|Publication number||US20060027221 A1|
|Application number||US 11/183,375|
|Publication date||Feb 9, 2006|
|Filing date||Jul 18, 2005|
|Priority date||Jul 19, 2004|
|Publication number||11183375, 183375, US 2006/0027221 A1, US 2006/027221 A1, US 20060027221 A1, US 20060027221A1, US 2006027221 A1, US 2006027221A1, US-A1-20060027221, US-A1-2006027221, US2006/0027221A1, US2006/027221A1, US20060027221 A1, US20060027221A1, US2006027221 A1, US2006027221A1|
|Original Assignee||Farrell Kenneth R|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Referenced by (9), Classifications (4)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
This application is based on a prior co-pending U.S. provisional patent application Ser. No. 60/589,166, filed on Jul. 19, 2004, the benefit of the filing date of which is hereby claimed under 35 U.S.C. § 119(e), and the disclosure of which is incorporated herein in its entirety by this reference. This application also claims priority from prior U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/073,772, filed on Mar. 7, 2005, entitled Velocity Limiter for Pneumatic Gun, the disclosure of which is incorporated herein in its entirety by this reference.
This invention relates to firing mechanisms for pneumatic guns in which the gun bolt moves the projectile being fired to a firing chamber in response to compressed gas released to fire the gun. More specifically, the invention incorporates a latchable gas passageway restrictor that reduces the thrust exerted by the bolt on the projectile during the first portion of movement toward the firing chamber. Additionally, the gas passageway restrictor does not restrict the flow of compressed gas provided to propel the projectile from the gun.
Pneumatic guns, particularly guns configured to fire paintballs or metallic pellets, commonly include a bolt that is slidably translatable within the gun to alternately (1) move rearward to a bolt-open position and permit a new projectile to be loaded into the breech of the gun and (2) move forward to a bolt-closed position, where the bolt closes the passageway by which the projectile was loaded. As such a bolt moves forward to the bolt-closed position, it also acts to move the newly loaded projectile from the gun breech to the gun firing chamber, from which it will be propelled by the release of compressed gas. The position from which it will be propelled is sometimes referred to as the gun “firing chamber”, and hence the process of moving it forward from the initial loading position to the firing chamber can be referred to as “chambering”.
In one particular type of semiautomatic pneumatic gun, the compressed gas released to fire the projectile from the gun also serves to move the bolt forward from the bolt-open to the bolt-closed position, and thus move the projectile from the breech to the firing chamber. If the projectile is fragile, as is particularly the case for paintballs, the forward force exerted by the bolt on the projectile during the first portion of this forward movement should be limited to a value that will not damage the projectile if the projectile happens to jam in a partially loaded position. However, the force exerted near the end of the forward movement of the bolt must be sufficient to ensure that the bolt fully closes, particularly when an occasional oversized projectile resists being moved into the firing chamber.
Further, once the bolt is fully forward, the compressed gas should have a free path to reach the projectile being propelled. Otherwise, if the gas pathway is too restricted, the compressed gas will not reach the projectile at a sufficient rate to efficiently propel the projectile with the desired velocity.
Thus for pneumatic guns in which compressed gas serves to move the bolt forward to the bolt-closed position, there exists an unmet need for a means to restrict the thrust exerted by the compressed gas on the bolt during the first portion of bolt forward movement from the bolt-open position toward the bolt-closed position, and of then increasing the amount of thrust during the last portion of bolt movement as the projectile is being chambered. Further, the means selected should not restrict the flow of compressed gas to the projectile as the projectile is being propelled forward from the gun.
The present invention is applicable to pneumatic guns that incorporate a bolt translatable from a bolt-open position to a bolt-closed position in response to compressed gas released during a firing operation in order to chamber a projectile before propelling it from the gun. In accord with the present invention, a firing mechanism is provided that includes a restrictable propulsion gas passageway and a latchable gas passageway restrictor assembly. The latchable gas passageway restrictor assembly includes a gas passageway restrictor that functions, while in the latched position, to reduce the thrust exerted by the bolt on the projectile being chambered during the first portion of bolt movement toward the bolt-closed position.
In order to enable the reader to attain a more complete appreciation of the invention, and of the novel features and advantages thereof, attention is directed to the following description when considered in connection with the accompanying drawings, wherein:
Slidably accommodated into frame 24 is a cartridge housing 40. Cartridge housing 40 is closed rearwardly by a reservoir plug 44, and is retained within frame 24 by a rear gun plug 46. Gun 20 includes a firing mechanism 48. Most of the major components of firing mechanism 48 are contained within cartridge housing 40.
Firing mechanism 48 includes a bolt 50. Bolt 50 is slidably translatable within a bolt chamber 52 that is provided partially by cartridge housing 40 and partially by frame 24. Bolt chamber 52 includes a front bolt chamber portion 54, and a rear bolt chamber portion 55 of larger diameter than front bolt chamber portion 54. Bolt 50 is illustrated in
Referring now to
Fixed to bolt 50 and extending rearward in bolt rear bore 62 is a bolt drive rod 74. In one embodiment bolt drive rod 74 is circular in cross section and coaxial with bolt 50. Rearward of rear bore face 64 bolt drive rod 74 has, in succession, a spacer section 76, a reduced-thrust bolt piston 78, and a full-thrust bolt piston 82 of successively larger diameters. Full-thrust bolt piston 82 has a piston rear face 83 that is rearwardly-directed, and a piston counterbalancing face 84 that is forwardly-directed and annular in shape. Bolt drive rod 74 has a piston contact face that is forwardly directed and that in one embodiment is provided by piston counterbalancing face 84. Bolt 50 and bolt drive rod 74 are preferably constructed of nonmagnetic material. A variety of plastic materials have proven satisfactory for bolt 50, and both aluminum and brass have proven satisfactory for bolt drive rod 74.
A spacer 86 surrounds spacer section 76, and is held by reduced-thrust bolt piston 78 against rear bore face 64. Spacer 86 is tapered so as to not obstruct the flow of compressed gas from bolt rear bore 62 into propulsion gas passageways 70. In one embodiment spacer 86 consists of a nonmagnetic material such as plastic, aluminum or brass. A resilient spacer buffer 87 is mounted externally on bolt drive rod 74 adjacent to spacer 86.
Poppet Valve 92
Extending rearwardly from valve body 94 within frame 24 is a gas reservoir 104 in fluid communication with valve seat 100. Gas reservoir 104 is also in fluid communication with an external source of compressed gas (not shown) that is connected to gun 20 at external source fitting 106. Compressed gas from the external source enters at external source fitting 106 and then flows in succession through a reservoir gas tube 108 and a reservoir inlet 110 to reach gas reservoir 104. Reservoir inlet 110 is seen best in
Referring further to
Gas reservoir 104 is sealed rearwardly by reservoir plug 44. Reservoir plug 44 is partially penetrated from the front by a poppet drive bore 144. Poppet drive piston 132 fits slidably within and, by virtue of o-ring seal 136, seals poppet drive bore 144.
A solenoid valve 148 is provided on gun 20. Solenoid valve 148 is a normally-open three-way solenoid valve of common commercially available construction. Solenoid valve 148 is controlled by an electronics assembly (not shown) contained in trigger frame 36 The electronics assembly is also of common commercially available construction. Trigger 38 is linked to the electronics assembly and permits the gun user to initiate a gun firing operation that briefly energizes solenoid valve 148.
Solenoid valve 148 has an inlet port 152, an outlet port 160 and a common port 164. Inlet port 152 receives compressed gas from the external source of compressed via an inlet gas tube 166 that provides fluid communication from external source fitting 106 to inlet port 152. Outlet port 160 is in fluid communication with the atmosphere. Common port 164 is in fluid communication with poppet drive bore 144 via a drive bore gas tube 168, a coupling 170 and a drive bore gas passageway 174. Coupling 170 and drive bore gas passageway 174 are seen best in
When solenoid valve 148 is in the normal, non-energized state, common port 164 is in fluid communication with inlet port 152 and hence with the external compressed gas source, with the result that compressed gas can flow through solenoid valve 148 to reach poppet drive bore 144 rearward of poppet drive piston 132. When solenoid valve 148 is energized, as occurs briefly during a firing operation, common port 164 is in fluid communication with outlet port 160 and hence with the atmosphere, allowing the compressed gas rearward of poppet drive piston 132 in poppet drive bore 144 to flow through solenoid valve 148 and escape to the atmosphere.
Poppet valve 92 functions in gun 20 as a piloted valve. The compressed gas provided to poppet drive bore 144 rearward of poppet drive piston 132 when solenoid valve 148 is not energized acts to urge poppet 112 forward and hence keep poppet valve 92 closed. During a gun firing operation solenoid valve 148 is energized briefly, allowing the compressed gas rearward of poppet drive piston 132 in poppet drive bore 144 to leak to the atmosphere. Poppet drive bore 144 is of larger diameter than the sealed diameter of poppet valve 92. As a result, after the gas pressure rearward of poppet drive piston 132 in poppet drive bore 144 drops sufficiently low, the pressure exerted by the compressed gas in gas reservoir 104 on poppet drive piston 132 then urges poppet 112 rearward, so that poppet valve 92 begins opening. As poppet valve 92 starts to open, the pressure in valve body bore 96 forward of poppet 112 rises, increasing the net rearward force on poppet 112 and causing poppet valve 92 to finish opening very rapidly. When solenoid valve 148 returns to the normal state later in the firing operation, compressed gas is again provided to poppet drive bore 144 rearward of poppet drive piston 132, thus encouraging poppet 112 to return to the valve-closed position.
Latchable Restrictor Assembly 178
Valve body 94 and restrictor latch 180 are supported by a retainer sleeve 196. Retainer sleeve 196 is fixed in position within cartridge housing 40, and is sealed therein by a rear retainer sleeve o-ring 198 that is externally mounted on retainer sleeve 196. Bolt rear bore 62 fits slidably around retainer sleeve 196, and is sealed thereto when bolt 50 is forward in the bolt-closed position (illustrated in
Gas passageway restrictor 184 has a forward restrictor portion 208 annular in shape. A restrictor tube portion 212 cylindrical in shape extends rearwardly from forward restrictor portion 208 and terminates in a restrictor pressure face 220. A restrictor bore 222 extends through gas passageway restrictor 184. Gas passageway restrictor 184 has a restrictor contact face that is rearwardly directed and that in one embodiment is provided by restrictor pressure face 220. Restrictor tube portion 212 is slidably translatable into and out of restrictable propulsion gas passageway 192, and is sealed therein by an internal valve body o-ring 224. Gas passageway restrictor 184 is constructed of a material selected to be magnetically attractive. Low carbon steel has been found satisfactory to construct gas passageway restrictor 184.
When gun 20 is ready to fire as shown in
Full-thrust bolt piston 82 is larger than restrictor bore 222 and hence cannot pass through gas passageway restrictor 184. Spacer 86 is also larger than restrictor bore 222 and hence cannot pass through gas passageway restrictor 184. Thus gas passageway restrictor 184 slidably surrounds and is captive on reduced-thrust bolt piston 78.
When gas passageway restrictor 184 moves from the latched position shown in
Velocity Limiter 230
Velocity limiter 230 has a first discharge face 250, and a second discharge face 254, both oriented toward valve seat 100 and annular in form. Valve spring 124 impinges on second discharge face 254 to urge velocity limiter 230 rearward. Velocity limiter 230 has a first driven face 260, and a second driven face 264, both oriented away from valve seat 100 and annular in form. On first discharge face 250 is a limiter contact face 268 that is engageable with poppet contact face 126 as velocity limiter 230 slides toward valve seat 100.
As can be understood from the foregoing, velocity limiter 230 divides gas reservoir 104 into a driving portion 272 and a discharge portion 276. Driving portion 272 is in fluid communication with the external source of compressed gas via reservoir inlet 110, reservoir gas tube 108 and external source fitting 106. Discharge portion 276 is in fluid communication with valve seat 100. The relative size of these two portions of gas reservoir 104 varies as velocity limiter 230 moves during a firing operation, as can be seen in the successive firing operation stages illustrated in
When gun 20 is ready to fire, velocity limiter 230 resides rearward in a limiter at-rest position illustrated in
The fit of velocity limiter 230 relative to gas reservoir 104 and to poppet shaft portion 128 is preselected by the gun designer to ensure that compressed gas can leak from driving portion 272 to discharge portion 276. As a result, once poppet valve 92 closes so that compressed gas is no longer able to escape from discharge portion 276, compressed gas leaking from driving portion 272 to discharge portion 276 will make the gas pressures in the two portions more equal, and compressed valve spring 124 will be able to urge velocity limiter 230 away from valve seat 100 and back to the limiter at-rest position shown in
Reduced-thrust bolt piston 78 now reacts to the compressed gas present in restrictable propulsion gas passageway 192, thereby urging bolt 50 forward as indicated by the arrow labeled “M” in
The forward motion of bolt 50 and bolt drive rod 74 continues beyond the point illustrated in
Referring further to
As bolt 50 continues to move forward beyond the position shown in
As compressed gas now flows rapidly from discharge portion 276 of gas reservoir 104, velocity limiter 230 moves forward to engage poppet contact face 126 as shown in
Thus it can be seen that a latchable restrictor assembly as disclosed herein provides two types of advantage. First, it modulates bolt thrust as the bolt moves forward during a firing operation. Thrust is weaker during the first portion of bolt travel, minimizing the risk of damaging the projectile being chambered. And thrust is stronger during the last portion of bolt travel, ensuring that the bolt closes fully and that the projectile is fully chambered. Second, a large unrestricted gas passageway is provided for compressed gas to flow to the projectile being propelled, thereby making most effective use of the available compressed gas and improving the firing performance of the gun.
Although the present invention has been described in connection with the preferred form of practicing it and modifications thereto, those of ordinary skill in the art will understand that many other modifications can be made to the present invention within the scope of the claims that follow. By way of example but not limitation, a mechanical latch might be substituted for the magnetic latch described herein. Accordingly, it is not intended that the scope of the invention in any way be limited by the above description, but instead be determined entirely by reference to the claims that follow.
It is to be appreciated that the various aspects and embodiments of the invention described herein are an important improvement in the state of the art, especially for paintball guns. Although only an exemplary embodiment has been described in detail, various details are sufficiently set forth in the drawings and in the specification provided herein to enable one of ordinary skill in the art to make and use the invention(s), which need not be further described by additional writing in this detailed description. Importantly, the aspects and embodiments described and claimed herein may be modified from those shown without materially departing from the novel teachings and advantages provided by this invention, and may be embodied in other specific forms without departing from the spirit or essential characteristics thereof. In particular, while the foregoing description describes propulsion of paintballs, one skilled in the art can easily configure guns according the invention to propel other projectiles such as metallic pellets.
Therefore, the embodiments presented herein are to be considered in all respects as illustrative and not restrictive. As such, this disclosure is intended to cover the structures described herein and not only structural equivalents thereof, but also equivalent structures. Numerous modifications and variations are possible in light of the above teachings. It is therefore to be understood that within the scope of the appended claims, the invention(s) may be practiced otherwise than as specifically described herein. Thus, the scope of the invention(s), as set forth in the appended claims, and as indicated by the drawing and by the foregoing description, is intended to include variations from the embodiment provided which are nevertheless described by the broad interpretation and range properly afforded to the plain meaning of the claims set forth below.
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