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Methods for manufacturing a tape cassette with separate tape guide having integrated rollers

Image Number 4 for United States Patent #4800641.

A tape cassette with a separate, plastic, molded, elongated, tape guide subassembly is described. The tape guide subassembly incorporates two bearing extensions integrally molded at the left and right ends thereof. Each bearing extension is a pair of opposing, parallel, planar members extending from support members, each of which is parallel to the planar top and bottom of the tape guide subassembly. Each planar member includes a roller receiving means integrally formed therein and the rotational axles for the tape rollers are either integrally molded as part of the bearing extension or the tape roller itself. The planar members in each pair have the ability to flex only in the direction perpendicular to their planes, allowing the rollers to be easily snapped into place during assembly. Once the rollers are inserted into the tape guide subassembly, the latter is assembled into the front of the tape cassette, wherein the rollers form part of the central tape support area of the tape cassette. Related methods are also described for manufacturing, including particularly the steps of: forming the tape guide by a one-step injection molding to include a one-piece bridge with left and right ends, each of which includes a bearing extension integrally molded therein, and roller receptacles also integrally molded in each bearing extension; injection molding a one-piece roller having an axle integrally molded therewith whose ends extend from the roller; locating the roller in the roller receptacle for rotation; forming the cassette top half and bottom half to include bearing extension receptacles; and inserting the tape guide subassembly into the tape cassette such that the bearing extensions are received by the bearing extension receptacles.

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