Title:
APPARATUS FOR THROWING PROJECTILES
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A device for throwing projectiles, such as water balloons. In one exemplary embodiment, the device includes a head portion and a shaft cooperating to form a substantially Y-shaped body. Specifically, the head portion includes a rim having netting extending between opposing sides thereof However, unlike known lacrosse sticks, the rim of the present device does not form a complete, elliptical ring and instead forms a substantially U-shaped body. The substantially U-shaped body of the rim portion of the present device results from the creation of opposing terminal ends.



Inventors:
Shoaff, Matthew J. (Fort Wayne, IN, US)
Application Number:
12/507267
Publication Date:
01/28/2010
Filing Date:
07/22/2009
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
124/1
International Classes:
F41B3/04
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
YOUNG, SCOTT E
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
FAEGRE DRINKER BIDDLE & REATH LLP (FORT WAYNE, IN, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A device for launching a water balloon, the device comprising: an elongate shaft; a head portion having a base and a rim, said base secured to said shaft, said rim having a pair of opposing arms extending outwardly from said base portion, said pair of opposing arms including terminal ends, whereby said head portion and said shaft cooperate to form a substantially Y-shaped body; and netting extending between said pair of opposing arms.

2. The device for launching a water balloon of claim 1, wherein said head portion forms a substantially U-shaped body.

3. The device for launching a water balloon of claim 1, wherein said netting further comprises a support line, said support line extending between said opposing pair of arms of said rim, wherein said support line provides additional support to said netting.

4. The device for launching a water balloon of claim 1, wherein said head portion is formed from a polymer selected from the group consisting of nylon, urethane, polycarbonate, polyethylene, polypropylene, polyketone, polybutylene terephalate, acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene, acrylic, and acrylic-styrene-acrylonitrile.

5. The device for launching a water balloon of claim 1, wherein said netting is wrapped around said opposing arms of said rim to secure said netting to said rim.

6. The device for launching a water balloon of claim 1, wherein said netting is formed from nylon.

7. A device for launching a deformable projectile, the device comprising: an elongate shaft; and launch means for launching the deformable projectile, said launch means including a head portion defining a launch exit and support means for supporting the deformable projectile.

8. The device for launching a deformable projectile of claim 7, wherein said head portion includes an interrupted rim, said interrupted rim defining said launch exit.

9. The device for launching a deformable projectile of claim 7, wherein said head portion includes a rim having a pair of opposing arms and said support means extends between said pair of opposing arms.

10. The device for launching a deformable projectile of claim 9, wherein said support means comprises a net.

11. The device for launching a deformable projectile of claim 10, wherein said netting further comprises a support line, said support line extending between said opposing pair of arms of said rim, wherein said support line provides additional support to said netting.

12. A method of launching a water balloon, comprising the steps of: providing a first water balloon; providing a device comprising: an elongate shaft; a head portion having a base and an interrupted rim, the base secured to the shaft, and the interrupted rim defining a launch exit; and a support for supporting the water balloon; supporting the first water balloon on the support of the device; and advancing the device along an arcuate path.

13. The method of claim 12, further comprising the step of passing the first water balloon through the launch exit of the device.

14. The method of claim 12, further comprising the steps of: providing a second water balloon; supporting the second water balloon on the support of the device; and advancing the device along an arcuate path.

15. The method of claim 14, further comprising passing the second water balloon through the launch exit of the device.

Description:

BACKGROUND

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to an apparatus for throwing projectiles and, particularly, to an apparatus for throwing water balloons.

2. Description of the Related Art

Projectiles, such as water balloons, may be thrown by individuals for recreation, particularly during the summer months. While water balloons are often thrown by hand, various devices have been developed to facilitate the throwing of water balloons at greater speeds and over longer distances. For example, sling-shot type devices have been developed to propel a water balloon faster and further than a water balloon can be thrown by hand. Additionally, lacrosse sticks have been used for throwing water balloons.

Lacrosse sticks have head portions that include a plastic or metal rim that is connected to a shaft. The rim has an elliptical shape that forms a continuous ring. A net extends between opposing edges of the rim and forms a supportive structure that allows an individual user to catch and throw water balloons using a lacrosse stick. Additionally, the shaft of the lacrosse stick extends from the head portion to act as a lever, allowing an individual user to flip the head of the lacrosse stick to generate sufficient forces to propel the water balloon from the head portion of the lacrosse stick. These forces exceed the forces that an individual can generate simply by throwing a water balloon by hand. As a result, the water balloon can travel faster and further when thrown with a lacrosse stick than when thrown by hand.

However, when a lacrosse stick is utilized to throw a water balloon, the water balloon may burst prematurely. Specifically, since the rim of the head portion of a lacrosse stick forms a continuous ring, a water balloon may impact the top of rim as it begins to advance in a direction away from the shaft of the lacrosse stick. This impact of the water balloon with the rim of the lacrosse stick may cause the water balloon to burst prematurely, i.e., before reaching its intended target.

SUMMARY

The present invention provides a device for throwing projectiles, such as water balloons. In one exemplary embodiment, the device includes a head portion and a shaft portion defining a substantially Y-shaped body. Specifically, the head portion includes a rim having netting extending between opposing sides thereof However, unlike known lacrosse sticks, the rim of the present device does not form a complete, elliptical ring and instead forms a substantially U-shaped body. The substantially U-shaped body of the rim portion of the present device results from the creation of opposing terminal ends. These terminal ends can be thought of as being created by removing material from the top of the rim portion, i.e., the area farthest from the shaft, of a known lacrosse stick. Advantageously, by forming the rim portion of the device as a substantially U-shaped body, a water balloon thrown with the device is substantially less likely to burst prematurely than a water balloon thrown with a known lacrosse stick.

In one form thereof, the present invention provides a device for launching a water balloon, the device including an elongate shaft, a head portion having a base and a rim, the base secured to the shaft, the rim having a pair of opposing arms extending outwardly from the base portion, the pair of opposing arms including terminal ends, whereby the head portion and the shaft cooperate to form a substantially Y-shaped body; and netting extending between the pair of opposing arms.

In another form thereof, the present invention provides a device for launching a deformable projectile, the device including an elongate shaft; and launch means for launching the deformable projectile, the launch means including a head portion defining a launch exit and support means for supporting the deformable projectile.

In yet another form thereof, the present invention provides a method of launching a water balloon, including the steps of providing a first water balloon; providing a device including: an elongate shaft; a head portion having a base and an interrupted rim, the base secured to the shaft, and the interrupted rim defining a launch exit; and support means for supporting the water balloon; supporting the first water balloon on the support means of the device; and advancing the device along an arcuate path.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The above-mentioned and other features and advantages of this invention, and the manner of attaining them, will become more apparent and the invention itself will be better understood by reference to the following description of an embodiment of the invention taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, wherein:

FIG. 1 is a fragmentary, prospective view of an exemplary embodiment of a device according to the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a fragmentary, plan view of the device of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of the device of FIG. 1 being used by an individual to throw a water balloon with the dashed lines depicted the device and water balloon at later stages of the throw; and

FIG. 4 is a partial fragmentary, frontal view of the device and water balloon of FIG. 3 depicting in dashed lines the water balloon exiting the device during a throw.

Corresponding reference characters indicate corresponding parts throughout the several views. The exemplification set out herein illustrates one preferred embodiment of the invention, in one form, and such exemplification is not to be construed as limiting the scope of the invention in any manner.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Referring to FIGS. 1 and 2, an apparatus for throwing water balloons is shown generally as device 10. As used herein, a “water balloon” is an inflatable, flexible bag filled with water that may be made from rubber, latex, polychloroprene or nylon, for example. Device 10 is in the form of a modified lacrosse stick having shaft 12 and head portion 14. Shaft 12 is formed as an elongate, linear body that extends from head portion 14 and is connected to head portion 14 in a known manner. For example, base 15 of head portion 14 may include an aperture extending therethrough and shaft 12 may be received within the aperture. Shaft 12 may then be secured in position within the aperture in base 15 using an adhesive or a known fastener, such as a screw. By connecting shaft 12 to head portion 14, device 10 forms a substantially Y-shaped body, the advantages of which are described in detail below.

Head portion 14 also includes rim 16 connected to base 15. Rim 16 includes a pair of opposing arms 23 that extend outwardly from base 15. As indicated above, in known lacrosse sticks, the rim portion forms a continuous, elliptically shaped ring. In contrast to these known lacrosse sticks, rim 16 of device 10 defines a substantially U-shaped portion that results from the lack of a top section of rim 16. As a result, rim 16 fails to form a continuous ring and, instead, forms an interrupted rim having two ends 18, 20. End 18, 20 cooperate to define a launch exit therebetween and also form the terminal ends of arms 23, i.e., no additional portion of rim 16 extends beyond ends 18, 20 of arms 23.

Netting 22 is connected to rim 16 of head portion 14. Netting 22 extends between opposing sides of rim 16 and is secured to rim 16 via engagement therewith. For example, netting 22 may be formed as a woven construct that is looped around arms 23 of head portion 14. Alternatively, netting 22 may be threaded through openings 25 formed in arms 23, as best seen in FIG. 1. Netting 22 is connected to head portion 14 to form a soft, flexible surface for the support of a deformable projectile, such as a water balloon.

In one exemplary embodiment, head portion 14 is formed from a polymer, such as nylon, urethane, polycarbonate, polyethylene, polypropylene, polyketone, polybutylene terephalate, acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS), acrylic, and acrylic-styrene-acrylonitrile. In one exemplary embodiment, netting 22 is formed from a fibrous, flexible material. In one exemplary embodiment, netting 22 is formed from nylon.

In order to overcome the lack of support of netting 22 between terminal ends 16, 18 of arms 23, netting 22 may include support line 27 extending between arms 23 at or near terminal ends 16, 18. In one exemplary embodiment, opposing ends of support line 27 are passed through openings formed in arms 23 and secured thereto. For example, support line 27 may be secured to opposing arms 23 by passing opposing ends of support line 27 through openings formed in arms 23 and then tying knots in opposing ends of support line 27 adjacent to the outside surfaces of the opposing arms 23.

In one exemplary embodiment, support line 25 is formed to be stronger than the remaining portions of netting 22. For example, support line 27 may be formed from a different material than the remainder of netting 22 or, if netting 22 is woven, support line 27 may include more individual strands than the remainder of netting 22. In order to provide added support and strength to netting 22, portions of netting 22 may be looped around or otherwise secured to support line 27. Head portion 14 may be formed by modifying a commercially available lacrosse stick head, such as an Xcaliber lacrosse stick head, commercially available from STX LLC of Baltimore, Md., by removing the distal-most portion of the rim of the lacrosse stick and inserting support line 27.

Advantageously, due to the U-shape of head portion 14 that, when combined with shaft 12, forms Y-shaped device 10, device 10 may be used to throw a water balloon without any significant risk that the water balloon will prematurely burst due to contact with device 10. Specifically, an individual, such as individual 24 shown in FIGS. 3 and 4, first fills a balloon with water in a known manner to form water balloon 26, shown in FIGS. 3 and 4. In exemplary embodiments, water balloon 26 may have a diameter as small as 3, 4, or 5 inches or as large as 6, 7, or 8 inches. For example, water balloon 26 may be filled with water to create a water balloon that will burst on contact with a solid object, such as a human body, when thrown with the average over hand throwing force of a 12 year-old child.

Referring to FIGS. 3 and 4, once water balloon 26 is formed, individual 24 may then place water balloon 26 on netting 22 of head portion 14. By grasping shaft 12 and advancing device 10 along a substantially arcuate path, as shown in dashed lines in FIG. 3, water balloon 26 will begin to advance along netting 22 in the direction of arrow A and away from shaft 12. As water balloon 26 continues to advance, it may advance off of netting 22 and pass through launch exit 28 defined between ends 18, 20 of arms 23 of rim 16. As water balloon 26 continues to advance in a direction away from shaft 12, water balloon 26 separates from head portion 14 and device 10 without contacting any of the hard plastic or metal that may form rim 16 of head portion 14. As a result, water balloon 26 avoids bursting prematurely due to contact with device 10.

While this invention has been described as having a preferred design, the present invention can be further modified within the spirit and scope of this disclosure. This application is therefore intended to cover any variations, uses, or adaptations of the invention using its general principles. Further, this application is intended to cover such departures from the present disclosure as come within known or customary practice in the art to which this invention pertains and which fall within the limits of the appended claims.