US 3381422 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
y 1968 E. OLSON 3,381,422
ROTATABLE ROOF STRUCTURE Filed Sept. 16, 1965 Weyfi United States Patent 3,381,422 RUTATABLE RGUF STRUCTURE llrvin E. Olson, P30. iiox 1112, Ilainfield, Ill. 60544 Filed Sept. 16, 1965, Ser. No. 487,684 Claims. ((11. 52-66) ABTRACT OF THE DISCLUSURE A rotating mechanism for a rotatable roof consisting of a track with substantially horizontally disposed spaced slots therein, motor means pivotally secured adjacent said track to drive a sprocket gear which engages said slots via the weight of the motor to drive the roof.
This invention relates to an improvement in rotatable roof structures such as observatory domes.
In tracking a celestial object, it is necessary to align the domes shutter and the telescopic or other apparatus utilized. In the usual situation the dome and the apparatus are generally independently rotated. Where automatic alignment is desired, some provision must be made for keeping them aligned.
In the inordinately expensive observatories, the trade has resorted to complex driving arrangements to effect much automatic alignment. Where cost is a factor a friction drive or clutch arrangement is usually used. A1- though this type of driving arrangement is usually satisfactory for observatories where personnel are available to assure alignment, in observatories which are remotely controlled, considerable difiiculty is encountered due to slippage. Some means is needed to eflect controlled rotation of the dome With the telescopic or other apparatus therein with full knowledge in the operator as to just where the shutter is with respect to said apparatus.
Accordingly, it is an object of the present invention to provide an improved observatory dome wherein such controlled rot-ation is possible.
Another object is to provide improved apparatus for rotating roof structures, and in particular, observatory domes.
A further object is to provide apparatus of the above described type, which may be remotely controlled from distant locations.
A still further object is to provide apparatus for rotating observatory domes from remote locations which is easily installed in existing domes, is relatively simple in construction and relatively inexpensive in comparison to existing similar apparatus.
Other objects of the invention will in part be obvious and will in part appear hereinafter.
Briefly, the observatory dome of the invention is formed of a plurality of arcuate sector-shaped sheet material sections which are adapted to be interlocked by sliding action to form a hemispherical structure. The entire dome is rotatably supported upon rollers which engage a semi-enclosed circular track arranged at the lower edge of the dome. A rack-like track is secured about the lower interior periphery of the dome, adjacent to the circular track. A sprocket wheel is adapted to engage the rack-like track, and is driven at a fixed speed by motor means which is adapted to be remotely controlled. The same motor means can be used to rotatably drive the viewing appanatus so that the domes shutter and the viewing apparatus are always aligned or, alternatively, control means can be provided to assure alignment when they are independently driven.
The invention accordingly comprises the features of construction, combination of elements, and arrangement 3,381,422 Patented May '7, I968 of parts which will be exemplified in the construction hereinafter set forth, .and the scope of the invention will be indicated in the claims.
For a fuller understanding of the nature and objects of the invention, reference should be had to the following detailed description taken in connection with the accompanying drawing in which:
FIGURE 1 is a partial perspective view of a roof structure, more particularly an observatory dome, wherein apparatus of the present invention can advantageously be used to rotate it.
FIGURE 2 is a partial perspective view of the supporting structure for rotatably supporting the roof structure of FIGURE 1.
FIGURE 3 is a partial top plan view of the driving arrangement of the present invention; and
FIGURE 4 is a partial side plan view of the driving arrangement of FIGURE 3.
Referring now to the drawing, in FIGURE 1 there is shown an observatory dome Ill which is hemispherical in shape and forms the roof portion of a partially shown building 12 of generally cylindrical form and having a door 14. The dome Ill may be formed from a plurality of arcuate sector-shaped sheet metal sections 16, the edges of which are adapted to provide an interlocking fit. Such a roof structure may in general be of the type disclosed in United States Patent 2,769,409, issued to Walter Rutten, on Nov. 6, 1956. A door 18, or shutter, is affixed to the dome It and is adapted to be opened to permit scanning by the viewing apparatus (not shown) on closed within the dome. In this respect, the door 18 may be afiixed to the dome Ill and operated in the manner disclosed in United States patent application, er. No. 130,068, filed Aug. 8, 1961, by Irwin E. Olson, now Patent No. 3,213,571.
A dome support angle Ztl (FIGURE 2), which is L- shaped, is arranged about the lower perimeter of the dome It). A dome track member '22 which is also L- shaped is secured along its lower leg to the support angle 20. Its other leg is bent over to provide a track 24 which engages rollers 26. With this construction, the dome It] is supported for easy rotation by the rollers 26 and is also prevented from movement off of the rollers because of the roller enclosing configuration of the track member 22. Brake means (not shown) may be provided to lock the dome in any rotary position. The rollers 26 are ailixed to dome supporting assemblies 25 which are, in turn, spaced about the perimeter of the dome It) and secured to a channel plate 24. The channel plate as extends about and is secured to the upper edge of the building 12.
Supported upon and afixed to the upper edge of the dome track member 22 is a track 2% having spaced slots 30 therein. The track 28 extends completely around the interior perimeter of the dome Iii. A sprocket gear 32 having teeth 34 thereon is positioned so that the teeth 34 engage the slots 39 in the track 28. The sprocket gear 32 is aifixed to the end of a shaft 33 which extends from a gear box 35. The gear box 35 is, in turn, affixed to and the gears therein are driven by a constant speed motor The motor 36 is aflixed to a supporting assembly 35 ineluding a base plate 39 which is secured to the upper edge of the building 12 and a mounting plate til which is pivotally secured by means of the brackets ll and pivot pins 42 to the base plate 39. With this constitution, it can be observed that the weight of the motor 36 maintains the teeth 34 of the sprocket gear 32 engaged within the slots 30 in the track '28. The sprocket gear 32 and the track 28 provide a positive driving arrangement for the dome Ill as opposed to a frictional drive or clutch arrangement.
The number of teeth 34 on the sprocket gear 32 and the number and spacing of the slots 30 in the track 28 are preferably such that the dome 10 will be rotated a predetermined number of degrees for each revolution of the motor 36. This will, of course, also be dependent upon the gear ratio of the gear box 35. The number of teeth and slots, as well as the gear ratio required, to rotate the dome 10 at any particular rotational speed, is easily determined by any one skilled in the art, once the speed of the constant speed motor 36 is known.
The rotational speed of the dome 10 can first be established, in the above described manner, and the rotational speed of the scanning apparatus made to correspond with it, or vice versa. For example, a separate constant speed motor can be provided to rotate the scanning apparatus, and its associated driving mechanism geared to rovide the same rotational speed. When the two motors are simultaneously energized, both the dome 10 and the scanning apparatus will be rotated, in alignment. Alternatively, the shaft 33 can be extended and gear means or the like alfixed to it for rotating the scanning apparatus at the same time and rate. Still another arrangement would be to provide electrical circuitry which would control the openation of two motors, to maintain the dome and the scanning apparatus in alignment. It can be seen that numerous other simple driving arrangements also can be used since the drive for the dome is positive in operation.
It will thus be seen that the objects set forth above, among those made apparent from the preceding description, are erliciently attained and, since certain changes may be made in the above construction Without departing irom the scope of the invention, it is intended that all matter contained in the above description or shown in the accompanying drawing shall be interpreted as illustrative (and not in a limiting sense.
It is also to be understood that the following claims are intended to cover all of the generic and specific features of the invention herein described, and all statements of the scope of the invention, which, as a matter of language, might be said to fall therebetween.
Now that the invention has been described, what is claimed as new and desired to be secured by Letters Patent is:
1. A roof structure comprising supporting means along its base adapted to allow rotary movement of said roof structure; a track having a plurality of substantially horizontally disposed spaced slots formed therein .afiixed to said roof structure about its base; drive means pivotally supported adjacent said track; and gear means adapted to engage in said spaced slots and driven by said drive means whereby the weight of said drive means causes continued engagement of said gear means with said spaced slots.
2. A roof structure comprising supporting means along 4 its base adapted to allow rotary movement of said roof structure; a track having a plurality of substantially horizontally disposed spaced slots formed therein affixed to said roof structure about its base; drive means pivotally supported adjacent said track; and gear means adapted to engage in said spaced slots and driven by said drive means, the pivotal mounting on said drive means functioning to maintain said gear means engaged with said slots.
3. A roof structure comprising supporting means along its base adapted to allow rotary movement of said roof structure; a track having a plurality of substantially horizontally disposed spaced slots formed therein affixed to said roof structure about its base; a drive assembly secured adjacent said track including a base member, a support member pivotally secured to said base member at its one end, drive means secured to said support means and gear means adapted to engage in said spaced slots and driven by said drive means whereby the weight of said drive means causes continued engagement of said gear means with said spaced slots.
4. A roof structure comprising supporting means along its base adapted to allow rotary movement of said roof structure; a track having a plurality of substantially horizontally disposed spaced slots formed therein afiixed to said roof structure about its base; a drive assembly secured adjacent said track including a base member, a support member pivotally secured to said base member at its one end, drive means secured to said support means and gear means adapted to engage in said spaced slots and driven by said drive means, the pivotal mounting on said drive means functioning to maintain said gear means engaged with said slots.
5. A roof structure, as claimed in claim 4, wherein said drive means is a constant speed motor.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 535,990 3/1895 Lowe 52-81 1,150,119 8/1915 Hoskins 52-65 X 2,846,962 8/1958 Morgan 52-65 2,996,844 8/1961 Paulson 52-65 3,213,571 10/1965 Olson 52-66 3,271,901 9/1966 Bednar 49-18 X 3,015,249 1/1962 Taylor 350-26 XR 3,229,414 1/1966 Bross 46-67 XR FOREIGN PATENTS 618,268 2/1961 Italy.
FRANK L. ABBOTT, Primary Examiner.
P. C. FAW, Assistant Examiner.