Title:
HOPPER STRUCTURE OF PAINTBALL MARKER
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A hopper structure of a paintball marker includes a hopper body, a paintball holder, an upper cover, and first and second connecting elements. The hopper body has opposite first and second pivot portions. The first pivot portion has opposite and mutually communicating first pivot holes. The second pivot portion has opposite and mutually communicating second pivot holes. After a third pivot portion of the paintball holder is received in the first pivot portion, a fourth pivot portion of the upper cover is received in the second pivot portion. Thus, the paintball holder and the upper cover are stacked vertically on the hopper body. The upper cover, the paintball holder, and the hopper body are pivotally connected by the first and second connecting elements such that the assembled hopper structure is conveniently opened and closed and will not fall apart when accidentally dropped to the ground or hit during use.



Inventors:
Yeh, Hsin-cheng (Tainan City, TW)
Application Number:
12/568738
Publication Date:
03/31/2011
Filing Date:
09/29/2009
Primary Class:
International Classes:
F41B11/02
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
KLAYMAN, AMIR ARIE
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
WPAT, PC (VIENNA, VA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A hopper structure of a paintball marker, comprising: a hopper body having a first pivot portion and a second pivot portion opposite the first pivot portion, the first pivot portion having opposite and mutually communicating first pivot holes, the second pivot portion having opposite and mutually communicating second pivot holes, the hopper body being centrally provided with a receiving chamber connected with a paintball channel; a paintball holder provided above the hopper body and having a third pivot portion, the third pivot portion being received in the first pivot portion of the hopper body, the third pivot portion having a first through hole corresponding in position to the first pivot holes of the first pivot portion, the paintball holder having a predetermined hole corresponding in position to the receiving chamber of the hopper body; an upper cover provided above the paintball holder and having a fourth pivot portion, the fourth pivot portion being received in the second pivot portion of the hopper body, the fourth pivot portion having a second through hole corresponding in position to the second pivot holes of the second pivot portion, wherein a hopper lid is fittingly and pivotally provided on the upper cover and located above the predetermined hole of the paintball holder; a first connecting element for connecting the hopper body with the paintball holder, the first connecting element having an end formed with a first threaded hole, the first threaded hole being threadingly connected to a first bolt, wherein the first connecting element connected with the first bolt passes through the first pivot holes of the first pivot portion and the first through hole of the third pivot portion; and a second connecting element for connecting the hopper body with the upper cover, the second connecting element having an end formed with a second threaded hole, the second threaded hole being threadingly connected to a second bolt, wherein the second connecting element connected with the second bolt passes through the second pivot holes of the second pivot portion and the second through hole of the fourth pivot portion.

2. The hopper structure of claim 1, wherein the first pivot portion is formed as two projecting plates.

3. The hopper structure of claim 1, wherein the second pivot portion is formed as two projecting plates.

4. The hopper structure of claim 1, wherein the hopper body has an outer surface provided with ribs between the first pivot portion and the second pivot portion.

5. The hopper structure of claim 1, wherein the hopper body is provided with a resilient fastener extending upward from inside the receiving chamber.

6. The hopper structure of claim 5, wherein the paintball holder has a fixing hole corresponding in position to the resilient fastener of the hopper body.

7. The hopper structure of claim 1, wherein the paintball holder has an outer surface provided with at least a stud.

8. The hopper structure of claim 7, wherein the upper cover is provided with at least an engaging hole corresponding in position to the at least a stud of the paintball holder.

9. The hopper structure of claim 1, wherein the third pivot portion is provided with a pressing block perpendicular to the first through hole.

10. The hopper structure of claim 9, wherein the upper cover is provided with an engaging block corresponding in position to the pressing block of the third pivot portion of the paintball holder.

11. The hopper structure of claim 1, wherein the third pivot portion is formed as a block.

12. The hopper structure of claim 1, wherein the fourth pivot portion is formed as an arcuate plate.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Technical Field

The present invention relates to a hopper structure of a paintball marker. More particularly, the present invention relates to a hopper structure of a paintball marker, wherein the hopper structure is formed by components vertically stacked up and pivotally connected together such that the hopper structure will not fall apart when inadvertently dropped to the ground.

2. Description of Related Art

Paintball markers play a critical role in survival games incorporated with the sport of paintball. A paintball marker includes a hopper connected to an upper end of the paintball marker and configured for loading paintballs. Therefore, the hopper is an indispensable part of a paintball marker for use in the aforesaid survival games. Generally, the hopper of a paintball marker is composed of left and right housing halves which are engaged with each other and peripherally fastened together by bolts. In addition, the hopper must have a funnel device installed therein. Therefore, when the funnel device is damaged and needs replacing, all the peripherally arranged bolts have to be removed, which is extremely inconvenient. To solve this problem, a hopper device such as the hopper A shown in FIG. 6 and FIG. 7 was developed. The hopper A is formed by a first housing member A1 and a second housing member A2. The first housing member A1 is provided with at least one protruding rib A11 while the second housing member A2 is provided with at least one engaging groove A21 corresponding in position to the at least one protruding rib A11 of the first housing member A1. Besides, the hopper A is provided therein with a plate A3. The plate A3 is formed with an engaging hole A31 for engaging with an engaging element B so as to fasten the first housing member A1 and the second housing member A2 to each other.

While the hopper A is formed by engagement between the housing members A1 and A2 to facilitate assembly and replacement of the funnel device, it still has the following drawbacks in use:

1. As the housing members A1 and A2 are fastened to each other by mutual engagement, the hopper A may easily fall apart when accidentally dropped to the ground during handling and assembly. In that case, the hopper A must be reassembled to resume its normal functions.

2. Assembly of the hopper A is difficult, time-consuming, and laborious. First of all, the hopper A is formed by pressing the housing members A1 and A2 into engagement, and in consequence a large number of engaging points are involved. Moreover, as it takes a lot of force to insert the engaging element B, which is a projecting member in the hopper A, into the engaging hole A31 formed on the plate A3 of the hopper A, the force must be applied with extreme care.

3. Now that the engaging element B in the hopper A is a projecting member, an improper angle of force application may result in collision between the engaging element B and the plate A3 or even break the plate A3. Should that happen, the hopper A can no longer be reassembled and must be replaced by a new one, which inevitably incurs extra expenses.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Therefore, the present invention provides a hopper structure of a paintball marker that is intended to overcome the aforementioned drawbacks of the conventional hopper, namely inconvenience of assembly and easy disintegration when dropped to the ground.

The present invention provides a hopper structure of a paintball marker, wherein the hopper structure is formed by components vertically stacked up and pivotally connected together such that the hopper structure will not fall apart when inadvertently dropped to the ground during handling and assembly.

According to the present invention, a hopper structure of a paintball marker includes a hopper body, a paintball holder, an upper cover, a first connecting element, and a second connecting element. The hopper body has a first pivot portion and a second pivot portion opposite the first pivot portion. The first pivot portion has opposite and mutually communicating first pivot holes while the second pivot portion has opposite and mutually communicating second pivot holes. In addition, the hopper body is centrally formed with a receiving chamber connected with a paintball channel. The paintball holder is provided above the hopper body and has a third pivot portion, wherein the third pivot portion is configured for being received in the first pivot portion of the hopper body. The third pivot portion has a first through hole corresponding in position to the first pivot holes of the first pivot portion. Moreover, the paintball holder has a predetermined hole corresponding in position to the receiving chamber of the hopper body. The upper cover is provided above the paintball holder and has a fourth pivot portion, wherein the fourth pivot portion is configured for being received in the second pivot portion of the hopper body. The fourth pivot portion has a second through hole corresponding in position to the second pivot holes of the second pivot portion. Furthermore, a hopper lid is fittingly and pivotally provided on the upper cover and located above a paintball falling opening, i.e., the predetermined hole of the paintball holder. The first connecting element is configured for connecting the hopper body with the paintball holder. The first connecting element has an end formed with a first threaded hole, wherein the first threaded hole is threadingly connected with a first bolt. The first connecting element connected with the first bolt is inserted through the first pivot holes of the first pivot portion and the first through hole of the third pivot portion. The second connecting element is configured for connecting the hopper body with the upper cover. The second connecting element has an end formed with a second threaded hole, wherein the second threaded hole is threadingly connected with a second bolt. The second connecting element connected with the second bolt is inserted through the second pivot holes of the second pivot portion and the second through hole of the fourth pivot portion.

The first pivot portion is formed as two projecting plates.

The second pivot portion is formed as two projecting plates.

The hopper body has an outer surface formed with ribs between the first pivot portion and the second pivot portion.

The hopper body is provided with a resilient fastener extending upward from inside the receiving chamber.

The paintball holder has a fixing hole corresponding in position to the resilient fastener of the hopper body.

The paintball holder has an outer surface formed with at least one stud.

The upper cover is provided with at least one engaging hole corresponding in position to the at least one stud of the paintball holder.

The third pivot portion is provided with a pressing block perpendicular to the first through hole.

The upper cover is provided with an engaging block corresponding in position to the pressing block of the third pivot portion of the paintball holder.

The third pivot portion is formed as a block.

The fourth pivot portion is formed as an arcuate plate.

The present invention has the following advantages:

1. The hopper structure is assembled by pivotal connection so as to facilitate opening and closing. When it is desired to install a funnel device in the hopper structure, the funnel device can be directly placed into the hopper structure, thereby saving time and costs.

2. As the hopper structure is assembled by vertically stacking its components and pivotally connecting the stacked components into a one-piece unit, the assembly can be completed at high efficiency.

3. As the components of the hopper structure are pivotally connected by the first connecting element and the second connecting element, the hopper structure will not fall apart when accidentally dropped to the ground during handling and assembly or when hit during a game.

4. As the paintball holder and the upper cover are pivotally connected, they can be conveniently detached and replaced by their counterparts of different colors, thereby enhancing product diversity.

5. When the upper cover is coupled to the paintball holder, a double securing function is effected by: 1) the at least one engaging hole of the upper cover that corresponds in position to the at least one stud of the paintball holder; and 2) the engaging block of the upper cover that corresponds in position to the pressing block of the third pivot portion of the paintball holder. Therefore, the upper cover and the paintball holder will not separate easily from each other when subjected to shock or collision.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWINGS

The invention as well as a preferred mode of use, further objectives, and advantages thereof will be best understood by referring to the following detailed description of an illustrative embodiment in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is an exploded perspective view of a hopper structure of a paintball marker according to the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the hopper structure according to the present invention;

FIG. 3 is a sectional view of the hopper structure according to the present invention;

FIG. 4 is another perspective view of the hopper structure according to the present invention, wherein an upper cover and a paintball holder are lifted open;

FIG. 5 is a sectional view of the hopper structure according to the present invention when equipped with a roulette wheel-type funnel device and installed on a paintball marker;

FIG. 6 is a sectional view of a conventional hopper of a paintball marker; and

FIG. 7 is a sectional view taken along line 7-7 of FIG. 6.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Referring to FIG. 1, according to the present invention, a hopper structure of a paintball marker includes a hopper body 1, a paintball holder 2, an upper cover 3, a first connecting element 4, and a second connecting element 5.

The hopper body 1 has a first pivot portion 11 and a second pivot portion 12 opposite the first pivot portion 11. The first pivot portion 11 is formed as two projecting plates and has opposite and mutually communicating first pivot holes 111. The second pivot portion 12 is also formed as two projecting plates and has opposite and mutually communicating second pivot holes 121. The hopper body 1 is formed with a receiving chamber 13, wherein the receiving chamber 13 is connected with a paintball channel 14. In addition, the hopper body 1 has an outer surface provided with ribs 15 for strengthening the hopper body 1, wherein the ribs 15 are located between the first pivot portion 11 and the second pivot portion 12. Moreover, the hopper body 1 is provided with a resilient fastener 16 extending upward from inside the receiving chamber 13.

The paintball holder 2 is provided above the hopper body 1 and has a third pivot portion 21. The third pivot portion 21 is formed as a block and configured for being received in the first pivot portion 11. The third pivot portion 21 has a first through hole 211 corresponding in position to the first pivot holes 111 of the first pivot portion 11. Also, the third pivot portion 21 is provided with a pressing block 212 perpendicular to the first through hole 211. The paintball holder 2 has a predetermined hole 22 corresponding in position to the receiving chamber 13 of the hopper body 1. In addition, the paintball holder 2 is formed with a fixing hole 23 corresponding in position to the resilient fastener 16 of the hopper body 1. The resilient fastener 16 can slide into and engage with the fixing hole 23 so as to secure the paintball holder 2 in place. Besides, the paintball holder 2 has an outer surface provided with at least one stud 24.

The upper cover 3 is provided above the paintball holder 2 and has a fourth pivot portion 31. The fourth pivot portion 31 is formed as an arcuate plate and configured for being received in the second pivot portion 12. Further, the fourth pivot portion 31 has a second through hole 311 corresponding in position to the second pivot holes 121 of the second pivot portion 12. The upper cover 3 has a top end fittingly and pivotally provided with a hopper lid 32 located above the predetermined hole 22 of the paintball holder 2. The upper cover 3 is further provided with at least one engaging hole 33 corresponding in position to the at least one stud 24 of the paintball holder 2. Moreover, the upper cover 3 is provided with an engaging block 34 corresponding in position to the pressing block 212 of the third pivot portion 21 of the paintball holder 2.

The first connecting element 4 is configured for connecting the hopper body 1 with the paintball holder 2. The first connecting element 4 has an end formed with a first threaded hole 41. The first threaded hole 41 is configured for threadingly connecting with a first bolt 42. The first connecting element 4 connected with the first bolt 42 passes through the first pivot holes 111 of the first pivot portion 11 and the first through hole 211 of the third pivot portion 21.

The second connecting element 5 is configured for connecting the hopper body 1 with the upper cover 3. The second connecting element 5 has an end formed with a second threaded hole 51. The second threaded hole 51 is configured for threadingly connecting with a second bolt 52. The second connecting element 5 connected with the second bolt 52 passes through the second pivot holes 121 of the second pivot portion 12 and the second through hole 311 of the fourth pivot portion 31.

Referring to FIGS. 2 and 3 in conjunction with FIG. 1, the hopper structure of the present invention is assembled in the following manner. To begin with, the third pivot portion 21 of the paintball holder 2 is received in the first pivot portion 11 of the hopper body 1 such that the paintball holder 2 is located above the hopper body 1. Meanwhile, the resilient fastener 16 of the hopper body 1 slides into and engages with the fixing hole 23 of the paintball holder 2, thereby securing the paintball holder 2 in place. Then, the fourth pivot portion 31 of the upper cover 3 is received in the second pivot portion 12. As a result, the studs 24 of the paintball holder 2 are received in the engaging holes 33 of the upper cover 3, respectively, while the engaging block 34 of the upper cover 3 is engaged with the pressing block 212 of the third pivot portion 21 of the paintball holder 2, thus providing a double securing function. Therefore, after the upper cover 3 is coupled with the paintball holder 2, they will not separate easily from each other due to shock or collision. Next, the first connecting element 4 is inserted through the first pivot holes 111 of the first pivot portion 11 and the first through hole 211 of the third pivot portion 21. Following that, the first bolt 42 is threadingly connected to the first threaded hole 41 of the first connecting element 4. Similarly, after the second connecting element 5 is inserted through the second pivot holes 121 of the second pivot portion 12 and the second through hole 311 of the fourth pivot portion 31, the second bolt 52 is threadingly connected to the second threaded hole 51 of the second connecting element 5. Thus, the upper cover 3, the paintball holder 2, and the hopper body 1 are vertically stacked and pivotally connected together.

The upper cover 3 and the paintball holder 3 of the present invention can be lifted open as shown in FIG. 4. More particularly, the upper cover 3 is rotated upward about an axis defined by the second connecting element 5 such that the engaging holes 33 of the upper cover 3 are disengaged from the studs 24 of the paintball holder 2. After that, the paintball holder 2 is rotated about an axis defined by the first connecting element 4 while the resilient fastener 16 of the hopper body 1 is pressed. As a result, the fixing hole 23 of the paintball holder 2 is disengaged from the resilient fastener 16 of the hopper body 1, and the paintball holder 2 is lifted open.

Referring to FIG. 5 in conjunction with FIG. 4, the hopper structure of the present invention is equipped with a roulette wheel-type funnel device and installed on a paintball marker in the following manner. The upper cover 3 and the paintball holder 2 are lifted open successively. Then, a roulette wheel-type funnel device 6 is directly placed in the receiving chamber 13 of the hopper body 1 such that a canal 61 of the roulette wheel-type funnel device 6 is directly inserted in the paintball channel 14 of the hopper body 1. Finally, the paintball channel 14 of the hopper body 1 is assembled to a paintball marker 7. The hopper structure of the present invention will not fall apart when accidentally dropped to the ground during handling and assembly or when hit in the course of a game.