Title:
PAINT BALL LOADER HOUSING
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A paint ball loader housing for supporting various paint ball loader systems. The housing may include a detachable top portion and adapters to further support various paint ball loading systems.



Inventors:
Akins, Kenneth Robert (Miami, FL, US)
Application Number:
12/349514
Publication Date:
07/09/2009
Filing Date:
01/06/2009
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
124/1
International Classes:
F41B11/02
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
NICONOVICH, ALEXANDER R
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
ITALIA IP (BURBANK, CA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A paint ball loader housing for a paint ball loader comprising: a shell housing adapted to operatively support a plurality of existing paint ball loader systems; a top filler opening in said shell housing; and a bottom outlet in said shell housing.

2. The paint ball loader housing of claim 1, further comprising means for removably affixing said paint ball loader housing to a paint ball loader system.

3. The paint ball loader housing of claim 1, further comprising a feed neck collar adapter removably affixable within said bottom outlet.

4. The paint ball loader housing of claim 1, further comprising a tray adapter within said shell housing and adjacent said bottom outlet.

5. The paint ball loader housing of claim 4, further comprising a reinforced feed neck.

6. The paint ball loader housing of claim 1, wherein said shell housing is formed of a material selected from the group consisting of PVC, ABS and polycarbonate.

7. The paint ball loader housing of claim 6, wherein said material is polycarbonate.

8. The paint ball loader housing of claim 1, further comprising a cover for said top filler opening, said cover comprising: a top portion removably affixable to said shell housing; and a lid pivotally affixed to said top portion, said lid pivotable between a closed position and an open position over said top filler opening, with said top portion and said lid together removably affixable to said shell housing.

9. The paint ball loader housing of claim 8, further comprising a hinge mechanism integral with said lid for pivotally affixing said lid to said top portion.

10. The paint ball loader housing of claim 9, wherein said hinge mechanism comprises: a hinge extension extending from a first end of said lid; a hinge trough in said top portion, said hinge trough sized to receive said hinge extension; means for detachably retaining said top portion to said housing; and spring means for biasing said lid toward an open position.

11. The paint ball loader housing of claim 10, further comprising a one touch plunger type toggling latch mechanism operable by pressing downward on said lid for retaining said lid in a closed position.

12. The paint ball loader housing of claim 11, further comprising a ball and socket structure as means for detachably retaining said top portion to said housing.

13. The paint ball loader housing of claim 1, further comprising a one-way valve over said top filler opening, said one-way valve providing passage for paint balls into said housing and preventing passage of paint balls out of said housing through said top filler opening.

14. The paint ball loader housing of claim 13, wherein said one-way valve comprises a plurality of flexible rubberized fingers extending across said top filler opening.

15. The paint ball loader housing of claim 12, wherein said shell housing comprises a right side shell and a left side shell matingly engaged.

16. The paint ball loader housing of claim 15, wherein said shell housing further comprises a battery compartment and a removable battery compartment cover over said battery compartment, wherein said right side shell, said left side shell, said top portion, said lid, and said removable battery cover together form an exterior surface having a generally smooth aerodynamic shape.

17. A paint ball loader housing for a paint ball loader comprising: a right side shell housing; a left side shell housing matingly engaging said right side shell housing to form a shell housing; a top portion; means for said top portion to removably engage said shell housing to form a generally oval housing having a top filler opening and a bottom outlet; a top filler opening lid; means for pivotally affixing said top filler opening lid to said top portion such that said top filler opening lid is pivotable between a closed position wherein said top filler opening lid covers said top filler opening and an open position wherein said top filler opening lid exposes said top filler opening; and means for removably and operatively affixing said paint ball loader housing to a plurality of paint ball loader systems.

18. The paint ball loader housing of claim 17, further comprising a battery compartment formed by said right side shell housing and said left side shell housing, and a removable battery compartment cover over said battery compartment, wherein said right side shell housing, said left side shell housing, said top portion, said top filler opening lid, and said removable battery cover together form an exterior surface having a generally smooth aerodynamic shape.

19. The paint ball loader housing of claim 18, further comprising a removable reinforcing feed neck collar adapter within said bottom outlet, said removable feed neck collar adapter adaptable to a selected paint ball loader system.

20. The paint ball loader housing of claim 18, further comprising a removable tray adapter within said generally oval housing adjacent said bottom outlet, said removable tray adapter adaptable to a selected paint ball loader system.

21. A method of adapting a paint ball loader housing for use with a paint ball loader comprising the steps: providing a paint ball loader housing having a shell housing adapted to operatively support a plurality of paint ball loader systems, wherein said housing comprises a top filler opening and a bottom outlet; and affixing said housing to a paint ball loader system.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This Non-Provisional Application claims the benefit under 35 USC 119(e) of the filing date of U.S. Provisional Application Ser. No. 61/019,938, filed Jan. 9, 2008.

BACKGROUND OF INVENTION

This invention relates generally to paint ball loader systems for paint ball guns. More specifically, this invention relates to a paint ball loader housing which fits various styles of paint ball loader systems and is further adaptable to fit even more styles of paint ball loader systems.

SUMMARY

The recreational and competitive use of paint ball guns generally involves a paint ball loader which feeds paint balls into a paint ball gun magazine to prepare the paint ball for firing and a housing, or shell, for the loader which, inter alia, acts as a reservoir for the paint balls entering the loader. As these paint ball guns are often used in simulated combat, it is highly desirable for the loader housings to have the following qualities: high capacity; reliability; durability; ease of reloading and cleaning; and an unobtrusive profile. It is common that the stock housings which come with paint ball gun loader systems are deficient in one or more of these characteristics. For example, during vigorous use, the housing can break, most often at the feed neck area. As the housings are generally specific to a particular loader, the user's only option has been to purchase the same type of housing, with the same deficiencies, with a different housing required for each loader used. The present invention is a paint ball loader housing which, in addition to having improved capacity, reliability, durability, ease of reloading and cleaning, and a sleek profile, fits various styles of paint ball loader systems and is further adaptable to fit even more styles of paint ball loader systems.

In particular, the present invention comprises a paint ball loader housing for a paint ball loader comprising a shell housing adapted to operatively support a plurality of existing paint ball loader systems, the shell housing having a top filler opening and a bottom outlet. The invention can further comprise means for removably affixing the housing to a paint ball loader system. The housing can accommodate a variety of different styles of loaders, and can be further adapted for use with other styles of loader simply by swapping adapters. The invention further comprises a method of adapting a paint ball loader housing for use with a paint ball loader comprising providing a paint ball loader housing having a shell housing adapted to operatively support a plurality of paint ball loader systems, wherein the housing has a top filler opening and a bottom outlet and affixing the housing to a paint ball loader system.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The drawings, when considered in connection with the following description, are presented for the purpose of facilitating an understanding of the subject matter sought to be protected.

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an assembled paint ball loader housing disclosed herein;

FIG. 2 is an exploded view of a first embodiment of the paint ball loader housing disclosed herein;

FIG. 3 is an exploded view of a second embodiment of the paint ball loader housing disclosed herein;

FIG. 4 is a perspective (4a) and a side view (4b) of the removable top portion of the paint ball loader housing disclosed herein;

FIG. 5 is a top (5a) and bottom (5b) perspective view of the top filler opening lid of the paint ball loader housing disclosed herein;

FIG. 6 is a perspective exploded view of a feed neck collar adapter of the paint ball loader housing disclosed herein;

FIG. 7 is a top (7a) and bottom (7b) perspective view of the tray adapter of the paint ball loader housing disclosed herein;

FIG. 8 is a perspective view of a female portion of a latching mechanism for the top filler opening lid of the paint ball loader housing disclosed herein; and

FIG. 9 is a top (9a) and bottom (9b) perspective view of the battery compartment cover of the paint ball loader housing disclosed herein.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

The present invention is a paint ball loader housing having a shell housing adapted to operatively support a plurality of existing paint ball loader systems, the shell housing having a top filler opening and a bottom outlet. The invention can further comprise means for removably affixing the housing to a paint ball loader system. The housing consisting of a generally oval shaped housing having a top filler opening for refilling and a bottom outlet through which paint balls can drop into the loader. The housing has interior curves, ramps and sections allowing the smooth flow of paint balls within the housing, and provides the adaptations necessary to retrofit the invention for use with existing paint ball gun internal assemblies. It has a larger fill opening with a one-touch filler lid utilizing a toggling type plunger latch and spring loaded lid for speed of operation. The top section is easily removable and allows easy access for cleaning should paint balls break inside the housing. The housing can include a feed neck collar adapter removably affixed within the bottom outlet of the housing and/or a tray adapter situated within the housing adjacent the bottom outlet, and can further function as a reinforcement for strengthening the loader and/or housing, particularly in the feed neck area. A lid covering the top filler opening is pivotally affixed to a top portion and can be manipulated between closed and open positions with a single touch for easy and rapid reloading, and the lid and top portion can be removed in one piece from the housing.

FIG. 1 illustrates generally the present invention as assembled, a paint ball loader housing 10 having a housing assembled from a right side shell housing 12, a left side shell housing 14 and a removable top portion 16 which together form a housing having a top filler opening and a bottom outlet. A lid 24 covering the top filler opening is pivotally affixed to the top portion 16 and can be manipulated between closed and open positions with a single touch. The lid 24 and the top portion 16 can be removed from the housing as a single piece. The housing has a generally oval external profile and an exterior surface with a smooth aerodynamic shape.

The exterior surface of the housing can further include a removable battery cover 26 to cover a battery compartment. The right side shell housing 12, left side shell housing 14, top portion 16, top filler opening lid 24, and removable battery cover 26 can be formed of a wide variety of heavy duty composite materials, including thermoplastic materials such as PVC, ABS and polycarbonate, with polycarbonate being the preferred material. The material can be transparent, translucent or opaque, with opaque materials preferred, and may optionally have a decorative finish.

The components can be assembled using various means including, but not limited to, self tapping screws, nuts and bolts, machine screws with embedded inserts and molded design snap-in fittings, though a combination of machine screws, embedded inserts and snap-in fittings is preferred.

FIG. 2 is an exploded view of a first (standard) embodiment of the present invention showing its various components. A right side shell housing 12 matingly engages a left side shell housing 14 to form a shell housing which acts as a reservoir for paint balls. A top portion 16 removably engages the shell housing by all and socket mechanisms or any similar engagement means as described above to form a generally oval housing having a top filler opening 18, a bottom outlet 20 and a battery compartment 22. A top filler opening lid 24 is pivotally affixed to the top portion 16 such that the lid 24 is pivotable between a closed position with the lid 24 covering the top filler opening 18 and an open position with the lid 24 exposing the top filler opening 18, for example, for refilling the housing with paint balls. A removable cover 26 protects the battery compartment 22 and completes the generally oval external profile. The paint ball loader housing can be removably affixed to a paint ball loader, with the bottom outlet 20 positioned to allow feed paint balls to enter into the loader.

FIG. 2 illustrates a first embodiment of the invention wherein the means for removably affixing the paint ball loader housing to a paint ball loader includes a feed neck collar adapter 28 removably affixed within the bottom outlet 20. The feed neck collar adapter 28 further acts as a feed neck reinforcement in particular loader systems. Also illustrated is an embodiment of the invention wherein the means for pivotally affixing the top filler opening lid 24 to the top portion 16 is a hinge mechanism which allows the lid 24 and top portion 16 to be removed as a single piece, and which remains intact and affixed to the lid 24 when disengaged from the top portion 16. The hinge mechanism includes a hinge extension 34 extending from a first end 36 of the top filler opening lid 24, a hinge trough 38 in the top portion 16, with the hinge trough 38 sized to receive the hinge extension 34 therein, with the hinge extension 34 pivotally retained within the hinge trough 38 such that the top filler opening lid 24 is pivotable between a closed position and an open position. The lid 24 is retained in a closed position by a one touch plunger type toggling latch mechanism 46 operable by pressing downward on the top filler opening lid 24. Shown is an embodiment wherein the latch mechanism 46 comprises a male portion 48 affixed to a second end 50 of the top filler opening lid 24 and a female portion 52 affixed to the shell housing, with the male portion 48 and the female portion 52 adapted to alternately engage and disengage each other when pressed together, allowing for one touch manipulation of the lid 24 between open and closed positions.

FIG. 3 is an exploded view of a second (halo) embodiment of the present invention showing its various components. A right side shell housing 12 matingly engages a left side shell housing 14 to form a shell housing which acts as a reservoir for paint balls. A top portion 16 removably engages the shell housing to form a generally oval housing having a top filler opening 18, a bottom outlet 20 and a battery compartment 22. A top filler opening lid 24 is pivotally affixed to the top portion 16 such that the lid 24 is pivotable between a closed position with the lid 24 covering the top filler opening 18 and an open position with the lid 24 exposing the top filler opening 18. A removable cover 26 protects the battery compartment 22 and completes the generally oval external profile of the housing. The paint ball loader housing can be removably affixed to a paint ball loader, with the bottom outlet 20 positioned to allow paint balls to enter into the loader.

FIG. 3 illustrates a second embodiment of the invention wherein the means for removably affixing the paint ball loader housing to a paint ball loader includes a tray adapter 30 removably affixed within the generally oval housing (between the right side shell housing 12 and the left side shell housing 14) adjacent the bottom outlet 20. The tray adapter 30 can further include a feed neck reinforcement. Also illustrated is an embodiment of the invention wherein the means for pivotally affixing the top filler opening lid 24 to the top portion 16 is a hinge mechanism having a hinge extension 34 extending from a first end 36 of the top filler opening lid 24, a hinge trough 38 in the top portion 16, with the hinge trough 38 sized to receive the hinge extension 34 therein, with the hinge extension 34 pivotally retained within the hinge trough 38 such that the top filler opening lid 24 is pivotable between a closed position and an open position. The lid 24 is retained in a closed position by a one touch plunger type toggling latch mechanism operable by pressing downward on the top filler opening lid 24. Shown is an embodiment wherein the latch mechanism comprises a male portion 48 affixed to a second end 50 of the top filler opening lid 24 and a female portion 52 affixed to the shell housing, with the male portion 48 and the female portion 52 adapted to alternately engage and disengage each other when pressed together, allowing for one touch manipulation of the lid 24 between open and closed positions.

FIG. 4 and FIG. 5 illustrate the top portion 16 and top filler opening lid 24, respectively, of the present invention. Shown is an embodiment wherein the means by which the hinge extension 34 (attached to the first end 36 of the lid 24) is pivotally retained within the hinge trough 38 comprises a ball and socket joint having a pair of oppositely disposed protrusions 40 on the hinge extension 34 and a pair of oppositely disposed indentations 42 in the hinge trough 38, the indentations 42 sized to receive the protrusions 40. Alternatively, the hinge extension 34 can have indentations and the hinge trough 38 can have mating protrusions. With the hinge extension 34 engaged with the top portion 16, the lid 24 can be pivoted between open and closed positions, providing the user access to the housing through the top filler opening 18.

FIG. 4 further illustrates an embodiment of the invention wherein the means for the top portion 16 to removably engage the shell housing comprises a beveled extension 54 extending from the top portion 16, the beveled extension 54 adapted to interlock with the shell housing in a ball and socket fashion, a pair of concave indentations 56 in the top portion 16, and a pair of convex protrusions 58 (shown in FIG. 2 and FIG. 3) extending from the shell housing, the convex protrusions 58 sized and positioned to retain the concave indentations 56 in the top portion 16 to the shell housing.

FIG. 5 further illustrates the one touch plunger type toggling latch mechanism which allows the user to open or close the lid 24 by pressing downward on the lid 24. Shown is an embodiment wherein the latch mechanism includes a male portion 48 affixed to a second end 50 of the top filler opening lid 24, the male portion 48 adapted to engage a mating female portion affixed to the shell housing. The hinge mechanism can further include spring means 44 for biasing the lid 24 toward an open position.

FIG. 6 illustrates the feed neck collar adapter 28 of the present invention. The feed neck collar adapter 28 is used to adapt the housing of the present invention to fit different styles of paint ball loader systems and to strengthen the feed neck.

FIG. 7 illustrates the tray adapter 30 of the present invention. The tray adapter 30 is used to accommodate the different size trays of existing paint ball loader systems, and to strengthen the feed neck. Shown are a first wire race 60, a space allowance 62 for sensor housings found on some loader types, a second wire race 64, a space allowance 66 for motor clearance on some loader types, and a reinforced feed neck guide 68 for some loader types.

FIG. 8 illustrates the female portion 52 of the filler lid latch mechanism 46. The female portion 52 is retained within the shell housing formed by the mated right side shell housing 12 and left side shell housing 14 by a pair of locking tabs 70. A pair of latch tabs 72 are used to engage the male portion (48, shown in FIG. 5) of the latch mechanism.

FIG. 9 illustrates the removable battery compartment cover 26 of the present invention. A notch 74 is formed to allow the use of a thumbnail to easily remove the battery cover 26. A centering boss and screw guide 76 attaches the cover 26 to the shell housing, with molded inserts used as a battery cover stabilizer 78 and as a locking tab 80 for the battery compartment cover 26.

The present invention can optionally include a filler lid replacement device to allow paint balls to be poured directly into the open mouth of the filler opening, and can include a one-way valve type device which allows paint balls to enter the housing and prevents paint balls from exiting therethrough, for example, with a plurality of rubberized flexible fingers extending across the filler opening. The invention can further optionally comprise one or more of the following: a ball sensor housing to protect the “eye” or ball sensor required in many loaders, preformed holes allowing the use of an on/off switch and an LED indicator and a reset button for use on loader types requiring either the vertical or horizontal format, a space allowance for the mounting of a control board required on certain loader types, a centering boss and screw guide for use on certain loader types, a catch cup guide preventing paint balls from overflowing into the motor mechanism of one loader type, and a molded guide key used to align the collar adapter with and in conjunction with the eye sensor housing.

While the present disclosure has been described in connection with what is considered the most practical and preferred embodiment, it is understood that this disclosure is not limited to the disclosed embodiments, but is intended to cover various arrangements included within the spirit and scope of the broadest interpretation so as to encompass all such modifications and equivalent arrangements.