US 3619594 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent  Inventor Eugene S. More:
River Grove, Ill.  Appl. No. 7,118  Filed Jan. 30, 1970  Patented Nov. 9, 1971  Assignee Chicago Musical Instrument Co.
 ILLUMINATED KNOB 7 Claims, 2 Drawing Figs.
 US. Cl 240/2.13, 74/553, 116/124  Int. Cl E05b 17/10  Field oiSearch 116/133, 124, 124.4; 240/213, 1 E1; 74/553,504, 813,10, 10.32
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,566,069 12/ 1925 Buchholz et al. .1 1 16/ 1 24.4 2,334,479 11/1943 Creager 116/129 UX 2,502,915 4/1950 Atkins et al.. 74/553 2,699,141 1/1955 Gaguski 116/1244 2,768,603 10/1956 Fisher 116/1244 2,943,596 7/1960 Frost 116/124 3,064,494 1 1/1962 Brewster 74/504 Primary Examiner-Louis J. Capozi Attorney-J-lill, Sherman, Meroni, Gross & Simpson ABSTRACT: A knob assembly for angular positioning of a rotatable control shaft comprising an outer opaque cap member having an eccentric aperture through a face portion thereof and an inner light transmitting sleeve member fitting within the cap and onto the control shaft. The sleeve member has an end projection protruding into the aperture so that light striking the sleeve member away from the end projection is transmitted through the sleeve member and is visible at the aperture on the cap face. The cap and sleeve members are rigidly attached to one another and the sleeve member end projection is angularly movable as part of the knob assembly to illuminatingly indicate relative control shafi position in dimly lit environments, Variously colored light-transmitting materials, such as acrylic resins comprise the sleeve member and variously colored or coated opaque materials, such as acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene resins comprise the cap member.
ILLUMINATED KNOB BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION Field of the Invention This invention relates to a method and means of visually indicating relative angular position of a rotatable control shaft.
Prior Art Rotatable control shafts are used in a wide variety of instrumentalities to regulate various functions. Included within such instrumentalities are various musical instruments and related amplifiers, tone control devices, etc., which are occasionally utilized in dimly lit environments, such as in various places of entertainment, nightclubs, etc., where the user has little or no illumination to visually determine the position of a particular control shaft.
Prior practice for visually indicating angular position of a control shaft included placing an unilluminated contrasting mark on the outer face of a knob rotating the control shaft and a plurality of similar marks concentric with the knob on a stationary surface behind the knob whereby a user rotates the knob and attached control shaft to a desired position by matching the knob mark with a particular mark on the stationary surface. Other known practices dispense with the marks on the stationary surface behind the knob and require the user to approximate the desired angular position of the knob mark in relation to its fixed or zero position so as to determine the relative position of the control shaft. Such known prior practices require sufficient light to ascertain the marks on the knobs and/or surrounding stationary surfaces and accordingly are greatly restricted in their utility in dimly lit environments.
A somewhat related prior practice provides illuminated jewellike on-off indicators on stationary surfaces of a device, such as a musical instrument or the like, to indicate the operative state of the device. Such indicators are not suitable for use with rotatable knobs and/or control shafts since they require electrical conduits for operation and such conduits tend to become entangled and/or broken during rotational movement of their terminals. Further, such close proximity between electrical conduits and control shafts poses a substantial safety and operational hazards.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The invention provides a method of illuminatingly indicating relative control shaft position by transmitting light to a visible selected area of a knob assembly mounted on the control shaft from a spaced light source whereby the illuminated selected area is movable with the knob assembly and provides an illuminated indicator of the relative control shaft position so as to be visible in all light environments.
Although a wide variety of knob constructions may be utilized in practicing this method of illuminatingly indicating control shaft position, one particularly suitable knob construction includes providing a knob assembly comprising an outer opaque cap member having an eccentric aperture through its face portion and an inner light-transmitting sleeve member fitting within the cap member and onto the control shaft. The sleeve member is provided with an end projection that is in registry with and extends into the aperture so as to transmit light from the opposite end of the sleeve member to the cap face portion.
Accordingly it is an object of the present invention to provide a method and means of illuminatingly indicating control shaft angular position.
Another object of the present invention is to provide a method and means of indicating control shaft angular position in dimly lit environments.
Still a further object of the present invention is to provide a rotatable knob assembly for angularly positioning a control shaft and having a mechanical method and means of illuminatingly indicating the relative angular position of the control shaft.
Many other advantages, features and additional objects of the present invention will become manifest to those versed in the art upon making reference to the detailed description of a certain preferred embodiment thereof, taken in conjunction with the accompanying sheet of drawings in which a preferred structural embodiment incorporating the principles of the invention is shown by way of illustrative example and in which:
FIG. 1 is an essentially elevational diagrammatic view of a knob assembly embodying the novel features of the present invention; and
FIG. 2 is an elevational plan view taken along lines IIII of FIG. I with some parts in phantom to indicate their relative position.
AS SHOWN ON THE DRAWINGS The principles of the invention are particularly useful when embodied in a knob construction such as shown in FIG. I, which is exemplary of a knob assembly having the present invention.
The knob assembly 10 is mounted on a control shaft 11, which may be of any angular shape so as to be frictionally engageable by the knob assembly and is here shown as being somewhat D-shaped having a half-round bottom portion Ilb and a rectangular upper portion 11a (best seen in phantom cross section at FIG. 2) for receiving a conventional retainer clip (not shown). The control shaft 11 is operatively connected to some adjustable control (not shown) on a device (not shown) such as a guitar, organ, amplifier, etc., and is selectively angularly rotatable to adjust the particular function being controlled.
The illustrated knob assembly 10 comprises an outer opaque cap member 13 and an inner light-transmitting sleeve member 12 suitable joined together to form an integral knob assembly.
The cap member 13 is generally cup shaped having an outer or visible face portion 13a with a tubular side portion 13b. The user grasps the cap member along the side portion 13b and rotates the same about its axis to a desired extent. The cap member 13 is so formed that the exposed surface portion of the face 13a is essentially perpendicular to the axis of the side portion 13b. The inner surface 13c of the side 13b is generally tubular but is slightly frustoconical to facilitate construction assembly.
An eccentrically positioned aperture l3e is provided on the face 13a. The aperture He is defined by a plurality of straight edges defining a generally regular geometric shape, i.e., a rectangle, such as shown at FIG. 2. The aperture is preferably positioned eccentrically, that is near the outer boundary of the face portion so as to enable a user to readily determine the angular position thereof.
The cap member 13 is composed of any totally or substantially opaque (i.e., poor light transmitting or translucent) material such as metal, synthetic resin material, plastic material, etc. Preferably the cap member is composed of an opaque synthetic resin material which is either naturally opaque or is provided with a means, such as a coating or the like to yield the desired opaqueness to the cap member. A particularly useful opaque synthetic resin material is an acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene resin material.
The sleeve member 12 has a cross section which is generally T-shaped having a cylindrical hollow stem portion 12a provided with a hollow-shaped passageway for receiving and frictionally engaging the control shaft 11. The interior hollow shaft passageway generally conforms to the shape of the control shaft so as to provide frictional engagement therewith whereby rotation of the sleeve member correspondingly rotates the control shaft in a well-known manner. The sleeve member 12 has an enlarged head portion 12b integrally formed with the stem portion 120. The head portion 12b generally abuts the backside of face portion 130 of the side 13- -b of the cap member 13 and is provided with an eccentric end projection 12c in registry with and of a size to mate with the aperture 132. The end projection 12a extends into and through aperture 132 and is so shaped as to form a slightly protruding jewel on the face 130. Thus, the end projection He is visible to view at the outer face 130. As explained below, a selected area on the knob assembly thus is transparent or slightly translucent for ready passage of light and is visibly disposed whereby any light transmitted from the interior of the knob assembly will be visible at its outer face portion.
A tubular side portion 12f is integrally formed with the head portion 12b of the sleeve member 12 and is provided with a frustoconical outer surface 121: to match the similarly shaped surface 13c of the cap member 13. The side portion 12f extends axially as far as the side portion 13b to provide full support therefor.
The entire sleeve member 12 is composed of a suitable light-transmitting material that is compatible with or at least noninterfering with the control shaft 11. Thus, for example, when the control shaft regulates an electronic device, the material is an electrical insulator. Light-transmitting synthetic resin materials are generally preferred because of their availability and workability (i.e., they are readily shaped into desired configurations). Acrylic plastics material are particularly useful and styrene-acrylonitrile resin materials are exceptionally well suited for light-transmitting characteristics.
The sleeve member 12 is free of any light-interfering coatings or the like and is transparent or slightly translucent to visible light. Various dyes may be incorporated into the synthetic material with the resultant colored material yielding a colored jewel projection, which when internally illuminated, as by means lamp means 15, gives an aesthetic and readily visible indicator.
The sleeve member 12 is rigidly attached to the cap member 13 by a suitable means that does not interfere with the lighttransmitting properties of the sleeve member and one particularly suitable means for attachment is by way of ultrasonic welding, which is a well known technique in the art. The use of adhesives and like foreign materials may interfere with the light-transmitting ability and color characteristics of the sleeve member and is to be avoided.
The tubular portion 12a of the sleeve member 12 projects through a cabinet wall 16 to a region adjacent to one or more lamps 15. Light enters into an end of the sleeve member 12 away from the projection 12c and is transmitted through the sleeve member to the projection and is visible thcreat. In this way neither the heat or the electrical energy from the light source affects the knob assembly or the control shaft. This separation of energies insures the proper operation of the device being regulated by the control shaft and also the safety of the user. Additionally, such internally illuminated control shaft position indicators are easily visible under all lighting conditions making them extremely useful for use on musical instruments and like devices that may operate in dimly lit environments.
As best seen in FIG. 2, the projection 12:? is angularly movable through any desired angle A by selective rotation of cap member 13. Various opaque finishes or coatings can be applied to face 13a for increasing contrast and aesthetic effects as desired. Also the outer surfaces of the knob assembly, such as the face 13a and side surface 13b may be given special surface effects, such as brushing, polishing, knurling, etc., as desired. Further, various exposed comers of cap member 13 and the projection 12c may be bevelled as shown to eliminate sharp comers from the knob assembly.
The invention provides a method of visibly indicating relative angular position of a rotatable control shaft by providing a light source spaced from the control shaft and masked from view, providing a knob means on the control shaft for selectively rotating the control shaft and the knob having an eccentric light-transmitting area visible to view and transmitting light to the selected light-transmitting area from the light source whereby the eccentric area is illuminated from within and indicates the relative angular position of the control shaft.
The knob assembly is provided with an opaquegenerally cupshaped cap member having a visible face portion and means on said face portion defining an eccentric aperture and a lighttransmitting sleeve member of generally T-shaped cross section fitting within the cap member and attached to the cap member at a surface adjacent to the visible face. The sleeve member is provided with a shaped passageway for receiving and frictionally engaging the control shaft and is also provided with an end projection in registry with the aperture in the cap member and extending into the aperture whereby light striking the sleeve member away from the end projection is visible at the face portion. The light-transmitting sleeve member may be provided with a dye as desired to enable it to filter the light so that where a plurality of such knob assemblies are utilized, a different color of projections can be provided to indicate different control knobs.
Although various modifications might be suggested to those versed in the art, it should be understood that I wish to embody within the scope of the patent warranted hereon, all such embodiments as reasonably and properly come within the scope of the appended claims.
I claim as my invention:
1. A knob assembly for angular positioning of a rotatable control shaft comprising,
a generally cup-shaped cap member having a surface defining an outer visible face portion,
means defining an eccentric aperture on said face portion,
a sleeve member of generally T-shaped cross section fitting within said cap member and attached to said cap member, said sleeve member being provided with an end projection in registry with said aperture and extending into said aperture, said members having a contrasting light-transmitting capabilities wherein light striking the sleeve member away from the end projection is transmitted to said projection.
2. A knob assembly as defined in claim I wherein the means defining an eccentric aperture comprise a plurality of edges joined at their ends to define a geometrically regular shape.
3. A knob assembly as defined in claim 1 wherein the sleeve member is composed of a styrene-acrylonitrile resin material.
4. A knob assembly as defined in claim 3 wherein the styrene-acrylonitrile resin material is provided with a colored dye.
5. A knob assembly as defined in claim 1 wherein the cap member is composed of an acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene material.
6. A knob assembly according to claim 1 in which said cap member is substantially opaque and in which said sleeve member is substantially transparent.
7. A knob assembly for angular positioning of a rotatable control shaft comprising:
a. a generally cup-shaped cap member having a surface defining an outer visible face portion,
b. means defining an eccentric aperture on said face portion; and
c. a sleeve member fitting within said cap member and attached to said cap member, said sleeve member being provided with an end projection in registry with said aperture and extending into said aperture, said members having a contrasting light-transmitting capabilities wherein light striking the sleeve member away from the end pro jections is transmitted to said projection.
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