Title:
Space-saving compact disk holder
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A space-saving compact disk holder holds compact disks in thin, transparent sheaths without jewel cases. Each compact disk fits in a sheath that is connected to a stack segment by a connector. The stack segments have annular bodies that rotate about a common axis. In one embodiment, the stack segments are modular and interlock with one another. In another embodiment, a shaft passes through an axial core of each stack segment, such that the stack segments form a column. The stack segments rotate about a common axis such that compact disks above a selected compact disk can be moved out of the way to view and/or remove the selected compact disk from the column. The compact disk holder is a base for a desk lamp.



Inventors:
Adams, Richard L. (Fremont, CA, US)
Application Number:
10/613408
Publication Date:
01/06/2005
Filing Date:
07/03/2003
Assignee:
ADAMS RICHARD L.
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
211/168, G9B/33.019, 211/163
International Classes:
G11B33/04; (IPC1-7): A47G29/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
PUROL, SARAH L
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Darien K. Wallace;Silicon Edge Law Group LLP (Ste 245, 6601 Koll Center Pkwy, Pleasanton, CA, 94566, US)
Claims:
1. An apparatus, comprising: a stack segment, the stack segment having an annular body and an axial core; a sheath, the sheath having a large pocket, the large pocket being approximately as large as a compact disc; and a connector, the connector having a distal end and a proximal end, the distal end connected to the sheath and the proximal end connected to the stack segment.

2. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the sheath is adapted to receive and retain a compact disk.

3. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the connector is detachably connected to the sheath, wherein the sheath has a small pocket, and wherein the distal end of the connector fits into the small pocket.

4. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the connector is detachably connected to the stack segment, wherein the stack segment has a female coupling, and wherein the proximal end of the connector fits into the female coupling.

5. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the connector is detachably connected to the stack segment, the stack segment having an outer circumferential grove, the proximal end of the connector having an open-ring coupling, the open-ring coupling snapping into the outer circumferential grove and wrapping more than halfway around the outer circumferential groove.

6. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the axial core of the stack segment has an axis, wherein the sheath is approximately planar, and wherein the axis of the axial core is approximately orthogonal to the sheath.

7. The apparatus of claim 1, further comprising: a second stack segment having a second annular body and a second axial core, the axial core of the first-mentioned stack segment being aligned with the second axial core such that the second stack segment is rotatable relative to the first-mentioned stack segment about the axial core.

8. The apparatus of claim 7, wherein the second stack segment is stacked on the first-mentioned stack segment to form a column of stack segments.

9. The apparatus of claim 8, wherein a lamp is disposed atop the column of stack segments.

10. The apparatus of claim 7, further comprising: a shaft, the shaft passing through the axial core of the first-mentioned stack segment and the second axial core.

11. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the sheath is formed of clear plastic.

12. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the connector is a flat, hard piece of plastic.

13. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the stack segment and the connector are integrally formed.

14. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the sheath and the connector are integrally formed.

15. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the sheath includes a rigid surface upon which the compact disc rests.

16. A method, comprising: (a) stacking a first stack segment on a second stack segment to form a column of stack segments, wherein the first stack segment has a first annular body and a first axial core and the second stack segment has a second annular body and a second axial core, the first axial core being aligned with the second axial core such that the second stack segment is rotatable relative to the first stack segment about the first axial core; and (b) connecting a compact disk to the first stack segment such that the compact disk is substantially orthogonal to the first axial core.

17. The method of claim 16, further comprising: (c) inserting a shaft through the first axial core and the second axial core such that the first stack segment and the second stack segment are rotatable about the shaft.

18. The method of claim 16, further comprising: (c) placing a lamp atop the column of stack segments.

19. An apparatus, comprising: a plurality of modular stack segments, each of said plurality of modular stack segments rotatable about a central axis; and means for attaching a plurality of compact disks to the plurality of modular stack segments, each of said plurality of compact disks having a thickness and being orthogonal to the central axis, each of said plurality of compact disks being separated in a dimension of the central axis from another of said plurality of compact disks by less than four times the thickness.

20. The apparatus of claim 19, wherein the means employs a sheath.

Description:

TECHNICAL FIELD

The present invention relates generally to storage of compact disks, and more specifically to a space-saving apparatus for storing compact disks.

BACKGROUND

Compact disks have become a common medium for storing data, such as computer programs, music files and motion pictures. Digital video disks are a similar medium used to store data in a higher-density format. A person today commonly possesses many digital video disks and compact disks and must find a place to store the many disks.

There are several conventional means of storing digital video disks and compact disks (herein together referred to as CDs). Conventional CD storage units are often intended to store pre-recorded CDs and hold the CDs in their original jewel cases. Even the newer, thinner jewel cases are many times thicker than the CDs themselves. Thus, storing CDs in their jewel cases takes up more space than storing the CDs alone. CDs can be stored by stacking them on a rod that passes through the holes in the CDs. It is difficult, however, to identify individual CDs in a stack of CDs.

FIG. 1A (prior art) shows a storage rack assembly 10 for CDs. Rack assembly 10 stacks CDs using clips that are rotatably mounted to a rod 11. A jewel case 12 containing a CD clips into a rack unit 13. Rack unit 13 has a lug 14 with a cylindrical hole and a clip portion 15. Rod 11 passes through the cylindrical hole, and rack unit 13 rotates about the axis of rod 11.

FIG. 1B (prior art) shows rack unit 13 in more detail. A side of jewel case 12 clips into rack clip portion 15 of rack unit 13. Jewel case 12 holds a CD 16 that is many times thinner than jewel case 12. CD 16 rests on a base 17 within jewel case 12. Rack assembly 10 allows an individual jewel case within a stack of jewel cases to be to be viewed by rotating the individual jewel case out from under jewel cases above the individual jewel case. Where a large number of CDs are stored, however, it is difficult to make a selection because a limited number of jewel cases fit on rod 11. A search for a particular CD would cover multiple storage rack assemblies on multiple rods. Storing a large number of CDs in storage rack assembly 10 requires space to store the associated jewel cases.

Thus, a holder for CDs is sought that saves space by storing CDs without their jewel cases but nevertheless allows an individual CD within a stack of CDs to be to be viewed.

SUMMARY

A space-saving compact disk holder holds compact disks in thin, transparent sheaths without jewel cases. Each compact disk fits in a sheath that is connected to a stack segment by a connector. The stack segments have annular bodies that are rotatable about a common axis. In one embodiment, the stack segments are modular and interlock with one another. In another embodiment, a shaft passes through an axial core of each stack segment, such that the stack segments form a column.

The stack segments are rotatable about a common axis such that compact disks above a selected compact disk can be moved out of the way to view and/or remove the selected compact disk from the column. The compact disk holder is a base for a desk lamp.

Other embodiments and advantages are described in the detailed description below. This summary does not purport to define the invention. The invention is defined by the claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The accompanying drawings, where like numerals indicate like components, illustrate embodiments of the invention.

FIG. 1A (prior art) is a side view of a prior art storage rack assembly for CDs.

FIG. 1B (prior art) is a partial cross-sectional view of a rack unit of the storage rack assembly of FIG. 1A.

FIG. 2A is a side view of one embodiment of a stack segment used to hold CDs.

FIG. 2B is a cross-sectional side view of the stack segment of FIG. 2A.

FIG. 2C is a top-down view of the stack segment of FIG. 2A.

FIG. 3 is a top-down view of a connector with an open-ring coupling used to hold CDs.

FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional side view of five stack segments stacked to form a column of stack segments.

FIG. 5 is a side view of five stacked stack segments each holding a CD.

FIG. 6 is a top-down view of a stack segment connected to a sheath by a connector.

FIG. 7A is a side view of another embodiment of a stack segment used to hold CDs.

FIG. 7B is a cross-sectional side view of the stack segment of FIG. 7A.

FIG. 8 is a cross-sectional side view of three stacked stack segments of the type shown in FIG. 7A.

FIG. 9 is a top-down view of a sheath connected by a connector to a stack segment of the type shown in FIG. 7A.

FIG. 10 is a side view of yet another embodiment of a stack segment used to hold CDs.

FIG. 11 is an exploded, perspective view of the stack segment of FIG. 10 aligned with a shaft.

FIG. 12 is a CD holder with stack segments and a lamp.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Reference will now be made in detail to some embodiments of the invention, examples of which are illustrated in the accompanying drawings.

FIG. 2A shows a stack segment 19 according to a first embodiment of a CD holder. Stack segment 19 has a spool-shaped, annular body 20, with an upper disk 21, a lower disk 22 and a circumferential groove 23 between upper disk 21 and lower disk 22. Stack segment 19 has a barrel-shaped extension 24. Barrel-shaped extension 24 has a ring snap fitting 25.

FIG. 2B is a cross-sectional view of stack segment 19 showing annular body 20 and an axial core 26 with a snap groove 27. Axial core 26 functions as a receiving chamber. A barrel-shaped extension of a stack segment disposed immediately above stack segment 19 fits into axial core 26. A ring snap fitting of a stack segment disposed immediately above stack segment 19 fits into snap groove 27.

FIG. 2C is a top-down view of stack segment 19 showing upper disk 21. Circumferential groove 23 is shown with a dashed line.

FIG. 3 shows one embodiment of a connector 28 with a proximal end 29 and a distal end 30. Proximal end 29 of connector 28 has an open-ring coupling 31.

FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional side view of stack segment 19 stacked on four other stack segments to form a column 32 of stack segments. Stack segment 19 is stacked on top of a second stack segment 33 such that ring snap fitting 25 of stack segment 19 fits into a snap groove 34 of second stack segment 33. Axial core 26 of stack segment 19 is centered around axis 35. Each of the stack segments of column 32 can rotate about axis 35.

FIG. 5 is a side view of column 32 of stack segments, also showing a cross section of five associated connectors and five CDs in sheaths. Stack segment 19 is stacked on top of column 32. Connector 28 connects stack segment 19 to a sheath 36 holding a CD 37. Sheath 36 holds CD 37 in a large pocket 38. Distal end 30 of connector 28 fits into a small pocket 39 of sheath 36. Open-ring coupling 31 on proximal end 29 of connector 28 snaps into circumferential groove 23 and wraps more than halfway around circumferential groove 23. The bottom stack segment of column 32 can be snapped into a stable base to support column 32. Each of the five sheaths is planar and each is orthogonal to axis 35.

FIG. 6 is a top-down view of stack segment 19 connected to sheath 36 by connector 28. Circumferential groove 23 is shown as a dashed line. Open-ring coupling 31 on proximal end 29 of connector 28 snaps around circumferential groove 23. Distal end 30 of connector 28 fits snuggly into small pocket 39 of sheath 36. CD 37 is shown as a dashed line within large pocket 38 of sheath 36. The diameter of CD 37 is approximately 12 centimeters. The annular body 20 of stack segment 19 has a diameter of approximately 10 centimeters. Column 32 is stabilized by the relatively large diameter of its component stack segments.

In the first embodiment, sheath 36 is made of a stiff, clear plastic, such as that used to make liner sleeves of loose-leaf notebooks. CD 37, as well as writing and pictures on the face of CD 37, can be seen through the clear plastic. Upper and lower flaps of large pocket 38 are bonded together by annealing at a high temperature. The upper and lower flaps are connected at seam 40. An additional flap is connected to the upper flap of large pocket 38 at seam 41 and forms small pocket 39.

In other embodiments, sheath 36, connector 28 and stack segment 19 are integrally formed of one piece of rigid plastic.

FIG. 7A is a side view of a second embodiment of a CD holder. Stack segment 42 has a washer-shaped, annular body 43 and a barrel-shaped extension 44. Barrel-shaped extension 44 has a ring snap fitting 45. FIG. 7B is a cross-sectional view of stack segment 42 showing annular body 43 and an axial core 46 with a snap groove 47. A female coupling 48 is formed in annular body 43. Female coupling 48 has a semi-spherical groove 49.

FIG. 8 shows stack segment 42 stacked on two other similar stack segments. FIG. 8 also shows a cross section of three associated connectors and three CDs in sheaths. Ring snap fitting 45 of stack segment 42 fits into a snap groove of a stack segment below stack segment 42. Axial core 46 of stack segment 42, as well as the axial cores of the other two stack segments, can rotate about an axis 50. Sheath 36 holding CD 37 is shown connected to stack segment 42 by a rectangular connector 51. A distal end 52 of connector 51 fits into small pocket 39 of sheath 36. A proximal end 53 of connector 51 snaps into female coupling 48. Connector 51 has a ball snap fitting 54 that snaps into semi-spherical groove 49.

FIG. 9 is a top-down view of sheath 36 connected to stack segment 42 by connector 51. Ball snap fitting 54 fits into semi-spherical groove 49. A second ball snap fitting on connector 51 opposite ball snap fitting 54 snaps into a second semi-spherical groove within female coupling 48. The annular body 43 of stack segment 42 has a diameter of about 15 centimeters.

FIG. 10 is a cross-sectional side view of a third embodiment of a CD holder. Stack segment 55 is washer-shaped and has an axial core 56. Stack segment 55 has a female coupling 57 with a semi-spherical groove 58.

FIG. 11 shows axial core 56 of stack segment 55 aligned with a shaft 59 and an axial core 60 of a second stack segment 61. Stack segment 55, second stack segment 61 and rod 59 are aligned such that shaft 59 can pass through axial core 60 and then through axial core 56. Female coupling 57 within stack segment 55 is shown with dashed lines. Second stack segment 61 is shown with a female coupling 62.

FIG. 12 shows a CD holder 63 that comprises a plurality of stack segments, including stack segment 55. The plurality of stack segments form a column 64 of stack segments. Sheath 36 contains CD 37. Sheath 36 is connected by connector 51 to a stack segment at the bottom of column 64. A shaft 65 passes through an axial core of each of the plurality of stack segments of column 64. A lamp 66 is disposed at the top of shaft 65. A heavy, stable base 67 supports shaft 65. A cord 68 attached to base 67 provides CD holder 63 and lamp 66 with a power supply.

In one embodiment, lamp 66 includes a bundle of optical fibers. The bundle extends upward from a light source in base 67 and through the central core of the stack segments. The upper ends of the fibers fan out from one another above the top most stack segment of the column. The light source in the base emits light that travels up the optical fibers and is transmitted out of the upper ends of the optical fibers. The light source may be a kaleidoscope type source that changes the colors of light transmitted through the optical fibers. Light from the optical fibers may, for example, be made to move and dance on the ceiling of a darkened room when the optical fibers are moved, for example by a hand or wind currents.

Although the present invention has been described in connection with certain specific embodiments for instructional purposes, the present invention is not limited thereto. In one embodiment, a stack segment and a compact disc holder are integrally formed from a single piece of rigid plastic. The compact disc holder may be a rigid surface upon which the compact disc rests. The compact disc holder may have a central protruding peg that friction fits into the axial hole in a compact disc such that the compact disc is removably fixed onto the rigid compact disc holder. Although stack segments are described above that interlock with one another, stack segments in accordance with some embodiments are smooth washer-shaped structures that can slide over each other such that the axial cores of successive stack segments going up the column are slightly displaced with respect to one another. Accordingly, various modifications, adaptations, and combinations of various features of the described embodiments can be practiced without departing from the scope of the invention as set forth in the claims.