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Valve arrangement

Title: Valve arrangement.
Abstract: A valve arrangement for use in a device for propelling a projectile with compressed gas, such as a paint ball marker, has a body which defines a first space for receiving compressed gas, a second space for receiving compressed gas, a first valve for selectively venting gas from the first space, and a second valve, actuated in response to the venting of gas from the first space, for releasing gas from the second space to propel the projectile. The valve arrangement may be used in various types of devices, including a revolver style apparatus in which one or more of the valve arrangements are placed in chambers of a cylinder. The valve arrangement may also be used in a cartridge or shell arrangement, which may then be loaded into a device adapted to accept and fire such cartridges or shells. ...

- Fort Wayne, IN, US
Inventor: Dennis J. Tippmann
USPTO Applicaton #: #20070017406 - Class: 102440000 (USPTO) - 01/25/07 - Class 102 
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Related Patent Categories: Ammunition And Explosives, Cartridges, Having Liquid/gas Propellent Means
The Patent Description & Claims data below is from USPTO Patent Application 20070017406, Valve arrangement.


[0001] The invention relates generally to paintball markers, and like devices for firing frangible projectiles. More specifically, the invention relates to a valve arrangement for use with such markers and devices.


[0002] Several methods have been developed for firing paintballs. Many of these methods employ a container of pressurized gas, which is coupled to the gun. Compressed gas is piped and valved from the container, and used to fire a paintball. Such guns allow the pressurized gas to be released directly from the container in discrete amounts through a triggering mechanism, thereby firing paintballs one at a time with the released gas.


[0003] The invention allows a paintball to be fired using a novel valve arrangement. The valve arrangement can be filled or "pre-charged" with a compressed gas to fire the paintball. One embodiment of the valve arrangement allows it to be refilled with a compressed gas allowing it to fire another paintball.

[0004] The valve arrangement may be used with various types of markers to be used for firing paintballs. For example, one embodiment of the valve arrangement can be disposed in a cylinder of a revolver. An individual valve arrangement can be placed in each chamber of the cylinder, allowing each chamber to be capable of firing a paintball. In one embodiment, this configuration allows a bullet-firing revolver to be modified by replacing its cylinder with a paintball-firing cylinder. The paintball cylinder can be configured such that the firing mechanism of the revolver can be used with the valve arrangement to fire a paintball from each chamber of the paintball cylinder. In one embodiment, the paintball cylinder can also be removed and placed into a container, allowing each fired chamber to be refilled with compressed gas, such that the chambers are pre-charged to fire another paintball.

[0005] Another embodiment of the valve arrangement can be disposed in a casing to create a self-contained cartridge, thus allowing a paintball to be fired from a gun adapted for use with such cartridge. After firing, the casing and valve arrangement can be refilled with compressed gas, preparing it to fire another paintball.

[0006] While these valve arrangement embodiments may be used for firing paintballs, it is contemplated that the valve arrangements described herein can fire other non-lethal projectile types, such as pepper balls or spark balls, for example.

[0007] Additional features and advantages of the valve arrangement will become apparent to those skilled in the art upon consideration of the following detailed description of the illustrated embodiments, exemplifying the best mode of carrying out the invention as presently perceived.


[0008] The following description references the attached drawings which are given as non-limiting examples only, in which:

[0009] FIG. 1 is an exploded view of an illustrative embodiment of a valve arrangement for firing a paintball, and an associated casing and paintball which may be assembled to form a cartridge arrangement.

[0010] FIG. 2A is an end view of the illustrative embodiment of FIG. 1.

[0011] FIG. 2B is a sectional view taken along line A-A of FIG. 2A.

[0012] FIG. 3 is an exploded view of an illustrative embodiment of a valve arrangement for firing a paintball, and associated cylinder components which may be assembled for use in a revolver.

[0013] FIG. 4A is an end view of the illustrative embodiment of FIG. 3.

[0014] FIG. 4B is a sectional view taken along line A-A of FIG. 4A.

[0015] FIGS. 5A through 5C are sectional views of a valve arrangement illustratively showing the manner in which a paintball is fired.

[0016] Corresponding reference characters indicate corresponding parts throughout the several views. The exemplifications set out herein are illustrative, and are not to be construed as limiting the scope of the invention in any manner.


[0017] FIG. 1 is an exploded view of an illustrative embodiment of a valve arrangement 12 which may be positioned in body 10 for purposes of firing a paintball. The embodiment of FIG. 1 is particularly well-suited for use in firing a paintball from a paintball marker adapted for use with a cartridge-like assembly, similar to a shotgun shell or rifle cartridge. Body 10 includes threads 11, which correspond to those of end cap 36 to be used for sealing body 10 at end 13. (See also FIG. 2B.) Valve arrangement 12 includes sliding member 18. Seal 16 fits within head 19 of sliding member 18 with seal 16 being fastened to sliding member 18 with fastener 14. Head 19 of sliding member 18 has grooves 17 formed therein.

[0018] Sliding member 18 also includes port 20, disposed in a wall thereof, which allows first and second spaces 21, 23 within body 10 to communicate, as described in more detail below. O-ring 22 fits into groove 24 of sliding member 18 to create a seal within body 10. Spring 26 fits within bore 40 of sliding member 18. Valve plug 27 includes valve stem 28, base 29, and extension 31. Valve stem 28 extends from base 29. Extension 31 extends from base 29 in a direction opposite that of valve stem 28. Base 29 is larger in diameter than extension 31. This allows extension 31 to fit within spring 26 but prohibits base 29 and valve stem 28 from entering spring 26. Valve plug 27 is formed to fit within bore 40. Valve stem 28 extends through openings 33, 37 of seal 30 and seal cap 34, respectively. O-ring 32 is positioned between seal 30 and seal cap 34 with o-ring 32 fitting onto an extension of seal cap 34. (See also FIG. 2B.)

[0019] With valve arrangement 12 positioned in body 10, end cap 36 can be attached to body 10, thereby sealing end 13 of body 10. This embodiment illustratively shows end cap 36 to be fastened to body 10 through interacting threads. (See also FIG. 2B.) It is appreciated that body 10 and end cap 36 may be fastened by other means such as an adhesive, for example, or may be integral structures. FIGS. 1 and 2B also illustrate the manner in which a paintball 42 can be positioned in end 15 of body 10.

[0020] FIG. 2A shows an end view of the illustrative embodiment of end cap 36 shown in FIG. 1. FIG. 2A also shows valve stem 28 extending through opening 35 of end cap 36. Opening 35 is large enough that base 29 is also visible through opening 35.

[0021] FIG. 2B is a sectional view taken along line A-A of FIG. 2A. Valve arrangement 12 is illustratively shown disposed within bore 41 of body 10. Sliding member 18 is positioned in bore 41 such that it creates spaces 21, 23. O-ring 22 seals space 21 from space 23. However, bore 41 and port 20 allow space 21 and space 23 to communicate with one another. O-ring 32 is illustratively shown to seal space 21 from the outside. End cap 36 is also shown to provide a seal through the interaction of its threads 45 and threads 11 of body 10.

[0022] When spaces 21, 23 are filled with a compressed gas, base 29 is forced against seal 30. Base 29 is forced against seal 30 not only by the pressure created in space 21, but also through the force generated by spring 26 in direction 64. This seals first space 21 from the environment external to body 10. Body 10 is also shown to include a bore 52, which illustratively accommodates paintball 42. Bore 52 and bore 41 communicate through opening 56. When spaces 21, 23 are pressurized, seal 16 is forced against sealing surface 62 of bore 41. This seals bore 52 from bore 40.

[0023] FIG. 3 shows an exploded view of valve arrangement 12 with an illustrative embodiment of a revolver cylinder 66. Cylinder 66 is illustratively shown to include a plurality of chambers 68. Although only one valve arrangement 12 is shown in FIG. 3, it is appreciated that each chamber 68 can accommodate a valve arrangement 12. In one embodiment, cylinder 66 is formed so that it can replace a bullet-firing cylinder in a revolver. The firing mechanism in the revolver activates an individual valve arrangement 12, allowing a paintball 42 to be fired from the revolver. Once each chamber 68 contains a valve arrangement 12, end cap 72 is attached to cylinder 66. Cylinder 66 contains a plurality of bores 70 that align with a plurality of openings 76 in end cap 72. This allows end cap 72 to be attached to cylinder 66 through fasteners 78 being disposed through openings 76 and secured within bores 70.

[0024] End cap 72 also includes a plurality of openings 74 that align with chambers 68. This alignment allows valve stem 28 to be accessed through its respective opening 74. Opening 74 is large enough to allow a revolver hammer to strike valve stem 28, thereby activating valve arrangement 12, as illustrated and described below with reference to FIGS. 5A through 5C. Bore 80 in cylinder 66 allows cylinder 66 to be coupled to a revolver.

[0025] FIG. 4A illustratively shows an end view of valve arrangement 12, cylinder 66 and end cap 72. This view shows the orientation of openings 74, 76 in end cap 72. FIG. 4A also shows the accessibility of valve stem 28 through openings 74. FIG. 4B shows a sectional view taken along line A-A of FIG. 4A. Valve arrangement 12 is illustratively positioned in chamber 68 of cylinder 66. The relative positions of valve arrangement 12 in chamber 68 and paintball 42 in bore 84 is similar to that shown in FIG. 2B.

[0026] FIGS. 5A through 5C illustratively show how paintball 42 is fired using the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 4B. FIG. 4B illustratively shows the position of valve arrangement 12 when spaces 21, 23 are filled with a compressed gas such that valve arrangement 12 is ready to fire paintball 42. FIG. 5A shows valve stem 28 being actuated in direction 60, overcoming the force exerted in direction 64 on valve plug 27 by spring 26 and the compressed gas in space 21. This actuation causes base 29 to be separated from seal 30, which allows space 21 to communicate with the environment external to cylinder 66. As illustrated by arrows 90, 92 in FIG. 5A, this actuation allows the compressed gas in space 21 to flow out of cylinder 66. At this time, gas will also flow from space 23 through port 20 into space 21, then out of cylinder 66. However, due to the size of port 20 compared to the area allowing space 21 to communicate externally to cylinder 66 through actuation of valve stem 28, a pressure differential will exist between the spaces 21, 23 (i.e., the pressure in space 23 is greater than the pressure in space 21).

[0027] The pressure differential causes sliding member 18 to move in direction 64, as shown in FIG. 5B, and sliding member 18 is illustratively shown to have moved in direction 64 such that seal 16 moves away from sealing surface 88 of cylinder 68. This allows bore 84 and space 23 to communicate with one another through opening 86. Due to the fact that only a small amount of compressed gas can escape through port 20 by the time sliding member 18 is in the position shown in FIG. 5B, there will be ample compressed gas left in space 23 to fire paintball 42 with the desired force. Grooves 17 of head 19 reduce the distance traveled by the compressed gas from space 23 to opening 86 (illustrated by arrows 94, 96), thereby increasing reaction time between the actuation of valve stem 28 and the firing of paintball 42.

[0028] FIG. 5C illustratively shows paintball 42 being fired and valve arrangement 12 returning to the position illustratively shown in FIG. 4B. After paintball 42 is fired from bore 84 in direction 60, spring 26 forces sliding member 18 in direction 60 and valve plug 27 in direction 64. This causes base 29 to be pressed against seal 30 and seal 16 to be pressed against sealing surface 88 to re-establish the seals isolating spaces 21, 23 from the external environment, as illustratively shown in FIG. 5C. Valve arrangement 12 may be recharged for use in firing another paintball. In one arrangement, cylinder 66 is placed in a container for such, and valve stem(s) 28 actuated in direction 60 such that base 29 moves away from seal 30 (the position illustrated in FIG. 5A). This will allow compressed gas to flow into space 21, and then space 23 through port 20. After spaces 21, 23 are charged with compressed gas, valve plug 27 is returned to the position shown in FIG. 4B. Another paintball can then be placed in bore 84 and valve arrangement 12 is then ready to fire again. It is appreciated that valve arrangement 12 shown positioned in body 10 in FIGS. 1 through 2B functions similarly to that described in connection with FIGS. 5A through 5C. The arrangement of FIGS. 1 through 2B may also be re-chargeable in a manner similar to that described.

[0029] It is appreciated that body 10 and cylinder 66 are illustrative examples of the manner in which valve arrangement 12 may be used. Valve arrangement 12 can be similarly adapted to fire a paintball from a variety of markers. Different calibers of paintballs, or other projectiles, can be employed. The arrangement is intended to be refillable with compressed gas in a manner such as that described in the foregoing. However, it is possible to employ the valve arrangement described in a "single-use" manner, if the application warrants.

[0030] Although the present description references particular means, materials and embodiments, one skilled in the art can easily ascertain the essential characteristics from the foregoing description. Various changes and modifications may be made to adapt the various uses and characteristics without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention as set forth in the following claims.

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