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Publication numberUS20080200092 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/675,776
Publication dateAug 21, 2008
Filing dateFeb 16, 2007
Priority dateFeb 16, 2007
Also published asCN201124038Y
Publication number11675776, 675776, US 2008/0200092 A1, US 2008/200092 A1, US 20080200092 A1, US 20080200092A1, US 2008200092 A1, US 2008200092A1, US-A1-20080200092, US-A1-2008200092, US2008/0200092A1, US2008/200092A1, US20080200092 A1, US20080200092A1, US2008200092 A1, US2008200092A1
InventorsChi Yiu Chung
Original AssigneeChi Yiu Chung
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Magnetic item and toy comprising the same
US 20080200092 A1
Abstract
The present invention provides a magnetic item comprising a container having an end; a base portion having a cavity and a first end connected with the end of the container; a first magnetic means movably received in the container; a second magnetic means arranged at the end of the container or the first end of the base portion and disposed in a manner that the second magnetic means and the first magnetic means attract each other; and a third magnetic means received and disposed within a second end of the base portion in a manner that the third magnetic means and the second magnetic means repulse each other; wherein the repulsion force generated between the second and third magnetic means overweighs the attraction force generated between the first and second magnetic means, when the second and third magnetic means are made to come near to each other.
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Claims(36)
1. A magnetic item comprising:
a container having an end;
a base portion having a cavity defined by its enclosed sidewall and a first end engaged with the end of the container;
a first magnetic means movably received in the container;
a second magnetic means arranged at the end of the container or the first end of the base portion and disposed in a manner that the second magnetic means and the first magnetic means attract each other;
a third magnetic means received and disposed within a second end of the base portion in a manner that the third magnetic means and the second magnetic means repulse each other; and
wherein the repulsion force generated between the third magnetic means and the second magnetic means overweighs the attraction force generated between the second magnetic means and the first magnetic means, when the third magnetic means and the second magnetic means are made to come near to each other.
2. The magnetic item as claimed in claim 1, wherein the end of the container is connected with the first end of the base portion, the second magnetic means is immovably secured within the end of the container or the first end of the base portion after the connection of the container and the base portion, while the third magnetic means is slidably received and disposed within the second end of the base portion so that the third magnetic means is capable of coming near to the second magnetic means.
3. The magnetic item as claimed in claim 1, wherein the container is engaged with the base portion in a manner that the container is slidably received within the cavity of the base portion, the second magnetic means is secured to the end of the container so as to slidably move along with the container, while the third magnetic means is immovably secured and disposed within the second end of the base portion so that the second magnetic means is capable of coming near to the third magnetic means.
4. The magnetic item as claimed in claim 1, wherein the container is a cylinder formed with a transparent or semitransparent material.
5. The magnetic item as claimed in claim 2, wherein the container has male screw threads and the base portion has female screw threads, or vice versa, so that they are connected in a threading manner.
6. The magnetic item as claimed in claim 2, wherein two or more upstanding ribs are provided on the inner surface of the sidewall of the base portion for guiding the third magnetic means in up and down slidable movements within the cavity of the base portion.
7. The magnetic item as claimed in claim 6, wherein the rib has a thick portion and a thin portion connected by a step on which the third magnetic means rests, when pushed to come near to the second magnetic means, to maintain the first magnetic means in a magnetic levitation state.
8. The magnetic item as claimed in claim 2, wherein a first holding member on which the second magnetic means is mounted is attached in a fixed manner to the sidewall of the base portion, a second holding member on which the third magnetic means is mounted is slidably attached to the sidewall of the base portion.
9. The magnetic item as claimed in claim 8, wherein the second and third magnetic means are mounted respectively on the first and second holding members in an adhering or a welding manner.
10. The magnetic item as claimed in claim 8, wherein first and second protrusions extend inwardly respectively from the inner surface of the sidewall of the base portion for supporting the first and second holding members.
11. The magnetic item as claimed in claim 1, wherein a non-magnetic plate is arranged between the first and second magnetic means for stabilizing and adjusting motion of the first magnetic means.
12. The magnetic item as claimed in claim 11, wherein the plate is formed with a plastic material.
13. The magnetic item as claimed in claim 11, the plate is detachably arranged between the first and second magnets.
14. The magnetic item as claimed in claim 11, the plate is fixedly secured to the end of the container.
15. The magnetic item as claimed in claim 1, wherein the first, second and third magnetic means are in the form of a magnet or a magnetically attracting member.
16. The magnetic item as claimed in claim 15, wherein the first, second and third magnetic means are rare earth permanent magnets, or ferrite magnets or combinations thereof.
17. The magnetic item as claimed in claim 1, wherein an appealing object is attached onto the first magnetic means for increased enjoyment of the magnetic item.
18. The magnetic item as claimed in claim 1, wherein the container, the base portion, the first, second and third magnetic means are all of substantially cylindrical configuration.
19. A toy comprising a toy body and a magnetic item, the magnetic item comprising:
a container having an end;
a base portion having a cavity defined by its enclosed sidewall and a first end connected with the end of the container;
a first magnetic means movably received in the container;
a second magnetic means arranged at the end of the container or the first end of the base portion and disposed in a manner that the second magnetic means and the first magnetic means attract each other;
a third magnetic means received and disposed within a second end of the base portion in a manner that the third magnetic means and the second magnetic means repulse each other; and
wherein the repulsion force generated between the third magnetic means and the second magnetic means overweighs the attraction force generated between the second magnetic means and the first magnetic means, when the third magnetic means and the second magnetic means are pushed to come near to each other.
20. The magnetic item as claimed in claim 19, wherein the end of the container is connected with the first end of the base portion, the second magnetic means is immovably secured within the end of the container or the first end of the base portion after the connection of the container and the base portion, while the third magnetic means is slidably received and disposed within the second end of the base portion so that the third magnetic means is pushed to come near to the second magnetic means.
21. The magnetic item as claimed in claim 19, wherein the container is engaged with the base portion in a manner that the container is slidably received within the cavity of the base portion, the second magnetic means is secured to the end of the container so as to slidably move along with the container, while the third magnetic means is immovably secured and disposed within the second end of the base portion so that the second magnetic means is pushed to come near to the third magnetic means.
22. The toy as claimed in claim 19, wherein the container is a cylinder formed with a transparent or semitransparent material.
23. The toy as claimed in claim 20, wherein the container has male screw threads and the base portion has female screw threads, or vice versa, so that they are connected in a threading manner.
24. The toy as claimed in claim 20, wherein two or more upstanding ribs are provided on the inner surface of the sidewall of the base portion for guiding the third magnetic means in up and down slidable movements within the cavity of the base portion.
25. The magnetic item as claimed in claim 24, wherein the rib has a thick portion and a thin portion connected by a step on which the third magnetic means rests, when pushed to come near to the second magnetic means, to maintain the first magnetic means in a magnetic levitation state.
26. The toy as claimed in claim 20, wherein a first holding member on which the second magnetic means is mounted is attached in a fixed manner to the sidewall of the base portion, a second holding member on which the third magnetic means is mounted is slidably attached to the sidewall of the base portion.
27. The toy as claimed in claim 26, wherein the second and third magnetic means are mounted respectively on the first and second holding members in an adhering or a welding manner.
28. The toy as claimed in claim 26, wherein first and second protrusions extend inwardly respectively from the inner surface of the sidewall of the base portion for supporting the first and second holding members.
29. The toy as claimed in claim 19, wherein a non-magnetic plate is arranged between the first and second magnetic means for stabilizing and adjusting motion of the first magnetic means.
30. The toy as claimed in claim 29, wherein the plate is formed with a plastic material.
31. The magnetic item as claimed in claim 29 the plate is detachably arranged between the first and second magnets.
32. The magnetic item as claimed in claim 29, the plate is fixedly secured to the end of the container.
33. The toy as claimed in claim 19, wherein the first, second and third magnetic means are in the form of a magnet or a magnetically attracting member.
34. The toy as claimed in claim 33, wherein the first, second and third magnetic means are rare earth permanent magnets, or ferrite magnets or combinations thereof.
35. The toy as claimed in claim 19, wherein an appealing object is attached onto the first magnetic means for increased enjoyment of the toy.
36. The toy as claimed in claim 19, wherein the container, the base portion, the first, second and third magnetic means are all of substantially cylindrical configuration.
Description
FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates generally to the field of magnetic structure and, more particularly, to a magnetic item that operates by magnetic attraction and repulsion as well as to a toy comprising such a magnetic item.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Magnets have been associated with playthings, game pieces and toys for generations. Magnetic attraction of the opposite poles of the magnets is used to, for example, couple one object with another. Magnetic repulsion, as a result of like poles being pressed together, is likewise used to push one object from another or to effect a levitation state.

Many magnetic arrangements exist as playthings or toys for children which have been found in the prior art. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 4,233,777 to Takara Co., Ltd. discloses a toy assembly capable of maintaining a toy figure in a floating position within a container by use of repelling action between two magnets. U.S. Pat. No. 5,188,555 to J. H. Zbegner is also of interest and discloses a magnetic novelty item having magnets which are arranged so that one of the magnets is movable in the space between two ends of a container.

Although a variety of magnetic structures exist in the prior art, there is a continuing need for new magnetic structures which offer advantages over those existing in the art and enhance the play value thereof. Each new feature can kindle a desire in a child and hence it becomes a selling point to the manufacture and the retainer.

The invention entails the task of creating a simple and cost-effective magnetic item that can give out a bounce or ejection effect all in a sudden, apart from attaining a magnetic levitation state of an object therein, without the need of use of electricity, batteries, wires, compressed air, gears, springs or the like.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention has been developed to fulfill the task of offering to a viewer the interesting phenomenon of causing sudden bounce and free levitation of an object and therefore has a principle object of the provision of a magnetic item comprising:

a container having an end;

a base portion having a cavity defined by its enclosed sidewall and a first end connected with the end of the container;

a first magnetic means movably received in the container;

a second magnetic means arranged at the end of the container or the first end of the base portion and disposed in a manner that the second magnetic means and the first magnetic means attract each other;

a third magnetic means received and disposed within a second end of the base portion in a manner that the third magnetic means and the second magnetic means repulse each other; and

wherein the repulsion force generated between the third magnetic means and the second magnetic means overweighs the attraction force generated between the second magnetic means and the first magnetic means, when the third magnetic means and the second magnetic means are made to come near to each other.

In one preferred embodiment, the end of the container is connected with the first end of the base portion, the second magnetic means is immovably secured within the end of the container or the first end of the base portion after the connection of the container and the base portion, while the third magnetic means is slidably received and disposed within the second end of the base portion so that the third magnetic means may be pushed to come near to the second magnetic means. In this embodiment, the container may have male screw threads and the base portion may have female screw threads, or vice versa, so that they are connected in a threading manner.

Referring to the base portion, its sidewall preferably has two or more upstanding ribs for guiding the third magnetic means in up and down slidable movements within the cavity of the base portion. The upstanding rib advantageously has a thick portion and a thin portion connected by a step on which the third magnetic means rests when pushed to come near to the second magnetic means. In this way, the first magnetic means can maintain firmly in a magnetic levitation state. Also, an appealing object of any configuration may be attached onto the first magnetic means for increased enjoyment during play of the magnetic item.

In order to stabilize and adjust motion of the first magnetic means within the container, it is advantageous that a plate made of non-magnetic material such as plastics is arranged between the first and second magnetic means.

In another preferred embodiment, the container is engaged with the base portion in a manner that the container is slidably received within the cavity of the base portion, the second magnetic means is secured to the end of the container so as to slidably move along with the container, while the third magnetic means is immovably secured and disposed within the second end of the base portion so that the second magnetic means may be pushed to come near to the third magnetic means.

Preferably, the container is a cylinder formed with a transparent or semitransparent material.

According to the invention, the first, second or third magnetic means are provided in the form of either a magnet or a material attracted to a magnet, and a rare earth permanent magnet, or a ferrite magnet or combinations thereof is preferred.

A further object of the invention is to provide a magnetic toy in which the magnetic item of the invention is fitted to produce amusement, fun and observation.

To have a better understanding of the invention reference is made to the following detailed description of the invention and embodiments thereof in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a magnetic item constructed in accordance with a first embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 2 is a cross sectional view of the magnetic item of FIG. 1 when the third magnetic means is spaced away from the second magnetic means.

FIG. 3 is a cross sectional view of the magnetic item of FIG. 1 when the third magnetic means is pushed to come near to the second magnetic means.

FIG. 4 is a cross sectional view of the magnetic item of FIG. 1 when the third magnetic means rests on the upstanding ribs.

FIG. 5 is an exploded cross sectional view of the magnetic item of FIG. 1.

FIG. 6 is an exploded cross sectional view of a magnetic item constructed in accordance with a second embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 7 is a cross sectional view of a magnetic item constructed in accordance with a third embodiment of the invention, showing that the second magnetic means is spaced away from the third magnetic means.

FIG. 8 is a cross sectional view of the magnetic item of FIG. 7 showing that the second magnetic means stands up against the upstanding ribs.

In the various figures of the drawings, like reference numbers are used to designate like parts.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

While this invention is illustrated and described in preferred embodiments, the magnetic items may be produced in many different configurations, sizes, forms and materials.

Referring now to the drawings, FIGS. 1 to 5 provide a magnetic item 100 constructed consistent with a first preferred embodiment of the present invention. In this embodiment, the magnetic item 100 comprises a container 10 and a base portion 20 which take the form of a cylinder. The container 10 has an open end 12 on which male screw threads are provided. The base portion 20 has a cavity 22 defined by its sidewall 21, at the upper end of the sidewall 21 female screw threads are provided so that the open end 12 of the container 10 is connected in a threading manner with the upper end of the base portion 20. Obviously, it will be apparent to those skilled in the art that the container 10 can be connected in other well-known manners with the base portion 20. For example, the open end 12 of the container 10 and the upper end of the base portion 20 may be connected as shown in FIG. 6, which will be described hereinbelow.

The container 12 may be formed out of a transparent material such as glass, acrylic material or semitransparent material so that the interior of the container 10 can be observed from outside. The base portion 20 may be formed out of a transparent or opaque material, and an opaque plastic material is preferred.

Although this preferred embodiment shows the container 10 of substantially rigid, linear, clear sided and cylindrical configuration and the base portion 20 of substantially opaque and cylindrical configuration, they can be configured in a wide range of shapes, sizes and materials.

The magnetic item 100 further comprises a first magnetic means 30 movably received in the container 10; a second magnetic means 40 fitted within the upper end of the base portion 20; and a third magnetic means 50 slidably received and disposed within the lower end of the base portion 20. Each of the magnetic means 30, 40, 50 may be provided in the form either a magnet or a material attracted to a magnet. In the embodiment of FIGS. 1-5, the first and third magnetic means 30 and 50 are rare earth permanent magnets (for example NdFeB magnet), whereas the second magnetic means is a combination of rare earth permanent magnet and ferrite magnet.

The first magnet 30 and the second magnet 40 are arranged with unlike magnetic poles facing each other, as illustrated in FIG. 2, whereby the mutual attraction force causes these two magnets to be held together. While the second magnet 40 and the third magnet 50 are arranged with like magnetic poles facing each other, as illustrated in FIG. 2, whereby the mutual repulsion force causes the magnets to be spaced apart. It is by the repulsion force that the third magnet 50 is supported on the lower end of the base portion 20 in a spaced distance away from the second magnet 40.

As shown in FIGS. 2-5, the base portion 20 has a first holding member 24 at its upper end and a second holding member 26 at its lower end, which are both detachable from the base portion 20 in this embodiment. Corresponding first and second protrusions 23, 25 extend inwardly respectively from the inner surface of the sidewall of the base portion 20 for supporting the first and second holding members 24, 26. The first and second holding members 24, 26 have a respective recess in which the second and third magnets 40, 50 are received firmly by use of adhesive such that they can carry the magnets 40, 50 to move. Other methods for attaching the magnets onto the holding members are allowable, for example, glue, press fitting or the like may be used.

When the container 10 is screwed onto the base portion 20, the first holding member 24 is supported on the first protrusion 23 in a fixed manner and retains immovably in the base portion 20. The second holding member 26 is slidably supported on the second protrusion 25. The second holding member 26 is also provided with three slots 27 which are circumferentially equally spaced apart from one another and extend in the direction of its movement, with which three upstanding ribs 28 provided on the inner surface of the sidewall of the base portion 20 are engagable for the purpose of guiding the second holding member 26 in up and down movements. As shown in FIG. 5, each of the ribs 28 includes a thick portion 28 b and a thin portion 28 a with a thickness in horizontal cross section being smaller than that of the thick portion 28 b. The thick portion 28 b and the thin portion 28 a are connected through a step 28 c. When the second holding member 26 carrying the third magnet 50 is pushed to move upward until to a position above where the steps 28 c are, simply turning the second holding member 26 by a slight angle can cause unalignment of the slots 27 with the thick portions 28 b in such a manner that the second holding member 26 can be supported on the steps 28 c. This will maintain the levitation of the first magnet 30, as illustrated in FIG. 4.

It is clear from FIGS. 2-5 that the third magnet 50 is the biggest one at least in size than the other two magnets 30, 40. This results in the repulsion force generated between the second and third magnets larger than the attraction force generated between the first and second magnets, whereby permitting the first magnet 30 to disengage from the second magnet 40. An interesting phenomenon of sudden bounce of the first magnet 30 is observed when the third magnet 50 is pushed to come near to the second magnet 40; and a contactless levitation state of the first magnet 30 is maintained when the third magnet 50 is keeping to be supported on the steps 28 c of the ribs 28. In order to stabilize and adjust the motion of the first magnet 30, a plastic plate 14 is arranged between the first and second magnets 30, 40. The plate 14 may be made of other non-magnetic materials. In the first embodiment, the plate 14 is provided in a detachable manner. It may also be provided in the magnetic item 100 in a fixed manner, which will be described hereinbelow.

Assembly of an appealing object 32 like a toy figure, model or plaything into the first magnet 30 may result in enhanced enjoyment of the magnetic item 100. The appealing object 32 may be of any design and is preferably assembled with the first magnet 30 such that the first magnet 30 is positioned to face directly the second magnet 40 with unlike magnetic poles thereof in order to obtain a better attraction. Preferably, the object 32 has a height larger than or equal to the inner diameter of the container 10 in order to increase its resistance to the spin-off phenomenon caused by sudden bounce.

As described above, the second magnet 40 is disposed to have a like pole to that of the third magnet 50, whereby the second holding member 26 carrying the third magnet 50 is supported on the second protrusion 25 of the base portion 20, with a spaced distance away from the second magnet 40, while the attraction of the first and second magnets enables mutual connection thereof, as illustrated in FIG. 2. When the second holding member 26 carrying the third magnet 50 is pushed manually or with a tool to move up within the cavity 22 of the base portion 20 towards the second magnet 40 to a position where the repulsion force generated therebetween overweighs the attraction force generated between the first and second magnets 30, 40, the first magnet 30 is then unable to connect the second magnet 40, with a result of sudden bounce of the first magnet 30 together with the appealing object 32 within the transparent container 10. This is one of novel features which the invention brings about. As illustrated in FIG. 4, the first magnet 30 and the object 32 remain in a contactless levitating state within the container in the presence of the magnetic repulsion as a result of like poles of the second and third magnets 40, 50 being pressed together, when the second holding member 26 carrying the third magnet 50 is resting on the step 28 c. Contrarily, when the third magnet 50 is allowed to move down towards the lower end of the base portion 20, the repulsion between the second and third magnets 40, 50 becomes weak slowly during downward movement of the third magnet 50. When the third magnet 50 continues its movement to a position where the repulsion force can not overcome the attraction force between the first and second magnets 30, 40, the first magnet 30 and the object 32 may fall to be held together with the second magnet 40. Continuous raising and lowering the third magnet 50 can cause bounce motion as well as up and down movements of the first magnet 30 and the object 32, giving out a fantabulous motion feeling and enhancing amusement.

Each of the magnetic means 30, 40, 50 may be of different strengths and sizes. Many magnets are readily available for purpose of the invention and can be sized to suit the application desired. In one embodiment of the invention, the first magnet is sized to have a diameter of about 1 cm or less and a length of about 1 cm or less; the second magnet is sized to have a diameter of about 2 cm or less and a length of about 1 cm or less; and the third magnet is sized to have a diameter of about 3 cm or less and a length of about 1 cm or less.

FIG. 6 illustrates a magnetic item constructed in accordance with a second embodiment of the invention. This embodiment is structurally similar to the first embodiment as described above, but differing in the connection of the container 10 and the base portion 20 as well as the object 32 assembled onto the first magnet 30. In this embodiment, the open end 12 of the container 10 has female screw threads and the upper end of the base portion 20 has male screw threads, allowing them to be connected together in an alternative threading manner.

FIGS. 7 and 8 illustrate a magnetic item constructed in accordance with a third embodiment of the invention. This embodiment is similar in structure and operation to that disclosed in the first embodiment, but significantly differing in that the container 10 is constructed to be capable of being slidably received within the cavity of the base portion 20. The container 10 has an open end to which the plate 14 and the holding member 24 carrying the second magnet 40 are firmly secured through conventional methods, for example adhesive. The container 10 further has circumferentially a flange 18 in the vicinity of its open end, the flange 18 being provided with three equally spaced slots. Similar to the first embodiment, three upstanding ribs 28 are provided in an equally spaced manner on the inner surface of the sidewall 21 of the base portion 20. The ribs 28 each is configured with two thin portions and a thick portion therebetween, which portions are connected respectively by two steps 28 d, 28 e. The thick portions of the three ribs 28 are engagable with the three slots of the flange 18 for guiding the flange 18 in up and down movements. The step 28 d is envisioned such that the flange 18 of the container 10 may rest on it in a ready-to-use state. The step 28 e is acting as a stop so that the second magnet 40 can not move up when desirable, as shown in FIG. 8.

The flange 18 of the container 10 stands up against a projecting flange 29 which extends inwardly from the upper end of the side wall 21 of the base portion 20 in a ready-to-use state, due to the mutual repulsion force generated between the second and third magnets 40, 50. In order to move the magnet 40 downward, it is just to turn the container 10 by an angle to render the slots of the flange 18 in alignment with the ribs 28 and a force is then applied to the container 10 to make the container 10 to move downward together with the second magnet 40. When the second magnet 40 moves till a position where the repulsion force overweighs the attraction force generated between the first and second magnets 30, 40, the first magnet 30 will be separated from the second magnet 40 and suddenly bounce upward within the container 10, as observed in the first embodiment. The container 10 continues to move downward to a position where the flange 18 of the container 10 is positioned below the steps 28 e of the ribs 28, it is just to turn the container 10 by a slight angle to render the slots of the flange 18 unaligned with the ribs 28, the flange 18 of the container may then abut against the steps 28 e of the ribs 28 to firmly maintain the levitation of the first magnet 30, as illustrated in FIG. 8.

The invention thus provides a magnetic item with a simple design which is inexpensive to produce and allows for generation of motion of an object without the need of electricity, batteries, wires, compressed air, gears, springs or the like, which should contribute to its popularity and usefulness.

The magnetic item of the invention finds a wide variety of applications particularly in, but not limited to, toys industry. Accordingly, a second aspect of the invention is to provide a toy (not shown) comprising a toy body and a magnetic item of the present invention, particularly as described hereinabove.

While the embodiments described herein are intended as an exemplary magnetic item, it will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that the present invention is not limited to the embodiments illustrated. Those skilled in the art will envision many other possible variations within the scope of the present invention.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US8029172 *Jul 21, 2008Oct 4, 2011Leif LevonSystem and method for illumination of levitating bodies
Classifications
U.S. Classification446/131
International ClassificationA63H33/26
Cooperative ClassificationG09F19/02, A63H33/26
European ClassificationA63H33/26, G09F19/02