US 3840105 A
A guide and alignment member for use in serial printing devices. The guide member makes possible a sizable increase in the number of type that may be printed in a given time frame. As the type elements approach the printing impact zone at high speed, some of them may still be oscillating from a previous impact, or may be misaligned. As these misaligned or vibrating elements move towards the impact zone, the guide member brings these elements into registry with the printing hammer. The result of this guiding process allows for greater speed of operation, since the type elements will be prevented for interfering or otherwise colliding with the striking hammer.
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent 1191 Kittredge I GUIDE AND ALIGNMENT MEMBER ['75] Inventor: Lloyd G. Kittredge, Trumbull,
 Assignee: Pitney-Bowes, lnc., Stamford, Conn.  Filed: June 18, 1973 211' Appl. No.: 371,151
' 52 U. S. c1. 197/53 [-51] Int. Cl.....- B4lj 1/32  Field of Search 197/18, 52, 53, 55, '48,
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,355,001 ll/1967 Reed .et al.. 197/53 X 3,371,766 3/1968 Staller 197/53 3,442,365 I 5/l969 Ragland et al 197/53 3,731,779 I 5/l973. Kondur 197/49 X 3,760,925 /l973 Bossi l97/53 [111 3, 40,105 [451 Oct. 8, 1974 Primary Iiraminer-Robert E. Pulfrey Assistant Examiner-R. T. Raider Attorney, Agent, or Firm-William D. Soltow, Jr.; Albert W. Scribner; Robert S. Solzman  ABSTRACT A guide and alignment member for use in serial printing devices. The guide member makes possible a sizable increase in the number of type that may be printed in a given time frame. As the type elements approach the printing impact zone at high speed, some of them may still be oscillating from a previous impact, or may be misaligned. As these misaligned or vi- 1 Claim, 3, Drawing Figures PATENTEDBET 81814 3.840.105
1 GUIDE AND ALIGNMENT MEMBER The invention pertains to serial printing devices, and more particularly to high speed serial printers having printfonts arranged upon a disc member which rotates the fonts past an impacting printing hammer.
Heretofore, several problems have been detected with high speed serial printers of the disc type. It has been noticed that after some time the printing fingers on the disc will tend to take a set, resulting in an uneven collimation of the printing fingers. Also, unless the printing disc is made to exacting tolerances, some of the printing fingers will be initially misaligned.
These misalignments contribute to uneven printing operation.
It has been noticed that an impacted printing finger will be put into vibration upon its return from its contact with the platen. Now, at low speed, the vibrations of the finger will sufficiently damp out as the printing disc rotates to new and subsequent print positions. As a result, no interference is encountered with the impacting hammer as the vibrating fingers move past the print hammer.
However, as the speed of operation is increased, interference with the print hammer is observed. This is so, because the perturbations of the previously struck printing fingers have not had time to sufficiently dissipate as the disc moves back and forth between print positions. i
The present invention seeks to correct alllof these aforementioned difficulties by guiding and'alignin'g the fingers as they approach the impacting zone.
The invention comprises a wire-like member which is rigidly positioned about the printing hammer. This wire-like member comes in contact with the printing fingers approaching the printing. station, so as to straighten and align them, and force them into registry with-the head of the print hammer. Not only are the fingers aligned and straightened, but they are forced out of a collision course with the reciprocating print hammer. Thus, the problem of hammer-finger interference is eliminated.
Another very useful advantage is likewise achieved by use of this guide member. The guide and alignment bar serves to position all the printing fingers at a given set position before impact is achieved, whereby impact energy is controlled to a greater degree. This results in providing even and uniform character imprinting.
Use, of the guide bar also has the advantage, in that the initial printing disc tolerances need not be as critical, and thus the cost of the printing disc is reduced.
It is an object of this invention to provide an improved serial printing apparatus;
It is another object of the'invention to provide a serial printing apparatus capable of trouble-free, high speed operation;
It is yetanother object of this invention to provide a low-cost serial printing apparatus; and
(arrows 16) as depicted in FIG. 2, the dihedral sections It is still another object of the invention to provide a means to control impact energy of disc printing fingers.
These and other objects of this invention will be bet ter understood and become more apparent with reference to the following detailed description and accompanying drawings, in which:
FIG. 1 is a prospective view of the guide and alignment member of this invention shown in situ;
FIG. 2 is a top view of the printing hammer and disc of a serial printer without the guide bar of this invention; and
FIG. 2a is a top view of the hammer and disc arrangement of FIG. 2 with the guide bar of the invention.
Generally speaking, the invention is for use in a serial printing apparatus comprising a printing hammer supported by a base member. The printing hammer is movable towards a printing station, where it contacts one of a plurality of type elements stationed at the printing station. The type elements move serially past the hammer until the desired type element arrives at the print station for printing. Means, such as a solenoid, is provided to actuate the print hammer.
The invention is for a guide member for guiding and aligning the type elements as they move towards the printing station. Theguide member is substantially adjacent the hammer and is disposed in such a way as to contact a portion of at least one type element moving transversely of, and approaching the impact axis of the hammer.
Now referring to FIG. 1, a serial printing apparatus containing the invention is depicted. A base member- 10 is shown which supports a printing hammer l1 illustrated in cutaway view. A disc 14 is made to rotate past the printing hammer as depicted by arrows 16. The disc can move in either clockwise or counterclockwise direction in seeking the next type to be printed. Thus, the correct type is located much sooner, than if the disc rotated in only one direction. The disc 14 contains a plurality of type elements or fingers 15 which each contain a character, and which radiate outwardly from a hub portion 17. The hub 17 of the disc is connected by shaft 18 to a stepping motor 29, which turns the disc.
The hammer 11 is caused to move towards the disc 14 as shown by arrow'2l,' when a desired type to be printed is stationed opposite the print hammer. The print hammer has a female dihedral printing head 22, which conforms with the male dihedral head 23 of the printing fingers 15. e
The guide and alignment bar 20 of this invention is fastened at its ends upon base member 10 by means of screw fasteners 19. v Y
The bar 20 generally curves inwardly from either end towards the type fingers 15. The mid-portion of the bar, generally illustrated by arrow- 30 is substantially straight.
Operation of the Device Operation of the invention will be described with reference to FIGS. 2 and 2a. FIG. 2 shows the hammer and disc arrangement aforementioned without the guide bar 20. FIG. 2a shows the same arrangement with the guide bar.
As the disc 14 is made to traverse past hammer 21 23 of fingers 15 which are misaligned or in a vibratory state, will be caused to interfere with approaching ham- 3 mer 11 as it comes forward (arrow 21) to provide for the next contact.
When the speed of operation increases, the incidence of a collision between the fingers 15 and the hammer I 11 is greater.
FIG. 2a illustrates the inventive solution to the above problem. The wire-like bar forces, by means of contact with the incoming fingers 15, all the sections 23 into a straight column. Since the mid-portion 30 of the bar 20 is substantially straight and projects the dihedral sections 23 of the fingers ahead of the hammer 11, collision or interference of these parts is precluded. Because all of the type sections 23 are caused to align as shown, each are struck having the same distance from the platen (not shown). This provides an evenness of print, assuming other compensating factors regarding type face area are provided.
It has thus been demonstrated, that the present invention will fulfill all the objects subscribed to hereinbefore.
As will be obvious to any skilled practitioner, there are many modifications to the invention which will present themselves.
For example, fasteners 19 may be any suitable attaching means in addition to the screws illustrated. Bar 20 can take the shape of a wire-or bar-like element. Means may also be provided for changing the distance of the bar and disc with respect to the platen and each other. Friction reducing materials maybe employed to provide a smoothness of operation of the contacting parts, and the curved portions of the bar can be made more or less steep as needed, for faster or slower operatron.
All such modifications as naturally occur to those skilled in the art, are deemed to fall within the purview and scope of the intended invention as presented by the appended claims. The illustrative embodiment depicted in the attached drawings is considered merely as an exemplary representation of one of the ways of practicing the invention. I
What is claimed is:
1. A guide and alignment apparatus for use in a serial-type printing device comprising a printing hammer for impacting a plurality of type elements disposed upon a rotatable disc moving transversely of an axial impact axis of said printing hammer, said guide and alignment apparatus comprising:
a base member for supporting said printing hammerfor axial movement along said impact axis; and
a curvilinear guide and alignment member supported by said base member in substantially adjacent relationship with said printing hammer and so disposed as to contact a number of type elements as said type elements move transversely of, and approach said impact axis of the printing hammer, said guide and alignment member comprising a section of wire which is fastened at its ends to said base, said wire curving inwardly towards said type elements and having a substantially straight mid-portion disposed transversely adjacent said impact axis of the printing hammer and contacting and supporting a number of type elements as they approach the impact axis of said printing hammer, said guide and alignment member aligning said type elements at a given set position before impact is achieved.