METHOD FOR CREATING ICE STRUCTURES
1. A method of building an ice structure, the method comprising:
- selecting at least one sleeve;
filling at least part of the sleeve with water and freezing the water to make at least one ice log; and
attaching a plurality of ice logs together to form a structure.
A method for building an ice structure includes making a plurality of ice logs and attaching the ice logs together to form a support structure. The support structure may be two or more stories high and may be constructed by freezing the ice logs together.
- 1. A method of building an ice structure, the method comprising:
selecting at least one sleeve; filling at least part of the sleeve with water and freezing the water to make at least one ice log; and attaching a plurality of ice logs together to form a structure.
- View Dependent Claims (2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 19, 20)
- 14. A method for forming structural components of an ice structure, the method comprising:
selecting a sleeve; at least partially filling the sleeve with water; and freezing the water to form an ice log.
- View Dependent Claims (15, 16, 17, 18)
The present invention relates to ice structures, and in particular to methods of forming ice structures to be covered in ice to make temporary structures, art or public attractions.
There are our variety of situations in which structures are made of snow or ice. For example, many cities have winter festivals which include contests for displays made from ice. In some locations, buildings are made of ice during the wintertime. Some northern countries even have hotels which are formed by ice or snow which has been carved or otherwise shaped to provide sleeping rooms, restaurants, etc.
One popular use for ice structures is as an entertainment destination. In many locations a structure is built and then sprayed with water so that the underlying structure is encased in ice. Usually the sprayed water is allowed to drip so as to form icicles hanging from the underlying structure. The structures, commonly referred to as ice castles or ice palaces, can be provided with colored backlighting so as to form pieces of art for viewing by the public. In some cases, the ice sculptures are so large that they can include tunnels and walkways where visitors can actually walk on/through the ice castle. As water continues to be sprayed, the structure grows, often to the height of 2 or more stories.
While some have used wood or steel structures as the initial starting points for applying the water, when lights are used the generally opaque wood or steel is visible through the ice and makes the ice castle appear less natural. One solution to this problem is disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 8,511,042 (“the '"'"'042 patent”). The '"'"'042 patent shows a method of constructing structures in which a table is used with running water to create a number of icicles extending downwardly from the table. Once the icicles have reached a desired size they are broken off and attached to one another by the use of slush or an ice/water mixture. These icicles are used as a framework which is over sprayed with water to form the ice structure.
One concern with the methodology used in the '"'"'042 patent is that icicles are somewhat unpredictable in their formation and may be substantially broader on one end than the other. Icicles also may have inconsistent thickness and density along their length. Another concern is that a substantial amount of water may be used simply forming the icicles used to form the initial structure.
Thus, there is a need for a method for constructing ice structures which is relatively easy to use and provides improved predictability.
A method for creating ice structures may include the formation of a plurality of ice logs. The ice logs may then be joined together to build a desired ice structure.
In accordance with one aspect of the invention, the ice logs are formed by filling elongate sleeves with water and allowing the water to freeze. The elongate sleeves are then removed from the ice log formed by the frozen water and the ice logs are used to construct the desired ice structure, or a frame upon which a desired ice structure is formed.
In accordance with another aspect of the invention, the elongate sleeves may be formed from a thin, disposable plastic, polyurethane or other material. The material can then be filled with water and may be bent or otherwise disposed in a desired shape to form an ice log having the desired characteristics.
In accordance with another aspect of the invention, once water in the elongate sleeves has frozen, a saw may be used to cut ice logs of the desired size. Thus, for example, an initial ice log may be formed which is 6 inches in diameter and 60 feet long. A chainsaw can then be used to cut the ice log into five 8-foot segments and two 10-foot segments.
In accordance with another aspect of the invention, the ice logs can be connected to form a structure which has 2 or more stories and preplanned pathways, balconies, etc., along which visitors can walk.
Various embodiments of the present disclosure are shown and described in reference to the numbered drawings wherein:
It will be appreciated that the drawings are illustrative and not limiting of the scope of the invention which is defined by the appended claims. The embodiments shown accomplish various aspects and objects of the invention. It will be appreciated that it is not possible to clearly show each element and aspect of the present disclosure in a single figure, and as such, multiple figures are presented to separately illustrate the various details of different aspects of the invention in greater clarity. Similarly, not all configurations or embodiments described herein or covered by the appended claims will include all of the aspects of the present disclosure as discussed above.
Various aspects of the invention and accompanying drawings will now be discussed in reference to the numerals provided therein so as to enable one skilled in the art to practice the present invention. The skilled artisan will understand, however, that the methods described below can be practiced without employing these specific details, or that they can be used for purposes other than those described herein. Indeed, they can be modified and can be used in conjunction with products and techniques known to those of skill in the art in light of the present disclosure. The drawings and the descriptions thereof are intended to be exemplary of various aspects of the invention and are not intended to narrow the scope of the appended claims. Furthermore, it will be appreciated that the drawings may show aspects of the invention in isolation and the elements in one figure may be used in conjunction with elements shown in other figures.
Reference in the specification to “one embodiment,” “one configuration,” “an embodiment,” or “a configuration” means that a particular feature, structure, or characteristic described in connection with the embodiment may be included in at least one embodiment, etc. The appearances of the phrase “in one embodiment” in various places may not necessarily limit the inclusion of a particular element of the invention to a single embodiment, rather the element may be included in other or all embodiments discussed herein.
Furthermore, the described features, structures, or characteristics of embodiments of the present disclosure may be combined in any suitable manner in one or more embodiments. In the following description, numerous specific details may be provided, such as examples of products or manufacturing techniques that may be used, to provide a thorough understanding of embodiments of the invention. One skilled in the relevant art will recognize, however, that embodiments discussed in the disclosure may be practiced without one or more of the specific details, or with other methods, components, materials, and so forth. In other instances, well-known structures, materials, or operations may not be shown or described in detail to avoid obscuring aspects of the invention.
Before the present invention is disclosed and described in detail, it should be understood that the present invention is not limited to any particular structures, process steps, or materials discussed or disclosed herein, but is extended to include equivalents thereof as would be recognized by those of ordinarily skill in the relevant art. More specifically, the invention is defined by the terms set forth in the claims. It should also be understood that terminology contained herein is used for the purpose of describing particular aspects of the invention only and is not intended to limit the invention to the aspects or embodiments shown unless expressly indicated as such. Likewise, the discussion of any particular aspect of the invention is not to be understood as a requirement that such aspect is required to be present apart from an express inclusion of that aspect in the claims.
It should also be noted that, as used in this specification and the appended claims, singular forms such as “a,” “an,” and “the” may include the plural unless the context clearly dictates otherwise. Thus, for example, reference to “a bracket” may include an embodiment having one or more of such brackets, and reference to “the target plate” may include reference to one or more of such target plates.
As used herein, the term “substantially” refers to the complete or nearly complete extent or degree of an action, characteristic, property, state, structure, item, or result to function as indicated. For example, an object that is “substantially” enclosed would mean that the object is either completely enclosed or nearly completely enclosed. The exact allowable degree of deviation from absolute completeness may in some cases depend on the specific context, such that enclosing the nearly all of the length of a lumen would be substantially enclosed, even if the distal end of the structure enclosing the lumen had a slit or channel formed along a portion thereof. The use of “substantially” is equally applicable when used in a negative connotation to refer to the complete or near complete lack of an action, characteristic, property, state, structure, item, or result. For example, structure which is “substantially free of” a bottom would either completely lack a bottom or so nearly completely lack a bottom that the effect would be effectively the same as if it completely lacked a bottom.
As used herein, the term “generally” refers to something that has characteristics of a quality without being exactly that quality. For example, a structure said to be generally vertical would be at least as vertical as horizontal, i.e. would extend 45 degrees or greater from horizontal. Likewise, something said to be generally circular may be rounded like an oval but need not have a consistent diameter in every direction.
As used herein, the term “about” is used to provide flexibility to a numerical range endpoint by providing that a given value may be “a little above” or “a little below” the endpoint while still accomplishing the function associated with the range.
As used herein, a plurality of items, structural elements, compositional elements, and/or materials may be presented in a common list for convenience. However, these lists should be construed as though each member of the list is individually identified as a separate and unique member.
Concentrations, amounts, proportions and other numerical data may be expressed or presented herein in a range format. It is to be understood that such a range format is used merely for convenience and brevity and thus should be interpreted flexibly to include not only the numerical values explicitly recited as the limits of the range, but also to include all the individual numerical values or sub-ranges encompassed within that range as if each numerical value and sub-range is explicitly recited. As an illustration, a numerical range of “about 1 to about 5” should be interpreted to include not only the explicitly recited values of about 1 to about 5, but also include individual values and sub-ranges within the indicated range. Thus, included in this numerical range are individual values such as 2, 3, and 4 and sub-ranges such as from 1-3, from 2-4, and from 3-5, etc., as well as 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5, individually. This same principle applies to ranges reciting only one numerical value as a minimum or a maximum. Furthermore, such an interpretation should apply regardless of the breadth of the range or the characteristics being described.
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In accordance with one aspect of the present invention, the sleeve 8 can be formed from a thin, flexible material such as many plastics, such as polyethylene. The material can also be see-through so that the user can ensure that there are no large bubbles trapped inside the sleeve. Typically, the flexible sleeve will be tied or clamped off at one end, filled to the desired length and then the opposing end tied off or clamped.
As shown on ice log 4a, the end 8a of the sleeve may simply be tied off by knotting the end of the sleeve 8 to form end 4c of the ice log. In the alternative, a tie or clamp could be used to close the end as shown at end 4e on ice log 4b. The use of a thin, flexible material may allow the person making an ice structure to cut the ice log 4a to a desired length by the use of a saw, etc. as shown at end 4d on ice log 4a (thereby exposing the frozen water 12). The sleeve 8 can then be stripped off the ice log 4 and the ice log used as needed.
According to one configuration, the person making the ice structure may be able to plan needed lengths and to know the dimensions of the piece beforehand. Culturing icicles, even by the use of a table, can be somewhat unpredictable as temperature, wind and flow patterns result in a variety of different shapes. Water has to be added at a flow rate which is fast enough that the water does not freeze before forming the icicle, but not so fast that the water flows over and melts an existing icicle. A strong breeze can cause the icicles for form at an angle, and/or can disrupt the flow of water to the growing icicle. A warm breeze can melt back the icicles, requiring that they be given additional time to grow to a desired length. Very strong winds can cause icicles to break off the structure from which they hang.
In contrast, with the present disclosure the person making the structure may know that they will need 50 ice logs which are 10 feet long each. The person can then fill five 100-foot sleeves 8 having the desired diameter with water and leave them out to freeze overnight or for a couple of days depending on the temperature. As soon as the water is properly frozen a chainsaw can be used to quickly form 50 ice logs of the same length so that building may commence.
According to another configuration, the ice logs can also be formed in an industrial freezer if necessary and can be stacked on shelves to maximize the number of logs created in a small space. Because the water is contained within the sleeves 8, the floor of the freezer will not be slippery, and the structural components of the ice structure can be pre-made. As soon as the ambient temperature falls to a desired threshold, the ice logs 4 can be assembled into the ice structure and, if desired, sprayed with water to cover the ice structure in icicles. This may substantially speed up the process for forming the ice structures (such as ice castles), thereby allowing an attraction to be open earlier and generate larger revenues.
Another advantage of forming the ice logs in plastic sleeves is that ice has a tendency to freeze to other pieces of ice. If a number of pieces of ice are stacked on top of one another, it is not uncommon for the pieces to freeze together, thereby requiring pieces of ice to be broken off the other pieces of ice when it is needed for use. The plastic sleeves, however, tend to prevent the ice logs from freezing to each other. Thus, a large number of ice logs can be placed on top of one another (either for shipping or simply for convenience during use) with the plastic sleeves left in place so that ice logs do not freeze together. One needed, the log can be moved into place and the plastic sleeve cut with a razor blade, etc., to remove it from the ice log immediately before use.
According to another configuration, the various load capacities of the structure can be calculated more readily. Because the ice logs will be substantially solid ice, the amount of weight which can be carried by an individual log over a given span can be more readily calculated than using a structure which forms more randomly and which is inconsistent from end to end, such as an icicle. For example, on lake ice, 3 inches of ice will support a person on foot, 4 inches will support a group in single file, while 7½ inches will support a passenger car. In the present invention a balcony could be formed by placing a number of 4-inch diameter ice logs adjacent one another and then running a sprinkler over the logs to create another inch or two of ice. While large diameter ice logs can be used for building structural support, smaller diameter ice logs can be used for providing a frame to grow icicles and for connecting large diameter ice logs for lateral support.
In some applications, such as where a specific three-dimensional shape is desired, the sleeve 8 could be formed from a more rigid plastic, such as polyvinyl chloride. In such configurations the sleeve 8 may include a port 20 (shown on sleeve 4b of
A rigid sleeve could be made in a variety of shapes. For example, the sleeve may form a void which is generally helical in shape. The two halves of the sleeve could be held together with the retainer(s) 24 and filled with water. Once the water is frozen the two halves of the sleeve can be removed thereby leaving a helically shaped ice log which can be used as a design element.
It will be appreciated that a variety of different dimensions of ice logs may be used. For example, a large balcony may be supported by ice logs having a 6-inch or 8-inch diameter. In contrast ice logs could be made having a 2- or 3-inch diameter when being used as an initial structure for growing icicles and the like as part of design elements which have relatively minor loadbearing requirements.
The ice logs 4 may be preferred in some applications over wood or steel frames. When an “ice castle” is illuminated, a steel or wood frame may be visible, at least in shadow, and may lessen the aesthetic desirability of the ice castle. In contrast, ice logs are typically translucent and, in many cases, transparent thereby allowing light to more readily flow through the design, improving the design'"'"'s aesthetics. In fact, icicles can entrain air as they are being formed, leaving the icicle with a cloudy appearance with partially obscures light. In contrast, as the water being used to form an ice log sits air bubbles tend to pass out of the water, often leaving the ice longs more translucent than many icicles. This can be advantageous for lighted ice structures.
Turning now to
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It will be appreciated that the use of the ice logs in accordance with the principles of the present invention allows substantial creativity on the part of the builder of the ice structure. The sleeves 8 can be used to make a wide variety of shapes in the ice logs, thereby allowing for a wide variety of designs. For example, stairways can be curved. A number of wavy ice logs could be frozen together to form a wavy slide down from a balcony. Walls formed from nothing but ice logs could be used, or the ice logs can be covered with icicles by spraying water over the ice logs. Tunnels of various shapes and sizes can be formed. Additionally, the ice logs can be formed in such a way that electrical cables or lighting could be disposed within the ice logs thereby ensuring that they would not present a tripping hazard to patrons of an ice castle display. (An image of such ice logs in shown in
Once the ice log 4m has frozen, the sleeve 8 may be cut away. The portion of the sleeve between the ice log 4m and the ground 90 may be left in place or may be slid out as desired. The base formed by the ice log 4m is highly desirable as it facilitates the rapid building of ice structures. As shown in
While shown laying on the ground, it will be appreciated that ice log 4m or even a more cylindrical ice log can have holes drilled in to allow the insertion of other ice logs for the building of intricate structures. For example, an ice ladder could be formed in such a way that the rungs of the ladder formed by ice logs are securely held within larger ice logs on either side.
The method may further include spraying the ice logs so as to develop icicles on the ice logs. The method may further include adding additional ice logs to the initial ice logs and/or icicles in order to increase the size of the structure.
As has been partially discussed above, the use flexible sleeves to form ice logs has numerous advantages. The ice logs may be clearer and stronger than conventional icicles as the water freezes into a log having a substantially consistent diameter and are not reliant on dripping water to form. The ice logs can be grown much larger in a shorter amount of time, and the creator has much greater control over the end product. For example, one company making ice structures from icicles claims that it places more than 1000 icicles a day to build its structures. Those icicles would typically be a variety of shapes and sizes. In contrast, in the present invention the person forming the ice logs can accurately produce a given length of ice logs of diameter a, and another given length of diameter b, and still yet another length of diameter b as required.
Rather than using thousands of icicles which are 2-3 feet long and tapering from one end to another, the present system allows large structures to be built using large ice logs. For example, a center log for a large attraction could be desired at 9 inches in diameter and 15 feet tall. Creating such an icicle would be extremely difficult as the weight of the icicle may cause it to break off of the structure from which it depends long before the icicle reached such a length or girth. In contrast, such an ice log can be formed by simply selecting a 9-inch sleeve which is about 16 feet long, tying off one end of the sleeve, filling it with water and tying off the opposing end. The ice log can be made in a commercial freezer or left outside to freeze in ambient air. When needed, the sleeve may be simply cut off and the ice log used. (The sleeve could also be left on if desired). Prior to removal, the sleeve reduces the risk of ice logs freezing together, thereby facilitating transport and stacking at the location of the attraction.
Hundreds of ice logs of smaller diameters can be formed over night if temperatures are sufficiently cold, or over a couple of days at warmer temperatures. For example, ten sleeves 100 feet long and four inches in diameter can be used to make 50 20-foot ice logs or 100 10-foot ice logs which are all substantially 4 inches in diameter. Thus, it is much easier to plan out an ice sculpture because the person making the ice logs knows exactly what he or she will get.
Less water is wasted as the sleeve keeps all of the water necessary to form the ice log within the sleeve, rather than dripping onto the ground as only some of the water freezes to make an icicle. Likewise, the creator of the ice structure can mold the ice logs into desired shapes and can be easily removed from the sleeves when needed, but stored in the sleeves prior to use to prevent the ice logs sticking together. The sleeves also help prevent braking if two ice logs get banged together.
Turning now to
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It will be appreciated that ice log 4m in
Turning now to
It will be appreciated that the technique for inserting the logs can be used for a variety of purposes. For example, a ladder of ice could be made by cutting into partially frozen logs and inserting a number of rungs, and then inserting the opposing ends of the rungs into another frozen or partially frozen ice log.
It will be appreciated that inserting an ice log into a pocket in another ice log allows for a substantially stronger juncture than simply applying slush or snow amount the end allowing that to freeze. The pocket can provide substantial lateral support, which and prevent an ice log from braking off of an ice log to which it is attached. This also allows for building at an accelerated rate. For example, depending on ambient temperature, buildings two or more stories tall can be built in a single day. Likewise, this mechanism for inserting facilitates stronger joints and less waste of water as less ice needs to be added simply to hold the pieces of ice in place.
Turning now to
Because the header ice logs 4u are already generally stable when placed on the vertical ice logs 4, the next layer of vertical ice logs can be added much sooner. There is no need to coat the ice logs over night with water to build up sufficient mass to hold the weight of the next level as is done when building with icicles. Additionally, the use of the pockets 96 facilitates the use of powered lines 102. Once the pocket 96 is formed, a drill can be used to form a small hole through to the exterior of the ice log or the powered line can be passed out of a small gap in the pocket 96 between the generally horizontally extending ice logs 4m, 4u and the vertical ice logs 4. The lower lines 102 can be connected together and then power supplied to, for example, light up multiple ice logs from inside the ice logs. This provides a more brilliant effect than simply backlighting, and ice logs can be made to provide individual colors or combinations of colors. For example, one ice log could light up blue, while the next is green, the next is yellow and the next is purple. Patterns could be formed in the structure by regulating when a given color is being shown in each ice log.
While shown in
Thus, there is disclosed a method for creating an ice structure. It will be appreciated that numerous modifications may be made without departing from the scope and spirit of this disclosure. The appended claims are intended to cover such modifications.