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Publication numberUS20080134927 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/543,568
Publication dateJun 12, 2008
Filing dateOct 5, 2006
Priority dateOct 5, 2006
Publication number11543568, 543568, US 2008/0134927 A1, US 2008/134927 A1, US 20080134927 A1, US 20080134927A1, US 2008134927 A1, US 2008134927A1, US-A1-20080134927, US-A1-2008134927, US2008/0134927A1, US2008/134927A1, US20080134927 A1, US20080134927A1, US2008134927 A1, US2008134927A1
InventorsMichael J. Skellern
Original AssigneeSkellern Michael J
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Projectile with dispersible contents and method of manufacturing the same
US 20080134927 A1
Abstract
A projectile with a frangible shell having both an exterior surface and an inner cavity. The exterior surface is made up of a plurality of polygonal panels. The inner cavity contains a dispersible substance. The frangible shell may have a spherical configuration formed by fusing together two hemispherical shells. Also, a method of manufacturing projectiles. In the method, two hemispheres are formed. A dispersible substance in tablet form is inserted into one of the hemispheres. The second hemisphere is then brought into contact with the first hemisphere and the two are fused together to form a spherical shell. Finally, the tablet is disturbed so that the dispersible substance is freed within the inner cavity. Sonic energy may be provided in order to weld the two hemispheres together and also to disturb the tablet. The hemispheres may have an exterior surface made up of a plurality of polygonal panels.
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Claims(26)
1. A projectile comprising:
a) a frangible shell comprising:
i. an exterior surface consisting of a plurality of polygonal panels;
ii. an inner cavity; and
b) a dispersible substance disposed within the shell's inner cavity.
2. The projectile of claim 1 wherein the shell is fabricated from a polymer material.
3. The projectile of claim 1 wherein the shell has a spherical configuration.
4. The projectile of claim 1 wherein the shell comprises two hemispheres fused together to form the inner cavity.
5. The projectile of claim 1 wherein the polygonal panels comprise regular polygons.
6. The projectile of claim 1 wherein the polygonal panels are hexagons.
7. The projectile of claim 1 wherein the dispersible substance is selected from the group consisting of a powder, liquid, particulate or gel.
8. The projectile of claim 7 wherein the dispersible substance is an inhibiting substance, paint, or dye.
9. A method of manufacturing a projectile comprising:
a) forming two hemispheres;
b) inserting a dispersible substance embodied in tablet form into one of the hemispheres;
c) bringing the second hemisphere into contact with the first hemisphere thereby creating a spherical shell having an inner cavity containing the tablet;
d) fusing the hemispheres together; and
e) disturbing the tablet so that the dispersible substance is free within the inner cavity.
10. The method of claim 9 wherein the hemispheres in step a) are formed from a polymer material.
11. The method of claim 9 wherein the fusing process of step d) consists of providing sonic energy in order to weld the two hemispheres together, whereby the sonic energy also functions to disturb the tablet in step e).
12. The method of claim 9 wherein the fusing process of step d) consists of providing a glue or solvent.
13. The method of claim 12 wherein the tablet is disturbed in step e) by shaking the projectile.
14. The method of claim 9 wherein the hemispheres in step a) comprise interlockable tabs which are connected during the fusing process of step d).
15. The method of claim 14 wherein the tablet is disturbed in step e) by shaking the projectile.
16. The projectile created by the method of claim 9.
17. A method of manufacturing a projectile comprising:
a) forming two hemispheres, each hemisphere having an exterior surface consisting of a plurality of polygonal panels;
b) inserting a dispersible substance embodied in tablet form into one of the hemispheres;
c) bringing the second hemisphere into contact with the first hemisphere thereby creating a spherical shell having an inner cavity containing the tablet;
d) fusing the hemispheres together; and
e) disturbing the tablet so that the dispersible substance is free within the inner cavity.
18. The method of claim 17 wherein the hemispheres in step a) are formed from a polymer material.
19. The projectile of claim 17 wherein the polygonal panels comprise regular polygons.
20. The projectile of claim 17 wherein the polygonal panels are hexagons.
21. The method of claim 17 wherein the fusing process of step d) consists of providing sonic energy in order to weld the two hemispheres together, whereby the sonic energy also functions to disturb the tablet in step e).
22. The method of claim 17 wherein the fusing process of step d) consists of providing a glue or solvent.
23. The method of claim 22 wherein the tablet is disturbed in step e) by shaking the projectile.
24. The method of claim 17 wherein the hemispheres in step a) comprise interlockable tabs which are connected during the fusing process of step d).
25. The method of claim 24 wherein the tablet is disturbed in step e) by shaking the projectile.
26. The projectile created by the method of claim 17.
Description
CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

Not Applicable

STATEMENT RE: FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH/DEVELOPMENT

Not Applicable

BACKGROUND

The present invention is related to projectiles having an external configuration for improving flight speed and accuracy. The invention is also related to improved methods of manufacturing a projectile with dispersible contents.

Generally, police and military training and mock war games are conducted using compressed gas guns which fire projectiles known as paintballs. The object of this type of warfare is to hit a target, usually an opponent, with a paintball to thereby “kill” the opposing player.

Also, law enforcement personnel use such projectiles filled with non-lethal inhibiting substance. Generally, such projectiles are operative to be shot at a person to quickly pacify the person who may be irate or non-compliant with the law enforcement personnel's request.

Traditionally, the shell of the paintball is formed with a pair of hemispheres of gelatinous material similar to that used to encase oral medications. As is the case with oral medications, these gelatin shell paintballs are soluble in water. Upon striking the target, a paintball that functions as intended fractures to mark the victim with the substance contained within the paintball shell.

While these gelatin shell projectiles are traditionally termed paintballs, the substance within the paintball shell need not necessarily be paint. In fact water soluble dyes are often used as a marking agent. A problem arises, however, in that these dyes are usually dissolved in water, which would dissolve the gelatin based shell of the traditional paintball. In addition, many non-lethal inhibiting substances would likewise dissolve the gelatin shell.

In order to overcome the deficiencies of the traditional gelatin shell paintball, attempts have been made to manufacture paintballs using a non-water soluble shell. Exemplary of this, is the use of a molded thermoplastic linear polymer for a paintball shell as disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 5,254,379 to Kotsiopoulos et al., issued on Oct. 19, 1993 entitled PAINT BALL. The teachings of which are expressly incorporated herein by reference.

Unfortunately, even this improved paintball has unresolved problems. For example, the manufacturing process is still time consuming because the two hemispheres need to be fused together without enclosing the dispersible substance. Then, the dispersible substance is deposited into the spherical paintball via an injection needle inserted though a fill port. This fill port must then be sealed in order for the paintball to retain the dispersible substance. The additional steps of filling the paintball with an injection needle and then sealing the fill port are usually performed by a human laborer, as they are difficult to automate. As a result, the prior art methods of manufacture are time consumptive as well as economically costly. Furthermore, many substances, particularly dry substances, cannot be filled satisfactorily in this manner.

Additionally, these prior art paintballs have been formed in a smooth spherical conformation. Due to the aerodynamics of flight, a smooth sphere suffers from early laminar flow separation which leads to increased drag and decreased lift. As a result, smooth spheres suffer from a limited velocity, range, and accuracy

Many prior art paintballs have tried to overcome this deficiency, such as the dimpled or scored paintballs disclosed in U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,965,839; 6,393,992; and 6,546,874 all issued to Vasel et al, on Oct. 12, 1999; May 28, 2002; and Apr. 15, 2003, respectively, all of which are entitled NON-LETHAL PROJECTILE FOR DELIVERING AN INHIBITING SUBSTANCE TO A LIVING TARGET and the dimpled paintball disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 6,145,441 issued to Woodall et al. on Nov. 14, 2000 entitled FRANGIBLE PAYLOAD-DISPENSING PROJECTILE, the teachings all of which are expressly incorporated herein by reference. However, these prior art paintballs still suffer from limited velocity, range, and accuracy.

Accordingly, there is a need in the prior art for an improved projectile.

BRIEF SUMMARY

In accordance with an embodiment of the present invention, a projectile having a frangible shell is provided. The frangible shell has both an exterior surface and an inner cavity. The exterior surface is made up of a plurality of polygonal panels. The inner cavity is capable of containing a dispersible substance.

The frangible shell may be fabricated from a polymer material. Further, the frangible shell may have a spherical configuration. In a preferred embodiment, the inner cavity is formed by fusing together two hemispherical shells. In another embodiment, the polygonal panels are made up of regular polygons. In a further embodiment, the polygonal panels are made up of hexagons. The dispersible substance contained within the inner cavity may include a powder, a liquid, a particulate matter and/or a gel. Further, the dispersible substance may be an inhibiting substance, paint, or a dye.

Another aspect of the present invention is directed toward a method of manufacturing a projectile. In the method, two hemispheres are formed. A dispersible substance is inserted into one of the hemispheres. When placed into the hemisphere, the dispersible substance is embodied in tablet form. The second hemisphere is then brought into contact with the first hemisphere to form a spherical shell having an inner cavity containing the tablet. The hemispheres are then fused to one another. Finally, the tablet is disturbed so that the dispersible substance is freed within the inner cavity.

The hemispheres may be formed from a polymer material. In a preferred embodiment, sonic energy is provided in order to weld the two hemispheres together while also functioning to disturb the tablet in order to free the dispersible substance within the inner cavity. In another embodiment, the two hemispheres may be fused together by providing a glue or a solvent. When such a process is utilized, the tablet may be disturbed within the inner cavity by providing a shaking force to the projectile. Furthermore, the two hemispheres may have interlockable tabs which are connected during the fusing process. Similarly, the tablet may be disturbed by providing a shaking force to the projectile when interlocking tabs are used to fuse the hemispheres together. By utilizing the method described above, manufacturing costs are reduced over the prior art manufacturing processes.

Yet another aspect of the present invention is a method of manufacturing an improved projectile. In the method, two hemispheres are formed. Each of the hemispheres has an exterior surface made up of a plurality of polygonal panels. A dispersible substance is inserted into one of the hemispheres. When placed into the hemisphere, the dispersible substance is embodied in tablet form. The second hemisphere is then brought into contact with the first hemisphere to form a spherical shell having an inner cavity containing the tablet. The hemispheres are then fused together. Finally, the tablet is disturbed so that the dispersible substance is freed within the inner cavity.

The two hemispheres may be formed from a polymer material. The polygonal panels may include regular polygons. In a preferred embodiment, the polygonal panels are hexagons. In a preferred embodiment, sonic energy is provided in order to weld the two hemispheres together while also functioning to disturb the tablet in order to free the dispersible substance within the inner cavity. In another embodiment, the two hemispheres may be fused together by providing a glue or solvent. When such a process is utilized, the tablet may be disturbed within the inner cavity by providing a shaking force to the projectile. Furthermore, the two hemispheres may have interlockable tabs which are connected during the fusing process. Similarly, the tablet may be disturbed by providing a shaking force to the projectile when interlocking tabs are used to fuse the hemispheres together. By utilizing the method described above, an improved projectile is created while also reducing manufacturing costs over the prior art manufacturing processes.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

These and other features and advantages of the various embodiments disclosed herein will be better understood with respect to the following description and drawings, in which like numbers refer to like parts throughout, and in which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the projectile having a plurality of polygonal panels on its exterior surface;

FIG. 2 is an exploded view of the projectile showing it split into its two hemispheres and the tablet being inserted into the inner cavity;

FIG. 3 is a side view of the projectile showing the polygonal panels forming a smooth inner cavity;

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of the projectiles as they are being manufactured showing the process for disturbing the tablet either by sonic energy or shaking; and

FIG. 5 is a flowchart showing the steps of the process for manufacturing the projectiles.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

The drawings referred to within this description of the present invention are merely for the purposes of illustrating the preferred embodiments or aspects of the present invention and not for the purposes of limiting the same. Accordingly, alternative embodiments with respect to the various aspects discussed herein are also contemplated within the scope of the present invention.

The present invention is directed toward an improved projectile. Referring now to FIG. 1, the projectile 10 is illustrated having a shell 12. The shell 12 is illustrated as having a plurality of polygonal panels 14 which surround the exterior surface 16. FIG. 2 illustrates an inner cavity 18 of the shell 12 with a dispersible substance 20 present in tablet form. As can best be seen in FIG. 3, the polygonal panels 14 are substantially flat surfaces which serve to greatly increase the lift and decrease the drag of the projectile 10, thereby contributing to the greater accuracy, speed, and range of the fired projectile 10 over prior art projectiles.

The shell 12 will preferably be fabricated from a frangible material such that the shell 12 breaks apart upon impact with a target. Although the frangible material will break apart upon impact with a target, the frangible material is sufficiently strong to allow the projectile 10 to be fired by an airgun, slingshot, or similar firing device without breaking apart. As an example, the shell 12 may be fabricated from a polymer material, for example, thermoplastic linear polymer. As seen in FIG. 1, the shell 12 may have a substantially spherical configuration. Although the shell 12 of FIG. 1 has a plurality of flat surfaces 14 surrounding the exterior surface 16, the shell may still be characterized as being substantially spherical so that the projectile may be fired through the barrel of an airgun or other projectile firing device. It is also contemplated that the various aspects of the present invention discussed herein may be practiced with a shell 12 having an exterior surface 16 other than spherical depending upon the projectile projecting device used to deliver the projectile 10 to the target.

In a preferred embodiment, the inner cavity 18 is formed by fusing together two hemispherical shells 12 a, 12 b. In one embodiment, the polygonal panels 14 are made up of regular polygons, wherein the polygons are both equiangular and equilateral. In a preferred embodiment, the polygonal panels 14 are made up of hexagons. The hexagonal surfaces of the present invention are believed to substantially reduce drag in comparison to the dimples and scores of the prior art paintballs. As can be seen in the cross-sectional view of FIG. 3, the shell 12 may have a spherical configuration consisting of a substantially spherical exterior surface 16 made up of a plurality of substantially flat polygonal panels 14 and a substantially spherical smooth interior surface 22.

Although FIG. 2 shows the dispersible substance 20 in tablet form, it is contemplated that the dispersible substance 20 may also be a powder, liquid, particulate, gel, or any combination thereof. Further, the dispersible substance 20 may be a lethal substance, a non-lethal substance, or a motor-inhibiting substance including but not limited to pepper spray, oleoresin capsicum powder, tear gas, smoke or the like. Also, the dispersible substance 20 may be a marking substance, for example, a paint or dye.

The present invention is also directed toward an improved method of manufacturing a projectile 10 as diagramed in FIG. 5. In step 100, two hemispheres 12 a, 12 b are formed by a conventional molding process. The hemispheres 12 a, 12 b may be formed from a polymer material, for example, thermoplastic linear polymer.

In step 110, a dispersible substance 20 is inserted into one of the hemispheres 12 a. When placed into the hemisphere 12 a, the dispersible substance 20 is embodied in tablet form. The dispersible substance 20 may be, for example, a lethal substance, a non-lethal substance, a motor-inhibiting substance, or a marking substance. Such dispersible substance 20 is manufactured in tablet form utilizing conventional tablet-making technology as is well known to those skilled in the art. By inserting the dispersible substance 20 in tablet form, one is able to easily provide any amount of the dispersible substance 20, up to the total volume of the inner cavity 18, without the mess or difficulty of prior art methods. Furthermore, the method of the current invention is easily carried out by automated machines, reducing the need for costly human labor to fill the projectile 10.

In step 120, the second hemisphere 12 b is then brought into contact with the first hemisphere 12 a to form a spherical shell 12 having an inner cavity 18 containing the tablet 20.

The hemispheres 12 a, 12 b are then fused to one another in step 130. This step may be carried out by numerous methods, for example, by providing a glue or solvent at the juncture between the two hemispheres 12 a, 12 b. In another embodiment, the two hemispheres 12 a, 12 b have interlockable tabs which are connected during step 130. If such interlockable tabs are used, a glue or solvent may optionally be used as well to create a better seal between the two hemispheres 12 a, 12 b. In a preferred embodiment, sonic energy is used to weld the two hemispheres 12 a, 12 b to one another.

Finally in step 140, the tablet 20 is disturbed so that the dispersible substance 20 is freed within the inner cavity 18. This disturbance may be executed by shaking the projectiles 10, such as by placing them on a conventional shake tray 24 as shown in FIG. 4. The vibration from such shake tray 24 causes the disruption of the tablet 20 and frees the dispersible substance 20. In a preferred method, the sonic energy used in step 130 to fuse the two hemispheres 12 a, 12 b together also functions to disrupt the tablet 20 thereby eliminating the need for an additional disruption step 140. The method of the present invention allows for the entire procedure to be automated and therefore eliminates the need for costly and time-consumptive human labor to fill and cork the projectile.

The present invention is further directed toward using the method to manufacture an improved projectile. In step 100, two hemispheres 12 a, 12 b, each having an exterior surface 16 made up of a plurality of polygonal panels 14, are formed by a molding process. The polygonal panels 14 may be made up of regular polygons, that is, polygons that are both equiangular and equilateral. In a preferred embodiment, the polygonal panels 14 are made up of hexagons. The hemispheres 12 a, 12 b may be formed from a polymer material, for example, thermoplastic linear polymer.

In step 110, a dispersible substance 20 is inserted into one of the hemispheres 12 a. When placed into the hemisphere 12 a, the dispersible substance 20 is embodied in tablet form. The dispersible substance 20 may be, for example, a lethal substance, a non-lethal substance, a motor-inhibiting substance, or a marking substance. Such dispersible substance 20 is manufactured in tablet form utilizing conventional tablet-making technology as is well known to those skilled in the art. By inserting the dispersible substance 20 in tablet form, one is able to easily provide any amount of the dispersible substance 20, up to the total volume of the inner cavity 18, without the mess or difficulty of prior art methods. Furthermore, the method of the current invention is easily carried out by automated machines, reducing the need for costly human labor to fill the projectile 10.

In step 120, the second hemisphere 12 b is then brought into contact with the first hemisphere 12 a to form a spherical shell 12 having an inner cavity 18 containing the tablet 20.

The hemispheres 12 a, 12 b are then fused together in step 130. This step may be carried out by numerous methods, for example, by providing a glue or solvent at the juncture between the two hemispheres 12 a, 12 b. In another embodiment, the two hemispheres 12 a, 12 b have interlockable tabs which are connected during step 130. If such interlockable tabs are used, a glue or solvent may optionally be used as well to create a better seal between the two hemispheres 12 a, 12 b. In a preferred embodiment, sonic energy is used to weld the two hemispheres 12 a, 12 b to one another.

Finally in step 140, the tablet 20 is disturbed so that the dispersible substance 20 is freed within the inner cavity 18. This disturbance may be executed by shaking the projectiles 10, such as by placing them on a conventional shake tray 24 as shown in FIG. 4. The vibration from such shake tray 24 causes the disruption of the tablet 20 and frees the dispersible substance 20. In a preferred method, the sonic energy used in step 130 to fuse the two hemispheres 12 a, 12 b together also functions to disrupt the tablet 20 thereby eliminating the need for an additional disruption step 140. The method of the present invention allows for the entire procedure to be automated and therefore eliminates the need for costly and time-consumptive human labor to fill and cork the projectile. By utilizing the method described above, an improved projectile is created while also reducing manufacturing costs over the prior art manufacturing processes.

The above description is given by way of example, and not limitation. Given the above disclosure, one skilled in the art could devise variations that are within the scope and spirit of the invention disclosed herein, including various ways of forming the hemispheres, converting the dispersible substance into tablet form, connecting the hemispheres, and disrupting the tablet. Further, the various features of the embodiments disclosed herein can be used alone, or in varying combinations with each other and are not intended to be limited to the specific combination described herein. Thus, the scope of the claims is not to be limited by the illustrated embodiments.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7905181Oct 15, 2007Mar 15, 2011Ciesiun Paul MBioluminescent paintball
US7934454Nov 12, 2004May 3, 2011Kee Action Sports I LlcProjectile, projectile core, and method of making
US8479656Oct 20, 2009Jul 9, 2013Hydro-Caps, LlcWater based paintball and method for fabricating water based paintballs
EP2490945A1 *Dec 21, 2009Aug 29, 2012Paul CiesiunWater based paintall and method for fabricating water based paintballs
Classifications
U.S. Classification102/368, 102/369
International ClassificationF42B12/46
Cooperative ClassificationF42B12/50, F42B33/001, F42B6/00, F42B12/367, F42B12/40
European ClassificationF42B12/40, F42B12/36D, F42B12/50, F42B33/00B, F42B6/00