US 3479030 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Nov. 18, 1969 A. MEROLA 3,479,030
HOLLOW, METAL BALL BAT Filed Jan. 26, 1967 Tl EB. TEE-=7.
IN VENTOR. ANTHONY MEROLA A! rorney United States Patent O 3,479,030 HOLLOW, METAL BALL BAT Anthony Merola, 957 Wellesley Road, Pittsburgh, Pa. 15206 Filed Jan. 26, 1967, Ser. No. 612,765 Int. Cl. A63b 59/06 US. Cl. 27372 6 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE This invention relates to a ball bat comprising ahollow metal body portion formed by swaging a tube of uniform diameter and thickness to a tube of varying diameters and thicknesses in a manner such that the body has a substantially uniform weight per unit of length, and rubberous plugs disposed inside the body at each end thereof todeaden sound and to impart desired weight characteristics to the bat. The plug at the handle end is disposed wholly within the tube and a separate handle member inserted thereafter. The plug at the opposite end forms a cap over that end of the bat. Both rubberous plugs and the handle member are preferably secured in place with an epoxy resin, the resin being applied to the interior of the tube and the plugs inserted by spinning to distribute the epoxy evenly. Both plugs are preferably tapered to reduce the piston effect, i.e., prevent the epoxy from being pushed ahead of the plugs.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION Field of the invention The invention relates to ball bats and particularly to ball bats having hollow metal bodies with closure means at each end thereof and to the method of making same.
DESCRIPTION OF PRIOR ART Prior art bats with hollow metal body portions have heretofore been made from casting or from sheet metal parts welded together, both methods being expensive and time consuming. Additionally such bats have unsightly seams and require considerable grinding or the like to smooth the surface of the bat-to a satisfactory condition. The weight distribution characteristics of these bats are also unsatisfactory and the material often must be made so thin that the bat dents easily when a ball is struck. A further problem with prior art hollow metal bats is that a disturbing sound emanates therefrom when a ball is struck. Moreover prior art bats are weak at the handle portion which receives great bending stress when a ball is struck.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The present invention eliminates the problems heretofore encountered with hollow metal ball bats and provides an improved method for their manufacture. The body of the bat is formed from a hollow metal tube, of uniform starting thickness and diameter, which is 'swaged to one of several customary bat configurations wherein the body tapers throughout most of its length. The resulting body has a substantially uniform weight per unit length but varies in wall thickness and diameter according to the desired taper, the walls being thickest at the handle portion which is the portion of least diameter. The process of swaging a starting tube of uniform thickness and diameter results in a bat with improved weight distribution characteristics and at the same time effects a strengthening of the bat at the .handle portion. Following swaging there is inserted a rubberous plug into the handle portion to aid in deadening sound. This plug is tapered slightly at its inner end to prevent pushing the epoxy resin ahead of it. After this plug is in place a handle member is inserted 'ice and secured in place in like manner. A larger mushroom: shaped plug is inserted in the opposite end of the tube and is likewise tapered on its inner end and secured by an epoxy resin. Preferably the plugs are inserted with a screw machine or the like to spin the plugs at high speed and the plugs are dimensioned to fit snugly in the hollow of the bat. The plug at the larger diameter end of the bat may be weighted to impart the desired weight and balance characteristics to the bat as well as serving as a means for deadening sound.
With the described construction there is provided a hollow metal bat which has a smooth, seamless surface, deadens the sound of impact, has excellent weight and balance characteristics, is strengthened at the handle where the greatest bending stresses occur, and which can economically be made according to the process of the invention.
An object of the invention is to provide an improved ball bat having a hollow metal body and the process of making same.
This and other objects will be apparent to those skilled in the art and more fully understood by reference to the following description, wherein DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a side elevation of a ball bat according to the invention;
FIGS. 2 and 3 are enlarged sectional side elevations of the bat of FIG. 1, FIG. 3 being a continuation of FIG.
FIG. 4 is a side elevation partly in section of a rubberous plug for insertion into the large diameter end of the bat;
FIG. 5 is an end elevation of FIG. 4;
FIG. '6 is a side elevation, partly in section of a rubberous plug for insertion into the handle end of a bat;
FIG. 7 is an end elevation of FIG. 6;
FIGS. 8, 9 and 10 are end elevations taken along the lines VIIIVIII, IX-IX and X--X respectively of FIG. 2, to illustrate the increasing wall thickness and decreasing diameter along various portions of the bat.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS Referring to the drawings, the ball bat 10 is comprised of a hollow metal tube or body 11 which may be considered as having three portions or zones A, B, C approximately equal in length. The body increases in diameter from the portion A to the portion C but decreases in wall thickness, i.e., wall thickness increases as the diameter decreases, so the body is thickest at the handle portion A where the bending stresses from contact with a ball are ordinarily the greatest. Portions A and C are of substantially constant diameter while portion B tapers throughout its length, thus to form a body having one form of conventional ball bat configuration, but other conventional ball bat configurations are possible.
The body 11 is preferably formed by the process of the invention which comprises providing a hollow metal tube of uniform thickness and diameter and approximately equal in length to the desired length of the bat, the tube preferably being the same diameter as that desired in the portion C, then swaging the tube to form the portions A and B as described. The swaging operation thus forms the contour of the bat while at the same time strengthening the portions A and B by thickening the walls thereof, particularly in the handle portion A and the weight throughout the body is substantially uniform per unit length. Thus the body 11 of the bat emerges from the swaging operation in finished form, and has a smooth, continuous, seamless surface. N0 welding, casting, grinding, riveting or other operations are necessary.
FIGS. 8, 9 and 10 illustrate the sections 11a, 11b and 110 and show the decreasing diameter and increasing wall thickness along the length of the body 11 after the swaging operation.
The tubes preferred are aluminum or aluminum alloy tubes of suitable hardness and temper, one such being the aluminum alloy known as 6061T6 available from the Aluminum Company of America, but others could be employed. The thickness of the walls of the starting tube in the specified alloy are preferably about .049" to .064 which is suitable for softball bats, for example, but other thicknesses could be employed. Preferably a baseball bat will have thicker walls. Standard bat lengths are of course employed, usually ran ing from about 26" to about 33". The thickness of the tube at the handle portion A after s'waging is about twice the starting thickness.
After the body 11 has been formed, a rubberous plug 12 is inserted in the handle portion A, in spaced relation to the end of the body, and secured in place by a suitable adhesive such as an epoxy resin. As best seen in FIG. 6 the plug 12 has a slightly tapered inner end portion, the purpose of which is to facilitate insertion of the plug and to prevent the plug from pushing the epoxy ahead of it, the epoxy having been applied to the inner wall of the portion A. Plug 12 aids in deadening the sound upon impact of the hollow body with a ball.
After the plug 12 is in place, additional epoxy is applied to the inner wall of portion A and the handle member 13 inserted therein. Handle member 13 has the familiar knob 14 at its outer end and has a cylindrical portion 15 extending therefrom, the end of which is a reduced diam- 'eter portion 16 which fits snugly into the handle portion A in abutting relation to the previously inserted plug 12. The reduced diameter portion 16 is preferably slightly tapered at its inner end to better distribute the epoxy over the confronting surfaces of the handle member 16 and inner wall of portion C in the same manner as plug 12. The member 13 may be of any suitable material, but is preferably wood. 7
Into the large diameter end portion C there is inserted a mushroom-shaped rubberous plug 17 which has a snug fit in the end portion and is secured in place by epoxy in the manner aforedescribed. As seen in FIG. 4, the inner end of plug 17 is also slightly tapered as with plug 12 for the same purpose. The shoulder 18 of plug 17 abuts the outer end of the portion C to maintain the position of the plug. The outer cap portion of plug 18 is provided with a recess 19 which enables the plug to be engaged by a screw machine or the like and rapidly rotate as the plug is inserted into the portion C. Plug 18 may be weighted or its weight chosen so as to impart the desired balance and weight characteristics to the assembled bat. Plug 18 serves also as a sound deadening means and preferably is made of rubber, but other sound deadening materials could be used.
By the present invention there is thus provided a novel ball bat having a hollow metal body and a novel and economic process for making same.
While one embodiment of the invention has been described, it will be apparent to those skilled in the art that variations and modification in the construction and arrangement of parts and in the procedures described are possible within the scope and spirit of the invention.
1. A ball bat comprising,
(a) an elongated hollow metal body with a free end portion of one diameter tapering to a handle portion of reduced diameter, the reduced diameter portion having a wall thickness greater than the wall thickness of the free end portion, the body being of scamless construction and having a substantially uniform weight per unit of length, the body being open at one end thereof, and
(b) sound-deadening means disposed in the open end.
2. The ball bat as defined in claim 1 wherein the metal is aluminum.
3. The ball bat as defined in claim 1 wherein the sounddeadening means comprises a rubberous plug.
4. The ball bat as defined in claim 1 wherein both ends of the body are open and wherein sound-deadening means as disposed in both the free end portion and the handle portion.
5. The ball bat as defined in claim 4 wherein the sounddeadening means comprises rubberous plugs.
6. The ball bat as defined in claim 5 wherein the rubberous plug at the handle portion end of the body is disposed in spaced relation to the terminal end of the handle portion, and further comprising a handle member having a knobbed end portion, and a generally cylindrical portion etxending therefrom and into the space between the terminal end and the last named rubberous plug.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 364,680 6/1887 Sherwood 273-67 1,499,128 6/1924 Shroyer 273-72 1,611,858 12/1926 Middlekauff 273-72 ANTON O. OECHSLE, Primary Examiner T. BROWN, Assistant Examiner