US 3614102 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent  Inven or Joseph Nikodell, r- Primary Examiner-Anton O. Oechsle Miami, Fla. Assistant Examiner-Marvin Siskind Attorney-HilL Sherman, Meroni, Gross & Simpson ABSTRACT: A target carrier system including a target carrier which is mounted for longitudinal movement along a track and which has means for manipulating the target. The target m m. r o C w m 91) MWHM 110M ,,B 749 m 321m" 4| n....m 40 c 8JODS a de N. mmn p as AFPA 11]] 253 224 7 [[[l carrier includes a target turner motor which is moved with the target along the carrier track by means of a cable drive system. des a housing which supports a The cable drive system inclu cable spool on a threaded shaft. The shaft is fixedly positioned within the housing, and means are provided to rotate the cable spool, thereby allowing the spool to translate along the YSTEMv threaded shaft. The threaded shaft is positioned generally perthat the cable spool is  AUTOMATIC TARGET CONTROL S 10 Claims, 3 D a i Fi pendicularly of the carrier track s translated in such a manner as to allow a cable to unwind from c zr e mmm u m r mommwhcw t d e C t v ek emm W Sl 66 8 fl flec n e n a b c m mm O h de hmet n h O mmoeTnb rl .l y nfi c heo mha mmp .'h0 e Pdmw nson r e o ld 0em na Om u .l D. da od m nU cn wwamm e t Ofad n po n m hm & a |m acbm so- I eefl hu eI o v mm .w mm e c m m bl a t muaa cm s ms 54/ 053 2 6 4 l /2 3 3 v N A M m mm C m m m m m mm M m mm R u m L C 10 cm 5 mm U IF 1 11] l 2 0 6 5 5 l. [l l.
UNITED STATES PATENTS for the target carrier and also as the power line to the target 2/1952 Keller...... tion lining ding move- 2 .6 turner motor. The carrier track also has an insula which acts to insulate and guide the cable in its sli ment along the track.
mm Hm 88 HH 24 66 99 ll 74 26 9 400 42 011 33 AUTOMATIC TARGET CONTROL SYSTEM BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION Field of the Invention The field of art to which this invention pertains is target carrier systems and in particular to target carrier systems for shooting ranges in which a target carrier is moved along a track and is pivoted or otherwise manipulated during its movement by an electrical control mechanism which is mounted to a housing associated with the target carrier.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION It is an important feature of the present invention to provide an improved target carrier system for a shooting range.
It is another feature of the present invention to provide a target carrier system which has a minimum number of moving parts, which is economical to construct and which has low maintenance requirements.
It is an important object of the present invention to provide a target carrier system having a target carrier which is movable along a rack or rail and which is driven therealong by a cable which is also the means for supplying electrical power to the target carrier.
It is another object of the present invention to provide a target carrier system having a target carrier which employs a target turner motor mounted on the target carrier housing wherein the target turner motor is movable with the housing along the carrier track and is driven in its path of movement by the electrical conductor which supplies energy to the target turner motor.
It is also an object of the present invention to provide a target carrier system which utilizes a spool having an electrical conductor helically wound about the spool and having a loop portion of the electrical conductor extending along the length of a carrier track to drive a target carrier longitudinally thereof as the spool is rotated.
It is an additional object of the present invention to provide a target carrier system as described above wherein the spool carrying the electrical conductor is threadedly mounted on a shaft which permits controlled translation of the spool as the spool unwinds and thereby maintains a generally fixed relationship between the point of release of the cable from the spool and the track which carries the target carrier.
It is another object of the present invention to provide a track for a target carrier as described above wherein the track has a generally T-shaped configuration for supporting an electrical conductor which is used to drive the target carrier along the track and which is used to supply power to the target carries turner motor.
It is also an object of the present invention to provide a target carrier system as described above wherein the electrical conductor used to drive the target carrier has an insulation coating which is flexible and wherein the material forming the electrical conductor is stranded wire.
It is another object of the present invention to provide a target carrier system as described above and employing a pair of insulation linings with wire receiving grooves formed along the length thereof and wherein the linings are positioned at opposite upwardly extending faces of a T-bar which forms the carrier track.
These and other objects, features and advantages of the invention will be readily apparent from the following description of a preferred embodiment thereof, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawing, although variations and modifications may be effected without departing from the spiritand scope of the novel concepts of the disclosure I BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING F IG. 1 is a perspective view of a target carrier system of the present invention showing the cable spool as mounted on its threaded shaft for feeding cable to a carrier track to move a target carrier along the length of the track and at the same time supply electrical power to a target turner motor which is moved with the target carrier.
FIG. 2 is a cross-sectional view of the carrier track utilized in the present invention and showing the positioning of the insulation linings and the insulated cable used to drive the target carrier along the T-bar track.
FIG. 3 is a sectional view of the insulation lining which is utilized along the carrier track and which has a groove therein for slidably guiding the insulated drive cable.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT The target carrier system of the present invention provides an improved means for driving a target carrier along a track and at the same time for supplying electrical power to the target carrier to manipulate the same as it moves along the'track and thereby provide various target objectives.
It is customary in target systems such as may be employed in police shooting ranges or the like to provide a target which moves either toward or away from the shooting position and which also pivots or moves at an angle with respect to the shooting position as it travels along its predetermined path. In fact, it is often the case that target systems of this type are controlled electronically in such a way as to permit each shooter to increase or decrease the speed of his target, to adjust the range, to edge, face or return the target to the setup point for scoring and safe changing of the target.
In order to accomplish these various maneuvers the target carrier device which moves along its track must have self-contained motors or other control devices which move with the target.
In a shooting range such as might be found in a range provided for low enforcement training courses, a target carrier must undergo continuous movement along a track and at the same time must be conducting electrical power to a target turner motor, for instance. In the past, the coupling of power to the turner motor has generally been accomplished by sliding electrical contacts. In such cases, an electrical wire is suspended adjacent to the moving target and a contact is slid along the electrical wire to couple power to the target turner motor. However, such repeated movements of the target generates wear and results in loosening of the contacts with the wire and dirt collection between the contacts, all leading to high maintenance costs as well as to disruptive failures.
The present invention provides a target carrier system which eliminates the need for sliding contacts and which through a combination of features provides a single means for both driving the target carrier and for supplying power to the target turner motor.
In the device of the present invention, an electrical conductor is used to physically move the target carrier along its carrier track and at the same time conduct electrical power to the target turner motor. The system used in the present invention to unwind and wind the electrical cable is arranged to provide minimum flexing of the cable as the spool winds and unwinds.
Referring to the drawings in greater detail, FIG. 1 shows a carrier track 10 which consists of a T-bar having an upstanding portion 11 and a pair of outwardly extending flanges 12 and 13. The flanges 12 and 13 have upwardly facing surfaces 14 and 15 as shown in FIG. 2. These upwardly facing surfaces provide the support means for the cable which is moved along the carrier track 10. A series of holes 16 in the upstanding portion 11 provide means for securing the track to a ceiling or other suitable fixture.
A target carrier 17 is suspended from the carrier track as shown in FIG. 1 and includes a target carrier housing 18 which has a pair of sidewalls 19 and 20 and a base wall 21. The carrier housing 18 is supported on the flanges l2 and 13 of the carrier track 10 by a series of rollers 22, 23, 24 and 25. By means of these rollers, the housing 18 can move freely along the length of the track as required. It should be understood that FIG. 1 is a perspective view and that the carrier track 10 normally would be substantially longer than is indicated in FIG. 1.
The target carrier housing 18 contains a target turner motor 26 and a suitable control mechanism 27 which may be used to convert the rotary motion of the motor 26 into a controlled pivotal movement of the target. Such target turner systems are well known in the art and need not be illustrated here in further detail.
The control device 27 is coupled to a shaft 28 which extends directly to a target clamp 29 as at the point 30. The target clamp 29 may be of any suitable type for readily clamping a target 31 thereto. Both the shaft 28 and the clamp 29 may have suitable bullet deflector shields 32 and 33 respectively. These bullet deflector shields control the angle of deflection of lead fragments for safety purposes as is well understood.
The means for driving the housing 18 along the track consists of a motor drive an cable spool assembly 34. The assembly 34 includes a housing 35 for an electric motor 36 which drives a cable spool 37 by means of a friction drive belt 38.
The cable spool 37 is mounted in a housing section 39 and is supported on a threaded shaft 40. The threaded shaft 40 is fixedly mounted as at 41 and 42 within outwardly extending support arms 43 and 44. The threaded shaft of rod 40 is fixed in the arms 43 and 44 so as not to be rotatable.
A cable 45 is helically wound about the cable spool 37 from a first end 46 to a point 47 which is the point to takeoff of the cable from the spool. The cable passes beneath a guide pulley 48 and extends along the track 10 as at 49.
The track 10 has insulation linings 50 disposed along the length thereof. The insulation linings 50 are shown in FIGS. 2 and 3, but have been omitted from FIG. 1 for clarity. The linings 50 consist of an insulation material such as vinyl or the like and are provided with a recess 51 which supports the cable 49.
As shown in FIG. 2, the cable 49 consists of a threaded conductive core 52 and an insulation coating 53. The combination of the threaded core and the flexible insulation coating provide a flexible cable which can sustain the repeated windings and unwindings from the spool 37. Also, by using the rollers 22 through 25 in conjunction with the insulation linings 50, the target carrier housing 18 can be moved easily along the track, and the cable 49 provides sufficient strength to transport the target carrier without strain along the track 10.
The cable 49 extends from the takeoff point 47 along the track 10 as shown adjacent the flange surface 14 to a cable take up device 54. The cable take up device includes a housing 55 which has a main pulley 56 spring loaded as at 57 to provide a suitable tensioning of the cable 49. The spring loading is accomplished by means of a pin 58 which is coupled to the pulley holder 59 and which has a coil spring 60 disposed between a rear surface 61 of the housing 55 and a radially enlarged portion 62 of the pin 58.
The housing 55 also contains a pair of guide pulleys 63 and 64. The cable 49 extends adjacent to both the guide pulleys and around the main pulley 56 as shown. From this point the cable extends along the surface of the flange 13 as shown in FIG. 2 and returns at a point 65 to be wound around the spool 37 as at 66.
The cable is fixed to the target carrier housing 18 so as to physically move the housing 18 when the cable moves due to the winding or unwinding of the spool 37. Also the cable 49 extends to the target turner motor 26 as shown at 67 to control the operation of the motor and the manipulations of the target 31 as it moves along the track 10. In this way, sliding contacts along the track are avoided and a system is provided which effectively reduces the cost and maintenance of the target carrier system.
In operation, the motor 36 is controlled so as to rotate the cable spool 37 in one of the two possible directions thereby to move the cable 49 either away from or toward the takeoff point 47. Assuming it is desired to move the target carrier housing 18 from the point shown to a point 69 along the track 10, the spool would be rotated clockwise as shown in FIG. 1. The unwinding of the cable 49 at the point 47 would be associated with a corresponding winding of the cable in the area 66 of the spool, thereby maintaining the cable slack free at all times. The winding of the cable in the vicinity 66 of the spool would cause the portion of the cable which extends along the face 15 of the track 10 to move to the left in FIG. 1, thereby transporting the target carrier housing 18 in the direction of the point 69.
The target turner motor may be operated by passing a signal of a suitable type through the electrical conductor to control the pivotal action of the shaft 28 and hence of the target 31.
It will be understood that as the spool 37 rotates clockwise, it moves toward the right in FIG. 1 thereby maintaining the takeoff point47 adjacent to the track 10 thereby minimizing the flexure required of the cable 49 during the winding and unwinding process. It will also be understood that the friction drive belt 38 will track along the surface of the spool 37 to maintain its alignment with its drive point at the motor 36.
I claim as my invention:
1. A target carrier system comprising:
a carrier track,
a target carrier mounted for longitudinal movement along the carrier track,
electrical control means associated with said target carrier and being movable therewith along said carrier track and being operable to turn said target carrier,
cable supply means and means for coupling cable therefrom to said target carrier,
means associated with said cable supply means for extending and retracting cable therefrom to transport said target carrier along said track,
said cable being an electrical conductor, and
means coupling power through said electrical conductor to said target carrier electrical control means.
2. A target carrier system in accordance with claim 1 wherein said electrical control means comprises a target turner motor and wherein said electrical conductor cable is electrically connected to said target turner motor for operating the same.
3. A target carrier system in accordance with claim 1 wherein said cable supply means comprises a cable spool having a cable helically wound thereon, said cable having a loop portion formed intermediate the cable ends, said loop portions extending to and from said target carrier and being secured to the target carrier to transport the same along the track, means for rotating the spool so as to extend cable along one side of the loop and absorb cable along the other side thereof, and means positioning said loop along said track thereby causing said target carrier to move along the track as the spool rotates.
4. A target carrier system in accordance with claim 3 wherein a frame means is provided to support said cable spool, said frame being fixedly mounted relative to said carrier track, a threaded rod supported in said frame, said cable spool being threadedly received on said rod whereby rotation of said spool causes said spool to translate along said rod and thereby maintain a fixed relationship between the takeoff position of cable from the spool and the position of said carrier track.
5. A target carrier system comprising:
a target carrier and means for supporting the same for movement along a predetermined path,
means for coupling a cable to said target carrier and for using said cable to transport the target carrier along said predetermined path,
electrical control means associated with said target carrier,
and said cable further supplying electrical power to said electrical control means which is then operable to actuate the target carrier into various desired movements.
6. A target carrier system in accordance with claim 5 wherein said electrical conductor is formed of stranded conductor wire and is coated with a flexible insulating material and wherein said carrier track has an electrical insulation lining extending along the length thereof, said electrical conductor being slidably movable on said insulation lining.
7. A target carrier system in accordance with claim 6 wherein said carrier track comprises an inverted T-bar, said cable being carried on upwardly facing surfaces of the T-bar and said electrical insulation linings being provided on both said upwardly facing surfaces.
8. A target carrier system comprising:
a carrier track,
a target carrier suspended from the track and being mounted for movement along the track,
said target carrier having a target turner motor mounted thereon for pivoting the target carrier as required a cable spool mounted for rotation for feeding cable to one end of the track,
a length of cable wound about said cable spool,
a portion of said length of cable extending along said track and being fixedly secured to said target carrier,
cable take up means positioned adjacent the end of the track oppositely of said cable spool,
said portion of said length of cable extending from said target carrier through said cable take up means, and returning along said track to said cable spool,
means for rotating the cable spool to cause cable to unwind from one portion thereof to feed cable to said target carrier and to wind at another portion thereof to absorb slack generated by translation of said target carrier along said track,
said cable being an electrical conductor and being electrically coupled to said target turner motor, and
means for supplying a signal through said cable to actuate said target turner motor.
9. A target carrier system in accordance with claim 8 wherein said carrier track comprises a T-bar inverted to expose oppositely extending upwardly facing flanges, a pair of lengths of track insulators extending along the T-bar and having a longitudinal recess formed therein to slidably guide said cable along said flanges of the carrier track.
10. A target carrier system in accordance with claim 8 wherein means are provided to move said spool generally perpendicularly of said carrier track at a rate which allows the take off point of cable from the spool to be substantially fixed relative to the carrier track thereby reducing the flexure of said electrical conductor during movement of said target carrier.