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Title:
MAGNETIC BLOCKS WITH IMPROVED MAGNETIC PROPERTIES AND CONSTRUCTION SET THEREOF
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2019/130271
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The present invention is a magnetic block with improved magnetic properties comprising a non-magnetic body with outer walls and an internal parallelepiped connected by links. Together, they form cells for placing magnets. The magnets are placed such that the distance between adjacent magnets is not greater than the thickness of magnets. Caps are mounted onto the body and thus form a finished block. The ratio of the area of the face of the rectangular magnet to the area of the corresponding face of the block ranges between 0.15 and 0.6. A construction set comprising a plurality of magnetic blocks is also disclosed, wherein the blocks are different colors. Such a design of the magnetic block and the 6 rectangular magnets allows for very high magnetic attraction properties with which one can build geometrically-complex shapes and high-precision objects.

Inventors:
KHALUS, Ivan (152A Borschagivska Street, Apt.119Kyiv, 03056, UA)
BEREZOVSKYI, Oleh (69 Levitana Street, Apt. 31Odessa, 65000, UA)
Application Number:
IB2018/060707
Publication Date:
July 04, 2019
Filing Date:
December 28, 2018
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
KHALUS, Ivan (152A Borschagivska Street, Apt.119Kyiv, 03056, UA)
BEREZOVSKYI, Oleh (69 Levitana Street, Apt. 31Odessa, 65000, UA)
International Classes:
A63H33/04
Domestic Patent References:
WO2017152483A12017-09-14
WO2010111189A12010-09-30
WO2015114044A12015-08-06
WO2017152483A12017-09-14
Foreign References:
EP0728506A11996-08-28
US20150258462A12015-09-17
JP3213213U2017-10-26
US20150262744A12015-09-17
US20150258462A12015-09-17
US20150262744A12015-09-17
KR20140067453A2014-06-05
US20150360137A12015-12-17
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
ATAMANCHUK, Andrii (post box V-305, Kyiv, 01001, UA)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

What is claimed is:

1. A magnetic block, comprising: a non-magnetic body frame comprising four outer walls and an internal parallelepiped connected to the outer walls of the body frame via links, wherein inner faces of the outer walls of the body frame, outer faces of the internal parallelepiped, and the links form six cells for placing magnets along an inner periphery of the magnetic block, rectangular magnets, the rectangular magnets being placed one in each of the six cells such that a distance between adjacent magnets, in a projection on the plane, is not greater than

1.3 times a thickness of each magnet, and at least one cap, the at least one cap being mounted to the body frame, wherein a ratio of the surface area of a face of each rectangular magnet to the surface area of a corresponding face of the magnetic block is between 0.15 and 0.60.

2. The magnetic block of claim 1 , wherein the distance between adjacent magnets, in a projection on the plane, is equal to or less than a thickness of each magnet.

3. The magnetic block of claim 1, wherein the ratio is between 0.15 and 0.19.

4. The magnetic block of claim 1, wherein the ratio is between 0.19 and 0.225.

5. The magnetic block of claim 1, wherein each magnet is positioned adjacent a center of each corresponding face of the magnetic block.

6. The magnetic block of claim 1, further comprising flat edges on outer walls of the magnetic block.

7. The magnetic block of claim 1, further comprising internal ribs within the parallelepiped.

8. The magnetic block of claim 1, wherein seams of an assembled magnetic block are invisible.

9. The magnetic block of claim 1, wherein the magnets are NdFeB magnets.

10. The magnetic block of claim 1 , wherein each cap comprises one or more pillars on its inner side, said pillars further fixing each cap to the body frame.

11. The magnetic block of claim 1, further comprising snap-joints on each sidewall of the links.

12. The magnetic block of claim 1, further comprising vertical stiffening ribs positioned along the outer faces of the parallelepiped.

13. The magnetic block of claim 1, further comprising a triangular concentrator for ultrasonic welding.

14. The magnetic block of claim 1, wherein three adjacent faces have a northern polarity and three adjacent faces have a southern polarity.

15. The magnetic block of claim 1, wherein at least one face of the magnetic block comprises a multi-pole magnetization.

Description:
MAGNETIC BLOCKS WITH IMPROVED MAGNETIC PROPERTIES AND CONSTRUCTION

SET THEREOF

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0001] The invention relates to toys, and more particularly to toy building blocks having magnetic interaction means, i.e., building blocks held together by magnetic attraction. The present invention also relates to games, e.g., construction set, using building blocks which are magnetically held together, and which allow creating a variety of different objects.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] Different types and designs of magnetic blocks (as items of toy construction kits) have been widely known over the years. The general idea of a magnetic block is based on the following approach. Round cylindrical magnets are placed inside a block under its surfaces or near the ribs of the block. When interacting with each other, the magnets inside two closely spaced blocks attract and thus the blocks are held together forming a geometrical structure. A variety of prior art patent documents describe such magnetic blocks. For example, the following exemplary prior art is provided: U.S. Patent Application Ser. No. US2015258462, U.S. Patent Application Ser. No.

US2015262744, International Application Ser. No. WO2017152483, and Republic of Korea Patent Application Ser. No. KR20140067453. Such prior art magnetic blocks are distinguished by their large outer dimensions and insignificant magnetic properties. In most cases, the magnets inside such prior art blocks are designed only to attract and hold the blocks connected to each other, in a position where such blocks lay on flat surfaces. Such prior art blocks are not capable of holding other blocks by weight (i.e., hanging), especially when holding several blocks in a row by weight. [0003] U.S. Patent Application Ser. No. US2015360137 describes a kit for the assembly of a mosaic structure containing an assembly tool to place multicolored blocks onto at least two interlocking core pieces. The blocks adhere to the interlocking core pieces or each other by magnetic attraction. After the blocks are placed, the interlocking core pieces are secured by engagement of, e.g., a twist-lock connection. With the application of a degree of creativity, the assembly kit can be used to form mosaic structures of a sculptural nature that resemble animals, human characters, buildings, and other objects. The assembly kits are particularly useful in teaching children spatial awareness skills and improving hand-eye coordination. One disadvantage is the magnetic attraction properties of the mentioned blocks are low.

[0004] The closest prior art to the present invention are the“Minecraft Magnetic Building

Blocks” by Fan and Xi Co. Ltd. (“iFanXi Store,” Yueqing, China). This construction set is designed in a popular style known as“Pixel Art” - a form of digital art created through the use of small blocks to make objects look like images at a pixel level. A magnetic block of the construction set consists of a plastic body made from polycarbonates and 6 round NdFeB permanent magnets located in the center of each of six panes. Outer dimensions of the block are 8.1x8.1x8.1 mm, and the diameter of each magnet is 3.0 mm. An outer surface of the block has a sticker pattern with a Minecraft theme, i.e., grass, stone, quartz, mud, snow, etc. When one links the building blocks together, the lateral limit can hold 6 blocks in a row hanging, and the vertical limit is 45 blocks hanging. The main disadvantage of the mentioned magnetic blocks is their low magnetic attraction to each other. The stickers on the outer surfaces of the magnetic block are also glued by hand, which is not favorable for batch productions. Over time and due to frequent use the outer stickers on the blocks are often peeled off and frequently abraded.

[0005] Despite the integration of magnets into toy building blocks, users of the above- described blocks are limited in how they may align the blocks and the resulting structures (objects) they may create. Long cantilever rows of magnetic blocks and complete freedom for making geometrically complex and high-precision constructions are not provided in the prior art. There is a need for a magnetic building block, and more specifically a set thereof capable of overcoming the aforementioned challenges. It is necessary to optimize and innovate the internal structure of small sized (e.g.“Pixel Art”) magnetic blocks and magnet placement in order to significantly increase their magnetic properties and better adapt them for batch productions. The present invention solves this need.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0006] A preferred embodiment of the present invention is a magnetic block comprising a plastic body frame and two caps on either (top/bottom) side of the body frame. Inside the body frame, adjacent to the center of each face (pane) of the magnetic block, a square magnet is positioned, totaling 6 magnetic pieces per block. The ratio of the area of the square magnet to the total area of a corresponding face (pane) is around 0.19 - 0.60 (19% - 60%). Each face of the block has a straight facet (i.e. flat edge) and roughness for increasing the friction coefficient. The internal ribs of each block are constructed in such a way as to provide maximum strength within the block against compression, excellent resistance to tangential stresses, and to facilitate exact centering of each magnet’s location in reference to a corresponding face of the block. Such a design also allows for hiding the seams after assembling the magnet block at a production place. The inner design of the magnet block and specific disposition of the six square magnets allow for a high ratio between the magnets’ surface area and the block’s surface area. Such a ratio provides for very high magnetic attraction properties. A lateral row of the magnetic blocks can have more than 8 blocks in a horizontal row hanging (i.e., without any blocks below the row) and the vertical limit is more than 50 blocks hanging. [0007] The present invention also comprises a construction set of the above-mentioned magnetic blocks of varying colors and/or patterns. The different colors and/or patterns are used, e.g., to visually distinguish each block, which allows for creation of visually different parts of the figures/objects of a construction. Due to the superior magnetic properties of the magnetic blocks of the present invention, one can build geometrically complex and high-precision designs/objects.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0008] FIG. 1 shows a general perspective view of a magnetic block according to the present invention.

[0009] Fig. 2A and 2B show an exploded perspective view diagram with separated integral parts of the magnetic block according to the present invention. Fig. 2A shows the body frame, magnets, and two caps. Fig. 2B shows a magnet and the body frame with integral dimensions A, B, C, and D.

[0010] Fig. 3 shows a different perspective view of the body frame and a cap of a magnetic block according to the present invention, such that the internal frame of the magnetic block is more clearly visible.

[0011] Figs. 4A and 4B show a top view of a magnetic block according to the present invention. Fig. 4A shows integral parts of the magnetic block. Fig. 4B shows integral dimensions E and F.

[0012] Fig. 5 shows additional features of the internal design of a magnetic block according to the present invention.

[0013] Fig. 6 illustrates the magnetic superposition principle that occurs in the magnetic blocks of the present invention. [0014] Figs. 7A-7T illustrate possible embodiments of construction sets comprising magnetic blocks according to the present invention.

[0015] Fig. 8 shows one embodiment of a magnetic block according to the present invention.

[0016] Fig. 9 shows another embodiment of a magnetic block according to the present invention.

[0017] Fig. 10 shows the relative polarities of the faces of a preferred embodiment according to the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

[0018] A preferred embodiment of the present invention is a magnetic block (see Figs. 1-2) comprising an ABS-plastic body frame 201 appropriate for children’s toys, two caps 202 for a top and a bottom of the body frame 201 and 6 square NdFeB magnets 203 positioned inside the body frame 201 along the faces (panes) of the body frame 201. In this embodiment, the size of the finished block, which comprises the body frame and two caps, is 8.00mm x 8.00mm x 8.00mm. The size of the body frame is 8.00mm x 8.00mm x 7.96mm. The size of each cap is 7.20mm x 7.20mm x 2.00mm. The dimensions of each magnet are 3.80mm x 3.80mm x l.OOmm. The ratio of the area of each square magnet 203 (see Fig. 2B) to the total area of the corresponding face (pane) 204 of the block in this embodiment is around 0.225. In certain embodiments, the dimensions of the magnets can be 3.50mm x 3.50mm x l .OOmm. In such embodiments, the same ratio is around 0.19. The block has flat facets (i.e. flat edges) 102 (Fig. 1) having a thickness of 0.40 mm, and the thickness of the outer walls 101 (Fig. 1) is 0.40 mm. Such dimensions make it possible to hide the seam line between the cap and the body frame of the block. Each cap 202 (Fig. 2) has several pillars 301 and 305 (see Fig. 3) on its inner side for central positioning of magnets during an assembly process and proper fixation of the cap to the body frame. The internal structure of the body frame 201 comprises a rectangular hollow parallelepiped 303 (Fig. 3) connected with the outer walls 101 (Figs. 1, 3, 4) of the body frame through links (i.e. bridges) 401 (Fig. 4). This internal structure of the body frame 201 may comprise one continuous element (made, e.g., via a process similar to die casting). Alternatively, the internal structure may comprise several elements which are then welded together. The walls of the inner rectangular parallelepiped 303 (Fig. 3) together with the links (bridges) 401 (Fig. 4) form four vertical cells 402 (Fig. 4) for placing the magnets such that the magnets are located and positioned adjacent the centers of each of the faces of the body frame. The inner space of the rectangular hollow parallelepiped 303 (Fig. 3) is reinforced with ribs 403 (Fig. 4), the ends of which form two additional horizontal cells 404 (Fig. 4 - top and bottom) for placement of fifth and sixth magnets adjacent the faces of the upper and lower caps. The inner space of the rectangular parallelepiped 303 (Fig. 3) may also or instead be reinforced with a solid filling. To facilitate the procedure of assembling the magnet block during production, snap-joints 302 (Fig.3) are made on each sidewall of the links (bridges) for holding the magnets in their corresponding cells and preventing them from falling out until the caps are mounted. Vertical stiffening ribs 306 are made along the outer sides of the rectangular parallelepiped 303 (Fig. 3). The upper and lower ends of the walls of the rectangular parallelepiped 303 (Fig. 3) have a triangular concentrator for ultrasonic welding 501 (Fig. 5). Due to such a design, after welding the caps to the body frame, the seams 502 (Fig. 5) between the caps and the body frame become nearly invisible.

[0019] The above-mentioned design of the inner structure of the block allows for placing the pin gate and the block' s ejection places from the mold, inside the block’s body frame, thus preventing any traces on the outer surfaces of the block. Due to this design, the block looks like a solid and seamless cube having flat edges after assembly. The vertical magnet cells 402 (Fig. 4) have snap-joints 302 (Fig. 3) on the inner sides of the cell to hold the magnets in place during the assembly process. It is designed in a way that also prevents the formation of creases and other deformations on the outer walls of the blocks.

[0020] The arrangement and shape of the magnets within the block were chosen experimentally and based on properties of attraction between blocks and the overall magnetic field produced by each block. A ratio of the surface area of the face of a magnet 203 to the surface area of the corresponding blockface 204 is defined as S-magnet : S-blockface, where S-magnet = C*D, and where S-blockface = A*B. See Fig. 2B. In a preferred embodiment, this ratio is between 0.19 and 0.60. In other embodiments, the ratio may be as low as 0.15, or between 0.19 and 0.225. Additionally, the distance between the lateral surfaces of adjacent magnets (see Fig. 4B, element F), in the projection on the plane, is preferably no greater than the thickness of the magnets themselves (see Fig. 4B, element E). With such a design, the magnets influence each other primarily through a change in the demagnetizing factor within the system of magnets. Additionally, the magnets are arranged such that there are some neighboring magnets with different-facing polarities and others with same-facing polarities inside each face of the magnetic block. Such an arrangement, for example, creates a block which comprises 3 adjacent magnets

(and thus three adjacent faces) having a northern outward facing polarity and three adjacent magnets (and thus three adjacent faces) having a southern outward facing polarity. See Figs. 6 and 10. This leads to an increase in the magnetic induction on the outer edges of the magnets and further increases the magnetic power of a system of magnetic blocks when combined. Such an effect also appears (and in fact is further strengthened) when, in addition to the polarities, the distance between lateral surfaces of magnets (Fig. 4B, element F), in the projection on the plane, is equal to or at least not greater than 1.3 times the thickness of the magnets (Fig. 4B, element E).

[0021] Since the distance between the magnets on neighboring faces is small, the entire magnetic flux of the inner surface remains in the inner space of the block between the magnets. This leads to an increase in the magnetic flux between the outer poles of the magnets and an increase in the magnetic induction on the surface. The principle of superposition that occurs in the proposed block is illustrated in Fig. 6.

[0022] Another embodiment of the present invention is a construction set comprising several magnetic blocks (Fig.7) having 16 different colors. By joining the blocks together via magnetic attraction, one can create a plurality of different objects. Due to the distinguished magnetic properties of the blocks, complex structures and high precision shapes can be made, being at the same time highly resistant to destruction. Figures from blocks are created by connecting colored blocks one by one in certain sequences. Each block has three adjacent faces with magnets having a northern polarity and three adjacent faces with a southern polarity. The magnetic attraction is sufficiently strong for an automatic (i.e. self-) attraction of one block to the appropriate face of another block. In this case, when assembling the figures, one just needs to bring the block to another block at a short distance and release it, and it will turn over to an appropriate face and attach.

[0023] In one of the embodiments of the present invention, a multi-pole magnetization of a magnet on one face is used. In other words, half of the face of the square magnet is the north pole, and half is the south pole. This allows one to attach blocks not only face-to-face, but also at a half face displacement, which gives additional constructive possibilities when assembling different figures.

[0024] To further enhance the magnetic properties of the blocks, an internal magnetic core

801 (Fig. 8) may be included, made from a soft-magnetic metal material (for example, low-carbon steel, 0.5 mm). The internal magnetic core 801 may be located on the inner side of the magnets

802 (Fig. 8) inside the block. [0025] Another embodiment of the present invention (Fig. 9) with even better magnetic properties comprises a magnetic block comprising a plastic body frame with outer walls 901. Inside the body frame is a solid parallelepiped 902. Inner magnets 903 are attached on the outer faces of the solid parallelepiped 902. The attachment can be made using any known manner, e.g., gluing, welding, pressing, etc. An internal metal core 904 may also be integrated inside the solid parallelepiped 902. The ratio of the surface area of the face of a rectangular inner magnet 903 to the surface area of a corresponding face of the block can be up to 0.60 (60%) in this case.

[0026] Accordingly, it is to be understood that the above-mentioned dimensions of the embodiment of the invention described are merely illustrative of the application of the principles of the invention. The illustrated and described dimensions are not intended to limit the scope of the claims, which themselves recite those features regarded as essential to the invention. The specified dimensions may be greater or lower while maintaining the ratio of the area of the face of a square magnet to the total area of the corresponding blockface within the ranges disclosed.

[0027] While the foregoing written description of the invention enables one of ordinary skill to make and use what is considered presently to be the best mode thereof, those of ordinary skill will understand and appreciate the existence of variations, combinations, and equivalents of the specific embodiment, method, and examples herein. The invention should therefore not be limited by the above described embodiment, method, and examples, but by all embodiments and methods within the scope and spirit of the invention.

[0028] The description of a preferred embodiment of the invention has been presented for purposes of illustration and description. It is not intended to be exhaustive or to limit the invention to the precise forms disclosed. Obviously, many modifications and variations will be apparent to practitioners skilled in this art. It is intended that the scope of the invention be defined by the following claims and their equivalents. [0029] Moreover, the words "example" or "exemplary" are used herein to mean serving as an example, instance, or illustration. Any aspect or design described herein as "exemplary" is not necessarily to be construed as preferred or advantageous over other aspects or designs. Rather, use of the words "example" or "exemplary" is intended to present concepts in a concrete fashion. As used in this application, the term "or" is intended to mean an inclusive "or" rather than an exclusive

"or". That is, unless specified otherwise, or clear from context, "X employs A or B" is intended to mean any of the natural inclusive permutations. That is, if X employs A; X employs B; or X employs both A and B, then "X employs A or B" is satisfied under any of the foregoing instances. In addition, the articles "a" and "an" as used in this application and the appended claims should generally be construed to mean "one or more" unless specified otherwise or clear from context to be directed to a singular form.