Search Images Maps Play YouTube News Gmail Drive More »
Sign in
Screen reader users: click this link for accessible mode. Accessible mode has the same essential features but works better with your reader.

Patents

  1. Advanced Patent Search
Publication numberUS3610223 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication date5 Oct 1971
Filing date2 Mar 1970
Priority date2 Mar 1970
Publication numberUS 3610223 A, US 3610223A, US-A-3610223, US3610223 A, US3610223A
InventorsGreen Wallace V
Original AssigneeGreen Wallace V
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Automatically operated spring-type projectile projecting device
US 3610223 A
Abstract  available in
Images(3)
Previous page
Next page
Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent [72] Inventor Wallace V. Green 1253 B East Noeta St., Ontario, Calif. 91761 [21] Appl. No. 15,752

[22] Filed Mar. 2, 1970 [45] Patented Oct. 5, 1971 [54] AUTOMATICALLY OPERATED SPRING-TYPE PROJECTILE PROJECTING DEVICE Primary ExaminerRichard C. Pinkham Assistant Examiner-William R. Browne Attorney-Manse] A. Gray ABSTRACT: A tennis ball launcher described wherein one ball at a time is selected from a hopper containing a supply of balls and positioned in a ball feed mechanism on a pair of spaced parallel supports. A mounted rotatable cylinder through which the balls pass from the hopper to the ball feed assembly has a spiral selector fixedly connected thereto. The selector extends into the hopper. The ball feed assembly is mounted independently of the rotatable cylinder and is vertically adjustable. A spring-loaded striker is released from a cocked position and passes between the parallel supports to impact the ball and propel the ball from the launcher. The striker is moved to a cocked position by a striker trigger assembly having a trigger actuator which engages a pin on the striker to move the trigger to a cocked position where the striker is released by the trigger actuator being cammed out of contact with the pin.

PATENTEDum 5 I97! SHEET 1 UF 3 FIG. I

IN VENTORJ WALLACE V. GREEN PATENTEUUEI 51971 3.610.223

sum 2 0F 3 lNVENTOR-S FIG. 2 WALLACE GREEN PATENTEU am 51971 SHEET 3 [IF 3 FIG, 3

FlG.5

INVENTORS WALLACE V GREEN AUTOMATICALLY OPERATED SPRING-TYPE PROJECTILE PROJECTING DEVICE The present invention relates to an apparatus for propelling balls, more particularly, to a machine for launching tennis balls in either Iobs or line drives.

In order for an individual to improve his tennis game it is necessary that he practice continuously to return different types of tennis shots. These shots are generally line drives which have a relatively low trajectory and lobs which are highly arched shots. It is difficult for such an individual to persuade a fellow tennis player to continuously deliver such shots so that the individual may practice returning them. Further, it is difficult for another tennis player to continuously make shots to the individual practicing of sufficient force for the long periods of time required in order for the individual to properly practice such shots. While various forms of apparatus have been proposed for propelling tennis balls such apparatus have been generally unsatisfactory since they are unduly complicated in structure, difficult to operate and cannot be adjusted to vary the force and direction in which various tennis balls are propelled to the individual practicing.

It is therefore the principal object of the present invention to provide a novel and improved apparatus for launching tennis balls.

It is another object of the present invention to provide a tennis ball launcher which can propel repetitively a number of tennis balls at an individual from different directions and with different force.

According to one aspect of the present invention a tennis ball launcher may comprise a hopper for retaining a supply of tennis balls and a selector for selecting one ball at a time from the hopper. A ball feed mechanism receives a selected ball from the selector and is provided with means for holding a ball in a launching position. A spring-loaded striker is engageable with the ball in the launching position and is moved into a cocked position by a releaseable means. Means are provided for releasing the striker from a cocked position so that the released striker impacts the ball in the launching position to propel the ball from the launcher.

Other objects and advantages of the present invention will be apparent upon reference to the accompanying description when taken in conjunction with the following drawings, which are exemplary, wherein:

FIG. I is a side elevational view of the tennis ball launcher of the present invention with a cover panel being removed and a portion of the hopper being cut away;

FIG. 2 is a sectional view taken along the line 2-2 of FIG.

FIG. 3 is a sectional view but in enlarged scale of detail A indicated in FIG. 2;

FIG. 4 is a side elevational view but in enlarged scale of the trigger assembly for releasing the striker;

FIG. 5 is a sectional view taken along the line 55 of FIG. 1 and showing the rod and roller for operating the trigger actuator; and

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of one end of the striker shaft and the energizing spring for cocking the striker.

Proceeding next to the drawings wherein like reference symbols indicate the same parts throughout the various views a specific embodiment of the present invention will be described in detail.

The tennis ball launcher of the present invention is indicated generally at 10 in FIG. 1 and comprises a frame 11 mounted upon a pair of wheels 12 at one end of the frame. At the other end of the frame there extends a handle 13 and a screwjack 14 is provided as a stand for positioning the launcher and for adjusting the direction and height in which balls will be launched. The handle 13 functions to both transport and move the launcher to different positions on a tennis court and also to change the direction in which a ball is launched.

The frame 11 as shown in the drawings is covered by removable panels which are not shown.

In the upper portion of the frame 1] there is provided a hopper 15 having an opening 16 in its lower end. Rotatably mounted in the lower end of the hopper is a spiral selector 17 extending upwardly from a rotatably mounted cylinder 18 upon which is secured a gear 19 meshing with a horizontally positioned worm gear 20. Rotation of the worm gear 20 will cause theselector 17 to rotate about a vertical axis. The constantly rotating selector will select one ball at a time and also agitates the supply of balls in the hopper to prevent any jamming of the balls therein.

The worm gear 20 is mounted on a horizontal shaft 21 upon which is mounted a pulley 22 for a v belt 23. The driving of this V-belt will be subsequently described.

Immediately below the ball selector there is positioned a ball feed mechanism 24 which is substantially cylindrical in shape and vertically positioned within the framing. The ball feed mechanism is vertically adjustable to straight shot" and lob positions. At the lower end of the ball feed mechanism there is provided a pair of spaced parallel supporting rods 24 which support a ball in the launching position.

Pivotally mounted on the side of theball feed mechanism is a ball-retaining rod 26 at the upper endkof which there is a retaining arm portion 27 which extends into the ball feed mechanism so as to retain a ball in the position as shown in FIG. 2 until the striker is cocked. At the lower end of the rod 26 there is provided an actuating arm 28 which is engageable by a pine 29 so as to be rotated and release a ball so the ball drops into the ball-launching position. The pin 29 is mounted upon a gear 30 which in turn is fixed upon a rotatable shaft 31. This shaft and gear structure will be further described in detail.

The shaft 31 which supports the gear 30 has one end journaled at 32 and its other end is provided with a socket 33 as may be seen in FIG. 3 in which is mounted a bearing 34 for journaling one end of a striker shaft 35. The other end of the striker shaft is journaling a pillow block 36 shown in FIG. 6. A striker 37 is fixed to the shaft 35 by a pin 38. The upper end of the striker is bevelled as shown at 39 and passes between the parallel supports 25 to impact a ball 40 which is supported in the ball-launching position.

The gear 30 is driven by a worm 41 fixed upon a horizontal shaft 42 which is driven through a V-belt drive 43 by an electric drive motor 44. The shaft 42 is also provided with a pulley 45 which supports the other end of the V-belt 23. The V-belt 23 passes around idlers 46 as may be seen in FIG. 2.

The striker 37 is spring loaded by means of a spiral spring 47 which has one end fixed to a pin 48 in the framework of the apparatus and the other end 49 fixed to the end of the striker shaft 35.

As may be seen in FIG. 3 the striker shaft 35 is rotatably mounted but is free wheeling with respect to the driven gear shaft 31. Also fixedly mounted to the gear shaft 31 by means of a pin is a striker trigger assembly indicated generally at 50 and shown in greater detail in FIG. 4. The striker trigger assembly comprises a trigger actuator 51 which is in the form of a crank lever and pivotally mounted at 52. The other end of the actuator is notched at 53 and receives a pin 54 extending from a spring-biased rod 55 having an arm 56 which is engageable with the striker 37. The trigger actuator 51 is engaged by a pin 56 which is in the form of a rod as may be seen in FIG. 5 and may be set in several different positions as shown in FIG. 1 in order to release the striker from one of several predetermined positions with each position representing a different degree of cocking.

In operation, the ball feed mechanism is first vertically adjusted so that the ball will be launched in either a straight shot as indicated by the arrows 60 in FIG. 1 or in a lob shot as by the arrow 61 in the same FIG. The rotation of the worm gear shaft 31 and the gear 30 in the clockwise direction as indicated by the arrows 62 in FIG. 1 will carry the striker trigger in the same direction with the actuator 56 engaging the striker 37 and carrying the striker in the clockwise or cocking direction. The cocking of the striker will continue until the trigger actuator 51 contacts a pin 57. At this time the trigger will be actuated so that the arm 56 is released from engagement with the striker 37.and the striker under the force of the coil spring is pivoted rapidly in a counterclockwise direction so that the upper end of the striker impacts the ball 40 and propels the ball from the apparatus. The striker 37 continues this movement until it engages a cushion 63 mounted on a damper air cylinder 64. The striker 37 will remain upon the cushion 63 until the striker trigger rotates sufficiently so that the trigger actuator arm 56 again engages the striker and carries the striker in a clockwise direction to cock the same.

With this arrangement it can be seen that the tennis balls will be propelled successively from the launcher.

By the use of suitable controls it is possible to stop the operation of the apparatus immediately after the striker has impacted a tennis ball so that the striker is not cocked.

Thus it can be seen that the present invention has disclosed a tennis ball launcher which is simple in structure and operation and can deliver a succession of tennis balls in different directions and with different degrees of force.

It will be understood that this invention is subject to modification in order to adapt it to different uses and conditions.

What is claimed is:

I. A tennis ball launcher comprising a hopper for a supply of tennis balls, a selector for selecting one ball at a time from said hopper, a hollow ball feed mechanism for receiving a selected ball from said selector, means on said ball feed mechanism for holding a ball in launching position, a springloaded striker engageable with the ball in the launching position, means for moving the striker to a cocked position, and means for releasing said striker from a cocked position whereby the released striker propelled by spring energy impacts the ball in the launching position to propel the ball from the launcher, a rotatably mounted cylinder positioned below the hopper for receiving balls from the hopper, said ball feed mechanism being cylindrical and in a substantially vertical position with the upper end thereof opening into said hopper and said ball-holding means being at the lower end of said ball feed mechanism, said selector being an upright spiral and fixedly connected to the upper end of said rotatably mounted cylinder and extending into the hopper, and means drivingly connected to said rotatable mounted cylinder and the selector for rotating said cylinder and selector on a common vertical axis.

2. A tennis ball launcher as claimed in claim 1 with said means for moving the striker comprising a rotatably mounted shaft, a striker trigger assembly fixed on said shaft and extending radially therefrom, and means on said striker trigger engageable with said striker to move the striker into a cooked position.

3. A tennis ball launcher as claimed in claim 2 with a trigger actuator on said striker trigger assembly to disengage said striker-moving means whereby said striker is released to im pact a ball.

4. A tennis ball launcher as claimed in claim 3 and comprising a pin on said striker engageable by said trigger actuator to operate the striker.

5. A tennis ball launcher as claimed in claim 4 wherein said pin has a plurality of adjustable positions so as to cause the striker to be released at different angular degrees of rotation of the striker.

6. A tennis ball launcher as claimed in claim 2 with said shaft rotating continuously so that said striker is moved into a

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US2057599 *26 Oct 193413 Oct 1936Luella J SerranoTennis practice machine
US3128752 *5 Feb 196214 Apr 1964Andersen Reidar EBall projector having clutch and spring means causing a striker head to contact a ball in its path of travel
US3207147 *21 Nov 196021 Sep 1965Giovagnoli Paul SBaseball pitching machine
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3785358 *17 Jan 197215 Jan 1974Meyer Machine CoTennis ball propelling machine
US3867921 *26 Oct 197325 Feb 1975Politzer Eugene JimSpring type ball throwing device
US4014310 *27 Mar 197529 Mar 1977Laporte Jean MichelTransportable target throwing apparatus
US4086903 *13 Apr 19762 May 1978Scott Jack CTennis ball throwing machine
US4122822 *13 Dec 197631 Oct 1978Kurt ScheiwillerSpring type apparatus for the projecting of footballs and the like
US4168695 *11 Oct 197725 Sep 1979Rallymaster, Inc.Portable ball throwing machine having oscillatory feature
US4185608 *27 Aug 197529 Jan 1980Omnitec Products CorporationSpring type ball projecting device
US4391264 *23 Feb 19815 Jul 1983Abraham Jeffrey LBall pitching apparatus
US4646709 *28 Feb 19853 Mar 1987Sumsky Filial Kharkkovskogo Politeknicheskogo InstitutaBall throwing machine
US4669444 *18 Jan 19852 Jun 1987Terry B. WhitfieldBall tossing apparatus
US4709685 *24 Oct 19841 Dec 1987Sumsky Filial Kharkovskogo Politekhnicheskogo InstitutaBall throwing device
US4714069 *5 Jun 198622 Dec 1987Ulrich Harold CVolleyball setting machine
US5195652 *15 Mar 199123 Mar 1993Jedaho B.V.Apparatus for regularly delivering ball-shaped objects
US5282454 *20 Oct 19921 Feb 1994Cm Support, Inc.Jam-free bulk loader for a paintball gun
US5676120 *31 Jul 199514 Oct 1997Joseph; John GibsonMechanical throwing device
US5816232 *15 May 19976 Oct 1998Cm Support, Inc.Paintball loader having active feed mechanism
US5888155 *8 Jan 199830 Mar 1999Lee; Suk GyuAutomatic tennis ball supply device
US6213110 *16 Dec 199910 Apr 2001Odyssey Paintball Products, Inc.Rapid feed paintball loader
US63279538 Jun 199911 Dec 2001Armatec Gmbh & Cie. KgDevice for storing projectile balls and for feeding them to the projectile chamber of a hand weapon
US64157814 Nov 19999 Jul 2002Aldo PerroneBulk loader for paintball gun
US722261715 Jul 200529 May 2007Aj Acquisition I LlcDevice for storing projectile balls and feeding them into the projectile chamber of a hand gun
US723445615 Jul 200526 Jun 2007Kee Action SportsDevice for feeding balls into the ball chamber of a handgun
US742889914 Oct 200430 Sep 2008Kee Action Sports I LlcDevice for storing projectile balls and feeding them into the projectile chamber of a gun
US744500228 Apr 20054 Nov 2008Kee Action Sports I LlcDifferential detection system for controlling feed of a paintball loader
US7549415 *30 Aug 200423 Jun 2009Karellas John JSoccer ball dispensing, storing and transporting device
US756847826 Oct 20054 Aug 2009Dye Precision, Inc.Paintball loader
US76946698 Dec 200513 Apr 2010Kee Action Sports I, LlcPaintball loader feed mechanism
US771246325 May 200711 May 2010Kee Action Sports I LlcSelf-regulating valve assembly
US777056920 Aug 200710 Aug 2010KEE Action and Sports I LLCProcedure and device for feeding balls into the projectile chamber of a handgun
US783238911 Oct 200616 Nov 2010Kee Action Sports I LlcMagnetic drive bypass system for paintball loader
US78542209 May 200721 Dec 2010Terry NeumasterStretchable tension paintball agitator with deflecting arms and displacement tips
US792183515 Sep 200612 Apr 2011Kee Action Sports I LlcWireless projectile loader system
US804719022 Oct 20081 Nov 2011Dye Precision, Inc.Paintball loader
US804719118 Mar 20081 Nov 2011Kee Action Sports I LlcMechanical drive assist for active feed paintball loader
US806134229 Feb 200822 Nov 2011Kee Action Sports I LlcPaintball loader
US809154126 Jun 200710 Jan 2012Kee Action Sports I LlcDevice for feeding balls into the ball chamber of a handgun
US810011929 Mar 200624 Jan 2012Hall David LPaintball system
US81044623 Nov 200831 Jan 2012Kee Action Sports I LlcDifferential detection system for controlling feed of a paintball loader
US81719252 Jul 20098 May 2012Dye Precision, Inc.Paintball loader
US823503025 May 20107 Aug 2012Dye Precision, Inc.Paintball loader
US844863111 Apr 201128 May 2013Kee Action Sports I LlcWireless projectile loader system
US856160021 Nov 201122 Oct 2013Kee Action Sports I LlcPaintball loader
US874622530 Jan 201210 Jun 2014Kee Action Sports I LlcPaintball loader drive system
US882030730 Apr 20122 Sep 2014Dye Precision, Inc.Paintball loader
US9067118 *18 Jan 201230 Jun 2015Ball Training Machine ApsDevice for ejecting balls
US921286421 Oct 201315 Dec 2015Kee Action Sports I LlcPaintball loader
US9446297 *2 Sep 201120 Sep 2016Holding Darmon-JofreDevice for throwing balls
US94648629 Jun 201411 Oct 2016Gi Sportz Direct LlcPaintball loader drive system
US965802720 Jun 201423 May 2017Gi Sportz Direct LlcCompressed gas gun having built-in, internal projectile feed mechanism
US20050217653 *28 Apr 20056 Oct 2005National Paintball SupplyDifferential detection system for controlling feed of a paintball loader
US20060042611 *30 Aug 20042 Mar 2006Karellas John JSoccer ball dispensing, storing and transporting device
US20060081233 *14 Oct 200420 Apr 2006Heddies AndresenDevice for storing projectile balls and feeding them into the projectile chamber of a gun
US20060081234 *15 Jul 200520 Apr 2006Heddies AndresenDevice for storing projectile balls and feeding them into the projectile chamber of a hand gun
US20060086347 *26 Oct 200527 Apr 2006Daniel HedbergPaintball loader
US20060254572 *29 Mar 200616 Nov 2006Hall David LPaintball system
US20070017494 *15 Jul 200525 Jan 2007Heddies AndresenDevice for feeding balls into the ball chamber of a handgun
US20070017495 *15 Jul 200525 Jan 2007Heddies AndresenProcedure and device for feeding balls into the projectile chamber of a handgun
US20090266349 *2 Jul 200929 Oct 2009Dye Precision, Inc.Paintball loader
US20100095942 *22 Oct 200822 Apr 2010Dye Precision, Inc.Paintball loader
US20130210555 *2 Sep 201115 Aug 2013Holdings Darmon-JofreDevice for throwing balls
US20140034034 *18 Jan 20126 Feb 2014Ball Training Machine ApsDevice for ejecting balls
US20170087446 *25 Sep 201530 Mar 2017Bally Gaming, Inc.Roulette ball launching system
USRE437567 Jan 200523 Oct 2012Kee Action Sports I LlcRapid feed paintball loader with pivotable deflector
USRE459869 Mar 200626 Apr 2016Gi Sportz Direct LlcSpring loaded feed mechanism for paintball loader
CN103338825A *2 Sep 20112 Oct 2013达蒙乔夫控股公司Device for throwing balls
CN103338825B *2 Sep 20116 Apr 2016达蒙乔夫控股公司掷球装置
DE2651335A1 *10 Nov 197623 Jun 1977Kurt ScheiwillerVerfahren und geraet zum gerichteten beschleunigen von baellen, insbesondere fussbaellen
EP0447006A1 *15 Mar 199118 Sep 1991Jedaho B.V.Process and device for regularly delivering ball-shaped objects
EP1653189A1 *26 Oct 20043 May 2006Daniel HedbergPaintball loader
WO1980001835A1 *28 Feb 19804 Sep 1980S MorganVolleyball practice machine
Classifications
U.S. Classification124/16, 124/36, 124/50
International ClassificationA63B69/40, A63B47/00
Cooperative ClassificationA63B2047/004, A63B69/408
European ClassificationA63B69/40E4