Patent application title: FLYING DISC HAVING DYNAMICALLY CHANGING PROPERTIES
Martin Wollner (Livonia, MI, US)
IPC8 Class: AA63B6510FI
Class name: Amusement devices: toys aerodynamically supported or retarded spinning disc (e.g., flying saucer)
Publication date: 2010-03-18
Patent application number: 20100068966
The inventions are intended for the design, production and use of flying
discs used in popular sports such as Ultimate and Disc Golf,
incorporating a new set of mechanisms within the discs that provides a
whole new range of capabilities, in particular, the ability to implement
dynamic changes to the disc's flight characteristics throughout the
course of its flight. These new mechanisms, and the resulting set of new
effects they provide, are intended to be introduced into new flying disc
designs, and also incorporated into existing designs to complement and
enhance their performance.
1. A flying disc assembly comprising:a central plate defining a top
surface, a bottom surface, a center and a plate periphery;an outer rim
extending along said plate periphery away from said top surface; anda
mass disposed adjacent to said bottom surface, wherein at least a portion
of said mass moves outwardly toward said plate periphery when said flying
disc assembly spins about said center to enact dynamic changes to flight
characteristics of said flying disc assembly as it spins and is flown.
2. The invention in claim 1, including a fluid filled diaphragm disposed adjacent to said central plate having elastic properties, herein know as the "central reservoir", wherein fluid inside said fluid filled diaphragm is the substance of said mass.
3. The invention in claim 2, further containing near or within said outer rim, a distal fluid filled reservoir having elastic properties.
4. The invention in claim 3 further containing a set of portals and tubes that enable the transfer of fluid between the central and distal reservoirs, such that spinning the flying disc assembly around its center generates centrifugal forces that propel some of the fluid from the central reservoir toward the plate periphery of the flying disc assembly, and into the distal fluid filled reservoir, wherein the amount of centrifugal force generated is proportional to the rate of axial spin, thus, the faster the spin; the more fluid is shifted from the central fluid filled reservoir to the distal fluid filled reservoir and as the rate of spin for the flying disc assembly slows down, the elastic property of the distal fluid filled reservoir returns the displaced fluid back into the central reservoir.
5. A flying disc assembly as set forth in claim 1 wherein said mass includes a plurality of mass portions each movable independently of the others.
6. A flying disc assembly as set forth in claim 5 including a central hollow cylinder directing the movement of each of said plurality of mass portions.
7. A flying disc assembly as set forth in claim 6 wherein each of said plurality of mass portions includes solid masses.
8. A flying disc assembly as set forth in claim 7 including a plurality of springs forcing each of said plurality of mass portions toward a center of said central plate.
9. A flying disc assembly as set forth in claim 8 including end stops fixedly secured to said bottom side of said central plate against which each of said plurality of springs applies a force to each of the plurality of mass portions such that said plurality of mass portions tend toward the center of the central plate when said plurality of springs overcome centrifugal force created during flight of said flying disc assembly.
10. A flying disc assembly comprising:a central plate defining a top surface, a bottom surface, a center and a plate periphery;a slot fixedly secured to said bottom surface extending down away therefrom;an outer rim extending along said plate periphery away from said top surface; anda plurality of masses each removably securable to said central plate within said slot, wherein each of said plurality of masses defines a different characteristic such that each of said plurality of masses may be used with said flying disc assembly independently of the other of said plurality of masses whereby selection of which of said plurality of masses to secure to said central plate is based on a defined flight characteristic of the particular one of the plurality of masses chosen.
11. A flying disc assembly as set forth in claim 10 wherein each of said plurality of masses is cigar-shaped.
12. A flying disc assembly as set forth in claim 11 wherein each of said plurality of masses includes an elastic end.
13. A method of controlling a flight of a flying disc assembly having a central plate spun about its center and a mass movable in relation to the central plate, the method comprising the steps of:throwing the flying disc assembly into the air in a manner that imparts spin thereon about its center;moving a portion of the mass with respect to the central plate to alter the characteristics of the flight of the flying disc assembly during the flight; andreturning the portion of the mass that was moved back toward its original position as the flight ends.
14. A method as set forth in claim 13 wherein the step of moving the portion of mass changes a distribution of weight with respect to the center of the central plate.
15. A method as set forth in claim 14 wherein the step of moving the portion of mass includes the step of changing rotational inertia of the flying disc assembly.
16. A method as set forth in claim 13 wherein the step of moving the portion of mass includes changing the shape of the mass.
17. A method as set forth in claim 13 wherein the step of returning the portion of mass back toward its original position includes the step of changes a distribution of weight with respect to the center of the central plate.
18. A method as set forth in claim 14 wherein the step of returning the portion of mass back toward its original position includes the step of changing rotational inertia of the flying disc assembly.
19. A method as set forth in claim 13 wherein the step of returning the portion of mass back toward its original position includes the step of changing the shape of the mass.
This patent application claims priority to a provisional patent
application having application No. 61/097,988.
1. Field of the Invention
The invention relates to the art of flying discs for use in various disc sports, and more particularly, to the design of flying discs having features for controlling flight characteristics.
2. Description of the Related Art
Flying discs are used in many recreational sporting activities. Popular flying disc sports include, but are not limited to: Ultimate; Double-Disc Court; MTA (Maximum Time Aloft) competitions, Distance throwing competitions; throw and catch games, and the sport of Disc Golf Among the preferred discs used in each of these sports and recreational activities, there are wide ranges of desired characteristics, including, but not limited to: Strength of throw required, for example, requiring a strong throw from an experienced player, or a weaker throw from a beginner. Flight characteristics, for example, the tendency of the disc to "Fade" to the right or to the left as the disc slows down near the end of its flight, or the tendency to fly straight. Disc "Stability", which is the capacity to be released at high speeds and/or into a head wind, and resist "flipping" (a rotation of the planar axis of the disc that occurs in response to rotational acceleration of the disc around the center axis). A disc designed with features that provide a high degree of stability (known as "over-stable" discs) can be released at high speeds without flipping, however, as the disc decelerates near the end of its flight, it will fade (rotating back upon the same planar axis it was resisting upon the release). Discs designed with features that provide a low degree of stability don't fade as much near the end of their flight. Disc "Glide", the capability to maintain aloft for a long time, providing longer flight distance. Discs that are flat don't glide as well as those shaped like a dome. Over-stability also diminishes glide capability. Trick shot capabilities, for example, rolling the disc on the ground, or skipping it off the ground as it flies. The material the disc is made of, which in turn affects the weight, flight characteristics, as well as durability, grip ability, and flexibility.
Players of most disc sports utilize only one disc, however, in the sport of Disc Golf, players typically carry several, perhaps dozens of discs, each of which is used for its particular set of flight characteristics, in order to address the wide variety of throws required to play. Similar to the various clubs used in the sport of conventional ball golf, Disc Golf players use different "Drivers", "Mid-Ranges" and "Putters" for long, medium, and short shots, respectively.
Disc Golf Drivers (the long distance golf discs) typically require higher degrees of throw strength, and have more stability, but provide less glide during flight, and exhibit more fade at the end of the flight. Shorter-range discs typically exhibit the opposite characteristics. The flight characteristics of Drivers result from designing discs with wider contours in the outer rim, and have more flatness in the center plate. Also, the distribution of weight in Drivers is typical heavier toward the outer rim, known as con-centric weight distribution, as opposed to center-centric weight distribution typically found in the shorter-range discs.
The manufacturers of Disc Golf discs strive to create discs that address every kind of shot that may be encountered in play. Top disc manufacturers each provide hundreds of different combinations of models and weights, and are constantly creating new designs and materials. However, current disc manufacturing technology uses fixed shapes and fixed weight distributions, and thus suffers from having to settle with the designs that compromise overall performance for the sake of tradeoffs between desired flight characteristics.
Jim Kenner, the owner of DisCraft, Inc., the world leader in disc sports, has stated "There is always a trade-off between stability and glide. You either have one or the other. The trick is to design a disc that can be released at very high speeds and yet still glide a long way."
U.S. Pat. No. 5,531,624 (Dunipace) describes, in great detail, the need for disc designs that provide optimal overall performance. However, because of the tradeoffs imposed by the conventional technology used, Dunipace admits "The present inventor has recognized there is still room for additional improvement in the design of flying discs."
Accordingly, it is desirable to develop a mechanism by which flying discs can be made to dynamically change while in flight, and thus provide a whole new range of capabilities. By utilizing the weight shift and dynamic morphology changing effects (described below), flying discs can, at last, be designed to perform in a great variety of flight patterns, which are unachievable without these capabilities. For example, the features characteristic of high-speed discs can be implemented during the high-speed portion of the flight, and then transition into features characteristic of low speed discs during the low-speed portion of flight. The designers of discs can thus pick and choose certain flight characteristics to appear or disappear during various phases of flight. This means no more compromising, and no more settling for trade-offs when designing new high performance discs, or when retro-fitting these new effects onto existing designs.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
A flying disc assembly includes a center plate defining a top surface, a bottom surface, a center and a plate periphery. An outer rim extends along the plate periphery away from the top surface. The flying disc assembly also includes a mass disposed adjacent to the bottom surface. The mass defines an outer mass periphery such that the outer mass periphery expands when the flying disc assembly spins about its center. The expansion of the mass beyond its outer mass periphery enacts dynamic changes to the flight characteristics of the disc assembly as it spins and is flown.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
Advantages of the invention will be readily appreciated as the same becomes better understood by reference to the following detailed description when considered in connection with the accompanying drawings, wherein:
FIG. 1 is a cross-sectional side view of one embodiment of the invention at rest;
FIG. 2 is a cross-sectional side view of the embodiment in FIG. 1 in flight;
FIG. 3 is a top view of one embodiment of the invention;
FIG. 4 is a bottom view, partially cut away, of the invention shown to be spinning;
FIG. 5 is a cross-sectional side view of a first alternative embodiment of the invention;
FIG. 6 is a bottom view of a second alternative embodiment;
FIG. 7 is an exploded perspective view of a third embodiment of the invention; and
FIG. 8 is an exploded perspective view of a fourth alternative embodiment of the invention.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS
Referring to FIGS. 1 and 2, the device is a flying disc 10, thrown in the normal fashion consistent with flying discs. The flying disc 10 can be thrown for fun and enjoyment, or used in various disc sports including Disc Golf and Distance competitions.
At rest (FIG. 1), a center plate 12 of disc encasement contains a fluid filled diaphragm 13 made of an elastic material. An outer rim 22 includes an outer rim cavity 23, which also contains a fluid diaphragm 25 made of elastic material. A series of holes or portals 11 and connecting tubes 27 connect the inner 13 and outer 25 diaphragms, such that they act as a set of reservoirs, allowing the fluid to flow between them. In one embodiment, the center plate 12 has a central hole concentric with the center 18 allowing a portion of the fluid filled diaphragm 13 to extend above the top surface 14 of the central plate 12, graphically represented by dashed line 19.
When the disc 10 is thrown (FIG. 2), it is naturally spun around the center axis 18, generating centrifugal forces that propel some of the fluid 34 from the inner reservoir or fluid filled diaphragm 13 toward an outer radius of the disc 10, through the connecting tubes 27, into the outer reservoir or fluid filled diaphragm 25. The amount of centrifugal force generated is proportional to the rate of the spin, thus, the faster the spin, the more fluid is shifted from the inner 13 to the outer 25 reservoirs. As the disc's spin slows down near the end of its flight, the elastic property of the diaphragms 13, 25 returns the displaced fluid back into the center reservoir 13. These shifts in fluid between the center of the disc and the outer rim in response to the axial rotational speed are herein referred to as the spin shift effect. While a portion of the fluid 34 may stay in the outer reservoirs 25, it is contemplated that all of the fluid 34 that was moved to the outer reservoirs 25 from the inner reservoir 13 is returned to the inner reservoir 13 as the spinning of the disc 10 decelerates to zero.
The spin shift effect is the mechanism upon which additional effects (described below) are implemented, which in turn creates dynamic flight-altering effects upon the disc 10 while in flight. The volume and flow rate of fluid 34 moving between diagrams 13, 25 during spin shift effects are key factors in controlling the magnitude and the characteristics of these dynamic flight-altering effects. Varying the following specifications in various discs designed upon these principles can control this fluid flow: Fluid viscosity: If the fluid is thicker, it will slow the rate of flow between diaphragms, resulting in a slower transition of these effects. If the fluid is thinner, the opposite takes place. Fluid density: The denser the fluid the more pronounced the weight shift effect (described below). Length and diameter of the connecting tubes number of connecting tubes: Longer tubes and/or tubes with smaller diameters, or less number of tubes also result in a slower flow rate. Elasticity of the diaphragms and/or connecting tubes: Lesser elasticity of these components will also result in decreased flow rate. The volume of fluid present within the diaphragms and tubes: Less fluid means less total flow.
As the disc spin-up occurs, and fluid is shifted away from the center 18 of the central plate 12 toward the outer rim 22, there is a shift in the disc's weight distribution, from the center 18 of the disc 10 to the outer rim 22, so the disc 10 develops a more con-centric weight distribution. As the disc 10 spins-down, the fluid 34 shifts back to the center, and thus the disc 10 develops a more center-centric weight distribution. This shift in weight distribution between the center 18 of the disc 10 and the outer rim 22 is herein referred to as the weight shift effect. This effect is the means by which dynamic weight distribution changes are implemented during the disc's flight. For example, conventional discs designed for long distance throws typically use more con-centric weight distributions that maximize spin when released at high speed. On the contrary, discs designed for shorter distances typically use more center-centric weight distributions for shorter straighter flights. By incorporating the weight shift effect, discs can be designed with con-centric weight distribution during the high-speed phase of the flight, and then transition to center-centric weight distribution as the disc spins down near the end of its flight. The result of this design is a disc that maximizes spin upon high-speed release, as high-speed discs are designed for, and then finish straight, as low-speed discs are designed for.
The weight shift effect also changes the properties of rotational inertia displayed by the disc 10. As the fluid shifts back to the inner diaphragm 13 in the later phases of the disc's flight, and the weight distribution becomes more center-centric due to the weight shift effect, the free-flying disc 10 will increase its rotational speed due to the same laws of physics that cause figure skaters performing a spin to speed up when they pull their arms in. The result is a disc flight that has an extra burst of rotational speed as the disc flight winds down. This increase in rotational speed as a result of the weight shift effect in the later phases of the disc's flight is herein referred to as the fluid torque effect.
The shifting of fluid 34 within the disc 10 can also be used to alter the outer facets and contours of the disc 10, herein referred to as the dynamic morphology changing effect. This effect is the means by which dynamic changes to the shape of the disc are implemented during various phases of its flight. For example, conventional discs designed for long distance throws use wide rim contours that resist "flipping" when released at high speed. On the contrary, discs designed for shorter distances use smaller rim contours that provide straighter flights and require less throwing force. By incorporating the dynamic morphology changing effect, discs can be designed to effectively change the rim contour by adding mass to the outer rim 22 during the high-speed phase of the flight, and then changing the rim contour back as the disc winds down near the end of its flight. The result of this design is a disc 10 that resists "flipping" upon high-speed release, and then finishes without fading.
In addition, the dynamic form effect designs can utilize an inner reservoir 13 that exposes the elastic diaphragm to the top of the center plate 12, thus giving the center plate 12 a dome shape 19 at the end of the flight, but a flat plate upon release. The result of this design is a disc that resists "flipping" upon high-speed release, and then glides for a very long time.
Varying combinations of these effects provides a whole new range of disc designs, resulting in new discs with capabilities that cannot be achieved without these effects, thus dramatically out-performing conventional discs. Designs based upon the above specifications are herein referred to as fluid torque discs.
The designs described above utilizing internal diaphragms and connecting tubes is hereby referred to as the "Complex Design". These discs are very expensive to produce, compared to production of conventional discs. As an alternative to the complex design, sealed elastic tubes 32' (FIGS. 3 and 4) containing fluid 34' can simply be attached to conventional discs, creating the same spin shift effect, and thus creating weight shift and fluid torque effects at a fraction of the cost required for the complex design. These tubes are herein referred to as spin tubes. These are attached to conventional flying discs in mounting slots 36'''' (FIG. 7) herein referred to as spin tube slots.
Referring to FIGS. 3 through 7, wherein like sequentially primed reference numerals represent similar elements in the various alternative embodiments, flying disc assemblies are generally indicated at 10', 10'', 10''', 10'''', utilizing the simple design introduced above, in FIGS. 3, 4, 6, and 7. FIG. 5 shows a hybrid between the described complex and simple designs.
Referring to FIG. 8, wherein like reference numerals offset by 100 represent similar elements as those discussed above, the mass 124 is different from all the other masses discussed above in that the mass 124 is not a fluid but a solid. The mass 124 includes a plurality of mass portions 131, 133 that may or may not be covered by the caps 132. The mass portions 131, 133 telescopingly move in and out with respect to a central hollow tube or cylinder 135. A plurality of axially aligned springs 137, 139 act against to end stops 141, 143 and push the mass portions 131, 133 inwardly toward the center 118. When the disc assembly 110 spins as it is thrown, the centrifugal force acts on the mass portions 131, 133 with a force greater than the spring force of the springs 137, 139. This forces the mass portions 131, 133 outwardly providing the spin shift effect, and the resulting weight shift effect discussed above. Once the disc assembly 110 slows down, the spring force provided by the springs 137, 139 slowly overcomes the centrifugal force and forces the mass portions 131, 133 back into the central hollow tube 135, providing the "fluid" torque effect described above. It should be appreciated by those skilled in the art that the central hollow tube 135 may include more than one cylinder (or define more than one axis), each having a mass portion telescopingly moving therein. Only a single axis central hollow tube 135 and two mass portions 131, 133 were shown for purposes of providing a simple drawing. The mass portions 131, 133 may be solid or may consist of solid particulates (e.g., sand).
As used in the specification, words such as "top" and "bottom" are relative and used herein as exemplary terms based on the orientation of the invention as shown in the Figures. These terms are not to be considered limiting.
The invention has been described in an illustrative manner. It is to be understood that the terminology, which has been used, is intended to be in the nature of words of description rather than of limitation.
Many modifications and variations of the invention are possible in light of the above teachings. Therefore, within the scope of the appended claims, the invention may be practiced other than as specifically described.
Patent applications by Martin Wollner, Livonia, MI US
Patent applications in class Spinning disc (e.g., flying saucer)
Patent applications in all subclasses Spinning disc (e.g., flying saucer)