US 3253365 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
y 31, 1966 R. D. CALDERON 3,253,365
SELF-PROPELLED TOP Filed July 12, 1963 INVENTOR.
Richard D. C a/deron BY MAM/6" United States Patent 3,253,365 SELF-PROPELLED TOP Richard D. Calderon, River Grove, Ill., assignor to Motorola, Inc., Franklin Park, Ill., a corporation of Iliinois Filed July 12, 1963, Ser. No. 294,632 4 Claims. (Cl. 46243) This invention relates to toy tops and more particularly to a self-propelled and self contained top.
Although numerous types of self-propelled toys have been proposed, a toy top having such attributes has heretofore remained impractical. One reason for this is that to place a driving motor and a source of energy for the motor within a reasonably small enclosure has presented numerous balancing and packaging problems. In addition, such a self-propelled top may be diificult to start and even more difiicult to stop, especially if accidentally upset.
Accordingly, it is an object of this invention to provide a wholly self contained, self-propelled top of practical construction.
Another object of the invention is to provide a self contained, self-propelled top which is simple to start and Stop.
Another object of the invention is to provide a self contained top wherein balancing is easily achieved with out resorting to maintaining close tolerances.
A feature of the invention is the provision, in a selfpropelled top, of a direct current motor drivingly connected to the top body and having a spindle co-axial with the axis of symmetry of the top such that the motor and top are driven about the spindle.
Another feature of the invention is the provision, in a self contained, self-propelled top, of a motor having an axially displaceable spindle, and of a switch connecting energizing batteries to the motor and operable by displacement of the spindle.
Still another feature of the invention is the provision, in a self-propelled, self contained top, of an enclosure and electrical contacts formed to balance a pair of batteries about the axis of symmetry of the top.
In the drawings:
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a top constructed in V accordance with the invention;
FIG. 2 is a half-sectional view of the top of FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a plan view of a portion of the underside of the cover cap;
FIG. 4 is a perspective view of the top with the cover cap removed; and
FIG. 5 is a perspective view of the underside of the mounting disk of the top.
In accordance with the invention, the self-propelled top includes an enclosure having a substantially conical lower portion. A cap portion is removably secured to the lower portion of the enclosure and a mounting disk is placed on the lower portion at the juncture thereof with the cap portion. The enclosure is symmetrical about an axis, and
the lower portion and the mounting disk contain openings at this axis of symmetry.
A direct current motor is mounted in the lower portion and is drivingly secured to the lower portion and to the mounting disk. The motor has an axially displaceable -spindle which has a lower end protruding through the opening in the lower portion to receive a mounting cone thereon. The upper portion of the spindle protrudes through the opening in the mounting disk and engages a switch on the upper side of the mounting disk to operate the switch to a closed position when the top is balanced on the cone. The mounting disk also serves to carry a pair of batteries which are connected to the motor through the switch. The disk includes posts and a battery retainer thereon which cooperate to insure balanced positioning of the batteries.
Patented May 31, 1966 ice Referring now to FIGS. 1 and 2, the top includes an enclosure having a lower portion 11 of substantially conical configuration. Lower portion 11 has a shoulder 13 formed on the inner walls thereof and an overhanging lip 15 extends around the interior wall above shoulder 13. A mounting disk 17 rests upon shoulder 13, and a cap portion 19 is secured to lower portion 11 by a ridge 21 which surrounds the inside of cap portion 19 and snaps between lip 15 and disk 17 to wedge disk 17 against shoulder 13. Ridge 21 may include a plurality of openings 20 to permit inward displacement to clear lip 15 during assembly. As may be seen from FIG. 3, cap portion 19 is formed with a plurality of passages 22 therein which permit air flow to the outside as will be explained.
As may be seen, the double chambered enclosure comprised of lower portion 11, cap portion 19 and disk 17 is symmetrical about a central axis. Disk 17 is provided with an opening 23 at the axis of symmetry, and lower portion 11 is provided with an opening 25, also at the axis of symmetry. A motor 27 is mounted within the enclosure by means of bushing 29, which extends in opening 23, and bushing 31 which extends in opening 25. The bushings are force-fit in their respective openings and hence, a driving connection is made between motor 27 and disk 17 and lower portion 11.
Motor 27 includes a spindle 33, the lower end of which protrudes through opening 25 and the upper end protrudes through opening 23. A rubber support cone 35 is attached to the lower end of spindle 33 for supporting the top during rotation.
The battery retainer includes a dog-leg strip 37 secured flush against the surface of disk 17 and having two integral resilient contacts 38 and 39 at respective ends. A second dog-leg strip 40 is mounted in the vertical plane above strip- 37 and out of contact therewith. Strip 40 is supported at its respective ends on disk 17 by two integral contacts 41 and 42. A resilient leaf 43 is mounted to disk 17 and is movable into contact with the center of strip 40. With batteries in place facing in opposite directions, the battery retainer will connect them in parallel with contacts 38 and 39 engaging poles of one polarity and contacts 41 and 42 engaging poles of the other polarity. Leaf 43 is connected to one side of motor 27 through wire 44, and strip 37 is connected to the other side of motor 27 through wire 45. Contact of leaf 43 with strip 40 will therefore energize the motor. Because the batteries are mounted in opposite directions, the fact that the center of gravity of many batteries is not in their geometric center will not affect the balance of the top. 7
Spindle 3-3 is axially displaceable and is biased downwardly by resilient leaf 43. When the top is balanced on cone 35, however, the weight of the top is sufficient to displace spindle 33 upwardly against the resilience of leaf 43 to cause leaf 43 to engage strip 40 as shown in phantom in FIG. 2. Accordingly, the motor 27 is energized by the batteries 51 and 53. Motor 27 will rotate about spindle 33 with cone 35 frictionally gripping the support surface for the top so that the spindle is substantially prevented from rotation. As a result, the enclosure and the elements mounted thereon rotate about the spindle and cone. In order to facilitate starting, a pointed projection 55 extends upwardly from top portion 19 and a finger may be placed thereon to hold the top in an upright position on cone 35 until a sufficient angular velocity is attained. Upon attainment of a sufiicient angular velocity, the gyroscopic effect, due to the conservation ofangular momentum of the enclosure and its associated elements will cause the top to remain in an upright position without further manual support.
Since the frictional engagement of the simple battery clips 37 and 39 may be insufficient to maintain the battcries in precise balanced relation with the axis of symmetry when high areattained, provision must be made to prevent the outward displacement of the batteries due to centrifugal force. Provision should also be made to prevent upward displacement of the batteries due to handling movement, etc. As may be seen from FIG. 2, the inner surface 57 of top portion 19 is slanted and is so formed that it will engage batteries 51 and 53 to prevent their upward displacement. Outward displacement of the batteries is prevented by four posts 58 rising from the upper side of disk 17. Tolerances for the dimensions of the top portion- 19 and the posts 58 on disk 17 may be easily maintained by molding the respective parts as integral units. By insuring balanced placement of the batteries in this manner, a stable top may be easily mass produced.
Referring now to FIG. 4, disk 17 has two reed devices 59 mounted on its underside. These devices may be of the type which produce an audible humming when the air passing through them attains a sulficiently high velocity. Lower portion-11 is vented at 61 to supply air to the reed devices 59. Air flow is upward through reed devices 59 because of the effect of the passages 22 in cap 19, which force the air out of the top. When the top reaches sufficient speed, air flow will be sufficient to cause the reed devices 59 to humv Other devices operated by air or centrifugal force might be attached to the top as a further attraction to users of the device.
It may therefore be seen that the invention provides an entirely self contained top which is self driving and self starting and is simple of construction and operation. In the event that the top is accidentally upset, the motor will be de-energized due to the resilience of leaf 43 opening switch 45. The enclosure may be constructed out of light durable plastic and the storage batteries may be any type of penlight battery. Although any size of top is well within the scope of the invention, successfully operating devices have been constructed with an over-all diameter of less than 4 inches.
1. A self-propelled top including in combination, an enclosure symmetrical about an axis and having an opening at the bottom thereof at the axis, a direct current motor having a spindle axially displaceable between first and second positions, said motor being mounted in said enclosure and being drivingly connected thereto with said spindle coaxial with the axis of symmetry of said enclosure, a friction support for said top secured to said spindle outwardly of said opening in said enclosure, means for mounting an electrical energy source within said enclosure, and switch means for connecting the energy source to said motor and being closable by support of said top on said friction support to cause axial displacement of said shaft from said first position to said second position, whereby said motor is energized to drive said enclosure in rotation about said spindle to maintain said enclosure and said motor upright on said spindle.
2. A self-propelled top including in combination, an
enclosure symmetrical about an axis and having an opening in the bottom thereof at the axis, a direct current motor having a spindle axially displaceable between first and second positions, said motor being mounted in said enclosure and drivingly connected thereto with said spindle being coaxialwith the axis of symmetry of said enclosure and having a portion extending through said opening in said enclosure, a friction support for said top secured to said spindle outwardly of said opening, means for mounting a pair of batteries within said enclosure, electrical contact means for engaging the batteries, switch means connecting said electrical contact means to said motor and being closable by axial displacement of said spindle from said first position to said second position by the weight of said top, whereby said motor is energized to drive said enclosure in rotation about said spindle to maintain said enclosure and said motor upright on said spindle, said enclosure having means therein to symmetrically limit outward displacement of said batteries due to centrifugal force.
3. A self-propelled top including in combination, an enclosure symmetrical about an axis and having a substantially conical lower portion having an opening in the bottom thereof at the axis, and further having a removable cap portion secured thereto, a mounting disk supported on said lower portion of said enclosure proximate the juncture thereof with said cap portion and having a central opening therein, a direct current motor having a spindle axially displaceable between first and second positions, said motor being mounted in said lower portion of said enclosure and being drivingly connected to said lower portion and said mounting disk, said spindle being coaxial with the axis of symmetry of said enclosure and having a lower portion extending through said opening in said enclosure and an upper portion extending through said central opening in said disk, battery retaining means secured within said enclosure on said mounting disk, a switch mounted on said mounting disk and engageable by said upper portion of said spindle to be clos-able thereby upon axial displacement thereof from said first position to said second position and support means fixed to said lower end of said spindle and permitting axial displacement of said spindle from said first position to said second position upon placement of said top in an upright position on said support means, said switch connecting said battery retaining means to said motor to energize the same when closed to cause said motor to rotate about said spindle and drive said enclosure to maintain said enclosure and said motor upright on said support means upon the attainment of a gyroscopically stable angular velocity, said cap portion having a projection thereon to permit manual maintenance of said top in an upright position during starting.
4. A self-propelled top including in combination, an enclosure symmetrical about an axis thereof and having an opening in the bottom, said axis passing through the center of said opening, an electric motor having a central spindle and a motor body, means joining the body of said motor and said enclosure for mounting said motor with said spindle coaxial with the axis of said enclosure, a support for said top secured to said spindle outwardly of said opening and having a portion thereof to be disposed on a supporting surface for said top and to prevent rotation of said spindle, means for mounting energizing batteries within said enclosure, circuit means including a switch for electrically connecting the batteries to said motor, said enclosure including means to prevent physical displacement of said batteries upon spinning of said enclosure, and means for manually retaining said top in an upright position on a supporting surface while said enclosure, said motor body, and the energizing batteries are rotatable about said spindle during starting of said top.
References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,879,623 3/ 1959 Proll 4666 2,908,108 10/1959 Brutting 46-66 3,019,555 2/1962 Poticha 46243 3,137,093 6/1964 Ulrich 46243 DELBERT B. LOWE, Primary Examiner.
ROBERT F. CUTTING, Assistant Examiner,