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Publication numberUS3422564 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJan 21, 1969
Filing dateMay 26, 1964
Priority dateMay 26, 1964
Publication numberUS 3422564 A, US 3422564A, US-A-3422564, US3422564 A, US3422564A
InventorsJohn Y Izumi
Original AssigneeJohn Y Izumi
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Interconnectable modular connectors for tubular elements
US 3422564 A
Abstract  available in
Images(5)
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

J. Y. lZUMl Jan. 21, 1969 INTERCONNECTABLE MODULAR CONNECTORS FOR TUBULAR ELEMENTS Sheet Filed May 26, 1964 VA &

/ I I .lnvlll INTERCONNECTABLE MODULAR CONNECTORS FOR TUBULAR ELEMENTS FiledMay 26, 1964 J. Y. lZUMl Jan. 21, 1969 Sheet Jan. 21, 1969 INTERCONNECTABLE MODULAR CONNECTORS FOR TUBULAR ELEMENTS Filed May 26, 1964 J. Y. IZUMI 3,422,564

Sheet 3 of 5 a/iar/vz 29 Jan. 21, 1969 J. Y. IZUMI 3,422,564

INTERCONNECTABLE MODULAR CONNECTORS FOR TUBULAR ELEMENTS Fi-led May 26, 1964 Sheet 4 of5 Jan; 21, 1969 J. Y. lZUMl 3,422,564

INTERCONNECTABLE MODULAR CONNECTORS FOR TUBULAR ELEMENTS Filed May 26, 1964 Sheet 5 of 5 4 Claims This invention relates to a coupling device to be used in a game or toy and particularly to apparatus for joining tubular sections, such as metal cans, into an infinite number of configurations.

The great success in the past of toys consisting of elements by which various objects and structures can be simply built, can, to a great extent, be attributed to their educational, amusement and therapeutic value. The present invention, along with possessing these qualities is additionally useful because it utilizes as part of the completed construction metallic containers, such as tin cans, which are found in the home and normally discarded after they have served their intended purpose.

The present invention can be described briefly as embodying individual identical modules combined in a modular construction and designed to secure a plurality of cans or tubular elements in a fixed or cooperating relationship. The modules are substantially circular and are equipped on either side with a lip, the inside diameter of which, is substantially the same size as the rim of the can to be used in constructing the desired form and serves to hold the can to the unit. Each unit is provided with a series of flanges designed to nest with the flanges of adjacent similar units thereby providing a reasonably high degree of stability and facility. This invention also contemplates the combination of modules with complementing units designed to increase the number and esthetic quality of structures to be created.

The invention will be better understood from the following detailed description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIGURE 1 is a plan view of the individual modules, one of which is only partially shown;

FIGURE 2 is a plan view of a plurality of modules shown in a modular construction;

FIGURE 3 is an isometric view of a module;

FIGURE 4 is a cross-sectional view taken along lines 4-4 of FIGURE 2, particularly to show the attachment of several. different elements;

FIGURE 5 is an elevation View with a fragmentary sectional view of two tubural sections secured together in accordance .with the present invention;

FIGURE 6 is an alternative embodiment of the present invention showing a cross-sectional view of a unit with an adapter plug;

FIGURE 7 is a plan view of an alternative embodiment of the present invention;

FIGURE 8 is a fragmentary sectional view taken along lines 88 of FIGURE 7;

FIGURE 9 is a plan view with a fragmentary sectional view of an alternative embodiment of the modular unit;

FIGURE 10 is a plan view of an alternative embodiment of the present invention;

FIGURE 11 is a sectional view of an alternative embodiment of the present invention with a showing of structure adapted particularly to nesting rimless cans;

FIGURE 12 through FIGURE 15 are alternative embodiments of the present invention; and

FIGURES 16, 17 and 18 are plan views of typical structures assembled in accordance with the present invention with much of the detail of the modules eliminated for the sake of clarity of illustration.

States Patent ice Referring first to FIGURES 1 through 5 of the drawings for more detailed descriptions of the invention, the module is generally designated '40 and is identical to modules 40' and 40", so that parts described with reference to one module are found on the other. Module 40 is composed of a center portion 41 having depending flanges 42 and 43. Emanating from either side of the center portion 41 are lips 44 and 48. Depending from lip 44 are flanges 46 and 47. Depending from lip 48 are flanges 49 and 50. The can C (see FIGURE 5) is secured to module 40 by inserting rim IR into lip 44. Can C is likewise secured to unit 40 by inserting rim R into lip 48.

An important element of this invention is the disposition, design, and function of the depending flanges 42, 43, 46, 47, 49, and 50. Although in the preferred embodiment each of the modules is manufactured or molded as a single homogeneous element, the fundamentals of the flanges are best illustrated if the unit is considered to be composed of three separate elements, i.e., the center portion 41 and the lips 44 and 48. The outside diameters of center portion 41 and lips 44 and 48 are substantially equal. Each of these elements has two diametrically opposing flanges depending therefrom. The flanges are formed to the approximate shape generated by two arcs drawn tangent to the outside edge of the element. 'I'he radius of the arcs is equal to the radius of the element and are generated from centers 60 apart. In unit 40 the flanges 42, 43, 46, 47, 49, and 50 are spaced 60 apart. As can be seen in FIGURE 3, beginning approximately at the 2 oclock position and continuing clockwise around unit 40, flange 50 emanates from the lower /3 or lip 48 of the unit 40, flange 42 emanates from center portion 41 and flange '47 emanates from the upper /3 or lip 44. This arrangement is repeated creating an alignment of flanges that will conveniently nest module 40 with the similarly formed and similarly spaced flanges of adjacent modules 40' and 40". When viewed as in FIGURE 2, the curvature of one module nesting with the curvature of adjacent units is readily apparent.

Flanges 42, 43, 46, 47, 49, and 50 are provided with a hole each therethrough; '52, 53, 56, 57, 59, and 60, respectively.

Modules 40, 40' and 40" are maintained in nesting alignment by inserting a pin or peg 62 through holes 52 and 52, pin or peg 67 through holes 57, 57' and 57"; pin or peg 64 through holes 54 and 54" in modules 40" and 40 respectively and pin or peg 69 through holes 59 and 59".

Although myriads of shapes can be constructed utilizing the above-described modules, other units such as those hereinafter described can be used to vary the form or supply a degree of movement, and hence, multiply the number of arrangements that can be created. All of these units are designed to accommodate the aforementioned modules and in most instances include flanges of the type already described, that will provide a nesting alignment with the modules.

It is sometimes necessary or desired to place cans with their long axis perpendicular to each other and this arrangement can be achieved by utilizing the embodiments shown in FIGURE 6 and FIGURE 9 wherein module 40 may be provided with a threaded opening 66 for the reception of an adapter plug 68, and, as seen in FIG- URE 9, the can C is encircled by a ring member 65. Diametrically opposed threaded male and female elements 70 and 71 extend outwardly from ring 65. The threaded male element 70 is receivable in the threaded adapter plug 68 of FIGURE 6. The ring 65 may be a split ring to provide greater resiliency.

The spring element 72 shown in FIGURE 12 is provided with threaded male adapter plug 73 and 74 at either end and can be received in threaded adapter plug 68 of 3 FIGURE 6 or threaded female element 71 of FIGURE 9 in order to supply an expanding or contracting action to a structure such as the example of FIGURE 16.

For esthetic purposes, it will sometimes be desired to disrupt the continuity of the construction of modular units and cans by the use of spacer elements 76 and 77 as shown in FIGURES 14 and 15. Elements 76 and 77 are provided with threaded male elements 78 readily receivable in the adapter plug 68 or threaded female element 71.

The embodiment shown in FIGURES 7 and 8 is used to provide a degree of mobility to a desired structure. A unit 79 having an arcuate member 80 of uniform radius R and extending more than 180 but less than 360 partially encloses the can C. Upon application of a force perpendicular to the long axis of can C when can C is in contact with a surface S, can C will rotate within the confines of arcuate member 80. Unit 79 includes flanges 81, 82, and 83 generated from arcs of the same radius as those arcs used to generate the flanges of modules 40, 40' and 40 and are designed to enable the nesting of the mobility-providing unit 79 to a structure composed of such modules. Spacer 84 is placed along the surface of can C between arcuate member 80 and rim R of can C to prevent unit 79 from sliding along the surface of can C.

In order to supply the structure with elements or appendages that will pivot with respect to each other, the unit 86 shown in FIGURE is provided. Unit 86 can best be described as composed of a module 40 that has been split into two portions 87 and 88.

Pin 89 is secured to portion 87 by enclosure 90 and is received in apertured enclosure 91 of portion 88. The diameter of apertured enclosure 91 is such as to allow either portion to rotate with respect to the other. Portions 87 and 88 include flanges 92, 93, 94, 96, 97 and 98 of the dimensions described for modules 40, 40 and 40" to afford nesting alignment of unit 86 with a modular construction Such as shown in FIGURE 18.

A threaded apertured enclosure or seating element 100 is provided in unit 97 illustrated in FIGURE 13. Unit 97 is an alternative embodiment used to receive threaded elements such as shown in FIGURES 9, 12, 14 and and includes flanges 101, 102 and 103 for nesting with module 40.

The modules 40, 40' and 40" obtain their gripping action through the cooperation of can rim R with a lip such as lips 44 or 48.

In the use of rimless cans where the lip 44 or 48 would be insuflicient to hold the cans C and C to the unit 40, the alternative embodiment shown in FIGURE 11 will find application.

A suction cup 110 is received in threaded opening 66 capable of securing cans C and C to module 40. It is, however, necessary that either the bottom or top of the rimless cans C and C remain intact to aflord a surface to which the suction cup 110 can adhere.

As already stated, a multitude of structures can be created with the described invention. Samples of such configurations are shown in FIGURES 16, 17 and 18. In FIGURE 16, the form of a man or robot or the like is shown employing a plurality of cans joined together with the described modules to form the body portion. Resilient or expanding-contracting units such as those shown in FIGURE 12 are utilized at the neck, elbow, thigh, and knee joints of the figure and mobility-providing units as described in conjunction with FIGURES 7 and 8 are utilized at the feet of the figure and permit the figure to be rolled about. Variations such as the dog shown in FIGURE 17 and the aircraft shown in FIGURE 18 are obvious.

In the preferred embodiment of the described modules each module is molded as one homogeneous unit, it being unnecessary to construct each module of laminated sections. To prevent breakage of the tips of the flanges and to facilitate nesting, it is preferred that the tips be rounded as illustrated in the various figures referred to herein.

Alternative flange designs, nesting arrangements, securing means, spacer elements and complementary units will be obvious in view of the preceding discussion and are contemplated, therefore, by the following claims.

What is claimed is:

1. A modular construction for assembling tubular sections in cooperating relationship composed of a plurality of modules, each of said modules comprising:

a substantially flat center portion having a substantially circumferential outer edge of finite radius;

two diametrically opposing flanges depending from said center portion, each of said flanges generated by two arcs drawn tangent to said center portion edge, each of said arcs having a radius equal to that of said center portion edge, the arcs generating each said flange being generated from centers 60 apart;

a first lip having an outside radius equal to that of said center portion edge, said first lip integrally projecting from one side of said center portion;

two diametrically opposing flanges depending from said first lip and generated by two arcs drawn tangent to said first lip, each of said last recited arcs having a radius equal to the radius of said center portion edge, the arcs generating each said first lip flange being generated from centers 60 apart;

a second lip having an outside radius equal to that of said center portion edge, said second lip integrally projecting from the other side of said center portion;

two diametrically opposing flanges depending from said second lip and generated by two arcs drawn tangent to said second lip, each of said last recited arcs having a radius equal to the radius of said center portion edge, said arcs being generated from centers 60 apart;

said center portion, said first lip and said second lip disposed so that they are substantially centered about one axis with the depending flanges spaced at 60 intervals about said axis;

said first lip and said second lip having inside edges of diameters substantially equal to the outside diameter of said tubular sections, said inside edges adapted to receive said tubular sections; and

means for maintaining said modules in nesting alignment.

2. A modular construction for assembling tubular sections in cooperating relationship composed of a plurality of modules, each of said modules comprising:

a substantially flat center portion having a substantially circumferential outer edge of finite radius;

two diametrically opposing flanges depending from said center portion, each of said flanges generated by two arcs drawn tangent to said center portion edge, each of said arcs having a radius equal to that of said center portion edge, the arcs generating each said flange being generated from centers 60 apart;

a first lip having an outside radius equal to that of said center portion edge, said first lip integrally projecting from one side of said center portion;

two diametrically opposing flanges depending from said first lip and generated by two arcs drawn tangent to said first lip, each of said last recited arcs having a radius equal to the radius of said center portion edge, the arcs generating each said first lip flange being generated from centers 60 apart;

a second lip having an outside radius equal to that of said center portion edge, said second lip integrally projecting from the other side of said center portion;

two diametrically opposing flanges depending from said second lip and generated by two arcs drawn tangent to said second lip, each of said last recited arcs having a radius equal to the radius of said center portion edge, said arcs being generated from centers 60 apart;

said center portion, said first lip and said second lip disposed so that they are substantially centered about one axis with the depending flanges spaced at 60 intervals about said axis;

said first lip and said second lip having inside edges of diameters substantially equal to the outside diameter of said tubular sections, said inside edges adapted to receive said tubular sections;

each of said flanges having an aperture therethrough, and a plurality of pegs each received in one of said apertures and the aperture of a flange of an adjacent module.

3. A modular construction for assembling tubular sections in cooperating relationship composed of a plurality of modules, each of said modules comprising:

a substantially flat center portion having a substantially circumferential outer edge of finite radius;

two diametrically opposing flanges depending from said center portion, each of said flanges generated by two arcs drawn tangent to said center portion edge, each of said arcs having a radius equal to that of said center portion edge, the arcs generating each said flange being generated from centers 60 apart;

a first lip having an outside radius equal to that of said center portion edge, said first lip integrally projecting from one side to said center portion;

two diametrically opposing flanges depending from said first lip and generated by two arcs drawn tangent to said first lip, each of said last recited arcs having a radius equal to the radius of said center portion edge, the arcs generating each said first lip flange being generated from centers 60 apart;

a second lip having an outside radius equal to that of said center portion edge, said second lip integrally projecting from the other side of said center portion;

two diametrically opposing flange depending from said second lip and generated by two arcs drawn tangent to said second lip, each of said last recited arcs having a radius equal to the radius of said center portion edge, said arcs being generated from centers apart;

said first lip and said second lip having inside edges of diameters substantially equal to the outside diameter of said tubular section;

means secured to said center portion for suctionally securing said tubular section to said module; and

means for maintaining said modules in nesting alignment.

4. In combination with the modules claimed in claim 1, a mobility-providing unit comprising:

an arcuate member having a radially inwardly facing surface of uniform inside radius extending more than and less than 360, said inside radius substantially equal to the radius of said tubular section;

flange means extending outwardly from the perimeter of said arcuate member for nesting with the nesting means of said modules;

said arcuate member including means adapted to rotatably receive and retain a tubular section of substantially like radius;

and means to maintain said unit in nesting alignment with said modules.

References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,406,759 9/1946 Glukes 4625 3,310,906 3/1967 Glwkes 4625 1,895,611 1/1933 :Doak 4626 X 2,100,658 11/1937 Finch 4626 2,326,414 8/1943 Thompson 22097 X 2,414,716 1/ 1947 Carson 46-3l 2,760,303 8/ 1956 Delmas 46-22 3,156,986 1/ 1964 Strachan 4626 X F. BARRY SHAY, Primary Examiner.

US. Cl. X.R.

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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3633574 *Nov 14, 1968Jan 11, 1972Robins Co Inc A HIntrauterine contraceptive device
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Classifications
U.S. Classification446/74, 206/427, 206/821, 206/457, 206/503
International ClassificationA63H33/10
Cooperative ClassificationA63H33/102, Y10S206/821
European ClassificationA63H33/10E