5. The grip of claim 4 wherein the joint member has a thickness of about 1/16 of an inch at the left and right channels and a thickness of the flexible middle portion is about 3/16 of an inch.

6. The grip of claim 1 wherein the joint member is substantially only mounted to the mounting surfaces of the left and right rigid members.

7. The grip of claim 6 wherein nubs are formed on the mounting surfaces of the joint member, apertures sized and configured to interlock with the nubs are formed through the left and right rigid members, and the nubs are inserted through the apertures for mounting the joint member to the left and right rigid members.

8. The grip of claim 6 wherein the joint member is mounted to the mounting surfaces of the left and right rigid members with an adhesive, rivet, sonic welding, or nub/aperture combination.

9. The grip of claim 1 wherein the flexible middle portion comprises at least one sensory protrusion to provide a sense of feeling to the user with less pressure compared to a smooth flexible middle portion.

10. A method of forming a grip for a paintball gun handle, the method comprising the steps of: forming a joint member defining mounting surfaces and an exposed surface, the joint member exposed surface having intricate colored line art; forming left and right rigid members, each of the left and right rigid members defining an interface surface and an outer surface, the interface surfaces of the left and right rigid members having a cavity for receiving a protrusion of the paintball gun handle, the outer surface defining a mounting surface; after forming the joint member and the left and right rigid members, attaching the mounting surfaces of the joint member to the mounting surfaces of the left and right rigid members.

11. The method of claim 10 wherein the forming the joint member step is accomplished via a hot and cold mold process.

12. The method of claim 10 wherein the forming the left and right rigid members is accomplished via plastic injection molding.

13. The method of claim 10 wherein the attaching step is accomplished with a pressure sensitive adhesive.

14. The method of claim 10 wherein the attaching step is accomplished with a cold adhesive.

15. The method of claim 10 wherein the attaching step is accomplished with a hot adhesive.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims the benefits of U.S. provisional patent application Ser. No. 60/856,260, filed Nov. 2, 2006.

STATEMENT RE: FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH/DEVELOPMENT

Not Applicable

BACKGROUND

The present invention relates to a paintball gun handle wraparound grip.

A typical gun handle may define a spine, left and right side surfaces, front surface and a base, as shown in FIG. 1. The handle may be sized to fit a human hand. A wraparound grip (see FIGS. 2 and 3) may be disposed around the handle of the paintball gun handle shown in FIG. 1 for increasing the aesthetic appeal of the paintball gun as well as to increase the friction between the user's hand and the handle such that the paintball gun does not fall out of the user's hand during a paintball game.

In the prior art, typically paintball gun handle grips are fabricated in two different methods. A first method is via a cold and hot molding process. In particular, a mold is fabricated in a plate such as an aluminum plate. The mold may have a cavity which may define the exposed surfaces of the grip. To form the grip via the cold and hot mold, a plastic material is liquefied and poured into the mold. The liquefied plastic is allowed to solidify or harden. The hardened plastic may then be removed from the cavity of the mold for further processing. A unique benefit to the hot and cold mold processing is that the exposed surface of the grip may have intricate colored line art as well as various raised artwork or undercut artwork. To add in various intricate colored line art, the bottom surface of the cavity may be formed with small channels. Prior to disposing the liquefied plastic in the cavity of the mold, colored plastic such as red, yellow, blue or any other colored plastic may be poured or disposed into the channel as desired. At this point, the cavity of the mold may have different colored plastic disposed into the channel formed in the bottom surface of the mold cavity. Thereafter, the liquefied plastic is disposed (i.e., poured) into the mold cavity and allowed to solidify. Simultaneously, the liquefied plastic fuses with the colored plastic. After the colored plastic and the liquefied plastic are fully cured or cooled, a malleable sheet (e.g., thin sheet metal) may be disposed on the resultant product. Thereafter, a clear coat plastic is poured over the sheet and into the mold and allowed to settle. During settling, the top surface (i.e., interface surface) of the clear coat liquefied plastic becomes flat. After the plastic has cooled, the resultant product (i.e., grip) is removed from the mold cavity. The prior art handle grip produces a high friction surface between the exposed surface of the grip and the user's hand. Also, the resulting prior art handle grip may have aesthetically pleasing multicolored line art, raised artwork and depressed artwork (see FIG. 2). One disadvantage of the cold and hot mold process is that the inner surface or interface surface of grip to the handle is always flat. The reason is that the liquefied plastic is always poured into the mold cavity and allowed to settle. The settling process levels the liquid material, and only thereafter, is the liquefied plastic allowed to harden. As a result of the interface surface being flat, paintball gun handles with protrusions on the left and right side surfaces of the handle (see FIG. 1) may not receive the handle grip formed via the cold and hot molding process.

The paintball gun handle grip formed via the cold and hot molding process may be received by paintball guns having handles with smooth or otherwise flat left and right surfaces of the handle.

In a second method of forming the handle grip for a paintball gun, left and right grip portions may be provided. The left and right grip portions may define interface surfaces, as shown in FIG. 4. These interface surfaces may be formed with recesses. The left and right grip portions are inserted into a plastic injection molding machine. After the left and right grip portions are inserted into the plastic injection molding machine, liquefied plastic is injected into the mold and surrounds the left and right grip portions thereby fusing the left and right grip portions to the injected plastic. The liquefied plastic does not cover the recesses, as shown in FIG. 4.

As such, one benefit of the plastic injection molding process is that the interface surface of the handle grip may be formed with cavities or protrusions or curves to fit the shape and other deformities in the left and right surfaces of the handle of the paintball gun. Accordingly, handle grips formed via the injection molding process may be fitted onto handles with protrusions as shown in FIG. 1. Unfortunately, the plastic injection molding process does not permit the exposed surface of the handle grip to have intricate multicolored line art to the extent possible via the hot and cold molding process discussed above.

In summary, in the prior art, the hot and cold molding process permits the handle grip (see FIG. 2) to have intricate multicolored line art to make the handle grip aesthetically pleasing to the user. Unfortunately, the hot and cold molding process inherently forms a flat interface surface which does not allow such handle grip to be mounted onto paintball gun handles having protrusions. The reason is that forming cavities or recesses in the interface surface of such handle grip may be difficult or impossible. Conversely, handle grips (see FIGS. 3 and 4) formed via the plastic injection molding process allows the interface surface of the handle grip to have various curvatures and cavities, but does not allow the exposed surface of the handle grip to have intricate multicolored line art. Accordingly, there is a need in the art for a handle grip for a paintball gun that both (1) permits the interface surface to have cavities and protrusions and curvatures so as to fit various shaped paintball gun handles and (2) allows the exposed surface of the handle grip to have intricate multicolored line art.

BRIEF SUMMARY

The present invention address the needs discussed above, discussed below, and those known in the art. In particular, a handle grip is provided wherein an interface surface thereof has a cavity for receiving a protrusion extending outward from a bare paintball gun handle as well as intricate multi colored line art formed on an outer surface of the handle grip. Accordingly, the handle grip may fit on a wide variety of paintball gun handles and may be fabricated to have an aesthetically appealing outer surface.

The handle grip may comprise left and right rigid members. The left and right rigid members may define an outer surface and an interface surface. The interface surfaces of the left and right rigid members may be formed with cavities, protrusions, curves, shapes and the like such that the left and right rigid members may be mounted on a bare handle of a paintball gun.

The left and right rigid members may be fabricated via plastic injection molding or other processes known in the art or developed in the future.

The handle grip may further comprise a joint member. The joint member may extend across both the left and right rigid members and be attached thereto. In particular, the left and right side portions of the joint member may be attached (e.g., adhesive, nuts, bolts, screws, interference lock, any attachment means known now or developed in the future) to the left and right rigid members. The joint member may be attached to the left and right rigid members such that the left and right rigid members are gapped away from each other. A middle portion of the joint member may be flexible and permit the handle grip to be wrapped around a bare handle of a paintball gun. The left and right edges of the middle portion may have channels such that the handle grip conforms to the bare handle of the paintball gun. The left rigid member may be attached to the left surface of the bare handle. The right rigid member may be attached to the right surface of the bare handle. The middle portion of the joint member may be disposed in front of the bare handle. The channels allow the left and right rigid members to be respectively attached to the left and right surfaces of the bar handle without the middle portion bowing outward. Rather, the middle portion remains snug against the front surface of the bare handle.

The joint member may be fabricated via a cold and hot molding process such that intricate colored line art may be formed on the outer surface of the handle grip. It is contemplated that other process known in the art or developed in the future may be utilized to fabricate the joint member.

In an aspect of the handle grip, the same may have sensory protrusions for providing a sense of feeling to the user when the user grasps the handle of the paintball gun.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

These and other features and advantages of the various embodiments disclosed herein will be better understood with respect to the following description and drawings, in which like numbers refer to like parts throughout, and in which:

FIG. 1 is a side view of a paintball gun with a bare handle, the bare handle having protrusions;

FIG. 2 is a side perspective view of a prior art handle grip fabricated via a cold and hot molding process, an exposed surface of the prior art handle grip having intricate multi colored line art;

FIG. 3 is a side perspective view of a prior art handle grip fabricated via plastic injection molding;

FIG. 4 is a laid out view of the prior art handle grip of FIG. 3 illustrating cavities on an interface surface for receiving protrusions formed on the bare handle of the paintball gun shown in FIG. 1;

FIG. 5 is an exploded view of a handle grip wherein an interface surface thereof has cavities for receiving a protrusion of the bare paintball gun handle and intricate multi colored line art on an outer surface of the handle grip;

FIG. 6 is a rear view of left and right rigid members of the handle grip shown in FIG. 5 illustrating the cavities for receiving a protrusion of the bare paintball gun handle;

FIG. 7 is a top view of a mold used in the cold and hot molding process;

FIG. 7A is a cross sectional view of the mold shown in FIG. 7 further illustrating grooves;

FIG. 8 is a top view of a mold used in the cold and hot molding process for producing a joint member having channels and sensory protrusions;

FIG. 8A is a cross sectional view of a mold for forming channels adjacent left and right edges of a middle portion of the joint member;

FIG. 8B is an enlarged view of the channel shown in FIG. 8A; and

FIG. 9 is a perspective view of the handle grip formed with the mold shown in FIG. 8 and illustrating sensory protrusions.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Referring now to the drawings, FIG. 5 is an exploded view of the handle grip 10. The handle grip 10 may comprise a left rigid member 12 and a separate right rigid member 14. Each of the left and right rigid members 12, 14 may define an interface surface 16 (see FIG. 6) and an outer surface 32. The interface surface 16, as shown in FIG. 6, may have a cavity 18 for receiving a protrusion 20 (see FIG. 1) extending from the handle 22 of the paintball gun 24. The interface surface 16 may also be configured such as in a curved shape 26 or flat surface 28 so as to conform to the left surface 30 and right surface (see FIG. 1) of the handle 22.

The outer surfaces 32 (see FIG. 5) of the left and right rigid members 12, 14 may have a joint member mounting surface 34, as shown in FIG. 5. Preferably, the joint member mounting surface 34 is recessed within the outer surfaces 32 of the left and right rigid members 12, 14. Also, preferably, the joint member mounting surfaces 34 of the left and right rigid members 12, 14 are flat. Moreover, an inner edge 36 of the left and right rigid members 12, 14 at the joint member mounting surfaces 34 may be chamfered or radiused. In the embodiment shown in FIG. 5, the joint member mounting surface 34 is recessed below the outer surface 32, but it is also contemplated that the joint member mounting surface 34 may be flush with the outer surface 32. Also, it is contemplated that the joint member mounting surface 34 may have other configurations such as curved, shaped, etc.

Other recessed cavities 38 may be formed in the outer surfaces 32 of the left and right rigid members 12, 14, as required. The left and right rigid members 12, 14 may also be formed with countersunk holes 40, countersink holes 40 or through holes 40 for securing the handle grip 10 to the handle 22 via a bolt, screw, or any other attachment means known in the art or developed in the future.

A joint member 42 is shown in FIG. 5. The joint member 42 may define an outer surface 44 (see FIG. 5) as well as a mounting surface. The joint member 42 may have intricate colored line art 46 disposed on the outer surface 44 of the joint member 42 via a hot and cold mold process. The left and right side portions 48, 50 of the joint member 42 may be received on the joint member mounting surfaces 34 of the left and right rigid members 12, 14. The left and right side portions 48, 50 of the joint member 42 may be attached to the joint member mounting surfaces 34 of the left and right rigid members 12, 14 via cold adhesive, hot adhesive, rivet, screw, nut and bolt connection, or any other method known in the art or developed in the future.

After the left and right side portions 48, 50 of the joint member 42 are respectively attached to the joint member mounting surfaces 34 of the left and right rigid members 12, 14, the left and right rigid members 12, 14 may be wrapped around the handle 22 of the paintball gun 24. (see FIG. 9). To this end, at least a middle portion 52 of the joint member 42 may be fabricated from a bendable material such as rubber, plastic, fabric, leather, or any other flexible material known in the art or developed in the future. Moreover, vertical opposed edges 66 of the middle portion 52 may optionally have channels 68 formed in the exposed surface 44, as shown in FIGS. 8A and 8B. The channels 68 may extend into the joint member 42 to about two thirds the thickness 70 (see FIG. 8B) of the joint member 52. In other words, the thickness 72 of the joint member 52 at the position of the channel 68 may be approximately ⅓ the thickness 70 of the joint member 42. The channels 68 may have a V shaped configuration with a truncated bottom (see FIG. 8B) when the joint member 42 is laid flat. The base 72 of the channels 68 may have a thickness of about 1/16 of an inch or be sufficiently thick to hold the left and right side portions 48, 50 together without ripping while in use. It is contemplated that the channels 68 may have other thickness and proportions as long as the durometer and thickness of the channel base 72 is adjusted such that the middle portion 52 lays flat on the front surface 74 of the handle 22, as shown in FIG. 9.

The flexible middle portion 42 may optionally have sensory protrusions 76 (see FIGS. 8B and 9) formed on the exposed surface of the flexible middle portion 52. The sensory protrusions 76 may be spaced apart from each other about 5/32 of an inch. The sensory protrusions may extend above the exposed surface of the flexible middle portion 52 about 1/32 of an inch. The sensory protrusions 76 provide the sense of touch to the user of the paintball gun 24. In particular, the sensory protrusions 76 poke the user's fingers when the user grasps the handle 22 of the paintball gun 24. Without the sensory protrusions 76, the user's fingers would contact a smooth surface which delays sensing of the handle 22 until the user applies a sufficient force on the handle 22 for the user to feel the handle. The sensory protrusions 76 allow the user to feel the exposed surface of the flexible middle portion because the user can sense the sensory protrusions with less pressure compared to handle with a smooth surface. The sensory protrusions 76 may have a solid or hollow cylindrical configuration.

By way of example and not limitation, the joint member 42 may be fabricated via the cold and hot molding process, as shown in FIGS. 7, 7A, 8 and 8A. In particular, a mold 54 having a cavity 56 may be provided, as shown in FIGS. 7a and 8A. The mold 54 shown in FIG. 9A illustrates two V shaped protrusions in the cavity 56 of the mold 54 for forming the V shaped channels. In contrast, the mold 54 shown in FIG. 8A does not have the two V shaped protrusions. The cavity 56 may have a reversed configuration of the outer surface 44 of the joint member 42. If the joint member 42 has colored line art 46, then the bottom surface of the mold cavity 56 may have a groove 58 (see FIGS. 7A and 8A) configured to the line art 46. After the mold 54 is provided, colored liquefied plastic may be injected into the appropriate grooves 58 in the mold cavity 56. Thereafter, liquefied plastic of various colors (e.g., black, red, grey, etc.) may be injected or inserted into the mold cavity 56 to a top 60 of the cavity 56. The liquefied plastic is allowed to settle and therefore form a flat interface surface. After the plastic is solidified or hardened, the joint member 42 may be removed from the mold cavity 56. After the joint member 42 is removed from the mold cavity 56, the joint member 42 may be attached to the left and right rigid members 12, 14 as discussed above.

Skins 62 may be disposed in the additional cavities 38 formed in the outer surfaces 32 of the left and right rigid members 12, 14. The skins 62 may define an interface surface and an outer surface. The skin 62 may be fabricated via the cold and hot molding process discussed above in relation to the joint member 42. The interface surface of the skin 62 may be attached in the mounting surfaces 64 of the cavities 38 of the left or right rigid members 12, 14. The skins 62 may be permanently attached or removeably attached to the outer surfaces 32 of the left and right rigid members 12, 14.

In an aspect of the handle grip 10, the joint member 42 may be attached substantially only to the joint member mounting surfaces 34 of the left and right rigid members 12, 14. By way of example and not limitation, pressure adhesive may be applied to the joint member mounting surfaces 34. The left and right side portions 48, 50 of the joint member 42 may be aligned to the joint member mounting surfaces 34. Pressure may be applied to the left and right side portions 48, 50 of the joint member 42. The pressure adhesive attaches the joint member 42 only to the outer surface 32 or joint member mounting surfaces 34 of the left and right rigid members 12, 14. No pressure adhesive was applied to the interface surface 16 of the left and right rigid members 12, 14. In another example, the joint member 42 may be attached substantially only to the joint member mounting surfaces 34 of the left and right rigid members 12, 14 via an interlocking fit. In particular, the joint member 42 may be formed with at least one nub having an enlarged head. The left and right rigid members 12, 14 may be formed with corresponding apertures at the joint member mounting surfaces 34. The apertures are sized and configured such that the enlarged head is pushed through the aperture and the nub is retained in the aperture. The enlarged head may partially contact the interface surfaces 16 of the left and right rigid members 12, 14. This interlocking attachment attaches the joint member 42 to the left and right rigid members 12, 14 such that the joint member 42 is attached substantially only to the joint member mounting surfaces 42.

In an aspect of the handle grip 10, consumers may be able to pick and choose the aesthetic look of the handle grip 10 at a retail outlet (e.g. physical store, online, etc.). By way of example and not limitation, handle grips 10 may be sold as a kit instead of as an assembled product. A retail outlet may carry a plurality of different style left and right rigid members 12, 14. Each different style of left and right rigid members 12, 14 may be sized and configured to mount onto a different style paintball gun handle 22. The interface surfaces 16 of the left and right rigid members 12, 14 may have various protrusions, curves, shapes, cavities 18, and other aspects such that the left and right rigid members 12, 14 may be mounted onto left and right side surfaces of the handle 22. Moreover, the outer surfaces 32 of the left and right rigid members 12, 14 may have joint member mounting surfaces 34, and optionally, additional cavities 38 for various designed skins 62.

At the retail outlet, the consumer may select the corresponding left and right rigid members 12, 14 for his or her paintball gun 24. Thereafter, the consumer may select a particular joint member 42 based on the aesthetic look of the joint member 42. To this end, the retail outlet may supply a plurality of different style joint members 42. The consumer may select his or her desired joint member 42.

Thereafter, depending on the attachment method for attaching the left and right side portions 48, 50 of the joint member 42 respectively to the joint member mounting surfaces 34 of the left and right rigid members 12, 14, the consumer may be provided with an adhesive, screw, nut and bolt combination, etc. to mount the joint member 42 to the left and right rigid members 12, 14. The handle grip 10 may be assembled at the retail store via an employee of the retail outlet. In particular, the joint member 42 may be attached to the left and right rigid members 12, 14 via the provided attachment means. Alternatively, the consumer himself/herself may attach the joint member 42 to the left and right rigid members 12, 14 at home via the provided attachment means. If the consumer attaches the joint member 42 to the left and right rigid members 12, 14 at home, then the cost to provide the handle grip 10 to the consumer may be reduced because the cost to assemble is transferred from the manufacturer to the consumer.

Moreover, alternative skins 62 may be supplied by the retail outlet and selected by the consumer based on the desired aesthetic look of the handle grip 10. The selected skins 62 may be disposed and attached to the mounting surfaces 64 of the cavities 38 formed in the outer surfaces 32 of the left and right rigid members 12, 14.

The left and right rigid members 12, 14 may have various through holes 40 for attaching the left and right rigid members 12, 14 to the handle 22 of the paintball gun 24.

In summary, the handle grip 10 discussed herein provides an aesthetically appealing handle grip 10 for a wide range of paintball guns 24. The reason is that the joint member 42 having intricate colored line art 46 may be selected separately and apart from the left and right rigid members 12, 14. The joint member 42 and skins 62 having intricate multi colored line art 46 may be selected based on the aesthetic look, whereas, the left and right rigid members 12, 14 may be selected based on the specific curves, shapes, contours, cavities and protrusions 20 of the purchaser's paintball gun handle 22.

The above description is given by way of example, and not limitation. Given the above disclosure, one skilled in the art could devise variations that are within the scope and spirit of the invention disclosed herein. Further, the various features of the embodiments disclosed herein can be used alone, or in varying combinations with each other and are not intended to be limited to the specific combination described herein. Thus, the scope of the claims is not to be limited by the illustrated embodiments.