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Publication numberUS20030176226 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 10/100,791
Publication dateSep 18, 2003
Filing dateMar 18, 2002
Priority dateMar 18, 2002
Publication number100791, 10100791, US 2003/0176226 A1, US 2003/176226 A1, US 20030176226 A1, US 20030176226A1, US 2003176226 A1, US 2003176226A1, US-A1-20030176226, US-A1-2003176226, US2003/0176226A1, US2003/176226A1, US20030176226 A1, US20030176226A1, US2003176226 A1, US2003176226A1
InventorsHarris Kelsey
Original AssigneeKelsey Harris Daniel
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Launch ramp and method of making same
US 20030176226 A1
Abstract
A launch ramp provides a conveniently portable and durable launch ramp. The launch ramp has a metal riding-plate with a concave radius-riding surface. The riding-plate has an approach end where a skateboarder enters the ramp and a launch end where the skater propels off the ramp. The riding-plate has integrally formed supports for providing sufficient support, but yet retains desirable flex in the riding surface. A stand-plate elevates the approach end at a predetermined height. The stand-plate also has integral stand-plate supports for added stability and durability. In a preferred example of the launch ramp, the launch ramp is constructed from a single sheet of aluminum-magnesium stock plate. A die press or other bending mechanism forms the single sheet into a particularly durable and stable structure. In another particular example of a launch ramp, the stand-plate may extend generally from the riding-plate at an angle that enables the stand-plate supports to provide distinct contacts with a supporting surface.
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Claims(19)
What is claimed is:
1. A launch ramp, comprising:
a metal riding-plate having a concave radius, the riding-plate having an approach end and a launch end;
riding-plate supports between the approach end and the launch end, the riding-plate supports being integrally formed with the riding plate;
a stand-plate integrally formed with the riding-plate and extending from the launch end toward a support surface;
stand-plate supports between the launch end and the support surface, the stand-plate supports being integrally formed with the stand plate; and
wherein the stand-plate extends from the riding-plate at about a stand angle, where the stand angle is a right angle from an imaginary ramp line extending from the launch end to the approach end.
2. The launch ramp according to claim 2, further including stand contacts on the stand-plate supports for resting on the support surface.
3. The launch ramp according to claim 1 wherein the riding-plate is constructed to have a concave radius in the range of about 6 feet to about 10 feet.
4. The launch ramp according to claim 1, wherein the metal is selected to be an aluminum/magnesium alloy having a thickness of about 8 gauge to about 12 gauge.
5. The launch ramp according to claim 1, wherein the metal is selected to be an aluminum/magnesium alloy generally identified as a 5052 alloy and having a thickness of about 10 gauge.
6. The launch ramp according to claim 1, wherein the riding-plate supports taper at the approach end to form approach contacts for resting on the support surface.
7. A launch ramp, comprising:
a metal riding-plate having a concave radius, the riding-plate having an approach end and a launch end;
riding-plate supports between the approach end and the launch end, the riding-plate supports being integrally formed with the riding plate; and
a stand-plate extending from the launch end toward a support surface.
8. The launch ramp according to claim 7, further including stand-plate supports between the launch end and the support surface, the stand-plate supports being integrally formed with the stand plate.
9. The launch ramp according to claim 8, further including stand contacts on the stand-plate supports for resting on the support surface.
10. The launch ramp according to claim 7, wherein the stand-plate is integrally formed with the riding plate.
11. The launch ramp according to claim 7, wherein the stand plate, the riding plate, the stand-plate supports, and the riding-plate supports are integrally formed from a single stock plate.
12. The launch ramp according to claim 7 wherein the riding-plate is constructed to have a concave radius in the range of about 6 feet to about 10 feet.
13. The launch ramp according to claim 7 wherein the riding-plate is constructed to have a concave radius of about 8 feet.
14. The launch ramp according to claim 7 wherein the launch end is about 12 inches above the support surface when the launch ramp is resting on the support surface.
15. The launch ramp according to claim 7, wherein the stand-plate extends from the riding-plate at about a stand angle, where the stand angle is a right angle from an imaginary ramp line extending from the launch end to the approach end.
16. The launch ramp according to claim 7, wherein the distance between the approach end and the launch end is about 4 feet.
17. A method of making a launch ramp, comprising:
providing a metal plate stock, the stock plate having an approach end and a stand end;
removing a notch from each side of the plate stock, an imaginary line extending between the notches is a stand support bend line;
bending a concave radius into the plate stock, the radius extending from the approach end to the notches and forming a radius member;
bending each side of the radius member along an imaginary bend line to form a riding-plate with integral riding-plate supports;
bending the plate stock along the stand bend line to form a stand member, the stand bent to extend at about a right angle to the imagery line extending from the approach end to the stand bend line;
bending each side of the stand member along an imaginary bend line to form a stand-plate with integral stand-plate supports; and
tapering the riding-plate supports to form approach contacts.
18. The method according to claim 17, further comprising the step of forming a contact surface on the riding plate.
19. The method according to claim 17, further comprising the step of welding the riding-plate supports to the stand-plate supports at the notch.
Description
BACKGROUND

[0001] The field of the present invention is mechanical sport ramps. More particularly, the present invention relates to launch ramps for sporting activities such as skateboarding, BMX biking, and skating.

[0002] Skateboarding is a popular sporting activity. In a particularly desirable aspect of skateboarding, skateboarders perform tricks, stunts, or other maneuvers to increase the excitement and complexity of the sport. Other sports, such as BMX biking, skating, and riding scooters also may perform such activities. In performing these various maneuvers, skateboarders often use accessory devices such as grinder rails, half-pipes, and various types of jumps and ramps. Unfortunately, the sport of skateboarding has suffered from a lack of convenient and accessible skate parks, where permanent installations of such accessories may be used. Accordingly, skateboarders often have been forced to use makeshift accessories. For example, skateboarders may use a handrail adjacent a public sidewalk as a substitute for a grinder rail, or may place boards against a curb to substitute for a ramp. Such makeshift use not only may be dangerous to the skateboarder, but also may interfere with the intended use of sidewalks and streets.

[0003] In an effort to respectfully use public space, skateboarders prefer to use portable accessory equipment that is specifically designed for skateboard tricks. For example, portable grinder rails exist which skateboarders may set in a safe public area and utilize without interfering with pedestrians or cars. In another example, skateboarders may transport launch ramps to an open public area for performing jump maneuvers. However, known portable launch ramps fail to provide a skateboarder with a satisfactory riding experience.

[0004] One type of known portable launch ramp provides a riding surface that is coupled to a stand. One end of the riding surface rests on a support surface such as the ground, and the launch end of the riding surface is elevated at a height determined by the stand structure. The riding surface is flat and maintains a constant angle relative to the ground or other support surface. Although this type of ramp can be constructed in a durable and simple manner, the flat riding surface provides a highly undesirable riding experience.

[0005] The flat riding surface, commonly referred to as a “bank ramp”, provides for an uncomfortable transition from the approach area to the launch area. More specifically, when the rider is entering the approach of the bank, the rider will be shifted from the ground and immediately transitioned to the angle of the bank, thus jarring the rider on the approach. Further, the constant angle of the bank requires that the stand be set at a particularly high elevation to provide a meaningful jump experience. Accordingly, with the high elevation of the launch position and the jarring effect at the approach, the skater loses substantial kinetic energy in executing a bank jump. In skateboarding, it is highly desirable to exit a jump with a high degree of energy retained. In this regard, a bank jump has highly undesirable energy retention characteristics.

[0006] Further, a bank ramp generally has an undesirable flex or spring effect. Since the bank is at a constant angle, when the ramp is set to provide a desirable amount of spring or flex near the approach and launch areas, the center area will be too spongy. In a similar manner, if the center area is constructed to provide a desirable amount of spring or flex, then the approach and launch areas may be too firm. Either way, the riding experience is unsatisfying.

[0007] In order to provide a more enjoyable ride experience as compared to the bank ramp, launch ramps often employ a concave radius on the riding surface. Such a concave radius provides a smooth transition from the ground to the ramp, and the increasing angle of attack along the riding surface provides a desirable launch effect as the skateboarder leaves the ramp. However, due to design geometries and structural stresses, launch ramps having a radial riding surface are typically more permanent or complex in nature. Accordingly, a skateboarder's ability to readily transport such a launch ramp is limited.

[0008] It is known to construct an injection plastic molded launch ramp having a radius-riding surface. Although these ramps are readily transportable, they provide a highly undesirable riding experience. For example, such injection-molded ramps may lack the durability and stress supports for extended sport play. A skateboarder repeatedly launching off such a ramp may break the ramp, particularly at the point the stand intersects the riding surface. Further, since these ramps are relatively light and made from plastic, as a rider propels or pushes away from the launch area, the approach portion may lift off the ground. This not only causes a substantial decrease in the launch effect, but also a subsequent rider may stumble over the elevated approach, or miss the approach if the ramp has moved. Each of these situations may result in injury to the skateboarder or damage to the plastic ramp.

[0009] In another undesirable aspect to the plastic ramp, the riding surface is often constructed as a smooth plastic. Such a smooth riding surface may cause the plastic wheels on the skateboard to easily slip. Since the skateboarder may be applying various stresses against the ramp in performing tricks, the skateboard wheels may slip thereby causing the trick to fail, or cause the rider to fall and potentially be injured. Also, since the plastic ramp is relatively light, the action of performing a jump or stunt may cause the ramp to shift positions, thereby negatively affecting the jump or causing a subsequent rider to miss the ramp.

[0010] Known portable launch ramps, therefore, have not gained widespread acceptance by skateboarders. Indeed, the most important attribute for any skateboarding accessory is that it provides a fun and satisfying riding experience for the skateboarder. Unfortunately, known ramps providing an acceptable riding experience have failed to be conveniently portable. Those that are conveniently portable often suffer from a lack of durability, and worse, are not fun to ride. In this regard, there is a need for a conveniently portable and durable launch ramp that provides a superior riding experience.

SUMMARY

[0011] It is therefore an object of the present invention to overcome the deficiencies of known launch ramps. It is a further object of the present invention to provide a conveniently portable and durable launch ramp having superior riding characteristics.

[0012] Briefly, the present invention provides a conveniently portable and durable launch ramp. The launch ramp has a metal riding-plate with a concave radius-riding surface. The riding-plate has an approach end where a skateboarder enters the ramp and a launch end where the rider propels off the ramp. The riding-plate has integrally formed supports for providing sufficient support, but yet retains desirable flex in the riding surface. A stand-plate elevates the approach end at a predetermined height. The stand-plate also has integral stand-plate supports for added stability and durability.

[0013] In a preferred example of the launch ramp, the launch ramp is constructed from a single sheet of aluminum-magnesium stock plate. A die press or other bending mechanism forms the single sheet into a particularly durable and stable structure. In another particular example of a launch ramp, the stand-plate may extend generally from the riding-plate at an angle that enables the stand-plate supports to provide distinct contacts with a supporting surface.

[0014] Advantageously, the disclosed launch ramp provides an extremely durable and stable construction. However, even with such superior durability and stability, the launch ramp maintains a size, shape, and weight for convenient portability. Most importantly, though, the launch ramp exhibits superior riding characteristics. For example, the launch ramp provides a concave radius riding surface having good flex and spring characteristics. Further, the launch ramp also exhibits excellent energy retention characteristics, thus enabling efficient and enjoyable jump maneuvers. Also, the launch ramp exhibits good adhesion to the support surface, particularly at the critical time when a skateboarder launches off the ramp. These and other advantages will become apparent by review of the figures and detail descriptions that follow.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0015]FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a launch ramp constructed in accordance with the present invention;

[0016]FIG. 2 is an isometric view of a launch ramp constructed in accordance with the present invention;

[0017]FIG. 3 is a side view of a launch ramp constructed in accordance with the present invention;

[0018]FIG. 4 is a plan view of a launch ramp constructed in accordance with the present invention;

[0019]FIG. 5 is a diagram of design considerations used in constructing a launch ramp in accordance with the present invention;

[0020]FIG. 6 is a plan view of plate stock used to construct a launch ramp in accordance with the present invention; and

[0021]FIG. 7 is a flowchart of a process used to construct a launch ramp in accordance with the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0022] Referring now to FIG. 1, an example of a launch ramp in accordance with the present invention is illustrated. Launch ramp 10 is a conveniently portable and durable launch ramp constructed to provide superior ride performance. Since it is readily transportable, a skateboarder may use launch ramp 10 in any appropriate open space. Although the ramp 10 will be described in use by skateboarder, it will be appreciated that other sport riders would benefit from launch ramp 10. For example, BMX biking, scooter riding, and in-line skating may also use launch ramps to increase the fun of the sport.

[0023] Launch ramp 10 is intended to rest upon a support surface, such as a stable ground surface. Such stable ground surfaces may be brushed concrete or asphalt. However, it will be appreciated that other ground surfaces may be used. Because of the width of launch ramp 10, launch ramp 10 is intended for use by a single rider, such as a skateboarder.

[0024] Launch ramp 10 generally consists of a radius member 12 and a stand member 14. The radius member 12 is constructed having a riding-plate 16 with integrally formed riding-plate supports 21 and 22. For durability and performance reasons riding-plate 16 is preferably composed of a metal material. The riding-plate 16 has an approach area 35 that enables a skateboard rider to easily and smoothly engage the riding-plate 16. As the rider progresses up riding-plate 16, the rider reaches the launch area 33, where the rider propels or pushes from the launch ramp 10.

[0025] Riding-plate 16 is generally constructed to have a constant radius 40. Since riding surface 16 is generally a concave radius, the approach area 35 as a desirable low angle of attack, with the angle of attack increasing and peaking at the launch area 33. Such a radial construction enables a smooth and seemingly effortless transition from the ground surface to the launch area. Put another way, the launch ramp 10 enables a smooth jump transition with excellent energy retention characteristics.

[0026] Launch area 33 is elevated on stand member 14. Stand member 14 has a stand-plate 18 with integrally formed stand-plate supports 25 and 26. In a preferred construction, the stand member 14 is constructed of the same metal material as riding-plate 16. For additional support and stability, riding-plate support 21 is attached to stand-plate support 25 and riding-plate support 22 is attached to stand-plate support 26. As shown in FIG. 1 the attachment mechanism may include support weld 39. It will be appreciated, however, that other attachment means may be used such as soldering, crimping, or riveting.

[0027] Stand-plate 18 terminates with the launch area 33 at one end, and at stand-plate end 17 at the other end. As illustrated in FIG. 1, launch ramp 10 is constructed so that stand-plate 18 extends from launch area 33 at an angle selected to enable stand contacts 28 and 29 to engage the support surface, such as the ground. In this regard, stand-plate end 17 generally is not intended to rest on the ground support surface. By limiting the support of launch area 33 to contact points 28 and 29, minor irregularities in the support surface beneath the launch area do not affect the stability of launch ramp 10. By limiting support contacts, launch ramp stability is increased, and the launch ramp is enabled to safely and stably operate on slightly irregular support ground.

[0028] Stability is further increased by tapering radius-plate supports 21 and 22 toward the approach area 35. The taper is used to form approach contacts 37 and 38, which are constructed to rest on the support surface. Accordingly, launch ramp 10 is supported at the approach end by approach contacts 37 and 38, and at the launch end by stand contacts 28 and 29. The tapers in the riding-plate supports may be constructed such that the riding-plate end 19 is positioned just above the intended support surface. Again, such spacing enables greater stability and less rocking effect at the approach area 35 when the approach end 35 is position on a slightly irregular support surface.

[0029] When used, launch ramp 10 is preferably positioned on a hard and stable support surface, such as brushed concrete or asphalt. Such surfaces provide stand contacts 26 and 28 and approach contacts 37 and 38 with sufficient friction to stably retain the launch ramp during the approach, the ride, and the launch of a skateboarder. However, it will be appreciated that other surfaces may be used. For example, rubber feet may be attached to the stand contacts 28 and 29 for increasing adhesion with very smooth surfaces such as floated concrete.

[0030] When a skateboarder first engages the launch ramp 10 at the approach area 35, the weight of the skateboarder will securely adhere the approach contacts 37 and 38 to the support surface. As the skateboarder proceeds up the riding-plate 16, the weight and momentum of the skateboarder causes the stand contacts 28 and 29 to increasingly engage and adhere to the support surface. Finally, as the skateboarder propels from launch area 33, the downward push of the skateboarder continues to adhere the stand contacts 28 and 29 to the support surface and the forward push action of the skateboarder acts to more securely adhere the approach contacts 37 and 38 to the support surface. Thus, the launch ramp 10 remains stable for the entire ride of the skateboarder. Further, the metal construction and abundant supports provide launch ramp 10 with superior durability.

[0031] Launch ramp 10 may be particularly constructed to satisfy specific riding requirements for various skateboarders. As will be further described in a later section, design choices will affect the ride characteristics, and will also affect the portability of launch ramp 10. It will be appreciated that a designer may select particular attributes for launch ramp 10 to implement a particular riding experience or to satisfy particular portability needs. In one example of launch ramp 10, the radius 40 for riding-plate 16 is selected at eight feet. It will be appreciated that other radiuses may be selected consistent with the teachings of this disclosure.

[0032] For adequate energy retention, launch area 33 was selected to be elevated approximately 12 inches above the support surface. It will be appreciated that other elevation heights may be selected for enabling particular skateboard tricks or to particularly match the expertise of riders. For example, more experienced or stronger riders may be able to effectively handle elevations of 24 inches or more, while younger or less powerful riders may be more comfortable at heights of 8 inches or less. Of course, due to the continuous radius 40, changing the elevation of launch area 33 also affects the overall length of launch ramp 10. In a specific example, when radius 40 is set at 8 feet and launch area 33 is elevated about 12 inches, the distance from approach area 35 to launch area 33 is approximately 4 feet. Additionally, since the stand member 14 is angled away from launch area 33, the angled stand member 14 acts to add additional length to the launch ramp. For example, in the specific example presented here, the stand member adds approximately 4 inches to the overall length of the launch ramp.

[0033] Launch ramp 10 also exhibits excellent spring or flex, thereby adding to the overall riding experience. The riding-plate 16 and riding-plate supports 21 and 22 are constructed from a metal alloy of aluminum and magnesium. The particular alloy selected has sufficient magnesium to add stiffness to the riding-plate 16, thereby providing a spring effect. However, the ratio of aluminum to magnesium was selected to facilitate forming in a press. Such careful selection of the aluminum alloy takes advantage of the inherent durability and stability of integral metal construction, and facilitates the construction of a stable and relatively light launch ramp. It will be appreciated that the specific aluminum alloy may be adjusted for the characteristics of available press machines, and may also be adjusted for varying riding characteristics. It will further be appreciated that the alloy may be adjusted depending on the elevation of the launch area 33 and the radius 40 selected for riding-plate 16.

[0034] For a launch ramp having an 8-foot radius 40, and with the launch area 33 elevated about 12 inches, a 5052 H32 aluminum magnesium alloy exhibits superior formability and ride characteristics. Using a 10-gauge thickness also provides the alloy with a desirable level of flex or spring effect. Further, the 10-gauge sheet material has sufficient durability without unduly increasing the overall weight of the launch ramp 10. However, it will be appreciated that the gauge may be adjusted for particular applications or ride characteristics. For example, a ramp for high-impact commercial use may benefit from 8 gauge material for increased durability, while a launch ramp intended for very experienced riders may select a higher gauge material for increased spring or flex. When using 10-gauge 5052 sheet metal, ramp 10 weighs approximately 20 pounds and is approximately 4 feet, 4 inches long. Although these attributes are considered conveniently portable, selection of other radiuses, heights, and gauges will adjust these physical properties.

[0035] Referring now to FIG. 2 an isometric view of launch ramp 10 is shown. Launch ramp 10 may be formed from a single piece of base plate stock. As described earlier, this base plate stock is preferably a 5052 H32 aluminum alloy with a thickness of 10-gauge. However, it will be appreciated that other alloys or thickness may be selected for a particular purpose. Radius support bends 46 and 47 are used to integrally form the riding-plate supports 21 and 22 with riding-plate 16. In a similar manner, stand support bends 52 and 53 are used to integrally form stand-plate 18 and stand-plate supports 25 and 26. A stand-plate bend 49 creates the launch area 33, which is the interface between the riding-plate 16 and the stand-plate 18. The stand-plate supports 25 and 26 are attached to the riding plates supports 21 and 22 at support weld 39 and 41.

[0036] In launch ramp 10, the radius support bends 46 and 47 and the stand support bends 52 and 53 are 90-degree right angle bends. In a particularly desirable construction, bends 46, 47, 52, and 53 are rounded, for example, with a ⅝″ radius. Such a rounded bend provides a softer edge, which can enhance safety if a rider falls against the edge. Further, the rounded edge provides an aesthetically pleasing, sculptured look to the ramp. Also, the rounded edge may affect the spring and flex of the riding surface. Accordingly, it will be appreciated that the radius of the bends 46, 47, 52 and 53 may be adjusted to achieve a particular look or riding effect. It will also be appreciated that other bend angles may be used to provide support for particular applications. For example, the supports may be bent a full 180 degrees to provide additional support beneath the riding-plate 16. In this construction, the supports may be longer, reinforced, or welded to further increase support.

[0037] In a particularly desirable construction, bends 49 is also rounded, for example, with a ½″ radius. Such a rounded bend provides a softer edge, which can enhance safety if a rider falls against the edge. Further, the rounded edge provides an aesthetically pleasing, sculptured look to the ramp. Also, the rounded edge may affect the spring and flex of the riding surface. Accordingly, it will be appreciated that the radius of the bends 49 may be adjusted to achieve a particular look or riding effect.

[0038] Referring now to FIG. 3 a side-view of launch ramp 10 is shown. For convenience, an imaginary ramp line 54 is used to connect the approach 35 to the launch area 33. This imaginary ramp line represents the average angle of attack for the launch ramp-riding surface. The stand member 14 extends away from the launch area 33 at a stand angle 52. In a preferred example, stand angle 52 is approximately a 90-degree right angle. It will be appreciated, however, that other angles may be used consistent with the teachings of this disclosure.

[0039] Stand angle 52 enables only stand contacts 28 and 29 to engage support surface 56 at the approach end of the ramp 10, thus increasing ramp stability. Stand angle 52 also facilitates increased adhesion at contact points 28 and 29 as a rider approaches and launches from the launch area 33. Also, the stand angle 52 assists in keeping the approach 35 of the ramp stable as a skateboarder pushes off the launch area 33.

[0040] In launch ramp 10, the support width 57 and 59 is approximately 2 inches. It will be appreciated that other widths for the supports may be selected dependent on particular application needs. For example, thinner gauges may benefit from wider supports, while thicker gauges may obtain sufficient support using narrowing supports. Further, the particular alloy selected for the plate stock material will affect the required width for the supports.

[0041] Referring now to FIG. 4 a top view of launch ramp 10 is shown. Launch ramp 10 has a riding surface 16 intended for use by a single rider at a time. Accordingly, riding width 61 has been selected to be 24 inches. However, it will be appreciated that other widths may be selected for particular applications. For example, reducing the overall width 61 of the riding surface may reduce ramp weight. Conversely, the width may be increased to facilitate additional advanced tricks to be performed on the ramp. Of course, additional width may require increased support width, thicker gauge material, or other constructions to increase rigidity of the riding surface 16.

[0042] Referring now to FIG. 5 a design circle 70 is shown for assisting in designing a launch ramp consistent with the present disclosure. As previously described, a riding plate desirably has a concave radial shape. Although skateboard riders use jumps with other shapes, generally a concave radial shape is preferred. For example, a bank ramp may be used, but as previously described, has a generally undesirable riding effect. Other shapes, such as elliptical, may be used, but are also found to be generally inferior to a concave radial shape, particularly at the typical lengths of a portable ramp.

[0043] Design circle 70 is intended to facilitate selecting a riding plate template 83 for a riding surface shape. For example, the riding plate template 83 could be used to design a die for pressing the riding surface into a metal plate. In use, the design circle 70 rests on an imaginary support surface 85. More particularly, the support surface 85 represents a horizontal and tangential line to the design circle 70. The intersection point between support surface line 85 and the design circle 70 would relate to the approach area 76 for the riding surface. The height 81 represents the elevation of the launch area 77 above support surface 85. Accordingly, the selection of a radius 74 and a height 81 will determine distance 79 and the profile of riding plate template 83.

[0044] In a specific preferred example, the launch ramp 10 is designed with a radius 74 set at 8 feet and height 71 set at about 12 inches. As a result, distance 79 is determined to be approximately 4 feet. In this regard, selection of the radius 74 and height 81 directly affect the portability aspects of the resulting launch ramp. For example, increasing the height 81 can significantly increase the distance 79, thereby potentially making a launch ramp difficult to transport. In a similar manner, increasing the radius and maintaining the same height would also act to increase distance 79.

[0045] Two other factors materially affect the selection of height 81 and radius 74. Height 81 can dramatically affect energy retention. Skateboarders desire that the use of the ramp consume only a portion of their available kinetic energy. By placing height 81 too high, too much energy would be consumed in using the ramp. Of course, placing the height 81 too low may not facilitate performance of the desired trick or stunt. Another factor affecting the choice of the radius 74 is the desired transition riding effect. A shorter radius gives a more abrupt transition from approach to launch, while a longer radius enables a more effortless and smooth transition. However, a longer radius may also undesirably decrease the spring or flex the skateboard rider feels in the riding surface.

[0046] In practice, it has been found that radiuses in the range of about 6 feet to about 10 feet provide adequate ride performance characteristics. Of course, individual taste and requirements vary between riders. Also, it has been found that height 81 has adequate energy retention characteristics when in the range of about 6 inches to about 18 inches. Using these general guidelines, and mindful of the desirability of convenient transportability, a highly desirable riding plate template 83 is configured when radius 74 is set at 8 feet and height 81 is set at about 12 inches.

[0047] Referring now to FIG. 6, stock plate 90 is shown. In one example of constructing the launch ramp, a launch ramp may be formed from a single base plate 91. The base plate 91 has a width of 28 inches, and a length of 60 inches. As described earlier base plate 91 may be an aluminum-magnesium alloy such as 5052 H32. Although base plate 91 may be provided at different gauges, a 10-gauge sheet has exhibited superior ride and structural qualities for the specific size shown in FIG. 6. Of course, it will be appreciated that different alloys and thickness may be dependent on specific applications.

[0048] The base plate 91 has notch 93 and notch 94 removed from its sides. These notches are preferably cut as 90-degree notches with their center point 12¾ inches from the stand end 97. An imaginary bend line 104 can be extended from the center of notch 93 to the center of notch 94. In this regard the portion of the base plate 91 toward the stand end will form the stand member, while the portion of the base plate 91 toward the approach end 96 will form the radius member and riding surface.

[0049] Extending from the center of notch 93 to the approach end 96 is bend line 108, and extending from the center of notch 94 to approach end 96 is bend line 107. As discussed earlier, bend lines 107 and 108 are positioned such that each resulting radius support will be approximately 2 inches wide. In a similar manner a bend line 101 extends from the center of notch 93 to the stand end 97 and bend line 102 extends from the center of notch 94 to the stand end 97. Again, these bend lines 101 and 102 are positioned in a manner so that the resulting stand supports are each formed t o be about 2 inches wide.

[0050] At the approach end 96, approach taper lines 111 and 112 show the taper of the radius supports to create an approach contact surface for each radial support. In practice, the tapers defined by lines 111 and 112 may be cut after the bending processes are complete. Alternatively, the tapers may be cut prior to bending.

[0051] Referring now to FIG. 7, one method of making a launch ramp is described. Method 130 starts by preparing a blank stock as shown in block 132. For example, the blank stock may be similar to blank stock 91 described with reference to FIG. 6. Preferably, the support notches are cut in the blank stock prior to placing the stock in the press.

[0052] In block 134 the blank stock is secured in a press, such as a hydraulic metal press. A set of dyes designed according to the requirements set forth in FIG. 5 are used to press a concave radius into the radius member. More particularly, in block 136 the radius die is used to press a concave radius in the portion of the base stock from the center of the notches to the approach end. Such radial pressing would include both the riding surface area and the radial support structure.

[0053] With the radial dies engaged, a set of banana dies are used to integrally form a set of radial supports. These banana dies are constructed to have a similar radius as the radial die and thereby engage the blank stock to bend a 90 degree angle between the riding surface and the radial supports. After the radial supports are formed, the banana dies are retracted.

[0054] With the radial dies still engaged, a stand die bends the stand member to an appropriate angle. As described earlier, the stand member is bent such that the stand angle is about a 90-degree right angle from the average ramp angle. In block 143 another set of dies engage to integrally form the stand supports at a 90-degree right angle bend to the stand plate.

[0055] After pressing, all the dies are released, as shown in block 146, and the formed metal is extracted from the press. In block 148 the stand supports and radial supports are attached, preferably by welding. It will be appreciated that other attachment mechanisms may be used and that several alternatives exist for welding technologies. For example, an MIG or a TIG process may be used to create a sufficiently strong and aesthetically pleasing weld.

[0056] In block 151 tapers are cut in the radial supports to create the approach contacts. It will be appreciated that several alternatives exist for creating these tapers. For example, a metal saw may be used to cut the tapers. Alternatively, it may be possible that the tapers could be cut prior to the bending process.

[0057] Finally, block 153 shows an optional step of adding a particular riding surface to the riding plate. This same surface may be applied more generally to the launch ramp depending on the surface desired. The base stock is constructed of a 10-gauge aluminum-magnesium alloy, such as 5052 32H, with a milled or brushed surface. Such a milled or brushed surface provides a desirable surface texture between skateboard wheels and the ramp. For example, the texture provides adhesion sufficient to permit control of the skateboard, but also provides for slippage as desired by the skateboarder to perform particular tricks or stunts.

[0058] However, for particular applications it may be desirable to have a different riding effect by incorporating an alternate riding surface. For example, a powder coat may be applied to the riding surface, and alternately to the entire launch ramp, to enable a particular coefficient of friction between the riding surface and skateboard. Further, such powder coating or alternate surfaces may be desirable to form a particularly aesthetically pleasing appearance to the launch ramp.

[0059] While particular preferred and alternative embodiments of the present intention have been disclosed, it will be appreciated that many various modifications and extensions of the above described technology may be implemented using the teaching of this invention. All such modifications and extensions are intended to be included within the true spirit and scope of the appended claims.

Classifications
U.S. Classification472/89
International ClassificationA63C19/10
Cooperative ClassificationA63C19/10
European ClassificationA63C19/10