US 3811219 A
At least two elongated structural elements are provided. They are of open-profiled cross-section, that is of T-shaped, U-shaped or similar cross-section, and have spaced opposite ends each of which has a flange extending transversely to the elongation of the respective element. Connecting means is provided at least on the axially outer sides of the respective flanges.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent Fischer 1 May 21, 1974 FLEXIBLE MEMBER AND ARCUATE 3,206,888 9/1965 Litzka 46/23 x MEMBER ATTACHABLE THERETO FOR 2,472,363 6/1949 Blackington.. 46/25 IMPARTING CURVATURE 3,456,4l3 7/ I969 Fischer 46/25 X  Inventor: Artur Fischer, Altheimer Str., FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS 13-7241 Tumlmgeni Germany 615,304 7/1935 Germany 46/26 1,089,076 9/1954 France 46/26  1972 167,244 7/1921 Great Britain 46/29  Appl. No.: 231,254
Related US. Application Data Primary Examiner-F. Barry Shay  Division of Ser. No. 51,951, July 2, 1970, abandoned. Attorney, g n or -Mi ha l S. triker  Foreign Application Priority Data July 31, 1969 Germany 1938946  ABSTRACT Aug. I6, 1969 Germany l94l725 At least two elongated Structural elements are p vided. They are of open-profiled cross-section, that is CCll 42/6235]; of T shaped ushaped or Similar crosssection, and l 58] 26 28 29 have spaced opposite ends each of which has a flange 0 care extending transversely to the elongation of the respective element. Connecting means is provided at, least on  uNlTE g s rx r s ggrENTs the axially outer sides of the respective flanges. 1,271,180 7/I9l8 Lavanchy 46/29 8 Claims, 5 Drawing Figures FLEXIBLE MEMBER AND ARCUATE MEMBER ATTACHABLE THERETO FOR IMPARTING CURVATURE CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION This is a Division of my application, Ser. No. 51,951, filed on July 2, 1970, now abandoned.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION The present invention relates generally to a toy set, and more particularly to a toy erecting set.
In toy erecting sets it is known to utilize structural elements of open-cross-sectional configuration, that is elements having a V-shaped, T-shaped, I-I-shaped, U- shaped or analoguous cross-section. Such elements are known to be provided with openings in form of either circular bores, elongated slots or both, and any two such elements can be connected by overlapping them to such an extent that one, two or more of the openings on one element are in registry with corresponding openings on the other element. Thereupon screws or other connecting means are inserted through the respective openings and the elements are connected. It is self-evident that with this type of connection the connected walls of the elements in question will be'offset with reference to one another by the thickness of one of the walls, which is another way of saying that the two connected walls will be located in two parallel planes rather than in one and the same plane. This is clearly undesired in many instances, and the remedy which is most widely used under such circumstances is to connect the two structural elements by means of a connector. This is done by having the walls in question located in a common plane and then overlapping them both with a flat strip-shaped or analogously configurated connector piece having openings which can be aligned with corresponding openings in the walls of the two elements, to be connected with them by screws or similar means. This avoids the objectionable offsetting of the connected walls of the two elements with reference to one another, but it requires an additional element-namely the connectorand thus not only makes the construction more complicated but also increases the expense of the set comprising such elements because it is evidently rarely possible to provide a single such connector.
Furthermore, no matter in which of the two preceding ways the structural elements are connected, it is clear that if they are to be assembled to form a single elongated configuration, that is to be axially aligned, this can be done only by connecting the two elements in one particular circumferential position with reference to one another. Taking for instance the case where two such structural elements are each of L- shaped cross-sectional configuration, it is clear that the wall representing one arm of the L in one element must be located either in the plane of, or in a plane parallel to that of one of the two walls which represent the arms in the other structural element. It is not possible, for instance, to connect them in axial alignment in such a manner that the cross section of one of the elements resembles an upright L and the cross-section of the other element resembles an inverted L. Similarly, additional structural elements of such a kit can be connected with structural elements of the type just discussed only in the planes in which the walls or arms of the -L-shaped cross-section-or whatever other cross-section of open profile may be involved-are located. Frequently it is desirable or even necessary, however, that other arrangements be possible. The prior art contains no provision for such circumstances and no suggestions how to overcome these difficulties.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION It is, accordingly, an object of the present invention to avoid the aforementioned difiiculties.
More particularly it is an object of the present invention to provide novel elongated structural elements of open-profiled cross-section in a toy erecting set which avoid the aforementioned disadvantages.
A concomitant object of the invention is to provide such an arrangement wherein the structural elements can be connected with one another or with other structural elements of the set to an elongated configuration such as a rod or the like, with the various structural elements all being coaxially connectable without the aid of auxiliary components, and being capable of such connection in position in which they are circumferentially displaced-with reference to their cross-sectional configuration-relative to one another through at least degrees.
In pursuance of the above objects, and others which will become apparent hereafter, one feature of the invention resides in a toy erecting set which, briefly stated comprises at least two elongated structural elements of open-profiled cross-section and having spaced opposite ends provided with a flange extending transversely to the elongation of the respective element. Connecting means is provided on at least the axially outer sides of the respective flanges. The term openprofiled cross-section" is intended to designate any profile which is not closed or circumferentially complete, such as an L-shaped profile, a T-shaped profile, a profile which resembles an I, an H, a U or any other analogously open profile.
By resorting to the present invention two or more structural elements according to my invention, and other structural elements in a kit which need not necessarily be the same as those according to the invention, can be connected in coaxial relationship without having to be laterally offset with reference to one another and/or without requiring the use of auxiliary connecting means for providing such a connection. Furthermore, the constituent structural elements of a rod assembled in this manner can be circumferentially offset about their respective axes with reference to one anths lxifi QtJiQtQ. 0f episuiauv configurating the connecting means provided on the outer sides of the flanges other angular relationships can also be achieved. These connecting means are preferably but not necessarily provided in form of an undercut groove provided in one axially outer side of one of the flanges and an undercut projecting coupling head provided in the outer side of the other of the flanges.
The resort to the present invention provides for a reliable, sturdy connection which can be established as readily and as easily as it can be subsequently released. Furthermore, structural elements of this type can be readily used in conjunction with quadratic or elongated other elements of an assembly kit or erection kit which may themselves be of quadratic or rectangular crosssection. It is only necessary that these other elements be provided with connectors capable of mating or engaging with connecting means provided on the aforementioned flanges. For instance, if one such additional structural element is of quadratic cross-section and therefore has six surfaces, these may be provided with such connectors and would then permit the securing to each side of one of the structural elements according to the present invention, it being understood that at the end remote from the quadratic element each of the structural elements according to the present invention may itself be connected to additional elements.
According to the invention the walls of the elements according to the present invention may additionally be provided with bores, cut-outs, apertures or the like which are advantageously of circular cross-section but with an outwardly extending recess, and connectors may be provided having a main body portion receivable in the circular-cross-section main portion of the respective aperture and having a laterally extending projection which can be passed through the recess so' that whensuch a connector is inserted through such an aperture from one to the other side of the respective wall, turning of the connector will bring the projection out of alignment with the recess and will lock the connector in the respective aperture. In such a construction it is possible to so connect flat strip-shaped elementswhich may be needed for a grid-like construction-with the structural elements according to the present invention that they can be pivoted with reference to the latter without any play. For this purpose the connectors would be turnably secured with the flat elements and would be provided at their. projecting free ends with the aforementioned projections which are then passed through an aperture in one of the structural elements according to the present invention and, when the projection has cleared the associated recess, turned so as to move the projection out of alignment with the recess and lock the element together.
Finally, it is also possible to utilize the structural elements according to the present invention in a very simple manner both as straight and as curved structural elements. This is achievable simply in that the structural elements have one wall carrying at its opposite ends the aforementioned flanges, and being flexible and bendable. A second wall is releasably connectable with the flanges, for which purpose it is provided at its opposite ends with connectors which in turn are engageable with connectors provided on the axially inner sides of the flanges. This second wall is arcuately curved and when it is connected with the flanges it will draw the first wall to arcuately curved configuration.
The components of such structural elements can be readily produced by simple injection molding. To produce structural elements having different radii of curvature the basic structural element having the wall and the two flanges can always be the same and it is simply necessary to supply second walls of different curvatures. This results in a reduction of manufacturing expenses and therefore makes it possible to sell a kit or set provided with these elements according to the present invention at lower cost than would otherwise be possible.
The novel features which are considered ascharacteristic for the invention are set forth in particular in the appended claims. The invention itself, however, both as to its construction and its method of operation, together with additional objects and advantages thereof, will be best understood from the following description of specific embodiments when read in connection with the accompanying drawing.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING FIG. 1 is a perspective view illustrating two structural elements according to the present invention, both of them being ofl'set through 90 degrees with respect to DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS Discussing now the drawing in detail, and firstly the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 1, it will be seen that reference numeral 1 identifies a structural element according to the present invention and having an openprofiled cross-section which here is of L-shaped configuration. Specifically, the structural element 1 has a wall 2 and a second wall 3 extending in this embodiment at a right angle to the wall 2. The walls 2 and 3 are of one piece withone another. At the opposite axial ends of the element 1 there are provided two flanges 4 and 5 which extend transversely to the longitudinal axis of the element 1. The axially outer side of the flange 4 is provided with connecting means in form of an undercut projecting connecting head 6, and the axially outer side of the flange 5 is provided with a similarly undercut elongated connecting groove 7 (see F IG. 3 for a more detailed view). An additional structural element 8, which may be but need not be identical with the element 1, especially as to its cross-sectional configuration, is connected with the flange 5 by inserting into the groove 7 a coupling head provided on the element 8 (but not illustrated) configurated analogously to the coupling head 6 on the flange 4. In the illustrated embodiment of FIG. 1 it shall be assumed that the element 8 corresponds in cross-sectional configuration to the element 1, and it is clearly evident that the element 8 is turned through 180 degrees with reference to the element 1 about the longitudinal axes of both elemen tsT and 8. The walls 2 and 3 of the element 1 are provided with bores, apertures or the like identified with reference numeral 9 and provided with diametrically oppositely located outwardly extending recesses 10 as illustrated. However, a single such recess could also be provided, or more than two could be provided. Similar reare not turned about their respectively longitudinal axes with reference to one another asis the case in FIG.
1. The connection between them is the same as discussed with reference to FIG. I.
In FIG. 2 there is additionally connected to the element 11 a further element 13 which may be of stripshaped configuration. The connection is accomplished by the connector or pin 12 having a head 14 which is turnably-although not necessarily releasably connected with the element 13. The projecting end of the element 12, that is the connector, is provided with two diametrically projecting engaging portions 15 and it will be appreciated that to connect the element 13 with the element 11 in releasable relationship it is simply necessary to align the portions 15 with the recesses of one of the apertures 9, to insert the connector 12 into the aperture 9 until the portions are located at the remote side of the wall in which the aperture 9 is provided, and then to turn the pin 12 about its axis until the portions 15 are moved out of alignment with the recesses 10. Such turning may for instance take place through 90 degrees and the elements 11 and 13 are then tightly but releasably connected with one another. Tolerance variations in the length of the projecting portion of the connector 12 may be overcome by providing a cam face around the margin of the apertures 9 which rises in direction away from the respective surface, or by utilizing the inherent elasticity and deflectability of certain plastics of which the various components may be made. It remains to be pointed out that in FIG. 2 the connector 12 is illustrated inserted through one of the apertures 9 but not yet turned to a locking position.
Coming finally to FIGS. 3 and 4, it will be seen that here I have provided a two-part structural element according to the present invention which can be used straight or in arcuately curved condition. If used straight, the part shown in FIG. 4 will not be utilized. If it is to be used in curved condition, then the part shown in FIG. 4 is employed. As shown in FIG. 3, the flanges 4a and 5a on the wall 2a are provided not only with the connecting means 6 (not shown) and 7 at their outer sides, but also with undercut coupling grooves 17 at the inner sides of the flanges. The coupling grooves 17 correspond to the groove 7 but extend transversely to the elongation of the latter, as clearly shown in FIG. 3. The inner sides are identified with reference numeral 16.
To convert the part in FIG. 3 to curved condition it is simply necessary to utilize the part shown in FIG. 4 which is identified with reference numeral 30 and curved in the illustrated manner. Of course a different curvature may be provided, as may several of the parts 3a be provided with one of the parts shown in FIG. 3, with the parts 3a having different degrees of curvature. In any case, the opposite axial ends of the part 3a are provided with undercut coupling heads 18 which are engageable in the grooves 17 and when this is done, the wall 2a is bent to the curvature of the wall or part 311. This is shown in FIG. 5.
The advantage of my present invention will be selfevident, as will be the degree to which it can enhance the play value of an erecting set utilizing it. As already pointed out all components may be made of synthetic plastic material, for instance of polyamide although other materials are of course also suitable.
It will be understood that each of the elements described above, or two or more together, may also find a useful application in other types of constructions differing from the types described above.
While the invention has been illustrated and described as embodied in a toy erecring set, it is not intended to be limited to the details shown, since various modifications and structural changes may be made without departing in any way from the spirit of the present invention.
Without further analysis, the foregoing will so fully reveal the gist of the present invention that others can by applying current knowledge readily adapt it for various applications without omitting features that from the standpoint of prior art fairly constitute essential characteristics of the generic or specific aspects of this invention and, therefore, such adaptations should and are intended to be comprehended within the meaning and range of equivalence of the following claims.
What is claimed as new and desired to be protected by Letters Patent is set forth in the appended claims:
1. In a toy erecting set, in combination, at least two elongated structural elements, at least one of said elements having a longitudinally extending first wall having parallel opposed planar major surfaces, said first wall being resiliently bendable transversely of its plane and provided with spaced ends; a pair of flanges extending from the respective ends of said wall to one side of the plane thereof and transversely to the elongation of said wall, each of said flanges having an axially outer side; said one element including an elongated second wall of strip-shaped configuration having opposite e nd portions, and said second wall being arcuately' curved within its general plane and relatively inflexible in its general plane compared to the flexibility of said first wall transversely of its general plane; detachably mating engaging means provided at said opposite end portions and on the axially inner sides of said flanges so that, after said engaging means are mated, said first wall is resiliently held into general conformity with the curvature of said second wall; and mutually cooperating connecting means provided on said axially outer sides of said flanges and on another of said elements.
2. In a toy erecting set as defined in claim 1, wherein at least said first wall of said one element is of synthetic plastic material.
3. In a toy erecting set as defined in claim 1, wherein at least said one element is of synthetic plastic material.
4. In a toy erecting set as defined in claim 1, said cooperating connecting means including an undercut groove in the axially outer side of one, and an undercut coupling head on the axially outer side of the other of said flanges.
5. In a toy erecting set as defined in claim 1, said mating engaging means being so configurated that, when it is in mated condition, the general plane of said first and second walls extend normal to one another.
6. In a toy erecting set as defined in claim 1, and further comprising coupling means including coupling apertures provided in said first and second walls.
7. In a toy erecting set as defined in claim 6, said coupling apertures each having a main portion bounded by a margin and each having a recessportion extending in said margin outwardly of said main portion; and said coupling means further comprising coupling elements each having a major body portion receivable in said main portion, and a projecting body portion extending i 7 laterally of said major. body portionand extendable through said recess portion from one to the other side of the respective wall, for enabling locking of the respective coupling element by turning of the major body portion thereof about its axis. y
8. In a toy erecting set, in combination, at least two elongated structural elements, at least one of said elements having a longitudinally extending first wall resiliently bendable transversely of its plane and provided with spaced ends; a pair of flanges extending from the respective ends of said first wall to one side of said plane; said one element including an elongated second flanges and on another of said elements.