US 3254446 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
June 7, 1966 v. L. ENDRIS 3,254,446
SPINNER-TYPE TOY Filed Sept. 27, 1963 2 Sheets-Sheet l Hi" i 151111114 INVENTOR:
' I VINCENT ENDRIS BY I ATT'Y United States Patent 3,254,446 SPINNER-TYPE TOY Vincent L. Endris, 336 Grandview, Glen Ellyn, Ill. Filed Sept. 27, 1963, Ser. No. 312,103 6 Claims. (Cl. 46-242) gravitational spinning support since it is contemplated that it may assume the form of a spinning aerial element having helicoidal surfaces. Irrespective, however, of the particular form or configuration of the spinning element of the present invention, the electricallyapowered actuator therefor, in essence, remains substantially the same and it is contemplated that spinning elements of various forms will be designed for interchangeable cooperation therewith.
The present invention is predicated upon the provision of a rotatable magnet which, in the preferred form of the invention, forms a part of the actuator and presents a planar pole face which rotates in its own plane. The spinning element includes an armature that is formed of magnetic material and presents a planar face which is designed for face-to-face contact with the pole face of the magnet and is separable from such pole face although, under certain operational conditions, it is held in contact therewith by magnetic attraction. The radius of gyration of the spinning element is normal to the planar face of its armature and, when the element is applied to the magnet, it also is substantially coincident with the axis of rotation of the electrically-driven magnet. When the rotation of the magnet is initiated, and as the magnet gradually picks up speed, the spinning element adheres to the magnet, thus likewise gathering speed.
With a perfectly balanced spinning element having no unbalanced gyrational forces, and with the element positioned so that its radius of gyration coincides exactly with the axis of rotation of the magnet, the spinning element and magnet would remain in contact with each other throughout an infinite speed range and at no time would release of the element from the magnet take place. However, manufacturing tolerances, even if the spinning element were to be made of polished steel, are such that within the speed range of a conventional or standard electric toy motor a point of element-release under the influence of unbalanced gyrational forces will take place at some point before the motor attains its maximum speed. When the spinning element is constructed of plastic material by an injection molding process, as is contemplated, manufacturing tolerances are wide and the chances of the element being balanced to such a degree that release thereof from the magnet will not take place before maximum motor speed is attained are practically negligible.
Since the spinning element is intended, after release from the actuating magnet, to maintain a degree of stable equilibrium under gyroscopic influence for a sufiicient length of time to lend interest to its path of spin either on a supporting surface or through the air, it is obvious that release of the element from the magnet should not take place before the object has attained sufiicient speed to produce the necessary gyroscopic action and thus maintain spinning stability for a reasonable length of time. To avoid premature release of the spinning element from the 3,254,446 Patented June 7, 1966 magnet before the necessary speed has been attained, the present invention contemplates novel means for limiting the eccentricity of the radius of gyration of the element with respect to the axis of rotation of the magnet and for maintaining this eccentricity to a small degree so that undue centrifugal forces may not act upon the element tending to fling it from the magnet before the necessary speed has been attained.
According to the present invention, this means for limiting the eccentricity of the spinning element with respect to the magnet assumes the form of a lateral lost motion connection between the pole face of the magnet of the electrical actuator and the planar face of the armature of the element and includes means whereby, when the extent of this lost motion connection has been taken up, the armature is forced axially away from the magnet, thus immediately destroying the closed path of magnetic flux through the magnet and armature and thus weakening the attractive force of the magnet on the armature. By such a novel expedient, consistency of the time of release of the element for spinning purposes over a given period of repeated toy operation is attained and a reasonably constant duration of spin will be effected.
The physical principles of magnetism and gyration which are outlined above are, according to the preferred embodiment of the present invention, embodied in a childs toy and to enhance the salabilityof'the toy, the spinning element thereof is preferably made in the form of a top of conoidal design, while the actuator is made in the form of or to simulate a pistol or revolver.
The provision of a toy of the aforementioned character being among the principal objects of theinvention, other objects and advantages thereof will become readily apparent as the following description ensues.
In the accompanying two sheets of drawings forming a part of this specification, one illustrative embodiment of the invention has been shown.
In these drawings:
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a toy embodying the 4 present invention;
FIG. 2 is a perspective view similar to FIG. -1 but with one side of the actuator casing removed in the interests of clarity;
FIG. 3 is a reduced perspective view of the toy showing the toy in an operation position and with the spinning element being shown in the position which it assumes a moment after its release from the magnet of the actuator; I
FIG. 4 is an enlarged sectional view taken substantially centrally and vertically through the spinning element and illustrating schematically the manner in which its magnetic armature is released from the rotary magnet of the actuator;
FIG. 5 is a top plan view of the spinning element, likewise illustrating the manner of its release from the magnet of the actuator; and
FIG. 6 is an exploded perspective view also illustrating the manner of release of the spinning element from the magnet.
Referring now to the drawings in detail, and in par-' ticular to FIGS. 1, 2 and 3, the toy which comprises the present invention comprises two separable parts including a spinning element 10 and an actuator 12, the latter assuming the form or shape of a pistol or revolver.
The actuator 12 embodies a three-part casing which is preferably formed of a moldable plastic material such, for example, as a suitable thermoplastic or thermosetting resin.
The actuator casing comprises complementary right and 22 and a pistol grip 24. The barrel cap 20 is telescopicab ly and frictionally receivable over the forward end of the barrel 22 and, in combination with a clamping screw 26 and cooperating ferrule 28, serves to maintain the shells in their assembled relationship. The screw 26 and the ferrule 28 are associated with the grip 24 as shown in FIGS. 1 and 2.
When these parts 14, 16 and 18 of the casing are assembled upon one another, a pair of cooperating, trans versely extending aligned webs, one of which is shown at Y 30, divides the interior of the barrel 22 into a battery compartment 32 and a motor compartment 34. The mating piston grip section of the casing sections 14 and 16 establish an internal trigger chamber 36.
A twin battery pack B is supported within the battery compartment 32 by means of cooperating clamping webs 40 on the casing sections 14 and 16, only the webs 40 on the section 14 appearing in the drawings. A small electric motor M is similarly supported within the motor compartment 34 by way of cooperating webs 38 on the two casing sections.
The motor M is of conventional design, it being of the three volt variety to accommodate the two one and onehalf volt batteries which comprise the battery pack B. The field magnet housings 41 of the motor M extend vertically and are stabilized in the motor compartment 34 by means of one or more sponge rubber pads 42. The rotatable motor shaft 44 projects forwardly from the motor casing 46 and passes through the barrel cap 20. The ex treme forward end of the shaft 44 carries a circular magnet head 50 which is designed for releasable cooperation with the spinning element 10 in a manner that will be described in detail presently.
The motor circuit, including the battery pack B, is established by means of a trigger-actuated conducting leaf spring 52 which is anchored or mounted in slots 54 in certain of the webs 40. One end of the leaf spring 52 makes electrical contact with the positive end of the battery pack B, and the other end of the spring is designed for electrical contact with one end of a second leaf spring 56. The latter is mounted in slots in other of the Webs 40 and its other end is connected to one of the terminals of the motor M by a flexible conductor 58. The negative terminal of the battery pack B makes electrical contact with a terminal strip 60 which is carried on one of the webs 30 and is connected by a flexible conductor 62 to the other terminal of the motor M. A trigger 66 in the form of a bell crank lever is pivoted on a transversely extending post 68 and extends through and is movable within cooperating slots 70 in the front portion of the mating sections of the pistol grip 24. Said trigger is yieldinglybiased by the lead spring 52 to an advanced position. Upon depression or rearward swinging movement of the trigger 64 against the yielding action of the leaf spring 52, the forward end of the spring is caused to move upwards into engagement with the rear end of the leaf spring 56 and this serves to close an electric circuit extending from the negative side of the battery pack B, through terminal strip 60, conductor 62, motor M, conductor 58, and leaf springs 56 and 52, back to the battery pack B. Energization of the aforementioned circuit serves to cause operation of the motor with resultant rotation of the motor shaft 44 and the magnet head 50.
The spinning element 10 is preferably in the form of a top and comprises a plastic shell 80 which, when considering the element in its supported upright spinning condition, is of inverted conoidal design. At its apex, the shell 80 is formed with a spinning point 82. The rim of the conical shell 80 has pressed therein a plastic, armaturesupporting disk 84 on which there is centered an armature 86 in the form of a generally flat circular plate of steel or other magnetic material. formed on the central portion thereof a frusto-conical protuberance 88 (see FIGS. 4, and 6) of small slant height, the protuberance being pressed-out of the plane of the armature. As wil be described in greater detail presently, the protuberance 88 serves as a centering lug The armature 86 has for the magnet head 50. Four equally circumferentially spaced, generally triangular lugs 90 are formed on the armature-suporting disk 84 just-outside of the confines of the armature 86 and serve a function that will be set forth hereafter.
The magnet head 50 includes a shallow, magnet-retaining, plastic cup 92 within which there is centered a relatively thin ring-shaped magnet 94. The latter is of the barium ferrite type and commonly known as a ceramic magnet. It is concentric with the axis of the motor shaft 44 and is provided with a central circular opening 96 and a flat annular exposed pole face 98. The diameter of the opening 96 is slightly greater than the over-all diameter of the frusto-conical protuberance 88 for a purpose that will be made clear presently. The front portion of the magnet 94 projects a slight distance forward of the open rim of the retaining cup 93 (see FIG. 4). The magnet 94 is preferably secured within the retaining cup by a suitable bonding agent such as an epoxy resin, Pliobond, or other acceptable magnet cement. The armature 86 may be similarly secured on the disk 84.
In the operation of the toy, the spinning element 10 is assembled upon the actuator by bringing the magnet 94 and the armature 86 into face-to-face magnetic coupling relationship as shown in FIG. 4. It is not essential that the magnet and armature be accurately aligned and, as a matter of fact, according to the present invention, it is preferable that a small amount of misalignment or eccentricity of the axis of the armature with respect to the axis of the magnet be present at the time of initial installation of the armature on the magnet. For this reason, the diameter of the circular opening 96 in the central portion of the magnet is somewhat greater than the overall diameter of the protuberance 88 on the armature 86 to the end that when the armature is positioned against the magnet, the chances of perfect alignment between these two elements will be practically negligible.
After the spinning element 10 has thus been assembled upon the actuator 12, the actuator is pointed vertically downwards as shown in FIG. 3, or substantially so, and the trigger 66 is depressed to establish the previously described electric circuit for the motor M, thus initiating rotation of the motor shaft 44, the magnet head 50, and
its attached spinning element 10. Due to the relatively strong magnetic attraction of the barium ferrite magnet M for the armature 86, the spinning element 10 will remain attracted to the magnet until such time-as the unbalanced gyrational forces which are associated with the spinning element 10 exceed the magnetic attraction between the magnet and the armature, this condition arising due to the magnet head and spinning element gathering speed. Even if it were possible to effect true axial alignment between the axis of the magnet head 50 and the axis of the spinning element 10,-manufacturing tolerances in the plastic molding industry are such that with even the most careful molding techniques a certain amount of unbalance between the magnet head and the spinning element will obtain, the extent of this unbalance being such that the magnetic attraction of the magnet for its armature will be overcome before the motor M attains full speed. As soon as this condition prevails, the spinning element 10 will part from the actuator 12 and the speed of rotation which it has attained will invariably be of sufficient magnitude as to sustain gyroscopic stability of the spinning element on a supporting surface for a reasonable length of time.
In order to lend stability or consistence in the time of release of the spinning element 10 from the actuator 12, the edge of the protuberance 88 on the armature 86 is made frusto-conical and triangular lugs 90 are provided with slanting ramp surfaces. The spacing of the four lugs 90 on the disk 84 is such that only a small freedom I of sliding movement of the armature 86 on the pole face tween the parts. The protuberance is provided mainly for initial location of the spinning element in its aproximate position of installation on the magnet head 50 while the lugs 90 determine a final condition of installation.
As schematically illustrated in FIG. 4, after initial assembly of the spinning element 10 on the magnet head and depression of the trigger 66, the magnet will remain within the confines of the four lugs 90 until such .time asexcessive gyrational unbalance causes it to shift radially outwardly so that the peripheral edge of the magnet makes sliding contact with one or more of the slanting ramp surfaces of the centering lugs 90 as shown in the full position of the parts in this view. At the moment that the lug or lugs thus make sliding contact with the magnet 94, a faceto-face separation between the magnet and its armature is effected, thus greatly reducing the extent of magnetic attraction between the magnet and the armature. Release of the armature from the magnet is then substantially instantaneous and the slanting ramp surfaces of the lugs 90 then serves as guides for an outward and downward camming action on the armature as shown by the dotted line position of the parts, this action remaining effective until such time as the magnet and armature are completely parted. Immediately prior to parting of the magnet and the armature, the inner peripheral peripheral edge of the magnet 94 will ride outwardly on the frustoconical periphery of the protuberance 88, thus tending to restore the axis of the spinning element to a position of parallelism with the axis of the magnet.
It is not essential to proper operation of the toy that the actuator be aimed accurately in a downward direction inasmuch as the phenomenon of gyroscopic self-erection will prevail ultimately to erect the spinning element 10 on the sustaining supporting surface before gyroscoping collapse of the element takes place.
The invention is not to be limited to the exact arrangement of parts shown in the accompanying drawings or described in this specification as various changes in the details of construction may be resorted to without departing from the spirit or scope of the invention. Therefore; only insofar as the invention has been pointed out in the accompanying claims is the same to be limited.
Having thus described the invention what I claim as new and desire to secure by Letters Patent is:
1. A toy comprising, in combination, a spinning element and an actuator therefor, said actuator including a ring magnet presenting a flat annular pole face having a central circular opening therien, means for rotating said magnet so that said pole face rotates in its own plane, said spinning element including a magnetic armature presenting a substantially flat circular attractable surface adapted to be positioned in face-to-face sliding contact with said pole face, said attractable surface being provided with a raised central protuberance thereon having a circular outline and designed for projection into said circular opening of the magnet pole face when the magnet and armature are fully coupled, the diameter of said circular opening being slightly greater than the over-all diameter of said protuberance, said protuberance, in combination with the surrounding wall of the opening, allowing for a slight degree of eccentricity between the magnet and armature.
2. A toy as set forth in claim 1 and wherein said protuberance is of frusto-conical design 3. A toy comprising, in combination, a spinning element and an actuator therefor, said actuator including a ring magnet presenting a flat annular pole face having a central circular opening of predetermined diameter therein, means for rotating said magnet so that said pole face rotates in its own plane, said spinning element including an armature-supporting disk positioned normal to and having its axis substantially coincident with the axis of rotation of the spinning element, an armature carried by said disk and presenting a fiat annular attractable surface adapted to be positioned in face-to-face sliding contact with said pole face when the magnet and armature are fully coupled, a raised centering protuberance having a circular outline and coaxial with said attractable surface and adapted to be projected into said opening in the magnet pole face when the magnet and armature are fully coupled, the diameter of said circular opening being slightly greater than the over-all diameter of said protuberance, said protuberance, in combination with the surrounding wall of the opening, allowing for a slight degree of eccentricity between the magnet and armature, whereby when the speed of rotation of the magnet "attains a predetermined maximum, the unbalanced gyrational forces acting upon the spinning element will overcome the magnetic attraction of the magnet for the armature and effect magnet separation by radial sliding movement of the attractable surface of the armature over the fiat pole face of the magnet, and means adjacent to the periphery of the attractable surface of the armature establishing a ramp surface for camming engagement with the outer peripheral edge of the pole face of the magnet when a predetermined degree of eccentricity between the magnet and spinning element obtains.
4. A toy comprising, in combination, a spinning element and an actuator therefor, said actuator including a cylindrical magnet presenting a fiat circular pole face, means for rotating said magnet so that said pole face rotates in its own plane, said spinning element including an armature presenting a fiat attractable surface adapted to be positioned in face-to-face sliding contact with said pole face for movement between a position of concentricity therewith and varying positions of eccentricity when the magnet and armature are fully coupled, and a series of circumferentially spaced centering lugs surrounding said armature and positioned in closed proximity to the peripheral edge of the latter and engageable with a peripheral edge of the magnet to limit the degree of eccentricity between the magnet and armature in their fully coupled condition.
5. A toy as set forth in claim 4 and wherein said centering lugs are provided with inclined ramp surfaces designed for camming engagement with the magnet when the magnet and armature attain a predetermined degree of axial eccentricity.
6. A toy as set forth in claim 5 and wherein said centering lugs are at least three in number and are equally spaced about the periphery of the armature,
References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,731,767 1/1956 Holt 4682 X 2,885,873 5/1959 Beeston 192'84 X 2,994,984 8/1961 Luchsinger 46241 DELBERT B. LOWE, Primary Examiner.
R. F. CUTTING, Assistant Examiner.