US 3070913 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Jan. 1, 1963 J. D. MILLER 3,070,913
EDGE-LIGHTED PANEL Filed Sept. 25, 1956 2 Sheets-Sheet 1' F1 5 INVENTOR.
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Jan. 1, 1963 J. D. MILLER 3,070,913
EDGE-LIGHTED PANEL Filed Sept. 25, 1956 2 Sheets-Sheet wulflllfmw "HIHHUHHMWIHII INVENTOR. Joy/v Q M4452 Jrroava s.
United States Patent 3,070,913 EDGE-LIGHTED PANEL John D. Miller, Alhambra, Calii, assignor to Miller Dial & Name Plate Company, El Monte, Califi, a corporation of California Filed Sept. 25, 1956, Ser. No. 611,891 1 Claim. (El. 40-130) This invention relates to an improvement in edgelighted panels.
In forming instrument panels such for example as are used in aircraft, it has been the practice to utilize an edge-lighted panel which is mounted upon a backing and covered in front with a white plastic which in turn is covered with an opaque material except in areas forming the letters on the front of the panel. Light sockets were provided projecting through the backing for lighting the edge-lighted panel and means are provided for diverting light rays through the letters. In such panels all of the terminals, switches and sockets projected from the backing interfere with the instruments which go in the panel. Consequently there was a tendency to minimiZe the number of lights placed in such a panel.
. To overcome these difiiculties it is an object of this invention to incorporate the electrical circuit into the instrument panel, eliminating the maze of wires, sockets, etc., usually found on said backing.
It is still a further object of this invention to provide an edge-light panel wherein all of the lights and sockets in such panel may be put in from the front of the panel.
- It is still a further object of this invention to greatly reduce the cost of such panels and their installation by saving labor and time and cost of designing the light sockets into the backing of the panel.
It is still a further object of this invention to permit positioning of lights on such a panel Wherever required without interfering with the instrument mounting panel.
It is still a further object of this invention to provide an edge-lighted panel wherein the electrical circuit is incorporated within the panel and wherein the same means forming said electrical circuit functions to define the letters formed on said panel.
It is still a further object of this invention to devise a novel light socket adapted to be inserted from the front side of a panel wherein the electrical circuit is formed within said panel.
It is still a further object of this invention to provide a novel light socket wherein the lamp may be energized to light the lettering in the panel or to light the face of the panel.
Other objects and advantages will be readily apparent from the following description:
In the drawings:
FIGURE 1 is a perspective view of a panel embodying this invention.
FIGURE 2 is a section taken along line 2-2 of FIG- URE 1.
FIGURE 3 is a section taken along line 3-3 of FIG- URE 1.
FIGURE 4 is a view of a panel embodying a modified form of this invention.
FIGURE 5 is a view taken along line 55 of FIG- URE 4.
FIGURE 6 is a perspective view of a modified form of panel embodying this invention.
FIGURE 7 is a perspective view of an insert incorporated in a modification of my invention illustrated in FIG- URE 6.
The panel of FIGURES l, 2 and 3 has a central sheet 10 which in this embodiment is a sheet of transparent thermoplastic light-transmitting material such as methyl methacrylate, a thermoplastic resin well known for its ice optical characteristics. Such material is now variously known by the trade names Plexiglas or Lucite. A modification of the sheet 10 may be provided by substituting an inexpensive material such as cardboard therefor with sections of the expensive light transmitting material provided therein where required as, for example, between the lights and. the lettering. Aflixed to either side of the sheet 19 is a thin sheet of white translucent thermoplastic sheet material 12. This sheet may be a vinyl acetate polymer or other equivalent resin. Aflixed to each sheet 12 is an electrically conductive sheet 14. This sheet 14 may be formed of any electrical conductive material such as metal. The sheet 14 is preferably a sheet of aluminum having portions thereof anodized to be electrically non-conductive where current flow is not required.
and such sheets are dyed or painted. The color of the dye or opaque paint preferred is black to provide suitable contrast with the white sheet 12 to permit viewing during daytime, however, the colors may of course be varied as desired.
The metal sheets 14 may be secured to the plastic sheets 12 by heat with pressure or by cementing. The letters 18 to be lighted are provided in one of the metal sheets 14 by engraving through the metal 14 or the plastic 12 or by etching through the metal by use of ordinary acid resisting and etching methods or by adhering the plastic 12 to the metal 14 and embossing the combination in an embossing die and by an ordinary grinder grinding the metal off the top of the letters. After the combination metal and plastic is thus formed it is secured to the central sheet 10 by cement or heat and pressure or other well known methods. With the letters to be illuminated thus formed in one of the metal or conductive surfaces or sheets 14 the other metal plate may be of any suitable thickness to assure rigidity and to lesson expansion and contraction caused by temperature fluctuation. Also this sheet may be provided with holes and countersunk holes such as 20 to allow plastic to flow into the holes under heat and pressure to affix the sheet 14.
In the lighting panel thus formed one of the conductive sheets is connected to positive current and the other to negative current through terminals 22 and 24. The terminal 22 has a conductive washer 26 held in electrical contact with one of the sheets 14 While the terminal 24 has a conductive Washer 28 held in electrical contact with the other metal sheet 14. The terminals receive suitable jacks connected to opposite poles of a battery or other source of electric power.
To light the central light-transmitting panel 10 a light socket 30 is provided. For this purpose a bore is drilled through the sheet 14 in which the letters to be illuminated are formed through the intermediate plastic sheets terminating at the remaining sheet 14. This bore is provided with screw threads and receives one extremity of a hollow light-transmitting electrically non-conductive threaded plastic tubing 32. A light bulb 34 fits within the tubing 32. An electrically conductive coiled spring 36 surrounds the light globe and has one extremity bearing against and in electrical contact with the plate 14 forming the terminus of the bore above described and said spring also is in electrical contact with one of the contacts of bulb 34. An electrically conductive cap 38 screws onto tubing 32 and bears against the letter bearing sheet 14, also against the other contact 40 of the light bulb 34 thereby completing the circuit between the plates 14 through the bulb 34. When terminals 22 and 24 are connected to a suitable electric source energizing plates 14 the bulb 34 is lighted. The light rays enter the central sheet 10 of edge-lighted material at all angles. Consequently they are permitted to illuminate the letters 18 formed in the front sheet 14 of the panel. The cap 38 may be colored or painted in the same manner as the front sheet 14 so as to blend into the background color of the panel.
Sometimes it is desirable to have a light available in front of the panel for various purposes. In this embodiment this is easily accomplished by cutting a suitable slot 42 in cap 38 and reversing the light bulb 34 in tubing 32. The base of the bulb projects beyond the panel and the light is discharged through slot 42 as seen in FIGURE 3.
In the embodiment above described an electrically conductive material such as sheets 14 is provided on either side of the panel. In FIGURES 4 and 5 only one side of the panel is utilized to carry the current. This permits elimination of the front sheet 14 which is replaced by suitable opaque material 16 in which lettering is produced by engraving through to white, printing black, leaving open white letters and heat forming, embossing and other methods well known in the art. The rear sheet 14 is divided into two sections electrically isolated from one another. Area 46 is removed by engraving, etching, stamping or the like, leaving a gap between area 44 and the remainder of the sheet 14 which gap may be filled with plastic flowing from adjacent sheet 12 or any other suitable electrically non-conductive material. One terminal 22 is in electric contact with area 44 and the other terminal 24 with the remainder of sheet 14. The light socket is mounted in the same manner as in the previous embodiment, spring 36 contacting sheet 14 and one contact of the bulb 34. The other contact 40 of the bulb is in electrical contact with area 44 through cap 38 and contact post 48 imbedded in the plate.
Thus illumination of bulb 34 is accomplished by connecting terminals 22 and 24 to the power source which illuminates the letters formed on the front of the panel.
A modified form of this invention illustrated in FIG- URES 6 and 7 incorporates this invention in an insert 100, specifically illustrated in FIGURE 7, which may be of any size or shape essential to the carrying of an illumination means for an instrument mounted in a panel or which may incorporate not only the illuminating means, but an instrument dial, meter, or other device which it is desired to mount on a panel element. In this way the panel itself may be formed of a relatively inexpensive light-weight material and the same may be cut out at any desired point as illustrated at 101 or at a plurality of such points, to enable the insert 100 to be mounted in the cutout.
The insert 100 is formed in accordance with my modifications of this invention as heretofore set forth and carries an illuminating means together with the electrical conducting elements.
In this way, for example, the insert 100 may carry a light'bulb assembly 103 and a fuel meter 104 together with the operating essentials of such fuel meter. The in sert may be formed with respect to its illuminating char-- acteristics as a Lucite or Plexiglas base in which the light bulb assembly 103 is mounted as set forth in the descrip-- tion of the embodiment in FIGURES 1-5 hereof and the- Lucite insert may likewise carry mounted therein, the fuel meter indicating device. The entire assembly is complementary in form to the cutout formed in the light weight aluminum panel 105, so that the same may be mounted in this cutout and held in place by any suitable means. This matter of forming panels will save both weight and use of the larger quantities of the more expensive Plexiglas or Lucite plastics.
While what hereinbefore has been described is the pre-- ferred embodiment of this invention, it is readily apparent that alterations and modifications can be resorted to without departing from the scope of this invention and such alterations and modifications are intended to be included within the scope of the appended claim.
A panel comprising: a light transmitting sheet, a translucent sheet affixed thereto, an opaque material of contrasting color covering all of said translucent sheet except the portion to be illuminated upon entry of light rays. into said light transmitting sheet, an electrically conductive element on the opposite side of said light transmitting sheet from said translucent sheet, a threaded bore through said translucent sheet and said light transmitting sheet exposing said electrically conductive element, a light transmitting electrically non-conductive tubing screwing into said bore, a lightbulb having spaced contacts thereon fitting within said tubing, an electrically conductive cap screwing onto said tubing and engaging one of said bulb contacts, an electrically conductive element within said tubing contacting the other of said bulb contacts and said electrically conductive element, and a second electrically conductive element carried upon said panel in electrical contact with said cap.
References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,644,287 Spencer Oct. 4, 1927 2,109,790 Batcheller Mar. 1, 1938 2,518,726 Shlenker Aug. 15, 1950 2,602,036 Sullivan July 1, 1952 2,637,802 Roper et a1 May 5, 1953 2,663,107 Moler Dec. 22, 1953 2,702,340 Thieblot Feb. 15, 1955 2,772,651 Arnico Dec. 4, 1956