US 3801098 A
A foam filled metal bat is disclosed. The bat comprises a die cast, ball-bat shaped hollow tube of substantially uniform wall thickness having an integrally cast knob over an end of a handle portion. The end of a club portion of the tube is open. A rigid urethane foam extends within the tube from the knob end up to and contiguous with a cap inserted in the open club end. The rigid foam forms a bond with the tube walls and the cap portion which may be a semi-rigid urethane foam or a plug of rubber or metal. A wire extending axially within the rigid foam extends the length of the bat and is anchored at its ends adjacent the integral knob and cap.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent 11 1 1111 3,801,098 Gildemeister Apr. 2, 1974 [5 METAL BASEBALL BAT 2,684,503 7/1954 Silver 273/80 R 11x 3,592,884 7/1971 Williams 264/45  Inventor. Donald Glldemelster, Toledo, OhIO 3,442,411 I q m q trl: "264/45 X  Assignee: N L Industries, Inc., New York, h
N.Y, FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS  Filed: Jam 1 19 2 797,305 11/1960 Norway 2775/72  Appl' 218155 Primary ExaminerRichard C. Pinkham Related U.S. Application Data Assistant 'Examiner-Richard J. Apley  Continuation-impart of Ser. No. 180,555, Sept. 15, Attorney Agent or Flrm Allen Owen; Richard 1971, Pat. No. 3,727,295. Emch  U.S. Cl .1 273/72 A  ABSTRACT  Int. Cl A63b 59/06 A foam fin d meta] bat is disclosed The bat comprises 8 held of Search-m 273/67 R, 72 R, 72 A, 80 R, a die cast, ball-bat shaped hollow tube of substantially 81 82 82 A, 82 2 6- 8; 264/45-54 uniform wall thickness having an integrally cast knob 3 over an end of a handle portion. The end of a club 5 6 R f portion of the tube 1s open. A rlgld urethane foam ex- 1 e erences Cl ed tends within the tube from the knob end up to and UNITED STATES PATENTS contiguous with a cap inserted in the open club end. Barton A X The foam forms a bond the tube walls and 3,265,401 8/1966 S 1er 273/80 R x the cap portion which may be a semi-rigid urethane n foam or a plug of rubber or metal. A wire extending 3083969 441963 f g 27480 R axially within the rigid foam extends the length of the 2:789:721 4/1957 sch0;i$v 220/24 A at and is anchored at its ends adjacent the integral 3,138,380 6/1964 Satchell eLal. 273/82 A knob and p- 3,478,134 11/1969 Gruss et a1 273 2 5 W 4 Claims, 4 Drawing Figures 3524/ ,/e/0 0/95 THA/VE Z2 E/G/U (/EETH/i/VE Fag/W METAL BASEBALL BAT -CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS This is a continuation-in-part of my copending application Ser. No. 180,555, filed Sept. 15, 1971 now U.S. Pat. No. 3,727,295.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION Prior art metal bats such as those disclosed in U.S. Pat. Nos. 1,499,128 to Shroyer, 1,611,858 to Middlekauff and 3,479,030 to Merola, have provided various means for eliminating these inherent problems with metal bats. Generally the provision of rubber sound deadening clubs, reinforcing sleeves and wooden handle inserts have been provided in order to simulate the impact characteristics of wooden bats. Several problems remain unsolved with these prior art bats. For example, it has been found that deformation of the bat under relatively high impact with a ball often causes dislodging of rubber plugs placed in the bat end as sound deadening devices and strengthening members. It has also been found that the use of an insert within the bat tube alone does not adequately strengthen the bat against shocks caused by vibrations.
The present invention provides a means of solving the above mentioned problems by use of expanded foam within the hollow bat-shaped tube. The foam bonds with the metal tube as well as the cap portion to provide a resilient and extremely strong unitary structure.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The invention is a foam filled metal bat comprising a die cast generally elongate metal tube of substantially uniform wall thickness having a club end of one diameter and a handle end of reduced diameter. A rigid expanded foam core, such as urethane .foam, is placed within the hollow elongate tube extending from an integrally cast knob portion on the handle end of the bat to a plug in an open end in the club portion of the bat. The core forms a rigid bond between the interior bat walls and the plug. An elongate member capable of accepting a tension force, such as a wire extending the axial length of the bat within the foam core is anchored at its ends adjacent the knob portion and plug. The plug can be a rubber fitting having a cap portion whose outside diameter is equal to the outside diameter of the club portion and a hollow plug portion extending axially within the tube. The rubber plug portion is cleated on the exterior surface with respect to the wall of the tube and has a smooth hollow inner surface. When foam is placed around the area of the plug, a bond is formed between the rubber plug and the foam to form a unitary structure. A second embodiment of the invention utilizes a molded semi-rigid urethane foam plug having a cap portion whose outside diameter is equal to the outside diameter of the open club end and a solid plug portion extending within the tube and bonded to the rigid urethane foam. The preferred foams for use in the second embodiment are of significantly different densities. The center of balance of the bat structure may thereby be predetermined by proportioning the respective amounts of rigid and semi-rigid foams within the bat-shaped tube.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a longitudinal sectional view of a foam filled metal bat embodying the present invention;
FIG. 2 is a longitudinal section of a club end of one embodiment of the foam filled metal bat of the present invention;
FIG. 3 is a longitudinal section of a club end of a second embodiment of a foam filled metal bat of the present invention; and
FIG. 4 is a longitudinal section of a foam filled metal bat of the present invention showing two different foams of different densities therein.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS Referring to FIG. 1, a foam filled metal bat 10 comprising a die cast, elongate hollow metal tube 11 is shown. The tube 1 l is preferably of a magnesium alloy and has a club portion '12 and a handle portion 13 with an integral knob 14 on the end of the handle portion 13. The tube 1 1 is cast to form a uniform wall thickness throughout. A plug 15 is inserted in an open end of the club portion 12. In one embodiment of the invention, as shown in FIG. 3, the plug 15 comprises a rubber fitting having a cap portion 16 whose outside diameter is equal to the outside diameter of the club portion 12 and an axially extending tubular insert portion 17 having a cleated or ribbed outer surface 18 opposite the inner wall of the tube 11 and a hollow inner surface 19. A rigid urethane foam core 20 extends within the tube 1 1 from the integral knob 14 to and around the plug 15.
An elongate member capable of accepting a tension force and made of any suitable material having high tension strength, extends the axial length of the tube 11, within the foam core 20. In the preferred embodiment, a wire 23 is used. The wire 23 is anchored in the foam core 20 by means of an L bend in the opposite. ends of the wire adjacent the integral knob 14 and the plug 15 respectively. Should the tube 11 and the core 20 shear or otherwise part upon extreme impact, the sheared parts of the bat 10 will be held together by the wire 23, thus preventing injury to individuals near a user of the bat.
It has been found that any of the several types of foams are suitable for the present invention and that rigid urethane foams are especially suitable. These foams are generally formed by the use of various polyols and catalysts under various reaction conditions. Density of the rigid foam generally ranges from 12 to 15 pounds per cubic foot. The resulting rigid foam core 20, while being fairly light weight, has sufficient compression resistance to withstand the shock of impact, and is capable of bonding itself to areas within the tube 11. Since rigid urethane foam also readily foams in place in a closed cavity, the reactive liquid will rapidly flow into the bat l0 and foam to fill all areas to form a strong, seamless core. A
A preferred foam for use in the present invention is a rigid urethane foam having an integral skin. The foam system forms its own skin, generally designated by reference numeral 20a in FIGS. 2 and 3 which precisely conforms to the mold surface defined by the interior of the tube 11. The rigid skin is virtually bubble-free and foams a sandwich core structure of a lower density core within the bubble-free skin.
Thus the outer skin 20a is a reinforcing layer of relatively high density, strong and impact resistance material adjacent the inner wall of the tube 1 I backed up by the core of less dense but shock absorbing foam. The lower density inner core within the bubble-free skin includes a number of trapped air cells to provide sound deadening means for the bat structure.
The rigid foam is molded within the tube 11 to form the core 20 after the rubber plug 15 is inserted into the open end of the club portion 12. The reactive liquid is injected in the tube 11 through an opening 21 in the knob 14. The expanding foam flows around the cleated outer surface 18 and the hollow inner surface of the insert portion 17 to form a bond with the plug 15. Once the foam core 20 hascured and solidified, the tube 11 and the plug 15 are bonded into a rigid unitary structure.
Referring to FIG. 2 a second embodiment ofa foamfilled metal bat of the invention is shown. In this embodiment, the 'plug 15a comprises a molded-in-place, semi-rigid, resilient fitting having a cap portion 16a whose outside diameter is equal to the outside diameter of the club portion 12 and a solid, axially extending insert portion 17a extending within the open end of the club portion 12 to the rigid urethane foam core 20. A bond between the rigid core 20 and the plug 15a is formed along the interface 22 between the insert portion 17a and the core 20.
The preferred resilient semi-flexible foams for use in this embodiment have high load bearing properties but relatively low densities. This is necessary because the bats are often dropped or intentionally pounded on their ends so that a resilient plug is required. The plug is installed by molding it in place. Molding can be accomplished either by first pouring the integral-skin, rigid core 20 and then pouring and molding the semirigid urethane plug 15a in place or vice versa.
Because of the difference in densities of the semirigid foam plug 150 and the integral-skin rigid urethane foam core 20, the center of balance or thus the center of percussion of the bat structure 10 can be determined by proportioning the relative lengths of the insert portion 17a and the core portion 20. Thus, if the plug 15a is'comprised of a heavier foam than the core '20, by lengthening the axial length of the plug 15a the center of percussion can be moved a predetermined distance towards the plug end of the bat 10. If the difference in densities is reversed, the opposite effect, of course,-
takes place. For example, in FIG. 4, the insert portion 17a of the plug 15a extends axially from the club end of the bat 10 well into the tube 11 so that the center of percussion will be moved substantially to-the left as represented'by the relative lengths of portions A and 4 B in order to conform to FIG. 4, assuming that the foam comprising the plug 15a is less dense than the foam comprising the core 20. This enables the manufacturer to provide a series of bats with the same external shell but having a variety of balance characteristics.
It is to be understood that the present invention contemplates the use of any suitable expandable foam to form the core 20 and plug 15a elements which will lend the qualities of high resistance to impact, deformation, and breakage to the metal bat structure of the invention. Selection of the particular foams and the manner of their installation will be apparent to those skilled in the art.
Various obvious modifications from the above described preferred embodiments may be made without departing from the scope of the following claims.
What I claim is: I
1. A foam filled metal bat comprising, in combination, an elongate die cast magnesium tube having a club portion of one diameter, an intermediate portion, and a handle end of a reduced diameter, said club portion terminating at one end at the club end and at its other end at said intermediate portion, a core of rigid foam within said elongate tube, and a plug comprising a rubber-like member having an outer cap portion extending beyond said club end of said elongate tube and an axially extending inner portion within said club portion said axially extending portion having a wall adjacent to, but spaced apart from the inner wall to a point closely adjacent said club end whereby said rigid foam extends between said wall of said plug inner portion and said inner wallof said club portion, bonding said axially extending inner portion to said core to form a highimpact resistant unitary structure.
2. A metal bat according to claim 1 further comprising an elongate member extending lengthwise within said core for maintaining said bat as a unitary structure in the event that-said bat be broken apart.
3. A foam filled metal bat according to claim 1 wherein said plug further has an axially extending hollow plug portion therewithin, said hollow plug portion having an inner surface in contact with said foam and forming a bonding relationship along said inner surface.
4. A foam filled metal bat comprising, in combination, an elongate die cast magnesium tube having a club portion of one diamter, an intermediate portion, and a handle end of a reduced diameter, said club portion terminating at one end at the club end and at its other end at said'intermcdiate portion, a core of rigid foam within said tube, and a plug at an open portion of said club portion, said plug comprising a semi-rigid urethane foam having an outer cap portion extending beyond said club end and an axially extending inner portion, said inner portion extending from said cap portion into contact with said rigid foam core forming a bond along an inner face between said inner portion and said core to form a high impact resistant unitary structure.