Title:
Cylindrical magazine for discharging projectiles for toy guns
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A preloadable, swappable and reloadable cylindrical magazine for rubber band and slingshot guns. Exhausted magazines can be replaced in seconds, allowing extended shooting. The release mechanism of projectiles is self-contained; no trigger as it is understood is required, making it particularly suitable in the design of Gatling guns. Hooks in front and fingers at rear engage energized projectiles. The rotation of the magazine causes fingers to tilt forward and projectiles to free themselves by sliding up the tilted fingers without outside disturbances, assuring the best shooting accuracy ever. A pawl and a ratchet wheel control the rotation of magazines. Depending on how long the pawl is disengaged, single shots or continuous firing is equally easy to execute. The successive firing rate is determined by how fast the magazine can rotate. Modular design allows through combinations of components numerous configurations for different sizes and numbers of elastic bands and various designs of toy guns.



Inventors:
Lin, Nun-hong (Taipei, TW)
Application Number:
12/214862
Publication Date:
12/24/2009
Filing Date:
06/24/2008
Primary Class:
International Classes:
F41B7/08
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
NICONOVICH, ALEXANDER R
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Lin, Nun-Hong (Taipei, TW)
Claims:
I claim:

1. A cylindrical magazine for discharging stretched elastic bands, comprising: (a) a mechanism of modular design adapted to different sizes and numbers of elastic bands and various designs of toy guns by decomposing the magazine into a head member, a tube member, a tail member, a trip member, and a member for controlling shooting modes, (b) means for retaining stretched elastic bands, (c) means for releasing the rear ends of said bands, (d) means for controlling shooting modes, (e) methods of loading said bands in multi-loop configurations to shorten the length of said magazine.

2. The magazine of claim 1 wherein circumferentially spaced radially disposed hooks on said head member and mortises on said tail member are longitudinally aligned by keys on said head and tail members and slots on said tube member.

3. The magazine of claim 1 wherein said retaining means comprises said plurality of hooks on said head member to engage the front end of said bands and a plurality of fingers pivotally mounted in said mortises on said tail member to hold the rear ends of said bands; said plurality of fingers having an erect height above said tail member long enough to securely engage said bands.

4. The magazine of claim 1 wherein said releasing means comprises a rotation of said tail member a certain degree determined by the separation between said fingers and a depression into the forward rim of said trip member held immobile relative to said tail member; the depth of said depression being determined by the angle of forward tilting of said fingers, the length of said fingers below the pivoting point, and the width of said fingers; said rim being profiled in a manner to minimize the sliding friction between said fingers and said rim.

5. The magazine of claim 4 wherein said rotation brings a finger held slightly backward by a stretched elastic band to said depression in the topmost firing position causing the lower half of said finger to sink rearward into said depression and the upper half of said finger to tilt forward under the strain of said band thereby causing the rear ends of said band to slide up the slope of said finger and release said band; the lower corner of said fingers facing said rim being cut in a manner to flush with the recess of said depression when tilted forward to minimize said depth of said depression; edges of said fingers in contact with said rim and said depression being rounded to reduce said friction; a device capable of pushing said tilted finger out of said depression being added beneath said depression to speed up the rotation of said magazine.

6. The magazine of claim 1 wherein said means for controlling shooting modes comprises a pawl provided by the toy gun and said member for controlling shooting modes in the form of a ratchet wheel fixed to the rear end of said tail member with the number of teeth determined by the number of hooks; shooting modes varying from single shots to continuous firing and any numbers of shots in between being determined by how long the pawl is out of the teeth of said ratchet wheel.

7. A cylindrical magazine for discharging projectiles using stretched elastic bands, comprising: (a) a mechanism of modular design adapted to different sizes and numbers of elastic bands, projectiles, and various designs of toy guns by decomposing the magazine into a head member, a tube member, a tail member, a trip member, and a member for controlling shooting modes, (b) projectiles used in simulated field combats, (c) means for retaining propelling elastic bands and said projectiles, (d) means for releasing said projectiles, (e) means for controlling shooting modes, (f) methods of loading said bands in multi-loop configurations to shorten the length of said magazine.

8. The magazine of claim 7 wherein circumferentially spaced radially disposed hooks on said head member and mortises on said tail member are longitudinally aligned by keys on said head and tail members and slots on said tube member.

9. The magazine of claim 7 wherein said projectile is in the form of a cartridge and comprises a bullet member and a cylinder member; said bullet member being made of absorbent material saturated with dye or of resilient materials with a cavity to hold dye and a slit nose to release said dye on impact; said cylinder member having a planar slot cut lengthwise from the end toward the middle and on the front end of said slot a smoothly curved groove to engage the rear ends of said band and to balance the forces from the two sides of said band, rectangular holes punched near its rear end and perpendicular to the plane of said slot to engage a finger in said tail member.

10. The magazine of claim 7 wherein said retaining means comprises said plurality of hooks on said head member to engage the front ends of said bands and a plurality of fingers pivotally mounted in said mortises on said tail member to hold said projectiles; said plurality of fingers having an erect height above said tail member long enough to securely engage said projectiles through said holes in said projectiles.

11. The magazine of claim 10 wherein two said hooks and one said finger equidistant from two said hooks form a slingshot configuration with said hooks forming the two forks of a slingshot to hold the front ends of said band and said finger as the anchor point of said projectile; each of said hooks being shared by two adjacent slingshot configurations.

12. The magazine of claim 7 wherein said releasing means comprises a rotation of said tail member a certain degree determined by the separation between said projectiles and a depression into the forward rim of said trip member held immobile relative to said tail member; the depth of said depression being determined by the angle of forward tilting of said fingers, the length of said fingers below the pivoting point, and the width of said fingers; said rim being profiled in a manner to minimize the sliding friction between said fingers and said rim.

13. The magazine of claim 12 wherein said rotation brings a finger held slightly backward by a projectile looped around said groove by a propelling elastic band to said depression in the topmost firing position causing the lower half of said finger to sink rearward into said depression and the upper half of said finger to tilt forward under the strain of said band thereby causing said projectile to slide up the slope of said finger and release itself; the lower corner of said fingers facing said rim being cut in a manner to flush with the recess of said depression when tilted forward to minimize said depth of said depression; edges of said fingers in contact with said rim being rounded to reduce said friction; a device capable of pushing said tilted finger out of said depression being added beneath said depression to speed up the rotation of said magazine.

14. The magazine of claim 7 wherein said means for controlling shooting modes comprises a pawl provided by the toy gun and said member for controlling shooting modes in the form of a ratchet wheel fixed to the rear end of said tail member with the number of teeth determined by the number of loaded projectiles; shooting modes varying from single shots to continuous firing and any numbers of shots in between being determined by how long the pawl is out of the teeth of said ratchet wheel.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to elastic band and slingshot guns, specifically to an improved cylindrical magazine for elastic band and slingshot guns.

Many toy guns have been invented to fire a plurality of elastic bands. There are generally two approaches: the first mounts the front end of all stretched elastic bands to a front recess on a barrel; the second uses cylindrical magazines thereon ridges, slats or vanes are used to hold individual stretched elastic bands, and U.S. Pat. Nos. 2,001,267, 3,515,387, 3,693,609, 3,757,760, 4,676,219, 4,800,864, 5,222,472, 5,460,150 and 5,505,186 are generally indicative of state-of-the-art of this category. The first approach has the inherently intractable problem of causing stretched elastic bands to tangle up at the front end of a barrel and misfire. This inventor does not think it is worthwhile to improve on the first approach and, instead, concentrates on refining the second category of elastic band guns.

Heretofore, the above-mentioned patents have one or more of the following drawbacks: (1) Except for U.S. Pat. Nos. 4,676,219 and 5,460,150, elastic bands can only be fired as fast as the rate of trigger-pulling. (2) Some need two hands to operate; as one hand is cranking it is hard for the other hand to keep the gun steady. (3) Except for U.S. Pat. No. 5,222,472, magazines are not removable or exchangeable; once elastic bands are exhausted, it takes time to reload elastic bands and this interruption spoils the fun of playing with elastic band guns. (4) The structure of magazines is closely tied to the elastic band release mechanism; magazines cannot be designed independent of the guns in which they operate. (5) All contrive complicated mechanisms that use a trigger slide, a cam rod, a trigger hammer, a string or projecting arms to push, pull or peel elastic bands off ridges, slats, vanes or hooks. This perturbation distorts the alignment of elastic bands and impairs shooting accuracy. (6) Because of the dimensions and geometries of the trigger slide, cam rod, trigger hammer, or projecting arms, and the room needed for their operation, far fewer elastic bands can be mounted on a cylinder as compared with the cylinder of a comparable diameter of this invention.

Ironically, the weakest point in elastic band guns is the elastic band itself. Because of its large profile relative to its small momentum, a flying elastic band is quickly decelerated by air resistance and cannot fly far even if the tensional force is high. Gains in shooting ranges from using thicker, longer and more powerful elastic bands are marginal due to the larger profiles of these elastic bands. To overcome the problem of limited shooting ranges, magazines must be able to use the full power of stretched elastic bands like a slingshot to propel projectiles with small cross sections relative to their momentums.

On the other hand, children playing with elastic band guns have been yearning for the simulated field combats staged by grown-ups with paintball guns. With the missiles in the form of a cartridge thereon the bullet portion is made of sponge saturated with dye the magazine can be used in simulated combats. On striking a target the bullet part will be squeezed and squirt out dye, preferably of water-based pigment for the ease of rinsing, on the target, making a hit glaringly evident.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Accordingly, several objects of my invention are to provide: (1) A universal elastic band magazine that can be used in the design of various toy guns, including Gatling guns, with minimal requirements on the part of gun designers. (2) A magazine that can adapt to different requirements of gun designers through modular design. (3) A magazine that is preloadable, replaceable in seconds once exhausted, and reusable. (4) A magazine that can dispense elastic bands in various shooting modes, one of them is continuous firing without repeatedly pulling a trigger. (5) A magazine that can pack a dense number of elastic bands on a cylinder, as many as 35 elastic bands on a 2-inch magazine. (6) A magazine with a release mechanism that allows elastic bands to free themselves without outside interference to achieve the best shooting accuracy. (7) A magazine that can propel projectiles using stretched elastic bands like a slingshot to extend shooting ranges. (8) A projectile that can leave the mark of a hit on impact with a target to be used in simulated field combats.

Further objects and advantages of my invention will become apparent from a consideration of the drawings and ensuing description of it.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is an exploded perspective view of the magazine used in rubber band guns.

FIG. 2 is an assembled perspective view of FIG. 1 with only the first and the last elastic bands loaded to avoid cluttering the drawing.

FIG. 3 shows the magazine in FIG. 2 as viewed from behind.

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of the magazine with the first and the last two missiles loaded to show two ways of mounting missiles.

FIG. 5 shows the release mechanism in action. For clarity, the rear portion of the finger housing is removed to expose the trip cup and its notch.

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of the hook block.

FIG. 7 is a perspective view of the tube.

FIG. 8 is a perspective view of the front portion of the finger housing.

FIG. 9 is a perspective view of the rear portion of the finger housing.

FIG. 10 is a perspective view of the trip cup.

FIG. 11 is a perspective view of the ratchet wheel used in the magazine for rubber bands.

FIG. 12 is a perspective view of the ratchet wheel used in the magazine for projectiles.

FIG. 13 is a perspective view of the finger used in the magazine.

FIG. 14 is a perspective view of the axle and rods used to hold together the front portion of the finger housing and the trip cup.

FIG. 15 is a perspective view of the projectile used in slingshot guns.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

This magazine is designed to discharge stretched elastic bands in elastic band guns and projectiles propelled by stretched elastic bands in slingshot guns. For the ease of adapting to the above-mentioned purposes and to different types and numbers of elastic bands with a minimal number of components and redesigning, the magazine is assembled, referring to FIGS. 1-3 and more particularly to the drawings wherein like numerals of reference indicate corresponding parts throughout several views, from a hook block 21, a finger housing composed of a front portion 23 and a rear portion 24 to sandwich fingers 27 in the mortises formed by slots 23b (FIG. 8) and 24b (FIG. 9) strung by a circular wire ring 28 through a pivoting hole 27a (FIG. 13) in the finger and the wire ring between semicircular grooves 23d and 24d, a tube 22 of varying lengths for different types of elastic bands with slots 22a (FIG. 7) to match with a key 21a (FIG. 6) on the hook block and a key 23a on the front portion 23 of the finger housing so that the hook block and the finger housing are properly aligned, a ratchet wheel 26-1 (FIG. 11) or 26-2 (FIG. 12) attached to the rear end of the rear portion 24 of the finger housing by matching holes 26-1a or 26-2a to posts 24a to control shooting modes, a trip cup 25 contained inside the finger housing with a neck 25f (FIG. 10) extending through and beyond the hole 24c of the rear portion of the finger housing to be held immobile relative to the rotation of the rest of the magazine by fitting cuts 25g onto an outside horizontal bar, as shown in FIG. 3.

An axle 29 connects the trip cup 25 and the front portion 23 of the finger housing through holes 25c and 23c with two rods 30 through holes 29a (FIG. 14). The two rods are at a precise distance so that when elastic bands are looped taut around hook-and-finger pairs, fingers will be held slightly backward-tilting by pushing against the rim 25e of the trip cup to ensure that no stretched elastic bands can accidentally escape fingers and cause misfiring. The profile of the rim 25e is preferably semicircular, triangular, or a configuration that makes linear contact with the flat edge of fingers to minimize the sliding friction between the rim and fingers and can be greased to further reduce the friction if necessary. It is the axle 29 and the two rods 30 that bear the force from stretched elastic bands to separate the front portion of the finger housing and the trip cup so proper lubrication should be applied between the rods and their contacting walls to minimize the friction from the rotating finger housing and the nonrotating trip cup.

Each hook 21b is paired with a finger except in the position corresponding to the key 23a because the magazine is so jam-packed with elastic bands and the separation between them is so small compared with other rubber band guns of the same category that one slot must be reserved initially for the topmost firing position. In this embodiment the separation between two neighboring elastic bands is less than 5 mm.

The edge 27b of the finger is cut at an angle so that when a finger tilts forward thirty degrees in this embodiment it will become vertical and minimize the depth it sinks into the notch 25a on the rim of the trip cup. In fact, any degrees greater than zero will do. The degree of thirty is chosen because its special trigonometric values simplify the calculation of many dimensions in designing the components of the magazine. Both of the edges 27b and 27c are rounded so that they make point contact with the rim 25e of the trip cup to further reduce sliding friction.

The shape of the teeth of the ratchet wheels (FIGS. 11 and 12) is for counterclockwise rotation when viewed from behind with a vertical leading edge to engage a pawl in a gun. The number of the teeth for the magazine used in rubber band guns is the same as that of hooks. Numbers 26-1b or 26-2b on the ratchet wheel indicate the number of remaining rounds.

The number of the teeth of the ratchet wheel 26-2 (FIG. 12) reflects the fact that only half as many projectiles can be mounted on a magazine because of its size. Since only half fingers are used to engage projectiles through slot 31c (FIG. 15), no vacancy needs to be reserved for the topmost firing position. The flexibility of modular design allows the number of fingers and the teeth of the ratchet wheel to be further reduced to one fourth of that used in rubber band guns with projectiles of even larger calibers, essentially turning the slingshot gun into a grenade launcher.

Projectiles 31 used in slingshot guns take the form of cartridges in this embodiment. The bullet portion 31a is preferably made of absorbent material saturated with dye or of resilient materials hollowed out to hold dye of enough viscosity so it will not ooze out of cross slits at the nose under normal circumstances and will squirt out only when squeezed on impact with a target to leave the mark of a hit.

A smoothly curved groove 31b is used to balance the forces from the two sides of a V-shaped propelling elastic band to ensure that a projectile can shoot dead ahead even if the two prongs of an elastic band are stretched unevenly when a projectile is loaded.

Before projectiles and/or elastic bands are loaded onto the magazine, the triangular mark 25h must be aligned with the post 24a under the highest number on the ratchet wheel to make the key 23a on the front portion of the finger housing align with the notch 25a of the trip cup in the topmost firing position, as shown in FIG. 3.

For magazines used in rubber band guns, elastic bands in a multi-loop configuration are stretched and looped around hook-and-finger pairs. A multi-loop configuration not only significantly reduces the length of a magazine but also shoots an elastic band farther because more than one end of an elastic band is propelled.

For magazines used in slingshot guns, two hooks 21b and a finger 27 as a unit form an isosceles configuration of a slingshot as shown in FIG. 4. Every hook is shared by two adjacent units and thus has two elastic bands looped around it. To avoid the very unlikely event of two elastic bands snarling at the hook, it is advisable that the first-fired projectile be mounted last. What are propelled are projectiles, not elastic bands. So, even if snarling does happen it in no way affects the performance of the magazine except that it looks unsightly. Alternatively, the propelling elastic band can loop around the projectile and only one hook as shown in FIG. 4.

With projectiles and/or elastic bands fully loaded the magazine is ready to be mounted into a gun and begins discharging projectiles. The gun needs only to provide an axle to fit into the central hole 21c of the hook block as the axis of rotation for the magazine, a horizontal bar to keep the trip cup immobile, and a pawl activated by a trigger mechanism to move it in or out of the teeth of the ratchet wheel to control shooting modes. The magazine must be rotated to discharge projectiles. For handguns, a power module coupled to the magazine at front through holes 21d of the hook block and implemented with a wound-up coil spring or high strength elastic band can provide the power for rotation. For Gatling guns, the power comes from the cranking of players. Thus the power source is not designed into the magazine.

The pawl in the gun keeps the magazine from rotating when it is first swapped into the gun with the power module activated. With the pawl retracted from the teeth of the ratchet wheel by pulling a trigger, the magazine rotates counterclockwise and a finger held slightly backward by a stretched elastic band is brought into the topmost firing position. At this point the lower half of the finger is tripped by the notch 25a on the rim of the trip cup and sinks into it, the upper half of the finger tilts forward thirty degrees as shown in FIG. 5. The rear end of the stretched elastic band slides up the slope of the forward-tilting finger under tension and frees itself to shoot forward. The notch in this embodiment takes the form of a trapezoid. The length of the lower half of a finger, the angle a finger tilts forward, and the width of a finger determine the height of the trapezoid, i.e., the depth of the notch. Of the two unparallel sides, the one approached by an incoming finger is perpendicular to the rim while the other is not and forms an incline 25b. Of the two parallel sides, the one deep into the rim is as wide as the thickness of a finger while the other on the rim has its width determined by the slope of the incline. This width is one of the factors that determine how close two fingers can be juxtaposed and, thus, how many rounds the magazine can pack given a fixed diameter if the only vacancy reserved is for the topmost firing position, the other being how close the lower halves of radially disposed fingers can get. After the stretched elastic band is released, the finger is no longer constrained and is free to oscillate. The depth of the notch in this embodiment is less than 2 mm so, ideally, the force of rotation alone is enough to nudge the loose finger along the incline and out of the notch to steer clear of the path of rotation. To make sure that no loose finger gets stuck in the notch and to speed up the firing rate, a springy material 25d is mounted beneath the notch to push the sunken finger out of the notch. With the help of the resilient block 25d the slope of the incline can be made closer to being perpendicular to the rim, the separation between fingers smaller, and more loaded elastic bands. Alternatively, a spring-loaded piston can take the place of a springy material.

As long as the pawl is out of the teeth of the ratchet wheel, the magazine can keep rotating and continue discharging projectiles without a player repeatedly pulling and releasing a trigger. To stop firing, a player simply releases the trigger and let the pawl engage a tooth of the ratchet wheel to stop the magazine from rotating.

After a magazine is exhausted of its ammunition, a player can swap it out of a gun and swap in a preloaded one in seconds and continue firing.