US 2793636 A
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May 28, 1957 J. E. cooK BALL THROWING MACHINE 3 Sheets-Shae: 1
Filed larch 3, 1953 ATTORNEY 1957 J. E. COOK BALL THROWING MACHINE 3 Sheets-Sheet 2 Filed larch 3, 1953 May 28, 1957 J. E. COOK BALL THROWING MACHINE Filad larch 3, 195;
3 Shets-Sheet 3 INVENTOR.
- JAY E.COOK.
United This invention relates to games or sports of the type that promotes physical exercise and mental acumen, and more particularly to those included within the class of Ping-pong and similar ball games.
The game of Ping-pong is played with a ball struck by bats or paddles in the hands of the players and directed over a fence-like net mounted on a table. The arrangement offers no possibility for practice, unless another player is recruited to play with the original player. This would be inconsistent with the purpose of individual practicing and offers no practical solution. This invention was developed to meet such a situation and provides for practice at such a game by a single person, in a unique and effective manner. The ball used in the game such as Ping-pong is placed in an impeller housing in which a helical groove or runway is formed, for the practice ball or balls to travel in. An impeller rotates in the central portion of the impeller housing, and carries the ball along the groove or runway with increasing speed and centrifugal tension, until it arrives at an outlet in the wall of the impeller housing, and is expelled with force into the room where the player is waiting to hit it. However, since this arrangement alone would necessitate constant retrieving of the balls and their replacement in the impeller housing by hand, it would largely reduce the practice possibilities due to the tedious work involved, instead of play. To meet this situation, the invention includes a cage of suitable size and form situated in the room, serving to collect the balls after they are hit and leading them to a suction hose that carries them back to the impeller housing. A motor drives the impeller and incidently induces the vacuum action that draws the ball back into the impeller housing and recirculates it to the player, from the player to the cage and then through the hose back into the impeller housing.
Therefore the object of this invention is to provide a new and improved ball practicing machine that will avoid one or more of the disadvantages and limitations of the prior art.
Another object of the invention is to provide a new and improved ball playing machine for individual practice.
A further object of this invention is to provide a new and improved practice machine for ball playing games, that will enable individuals to play continuously with a ball without requiring their personal and physical efforts for retrieving the balls during such practice.
Still another object of the invention is to provide a new and improved practice machine for serving Ping-pong balls that will enable a player to practice indefinitely without the help of other individuals, and at the same time, have his skill promoted by the variable directioning of the balls as they are forcibly delivered to him.
An additional object of the invention is to provide a new and improved Ping-pong practicing machine that will be compact in design, economical to manufacture, and which will eifectively imitate the vagaries of ball travel as encountered in playing the game of Ping-pong with another player.
tates Pate Other objects of the invention will be indicated as it is more fully described.
For a better understanding of the invention and the objects thereof, reference is made to the accompanying drawings, wherein a form of invention is shown, and in the following specifications described.
In the drawings:
Figure l is a view in elevation of the equipment constituting an outfit for practicing Ping-pong batting practice and embodying this invention;
Figure 2 is a diagrammatic outline indicating the movement of the ball used in this embodiment during practice;
Figure 3 is a rear elevation of the impeller employed in the impeller housing included in this equipment;
Figure 4 is a front view showing the ball receiving end of the rotor shown in Figure 3;
Figure 5 is a side elevation of Figure 3;
Figure 6 is a sectional view of the housing included in this embodiment and taken on line 66 of Figure 7, the impeller and end plates being indicated in. dotted outline;
Figure 7 is a rear elevation looking along line 7-7 of Figure 1;
Figure 8 is a front view of the modified form of ball impeller showing the ball receiving end of the rotor; and
Figure 9 is a side elevation of Figure 8.
Similar reference characters refer to similar parts throughout the drawings.
Referring to Figure 1, an impeller housing 10 for throwing the Ping-pong balls 25 consists of a housing in which the balls are collected and in which an impeller 12 drives them centrifugally and forcibly through an outlet 13. The housing is rigidly supported on the casing of a electric motor 14 by a bracket plate 15 and oscillates directionally with it. The shaft 19 of the motor is removably attached to the impeller and rotates it directly. The motor 14 also operates through its shaft 19 with an oscillator unit 16. This unit is of conventional construction, and includes a worm gear 30 mounted on the shaft 19 of the motor 14, a worm and shaft 31, for rotating a plate 32 and a connecting bar 33 connecting the plate 32 and the stationary ring 34 that is adjustably secured to the stand 17 that supports the motor and the vertical spindle 18 that enables the latter to be supported and to oscillate on the stand 17. The stand 17 is made to support the components connected with it, and may be of the desk or table type as indicated in Figure l or of the extended form or standard illustrated in Figure 2. The housing 10 is provided with an inlet orifice 20, covered by a face plate 1 on which a fitting 22 is attached to hold a suction hose 23 thereto. This hose 23 is made long enough to run to a hopper or cage 24 of suitable size and design that serves to catch the balls 25 hit by the player during the practice. When the ball 25 falls into the hopper, it passes down to the hose 23, and travels under the suction effect in the hose to the impeller housing 16, induced by the rotation of the impeller blades 26.
In the impeller housingit is caught by the blades 26 of the rotor or impeller 12 and rotated along the helical grooves 27 formed on the inner peripheral wall of the impellet housing. This gives the ball 25 an increasing centrifugal propulsion until it reaches the outlet 13 which is arranged at a suitable point in the lateral impeller housing wall. The ball passes tangentially through the outlet 13 and travels in a. curved trajectory into the room. The player darts about the room and endeavors to hit the ball back with his paddle 28 towards the hopper or cage 24 so it will be recirculated through the hose etc. The helical grooves 27 have a gradually increasing diameter from the orifice 20 to the outlet 13. The impeller 12 is preferably constructed as indicated in the drawings. The blades 26 are flat faced and are cut on their edges with a taper from an end disc 35 to an open ring 36 of lesser diameter.
Four blades are preferably used and are shown radially mounted at 90 spacings on a cylindrical drum 37 axially extended from the disc 35 towards the ring 36. The drum is stepped from a relatively thin and circular portion 33 in the plate to a smaller and longer portion 37 and thence to a smaller but short circular portion 40. The latter portion 40 extends to an open space 41 left by the rectangular cuts 48 arranged axially in the blades adjacent to the ring 36 and the opening in the latter. This open arrangement in the ring 36 and blades 26 is provided for the free entrance of the ball 25 from the hose 23 into impeller against the faces of its blades. The impeller is rotated by the motor 14 through its shaft 19 embedded or threaded in a suitable recess 42 furnished in the cylindrical drum 37.
The face plate 21 is removably secured by screws 43 to the face of the impeller housing and is brought adjacent to the exterior face of the end of open ring 36 so as to close over the hole 44 in the face of the impeller housing. The bracket plate is formed to encompass the body of the motor 14 by means of a shell 45 extending laterally from it and fastened to the magazine 10 by screws 46. The details of the oscillating mechanism follow conventional lines and do not require further explanation as the construction and operation is Well known, because of its frequent use where fans are employed for ventilating purposes. However in this invention, the motor 14 in operation actuates the oscillating mechanism simultaneously so that the ball can be propelled while the impeller housing is oscillated. The result on the trajectory of the ball can be in a great variety of directions, depending on the portion of the horizontal arc of oscillation of the impeller housing is in when the ball is discharged from it. This requires a continual alertness on the part of the player to hit the ball, as there is so much uncertainty as to the direction in which it will travel during the practice period.
The device is simple and requires but little attention to keep it in action and working to the satisfaction of the player. It offers elfective delivery of the ball and keeps the player actively engaged during the batting practice. A number of balls can be used to speed up the play and keep the balls coming frequently from the impeller housing. The player needs no one else to help or cooperate with, since the equipment is entirely under his control, and he can stop and begin as often as he wishes. The force with which the ball is propelled, is controlled by a speed regulator 49 which controls the speed at which the motor and impeller is operated. An electrical feeder 50 supplies an electrical current to operate the motor. When not in use the equipment can be packed away into a small space.
In the modified form shown in Figures 8 and 9, the rotary impeller 112 includes a plurality of large radial blades 126, intermediate between each are a plurality of shorter tangential offset blades 127 positioned as indicated in Figure 8. All the blades extend outwardly from a central tapering drum 137 and are integrally attached thereto in a substantial and rigid manner. The drum is built up on a circular bottom disc plate 138 and all the parts in contact with each other are solidly and homogeneously connected. The member 137 is internally screw threaded at 146 to suit the shaft of the motor to which it is attached.
All the blades are peripherally tapered on an angle to the base 138 at their peripheral edges. The blades are shown straight and flat but it is understood they may be curved. A disc baffle 139 rests on and is attached to the member 1137 by a screw 140 resting against the blade surfaces 141 and 142 of the blades 126 and 127. The large radial blades 126 are cut out centrally at their upper portions to create openings there between. This form of the invention has the feature of providing an additional and greater vacuum effect by reason of the intermediate shorter tangential offset blades. The baffle provides a platform or stop for the incoming balls and directs them out between the blades through open space 143.
While but two general forms of the invention are shown in the drawings and described in the specification, it is not desired to limit this application for patent to these particular forms as it is appreciated that other forms of construction could be made that would use the same principles and come within the scope of the appended claim.
Having thus described the invention, what is claimed is:
A machine for throwing light hollow balls of the ping pong type toward a player practicing to improve his play in a game involving the use of such balls, comprising, an impeller housing having a spiral groove extending from an inlet adjacent to the center of said impeller housing and terminating in an outlet opening through an edge of said impeller housing, a motor device having a casing supporting said impeller housing, a hopper for receiving said balls batted by said player, a flexible conduit connecting said hopper to said inlet, a rotary device for producing a suction effect for moving said balls from said hopper through said flexible conduit and for moving said balls through said spiral groove from said inlet thereof to said outlet; said rotary device including a disc, a member, a drum rigid with said disc, and a set of blades secured to said drum and angularly spaced around the same and connecting said disc to said member, all of said blades being cut away adjacent to said disc to provide edges spaced from said shaft and to provide a space to receive balls moved by suction from said hopper through said flexible conduit and the opening in said member, said motor device including a shaft extending into said impeller housing, said spiral groove including a set of superimposed convolutions with said blades each increasing progressively in width, from the first mentioned edges toward the outer edges thereof, and from said member toward said disc, and means for oscillating saidmotor device and said impeller housing.
References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 956,117 Lord Apr. 26, 1910 1,036,627 Huguenin Aug. 27, 1912 1,313,038 Adsit Aug. 12, 1919 1,316,397 Steinberger Sept. 16, 1919 1,404,378 Czegka Jan. 24, 1922 1,408,137 Parsons Feb. 28, 1922 2,508,461 Lemon May 23, 1950 2,684,062 Rose July 20, 1954 FOREIGN PATENTS 22,110 France 1920