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United States Patent (19)

Hermanns (ii) 3,802,743

(45) Apr. 9, 1974
54) VARIABLE DIAMETER WHEEL 2,765, 199 10/1956 Partin........... r 301/47
76 Inventor: William H. Hermanns, clo George FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS
Spector 3615, Woolworth Building, 422,841 4/1925 Germany.............................. 301/46
233 Broadway, Tampa, Fla. 10007 9,385 10, 1912 Great Britain....... ... 52/55
22 Filed: Apr. 17, 1972 38,641 7/1902 . France................. ... 301/5 R
326,048 i? 1958 Switzerland............ . . . . . . . . . . . 301147
(21) Appl. No.: 244,456
Primary Examiner-Kenneth H. Betts
52 U.S. Cl....................... 301/5 R, 152/55, 30 1116 Assistant Examiner-Reinhard J. Eisenzopf
(5) Int. Cl............................................. B60b 19/04 Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Stein, Orman & Fisher
58) Field of Search........... 30 1/5 R, 16, 46, 47,50;
152/55 (57) ABSTRACT
A wheeled vehicle is provided with a plurality of
56) References Cited wheels, each wheel being provided with separately ac
UNITED STATES PATENTS tuatable means for varying the diameter between two
489.446 1/1893 Anderson............................ 301/5 R fixed values, one small, the other large. Through the
756,290 4/1904 Sayer.................................. 301/5 R use of separately adjustable wheels the vehicle can tra
3,358,634 121 1967. Pratt... ... 305/34 verse uneven surfaces such as steep hills and valleys
1,787,608 11193 l Ansell..... ... 301147 without tilting or tipping.
t,980,314 - 1 1/1934 Barreres................................ 301/16 4 Claims, 3 Drawing Figures
PATENTED PR 917 3,802,743
3,802,743 2
VARIABLE DIAMETER WHEEL plates 34 attached to an inner side of wheel rim seg
Upon the outer side of the wheel rim segments 16,
Each wheel has a hub with a plurality of spokes ex there are bolted a plurality of rubber traction pads 36,
tending radially outward therefrom in a common verti in spaced apart relation, as shown in FIG. 3.
cal plane in equidistantly spaced positions. Each spoke The resulting wheel can have its diameter varied as
takes the form with a hydraulic cylinder with a piston previously described.
therein that can be moved between withdrawn and ex FIG. 2 shows a vehicle 26 having one wheel of large
tended positions. The pistons have free ends remotely diameter and an opposite wheel or smaller diameter
disposed from the hub and extending out of the cylin O whereby it can move in level position on a hill or the
ders. A plurality of circular segments are disposed pe like.
ripherally about the pistons and are secured either to I claim as follows:
the ends or to members connected to these ends. When 1. A variable diameter wheel of the type designed to
the pistons are fully extended the segments are spaced be incrementally retractable from a first diameter to a
from each other but are disposed along a circle having 15 second, concentric, smaller diameter and expandable
a first diameter. When the pistons are withdrawn, the from said second diameter to said first diameter, said
segments are spaced from each other but by smaller wheel comprising: a plurality of first spokes equidis
distances and are disposed along a circle having a sec tantly attached about the periphery of a hub and ex
ond and smaller diameter. Thus, the diameter of the tending radially outward therefrom in a common plane;
wheel can be adjusted as required. Hydraulic fluid, 20 a corresponding plurality of second spokes equidis
under the control of a manually operable valve, flows tantly attached in alternating arrangement with said
through the hub to the cylinders to determine the pis first spokes about said periphery of said hub and ex
ton positions and hence the wheel diameter. tending radially outward therefrom in said common
plane, said second spokes being of a predetermined les
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS 25 ser longitudinal dimension than said first spokes; sup
FIG. 1 is a side view of my wheel; and port means comprising a circle attached to said first
FIG. 2 is an end view of a vehicle in use employing and second spokes at a predetermined distance from
my wheels. FIG. 3 is an enlarged detail of the structure said hub, whereby said first and second spokes are sup
shown in FIG. 1 and shown in the same plane. ported in fixed equidistant relation to one another; a
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED 30 plurality of circular segments including wear plates at
EMBODIMENT tached to the concave sides thereof disposed in spaced
apart relation along a circle of said first diameter and
Referring now to FIG. 1, a plurality of hydraulic cyl attached at their midpoints to the outer extremity of
inders 10 extend radially outward from a central hub said first spokes; a plurality of reinforcing means at
12 in a common vertical plane in equidistantly spaced 35 tached to the outer extremity of said second spokes and
positions. These cylinders each contain a separate pis abutting the concave surfaces of two of said wear plates
ton. Each cylinder and piston defines a spoke in a adjacent each other; and hydraulic means connected to
wheel. Each piston has a free end extending out of its said first and second spokes to vary the length of said
cylinder remote from the hub. Each piston has a with first and second spokes, whereby the length of said
drawn position (shown in solid line of FIG. 1) and an 40 spokes determines which of said diameters is defined
extended position (shown in phantom in FIG. 1). These by said segments.
spokes have two different lengths as shown at 14A 2. A wheel as in claim 1 wherein said first and second
(first spoke) and 14B (second spoke) and alternate in spokes comprise an hydraulic cylinder including a pis
position with each adjacent pair of spokes of one length ton mounted therein, said piston including a free end
being separated by a spoke of the other length. The 45 comprising said outer extremity of said first and second
spokes are supported by circle 24. spokes extending out of said cylinder remotely from
A plurality of circular segments 16 lie along the path said hub.
of either a first diameter circle shown in phantom at 18 3. A wheel as in claim 2 wherein said reinforcing
or a second diameter circle shown in solid line at 20. means comprise substantially triangular gussets at
In both cases the segments are separated from each 50 tached at their apex to said free ends of said second
other, the separation decreasing with decreasing circle spokes, said gussets further including a rolled plate se
S2. cured to the convex outer edge thereof and a checker
Each second piston extends into a space between ad type plate fastened to the convex outer face of said
jacent segments 16. Each first piston is connected di rolled plate, whereby said checker type plate abuts the
rectly to the center of a corresponding segment. 55 concave surfaces of two of said wear plates adjacent
As shown in greater detail in FIG. 3, it is to be noted each other.
that the spokes 14A are at their outward ends con 4. A wheel as in claim 2 wherein said circular seg
nected to gussets 28 welded to rolled plates 30. A ments further include traction treads formed of elastic
checker type wear plate 32 is bolted to plate 30; the material attached to the convex surface thereof.
wear plate 32 being in face to face alignment with wear 60 k k k :