Connector with insert molded captive ball

  • US 5,676,484 A
  • Filed: 01/08/1997
  • Issued: 10/14/1997
  • Est. Priority Date: 05/22/1995
  • Status: Expired due to Fees
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First Claim
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1. An improved captive ball and connector assembly adapted for use where the assembly will be subjected to rattle inducing vibrations, such as when utilized in the passenger compartments of automobiles, and any resulting rattling would pose a problem for customers and end users and where mass production of the assembly at minimal production costs is a key customer goal, the improved assembly comprising:

  • a shaft including a ball portion and a first reduced diameter neck portion that is adjacent to the ball portion, with the shaft having a longitudinal axis, with the ball portion having a radially outwardly facing, substantially spherical surface portion that is defined between a first plane, which is disposed at an angle with respect to the longitudinal axis of the shaft and which is adjacent to the first neck portion, and a second plane, which is disposed at a similar angle with respect to the longitudinal central axis of the shaft; and

    that has a diameter greater than the first neck portion;

    an end connector subassembly comprising an attachment rod, which has a mounting end, and a one piece molded plastic connector body, with the connector body having a proximal end and a distal end to which the mounting end of the attachment rod is attached, with the proximal end of the connector body including a ball containing cavity molded about at least part of the spherical surface portion, with the ball containing cavity having a diameter substantially equal to the diameter of the spherical surface portion so that essentially a zero clearance fit is achieved between the ball containing cavity and the spherical surface portion thereby eliminating rattling between the spherical surface position and the ball containing cavity when the assembly is subject to vibration; and

    an annular retaining washer that is disposed about the shaft adjacent to the first neck portion, with the retaining washer having a first surface which is in surface to surface contact with a spherical zone of the spherical surface portion, adjacent to the first plane and about the longitudinal axis of the shaft, with the first surface of the retaining washer being held against the spherical surface portion while the connector body is being molded about the spherical surface portion and during use of the assembly, and with the retaining washer serving to form a seal with the spherical surface portion so as to prevent the flow of plastic between the spherical surface portion and the retaining washer during the molding of the connector body.

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