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Publication numberUS20100051007 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 12/198,757
Publication dateMar 4, 2010
Filing dateAug 26, 2008
Priority dateAug 26, 2008
Publication number12198757, 198757, US 2010/0051007 A1, US 2010/051007 A1, US 20100051007 A1, US 20100051007A1, US 2010051007 A1, US 2010051007A1, US-A1-20100051007, US-A1-2010051007, US2010/0051007A1, US2010/051007A1, US20100051007 A1, US20100051007A1, US2010051007 A1, US2010051007A1
InventorsEdward S. Telford, Danial S. Jones
Original AssigneeSmart Parts, Inc.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Sensor cover and angled ball detent for paintball gun
US 20100051007 A1
Abstract
A paintball gun can include a sensor for detecting the presence (or absence) of a paintball gun in a breech chamber of the paintball gun. A quick-access sensor cover can be provided to enable easy access to the sensor for cleaning or maintenance. The body of the paintball gun can include a receptacle that receives the sensor cover. The cover can be sized and shaped to matingly fit within the receptacle. A recess can be arranged in one end of the receptacle to receive a lip of the sensor cover. The sensor cover can further include a magnetic closure mechanism for retaining the cover in a closed relationship with respect to the paintball gun. Oppositely polarized magnets can, for instance, be arranged in the cover and the paintball gun body to attract and secure the cover in its closed position. The sensor can be positioned within a retaining member in the cover receptacle. Additionally, an angled ball detent can also be included in the sensor cover to prevent double-feeding of paintballs into the breech chamber. The ball detent can be arranged at an angle of less than ninety degrees, and most preferably less than forty-five degrees, with respect to a bolt of the paintball gun.
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Claims(20)
1. A sensor cover configured to be removably positioned within a cover receptacle of a paintball gun to protect a paintball detection sensor and provide easy access to the paintball detection sensor for cleaning or maintenance, said sensor cover comprising:
a cover body shaped to be arranged within a cover receptacle of a paintball gun; and
a magnetic closure mechanism arranged in the cover body and configured to bias the cover body in a closed position with respect to the paintball gun when the cover is installed in the paintball gun.
2. A sensor cover according to claim 1, wherein the cover further comprises a lip arranged on one end of the cover body to matingly fit within a recess in the receptacle of the paintball gun.
3. A sensor cover according to claim 2, wherein the magnetic closure mechanism is arranged in an opposite end of the cover body as the lip.
4. A sensor cover according to claim 3, wherein the lip is arranged in a forward end of the sensor cover and wherein the magnetic closure mechanism is arranged in a rearward end of the sensor cover.
5. A sensor cover according to claim 1, wherein the magnetic closure mechanism comprises one or more magnets arranged in the sensor cover.
6. A sensor cover according to claim 5, wherein the one or more magnets comprises two magnets arranged in magnet receptacles formed in a rearward end of the sensor cover.
7. A sensor cover according to claim 1, further comprising:
a ball detent receptacle; and
a ball detent arranged within the ball detent receptacle.
8. A sensor cover according to claim 7, wherein the ball detent comprises a detent plunger slidingly arranged in the ball detent receptacle and a biasing member that biases the detent plunger in an extended position.
9. A sensor cover according to claim 8, wherein the detent plunger is arranged at an angle of less than ninety degrees with respect to a longitudinal orientation of the cover body.
10. A sensor cover according to claim 9, wherein the detent plunger is arranged to be positioned at an angle of less than forty-five degrees with respect to a direction of a bolt movement of the paintball gun when the cover is positioned in its closed position with respect to the paintball gun.
11. A ball detent for a paintball gun, said ball detent comprising:
a detent plunger arranged in a detent receptacle;
a biasing member configured to bias the detent plunger in an extended position; and
wherein the detent plunger is arranged at an angle of less than ninety degrees with respect to a longitudinal orientation of a bolt of the paintball gun.
12. A ball detent according to claim 11, wherein the detent plunger is arranged at an angle of less than forty-five degrees with respect to the longitudinal orientation of the bolt of the paintball gun.
13. A ball detent according to claim 11, wherein the detent receptacle is arranged in a sensor cover for the paintball gun.
14. A ball detent according to claim 13, wherein the sensor cover comprises a magnetic closure mechanism for biasing the cover in a closed relationship with respect to the paintball gun.
15. A paintball gun comprising:
a paintball gun body having a breech chamber arranged therein;
a bolt configured to move between a first and second position to load a paintball into the breech chamber of the paintball gun body;
a sensor configured to detect the presence of a paintball in the breech chamber of the paintball gun body;
a sensor cover configured to cover an opening in the paintball gun body that permits access to the sensor, said sensor cover comprising a magnetic closure mechanism configured to bias the sensor cover in a closed relationship with respect to the paintball gun; and
a ball detent arranged to extend into the breech chamber of the paintball gun at an angle of less than ninety degrees with respect to a direction of movement of a bolt.
16. A paintball gun according to claim 15, further comprising a cover receptacle arranged in an exterior sidewall of the paintball gun body, wherein the sensor cover is sized and shaped to be received within the cover receptacle.
17. A paintball gun according to claim 16, wherein the cover receptacle further comprises a recess arranged in an end of the receptacle to matingly receive a lip of the sensor cover.
18. A paintball gun according to claim 16 further comprising a sensor retainer arranged in the cover receptacle to retain the sensor in place.
19. A paintball gun according to claim 15, wherein the ball detent is arranged in a detent receptacle of the sensor cover.
20. A paintball gun according to claim 18, further comprising an opening through the paintball gun body configured to permit the ball detent of the sensor cover to extend into the breech chamber of the paintball gun.
Description
FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to mechanisms and methods for protecting a paintball detection sensor in a paintball gun and for preventing multiple paintballs from entering a breech chamber or barrel of a paintball gun during a single loading/firing operation. In particular, this invention relates to a method and apparatus for covering an opening in a paintball gun that exposes a paintball sensor. This invention further relates to a ball detent for maintaining a paintball in a desired position in the breech chamber of the paintball gun until a firing operation of the paintball gun is performed.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Modem paintball guns are frequently electronically controlled and capable of operating at high rates of fire. For paintball guns that operate electronically at high rates of fire, electronic sensors are frequently implemented to prevent ball breaks in the breech of the paintball gun. Even with the use of such sensors, however, ball breaks may occasionally occur and the sensors may need to be cleaned. In addition, the sensors may need routine maintenance or cleaning from time to time. Conventionally, paintball sensor covers have been provided with a mechanical closure mechanism for maintaining the sensor cover in a closed relationship with respect to the paintball gun, which generally require the use of tools for removal.

Conventional paintball guns also frequently provide separate ball detent mechanisms for keeping a paintball in a desired position in a breech chamber of a paintball gun until a firing operation. Conventional ball detent mechanisms typically consist of a spring biased detent extending into a forward end of the breech chamber of a paintball gun through a ball detent aperture located proximal to the barrel. The detents are conventionally arranged substantially perpendicular (i.e., at a 90 degree angle) to the paintball gun body and the bolt.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The industry would be benefited through an improved breech sensor cover having a secure yet readily operable closure mechanism, which can be operated without the use of tools. It would also be beneficial to provide a ball detent arranged at an angle other than 90 degrees with respect to a bolt arranged in the paintball gun body (and/or a direction of bolt movement). Most preferably, a breech sensor cover can comprise a magnetic closure means and an angled ball detent to satisfy both industry needs in a single device.

According to principles of the present invention, a breech sensor cover for a paintball gun preferably comprises one or more magnets or magnetically attractable metals. One or more corresponding oppositely polarized magnets or magnetically attractable metals are preferably arranged in the paintball gun body. In one embodiment, two magnets are arranged in a rearward end of the breech sensor cover in an upper and lower portion of the cover, respectively. Corresponding oppositely polarized magnets are preferably arranged in the paintball gun body.

A lip formed on a forward end of the breech sensor cover preferably slides into a mating relationship in a slot arranged in the paintball gun body. The oppositely polarized magnets in the breech sensor cover and paintball gun body then attract each other to draw and bias the sensor cover in a closed relationship with respect to the paintball gun body. Latches can also be provided to further secure the sensor cover in a closed position with respect to the paintball gun.

A ball detent can also be arranged in the breech sensor cover according to additional principles of the present invention. The ball detent is preferably arranged at an angle with respect to the sensor cover so that the ball detent is angled rearwardly (i.e., with a top surface of the ball detent facing inward and rearward) when the breech sensor cover is installed in the paintball gun body. In a most preferred configuration, the ball detent is arranged at an angle between 15 and 35 degrees with respect to the bolt (e.g., a longitudinal axis of the bolt) and/or the direction of bolt travel.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The foregoing and additional objects, features, and advantages of the present invention will become more readily apparent from the following detailed description, made with reference to the accompanying figures, in which:

FIG. 1 is a somewhat schematic side view of a paintball gun body having a sensor cover with a ball detent installed therein, according to various principles of the present invention;

FIG. 2A is a somewhat schematic side view of the paintball gun body of FIG. 1 shown with the sensor cover and ball detent removed;

FIG. 2B is a somewhat schematic cross-sectional side view of the paintball gun body of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a somewhat schematic perspective view of the paintball gun body with sensor cover and ball detent of FIG. 1, shown with the sensor cover partially removed;

FIG. 4 is a somewhat schematic perspective view of the paintball gun body of FIG. 1, shown with the sensor cover and ball detent completely removed;

FIG. 5A is a somewhat schematic perspective view of the sensor cover with ball detent of FIG. 1, shown removed from the paintball gun body;

FIG. 5B is a somewhat schematic perspective view of the ball detent plunger and spring removed from the sensor cover of FIG. 5A;

FIG. 5C is another somewhat schematic perspective view of the sensor cover and ball detent of FIG. 5A;

FIG. 6A is a somewhat schematic side perspective view of the sensor cover of FIG. 5A;

FIG. 6B is another somewhat schematic side perspective view of the sensor cover of FIG. 6A, shown with the magnets and ball detent removed; and

FIGS. 7A-7E are somewhat schematic perspective views illustrating a procedure for performing maintenance on a ball sensor and ball detent arranged in the paintball gun body with sensor cover of FIG. 1.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

In the following detailed description, reference is made to the accompanying drawings, which form part thereof, and in which are shown by way of illustration only, exemplary, non-limiting embodiments that illustrate various principles of the present invention and how it may be practiced.

In the drawings, FIG. 1 provides a somewhat schematic side view of a paintball gun body 100 having a sensor cover 200, according to various principles of the present invention, and FIGS. 2-6B provide various additional views of the paintball gun body 100 and sensor cover 200 to help more fully convey an understanding of the principles of the present invention.

Referring to FIGS. 1-6B, a paintball gun body 100 is configured to receive a paintball sensor (or “Vision eye”) cover 200 having a ball detent 220 arranged therein. The ball detent 220 preferably includes a plunger 222 slidingly arranged in a plunger hole 216 in the cover 200, and biased forward by a spring 226. Tabs 224 can be provided to retain the plunger in place in the plunger hole 216.

In a preferred embodiment, the paintball gun body 100 includes a receptacle 110 shaped to receive the sensor cover 200. The receptacle 110 preferably includes a recess 112 in the forward end 110 a of the receptacle 110 that receives a detent or lip 212 of the sensor cover 200. Magnets 142, 144 are preferably also arranged in pockets 118, 119 in the receptacle 110 to attract corresponding magnets 242, 244 arranged in pockets 218, 219 of the sensor cover 200. The magnets 142, 144, 242, 244 preferably operate to bias the sensor cover 200 in its closed position with respect to the paintball gun body 100. A bumper 230 can be provided to help hold the sensor 300 in its proper position and further protect it.

One or more openings 102, 104, 106 are preferably provided through the paintball gun body 100. A first opening 102 preferably allows a wire or flex circuit 302 for the ball sensor 300 to be fed from the inside of the paintball gun body 100 to the receptacle 110 on the external side of the paintball gun body 100. The sensor 300 can be received and retained in position by grooves or slots 114 a in a retainer 114 in the receptacle 110. A second opening 104 can be formed through the paintball gun body 100 in a central portion of the retainer 114 area to permit the sensor 300 to detect a paintball in the breech chamber 120 of the paintball gun body 100. In the preferred embodiment, the sensor or sensor system 300 is an optical (or “eye”) sensor system that visually detects the presence of a paintball in the breech chamber 120 of the paintball gun body 100. The optical sensor system can, for instance, include an emitter and sensor arranged on opposite sides of the breech chamber 120. The description relating to the sensor can therefore also be applied equally to the emitter in that embodiment. Of course other types of sensors (such as a contact sensor, motion sensor, etc.) could be used.

A third opening 106 in the paintball gun body 100 preferably receives the ball detent 220 from the sensor cover 200. The ball detent 220 is most preferably arranged in the sensor cover 200 such that when the sensor cover 200 is installed in the paintball gun body 100, the ball detent plunger 222 is arranged through the opening 106 at an angle α of less than 90 degrees with respect to a bolt (not shown) and/or direction of bolt movement within the paintball gun. In a most preferred configuration, the angle is preferably about 23 degrees with respect to the bolt/bolt movement. Of course, other angles α are also acceptable and can range, for instance, between 15 and 35 degrees, or even from 0 to 90 degrees or any range in between.

Conventionally, plunger style ball detents have become the standard for top-end tournament markers because they provide a reliable method of preventing double-feeds, even with the aggressive force-feed loaders needed for high rates of fire. Unfortunately, however, conventional ball detents are angled at 90 degrees to the bolt, so the bolt has to scrape against a rounded edge of the ball detent plunger or bearing to push it out of the way. In one aspect of the present invention, a significant improvement over those conventional ball detents can be provided by supplying an angled ball detent at less than 90 degrees (preferably less than 45 degrees and most preferably around 23 degrees) to the bolt, so that the ball and bolt strike the detent closer to the direction it actually moves. The result is longer detent life, less pressure on fragile paintballs, and smoother operation.

In operation, the sensor cover 200 is installed in the paintball gun body 100 by inserting the forward lip 212 into the recess 112 of the receptacle 110. The cover body 210 is preferably sized and shaped to matingly fit within the receptacle 110. As the cover 200 is positioned in the paintball gun body 100, the one or more magnets 242, 244 arranged in the sensor cover 200 are preferably attracted to the one or more oppositely polarized magnets 142, 144 (or other magnetically attractable material) to bias the cover 200 in a closed position with respect to the paintball gun body 100.

As the cover 200 is positioned in place in the paintball gun body 100, the ball detent plunger 222 is arranged through the opening 106 to extend into a forward end of the breech chamber 120. As explained earlier, the ball detent 220 prevents multiple paintballs from feeding from the feed tube into the breech chamber 120 during a single firing operation.

The “quick-snap” sensor cover assembly 200 of the preferred embodiment described above serves to both prevent double feeding of paintballs into the breech chamber 120 and to protect the breech sensor system 300. The magnetic latch system helps keep the sensor cover 200 securely closed and positioned during game play, while allowing for easy, tool-free cleaning and/or maintenance.

According to still further principles of the present invention, a method of cleaning or performing maintenance on the ball sensor 300 and ball detent 220 arranged in a paintball gun body 100 including a sensor cover 200, such as that described above, is also provided. FIGS. 7A-7E illustrate various steps in the cleaning or maintenance procedure. Preferably, a ball detent/cover assembly 200 is arranged on each side of the paintball gun body 100 and each can be inspected and cleaned and/or serviced in a similar manner.

Referring first to FIGS. 7A-7B (with additional reference to FIGS. 1-6A), the ball sensor cover 200 can be removed for maintenance by pressing on a forward end (point) 202 of the ball detent/sensor assembly 200. This separates the magnets 242, 244 at the rear 204 of the cover 200 from the corresponding magnets 142, 144 in the paintball gun body 100 while also pushing the back edge 204 a of the cover assembly away from the paintball body 100. A user can then grasp the rearward end 204 of the ball detent/cover assembly 200 and lift it outward, removing it from the paintball gun body 100. The sensor 300 and ball detent 220 can then be inspected and cleaned.

Referring additionally to FIG. 7C, the sensor (preferably an optical sensor) 300 can be removed from its pocket or receptacle 114 in the paintball gun body 100 by sliding it out of the grooves 114 a. A soft cloth, cotton swab, or other appropriate material can then be used to clean any paint, grease, or debris from the opening 104 in the body and from the sensor 300 itself. If debris build-up is severe, a cotton swab dampened with rubbing alcohol or other cleaning solution could be used to clean the opening 104 and the sensor 300. The sensor 300 and the opening 104 should each be allowed to dry completely, however, before reassembly. The optical sensor 300 should be cleaned carefully to avoid scratching or damaging the sensor 300 or its wiring 302. Once cleaned, the sensor 300 can be reseated in its receptacle 114 with its emitter or sensor 300 facing towards the interior of the breech chamber 120 of the paintball gun body 100.

Referring now also to FIG. 7D, the ball detent plunger 220 arranged in the cover 200 can also be inspected for debris and/or wear. Debris can be cleaned from the plunger 220 using a clean cloth or cotton swab, for instance. The plunger 220 can also be tested to ensure proper operation. It should move freely when pressed in and released. If the plunger 220 shows significant signs of wear or binding, it should be removed and replaced. The plunger 220 can be removed by inserting a tool, such as a hex wrench, into an opening 217 in a side of the plunger receptacle 216 and applying pressure to tabs 224 arranged on a side of the plunger 220.

Referring further to FIG. 7E, once the cleaning and maintenance has been performed, the ball detent/sensor cover assembly 200 can be reinserted into the paintball gun body 100. This can be done by reinserting the forward detent (pointed edge) 212 into the recess 112 in the front end 110 a of the cover receptacle (pocket) 110 in the paintball gun body 100. The rearward end 204 of the cover 200 can then be angled into place and situated into the receptacle 110 as the magnets 242, 244 (e.g., rare-earth or other magnetic devices) secure the cover 200 in place.

Having described and illustrated principles of the present invention in various preferred embodiments thereof, it should be apparent that the invention can be modified in arrangement and detail without departing from such principles. Furthermore, in the described method, one or more of the steps can be combined with other steps, separated into additional steps, rearranged with other steps, or omitted altogether. We therefore claim all modifications and variations coming within the spirit and scope of the following claims.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7997260Oct 5, 2007Aug 16, 2011Dye Precision, Inc.Paintball marker
US8186338 *Sep 8, 2009May 29, 2012Dye Precision, Inc.Pneumatic paintball marker
US8267077Aug 15, 2011Sep 18, 2012Dye Precision, Inc.Paintball marker
US8316835Jul 14, 2010Nov 27, 2012Dye Precision, Inc.Anti-chop eyes for a paintball marker
US8397705May 1, 2012Mar 19, 2013Dye Precision, Inc.Pneumatic paintball marker
Classifications
U.S. Classification124/73, 124/80
International ClassificationF41B11/00
Cooperative ClassificationF41B11/57
European ClassificationF41B11/57
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Aug 27, 2008ASAssignment
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:TELFORD, EDWARD S.;JONES, DANIAL S.;REEL/FRAME:021448/0421
Owner name: SMART PARTS, INC.,PENNSYLVANIA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:TELFORD, EDWARD S.;JONES, DANIAL S.;REEL/FRAME:021448/0421
Effective date: 20080820
Owner name: SMART PARTS, INC.,PENNSYLVANIA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:TELFORD, EDWARD S.;JONES, DANIAL S.;US-ASSIGNMENT DATABASE UPDATED:20100304;REEL/FRAME:21448/421
Effective date: 20080820