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Publication numberUS3587672 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJun 28, 1971
Filing dateJul 15, 1969
Priority dateJul 15, 1969
Publication numberUS 3587672 A, US 3587672A, US-A-3587672, US3587672 A, US3587672A
InventorsMeinch William G
Original AssigneeMeinch William G
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Automatic tube loader
US 3587672 A
Abstract  available in
Previous page
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent William G. Meinch l9 E. Loines Ave. Merrick. N.Y. 11566 [21] Appl. No. 841,838 [22] Filed July 15,1969

[45] Patented June 28, 197i [721 inventor [54] AUTOMATIC TUBE LOADER 7 Claims, 11 Drawing Figs.

281, 67, 74; 53/78 (inquired); 222/292, 296, 298, 30], (inquired); 221/201, 203. 265, 296, 298, 30] (inquired); 2l4/(inquired) Primary ExaminerHouston S. Bell, .irv AlromeyStoll and Stoil ABSTRACT: A machine for loading a tube with a predetermined charge of BBs or the like, incorporating a pressure source, a pressurized storage tank, and pressurized conduit leading from the tank to a loading position. Two valves are located on the conduit a measured distance apart and work jointly but oppositely such that when one is open the other is closed and vice versa. A first valve is located at the charging station and when opened the measured lengthof conduit empties its contents into a tube, while the second valve is closed, preventing additional BBs from entering the measured length 56 R f ed of conduit. After a timed interval the first valve is closed and I I e "wees It the second valve is opened to introduce a new quantity of BBs UNITED STATES PATENTS into the measured conduit. Rotation of the tube actuates the l,502,053 7/1924 Nordstrom 22 l/203X valve.

Vj/ I I fill [III/l ll'l II I l l l I ll II'll 111 1 a1 e i] 22 v1 I 90 H1, 5

\ r fi 73 so 2 il -11. I m u W72 3 I [1 7/ a R Z ,0 I j I w V g f as 30 r o c 87 u :1 I 0 00% 2 l I6 89 I /I I l PATENTED JUN28 19m sum 3 OF 5 qr z y 24 INVENTOR. WILLIAM. G. MEI/VCR :4 AM Mimi A TTORNE Y5 PATENTEU M2819?! SHEET 5 BF 5 INVENTQR. WILLIAM G. IV

b ZM? /,Arf

A TTORNE Y5 AUTOMATIC TUBE LOADER BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 1. Field of the Invention I SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION A tube placed in a slot provided for the purpose trips a timer and motor which drives a cam. The cam rotates the tube about an axis perpendicular to the tube to a charging station which is the end of a measured conduit. The end is blocked by a valve which is opened by rotation of the tube to charge the tube with a predetermined number of particles which may be BB'sfball bearings or other normally hard-to-handle material. When the measured length of conduit has emptied itself into the tube, the first valve is closed by the cam rotating the tube back to its starting position, and a lifting bar actuated by a crank lifts the filled tube from its holder and presents it for use.

The measured length of conduit connects with a storage tank for a great quantity of BBs, which in turn is charged by a pressure source. A second valve mechanically connected to the first valve, located at the other end of the measured conduit opposite the first valve, closes when the first valve is open, to prevent additional BBs from entering the measured conduit until the first valve is closed. The diameter of the conduit is only slightly larger than the diameter of the 88's, to provide a single-file formation.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a cabinet enclosing the present invention, showing a pressure bottle and entrance sleeve for the tube.

FIG. 2 is a View of the left side of the invention as shown in FIG. I, with the cabinet wall removed. The direction'ofview' The view is taken substantially across line 4-4 of FIG. .2.

Shown in phantom is movement of the lifting arm and a tube rotation.

FIG. 5 is a view similar to that of FIG. 4 but showing additional movement of the lifting arm and of the cam. Operation of a counting mechanism is also shown.

FIG. 6 is an enlarged fragmentary view of the measured conduit of the present invention, together with the actuating valves and associated mechanisms. The position shown is the charging position in which the first valve to the left inthe view is open, permitting release of the contents of the conduit into the tube, while the second valve is closed, preventing additional material from entering the measured conduit.

FIG. 7 is a view similar to that of FIG. 6, but showing the first valve closed and the second valve open to permit refilling of the measured conduit from the storage vessel.

FIG. 8 is an enlarged fragmentary view of the upper portion of the mechanism as seen in FIG. 2, but with the tube and tube slot mechanism removed to show the valve linkage.

FIG. 9 is a cross section view taken across line 9-9 of FIG.

8, showing primarily the bottom interior of the storage vessel.v

DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS OF THE INVENTION A tube 10 is part of a tube-loaded rifle or BB gun in which a predetermined number of bullets, 88's or the like are placed in the tube and the tube mounted .on the rifle for feeding to the chamber thereof. Necessary to the proper functioning of the rifle is a precise loading of the tube such that the bullets or 88's therein, are introduced smoothly without feeding problems and'do not overfill the tube, which would jam or otherwise cause rifle malfunction.

On the other hand, and in particular connection with amusement park shooting gallery rifles, it is desirable to fill the tube to its maximum and not to underfill, which would result in short-changing customers of the gallery. In connection with tube 10 shown in the drawing, it is essential that the BBs not fill beyond the lowermost portion of forked top 12, or the BB gun into which tube 10 is loaded will not function. For proper control of the number of shots per tube, it is desirable to fill the tube with a predetermined number of BBs-for example, I00. The Automatic tube loader 14 of the present invention provides automatic loading of tube 10 to a predetermined number of 88's and'then automatic ejection of the loaded tube 10 for retrieval and use. I I

Automatic tube loader 14 comprises a storage tank 16 which is connected to a source of pressure 18, a bottom discharge '20 in the tank 16 for discharging the contents thereof through a connecting channel 22 to a measured conduit 24 having a measured predetermined length equivalent in length to the length of the predetermined numberof BBs to be loaded into tube 10. The length of measured conduit 24 is defined between a first valve 30 located at the discharge end of measured conduit 24 and a second valve 32 located at the entrance to measured conduit 24 which adjoins channel 22.

First valve 30 and second valve 32 are stops across ineasured conduit 24 to prevent the flow of BBs thereacross and may be slide valves as shown having a retractable tongue which fits across measured conduit 24 to close the same or retracts to open the same to the flow of BBs.

An entrance cone 40 leads to a channel 42 to receive tube 10 in the tube loader. Channel 42 is pivoted near its bottom at pivot 44, which is perpendicular to the longitudinal dimension of channel 42 and which may be substantially horizontal. A follower arm 46 is attached to channel 42 below pivot 44. The end of follower arm 46 opposite channel 42 is a cam follower 48 which engages against cam 50 of the motor drive section. The motor drive section comprises, in addition to cam 50 and cam follower 48, a motor 52 and a switch 54 which is tripped by cam 50. Motor 52 rotates cam 50 and a crank 56 to which is attached a crank arm 58, lever 60 and channel slide 62 within channel 42. Crank arm 58 is connected to lever 60 'between the pivot 64 of the lever and its free end to which lever 60 is connected to slide 62 by a connecting link 61. Motor 52 drives crank 56'and cam 50 by separate although coaxial drive shafts (see FIG. II) at different rotational speeds.

First valve 30 is connected for sliding movement to first arm 70 and plate 71 which rotates at pivot 72. Also connected to plate 71 is second arm 73, which is connected to second valve 32 to guide sliding motion of the latter. When first valve 30 is opened, by sliding to the right as seen in FIGS. 4 through 7, plate 71 is rotated counterclockwise about its pivot 72, thereby pulling second arm 73 downwardly and sliding second valve 32 to its closed position. When first valve 30 is closed, as by sliding to the left as seen in the mentioned FIGS., plate 71 rotates clockwise, pushing arm 73 upwardly an withdrawing second valve 32 from measured conduit 24. It will thus be seen that first and second valves 30 and 32, respectively, are connected for oppositely sliding motion.

The basic structure of the automatic tube loader of the present invention has now been described, and a description of its operation follows: Tube 10 is inserted into entrance cone- 40, which aligns the tube to channel 42. When the tube is fully inserted in the channel, a switch is turned on and motor 52 begins the rotation of cam 50. Cam 50, it will be seen, imparts substantially longitudinal movement to follower arm 46, this motion being to the left as seen in FIGS. 35. Channel 42, together with tube which protrudes from the top thereof, rotates clockwise about pivot 44, as seen in those FIGS. to the discharge end of measured conduit 24. This rotation may clearly be seen in FIG. 4, wherein the starting position is indicated in phantom view and the clockwise rotated position is indicated in full view.

The top of tube 10 engages first valve 30, and the clockwise rotation of tube 10 pushes first valve 30 away from the discharge end of measured conduit 24 to open the conduit and permit immediate filling of tube 10. As has heretofore been indicated, a movement of first valve 30 to its open position correspondingly closes second valve 32, and only the predetermined number of 88's in measured conduit 24 enters tube 10.

The position indicated, which is shown in FIG. 6, is maintained for a time sufficient to permit full loading of tube 10. This time is occupied by rotation of cam 50 without move ment of follower arm 46. As the cam continues to rotate beyond its arcuate position, follower arm 46 is presented with a depression in the cam which permits return of the follower arm to the right, as seen in FIGS. 3-5, and a corresponding counterclockwise rotation of channel 42 with tube 10. This return to the original position is accomplished by spring action in any convenient manner. Spring 80 acting to draw plate 71 into clockwise rotation, spring 81 acting to open second valve 32, and spring 82 urging channel 42 into counterclockwise rotation are suitable examples. Under the spring action and with the return of tube 10 to its original position beneath entrance cone 40, first valve 30 closes and second valve 32 opens. The crank 56 is now rotated to lift arm 58, lever 60 connecting link 61 and slide 62, whereby tube 10 is raised by slide 62 out through entrance cone 40 for manual retrieval, as may be seen in FIG, 5. Crank 56 continues to rotate until it is back at its lowermost position, at which time cam 50 actuates switch 54 to turn the unit off.

To conserve pressure, a valve 85 located between pressure source 18 and storage tank 16 permits pressurization of the tank only when the device is in use, that is, between the time the unit is turned on, as by manual switch 86 at the beginning of a cycle, and the end of the cycle when switch 54 turns the unit off.

An agitator 87 located in the bottom of storage tank 16 prevents jamming of the BBs at the entrance point to channel 22 and may comprise a rotor having a hood 88 covering a polygon 89, which is essentially a disc having a series of short straight cuts forming its circumference. Each cut tends to engage a single BB for smooth feeding into channel 22. Agitator 87 is motor driven during the working cycle of the unit.

An automatic counting mechanism is provided to indicate the number of cycles through which the unit has run and to indicate for .control purposes the number of tubes 10 which have been loaded. A simple digital unit counter 90 is connected to plate 71 by appropriate toggle links to advance the counter one unit each time plate 71 rotates counterclockwise with opening offirst valve 30.

The foregoing is illustrative of preferred embodiments of the invention and their operation, and appropriate modifications may be provided. For example, storage tank 16 may be provided with an opening of sufficient size to permit ease of loading of 25 or 50 pounds of 88's quickly, yet allowing hermetic sealing with a convenient cap 92 to prohibit the escape of pressure during the operating cycle. Storage tank 16 may also be provided with convenient emptying means such as a drain plug 94.


1. An automatic tube loader for loading a tube with a predetermined number of pellets, comprising:

a. a channel for receiving the tube to be loaded; b. a conduit of measured length in accordance with the number of pellets to be loaded, said conduit connecting between a source of supply of said pellets and a discharge station;

c. valve means for opening said measured conduit at the discharge station for loading said tube and correspondingly closing the opposite end of said measured conduit to prevent inflow of additional pellets;

i. said valve means comprising a first slide valve and a second slide valve connected thereto for opposite function;

ii. said first slide valve being located at said discharge station of said measured conduit;

iii. said second slide valve being located at the opposite end of said measured conduit; and

iv. said first slide valve being connected to said second slide valve by means of a first arm connected to said first slide valve, a second arm connected to said second slide valve, and a plate rotatably connected to said first arm and said second arm for opposite movement of said slide valves; and

d. means to actuate said first and second slide valves, said means comprising a driven cam having a cam follower connected to said channel to move said channel and the tube therein into actuating engagement with said first slide valve and correspondingly close said second slide valve.

2. An automatic tube loader in accordance with claim 1,


said channel is pivoted for movement about an axis perpendicular to the channel to rotatably move the channel and tube in accordance with said cam.

3. An automatic tube loader in accordance with claim 2, ad-

ditionally comprising:

a motor-driven crank, a crank arm, a lever arm, a lever and a slide, said slide being within said channel for lifting said tube upon rotation of said crank.

4. An automatic tube loader in accordance with claim 3, ad-

ditionally comprising:

a pressure source. for pressurizing said pellet source of supply and measured conduit for forced movement of pellets therewithin, including connecting means between said pressure source and said pellet source of supply and conduit means connecting between said pellet source of supply and said measured conduit.

5. An automatic tube loader in accordance with claim 3,


electric circuit means are provided for controlled driving of said motor.

6. An automatic tube loader in accordance with claim 4,


said source of supply of said pellets comprises a storage tank having agitator means located adjacent the connection to said conduit.

7. An automatic tube loader in accordance with claim 6,


said agitator comprises a rotor having a hood covering a disc which has a series of cuts formed in the circumferential surface thereof.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US5429160 *Apr 21, 1994Jul 4, 1995Preh Industrieausruestungen GmbhFilling apparatus for cylindrical containers
US7376978Sep 17, 2004May 27, 2008Travel Caddy, Inc.Knee pad construction
U.S. Classification141/67, 221/203, 53/505, 141/74, 53/508, 141/281, 221/296
International ClassificationF41A9/00, F41A9/83
Cooperative ClassificationF41A9/83
European ClassificationF41A9/83