Title:
Construction toy and education set
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A construction toy and education set for assembling two and three dimensional structures comprising a plurality of rod elements having C-shaped gripping clip at both ends at least one three-dimensional sphere-like connecting elements formed of a torus connecting element into which one or more torus segments are attached.



Inventors:
Aggar, Rabah (Chingford, GB)
Aggar, Smail (Chingford, GB)
Application Number:
12/068627
Publication Date:
08/13/2009
Filing Date:
02/08/2008
Assignee:
Rabah AGGAR
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
446/124
International Classes:
A63H33/12
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
HYLINSKI, ALYSSA MARIE
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
ARENT FOX LLP (WASHINGTON, DC, US)
Claims:
1. A construction toy and education set for assembling two and three dimensional structures comprising: a plurality of rod elements having C-shaped gripping clips at both ends; and at least one three-dimensional sphere-like connecting element formed of a torus connecting element into which one or more torus segments are attached.

2. The construction toy and education set according to claim 1, further comprising: at least one torus connecting element.

3. The construction toy and education set according to claim 1, wherein said sphere-like connecting element is formed in two or more separate sections to connect to each other, thereby creating a composite sphere-like connecting element.

4. The construction toy and education set according to claim 1, wherein said rod elements are provided in first and second lengths, each length being different.

5. The construction toy and education set according to claim 4, wherein said first length of said rod element is equal to a length of the diagonal of a square formed of four first rod elements as sides, coupled to each other in correspondence of corners of a square by four torus elements.

6. The construction toy and education set according to claim 4, further comprising: a torus connecting element, wherein said second length of said rod element is equal to half the diagonal of a square formed of four first rod elements as sides, coupled to each other in correspondence of corners of a square by four torus connecting elements, minus an outer radius of said torus connecting element.

7. The construction toy and education set according to claim 1, wherein at least one of said rod element is formed in two sections, one having a stem formed with external screw threads, a second being formed with internal screw threads to accommodate said external screw threads so that a length of said rod element can be adjusted.

8. The construction toy and education set as claimed in claim 1, wherein at least one of said rod elements has a cylindrical body having one or more longitudinal cylindrical slots spaced around a circumference thereof, and wherein each slot is made to receive and retain a decorative plate and shaped members having cylindrical ends.

9. The construction toy and education set as claimed in claim 1, wherein at least one of said rod elements has a body having a cruciform cross section having arms, and wherein the extremity of each arm is part cylindrical, the extremity of each arm being made to receive and retain decorative plate and shaped members having means of snap fit connectors.

10. The construction toy and education set according to claim 1, wherein at least one of said rod elements includes a U-shaped socket between its ends.

11. The construction toy and education set according to claim 1, wherein at least one of said rod elements is formed in two sections, one having a generally cylindrical stem, and a second being formed with a bore in which said stem is received and removably retained by friction, thereby creating a composite rod element of variable length.

12. The construction toy and education set according to claim 2, wherein said at least one torus connecting element is provided with two or more diametrically opposed holes.

13. The construction toy and education set according to claim 2, wherein said at least one torus connecting element is provided with a cylindrical gripping socket to receive and retain said torus connecting element, thereby creating a composite spherical connecting element.

Description:

The present invention relates to a construction toy and education set for building structures of various two or three dimensional configurations.

Two examples of known construction toy sets are those disclosed in patents U.S. Pat. No. 3,698,123 and U.S. Pat. No. 4,758,196.

However these two above mentioned patents have these shortcomings:

According to the description made on both these two patents, it is very easy for a skilled person to understand that the torus or disk connecting elements 1 are at least two inches wide, making the built structures look very large which would not resemble to real-life models.

The rod or link elements cannot be assembled with the torus or disk element by lateral snap fit assembly, so that the centre to centre distance of a pair of torus or disks does not have to be enlarged in order to receive a rod element, therefore it is difficult to modify a structure after it has reached a stage of substantial rigidity, such as adding or removing a diagonal to a square in a two or three dimensional structure which has already been built without distorting the structure.

The rod and torus or disk elements requires axial insertion of one element into another, centre to centre distances are temporarily enlarged, which requires great care and in some cases makes it difficult to build some kind of structures.

Time consuming and inconvenient during assembly and disassembly, especially when building large structures, because of the complicated mechanical means employed for assembling and disassembling the component parts.

Difficult to use without adult supervision and/or aid as a certain level of dexterity and finger strength is needed in order to make full advantage of the features offered, therefore such systems cannot be suitable and attractive to children especially girls.

Such systems cannot create structures that would resemble to real-life models having interesting visual characteristics and fancy figures, therefore cannot be useful to explaining geometrical designs, demonstrating engineering principles, architectural designs or chemical bonds, furthermore such systems are not suitable for artistic creative expression in the areas of craft items and it fails to enable the infinite creativity and aesthetic appeal.

The rod elements of the U.S. Pat. No. 3,698,123 patent number are made of wood, therefore they cannot be mass produced with very low price mass production techniques such as plastic injection molding, furthermore the wooden rods require painting and if not painted there will be a lack of visual interest to the resulting built structures, furthermore the wooden jaws of the bifurcation of the wooden rod elements are very sensitive to crack, whereby the child could be injured as by picking up sharp splinters.

The link elements of patent no U.S. Pat. No. 4,758,196 tilt when they are connected to the disk connecting elements, therefore cannot be firmly retained by the disks and the only way to make the links firmly retained and not tilting is by screwing one disk on top of the other to make pressure on the links in order to make rigid and stable structures.

Another example of known construction toys is the one with patent specification no U.S. Pat. No. 3,927,489 in which ring elements, tubes and connectors are used to form structures, the shortcoming of this construction toy set are:

Because of the shape of the head of the connectors and according to the description made in the patent specifications, once connected to the rings the connectors tilt at about twenty degree making the connectors loose and not firmly retained by the rings, therefore there is a lack of stability and rigidity in the built structures.

Because of the shape of the head of the connectors, a considerable amount of finger strength is needed to produce enough elasticity for the head of the connectors in order to provide a connection between the rings and the connectors, therefore it would be very difficult or even impossible for a child to use without adult supervision and/or aid as a certain level of dexterity and finger strength is needed in order to make full advantage of the features offered, therefore such systems cannot be suitable and attractive to young children especially girls.

Time consuming and inconvenient during assembly and disassembly, especially when building large structures, because of the complicated mechanical means employed for assembling and disassembling the connectors to the tubing.

The construction toy and education set of the present invention may comprise a plurality of torus connecting elements; a plurality of sphere like connecting elements formed of a main torus element into which one or more torus segments are attached; a plurality of rod elements having a C-shaped gripping clip at both ends.

According to the present invention, said rod elements may be provided in a plurality of first rod members having first length and a plurality of second rod members having second length.

Still according to the present invention, said second length of second rod element is chosen equal to the diagonal of a square formed of four first rod elements as sides, coupled each other in correspondence of the corners of the square by four torus elements.

Still according to the present invention, said second length of second rod members may be equal to half of the diagonal of a square formed of four first rod elements as sides, coupled each other in correspondence of the corners of the square by four torus elements, minus the external radius of the torus element.

Furthermore at least one of said first rod element and/or one of said second rod element, may include a U-shaped gripping sockets between its ends to receive and retain such rod elements to provide with cruciform composite structure.

Furthermore at least one of first rod element and/or one of second rod element may have a body which has a cruciform cross section having arms and in which the extremity of each arm is part cylindrical to receive and retain decorative plate and shaped members having means of snap-fit connectors.

Furthermore at least one of first rod element and/or one of second rod element may have cylindrical body which has one or more longitudinal cylindrical slots spaced around its circumference where each slot is made to receive and retain decorative plate and shaped members having cylindrical ends.

Other objects and advantageous features of the present invention will be more apparent on the description carried out in accordance to the drawings included, in which;

FIG. 1 illustrates a plurality of rod elements connected to a torus element drawn out to scale of a previously known construction toy;

FIG. 2 illustrates a disk connecting element drawn out to scale of another previously known construction toy;

FIG. 3 shows a front view of a first rod element having a first length according to the present invention;

FIG. 4 shows a front view of a second rod element having a second length according to the present invention;

FIG. 5 shows a front view of another rod element according to the present invention;

FIG. 6 shows a perspective front view of two sections of an adjustable length of a rod element according to the present invention;

FIG. 7 shows a perspective front view of two sections of an adjustable length of another rod element according to the present invention;

FIG. 8 shows a front view of the C-shaped gripping clip of the rod elements of the present invention;

FIG. 9 shows a front view of another rod element having a U-shaped socket between its ends;

FIG. 10 shows a cruciform shaped composite member formed by assembling two such rod elements of FIG. 9 according to the present invention;

FIG. 11 shows a top view of a torus element, at an enlarged scale, used to join the rod elements according to the present invention;

FIG. 12 shows a top view of another torus element, at an enlarged scale, formed with a cylindrical radial slot to receive and retain such torus element;

FIG. 13 shows a top view of another torus element, at an enlarged scale, having two diametrically opposed through holes;

FIG. 14 shows a top view of half a torus element, at an enlarged scale, having a stem at each end to be connected to the torus element of FIG. 13;

FIG. 15 shows a sphere-like connecting element, at an enlarged scale, formed of a torus element into which two torus segments are attached;

FIG. 16 shows a perspective view of another sphere-like element, at an enlarged scale, similar to the one of FIG. 15;

FIG. 17 is a top view of a two dimensional square structure provided by assembling the elements of the present invention;

FIG. 18 shows a top view of another alternative of the square of FIG. 17;

FIG. 19 is yet another alternative of the square of FIG. 17;

FIG. 20 shows a perspective view of a three dimensional cubical structure formed by combining sphere-like elements of FIG. 15 with the rod elements of the present invention;

FIG. 21 is a perspective view of a three dimensional salt crystal lattice assembled with the sphere-like elements of FIG. 15 and the rod elements of the present invention;

FIG. 22 is a perspective view of a three dimensional tetrahedron built with the elements of the present invention;

FIG. 23 is a front view of another rod element according to the present invention;

FIG. 24 shows a cross section through line 1-1 of the rod element of FIG. 23;

FIG. 25 shows a perspective view of a plate member for attachment to a rod element of FIG. 23;

FIG. 26 is a front view of another rod element according to the present invention;

FIG. 27 is a cross section through line 2-2 of the rod element of FIG. 26;

FIG. 28 is a perspective view of a plate member for attachment to a rod element of FIG. 26;

FIG. 29 is a perspective top view of a panel element which may be used in the present invention;

FIG. 30 is a bottom perspective view of another alternative of the panel element of FIG. 29;

Referring to the drawings, as it will appear from FIG. 1 drawn out to scale, showing a known version of a construction toy for which has earlier been obtained U.S. Pat. No. 3,698,123. This known construction toy has some disadvantageous mentioned above and due to the shape of the rod elements, the ring or torus elements have to be at least two inches wide in order to receive a plurality of rod elements as shown in FIG. 1 drawn out to scale according to the description made on the above mentioned patent, therefore the built structures made from the rod elements of this construction toy set will be unnaturally large and the rings cannot be made in smaller sizes to receive a plurality of rods in order to build structures at a very reduced scale, therefore this construction toy cannot be efficient in explaining and demonstrating chemical bonding principles, engineering principles, crystallographic structures, architectural prototypes and artistic and creative expressions in the areas of craft item with infinite creativity and aesthetic appeal.

FIG. 2 shows a disk connecting element drawn out to scale of another known version of construction toy for which has earlier been obtained U.S. Pat. No. 4,758,196. This known version of construction toy has some disadvantageous mentioned above. Here as well if we consider practically the sizes of all the parts that forms the disks, such as the internal and external screw threads, the plurality of the rings, the plurality of spaces between the rings and the pair of radial connectors, the size of the disks will be at least two inches wide as drawn out to scale in FIG. 2 making the built structures look unnaturally large and cannot be used to built structures at a very reduced scale.

FIG. 3 illustrates a first rod element 10 formed with cylindrical or polygonal shaped body having a first length. The distal ends of the rod element are formed with a tapered portion 15 in which a C-shaped gripping clip 13 is connected so that to snap-fit into the torus element 30 of FIG. 11. The C-shaped gripping clip 13 is formed of two symmetrically opposed gripping jaws 14 which extend parallely to the longitudinal axis of the first rod element 10 as shown in FIG. 3.

As shown from FIGS. 8, 10 and 17, each jaw 14 is symmetrically tapered reducing the width W of the jaw towards its distal end to make a generally smaller pointed end 19. The jaws 14 of the C-shaped gripping clips 13 of the rod elements of the present invention could be formed as not tapered.

The internal width R of the C-shaped clips 13, as shown in FIG. 3, is frictionally smaller than the cross section of the torus element 30 so that the jaws 14 slightly extend and snap to hold firmly into the torus element and its disassembly is made in the reverse order.

FIG. 4 illustrates the embodiment of a second rod element 23, similar to the one of FIG. 3 having a second length. Here the jaws 14 of the C-shaped gripping clip 14 extend perpendicularly to the longitudinal axis of the rod element to allow the rod elements to be connected to the torus elements of FIG. 11 by lateral snap-fit connection, so that the centre to centre distance of a pair of torus elements does not have to be distorted and enlarged in order to receive a rod element, therefore it will be very easy to modify a structure that has been built after it has reached a stage of substantial rigidity by adding or removing rod elements, such as adding a diagonal to a square or to a rectangle in a structure that has already been built and this can be more easily achieved with rod elements having at least one of the C-shaped clips which has jaws extending perpendicularly to the longitudinal axis of the rod element as shown in FIGS. 4 and 5 of the present invention.

FIG. 5 illustrates a rod element 24 which is another alternative to the rod elements of FIGS. 3 and 4. Here the rod element is formed with one C-shaped clip similar to the one of rod element of FIG. 3 and the other opposed C-shaped clip is similar to the one of rod element of FIG. 4. The first end A of the rod 5 element can be assembled from any angular position by snap-fit, then the other end B is swivelled for a radial snap-fit connection and its disassembly is made in the reverse order. The use of the rod elements of FIGS. 4 and 5 is very useful in demonstrating some technical structures, where rod elements can be very easily added or removed in built structures without having to disassemble the built structure to rebuild another one.

In FIG. 6, a generally cylindrical or polygonal rod element 25 is illustrated having adjustable length. Here the rod element is formed in two sections one having a stem 12 formed with an external screw thread 16, the other being formed with an internal screw thread 18 to accommodate the external thread. The jaws 14 of the C-shaped clips 13 of the two ends of the rod element could extend similarly to the ones of rod elements of FIGS. 3, 4 or 5.

In FIG. 7, a generally cylindrical or polygonal rod element 26 is illustrated having adjustable length. Here as well the rod element is formed in two sections one having a generally cylindrical stem 12, the other being formed with a bore 17 in which the stem 12 is received and removably retained by friction, thereby creating a composite rod element of variable length. The stem 12 may be cylindrical as illustrated, or such other shape as would fit the bore 17. Here as well the Jaws 14 of the C-shaped clips 13 of the two ends could extend similarly to the ones of rod elements of FIGS. 3, 4 or 5.

FIG. 9 shows a rod element 20 similar to the one of FIG. 4. The centre of the body 11 of the rod element is formed with a U-shaped gripping socket 21 which has two symmetrically opposed lips 22 to receive and retain such rod element to produce a cruciform composite member shown in FIG. 10. A torus element 30 having a circular cross section is shown in FIG. 11 provided to receive and firmly retain the C-shaped gripping clip of the rod elements of this present invention. The rod elements being retained by the torus elements can still frictionally swivel and positioned in different angular positions to each other.

FIG. 12 shows a torus element 64 similar to the one of FIG. 11. Here the torus element 64 has a cylindrical radial gripping slot 65 which has lips 66. The slot 65 has cross section Dc frictionally smaller than the cross section Dt of the torus element to enable two such torus elements to snap-fit and be firmly retained by the lips 66 to form a sphere-like composite connecting element similar to the one of FIG. 16.

FIG. 13 shows a torus element 110 similar to the one of FIG. 11. Here the torus element 110 is provided with two or more diametrically opposed through holes 111. The holes 111 are formed to removably and frictionally receive and retain the torus segments 120 shown in FIG. 14 to provide with a sphere-like composite connecting element similar to the one of FIG. 16. The diameter Db of the stems 121 of the torus segment 120 is equal to the diameter of the holes 111 to allow a frictional assembly.

FIG. 15 shows a sphere-like connecting element 40 provided with a main torus 30 similar to the one of FIG. 11 into which one or more torus segments 42 are connected by spokes 43 to build more complex structures such as the cubic lattice illustrating the salt crystal shown in FIG. 21 which can only built with such sphere-like connecting elements 40. The torus segments 42 can be directly connected to the torus 30 without the spokes 43 as shown in FIG. 16. These sphere-like elements enhance the performance and the versatility of the present invention and allow construction of special and complex structures and prototypes in different technical fields.

The spherical elements 40 and 130 of respectively FIGS. 15 and 16 can be provided in two or more separate sections which are connected to each other to form composite sphere-like connecting elements.

FIG. 17 and FIG. 18 show a square composite structure formed by combining four torus elements 30 with four first rod elements 10. Two opposed vertexes are joined by a second rod element 23 to form the diagonal of the square. The rod element of FIG. 4 or the cruciform composite member of FIG. 10 can be used to snap-fit by lateral connection and form the diagonals of the square as shown in FIGS. 17 and 18 without having to enlarge the centre to centre of the pair of the torus connecting elements.

FIG. 19 shows the same square of FIG. 17. Here the diagonal is formed with a combination of two second rod elements joined by a torus element 30.

FIG. 20 shows a cubical structure built by combining nine spherical elements 40 and twenty first rod elements 10 of FIG. 3. Eight rod elements of FIG. 6 projecting towards the centre of the cube are slightly unscrewed and extended to the right length as shown from FIG. 20.

FIG. 21 illustrates a prototype of a cubical salt crystal lattice. The lattice is built with a spherical element 40 and rod elements of the present invention, and such lattice can only be built by using the spherical connecting elements 40 and cannot be achieved with simple torus connecting elements 30 of FIG. 11.

FIG. 22 shows a tetrahedron structure built by using four spherical connecting elements 40 and six rod elements.

FIGS. 23 and 24 show another rod element 70. As may be seen the rod element 70 has body 75 which has a cruciform cross section having arms 73 as shown in FIG. 24. A C-shaped gripping clip 13 is connected at each end by a tapering section 74. As may be seen from FIG. 24, the extremity 72 of each arm 73 of the cruciform cross section is part cylindrical. This is for a purpose of attaching planar plate members 78 by means of snap-fit connectors 79 as shown in FIG. 25. These plate members 78 are connected to rods 70 to form more complex or more decorative structures. The plate members 78 may have different geometrical or decorative shapes.

In FIG. 26 and 27 a rod element 80 has cylindrical body 84 at each end of which is a C-shaped gripping clip 13 connected by a tapering portion 85. The body 84 has four longitudinal cylindrical slots 81 spaced around its circumference. As may be seen from FIG. 27 each slot has a mouth 82 which has a cross section Dm narrower than the diameter Db of the slot so that lips 83 retain the cylindrical end 88 of planar plate members 89 of FIG. 28.

FIG. 28 shows a planar plate member 89 that may be used to snap into the slots 82 of the rod element 80 of FIG. 26. The end 88 of planar plate member 89 is part cylindrical to allow snap fit with the slot 82. The planar plate member 89 may be shaped from geometrical or decorative shapes to make the built structures more attractive and more complex.

FIG. 29 shows a top perspective view of a planar plate panel 60, made from resilient plastic material, having two or more flanges 61 extending on the edges of the panel. The panel is used to snap and fit into the body of built structures by using flanges 61. The panel is shown square but can be provided with any other polygonal shape.

FIG. 30 shows a bottom perspective view of another panel similar to the one of FIG. 29 with an opening 62 on the surface of the panel. The opening 62 can be made in different geometrical or decorative shapes as shown in FIG. 30. By enabling the torus elements to be assembled with rod elements by a lateral snap-fit connection, it becomes very simple to build large and complex structures, because the centre to centre distance between the connecting elements does not have to be modified when assembling the rod elements. As for the construction toy sets, where assembly of the elements requires axial insertion of one element into another, centre to centre distances between the connecting elements are enlarged, which needs a lot of care and in some cases it is impossible to build certain types of structures.

The different elements of the present invention can be combined in different ways to form a combination of different construction toy sets as it is not necessary to use all of the different elements, at the same time, in order to create a construction toy set. Torus elements are combined with rod elements to form a construction set or sphere like elements are also combined with rod elements to form a different construction set.

The rod elements and the connecting torus elements of the present invention are shaped in all different sizes and lengths in order to suit all ages including children of younger age. The torus elements of the present invention could formed of rigid plastic material or from flexible material such as rubber or silicon.

The elements of the construction set of the present invention are adapted for high production injection molding techniques using a suitable strong and resilient plastic material to allow strength and elasticity to the gripping jaws of the C-shaped clips to avoid them from being snapped.

The present invention has been described for illustrative but not limitative purposes, it will be obvious that modifications and changes may be introduced.