Patent application title: ALUMINUM CLAD WEIGHT LIFTING BAR AND DUMB BELLS
Todd Richards (Rochester, NY, US)
IPC8 Class: AA63B21072FI
Class name: User manipulated force resisting apparatus, component thereof, or accessory therefor utilizing weight resistance handheld bar with weight at each end (e.g., barbell, dumbbell, etc.) or component thereof
Publication date: 2013-06-27
Patent application number: 20130165300
An anodized metal cladded bar bell and dumb bell having color and/or
other decorative elements applied to the aluminum cladding wherein the
aluminum cladding is configured in substantially the same size and shape
as the bar bell part on which it is mounted in covering relation thereto.
1. An aluminum cladded bar bell, said bar bell having parts including a
steel bar having a center section and opposite end portions, first and
second weight stops located in longitudinally spaced relation on said bar
and defining said bar center section therebetween, and first and second
steel weight-mounting sleeves rotatably mounted at opposite ends of said
steel bar, said aluminum cladding comprising: a) at least one aluminum
part configured in substantially the same shape as a respective part of
said bar bell, said aluminum part sized to be mounted on said respective
part in covering relation thereto, said aluminum part being anodized and
having a color applied thereto.
2. The aluminum cladded bar bell of claim 1 wherein all of said bar bell parts are covered in a respective aluminum cladding part.
3. The aluminum cladded bar bell of claim 1 wherein said bar bell parts have been reduced in diameter prior to mounting of the respective said aluminum cladded parts thereon such that the total diameter with said aluminum cladded part is of the desired competition regulation size.
4. The aluminum cladded bar bell of claim 1 wherein said aluminum cladded part is engraved.
5. The aluminum cladded bar bell of claim 1 wherein said aluminum cladded part includes a colored pattern.
6. A titanium cladded bar bell, said bar bell having parts including a steel bar having a center section and opposite end portions, first and second weight stops located in longitudinally spaced relation on said bar and defining said bar center section therebetween, and first and second steel weight-mounting sleeves rotatably mounted at opposite ends of said steel bar, said titanium cladding comprising: a) at least one titanium part configured in substantially the same shape as a respective part of said bar bell, said titanium part sized to be mounted on said respective part in covering relation thereto, said titanium part being anodized and having a color applied thereto.
7. The titanium cladded bar bell of claim 6 wherein all of said bar bell parts are covered in a respective titanium cladding part.
8. The titanium cladded bar bell of claim 7 wherein said bar bell parts have been reduced in diameter prior to mounting of the respective said titanium cladded parts thereon such that the total diameter with said titanium cladded part is of the desired competition regulation size.
9. The aluminum cladded bar bell of claim 1 wherein said titanium cladded part is engraved.
10. The aluminum cladded bar bell of claim 1 wherein said titanium cladded part includes a colored pattern.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
 The present invention relates to creating a decorative surface on weight lifting apparatus such as bar bells and dumb bells. The invention more particularly relates to an aluminum cladded bar bell and dumb bell wherein the aluminum has been anodized to permit the application of pigments and other decorative elements thereto. Although the invention is described primarily with regards to Aluminum, other metals and materials may be used such as titanium, for example.
 Bar bells and dumb bells are typically formed of a hard steel bar with opposite end portions whereon weight discs (plates) of varying sizes and weights are attached. Dumb bells may be offered in the fixed weight or removable weight styles. In bar bells used for power lifting, the opposite end portions of the bar are typically fitted with rotatable sleeves which allow the weights to rotate relative to the bar. This is important so as to not add to the force required to do power lifting which involves a quick upward and rotational movement of the wrists and arms. If the weights were rotationally fixed on the ends of the bar, the power lifting movement would require additional force (separate from the pure lifting force required to lift the weight load) due to the unyielding weight position on the bar. Various known means are used to allow the sleeves to rotate on the bar (e.g., needle bearings located between the bar and sleeves).
 Bar bells range in length and diameter with a men's Olympic bar having a length of 2.2 m (7.22') from end to end and weighs 20 kg (44.1 lbs). The center (grip) section of the bar is 28 mm (1.1024 in) in diameter and has knurled grip marks spaced 910 mm apart. The outer sections of the bar located at opposite ends of the center grip section are 50 mm (1.9685 in) in diameter due to the added diameter of the sleeves. Dumb bells are somewhat similar in design with the removable weight type having tapped ends wherein a bolt and washer assembly secure the desired weight to each end of the bar.
 Steel is typically used to make bar bells and dumb bells and is virtually exclusively used for making competition regulation bar bells so as to prevent deformation of the bar under heavy weight loads which can be as high as 1,200 pounds. Steel is an iron-carbon alloy that contains less than 2% carbon. Due to the material and surface characteristics, hard steel is not easily susceptible to having durable, lasting coatings such as pigments applied thereto. It is therefore uncommon to see any type of colorization or decorative element applied to a bar bell. Bar bells are found in many locations including, for example, home gyms, public and private fitness centers, school gyms and pro athlete fitness centers. Fitness center owners and pro athletic team owners heavily advertise their trademarks/names/logos in various outlets and media including websites, television, radio, building signage and newsletters, for example. Many of these fitness center and athletic team owners also use merchandising to increase revenue and visibility of their trademarks which they apply to towels, work out apparel, water bottles, etc. Pro athlete training season allows spectators to watch their favorite teams train. Training camps are therefore also replete with all types of media showcasing the teams' trademarks and typically have merchandising tents where people can buy items bearing their favorite team's names and logos. While trademarks and logos are typically found on all types of such media, they have not been found on the weight lifting bar bells which may be due to the problems of applying any decorative element to steel as explained above. It would therefore be desirable to be able to apply decorative elements such as trademarks, logos, indicia, patterns, colors, or any combination thereof to steel bar bells and dumb bells. In this way, fitness center and athletic team owners have yet another highly visible medium on which to display their trademarks and logos.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
 The present invention addresses the above described need by providing steel bar bells and dumb bells that include anodized aluminum cladding which may have any desired color, pattern, indicia or any combination thereof (individually and collectively referred to herein as "decorative element(s)") applied thereto. Aluminum is an element extracted from the earth's crust. Aluminum may be anodized to change the surface properties which allow for application of durable pigments (colorization). In the anodizing process, the aluminum part is the anode (positive electrode) of a DC circuit wherein the aluminum is placed in an electroplating cell with oxalic, sulfuric, or chromatic acid as the plating solution or electrolyte. Current is applied to the solution causing the anode to be plated with a hard, wear resistance surface. Anodized coatings give the aluminum better appearance and may be colorized. The process of applying color and other decorative elements (including by engraving into the color, for example) to anodized aluminum is well known in other applications and will therefore not be discussed in detail herein. Various metal coloring processes may also be used on other materials such as titanium which may be used for the cladding as desired.
 The aluminum cladding parts are sized and configured in the general size and shape of the respective bar bell or dumb bell parts (e.g., main bar, rotational weight sleeves, weight stops, weight plates, etc.) on which the aluminum cladding part is positioned in covering relation thereto. The decorative element(s) may be first applied to the anodized aluminum cladding which is then placed in covering relation over the various parts of the bar bell or dumb bell during manufacture and assembly of the bar bell or dumb bell. In alternate embodiment of the invention, the aluminum cladding is removable to allow the user to replace the aluminum cladding with different designs as desired. In order to maintain the diameter requirements for a regulation bar bell, the steel bar and weight sleeves may be provided in a slightly reduced diameter (and/or other dimensions, as necessary) such that with the addition of the aluminum cladding, the total diameters and/or other dimensions and/or weight remain at regulation size/weight.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING
 FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a prior art bar bell;
 FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the bar bell of FIG. 1 having the anodized aluminum cladding of one embodiment of the present invention;
 FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional view as taken generally through the line 3-3 of FIG. 2;
 FIG. 4 is a perspective view showing the left side of the bar bell of FIG. 2 in exploded view;
 FIG. 5 is a perspective view of a weight plate and anodized aluminum disc in spaced relation thereto;
 FIG. 6 is an enlarged, side elevational view of an embodiment of an end of a bar bell;
 FIG. 7 is an enlarged, side elevational view of an embodiment of a flanged weight stop/boss attached to the DOM tubing;
 FIG. 8A is a side elevational view of a flanged weight stop/boss showing one method of attaching the aluminum cladding thereto;
 FIG. 8B is a perspective viewing the aluminum cladding seen in FIG. 8A;
 FIG. 8C is an end view showing attachment of the pins to secure the aluminum cladding and flange together;
 FIG. 8D is an enlarged sectional view of the circled portion of FIG. 8A;
 FIG. 9A and 9B are side elevational views of a pair of bar bell ends showing other methods of attaching the aluminum cladding thereto, respectively;
 FIG. 10 is a perspective view of another embodiment of weight stop/boss;
 FIG. 11 is a side elevational view, partly in section, of an end of a bar bell showing the weight stop/boss of FIG. 10 mounted thereto with aluminum cladding discs positioned on opposite sides thereof;
 FIG. 12 is a side elevational view of a dumb bell according to an embodiment of the invention;
 FIG. 13 is a side elevational view of a dumb bell according to another embodiment of the invention;
 FIGS. 14A-14C are front elevational, side elevational and a top plan view (inside a bore) of a removable pin according to an embodiment of the invention;
 FIGS. 15A and 15B are cross-sectional views of an alternate steel bar and cladding connection method;
 FIG. 16A and 16B are cross-sectional side elevational views of an alternate DOM and embodiment of
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS
 Referring now to the drawing, FIG. 1 illustrates a prior art Olympic style bar bell designated generally by the reference numeral 10. Bar bell 10 includes a steel bar 12 that extends the entire length "L" of the bar bell. Bar bell 10 has a center grip section 12A where the user grasps the bar bell. Center section 12A may include a knurled surface (not shown) to increase grip and also provide visual indication of proper hand placement. Weight discs 14A and 14B are removably mounted at opposite ends of center section 12A until they locate at a respective stop 13 and are secured in place by any of a variety of known weight securing elements such as clamp 16, for example. Weight stops (only right weight stop 13 shown in FIG. 1) locate the respective weight disc 14A, 14B on bar 12 and, together with the associated attached weight clamp 16, prevent the weight discs 14A, 14B from axial translation along bar 12. Stop 13 is usually a collar having a diameter that is larger than the diameter of the weight disc center aperture.
 Steel tubing 18A, 18B (which may comprise "drawn-over-mandrel" or "DOM" tubing) may be provided on steel bar 12 at opposite ends of center section 12. The diameter of tubing 18A, 18B are of course smaller than the weight disc center aperture diameter to allow the weight discs to be mounted thereon. Tubing 18A, 18B are each rotatably mounted on bar 12 to permit rotation of the weight discs 14A, 14B thereon. This assists in reducing the force during a standing power lift which requires a fast upward rotational movement by the weight lifter. With a firm grip on the center bar section 12A, this type of fast rotational movement would greatly increase the force required to make the lift if the weight discs were rotationally fixed on the bar. It is therefore standard practice for the bar bell to have rotational weight mounting tubing 18A, 18B at the opposite ends of the bar 12. This may be accomplished using thrust or needle bearings (not shown) between the tubing 18A, 18B and bar 12, for example.
 As explained above, steel bar bells are not generally known to be adorned with any colors or other decorative elements. Most likely, this is at least in part due to the fact that steel is not a material easily susceptible to receiving a durable pigment or decorative element applied thereto. Furthermore, bar bells are subject to a high degree of wear and tear due to the constant changing of the weights and also the lifters generally rough handling thereof (e.g., the bar bell is usually dropped onto a stand or dropped to the floor after a lift with a strong force due to the weight of the bar bell). Any applied decorative element would therefore have to be extremely durable so as to not quickly wear off during normal use of the bar bell. Again, steel is not easily susceptible to receiving durable applied coatings and any such coatings would likely wear off too easily and quickly.
 FIGS. 2-4 illustrate one embodiment of the invention which provides a decorative star pattern application to a bar bell such as bar bell 10. Although a star pattern is shown in the drawing for purpose of description, it is understood that any pattern, color, logo, indicia, lettering, wording, and any combination of the foregoing, may be used as desired. For example, colleges and pro athletic team owners may want to have their team colors and/or logos applied to their bar bells. It is also understood that the present invention may be used on other weight lifting apparatus such as lifting bars (with no weight discs) and dumb bells, for example.
 FIG. 2 illustrates an embodiment of the invention wherein bar bell 10 includes three aluminum sleeves 22 and 24A, 24B positioned in telescoping, covering relation over the center section 12A and weight tubing 18, 18B, respectively. Each of the aluminum sleeves 22 and 24A, 24B are seen to be shaped in substantially the same shape and length as the corresponding bar bell part on which it is mounted with the inner diameters of the sleeves (ID) being only slightly larger than the outer diameter (OD) of the part to which it is mounted so that the sleeves may be easily slid onto their respective bar bell part. It is noted that while cylindrically shaped parts are described and shown herein since they are common shapes for the parts of weight lifting bar bells and dumb bells, other shapes may be used as desired so long as the aluminum cladding may be positioned in covering relation to their respective parts.
 During assembly of the bar bell, the first center section sleeve 22 is slid onto steel bar 12 until it is located at substantially the center gripping section thereof. Referring to FIG. 3, it is seen that means to rotationally fix center sleeve 22 to bar 12 is provided in the form of a mating groove and flange 22', 12' formed in sleeve 22 and bar 12, respectively. Groove 22' and flange 12' may or may not extend the full axial length of sleeve 22 and bar 12 so long as it creates a reliable rotational fixing between the center sleeve 22 and bar 12. An alternate means for rotationally fixing these parts together is seen in FIGS. 15A and 15B which show a knurled or scalloped type surface formed on the exterior of the entire or partial length of bar 12'' which mates with a cooperatively formed surface on the inside of sleeve 22''.
 Next, weight stop collars 13 are slid onto the opposite ends of bar 12 until they locate against the opposite ends of sleeve 22. Next, aluminum stop collar covers 28 are slid onto opposite ends of bar 12 until they become located over a respective stop collar 13. Next, rotatable tubing 18A, 18B are slid onto the opposite ends of bar 12 until they become located against stop collars 13. Next, aluminum sleeves 24A, 24B are slid onto a respective rotatable sleeve 18A, 18B. Lastly, aluminum end caps 30A, 30B are attached to the free ends 24A', 24B' of aluminum sleeves 24A, 24B, respectively.
 It will thus be appreciated that substantially the entire bar bell 10 may be covered in an anodized aluminum cladding which has one or more decorative elements applied to one or more parts thereof. A clear coat sealer used to seal anodized parts may optionally be applied over the design elements. It is also understood that any number of or all of the parts of the bar bell may be covered in the anodized aluminum cladding.
 Referring to FIG. 5, aluminum cladding in the form of a disc 42 may be attached to a respective weight plate 40. In this embodiment, the weight plate 40 includes an axially extending (parallel to center aperture axis X-X) annular flange 40A encircling the periphery thereof with the cladding disc outer diameter COD being slightly smaller than the flange inner diameter FID to permit the disc 32 to fit snugly against weight plate surface 40B within the area defined by flange 40A. Although only one side of the weight plate 40 is shown in FIG. 5, it is understood that the same flange configuration of the weight disc may be on the opposite side thereof to permit another aluminum cladding disc to be applied thereto such that the decorative aluminum cladding discs appear at both sides of the weight plate 40. The aluminum cladding disc 42 may be removably secured to weight plate 40 via at least one but preferably at least two or more removable pins 45 which extend through aligned hole pairs 47A, 49A and 47B, 49B formed in weight disc flange 40A and aluminum disc 42, respectively.
 Referring to FIGS. 14A-14C, one possible embodiment of pin 45 is shown to include a head 45A and shank 45B where head 45A has a reduced width W1 with respect to the width W2 of shank 45B. As such, in the fully inserted position of pin 45 in an aligned pair of cladding/weight part attachment holes such as 47A, 49A pair of spaces S1 and S2 are formed on either side of head 45A (see FIG. 14C) which permits a tool (e.g., needle nose pliers) to pass into spaces S1 and S2 to engage pin 45A and remove the pin as desired (e.g., when it is desired to remove a cladding element and replace it with a cladding element having different design elements). Other removable attachment elements may of course be used as desired and the invention is not limited to any of the pins discussed herein such as pin 45 shown and described herein.
 Referring to FIG. 6, one possible method of attaching aluminum cladding sleeve 24A to the tubing 18A is shown (only one end 18A is shown in FIG. 6, it being understood the same configuration may be provided at opposite end 18B). In this embodiment, steel tubing 18A is secured to steel bar 12A via one or more rings 34A and 34B (e.g., snap rings) which are located within tubing 18A. End cap 30A includes a neck portion 30B which fits snugly within the inner diameter of tubing end 18A to provide a releasable interference fit. To provide further securement, a pin 34 may be passed through aligned holes formed in aluminum cladding sleeve 24A, tubing 18A and neck portion 30B if desired. As explained above, a tool may be used to remove and replace pin 34 when it is desired to change the aluminum cladding sleeve 24A to a different pattern or color, for example.
 Referring to FIG. 7, an embodiment of weight stop/boss 50 includes a radially outward extending annular flange 50A encircling the periphery of end surface 50B. The central aperture 53 may be notched to provide a step 53A for seating weight stop/boss 50 against the leading edge of cladding 24A'. As seen in FIG. 8A, a cup-shaped embodiment of aluminum cladding 28' is positioned over weight stop/boss 50. Weight stop/boss aluminum cladding 28' includes a center aperture 28B' wherethrough bar 12, tubing 18A and optionally aluminum cladding sleeve 22 may pass. The leading edge 28'' of cup-shaped cladding 28' may include one but preferably two or more of annularly and evenly spaced projections 28A'(FIG. 8B, 8D) which align and pass through a like number of apertures 50A' (FIG. 8C, 8D) provided in flange 50A. At least one but preferably two or more annularly and evenly spaced removable pins 52 may then be passed through a laterally extending and aligned bore 50'' and projection aperture 28A'' (FIGS. 8C, 8D) to reliably yet removably secure cladding 28' to weight stop/boss 50. FIGS. 16A and 16B illustrate an alternate embodiment showing different shaped DOM ends. Pins 50A'' pin the cladding 28'' to the collar 24A''of the DOM cladding 24A' with boss pins 52A' hidden by cladding 28''
 FIGS. 9A and 9B illustrate another embodiment of aluminum cladding 28'' which does not include projections 28A' but rather has a diameter which is slightly less than and thus abuts flange 50A and is secured thereto via at least one but preferably two or more annularly and evenly spaced pins 54. FIG. 9A illustrates an embodiment with the aluminum cladding 28'' facing tubing 18A whereas FIG. 9B illustrates an embodiment with the aluminum cladding facing bar 12 (sleeve 22 not shown). As explained above, all the aluminum cladding described herein has been anodized and includes one or more design elements thereon.
 FIG. 10 shows an embodiment of weight stop/boss 56 which includes an axially extending flange 56B (extending parallel to the center axis Y-Y of central aperture 56C) which defines a recessed surface 56A. As seen in FIG. 11, both sides of weight stop/boss 56 may include a flange 56B, 56B' and recessed surface 56A, 56A' to permit a pair of aluminum cladding discs 56C, 56C' to be positioned against a respective surface 56A, 56A'. One but preferably at least two or more pins 58 are passed through flange 56B, 56B' into discs 56C, 56C' to secure the discs to the weight stop/boss 56.
 FIGS. 12 and 13 show embodiments of the invention for use with dumb bells having a center steel bar 60 and first and second weight heads 62, 64 secured at either end of the bar 60, respectively. In FIG. 12, bar 60 extends entirely through axial bore holes 62A, 64A extending through each weight head 62, 64 which are both removably secured to bar 60 via washer and bolt pairs 66, 68 and 66',68' which pass through axially extending tapped holes 60A, 60B formed into either end of bar 60, respectively.
 In FIG. 13, only one weight head 64 is removably attached to bar 60 while the other weight head 62 is fixed (e.g., by welding) to bar end 60A which is seen to extend only part way into weight head 62. In either embodiment, one weight head 64 is removed from bar 60 and aluminum sleeve 70 is slid onto bar 60 until it locates at the hand gripping section of bar 60 as seen in FIG. 13. Weight head 64 is then reattached to bar 60 with washer and bolt pair 66, 68. To rotationally fix sleeve 70 to bar 60, a boss 72 may be provided on bar 60 adjacent weight head 62 and which may be aligned and engage with a notch 73 formed in sleeve 70. A pair of cup-shaped aluminum cladding elements 74, 76 may be positioned in covering relation over weight heads 62, 64 (only cladding element 74 shown in FIG. 13) and removably secured thereto via at least one but preferably two or more pins 78.
 Although not shown, it is noted that the gripping sections of the aluminum cladding sleeves 22 (for the bar bell) and 70 (for the dumb bell) may have, in addition to one or more design elements, a knurled surface treatment to enhance gripping as is known in the weight lifting industry. It is also noted that one or more of the aluminum cladding elements described herein may be permanently rather than removably affixed to their respective weight parts if desired.
 While the invention has been described and shown herein with respect to preferred embodiments thereof, it is understood that various modifications may be made thereto without departing from the full spirit and scope of the invention as defined by the claims which follow. By way of a non-limiting example, the cladding may be formed from titanium including alloys thereof or other materials as desired.
Patent applications in class Handheld bar with weight at each end (e.g., barbell, dumbbell, etc.) or component thereof
Patent applications in all subclasses Handheld bar with weight at each end (e.g., barbell, dumbbell, etc.) or component thereof