US 2968872 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
w. A. M. WELLES 2,968,872
AUTOMATIC ALIGNMENT HEAD Jan. 24, 1961 Filed Dec. 15, 1958 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 FlG -l INVENTOR WILLIAM A. M. WELLES WWW ATTORNEYS w. A. M. WELLES 2,968,872
Jan. 24, 1961 AUTOMATIC ALIGNMENT HEAD 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 Filed Dec. 15, 1958 lmm'lllllllllmllllll INVENTOR WILLIAM A. M WELLES f ATTORNEYIS' United States Patent AUTOMATIC ALIGNMENT HEAD William A. M. Welles, Silver Spring, Md., assignor, by mesne assignments, to the United States of America as represented by the Secretary of the Navy Filed Dec. 15, 1958, Ser. No. 780,645
3 Claims. (Cl. 33-180) This invention relates to aligning devices and more particularly to a device for automatically aligning an electrical contact head with a contact pad on a guided missile.
It is frequently necessary to allow for cumulative errors developed during assembly by which parts will not mate perfectly as designed. Also, present practice in launching guided missiles usually requires that electrical or hydraulic connections be made between components of the missile and an outside source, such as missile warm up current for tubes and to provide last minute electrical inputs to the guidance and other systems in the missile. The term of art frequently applied to such an electrical connector is, back-scratcher coined possibly because in the usual application, the connector is brought into contact with the back of the missile to effect the connection. The connection to an outside power source is preferably effected automatically and just after the missile has been positioned on the missile launcher and it has frequently been found that there is a substantial error in the registry of the mating parts. In order to connect a misaligned back-scratcher with an electrical contact pad on a missile, an unwieldy and time consuming process of jockeying the missile about in order to effect an alignment between the back-scratcher and the contactor pad has heretofore been necessarily practiced.
Accordingly, it is an object of the present invention to provide an improved aligning head to enable slightly misaligned members to be mated.
It is a further object of the invention to provide a means for allowing the electrical contact head of a guided missile back-scratcher to properly and readily register with the electrical contact pad of a guided missile.
Still a further object of the present invention is to provide means for aligning and interconnecting members which are not otherwise in readily aligned condition.
It is another object of the present invention to provide an improved coupling means for interconnecting two elements.
Still another object of the present invention is to provide an improved means for facilitating the warming up of electrical components of a guided missile preparatory to launching the missile.
A still further object of the present invention is to provide an improved aligning head which overcomes the disadvantages of the prior art while incorporating the desirable features possessed by the aligning devices heretofore or now in general use.
Other objects and many of the attendant advantages of this invention will be readily appreciated as the same becomes better understood by reference to the following detailed description when considered in connection with the accompanying drawings wherein:
Fig. 1 is a side elevational view of one form of aligning device of the instant invention as it might be embodied in a guided missile back-scratcher;
Fig. 2 is an exploded view in elevation with parts shown in partial prespective to better illustrate the arrangement of the various components of the illustrated embodiment of the instant invention;
Fig. 3 is a fragmental plan view looking in the direction indicated by the arrows on line 3-3 in Fig. 2;
Fig. 4 is a fragmental view in plan showing the construction of the illustrated embodiment of the invention looking in the direction of the arrows on line 44 in Fig. 2;
Fig. 5 is a fragmental view in elevation of the movable element shown in Fig. 4; and
Fig. 6 is a fragmental plan view of the fixed member looking in the direction indicated by the arrows on line 6-6 in Fig. 2.
In Figs. 1 and 2, the illustrated embodiment of the alignment head, generally indicated by numeral 10, is shown supported by an operating arm 11 and mounting an electrical contact head 12. It is to be appreciated, of course, that this is merely an illustrative application and is not to be construed as limitative in any respect. The alignment head may consist of a pair of fixed disc shaped coupling members 20 and 40 more or less permanently connected to the operating arm or mechanism 11 and the electrical contact head 12, respectively. Between the fixed members 20 and 40 there may be positioned a disc shaped movable member 30 provided with apair of dovetail grooves 32 and 34 in its upper and lower surfaces respectively, the grooves 32 and 34 preferably being arranged at substantially right angles to each other, to provide components of motion, as will be further explained. Each of the disc shaped members 20, 30, and 40 have opposite faces as shown in Fig. 2 of the drawings.
In the upper groove 32 at its outer extremities there may be provided peripherally disposed bores 31 (Fig. 5) for receiving the pins of adjustment lugs 35. Similarly, groove 34 preferably is provided with bores 36 for the receipt of the pins of lugs 38. The upper lugs 35 may be extended up and beyond the groove 32 to engage in lug receiving slots 25 preferably provided in the upper member 20. In much the same manner, the lower lugs 38 extend axially downward beyond the groove 34 to suitably engage in lug receiving slots 45 carried in lower member 40.
In the embodiment illustrated, the lugs 35 and 38 may be locked in place by set screws 39. It will be observed that it is a simple matter to remove the lugs from their positions in the lug pin receiving bores to assemble and disassemble the aligning head.
The upper member 20 is preferably provided with a rather flat under surface 21 for abutting against the upper surface of the movable member 30, and a series of keys or dovetail tongues 22 and 23 adapted to mate with and ride in the dovetail groove 32. The inner keys 22 may be solid, as shown, While the outer keys 23 are preferably interrupted by the lug receiving slots 25 extending therethrough. Lower member 40 may be similarly configured with keys 42 and 43 shaped so as to mate with and ride in dovetail groove 34; again, the inner keys or dovetail tongues 42 being solid while the outer keys or dovetail tongues 43 are preferably slotted to pass the lugs 38. A plurality of bolt holes 48 may be provided in the fixed member 40 to allow passage of stud bolts 49, by means of which the member 40 may be fastened to an electrical contact head 12.
Around the peripheral surface of each fixed member 20 and 40 there may be provided a circumferential groove 26 and 46 respectively, of approximately the same curvature as the spring receiving hollows l5 and 18 provided in the outer surfaces of the lugs 35 and 38 respectively. A pair of resilient retaining rings, such as garter springs 51, 52 may be used, when the device is assembled, to encircle the device engaging in the circumferential grooves and the spring receiving hollows to resiliently 3 retain the parts in axial alignment. When assembled, as shown in Fig. 1, the three members 20, 30, and 40 lie in contiguous relationship with the keys of the fixed members and lugs of the movable members mated in their receiving grooves and slots. The garter springs encircle the device and rest in the circumferential groove provided in the fixed members and in the spring receiving hollows provided in surface of the lugs.
In operation, the lower member 40 is attached to electrical contact head 12 so as to move with it and the upper member 20 is attached to the contact operating arm 11 so as to move up and down with it. Movable member 30 allows movement of the parts out of axial alignment as depending pilot pin 55 on the electrical contact head enters a pilot hole 56 in a contact pad 60 on a guided missile. It will be apparent that any misalignment will, shift the contact head toward the aligned position. Due to the construction of the movable member with its upper and lower dovetail grooves disposed at an angle to each other, any tendency to move will be resolved into components of movement in directions parallel to the directions of the grooves and will result in a slight shifting in the position of member 30 against the spring pressure provided by the restraining springs 51 and 52. Upon disengagement of the pilot stud from the pilot hole a compensating readjustment may, due to spring pressure, take place in the movable member, thus returning the alignment head to its original position. In order to prevent dust or dirt from collecting on the alignment head it may be found desirable to fix a protective covering or boot of any suitable material over the alignment head.
Obviously many modifications and variations of the present invention are possible in the light of the above teachings. It is therefore to be understood that within the scope of the appended claims the invention may be practiced otherwise than as specifically described.
What is claimed is:
1. An alignment head operably connected to a support means in a manner to permit limited radial movement between said head and said support and comprising a first member rigidly secured to said support, a second member rigidly secured to said alignment head, a third member interposed between said first and second members, first means connecting said first member and said third member in a manner to limit the relative movement therebetween to a first direction, second means connecting said second member and said third member in a manner to limit relative movement therebetween to a second direction perpendicular to said first direction, third means restricting said relative movement in said first direction Within predetermined limits, fourth means restricting said movement in said second direction within predetermined limits, and fifth means for resiliently opposing said relative movements.
2. An alignment head operably connected to a support means in a manner to permit radial movement between said head and said support means and comprising a first disc shaped member having first and second faces, said first face being rigidly secured to said support means, a
second disc shaped member having third and fourth faces, said third face being rigidly secured to said head, said second and fourth faces eachhaving dovetail tongues projecting therefrom, a third disc member interposed between and operably connected to said first and said second disc members, said third disc means having fifth and sixth faces, said fifth face having a dovetail groove therein which operably receives said dovetail tongues of said second face thereby permitting relative move ment between said first and third disc members in a first direction, said sixth face having a dovetail groove which is perpendicular to said dovetail groove in said fifth face, said dovetail groove in said sixth face operably receiving said dovetail tongues of said fourth face thereby permitting relative movement between said second and third disc members in a direction perpendicular to said first direction, means to limit said relative movements within predetermined limits, and resilient means opposing said relative movements.
3. In a missile weapon system, a missile in position to be launched, a connector head adaptable to be disengage.- ably connected to the missile during the pre-launch phase prior to the launching of the missile, an arm for supporting the alignment head, the improvement comprising means interposed between said arm and said head operable to permit limited movement between said head and said arm, said means comprising a first disc shaped member having first and second faces, said first face being rigidly secured to said arm, a second disc shaped member having third and fourth faces, said third face being rigidly secured to said head, said second and said fourth faces each having dovetail tongues projecting therefrom, a third disc member interposed between and operably connected to said first and second disc members, said third disc member having first and sixth faces, said fifth face having a dovetail groove therein which operably receives said dovetail tongues of said second face thereby permitting relative movement between said first and third disc members in a first direction, said sixth face having a dovetail groove perpendicular to said dovetail groove in said fifth face, said dovetail groove in said sixth face operably receiving said dovetail tongues of said fourth face thereby permitting relative movement between said second and third disc members in a direction perpendicular to said first direction, means to limit the said relative movements within predetermined limits, and resilient means opposing said relative movements, whereby said head will move radially with respect to said arm to compensate for misalignment of the head with respectto the missile and thus permit engagement of the head with the missile without movement of the latter.
References Cited in the file of this patent Martin Ian. 27, 1959