The Evolution of the Safety Hinge used exclusively on the Half-Fold ReboundAIR™
By Albert E. Carter, CEO, American Institute Of Reboundology, Inc.
(scroll down to bottom to view the end result of hinge evolution, pictures 4 and 5)
I am not going to tell you the whole story of why I was in Hong Kong in 1985, as a consultant to the Hong Kong Government to teach 7,000 fireman and 28,000 policemen how to exercise using rebounders. But a week after my presentation, Hilton Cheon Leen, the Chairman of the Hong Kong Government summoned me into his office.
“We have accepted your concept of rebound exercise, but your rebounder takes up too much space when it is not being used.” He declared. He then introduced me to two government-employed mechanical engineers and gave us instructions to report back to him within a week with a folding rebounder.
And that we did. The rebounder frame on the drawing had two off center hinges welded in four places and all six legs could be folded. We developed that folding rebounder and produced thousands of them to be used in Hong Kong.
I did not like that fact that if you did not pull the frame covers off the hinges before you folded it that the hinge would tear a hole right through the frame cover.
If you unfolded the unit on a shag carpet the hinge would grab the shag carpet making it impossible to lift the rebounder without ruining the carpet.
If the frame cover slipped over the hinge while unfolding it the hinge would grab the frame cover.
Also, it looked dangerous. I have never heard of anybody getting their fingers caught in the hinge, and it is a good thing because it could cause some real damage.
After receiving numerous calls from people requesting a new frame cover because they didn’t pull it away from the hinge I decided that something had to be done. So I bought a few pieces of balsa wood and began to carve an acceptable hinge - one that would be friendly to the frame cover and any fingers that accidentally got in the way.
Not being a mechanical engineer myself, I took the new wooden hinge and the folding rebounder to the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Brigham Young University and asked them to help me. It was a good project for them and soon they had produced a prototype metal hinge. It had merit.
I took the hinge with me to my factory. The engineers actually got excited about it and with in a week had produced a hinge that did not have to be welded. It could be inserted into the steel frame and held in place by the clevis pins that connect the springs to the frame.
Then we tested it. We folded the frame, and then I put my finger right on top of the hinge and unfolded the unit. The unfolding hinge pushed my finger away!
We put the frame cover on the frame and folded the unit and it did not hurt the frame cover at all!
The next step was to produce the hinge. We found a casting factory that agreed to produce them for a price. So now I own the casts for the hinge. The casts are at the foundry, but the only folding rebounders that have the Safety Hinge are the ones with the Rebound Logo on them.
Unfortunately, there are some factories who copied my original Half-Folding design and are still using the old fashioned, dangerous hinge I introduced to the United States back in 1985.
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