US 3503356 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Mafch 31, 1970 E. L. WlLSON 3,503,356
UNDERWATER PROPULSION DEVICE Filed July 26. 1968 INVENTOR /4 E age/v5 L. WILSON 43 firro /vay United States Patent Int. Cl. B63g 8/00 U.S. Cl. 114-16 9 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE This invention relates to improvements in underwater propulsion devices. The embodiment selected for illustration in the drawing comprises an elongate fluid conduit the opposite ends of which are provided with fluid nozzles arranged to direct two parallel streams of fluid in a common plane. Provision is made for introducing pressurized propulsion fluid to the conduit intermediate the nozzles. The conduit and nozzles are housed in an elongate body the ends of which form cowls about the nozzles. The cowls are formed on an axis substantially coincident with the nozzle axes. Midway between the cowls the housing has a central section which houses the pressurized fluid inlet and an inlet fluid control valve. Between the central housing and the cowls the body of the device is generally wingshaped, being wider in' said common plane than it is thick. At its lower surface the submarine housing is provided with a pair of handles by which the unit may be steered in the vertical plane while in operation.
Tris invention relates to underwater propulsion apparatus and it relates particularly to a submarine device for pulling a swimmer through the water.
An object of the invention is to provide a device using pressurized fluid for motive power with which a swimmer may conveniently and efficiently be propelled through the Water.
Another object of the invention is to produce a submarine propulsion device which may be produced at a cost, and in a form, making it useful even in small, home type, artificial swimming pools. In this connection it is an object of the invention to provide a submarine device employing pressurized water as its propulsion medium and to which pressurized tap water may be supplied by an ordinary garden hose.
When accompanied by apparatus capable of providing an output stream of pressurized fluid, the submarine device of the invention is sufficiently eflicient and is capable of production in a sufficiently rugged, reliable form so that it is suitable for use by underwater swimmers and workers in larger bodies of water. Nonetheless, one of the primary objectives of the invention is to provide a device which is sufficiently safe and sufliciently low cost so that it can be considered a pool toy suitable for use by the smallest child.
These and other objects and advantages of the invention which will hereinafter appear are realized, in part, by the provision of means comprising a fluid conduit having spaced fluid outlet elements for directing a pair of fluid streams in a common plane along laterally spaced paths, by means for introducing pressurized fluid to the conduit between its outlets, and by the provision of a steering means for simultaneously altering the direction of the fluid streams which comprises a means for rotating the fluid outlet elements about a line which is parallel to a line connecting the elements and lying substantially in said common plane. In the drawings:
FIGURE 1 is an isometric view of the top and front of an underwater propulsion device embodying the invention;
FIGURE 2 is a top plan view of the apparatus depicted in FIGURE 1 in which the fluid conduit, one nozzle, the handle mechanisms, and part of the pressurized fluid inlet valve actuating mechanism are shown in dashed lines an in which a portion of the upper wall of the body of the device has been broken away at the center and at the right cowl to expose to view portions of the conduit and valve mechanism and of a propulsion nozzle;
FIGURE 3 is a view in rear elevation, the view seen by a swimmer using the device, of the apparatus depicted in FIGURE 1;
FIGURE 4 is a side view of the apparatus of FIGURE 1 as seen from the right in FIGURE 1;
FIGURE 5 is a sectional view, taken through the right handle grip showing a portion of the operating valve actuating mechanism, taken on line 5-5 of FIGURE 3; and
FIGURE 6 is a cross-sectional view taken through the inlet valve mechanism on line 66 of FIGURE 2.
Referring to FIGURE 1 of the drawing, the submarine device there shown is generally designated 10. The body of the device is an elongate structure terminating in its ends in a pair of water scoops or cowls which form a flow path for the water in which the device is immersed as it is propelled forwardly through the water. While the device may be made in various sizes, a representative size, and the size of the apparatus depicted in FIGURE 1, is one in which the cowls are separated by a distance of about three feet and in which each cowl is approximately six inches in length and four inches in diameter. In addition to housing the working parts of the apparatus, the body or housing portion functions as a stabilizer helping to keep the apparatus properly oriented while in use. Advantageously, the body is formed so that those of its dimensions which lie parallel to the axis of Water movement through the cowls are relatively longer than those dimensions of the body which are perpendicular to that axis and parallel to the plane which bisects the unit midway between its cowls. Thus, the unit is streamlined being formed generally as a pair of planing wings extending sidewardly from a central area which houses an inlet control valve. In the preferred form illustrated in the drawing, the housing or body comprises tWo sections each of which is symmetrical about a center line and which is identical to the other in shape so that both sections may be made from a single mold. In FIGURE 1 the upper section is designated by the numeral 12 and the lower section is designated by the numeral 14. Advantageously,.they are formed of plastic material. The two halves are held together by any suitable means such for example as by epoxy resin by which the marginal flanges of the two sections are cemented together, and by a split, round plastic molding which is assembled over the edge flanges of the upper and lower sections. One section 16 of this molding extends along the front of the unit and another section 18 extends along the rear edge of the unit. In addition a short length of molding 20 is assembled over the flanges of the cowl 22 at the right in FIGURE 1 and another section 24 is assembled over the flanges of the cowl 26 at the left of the unit in FIGURE 1.
At the central portion of the body the height of the upper and lower sections is increased gradually to a maximum height at the central plane of the unit looking forward. This is best shown in FIGURE 3. This central section is shown in the top plan view of FIGURE 2 to be generally shield-shaped with the point of the shield extending forwardly. Between this central shield section and the cowls the wing portions of the body are generally of uniform height or thickness as shown in FIG- URE 3 and they taper from a relatively wide section at the central shield portion of the housing to a narrower width at the cowl. The forward edge of the wing portions is tapered more than is the rearward edge. This thin 3 broad construction lends stability to the unit in the vertical plane. The fact that the wing sections are thin and terminate in the cowls 22 and 26, which abruptly assume a greater height, adds to the lateral stability of the unit in that this shape serves to offer impedance to lateral translation of the device when immersed.
There is included in the invention a means, comprising a fluid conduit having spaced fluid outlet elements, for directing a pair of fluid streams in a common plane along laterally spaced paths. Means are also included for introducing pressurized fluid to the conduit between the outlet elements. This structure of the invention provides the propulsive force for operating the submarine device. The fluid streams react with the water in which the apparatus is immersed to propel it in the direction opposite that in which the streams are expelled. The whole device is propelled forwardly along with its operator because the fluid conduits and outlet elements are secured to the body of the device. It is not essential that the fluid streams be directed in parallel paths. It is enough if they are approximately parallel. They should, however, be arranged in a common plane which advantageously is the common plane or the midplane in the vertical direction through the submarine unit. In the preferred form of the invention the outlet elements comprise a pair of nozzles disposed in that common plane and arranged to disspell fluid in parallel paths substantially perpendicular to a line drawn between the nozzles. In the embodiment selected for illustration, a fluid conduit extends the length of the submarine unit from one cowl to the other at the interior of the unit where it is sandwiched between the upper section 12 and the lower section 14 of the body. The conduit is divided into two lengths which are interconnected at the center of the device by a T-connection 30. The left hand conduit 32 is connected to an elbow 34 which turns rearwardly and is connected to the nozzle 36. This nozzle is disposed within the cowl 22 so that its axis and the axis of the stream which it emits are substantially coincident with the axis through the cowl 22. At the right in FIGURE 3 can be seen the right end of the conduit 38 which connects to the central T-section 30 and which is connected at the right to an elbow 40'. The elbow turns rearwardly in the cowl 26 and is connected to a nozzle 42 the axis of which, and of the stream which it emits, is substantially, coincident with the axis of the right cowl 26. The stem 43 of the pipe T 30 extends downwardly into abutment with the inner surface of the lower section 14 of the body so that it surrounds a peforation in the wall of section 14. A bushing 44, the upper end of which has diameter to fit within the perforation in the wall of section 14 and into the interior of the stem 43 of T-section 30 is assembled with its upper end inserted into the lower end of the stem. The lower portion of bushing 44 has enlarged diameter and in assembled position abuts against the outer face of the lower section 14 and clamps the margins of its perforation against the lower end of stem 43. At its extreme lower end 46 the bushing is threaded to receive the coupling 48 of a conduit or hose by which pressurized fluid is delivered to the submarine unit through the T-section 30 and the inlet valve which it contains.
The valve is best shown in FIGURE 6. The cross-bar portion of the T-section 30 is provided with an opening whose axis is coincident with that of the stem 43. The valve structure is inserted in that opening until it seats against the shoulder 50 formed on the inner wall of the stem 43. The valve structure comprises a generally cylindrical member 52 which is provided with internal threads at each end. A valve seat 54 is threaded into the lower end of the sleeve 52. The valve head comprises a disk the outer margins of which are provided with threads which mate with those of the lower end of the sleeve 52. The valve seat is provided with a central bore whose edges are chamferred at the lower face of the valve seat to provided an annular seating surface for the valve head 56. The valve head is carried on a stem 58 which extends along the entire length of sleeve 52 on its axis and emerges from its upper end. A stem guide or bushing 60, having the form of a disk whose outer margins are threaded to mate with the threads at the inner upper end of the sleeve 52, is disposed at the upper end of the sleeve and has a central opening through which the valve stem 58 extends and is guided. The valve assembly is sealed in the T unit 30 by a covering member 62 in the form of a circular disk which is curved about one diameter so that it fits snugly over the outer surface of the T-section 30. The valve stem 58 extends through a central opening in this 7 cover member 62 when the latter is assembled down and secured by any convenient means, as by an epoxy adhesive, to the outer upper surface of the T-section 30.
The cover member .62 is provided with an upstanding lug 64 upon which a valve actuator 66 is mounted by a pivot pin 68. The valve stem is provided with an enlarge: ment 70 at its upper end which is engaged by the valve actuator 66 when the latter is rotated about it pivot pin 68. A spring 72, trapped between the enlargement 70 of the valve stem and the cover plate 62, biases the valve stem upwardly so that the valve head 56 is forced tightly against the valve seat 54..When the actuator 66 is rotated clockwise, in FIGURE 6, by its operating wire 74 it presses downwardly upon the enlarged end 70 of the valve stem so that the head 56 is pushed away from the seat 54 permitting flow into the conduits of pressurized fluid from the source. The actuating wire 74 is slidable longitudinally within a sleeve 76 which is secured to conduit 38 by a bracket 78 at a point adjacent the T-section 30. I
The other end of the actuating wire 74 and its sleeve 76 extend to the trigger actuating assembly best shown in FIGURE 5. Means are provided in the invention for manually steering the submarine device by simultaneously altering the direction of the streams of fluid that are emitted by the outlet elements or nozzles. This means comprises a means for rotating the outlet elements about a line parallel to the line interconnecting them and lying substantially in said common plane of nozzle action. In the embodiment illustrated in the drawing, this means comprises a pair of handles mounted upon the lower surface 14 of the submarine body. They are symmetrically arranged along the length of the body with substantial spacing between them. In the embodiment shown the handles are mounted approximately midway between the vertical mid-plane of the unit and the nozzles. Also, the handles are placed, in the direction of the width of the unit, on a line that extends substantially midway between the forward and rear surfaces of the two cowls. The handles extend downward so that the user may rotate the device in the vertical plane by a simple wrist action. The handles are designated by the reference numerals 80 and 82 in the drawings. Advantageously, as shown, they have the form of pistol grips. Handle 82 differs from handle 80 in that it is provided with a trigger mechanism at the index finger position. This mechanism comprises a trigger 84 which is spring biased by a spring 86 to a forward position and is reciprocably movable in a slot formed in the handle 82 in which it is held by a track 88. The handle is secured by any convenient means, such as the nut and bolt set shown, to the undersurface of the unit. An arm 90 extending upwardly from the trigger 84 extends through an opening in the lower surface of the body. The actuating slide wire 74 is hooked to this arm 90 and the sleeve 76 of the slide wire is secured to the body section 14 whereby the slide wire 74 is made to slide within the sleeve 76 when the trigger mechanism 84 is squeezed rearwardly into the handle 82. This motion pulls the side wire so that in FIGURE 6 the valve actuator 66 is depressed to open the inlet valve 56.
In the preferred form of the invention the cowls 22 and 26 are formed so that the opening through them tapers to a smaller diameter at the rearward side. The degree of taper is made relatively small lest the cowl offer excessive resistance to forward motion of the device. However, the slight tapering results in an increase in the velocity of the water as it passes through the cowls. The flow of water through the cowl is approximately laminar but the flow becomes somewhat turbulent as the water exits from the cowls. The pressurized fluid emitted from the nozzles is directed against this turbulent fluid which aids in maximizing the forward thrust of the unit. :In the preferred form of the invention the nozzles open at a point just forward of the rear opening of the cowls.
In operation of the unit, pressurized fluid is introduced in to the bushing 44, when the trigger 84 is squeezed the inlet valve is opened and pressurized fluid enters the conduits 32 and 38. This fluid is expelled in a high velocity stream from the nozzles 36 and 42 resulting in a thrust which propels the unit forwardly carrying with it the user who grasps the unit by the handles 80 and 82 so that the submarine device is positioned ahead of him. Provision of the cowls 22 and 26 confines the flow of water to a path substantially parallel to that of the nozzle streams and helps to maximize forward thrust. In addition the cowls tend to oppose sidewise translation of the unit and they tend to oppose rotation of the unit about a vertical axis. The cowls do not present a material opposition to rotation of the device about the horizontal axis. Thus, the user of the device can control his depth very easily by simply manipulating the device at the handles by wrist action. To turn in a horizontal plane the user need only pull one handle toward him and thrust the other away. The device will continue to turn in the horizontal plane until the force on the handles is relaxed.
Although I have shown and described certain specific embodiments of my invention, I am fully aware that many modifications thereof are possible. My invention, therefore, is not to be restricted except insofar as is necessitated by the prior art.
I claim: 1. A manually controlled, underwater propulsion device comprising in combination:
means including a fluid conduit having spaced fluid outlet elements for directing a pair of fluid streams in a common plane along laterally spaced paths;
inlet means for receiving remotely pressurized propellent fluid and introducing it to said conduit between said outlet elements;
manually operable steering means for simultaneously altering the direction of said fluid streams comprising means for rotating said outlet elements about a line parallel to the line connecting them and lying substantially in said common plane; and
a body including a central portion and planing wings extending oppositely therefrom, said inlet means being housed in said central portion and said outlet elements being disposed one in each of said planing wings.
2. The invention defined in claim 1, including means for confining the flow of water in which said propulsion device is immersed, and on which fluid streams from said fluid outlet elements may react, to a flow substantially parallel to said flow streams.
3. The invention defined in claim 1, including manually operable means for varying in selected degree the quantity of pressurized fluid delivered to said outlet elements.
4. The invention defined in claim 1, in which said outlet elements comprise a pair of nozzles disposed to disspell pressurized fluid in parallel paths substantially perpendicular to said line connecting them.
5. The invention defined in claim 4, including means for confining the flow of water in which said propulsion device is immersed and on which said fluid streams may react, substantially to flow parallel to and surrounding said fluid streams including a pair of cowls formed in said planing wings and each surrounding a respectively associated one of said nozzles and defining a flow path having an axis substantially coincident with the line of action of its respectively associated nozzle.
6. A manually controlled, underwater propulsion device comprising in combination:
means including a fluid conduit having spaced fluid outlet elements for directing a pair of fluid streams in a common plane along laterally spaced paths;
means for introducing pressurized propellent fluid to said conduit between said outlet elements;
manually operable steering means for simultaneously altering the direction of said fluid streams comprising means for rotating said outlet elements about a line parallel to the line connecting them and lying substantially in said common plane;
said outlet elements comprising a pair of nozzles disposed to dispel pressurized fluid in parallel paths substantially perpendicular to said line connecting them; and
means for confining the flow of water in which said propulsion device is immersed and on which said fluid streams may react, substantially to flow parallel to and surrounding said fluid streams including a pair of cowls each surrounding a respectively associated one of said nozzles and defining a flow path having an access substantially coincident with the line of action of its respectively associated nozzle;
said manually operable steering means comprising a pair of spaced handles extending downwardly from the body of said device, each handle being disposed between the midpoint between the nozzles and a respectively associated one of said nozzles.
7. The invention defined in claim 6, including manually operable fluid stream control means for varying the quantity of pressurized fluid permitted to reach said nozzles.
8. The invention defined in claim 7, in which said manually operable fluid stream control means comprises a valve interposed between said means for introducing pressurized fluid to said conduit and said nozzles and being normally biased to restrict the flow of pressurized fluid to said nozzles.
9. The invention defined in claim 8, including means operable at one of said handles for opposing said bias whereby to permit the flow of pressurized fluid to said nozzles.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,375,601 4/1921 Morize --l1 X 3,122,121 2/1964 Krauth 115 l2 3,329,118 7/1967 Strader 114-16 TRYGVE M. BLIX, Primary Examiner US. Cl. X.R.