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Publication numberUS3465742 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateSep 9, 1969
Filing dateNov 3, 1966
Priority dateNov 3, 1966
Publication numberUS 3465742 A, US 3465742A, US-A-3465742, US3465742 A, US3465742A
InventorsHerr Theodore R
Original AssigneeHerr Theodore R
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Air pressure operated ball pitching device
US 3465742 A
Abstract  available in
Images(1)
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Sept. 9, 1969 T. R. HERR AIR PRESSURE OPERATED BALL PITCHING DEVICE Filed Nov. 3, 1966 un Om INVENTOR. Y 'THEODORE RJ45-RR B v A TTORNEY .III

United States Patent O U.S. Cl. 124-11 7 Claims ABSTRACT F THE DISCLOSURE A ball pitching apparatus having a housing for containing air under pressure. An opening in the forward end of the housing for exhausting the air. A cylinder in the housing connected to the forward end of the housing circumscribing the opening therein. Means exterior of the housing at the opening for supporting the ball to be propelled. A piston movable by air pressure in the cyllnder for registering passa-geways in the cylinder and piston for providing a quick and voluminous release of air from the housing to the opening for propelling the ball. Resilient means for returning the piston, piston rod and crank shaft to a start dead center position, and a kick device for moving the piston rod and crank shaft from dead center posltion to permit the piston to be moved by the air pressure.

This invention relates generally to a ball pitching apparatus and more particularly to a pneumatically operated apparatus for throwing a ball such as a baseball or tennis ball and the like.

The object of this invention is to provide a novel and improved ball pitching apparatus which accomplishes the throwing of a ball with great force and accuracy.

Another object of this invention is to provide a ball pitching apparatus which can operate automatically.

Still another object of this invention is to provide a pneumatic ball projector which is compact, simple and economical to manufacture and easy to operate.

Other objects and advantages of this invention will become apparent after studying the following detail specification taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings in which:

FIGURE 1 is a side elevation of the apparatus of my invention shown in longitudinal section;

FIGURE 2 is an end view of my invention as it would appear sectioned along line 2 2 of FIGURE l; and

FIGURE 3 is a top view of my invention with the housing thereof longitudinally sectioned and the projecting barrel shown partly broken away.

Referring now to the drawings, numeral designates generally the ball pitching apparatus of this invention. It comprises a housing 12 mountable on a pedestal 14. I show pedestal 14 to be hollow, and the top end thereof is interiorly partitioned by Wall 16 having a threaded hole 18 to threadedly receive fitting 20 for air pipe 22. Housing 12 is mounted on the top end of pedestal 14 to provide an air tight connection therebetween. If desired, a swivelly movable connection may be provided therebetween to aim the apparatus of my invention and thereby control the trajectory of the projected ball. This structure is not shown or described since it is well known in the prior art and the apparatus may be easily adapted to include such or similar structure. Housing 12 comprises an air tight cylindrical vessel containing an open-ended cylinder 24 coaxially supported therein by means of screw bolts 26 threadedly connecting flange 28 of cylinder 24 and extending through end plate 30 of housing 12 and flange ring 32 on ball guide barrel 34. End plate 30 is provided with a circular aperture 36 co-axially aligned with barrel 34 and cylinder 24. Guide barrel 34 is supported ex'teriorly of housing 12 on end plate 30 and connected thereto as suggested above by means of bolts 26. Rotatable collar 38 is mounted on the distal end of guide barrel 34 and has the same inside diameter as the inside diameter of barrel 34 and is further provided if desired with a friction pad 40 extending slightly radially inward to present a unilateral impeding force to ball 42 as it passes thereby to impart rotation to ball 42.

Slidably received in cylinder 24 for reciprocal movement therein is piston 44. Piston 44 is conventionally provided with seal ring means 46 so that an air tight sliding engagement is obtained between piston 44 and cylinder 24. Piston 44 comprises a sleeve portion 48 and an end wall 50. Sleeve portion 48 is provided with a plurality of apertures 52 circumferentially around sleeve portion 48 of piston 44. A plurality of apertures 54 is circumferentially provided in the wall of cylinder 24 which are the same dimension and number as apertures 52 in piston 44 and located for radial alignment therewith when piston 44 is positioned at the forward end of its stroke. Piston rod 56 pivotly connects piston l44 by means of wrist pin 58 at one end thereof and crank pin 60 at its other end. I provide a gusset type bracket 62 connecting cylinder 24 for support and extending rearwardly therefrom which is adapted to connectingly support crank shaft bearing 64. Crank pin 60 is rotatably mounted in bearing 64 and fixed therein against axial movement by retaining ring 66.

Bracket 62 is formed to provide a horizontal shelf 70 for mounting thereon rebound device means 72 which comprises casing 74, bumper element 76 Slidably movable in the hollow of casing 74 and spring means 78 in said hollow. The bottom end of spring means 78 abuts against plug 80 threadedly engaging the bottom end of casing 74 and the top end thereof abutting the inwardly shouldered Stop end of bumper element 76. Shaft end of bumper element 76 extends through the opening in the top end of casing 74 to receive the halting impact of the oscillating movement of piston rod 56 by compressing spring 78 against its bias.

Stop means 82 is mounted interiorly on housing 12 and comprises a base nut 84 and stop shaft 86 having one end thereof threaded to screw in the threaded hole of Ibase nut 84 which is preferably welded to housing 12. Housing 12 is provided with a hole co-axially aligned with the hole of base nut 84 so that the threaded end of stop shaft 86 extends therethrough and locked in a selected vertical position by means of lock nut 88. The threaded end of stop shaft 86 is adapted to be engaged by a wrench so that upon loosening lock nut 88 stop shaft 86 may be rotated to vertically raise and lower the piston rod stop end 0f shaft 86. It will be noted that end 90 of piston rod 56 extends beyond the crank pin connection at 60 to engage the piston rod stop end of shaft 86 to place piston rod 56 at dead center when piston 44 is positioned at the rearward end of its stroke. Though mechanical means may be provided to trigger the device of my inventi-on, I prefer to trigger my invention by electrical means. Accordingly, stop end of shaft 86 is provided with an electromagnetic coil 92 to provide an electromagnetic polarity at the stop end of shaft 86. The extended end 90 of piston rod 56 is formed to connect thereto and securely support thereon a bar magnet 94 so that its N-S polarity is longitudinally aligned with stop shaft 86. Coil 92 is connected by lead-in wires 96 through a hole in housing 12 and secured thereto by an air tight connection such as seal bushing 98. Switch means 100 is provided in the line of lead-in wires 96 to control the energization of coil 92. Current is provided to lead-in wires 96 through means of a rectifier circuit 102 which is shown diagrammatically in FIGURE 1. The N-S polar positions of bar magnet 94 fixed to the extended end of piston rod 56 are arranged so that the same magnetic poles are in abutting relation when switch means 100 is closed to energize coil 92; whereupon the magnetic field developed at the stop end of shaft 86 will repel the polar end of bar magnet 94 supported on the extended end of piston rod 56 sufficiently to move piston rod 56 off dead center.

As more clearly shown in FIGURES 2 and 3, the end of crank pin 60 is provided with means such as notch 104 to engage means such as a flange bit 106 extending from the end of hand crank shaft 108. Hand crank shaft 108 is provided at its other end to a shouldered end of hand crank lever 110. Shaft 108 and shouldered end of hand crank lever 110 is journally supported in sleeve 112 integrally connecting the side of housing 12, by means of an air tight seal connection therebetween for axial movement therein. Compressible coil spring 114 encircles shaft 108 and the ends thereof abut against the shouldered portion of hand crank lever 110 and the inwardly flanged end of sleeve 112 so that spring 114 urges flange bit 106 of shaft 108 out of engagement with the notched end 104 of crank pin 60.

As more clearly shown in FIGURE 3, crank shaft bearing `64 is provided with an air passageway 116 to which is connected by means of a suitable fitting, air line 118. Crank shaft 61 is provided with an oblique air passageway 120, one of which registers with air passageway 116 in bearing 64 and the other end thereof registers with passageway 122 in bearing 64 which is axially off-set from air passageway 116 so that by rotating crank shaft 60 in bearing 64, air passageway 122 in shaft 60 will serve as a valve which opens or interrupts the passage of air between passageways 116 and 122. Passageway 122 opens in housing 12 to discharge air from airline 118 therein. A torsion spring 124 is provided to rotate piston rod crank 126 by anchoring one end thereof to bracket 62 as at pin 128 and the other end thereof is similarly connected to crank 126 so that crank 126 is urged to return to the cocked position.

Though I have not shown or described a multiple ball feeder mechanism to place a series of balls 42 in barrel 34 to load the apparatus of my invention, such feeder mechanisms are well known in the prior art and may be incorporated and used in conjunction with the apparatus of my invention. The apparatus of my invention if not automatically cocked by the previous firing of a ball, may be cocked manually by hand crank 110 mounted exterior of housing 12 by moving shaft 108 axially into housing 12 so that flange bit 106 at the end thereof engages the receiving notch 104 in the end of crank shaft 61 and by manually rotating hand crank 110 counterclockwise as shown in FIGURE 2, piston rod 56 to which crank shaft 61 is connected is moved to the right as shown in FIGURE l together with piston 44 until the extended end 90 of piston rod 56 is stopped by the top end of shaft 86. Stop shaft 86, by screw adjustment engagement in base nut 84 is positioned to stop piston rod 56 at deadcenter. By releasing hand crank 110, coil spring 114 will urge crank lever 110 outwardly thereby disengaging flange bit 106 from notch 104. The apparatus of my invention is now cocked for automatic operation. Loading my invention by placing ball 42 in guide barrel 34 and turning on the air supply such as by opening valve 130, air under pressure is admitted into housing 12. By operating switch 100 electromagnetic coil 92 is energized creating a magnetic field to provide a polar force at the end of shaft 86 to repel bar magnet 94 fixed to the extended end 90 of piston rod 56 causing piston rod 56 to move counterclockwise off dead center position as viewed in FIG- URE l. The pressure of the air contained in housing 12 acting on end wall 50 of piston 44 will thereafter move piston 44 to the left as viewed in FIGURE 1 until the plurality of circumferential apertures 52 therein will register with circumferential apertures 54 in cylinder 24 when piston 44 reaches its forward stroke position. When circumferential holes 52 and 54 of piston 44 and cylinder 24, respectively, are in radial alignment, the compressed air in housing 12 is immediately expanded into the hollow of piston 44 and the interior of cylinder 24 against ball 42 to propel ball 42 out of guide barrel 34 with a drive force equivalent to a hard pitched ball or a batted ball. It is understood of course, that the propelling force may be regulated by controlling the pressure of the air in housing 12. I have found that by determining the number and size of holes 52 and 54 in piston 44 and cylinder 24, respectively, so that the sum of their areas is not less than one-half the cross-sectional area of the interior bore of cylinder 24, a miximum force of air is applied against ball 42 in the shortest possible time.

When piston 44 reaches the end of its forward stroke (which is toward the left as viewed in FIGURE 1) and accomplishes the propulsion of ball 42, piston rod 56 strikes spring loaded bumper means 76 stopping the movement thereof in the counterclockwise direction at dead-center causing the recoil thereof to move piston rod 56 in a clockwise direction off dead-center. Torsion spring 124 which has been wound with the forward cranking movement of piston rod 56 will now operate to unwind and continue to rotate crank 126 clockwise to return piston 44 back to its cocked position ready for the next firing by operating switch 100. Piston rod 56 is positioned at dead-center and bar magnet 94 connecting extended end of piston rod 56 is magnetically coupled to the stop end of shaft 86 to thereby hold piston 44 in cocked position. The return of piston 44 may be easily accomplished since all of the compressed air in housing 12 was released for the firing operation and the air entering housing 12 through lines 22 and 118 is sufficiently slow in pressure build-up. Therefore, piston 44 may be moved to the cocked position by the rebound impact of bumper means 76 and the return bias of torsion spring 124 without suicient pressure against the end 50 of piston 44 to hinder its rapid return.

FIGURE 1 illustrates means and method for operating the apparatus of this invention automatically if desired. Pressure gauge 132 is mounted in housing 12 which registers the pressure of the compressed air in housing 12. Electrical contact terminals 134 are provided on pressure air gauge 132 and may be adjustably positioned thereon to close at any desired pressure. Said contact terminals 134 are connected to a circuit of wires 136 and 138 at one end and the other ends thereof by-pass switch 100. In this manner, the pressure sensing element of gauge 132 is movable to close contact elements 134 to complete the circuit through wires 136 and 138. Electrical contact elements 134 are adjustably movable so that closing of circuit across switch and the consequent firing of the apparatus of my invention may be accomplished at any desired pressure within housing 12. Therefore it is apparent by this means and method, the apparatus of my invention may be operated continuously and automatically, simply by the build up of air pressure in housing 12 to a selected pressure and with an automatic ball feeder depositing a succession of balls in guide barrel 34, the apparatus of my invention can fire a succession of balls automatically at adjustable intervals of time. This interval of time may be easily adjustable merely by controlling the orifice opening of valve 130.

It is apparent from the above description that the ball projecting apparatus of my invention is simple to manufacture having less operating parts than any similar prior apparatus that I have knowledge of. My invention provides an apparatus capable of discharging a ball with the maximum propelling force obtainable by a given air pressure. It is understood that modifications may be made in the structure of my invention and accordingly my desire is to secure Letters Patent which fall within the spirit thereof as set forth in the appended claims.

I claim:

1. In a ball pitching apparatus comprising a housing containing air under pressure, and said housing having an opening in the forward end thereof for exhausting said air under pressure, comprising:

a cylinder in said housing connecting said forward end of said housing around said opening in said forward end,

said cylinder having aperture means circumferentially therearound a major portion thereof;

a piston slidably movable forward and rearward in said cylinder,

said piston having a forwardly extending sleeve portion and a rearwardly facing end wall por tion,

said piston having aperture means circumferentially around said sleeve portion a major part thereof,

said aperture means in said piston being co-extensive with said aperture means in said cylinder when said piston is at its forward position in said cylinder;

a piston rod connected to said end wall of said piston;

means in said housing for releasably retaining said piston rod when said piston is moved rearward in said cylinder;

means for releasing said means retaining said piston rod;

said piston movable forward in said cylinder by said air under pressure in said housing; and

spring means acting on said piston rod for moving said piston to its rearward position in said cylinder.

2. A ball pitching apparatus comprising:

a housing containing air under pressure,

said housing having an opening in the forward end thereof;

a cylinder in said housing connecting said forward end of said housing around said opening in said end,

said cylinder having aperture means circumferentially therearound a major portion thereof;

a piston slidably movable in said cylinder;

said piston having a forwardly extending sleeve portion and a rearwardly facing end wall portion,

said piston having aperture means circumferentially therearound a major portion thereof;

said aperture means in said piston being co-extensive with said aperture means in said cylinder when said piston is at its forward position in said cylinder;

a piston rod pivotally connected to said end wall portion of said piston at one end thereof;

a rotatable crank shaft means connected to said piston rod;

a stop means supported in said housing for stopping said piston rod at center when said piston is at its rearward position in said cylinder;

means provided in said housing for moving said piston rod off center;

a second stop means mounted in said housing for stopping said piston rod when said piston is at its forward position in said cylinder;

spring means connecting said piston rod for returning said piston to said first stop means;

means for supplying air to said housing; and

ball support means mounted exterior of said housing surrounding said opening in said forward end of said housing.

3. The ball pitching apparatus of claim 2 wherein the aperture means circumferentially of said piston, the aperture means circumferentially of said cylinder, and the opening in the forward end of said housing are further characterized by having a dimensional relationship so that the area of said aperture means in said piston is equal to the area of said aperture means of said cylinder, and the area of said aperture means of said cylinder is not less than one half the area of said opening in the forward end of said housing.

4. A ball pitching apparatus comprising:

a housing containing air under pressure,

said housing having an opening in the forward end thereof for exhausting therefrom said air under pressure;

a cylinder in said housing connecting said forward end of said housing around said opening in said end,

said cylinder having a plurality of spaced apertures circumferentially thereof, and

the ends of said cylinder being open; a piston slidably movable in said cylinder,

said piston having a forwardly extending sleeve portion and a rearwardly facing end -wall portion,

said piston having a plurality of apertures circumferentially thereof,

said apertures in said piston being radially aligned with said apertures in said cylinder when said piston is at its forward position in said cylinder;

a piston rod pivotally connected to said end wall portion of said piston at one end thereof;

a rotatable crank means, said crank shaft means including,

a crank member connecting said piston rod intermediate the ends thereof,

a shaft member for said crank member for rotation therewith, and

a bearing member for journally supporting said shaft member in said housing;

a magnet means connecting the other end of said piston rod;

a stop means supported in said housing for stopping said piston rod at dead center when said piston is at its rearward position in said cylinder;

electro-magnetic means provided in said housing for magnetically acting with said magnet means to move said piston rod off center;

a second stop means mounted in said housing for stopping said piston rod when said piston is at its forward position in said cylinder;

means for supplying air to said housing;

switch means for energizing said electro-motive means;

and

ball guide means mounted exterior of said housing surrounding said opening in said forward end of said housing.

5. The ball pitching apparatus of claim 4 wherein the rotatable crank shaft means is further characterized by:

said bearing member having a passageway communicating the exterior of said bearing member with the interior of said bearing member,

said crank shaft member having a passageway therethrough in a generally diametral direction thereof,

a second passageway in said bearing member communicating the exterior of said bearing member and the interior of said 1bearing member, and

said passageways in said bearing member register with opposite ends of said passageway through said shaft 7 8 member so as to provide a passageway through said References Cited bearing and shaft member combination. UNITED STATES PATENTS 6. The ball pitching apparatus of claim 4 wherein said second stop means is further characterized by com- 1g? XIVSS -eet--l- 124-8191 prising, J n a a rebound member to resiliently receive the stopping 5 2147003 2/1939 Von Kozurlk 124-11 impact of said piston rod and to reactively impart 3,009,703 11/1961 Jentsch et al 124-11X gdoppositely dlrected force to said stopped piston ANTON O' OECHSLE, Primary Examiner 7. The ball pitching apparatus of claim 5 wherein said 10 THOMAS ZACK, Assistant Examiner means for supplying air to said housing is further characterized by comprising an air conduit means in said US C1. X-R housing communicating said rst passageway in said bear- 124-30, 32 ing member and the exterior of said housing.

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Referenced by
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US3724437 *Nov 23, 1970Apr 3, 1973Tru Pitch IncBall throwing machine
US5381779 *Sep 16, 1993Jan 17, 1995Shelton; Allen E.Balloon thruster
US5769066 *Apr 1, 1997Jun 23, 1998Ronald FowlerGas powered ball gun
US7556032 *Feb 11, 2005Jul 7, 2009Smart Parts, Inc.Pneumatic paintball gun
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Classifications
U.S. Classification124/77, 124/32
International ClassificationA63B69/40
Cooperative ClassificationA63B69/409, A63B2069/402
European ClassificationA63B69/40P