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Publication numberUS20050191936 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/030,865
Publication date1 Sep 2005
Filing date5 Jan 2005
Priority date7 Jan 2004
Publication number030865, 11030865, US 2005/0191936 A1, US 2005/191936 A1, US 20050191936 A1, US 20050191936A1, US 2005191936 A1, US 2005191936A1, US-A1-20050191936, US-A1-2005191936, US2005/0191936A1, US2005/191936A1, US20050191936 A1, US20050191936A1, US2005191936 A1, US2005191936A1
InventorsJon Marine, Mark Wittenberg, Debbie Glassberg
Original AssigneeMarine Jon C., Wittenberg Mark S., Debbie Glassberg
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Doll
US 20050191936 A1
Abstract
A toy doll is described having a first member and a second member coupled to said first member. The said second member can slidably and/or rotatably move relative to said first member, said second member comprising an armature, an element coupled to said armature, said element being more compliant than said armature, and a molded form around at least said armature and element to simulate a body part with a bendable joint. In another embodiment, the doll includes a body member, where the body member has electronics configured to selectively energize a light emitting source exposed through said body member and a platform configured to enable removable coupling of an accessory to said body member, where said source illuminates at least portions of said accessory.
Images(12)
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Claims(20)
1. A toy doll, comprising
a first member;
a second member coupled to said first member, where said second member can slidably rotatably move relative to said first member, said second member comprising an armature, an element coupled to said armature, said element being more compliant than said armature, and a molded form around at least said armature and element to simulate a body part with a bendable joint.
2. The doll of claim 1 wherein said first member is a plastic body member.
3. The doll of claim 1 wherein said first member is a plastic torso member.
4. The doll of claim 1 wherein said second member is a limb.
5. The doll of claim 4 wherein said limb is an arm.
6. The doll of claim 4 wherein said limb is an leg.
7. The doll of claim 1 wherein said relative movement includes rotating movement.
8. The doll of claim 1 wherein said armature is plastic and insert molded to said first member to form said coupling.
9. The doll of claim 1 wherein said element comprises twisted wire.
10. The doll of claim 1 wherein said coupling is configured to form an articulated shoulder joint.
11. The doll of claim 1 wherein said coupling is configured to form an articulated hip joint.
12. A doll, comprising:
a body member, the body member comprising:
electronics configured to selectively energize a light emitting source exposed through said body member;
a platform configured to enable removable coupling of an accessory to said body member, where said source illuminates at least portions of said accessory.
13. The doll of claim 12 wherein said source is a light emitting diode.
14. The doll of claim 12 wherein said platform includes a magnet configured to be coupled to a magnet in said accessory.
15. The doll of claim 14 wherein said platform includes at least two magnets configured to be coupled to at least two magnets in said accessory.
16. The doll of claim 12 wherein said accessory is at least partially translucent to transmit light from said source through said accessory and create a visual glowing effect.
17. The doll of claim 12 wherein said accessory includes wings.
18. A toy doll, comprising
an accessory;
a first member, said first member comprising:
electronics configured to selectively energize a light emitting source exposed through said body member;
a platform configured to enable removable coupling of said accessory to said body member, where said source illuminates at least portions of said accessory; a second member coupled to said first member, where said second member can rotatably move relative to said first member, said second member comprising an armature, an element coupled to said armature, said element being more compliant than said armature, and a molded form around at least said armature and element to simulate a body part with a bendable joint.
19. The doll of claim 18 wherein said platform includes at least two magnets configured to be coupled to at least two magnets in said accessory.
20. The doll of claim 18 wherein said accessory is at least partially translucent.
Description
  • [0001]
    The present application claims priority to provisional application Ser. No. 60/534,887 filed Jan. 7, 2004 and provisional application Ser. No. 60/557,033 filed Mar. 25, 2004, the entire contents of each of which is incorporated by reference for all purposes.
  • BACKGROUND
  • [0002]
    Examples of known bendable dolls are found in U.S. Pat. Nos. 593,592; 1,189,585; 3,325,939; 3,624,691; 3,955,309; 4,233,775; and 5,516,314; and in publications JP49-18956 A; JP50 037068 B2; JP62-164092U; JP63-103685 A; EP1108454; GB2354456. Examples of known dolls with magnetic attachments are found in U.S. Pat. Nos. 4,038,775, 4,118,888, 4,170,840, 4,176,492, 4,183,173, 4,186,515, 4,206,564, 5,277,643, 5,295,889, 5,380,233, 5,727,717, and 6,171,169. The disclosures the patents and publications listed in this paragraph are incorporated herein by reference.
  • SUMMARY
  • [0003]
    The present disclosure relates generally to toy dolls with a bendable armature, and in one example, to dolls in which the armature includes a combination of bendable limbs and articulated joints. In another example, it further relates to such dolls in which a torso of the doll houses electronics, and provides an attachment platform for accessories such as simulated wings. In another example, electronics power an LED in the torso, and the wings are attached to the torso by aligning magnets in the wings with corresponding magnets in the torso. Still further, the wings can be translucent to transmit light within the wings.
  • [0004]
    The advantages of the present disclosure will be understood more readily after a consideration of the drawings and the Detailed Description of Example Embodiments.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • [0005]
    FIG. 1 is a drawing of a doll in accordance with the present disclosure.
  • [0006]
    FIG. 2 is a drawing of an opposite side of the doll shown in FIG. 1, showing the attachment of simulated wings to the back of the doll.
  • [0007]
    FIGS. 3-4 are drawings of example sets of wings that may be attached to the doll of FIGS. 1 and 2, for example.
  • [0008]
    FIG. 5 is a rear view of an alternative doll torso configuration.
  • [0009]
    FIGS. 6A and 6B are drawings of the torso of the doll of FIG. 5 coupled to the wings of FIG. 4.
  • [0010]
    FIG. 7 is a front elevation view of an armature that could be used for an alternative embodiment of a doll.
  • [0011]
    FIG. 8 is a magnified view of a portion of the armature of FIG. 7, showing details of the twisted wire structure of the armature.
  • [0012]
    FIG. 9 is a front view of a head portion of an armature for a posable figure, according to another embodiment of the disclosure.
  • [0013]
    FIG. 10A is a front elevation view of a partially formed posable figure, after one step of insert molding.
  • [0014]
    FIG. 10B is a rear elevation view of the partially formed posable figure of FIG. 10A.
  • [0015]
    FIG. 11A is a magnified view of a portion of the partially formed posable figure of FIGS. 10A and 10B, showing details of upper arm connecting pegs.
  • [0016]
    FIG. 11B is a magnified view of a portion of the partially formed posable figure of FIGS. 10A and 10B, showing details of upper leg locating pegs.
  • [0017]
    FIG. 11C is a magnified view of a portion of the partially formed posable figure of FIGS. 10A and 10B, showing details of lower leg locating pegs.
  • [0018]
    FIG. 12 is a front and rear elevation view of a posable figure after two steps of insert molding, according to an embodiment of the disclosure.
  • [0019]
    FIG. 13 is a semi-transparent front elevation view of the posable figure of FIG. 12, showing an armature and a molded body enclosing the armature.
  • [0020]
    FIG. 14 is a semi-transparent side elevational view of the posable figure of FIG. 13.
  • [0021]
    FIG. 15 is a detailed drawing of an alternative partially formed arm insert of the doll of FIGS. 1 and 2.
  • [0022]
    FIG. 16 is a detailed drawing of an alternative arm using the insert of FIG. 15.
  • [0023]
    FIGS. 17-18 are detailed drawings of an alternative leg insert.
  • [0024]
    FIG. 19 is a detailed drawing of an alternative leg using the insert of FIGS. 17-18.
  • [0025]
    FIG. 20 shows alternative embodiments of arms, legs, arm inserts, and leg inserts.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF EXAMPLE EMBODIMENTS
  • [0026]
    In the doll 1000 shown in FIG. 1, the legs 1010 and arms 1020 are formed of rigid plastic, and the shoulder and hip joints 1022 and 1024, respectively, are simulated through the use of pins that interconnect the arms and legs to the torso. In one embodiment, the shoulder joint is an insert-molded swivel and hinge joint, of the type shown in FIG. 4 of U.S. Pat. No. 4,673,374, the disclosures of which are incorporated herein by reference. Still further, the arm-portion of the joint, identified as reference character 34 in U.S. Pat. No. 4,673,374, is molded from a rigid plastic, and is sized and shaped so as to define less than the entire desired outer shape of the complete arm. This rigid element is then encased in a soft, flesh-like material such as Kraton or soft PVC. An example structure is shown below, wherein the resulting shoulder joints may have two degrees of freedom. A similar joint may be used at the hip, or a simpler mushroom joint may be used.
  • [0027]
    In one embodiment, a pair of twisted wires is trapped within the arm portion of the joint, and extends approximately to a wrist portion of the arm.
  • [0028]
    It is believed that twisted wire may improve cyclic life for the limb, allowing the doll to be manipulated further, and more often, while maintaining acceptable durability. Furthermore, by using twisted wire, this can be achieved with simple manufacturing processes to generate the twisted wire either during the doll assembly, or before the raw material is shipped to the plant. Also, the use of twisted wire trapped within the arm can achieve other synergistic effects. For example, in some cases with untwisted wire, a different modulus of elasticity can be encountered depending on the bend angle. As such, by using twisted wire, a more uniform effect can be achieved, if desired. Not also that the twisted wire can include three strands of wire twisted together, or other multiples higher than 2.
  • [0029]
    A second rigid plastic member may be used to trap the ends of the twisted wires, safely encasing those ends in protective plastic. A further alternative includes legs with a similar insert-molded joint and armature, as described below herein.
  • [0030]
    Due to the shape of the legs 1010, in which a narrow isthmus 1026 is defined at the knee of the leg, as shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, bending action naturally occurs at or about the knee area, even if only short rigid elements are molded on the wires embedded within the legs. In this way, it is possible to reduce manufacturing and part costs, yet maintain functionality desired by users. More specifically, by reducing the cross-sectional area of the knee, relative to the upper and lower leg portions 1028 and 1030, respectively, it is possible to enable bending action to occur at or about the knee area. However, in an alternative embodiment, rigid elements can also be used in the legs, similar to the example embodiment of the arms.
  • [0031]
    Accessories for the various embodiments described above include removable wings, such as the wings 1300 of FIG. 3, however various other accessories could be used, such as, for example: capes, backpacks, equipment, or weapons. Magnets may be used to attach the wings to the torso, such as magnets 1310 and 1312, by including mating magnets, one in the torso, and another in the wings. If desired, multiple mating pairs of magnets may be used, such as shown in FIG. 3. Alternatively, only one pair need be used, and additional structural support may be provided by mating posts and holes, with the post formed in one of the torso or the wing, and a corresponding hole formed in the other of the torso and wing. Still other structure may be used, such as matting bends or other surface contours between the torso and wing.
  • [0032]
    Note that, in one example, the magnets not only can be used to maintain a connection between the doll and the accessory, but also can be used to locate the accessory to the doll during connection. In other words, the magnets can also be used to align the accessory, such as the wings, to the doll, thereby allowing easier attachment and detachment of accessories to a doll. This is due in part to the self-centering action of magnets, caused by the shape of the magnetic field. Further, since this easier attachment/detachment may require less dexterity than other attachment approaches, it can be easier for children playing with the doll to attach and detach the accessories, without degrading or breaking the parts.
  • [0033]
    Another aspect of the present doll is electronics contained within the torso, and/or within other locations of the doll body. An LED (such as LED 1314) may be powered by the electronics, and may be aligned with the wings so that light from the LED shines through the wings. Note that other LEDs can be added at various portions of the body as an alternative, or in addition to, the LED used to shine through the wings. By making the wings of translucent or clear plastic, light may be transmitted throughout the wings, creating a magical glow effect. For example, totally and/or partially internally reflective surfaces may be used to direct light through the wings, before being reflected outward to a viewer. In this way, certain portions of the wings may appear illuminated, even though the entire structure is translucent (or transparent).
  • [0034]
    The detachable wings 1300 can be of various forms. The figures show example wing configurations, however, others can also be used. In one example, the wings are formed of translucent material, such as polymeric material, to allow transmission of light from a light source, such as an LED as described above. Further, the wings can be fabricated with integrally molded recesses for receiving and holding a magnet. In the example of FIG. 3, the wings have multiple sections, and may include sticker decorations.
  • [0035]
    FIG. 4 shows an alternative pair of wings 1400 for mating to doll 1500 of FIG. 5. In this example, the wings utilize magnets 1410 and 1412 for attachment to mating magnets in doll 1500 (such as magnets 1510 and 1512 of FIG. 5). Further, hold 1414 is shown that aligns with a protruding LED in doll 1500, such as LED 1514 of FIG. 5. Wings 1400 further contain etched forms, such as stars 1420 and/or sections 1422. In one example, the etches areas reflect internal light outward to a viewer from the LED, so that when viewing the front of the doll, light in the wings can be seen, even though the LED is in the doll's back. FIGS. 6A-B shows the wings 1400 attached to the doll 1500 from a rear and side perspective. In particular, FIG. 6B shows a bend angle 1430 of wings 1400, which enable a more contoured fit between the wings and the dolls back, thereby providing a more life-like appearance.
  • [0036]
    Returning to FIG. 5, it also shows access panel 1516 (held closed by screw 1518, which enables access to internal electronics for powering the LED 1514, as well as the ability to change batteries. Further, FIG. 5 shows button 1520, which activates LED 1514. In one example, a single actuation of button 1520 creates flashing of the LED, whereas in other examples, the LED is lighted continuously during depression of button 1520.
  • [0037]
    FIGS. 7-14 show an alternative embodiment of a posable figure, in which no hinged or pivoted articulations are included. However, the features described below, or selected groups of features, can be incorporated in the limbs described above.
  • [0038]
    Referring to FIG. 7, an armature 10 for a posable figure is shown. Although it is anticipated that armature 10 will eventually be enclosed by and bonded to an outer covering, such as an injection-molded body of a posable figure, FIG. 7 shows the inner core of the armature in isolation for clarity. Armature 10 may include a plurality of twisted strands of wire 12, best seen in FIG. 8, which may be joined together to form an articulated structure. As depicted in FIG. 8, strands 12 may be constructed from three pliable metal wires twisted together, although other suitable numbers of wires and/or materials may be used to construct the inner armature.
  • [0039]
    As depicted in FIG. 7, armature 10 may include a lower strand 14, a middle strand 16, and an upper strand 18. Lower strand 14 may extend from a first foot portion 20 a to a second foot portion 20 b, and middle strand 16 may extend from a first hand portion 22 a to a second hand portion 22 b. Upper strand 18 may extend from an upper portion 24 of the lower strand, to a head portion 26.
  • [0040]
    The strands of wire in the armature may be connected at junctures 28 and 30 to form a unitary structure. As indicated, juncture 28 may connect lower strand 14 to upper strand 18 at a point at or near a lower end of the upper strand, so that the upper strand may not extend appreciably below its intersection with the lower strand at juncture 28. Juncture 30 may connect the middle strand to the upper strand at a point between juncture 28 and head portion 26. Junctures 28 and 30 may be formed, for example, by spot welding, although other forms of adhesion such as gluing, crimping, or the like may also be suitable for forming connections between the strands of wire.
  • [0041]
    As depicted in FIG. 7, armature 10 may be formed into an articulating structure that includes lower leg portions 32 a and 32 b, upper leg portions 34 a and 34 b, lower arm portions 36 a and 36 b, upper arm portions 38 a and 38 b, and a neck portion 40. For simplicity, symmetric pairs of parts such as the leg and arm portions, among numerous others, may hereinafter be referred to by a single reference number. Thus, “lower leg portions 32” will be understood to mean lower leg portions 32 a and 32 b, and so forth.
  • [0042]
    The strands of wire may be chosen to have any diameter that permits a desired amount of flexibility in the various regions of the armature. For example, lower strand 14 and upper strand 18 may be formed from twisted wires that are approximately 0.030-inches in diameter, and middle strand 16 may be formed from a twisted wire that is approximately 0.025-inches in diameter. However, it will be appreciated that wires of other diameters may be equally suitable or more suitable for various designs, depending on the overall size of the posable figure and its intended use.
  • [0043]
    In the embodiment depicted in FIG. 7, a distal end of upper strand 18 forms head portion 26 in the shape of a substantially circular loop 42 that is spot welded to neck portion 40 at an upper juncture 44. However, it should be appreciated that the head portion may be suitably formed in various other ways. For example, FIG. 9 shows an embodiment in which a head portion 126 is formed in the shape of a curved hook or semi-loop 46.
  • [0044]
    In FIGS. 7-9, the various wire strands 14, 16, and 18 that are included in armature 10 are shown before any injection molding steps involving the toy figure have been performed. Such injection molding may typically be performed in a two-step process. In the first injection molding step, a plurality of structures may be injection molded around the inner wire, to form a more rigid and substantial inner skeleton. In the second injection molding step, a flesh-like outer covering may be molded around the skeleton to form a surrounding body, which may enclose both the inner wire armature and portions of rigid structures that were added in the first step. These two injection molding steps are described below in greater detail.
  • [0045]
    FIGS. 10A and 10B show front and rear elevation views, respectively, of a partially formed posable figure 110, after a first injection molding step has been performed. After the first injection molding step, partially formed figure 110 may include wire armature 10 as described above, as well as a plurality of support members. These support members may include surrounding members 48, 50, and 52, end caps 54 and 56, and sprues 58, 60, and 62, among others. The support members may extend outward from the strands of wire, adding structure and stability to armature 10. As described below, some of the support members may also allow partially formed figure 110 to be located accurately and conveniently in a mold, prior to a second injection molding step.
  • [0046]
    The support members may be constructed from any suitable material, such as a resin material that may be conveniently molded around wire armature 10 in molten form. The support member material may, for example, be a relatively flexible polymer material such as polypropylene, or it may be a more rigid polymer such as polyethylene. The support member material may also be a thermoplastic elastomer material such as polyvinylchloride (PVC), or a styrene-based elastomer such as a Kraton material manufactured by Kraton Polymers of Houston, Tex. In some embodiments, this material may be chosen to bond and/or be otherwise compatible with a material used for the outer covering of the toy figure.
  • [0047]
    Surrounding members 48, 50, and 52 each may be configured to surround a portion of the wire of armature 10, and each may include a plurality of locating pegs extending substantially radially outward from the wire. For example, surrounding member 48 may include upper arm pegs 64 and 66, surrounding member 50 may include upper leg pegs 68 and 70, and surrounding member 52 may include lower leg pegs 72, 74, and 76. The locating pegs may be substantially cylindrical as depicted in FIGS. 10 and 11, or they may have any other suitable shape. For example, the locating pegs may be substantially conical or frustoconical. The locating pegs may also have rounded ends.
  • [0048]
    FIG. 11 shows details of the structure of surrounding members 48, 50, and 52, and their associated locating pegs. The locating pegs may be configured to assist in locating partially formed figure 110 in a mold, in preparation for a second injection molding step. As indicated, upper arm pegs 64, upper leg pegs 68, and lower leg pegs 72 may extend forward and away from the armature, upper arm pegs 66 and upper leg pegs 70 may extend backward and away from the armature, lower leg pegs 74 may extend laterally and away from the armature, and lower leg pegs 76 may extend medially and away from the armature.
  • [0049]
    Providing locating pegs of the type just described may help to position partially formed figure 110 in a desired location within a mold. For example, a particular locating peg may be configured to substantially span a radius of the mold, thereby holding a wire strand of the armature spaced away from the walls of the mold. This may allow material to be injected into the mold to form a continuous molded body, encasing and bonded to the armature, with the wires of the armature spaced away from the surface of the body.
  • [0050]
    As depicted in FIGS. 10A and 10B, end caps 54 and 56 may be disposed to cover free ends of lower strand 14 and/or middle strand 16. In other words, the end caps may be disposed to cover foot portions 20 and/or hand portions 22 of the inner wire armature. End caps 54 and 56 may hold loose ends of the wires together, and may reduce the chances that an end of one of the wires will break through the body of the toy.
  • [0051]
    Sprues 58, 60, and 62, which may be substantially cylindrical, may serve to further locate partially formed figure 110 in a mold during a second injection molding step. For example, the sprues may be placed in corresponding cylindrical depressions or recesses in the mold, to hold the armature in position while a surrounding body is injection molded around partially formed figure 110.
  • [0052]
    As depicted in FIGS. 10A and 10B, sprues 58 and 60 may be disposed near end caps 54, and attached to the end caps by connecting shafts 78. In addition, sprues 60 may be attached to surrounding members 80 by shafts 82, and surrounding members 80 may be attached to each other by a connecting shaft 84. In this manner, sprues 58 and 60, connecting shafts 78, 82 and 84, and surrounding members 80 all form a substantially continuous structure for locating the partially formed figure in a mold, and supporting it there during a second injection molding step. Similarly, sprues 62 may be connected to end caps 56 by connecting shafts 86, and end caps 56 may be connected to each other by a connecting shaft 88, as indicated.
  • [0053]
    Aside from the aforementioned structures, a molded head portion 90 may also be added during the first injection molding step. Molded head portion 90 may include a rear section 92 extending in slight relief from the remainder of the molded head portion. Rear section 92 may include a substantially rectangular aperture 94, and two smaller circular apertures 96. Apertures 94 and/or 96 may be used for additional secure positioning of partially formed figure 110 in a second mold, for instance using shafts, pins, or the like to extend from the mold into the apertures.
  • [0054]
    A chest portion 98 may also be added during the first injection molding step. Furthermore, portions of the inner wires may be covered with a relatively thin coating of material, generally indicated at 100. The additional structure of chest portion 98 and wire coating 100 may serve to selectively increase the rigidity of portions of the toy figure, and to provide greater stability to the partially formed figure prior to a second injection molding step.
  • [0055]
    FIGS. 12-14 show a toy figure, generally indicated at 210, after two steps of injection molding. As is best seen in FIGS. 13-14, toy figure 210 may include partially formed figure 110 (including armature 10), and also a surrounding and continuously molded body 212. Body 212 may be constructed from any resilient, flexible material, such a highly elastic thermoplastic material such as a soft polyvinyl chloride (PVC) material having a Shore hardness of approximately 65. The body material may be colored to match the desired finished color of the posable figure, but the body material is depicted as transparent in FIGS. 13-14, so that partially formed figure 110 may be seen disposed within it.
  • [0056]
    Although in general, any suitable material may be used to construct the body of the toy figure, in some embodiments the body material may be chosen to bond to and/or be otherwise compatible with the material used for the support members of the armature of the toy figure. For example, the body material and the support member material may both be constructed from styrene-based elastomers such as a Kraton material, with either similar or different Shore hardnesses. Such similar elastomers may tend to bond particularly securely to each other during injection molding of the body around the armature.
  • [0057]
    FIG. 12 shows front and rear views, respectively, of toy figure 210 after a second step of injection molding but before final finishing of the toy figure is complete. Sprues 58, 60, and 62 may still be attached externally to figure 210 after the second molding step. Similarly, portions of connecting shafts 78, 82, 86, and/or 88 may remain outside of body 212 after the second molding step. The protruding sprues and/or shafts, if any, may be cut or broken off of toy figure 210 as part of final finishing steps.
  • [0058]
    Further, FIG. 12 also shows electronic chip 230, which can include analog or digital circuitry for powering electronic actuators in the body, such as LED 236. Also, a battery (or batteries) 238 is shown coupled to the electronic chip for providing a power source. However, alternative power sources can be used, such as an electromagnetic generator that is powered by motion (e.g., motion caused by someone playing with the doll) of the doll.
  • [0059]
    Electronic chip 230 is housed within the molded body of the doll. In this particular example, chip 230 is located in torso region 228. However, the chip, or its circuitry, could be located in other regions (such as the legs), or distributed about various regions of the body. Also, in this example, the light source (in this case LED 236) is located at the surface of the body so that light can be emitted out to the accessory (not shown) coupled via magnets 232 and 234.
  • [0060]
    Electronic chip 230 is also coupled to a switch 240 for actuating LED 236. In this case, a contact switch is utilized in which the user depresses a button to activate LED 236. The LED is activated while switch 240 is depressed, and the LED is deactivated while switch 240 is not depressed. Note however that alternative switches could be used. For example, a heat sensor could be used to sense heat from the user's body contacting the doll. Other alternative sensors could also be used that sense when the doll is held, or contacted in a certain way by the user. Such sensor could further be integrally molded in the doll, which may also provide improved appearance of the doll body.
  • [0061]
    Continuing with FIG. 12, the rear view shows magnets 232 and 234 that can be used to locate and attach the wings (or other accessories), described above. In this case, the magnets 232 and 234 are located within the body mold, such that the surface of the back is smooth, with the magnets exposed. However, the magnets can be internally integrally molded and covered with a smooth layer of body material, if desired. This may provide an improved appearance in some applications.
  • [0062]
    FIG. 13 shows a front view of toy figure 210 after some final finishing steps, with the material of molded body 212 depicted as transparent so that armature 10 may be seen within the figure. As depicted in FIG. 13, locating pegs 74 and 76 may extend to lateral and medial surfaces 214 and 216 of the body, respectively. Also as depicted in FIG. 13, various finishing steps may be applied to the toy figure after the second injection molding step. For example, sprues and/or connecting shafts that remain external to molded body 212 may be removed, possibly leaving portions of shafts 82 extending to surfaces of the body. Facial features, generally indicated at 218, may be added by, for example, etching and/or painting. Hair 220 may be attached to the figure by, for example, heat sealing or gluing. In some embodiments, clothing and/or other accessories may be added to the figure.
  • [0063]
    FIG. 14 shows a right side view of toy figure 210, with the material of molded body 212 depicted as transparent as in FIG. 13. As depicted in FIG. 14, locating pegs 64, 68, and 76 may extend to an anterior surface 222 of the body, and locating pegs 66 and 70 may extend to a posterior surface 224 of the body. End portions of the various locating pegs extending to surfaces of the body may be sanded or otherwise smoothed as desired, as a final finishing step.
  • [0064]
    FIG. 15 shows a detailed approximately 1:1 scale drawing of an arm insert 300 which can be used in the doll described above. The drawing shows the arm insert, which can be used for both the left and right arms, after two molding steps, where the molding can be insert molding as described herein.
  • [0065]
    Specifically, FIG. 15 shows arm insert 300 having a first insert molded pivot at 310 and a pair of parallel disks 312 used to form a shoulder joint captured by the doll torso. The following molding steps can be used to form insert 300, although alternative approaches may also be used. First, wire 314, which spans from approximately hole 320 to hole 322 is placed in a mold and held or located by the pins of the mold (not shown), where the pins form holes 320 and 322 in insert 300. Wire 314 can be a twisted pair of two or more wires, or a single wire. Then, the insert is partially molded, forming the lower structure 324, and middle structure 326. Included in lower structure 324 are locating pegs 330, which are used to locate the piece after the first molding operation in later molds. After forming the lower and middle structure 324 and 326, a second molding operation is performed which forms upper structure 328 around middle structure 326, thereby forming rotary pivot 310. Further, the second molding operation, which forms upper structure 328, also forms disks 332 and 334 (which are later captured by the doll body to form a second pivot at the shoulder in addition to pivot 310). Alternatively, these two molding operations could be combined into a single molding operation.
  • [0066]
    After the second molding operation, the piece is placed in another mold and located by pegs 330 to form either a right arm or left arm as described in more detail below. By structuring insert 300 in this way, it is possible to have a single insert design that can be used to form both the left and right arms, thereby saving cost.
  • [0067]
    Lower structure 324 is shown with two locating pegs 330, however only a single peg, or more than 2 pegs, could be used, if desired. Further, lower structure 324 has a stepped outer form which can improve the strength of the piece and thereby improve durability, while still properly capturing wire 314. Likewise, middle structure 326 is also formed in a step manner, for similar reasons. Also, lower and middle structures 324 and 326 have reinforced structure around holes 320 and 322, respectively to compensate for the lack of material in the hole. Again, this improves strength and durability of the finished arm, thereby allowing repeated use by a doll user.
  • [0068]
    FIG. 15 includes a top and side views in conventional drawing format. Further, an isometric view is also shown, illustrating various features of the insert.
  • [0069]
    Referring now to FIG. 16, a right arm 400 is shown, which is formed using insert 300. FIG. 16 includes an isometric view and details of right arm 400.
  • [0070]
    As shown in FIG. 16, insert 300 is used in a third molding operation to form the right arm 400 over insert 300. The view illustrates the shape of the hand and arm, including joint 418 and disks 412 later used to form a two degree of freedom rotary shoulder joint. FIG. 16 also shows locating pins 430 which were used to locate insert 300 in the mold forming the arm 400. After this molding operation, pins 430 can be cut off, thereby leaving a finished arm for assembly to the doll body.
  • [0071]
    Arm 400 is thus formed to provide improved durability and desired flexibility, as well as a more realistic simulation of human parts, while still enabling the desired degrees of freedom and motion for effective play by the user. Therefore, the combination of rotary shoulder joints with bendable elbow joints thus provides an advantageous result.
  • [0072]
    While the above example shows a right arm, it is also possible to form a left arm in a substantially similar way.
  • [0073]
    Referring now to FIGS. 17-19, detailed drawings of the left leg insert (FIGS. 17-18) and finished right leg (700 of FIG. 19) are shown, with FIG. 19 at approximately 1:1 scale. The legs are formed in a manner similar to the arms discussed above with respect to FIGS. 15-16. However, there are various differences.
  • [0074]
    First, as shown in FIGS. 17-19, the leg insert 600 includes a single degree of freedom insert molded hip joint 610, which is angled relative to the upper leg section 612. The hip joint 610 is captured by the doll torso.
  • [0075]
    The following molding steps can be used to form insert 600, although alterative approaches may also be used. First, wire 614, which spans from approximately hole 620 to hole 622 is placed in a mold and held or located by the pins of the mold (not shown), where the pins form holes 620 and 620 in insert 600. Wire 614 can be twisted pair of two or more wires, or a single wire. Then, the insert is partially molded, forming the lower structure 624, and the middle structures 626. Included in lower structure 624 are locating pegs 630, which are used to locate the piece after the first molding operation in later molds. After forming the lower and middle structure 624 and 626, a second molding operation is performed which forms upper structure 628, thereby forming rotary pivot 610 (which is later captured by the doll body to form a pivot at the hip). Alternatively, these two molding operations could be combined in a single molding operation.
  • [0076]
    After the second molding operation, the piece is placed in another mold and located by pegs 630 to form a left leg as described in more detail below. While the different left and right leg inserts are described, they could be reused as described above with regard to FIGS. 17-19.
  • [0077]
    Lower structure 624 is shown with two locating pegs 630, however only a single peg, or more than 2 pegs, could be used, if desired. Further, lower structure 624 has a stepped outer form which can improve the strength of the piece and thereby improve durability, while still properly capturing wire 614. Likewise, upper structure 628 is also formed in a step manner, for similar reasons. Also, lower and upper structures 624 and 628 have reinforced structure around holes 620 and 622, respectively to compensate for the lack of material in the hole. Again, this improves strength and durability of the finished leg, thereby allowing repeated use by a doll user.
  • [0078]
    Referring now to FIG. 19, a left leg 700 is shown in an approximately 1:1 scale drawing, which is formed using insert 600.
  • [0079]
    As shown in FIG. 19, insert 600 is used in a third molding operation to form the left leg 700 over insert 600. The various views illustrate the shape of the leg and foot, including joint 610 later used to form a single degree of freedom rotary hip joint. FIG. 19 also shows locating pins 630 which were used to locate insert 600 in the mold forming the leg 700. After this molding operation, pins 630 can be cut off, thereby leaving a finished leg for assembly to the doll body.
  • [0080]
    Leg 700 is thus formed to provide improved durability and desired flexibility, as well as a more realistic simulation of human parts, while still enabling the desired degrees of freedom and motion for effective play by the user. Therefore, the combination of rotary hip joints with bendable elbow knees thus provides an advantageous result. Furthermore, the shape formed by this third molding operation provides a thinned portion 720 to form the knee. Thus, even though wire 614 spans an area much larger than the knee joint, the knee bends about thin area 720 due to the shape formed in this third molding operation. As such, less manufacturing complexity can be used while still achieving repeatable bending at a desired location. Again, a right leg may be formed in a similar fashion.
  • [0081]
    Referring now to FIG. 20, several alternative embodiments are described. The two right side drawings in FIG. 20 show alternative arm and arm insert designs, in which section 326 is modified to include small dimples 810 and 812 to inner and outer parts of the upper arm section 326. In this way, it is possible to provide improved location of the insert in the third molding operation which forms the arm around the insert. In other words, these dimples (or a single dimple, or more than 2 dimples) can help prevent, or reduce, location errors of the skeleton in arm mold.
  • [0082]
    Continuing with FIG. 20, the left side drawings show an alternative leg insert and leg. First, a small dimple 814 is added to section 628 of the leg insert at the upper inner thigh area of the leg, again to prevent or reduce location errors of the leg skeleton in leg mold, as described above with regard to dimples 810 and 812. While a single dimple 814 is used, more than one could also be used.
  • [0083]
    Second, the barrel diameter in the location near dimple 814 has been reduced, and a support rib 816 has been added to increase the strength of the leg section 628, thereby providing improved durability.
  • [0084]
    It is believed that the disclosure set forth above encompasses multiple distinct examples with independent utility. While each of these examples has been disclosed in example form, the specific embodiments thereof as disclosed and illustrated herein are not to be considered in a limiting sense as numerous variations are possible. The subject matter of the disclosure includes all novel and non-obvious combinations and subcombinations of the various elements, features, functions and/or properties disclosed herein. Similarly, where any claim recites “a” or “a first” element or the equivalent thereof, such claim should be understood to include incorporation of one or more such elements, neither requiring nor excluding two or more such elements.
  • [0085]
    Inventions embodied in various combinations and subcombinations of features, functions, elements, and/or properties may be claimed through presentation of claims in a related application. Such new claims, whether they are directed to a different invention or directed to the same invention, whether different, broader, narrower or equal in scope to the original claims, are also regarded as included within the subject matter of the inventions of the present disclosure.
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Classifications
U.S. Classification446/376
International ClassificationA63H3/04, A63H9/00, A63H3/46
Cooperative ClassificationA63H9/00, A63H3/04
European ClassificationA63H9/00, A63H3/04
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
11 May 2005ASAssignment
Owner name: MATTEL, INC., CALIFORNIA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:MARINE,JON;WITTENBERG, MARK S.;GLASSBERG, DEBBIE;REEL/FRAME:016556/0639;SIGNING DATES FROM 20050420 TO 20050506