US 3564758 A
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Feb. 23, 1971 A N. WILLIS 3 POLYGONAL BUILDING ELEMENTS WITH CONNECTORS THEREFOR FOR ASSEMBLING TOY STRUCTURES Filed Sept. 4, 1968 3 Sheets-Sheet l lu'l llllllllllwllllz,
INVENTOR fi/ fhur A MY/As b- 2 1971 1 A. N. WILLIS 3,564,758 POLYGONAL BUILDiNG ELEMENTS WITH CONNECTORS THEREFOR FOR ASSEMBLING TOY STRUCTURES Filed Sept. 4, 1968 3 Sheets-Sheet 2 INVENTOR flrfhur /V. Will/Ts ATTRNEYS Feb. 23, 1971 A. N. wu |s 3,564,758
PQLYGONAL BUILDING ELEMENTS WITH CONNECTORS THEREFOR FOR ASSEMBLING TOY STRUCTURES Filed Sept. 4, 1968 3 Sheets-Sheet 3 ATTONEY8 United States Patent G POLYGONAL BUILDING ELEMENTS WITH CON- NECTORS THEREFOR FOR ASSEMBLIN G TOY STRUCTURES Arthur N. Willis, 706 Plume St., Spartanburg, S.C. 29302 Filed Sept. 4, 1968, Ser. No. 757,281 Int. Cl. A63h 33/10 US. Cl. 4631 3 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE Flat disc elements in the form of regular polygons have radial notches at corners thereof to interfit and interlock for forming toy geometric structures of various shapes. Notches may have projections to engage in holes in interfitted discs. Webs with multiple arms are also provided for engaging corners of a plurality of polygonal elements to form polyhedrons.
The invention relates to the art of interlocking building elements for toy structures.
According to the invention there is provided a multiplicity of flexible, flat disc elements, each having a regular polygonal form such as triangle, square pentagon, hexagon, octagon, decagon, etc. All the elements have radii of equal length, and all can be fitted to a circle of given size. Stated another way, all of the elements are to be considered as inscribed in circles of equal radius. Each element has a notch or slit extending radially inward from each corner for interfitting each element with other elements. Each notch may be formed with inwardly extending opposing projections or teeth at its open end. These projections can engage in holes formed around the centers of the elements in alignment with the corner notches. In order to facilitate arranging a plurality of like regular polygonal elements to form polyhedrons, novel flexible web members are provided for engaging the notches of the polygonal elements.
For further comprehension of the invention, and of the objects and advantages thereof, reference will be had to the following description and accompanying drawings and to the appended claims in which the various novel features of the invention are more particularly set forth.
In the accompanying drawings forming a material part of this disclosure:
FIGS. 1-4 are plan views of polygonal disc elements according to the invention.
FIG. 5 is an enlarged cross sectional view taken on line 5-5 of FIG. 4.
FIG. 6 is an oblique plan view of another polygonal disc element.
FIG. 7 is an enlarged plan view partially diagrammatic in form, of a portion of the disc element of FIG. 2.
FIG. 8 is a plan view of an assembly of polygonal disc elements.
FIG. 9 is a plan view of a Web member useful for assembling polyhedrons.
FIG. 10 is an enlarged cross sectional view taken on line 10-10 of FIG. 9.
FIG. 11 is a further enlarged fragmentary sectional view taken on line '1111 of FIG. 10.
FIG. '12 is a further enlarged cross sectional view taken on line 1212 of FIG. 10.
FIG. 13 is a perspective view of a tetrahedron assembled with triangular building elements, according to the invention.
FIG. 14 is a top plan view of the polyhedron of FIG. 13.
FIG. 15 is a side view of a cube or rectangular polyhedron constructed of square building elements, according to the invention, and
FIG. 16 is an enlarged fragmentary sectional view taken on line 1'616 of FIG. 15.
Referring first to FIGS. 1-7, there are shown disc shaped toy building elements Bl-BS. Element B1 is triangular. It has three intersecting edges 25. Element B2 is square with four long edges 26. Element B3 is octagonal with eight sides or edges 28. Element B4 is hexagonal with six sides or edges 30. Element B5 is pentagonal with five sides or edges 32. Each corner of each element is blunt. The sharp corners 36 indicated by dotted lines in FIG. 1 are omitted or cut off when the elements are made.
Each element has a notch or slot 38 extending radially inward from the blunt corner 35. The lengths L of the notches are the same and each is slightly less than one half the corner radius R of the element; see FIG. 7. Radius R is also the radius of circumscribed circle 50. Projections or teeth 40 are formed at the open ends of the notches on opposing edges of the notches. The distance D from each tooth to the end 42. of each notch 38 is equal to distance D from notch end 42 to a hole 44 located near center C of the disc element. Holes 44 are circumferentially arranged around center C. The holes 44 are aligned radially with the radii of the notches 38.
Each disc element is formed of flexible sheet material. It can be plastic, metal, paper or other suitable material. Adjacent corner portions 36' at the notches of each element can be spread apart for insertion and engagement of another polygonal element into the notch. All the elements will interfit because all elements can be considered as inscribed in circles of equal radius, as indicated by dot and dash lines in FIGS. 14.
FIG. 8 shows how a multiplicity of polygonal elements can be interfitted to form a three dimensional multiple polygonal structure 55. As an example, there is octagonal element B3 on which two square elements B2 are engaged in coplanar alignment perpendicular to element B3. Also two pentagonal elements B5, two triangular elements B1, and two hexagonal elements B4 are perpendicular to element B3. In addition a hexagonal element B4 is engaged on one triangular element B1; a triangular element B1 is engaged on one pentagonal element B5; a square element B2 is engaged on one hexagonal element B4; and a triangular element B1" is engaged on one square element B2. It will be apparent that an infinite number of constructions and structures can be set up by using a multiplicity of polygonal elements of various shapes.
The elements can be attractively colored. Each element can be of one color or of several colors. The element can have patterns or designs upon them of one or several colors.
When the elements are interfitted as shown in FIG. 8, the sides of each notch 38 engage frictionally on the imperforate portions 39 of the elements between notch ends 42 and the holes 44. In addition, the projections or teeth 40 engage in the holes 44. The set up structure will thus be stable. The interfitted and interlocked elements will not fall apart, and will stay together until the entire structure is disassembled.
FIG. 9 shows a web member which is used in setting up polyhedrons. The web member has a multiplicity of radial arms 62. Each arm has two spaced, flat tapered flanges 64, 66 integrally formed with a central web 68. Each arm is joined by a flexible, pliable neck 70 to web 68. A central flange 74 integrally joins the flanges 64, 66. This flange is spaced inwardly from the open, free ends of the arms. A discontinuity or hole 78 is formed in each flange 74 near the inner end of the arm. At the outer ends of flanges 64, 66 are formed inner opposing projections or teeth 40.
Polygonal elements Bl-BS and others can be engaged with the arms of the web member which will serve as coupling means for joining a plurality of flat polygonal elements. Any one or more arms 62 can be removed by tearing or cutting at a neck 70. Only three arms are required for each web member used in assembling a polyhedron from regular polygonal elements. Thus as shown in FIGS. 13 and 14, a tetrahedron 80 has four Web members 60". Each web member has three arms 62 engaged with and coupling three triangular elements B1. The tetrahedron has four triangular elements, so four web members are employed. The triangular base element of the tetrahedron is not visibly shown in the drawing.
FIGS. 15 and 16 show a polyhedron 85 made with square polygonal elements B2. Six such elements are required to form a cube. Eight web elements 60" each with three arms 62 are required to attach six elements together. As clearly shown in FIG. 16, the webs 68 are located at corners of the polyhedron. The flange 74 of each arm 62 is frictionally engaged by side edges of a notch 38 of polygonal element. The projections or teeth 40 engage in hole 78 of flange 74. Inner sides of flanges 64, 66 engage frictionally with the imperforate radial portion 39 of the element and projections 40 of the flanges 64, 66 engage in hole 44 of the disc shaped building element. The arms 62 are bent angularly at web 68. In cube 85 the arms 62 are bent 90 to each other. In the triangular polyhedron 80 arms '62 are bent 60 to each other.
It will be apparent that all of the other regular polygonal shapes shown in the drawings, and others not shown can be arranged to form polyhedrons.
The building elements described can serve as a very educational and entertaining toy and game. The disc elements can be made up in any desired size. They can be die-cut or stamped from sheet stock; they can be molded by mass production plastic molding machinery; or they can be made in other ways well known in disc manufacturing arts. The building elements can be made at low cost in durable attractive forms.
It should be strongly noted that while the teeth 40 and holes 44 are generally desirable, they are optional for most applications. This is particularly true where it is not desired that the web be used or that polyhedrons be formed.
While I have illustrated and described the preferred embodiments of my invention, it is to be understood that I do not limit myself to the precise constructions herein disclosed and that various changes and modifications may be made within the scope of the invention as defined in the appended claims.
What is claimed is:
1. Toy building structures, comprising a plurality of flat flexible disc elements, each of said elements having substantially the form of a regular, equilateral polygon with a notch extending radially inward from each corner of the polygonal element a distance less than half of the length of each corner radius of the element, so that all elements can be interfitted and interlocked by mutually engaging each said element with at least one other of said elements at their notched corners with edges of each engaged notch receiving said other element and frictionally gripping the opposite sides of said other element along the corner radius thereof; and coupling means cooperable with said notches including web members for detachably joining a plurality of said disc element in corner-to-corner coplanar relationship to thereby form a structure foldable to form a regular polyhedron having said joined disc elements as its sides, said web members having radial arms with flanges for engaging in corner notches of adjacent disc elements.
2. Toy building structures as defined in claim 1, wherein notches at the corners of all the disc elements are of equal length.
3. Toy building structures as defined in claim 1, wherein each disc element has a plurality of centrally located circumferentially spaced holes aligned with the respective notches, and wherein each notch is formed with opposing teeth at its outer end for engaging in one of the holes of an engaged disc element.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,446,120 7/1948 Wiswesser 4630X 2,633,662 4/1953 Nelson 4625 3,120,078 2/1964 Bessinger 4631 3,412,519 11/1968 Brettingen 4626X FOREIGN PATENTS 266,913 2/1950 Switzerland 4625 F. BARRY SHAY, Primary Examiner US. Cl. X.R.