US 3668938 A
An hermetically sealing boot adapted to fit the face of a housing having one or more thumb wheel actuators arranged for rotation about an axis substantially parallel to the plane of said face. The device is formed of molded flexible synthetic resinous material, and includes one or more insert-molded rigid actuators, a first portion of which projects inwardly of a sealing wall to selectively engage an actuator, and a second portion of which projects outwardly of said wall to be manually engaged for transmitting motion to said actuator. Depending upon the shape of the boot, the actuator may be of a pivoting, translationally-moving or nutating type.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States "Patent Dimitry [151 3,668,938 June 13, 1972 [5 HERMETICALLY SEALING BOOT WITH ACTUATOR FOR THUMB WHEEL TYPE SWITCHES  Inventor: Edward A. Dimitry, Hillsdale, NJ.  Assignee: APM Corporation, Englewood, NJ.
2,440,943 5/1948 Gonsett et al ..200/l68 G 57 ABSTRACT An hermetically sealing boot adapted to fit the face of a housing having one or more thumb wheel actuators arranged for rotationabout an axis substantially parallel to the plane of said face. The device is formed of molded flexible synthetic resinous material, and includes one or more insert-molded rigid actuators, a first portion of which projects inwardly of a sealing wall to selectively engage an actuator, and a second portion of which projects outwardly of said wall to be manually engaged for transmitting motion to said actuator. Depending upon the shape of the boot, theactuator may be of a pivoting, translationally-moving or nutating type.
HERMETICALLY SEALING BOOT WITH ACTUATOR FOR THUMB WHEEL TYPE SWITCHES This invention relates generally to hermetically sealing boots of a type adapted to effect a seal between the housing of an electronic component and an opening in a panel within which the component is mounted. Devices of this general type are well known, and the invention lies in specific constructional details which permit the disclosed embodiment to serve a particular function.
In recent years, there has been a substantially increased use of switches which are actuated by moving a thumb wheel to one of a plurality of predetermined rotational positions. Unlike shaft-actuated components which can project through a sealing annulus, to be actuated externally of the seal, thumb wheel constructions are not readily adapted for actuation througha sealing membrane. Usually, the actuating movement must include a component parallel to the plane of the sealing membrane, and the membrane itself is not readily distortable for this purpose.
It is therefore among the principal objects of the present invention to provide an improved sealing boot having an integrally molded actuator means which may project on both sides of the sealing membrane to permit manual impartation to the sealed switch actuator, without the necessity of interruption of the sealing function. I l
Another object of the invention lies in the provision of an improved sealing boot of the class described which may be conveniently manufactured using existing molding techniques and known synthetic resinous materials.
Yet another object of the invention lies in the provision of an improved hermetically sealing boot for thumb wheel switches, in which the cost of fabrication may be of a reasonably low order, with consequent wide sale, distribution and use. p
A feature of the disclosed embodiments lies in the fact that they may be fabricated to be used in conjunction with desired types of imparted movement, such as sliding, rocking, or nutating motions.
These objects and feature, as well as other incidental ends and advantages, will more fully appear in the progressof the following disclosure, and be pointed out in the appended claims.
In the drawing, to which reference will be made in the specification, similar reference characters have been employed to designate corresponding parts throughout the several views. I
FIG. 1 is a front elevational view of a first embodiment of the invention in position upon a conventional switch housing.
FIG. 2 is a vertical sectional view thereof, as seen from the plane 2-2 in FIG. 1.
FIG. 3 is a horizontal sectional view thereof as seen from the plane 3-3 in FIG. 1.
FIG. 4 is a similar sectional view showing an alternate form of the embodiment.
FIG. 5 is a similar sectional view showing a second alternate form of the embodiment.
FIG. 6 is a similar sectional view showing a second embodiment of the invention.
In accordance with the invention, the device, generally indicated by reference character 10, is illustrated in FIGS. 1, 2 and 3 of the drawing in installed condition upon a three station switch 11 mounted within a rectangular opening 12 in a panel 13 for actuation exteriorly of the panel. Thumb wheel means 14 project outwardly of the face of a housing for normal manual actuation. Both the switch 11 and the device are held in sealing relation by conventional nut and bolt means 16. The device 10 comprises broadly a flexible molded boot element l9, and a plurality of insert-molded actuators 20.
The boot element 19 is preferably formed as a single molding from suitable synthetic resinous materials, such as transparent silicon rubber. It includes a planar peripheral flange 21 bounded by outer side edges 22-and 23, outer end edges 24 and 25, inner side edges 26 and 27, inner end edges 28 and 29, an outer surface 30 and an inner surface 31. Extending laterally from the plane of the flange 21 member 33 including side walls 34 and 35, and end walls 36 and 37, each of which interconnect with a flexible outer wall 38 having a planar portion 39,'and a pair of parallel curvilinear portions 40 and 41 which provide an additional degree of stretchability.
' The actuators 20 are generally similar, and are preferably formed from rigid metallic material to be insert molded within the boot element 19 at the time of the molding operation.
Each includes an externally projecting part 43 having a finger engageable portion 44, anchoring lugs 45 which are buried within the mass of the wall 38, and an internally disposed part 46 including prongs 47 defining a recess 48 in which a part of a thumb wheel is selectively engaged.
From a consideration of FIG. 2, it will be apparent that upon the grasping of the finger engageable portion 44, the outer wall 38 may be distorted within the limits of its flexibility as motion is transmitted through the actuator 20 to the thumb wheel disposed therebeneath. The thumb wheel may be advanced through a single predetermined increment in either an upward or downward direction by imparting planar motion to the actuator. The distortability of the wall 38 is enhanced by the fact that it is attached to the side and end walls 34-37 which will flex as required, and upon release of the actuator, the main body member 33 will return to a relatively undistorted condition as shown in the drawing. During this movement, the hermetic seal provided by the device is undisturbed.
Referring to the alternate form shown in FIG. 4, and generally indicated by reference character 49, parts corresponding to those of the principal form have been designated by similar reference characters with the additional suffix a. The alternate form differs in the shape of the actuator 50, which includes an external part 51 having a cup-shaped recess therein which facilitates the imparting of a rocker type action of essentially a rotational form, although a limited amount of translational movement may occur.
' In the second alternate form shown in FIG. 5, and generally indicated by reference character 53, parts corresponding to those of the principal form have been designated by similar reference characters with the additional suffix b. In this form, the actuator 54 includes an external part which has been serrated for convenient manual engagement to impart a slidetype action.
Turning now to the second embodiment of the invention illustrated in FIG. 6 in the drawing, and generally indicated by reference character 57, an actuator 58 similar to that in the first embodiment is employed. The boot element 59 includes a peripheral flange 60, while the main body member 61 is of bulged contour to improve its stretchability in an outward direction. This form is particularly desirable where the amount of planar motion necessary to actuate the thumb wheel is greater, as where fewer increments over a 360 rotation are possible.
I wish it to be understood that I do not consider the invention limited to the precise details of structure shown and set forth in this specification, for obvious modifications will occur to those skilled in the art to which the invention pertains.
1. An hermetically sealing boot adapted to fit over the face of a housing having at least one thumb wheel actuating means arranged for rotation about an axis parallel to the plane of said face comprising: a flexible molded boot element including a peripheral flange member of planar configuration, having means for interconnecting with said face of said housing, and a centrally disposed main body member having a flexible wall overlying said actuator means, and at least one relatively rigid actuator projecting through the plane of said flexible wall in hermetically sealed relation, whereby an outwardly extending part thereof may be manuallyengaged by a user, and an inwardly extending part thereof may selectively contact said thumb wheel actuating means for the impartation of motion thereto.
is a main body 2. Structure in accordance with claim 1, in which said actuator is integrally interconnected to said flexible wall as a result of an insert molding operation.
3. Structure in accordance with claim 1, in which said flexible wall is in non-planar relation relative to said peripheral 5 flange member.