ERECTABLE AND RETRACTABLE ROD DEVICE

A rod device that can be erected and retracted into a small amount of space, in which the device is formed of component parts that are flexible and can be rolled up when detached from one another, yet form a rigid assembly when connected to one another.

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Description

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The invention generally relates to a sturdy rod device that can be erected and retracted into a small amount of space. In particular, the rod device of the invention is formed of component parts that are flexible and can be rolled up when detached from one another, yet form a rigid assembly when connected to one another.

Current designs for rods normally require large space for storage and are inconvenient to handle and transport. For instance, telescopic poles and poles that break apart into sections have their limitations to lengths and take time and special tools to assemble. Moreover, most retractable rod devices use mechanisms that require a series of several rigid joints with several axial end surfaces and sides, which complicate the construction and storage of the rod. A typical problem is that such rod devices can become lodged or jammed during their erection or retraction.

The rod device of the invention eliminates the construction and storage problems of other devices by having the sides and support of the rod separate and roll away. Due to such a construction and mechanism, one can create a rod of any desired length out of a relatively small space. In particular, the strength of the rod comes from the separate pieces coming off of rolls and attaching to each other in a concavo-convex fashion. In addition, a mechanism of attaching the pieces can be by zipper or interlocking teeth.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In accordance with the invention, the rod device comprises a rod device which comprises a retractable rod; and an erecting mechanism, wherein the erecting mechanism has a triple function of erecting the rod, forming its base, and storing it in compact form when not in use.

In another aspect of the disclosure, the rod device comprises a structure composed of at least three substantially identical flexible strips, having two sides of at least one zipper attached to a stretchy material, attached by rivets or other attachments, wherein the stretchy material is attached by rivets in intervals to avoid compromising stresses as side members are detached and rolled away, and wherein concave sides of the strips are turned inwards when erected, while their edges rest in contact upon those of adjacent strips.

In another aspect of the disclosure, rod device is an erectable and retractable which comprises at least one strip of a flexible springy material; and at least one zipper or set of interlocking teeth, wherein the at least one strip is connected to at least one additional strip at a center of each strip using the at least one zipper or set of interlocking teeth, and wherein the strips form a rod with each strip constituting one side or wall of the rod, whereby engaging the centers of adjacent strips holds the rod together when the rod is erected and released to permit the rod to retract.

Other objects will be apparent from the following description of a preferred embodiment of the invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the erecting mechanism of the rod of the invention;

FIG. 2 is a cross-section view of the erecting mechanism of the rod of the invention;

FIG. 3 is a plain view of the erecting mechanism of the rod of the invention;

FIG. 4 is a cross-section view of one of the side members of the rod of the invention;

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of the rod of the invention that is constructed from the device comprising four attached side members;

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of the rod which incorporates four additional side members to provide the rod additional stability, aerodynamics, and additional channels that run the length of the rod;

FIG. 7 shows a photographic view of the rod of the invention in its erected form;

FIG. 8 is a photographic view of a section of the rod of the invention;

FIG. 9 is an overhead photographic view of a section of the rod of the invention;

FIG. 10 is a photographic view of the rod of the invention in its retracted form; and

FIG. 11 is an overhead photographic view of a section of the rod invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

A more complete appreciation of the disclosure and many of the attendant advantages will be readily obtained, as the same becomes better understood by reference to the following detailed description when considered in connection with the accompanying drawings.

The term rod generally relates to and is understood to include poles, masts, posts, pillars, and any structure of similar or equivalent type. The term erected or erectable is understood to include extended or extendable, and any variation on those terms. The term retracted or retractable is understood to include collapsed or collapsible, and any variation on those terms.

The erectable and retractable rod device according to the invention comprises at least one strip of a flexible springy material, such as rolled aluminum, each capable of being wound into a roll. In a preferred embodiment, the rod comprises at least three strips of flexible springy material. When connected to each other at the centers using zippers or interlocking teeth, they form a rod with each strip constituting one side or wall of the rod, whereby engaging the centers of adjacent strips can be held together when the rod is extended but can be released to permit collapse of the rod. In a preferred embodiment, the strips are of the type having a curved or concavo-convex cross-section or camber so as to be substantially rigid when erected.

Referring more particularly to FIG. 1 to FIG. 5, the rod device shown comprises two main elements: a collapsible or retractable rod (FIG. 5), and an erecting mechanism (FIG. 1, FIG. 2, FIG. 3), which has the function of erecting the rod, forming its base and storing it in compact form, when not in use.

In a preferred embodiment, as illustrated in FIG. 5, the rod comprises a structure composed of four substantially identical flexible strips (13) of suitable material such as aluminum sheets or plastic sheets, having two sides of zipper (43) attached to a stretchy vinyl or rubber-like material (41), and attached by rivets (42), or some other suitable means of attaching (e.g., weld or bolt). The stretchy material (41) can be attached by rivets (42) in intervals to avoid compromising stresses as the side members are detached and rolled away. The concave sides of the strips (when erected) are turned inwards while their edges rest in contact upon those of adjacent strips.

In another embodiment, FIG. 5 illustrates the rod assembled using the erecting mechanism (FIGS. 1 to 3). The erecting mechanism comprises a top set of guide/feed rollers (10) and a bottom set of guide/feed rollers (11), which serve to extend and retract the rod as well as provide stability when the rod is extended. These guide/feed rollers (10, 11) are attached to the base of the erecting mechanism preferably by metal supports (14). The metal supports (14) also hold the bottom reels (12) and should be very sturdy as they will ultimately be the support of the rod and prevent it from swaying (smaller lighter weight versions of the design may require a strong plastic in place of the metal supports).

In FIGS. 1 to 3, there are four upper guide/feed rollers (10), which will be connected to each other by bevel gears. The lower guide/feed rollers (11) are also connected to each other by bevel gears. The two sets of guide/feed rollers (10, 11) are connected by a belt (15) or chain (depending on the application), which in conjunction with the bevel gears ensures that all eight of the guide/feed rollers and the bottom reels (12) turn in unison.

In another embodiment, FIG. 4 illustrates one of the side members. The metal side member (13) is a rolled sheet metal. Zipper (43) is sewn (or attached by some other similar means) onto a vinyl or rubber strip (41) which is then riveted (42) onto the sheet metal (13). Rivets are used as you will want to attach the rubber strip (41) to the sheet metal (13) in many even spots in order to allow it to roll without creating too much stress on the rivets (42). Side members (FIG. 4) can be attached to the bottom reels (12) at the base of the extended rod, unless the application requires it not to be.

In another embodiment, a variation of the invention could form the pipe or rod and not require it to be retracted, and instead be used as a permanent structure. In this case, the side member would not be attached to the bottom reels.

In a preferred embodiment, the side members (FIG. 4) are stored and fed to the guide/feed rollers (10, 11) by the bottom reels (12). These bottom reels (12) serve to wind up the slack or feed the side members to the guide/feed rollers (10, 11) during extension or retraction of the rod.

In another preferred embodiment, as the side members are fed through the device they are forced into their concavo-convex shape and fed through the zipper pulls (30). The zipper pulls (30) are attached to the base of the device by a rod or arm (16). These pulls can be located at slightly different heights (to reduce the stress on the pulls when attaching the side members), but should be located no lower than the bottom of the lower guide/feed rollers (11) and no higher than the top of the lower guide/feed rollers (11), this ensures that the pulls (30) are only connecting the zippers of the side members and not pulling the side members inward while attaching them, therefore do not subject the pulls to unnecessary stresses.

In another embodiment, the rod is subject to axial and flexural loadings, such as the rod's own weight, the application load, wind pressures, etc. But, whatever the nature of these loadings, the main stresses developed within the structure will resolve themselves into longitudinal or axial tension and compression, which the individual pieces or composing elements must resist safely.

In a preferred embodiment, an aperture (31) can be located at the center of the base of the device which will allow electrical, mechanical, or communication wires to be fed through the center of the rod in case they are required for the desired application.

For lengthier rods, some type of basic transmission system may be included for the bottom reels to function properly as the more (greater diameter) that is on the bottom reels the faster they will take up the slack, which will cause them to lock up and not work properly as the bottom reels (12) and the guide/feed rollers (10, 11) will try to spin in unison.

In another embodiment, FIG. 6 shows an embodiment of the invention which includes additional guide/feed rollers and additional reels to wind up or release the slack during retraction or extension of the pole. The outer side members of the modified rod (FIG. 6) include one side of zipper attached to each of the sides which would then zip to the adjacent side of the other side members but would otherwise be assembled the same. The advantages to this embodiment of the rod device are that device is less likely to catch wind, and includes additional support from the outer side members. There can also be four additional and relatively large channels running the length of the pole, which could hold liquids if the application called for it (waterproof zippers may be included).

In another embodiment, FIG. 7 shows the erector mechanism performed using rolled plastic as the side members of the rod. This version does not have guide/feed rollers, but shows the amount of length that can be achieved out of a relatively small erector mechanism

In another embodiment, FIG. 8 shows a section of the rod created with sheet metal. Two sides of zipper are attached to a rubber strapping which is then riveted onto the center of the rolls of sheet metal.

In another embodiment, FIG. 9 shows the center channel that is created using this method. This channel runs the entire length of the rod and can be used to house whatever is required for the given application.

In another embodiment, FIG. 10 shows the retracted pole which is wound up onto the bottom reels (the upper and lower guide/feed rollers are not shown here but the basic device works the same.

In another embodiment, FIG. 11 shows an overhead view of a section of the rod created using sheet metal. The zippers are attached and holding the metal pieces together in their erected concave shape.

Obviously, numerous modifications and variations of the disclosure are possible in light of the above disclosure. It is therefore understood that within the scope of the appended claims, the disclosure may be practiced otherwise than as specifically described herein.

Claims

1. An erectable and retractable rod device comprising:

at least one strip of a flexible springy material;
and at least one zipper or set of interlocking teeth,
wherein the at least one strip is connected to at least one additional strip at a center of each strip using the at least one zipper or set of interlocking teeth, and
wherein the strips form a rod with each strip constituting one side or wall of the rod, whereby engaging the centers of adjacent strips holds the rod together when the rod is erected and released to permit the rod to retract.

2. The rod device according to claim 1, wherein the flexible springy material is rolled metal sheet.

3. The rod device according to claim 1, wherein the flexible springy material is an aluminum or plastic sheet.

4. The rod device according to claim 1, wherein the strips have a curved or concavo-convex cross-section or camber so as to be substantially rigid when erected.

5. The rod device according to claim 1, wherein the strips are attached by rivets.

6. The rod device according to claim 1, wherein the strips are attached by a weld or bolts.

7. The rod device according to claim 1, wherein the strips are attached by rivets in intervals to avoid compromising stresses as the side members are detached and rolled away.

8. The rod device according to claim 1, wherein concave sides of the strips, when erected, are turned inwards while their edges rest in contact upon those of adjacent strips.

9. A rod device comprising:

a structure composed of at least three substantially identical flexible strips, having two sides of at least one zipper attached to a stretchy material, attached by rivets or other attachments,
wherein the stretchy material is attached by rivets in intervals to avoid compromising stresses as side members are detached and rolled away, and
wherein concave sides of the strips are turned inwards when erected, while their edges rest in contact upon those of adjacent strips.

10. The rod device according to claim 9, wherein the flexible springy material is rolled metal sheet.

11. The rod device according to claim 9, wherein the flexible springy material is an aluminum or plastic sheet.

12. The rod device according to claim 9, wherein the stretchy is a vinyl or rubber material.

13. A rod device comprising:

a retractable rod; and
an erecting mechanism, wherein the erecting mechanism has a function of erecting the rod, forming its base, and storing it in compact form when not in use.

14. The rod device according to claim 13, wherein the erecting mechanism comprises a top set of guide/feed rollers and a bottom set of guide/feed rollers, which serve to extend and retract the rod as well as provide stability when the rod is extended.

15. The rod device according to claim 14, wherein the guide/feed rollers are attached to the base of the erecting mechanism by metal supports.

16. (canceled)

17. An umbrella comprising the rod device according to claim 1, wherein the rod supports umbrellas and other devices which have the ability to retract into a small space.

18. A tapered rod comprising the rod device according to claim 1.

19. A rod device according to claim 1 having two devices on either end of the same rod.

20. An artificial muscle or ligament comprising the rod device according to claim 1.

21. A windmill comprising the rod device according to claim 1.

Patent History

Publication number: 20110308174
Type: Application
Filed: Jun 22, 2010
Publication Date: Dec 22, 2011
Inventor: Nicholas Meyer (Key West, FL)
Application Number: 12/820,563