Title:
Racks having swivel arms for supporting tools
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A tool rack according to one embodiment generally includes a base for mounting the tool rack to a support surface. The base includes first and second spaced-apart ribs or flanges extending outwardly therefrom. The first rib has at least one aperture therein concentrically aligned with at least one aperture of the second rib. The tool rack also includes at least one arm. The arm includes a support rod having first and second spaced-apart end portions coaxially aligned with one other. The support rod's first and second end portions are respectively configured to be slidably positioned at least partially within the at least one aperture in the first rib and the at least one aperture in the second rib. Accordingly, the arm can be pivotally supported from the base such that the arm can swivel relative to the base.



Inventors:
Richard Nawrocki, John (Ocala, FL, US)
Application Number:
11/235424
Publication Date:
03/29/2007
Filing Date:
09/26/2005
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
211/100, 211/171, 211/59.1
International Classes:
A47F7/00; A47F5/08
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
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20020108917Tube rack and clamp systemAugust, 2002Maruyama
20100078402SHELVING GLIDEApril, 2010Davis et al.
20080047912Superstructure for the Lifting of Panes in Display UnitsFebruary, 2008Cianetti
20080149576Merchandising DevicesJune, 2008Onachilla et al.
20070272642Clothes rackNovember, 2007Baptiste
20070017884Modular wine rackJanuary, 2007Yang
20030226811Installation-free death care merchandise display unitDecember, 2003Riga
20060118504Modular intermodal containerJune, 2006Willemsen
20090134105Textile samplingMay, 2009Rysenbry et al.
20040035811Torque limiting method for a mechanical assist mobile storage systemFebruary, 2004Lehmann



Primary Examiner:
PUROL, SARAH L
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Harness Dickey (St. Louis) (7700 Bonhomme, Suite 400, ST. LOUIS, MO, 63105, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A tool rack comprising: a base for mounting the tool rack to a support surface, the base defining a channel having an upper surface and a lower surface spaced apart from the upper surface, the upper surface including at least one opening extending generally vertically therein, the lower surface including at least one opening extending generally vertically therein and concentrically aligned with the at least one opening of the upper surface; and at least one arm including a bar at one end portion of the arm and a tool support portion, the bar having first and second spaced-apart end portions coaxially aligned with one other, the bar's first and second end portions configured to be slidably positioned at least partially within the respective openings of the upper and lower surfaces of the base, thereby enabling the arm to be pivotally supported from the base without the use of fasteners or tools and such that the arm can swivel relative to the base, the arm's tool support portion formed of sheet metal attached to the bar and providing multiple hook locations for selectively attaching hooks at various locations along the arm.

2. The tool rack of claim 1 wherein the bar includes a generally circular transverse cross-section.

3. The tool rack of claim 1 wherein the arm includes a plurality of laterally-spaced openings configured to receive a plurality of hooks, the laterally-spaced openings providing multiple hook locations for selectively attaching hooks at various locations along the arm.

4. The tool rack of claim 3 wherein the plurality of laterally-spaced openings includes at least a first row of laterally-spaced openings and a second row of laterally-spaced openings, the second row being vertically-spaced from the first row.

5. The tool rack of claim 1 wherein the base comprises an extruded generally C-shaped channel.

6. The tool rack of claim 1 wherein the base comprises a formed sheet metal bracket having first and second spaced-apart ribs integrally formed therewith, the first and second ribs respectively including the upper and lower surfaces of the base.

7. The tool rack of claim 1 wherein the spacing between the bar's first and second end portions and the openings in the upper and lower surfaces of the base is about one-sixth the length of the arm such that the bending moment caused by a cantilever load on the arm results in a transverse force acting on the bar's first and second end portions about six times the cantilever load.

8. The tool rack of claim 1 further comprising a plurality of bushings each having a tapered shoulder and positioned within a corresponding one of the openings in the upper and lower surfaces of the base.

9. The tool rack of claim 1 further comprising at least one hook supportable from the arm, the hook including a formed rod having curved portions configured to accommodate and allow the hook to support different tool sizes.

10. The tool rack of claim 1 further comprising a hook supportable from the arm, the hook including a formed rod and a pivotal cam-type stop pivotably mounted to the rod, the stop including a gripping surface for frictionally gripping a tool generally between the gripping surface and the tool support portion of the arm.

11. A tool rack comprising: a base for mounting the tool rack to a support surface, the base including first and second spaced-apart ribs extending outwardly therefrom, the first rib having at least one aperture therein concentrically aligned with at least one aperture of the second rib; and at least one arm including a support rod having first and second spaced-apart end portions coaxially aligned with one other, the support rod's first and second end portions respectively configured to be slidably positioned at least partially within the at least one aperture in the first rib and the at least one aperture in the second rib to thereby pivotally support the arm from the base such that the arm can swivel relative to the base.

12. The tool rack of claim 11 wherein the support rod's first and second end portions are configured to be slidably positioned at least partially within the apertures to thereby enable the arm to be pivotally mounted to the base without the use of fasteners or tools.

13. The tool rack of claim 11 wherein the arm has a generally U-shaped transverse cross-section defining an interior space, and wherein the support rod is secured at least partially within the interior space at the one end portion of the arm.

14. The tool rack of claim 11 wherein the arm includes a plurality of laterally-spaced openings configured to receive a plurality of hooks, the laterally-spaced openings providing multiple hook locations for selectively attaching hooks at various locations along the arm.

15. The tool rack of claim 14 wherein the plurality of laterally-spaced openings includes at least a first row of laterally-spaced openings and a second row of laterally-spaced openings, the second row being vertically-spaced from the first row.

16. The tool rack of claim 11 wherein the base comprises an extruded generally C-shaped channel.

17. The tool rack of claim 11 wherein the base comprises a formed sheet metal bracket with the first and second ribs integrally formed therewith, and a plurality of apertures in each said rib to provide one or more pairs of concentrically aligned apertures.

18. The tool rack of claim 17 wherein the base further comprises a backing plate secured to the formed sheet metal bracket to thereby reinforce the formed sheet metal bracket.

19. The tool rack of claim 11 further comprising a plurality of bushings each having a tapered shoulder and positioned within a corresponding one of the apertures.

20. The tool rack of claim 11 further comprising at least one stop for securing the support rod's first and second end portions within the apertures.

21. The tool rack of claim 11 further comprising at least one hook supportable from the arm, the hook including a formed rod having curved portions configured to accommodate and allow the hook to support different tool sizes.

22. The tool rack of claim 11 further comprising a hook supportable from the arm, the hook including a formed rod and a pivotal cam-type stop pivotably mounted to the rod, the stop including a gripping surface for frictionally gripping a tool generally between the gripping surface and the tool support portion of the arm.

23. A method related to a tool rack having a base and at least one arm, the base including an upper surface and a lower surface spaced apart from the upper surface, the upper surface including at least one opening extending generally vertically therein, the lower surface including at least one opening extending generally vertically therein and concentrically aligned with the at least one opening of the upper surface, an end portion of the arm including first and second spaced-apart members coaxially aligned with one other, the method comprising pivotably mounting the arm to the base without using any tools or fasteners by slidably positioning the arm's first and second members at least partially within the respective openings of the upper and lower surfaces of the base such that the arm can swivel relative to the base.

24. The method of claim 23 wherein the method includes selectively attaching one or more hooks to the arm at various locations along the arm.

25. The method of claim 23 wherein pivotably mounting includes positioning a bushing in each of the openings of the upper and lower surfaces, and slidably positioning the arm's first and second members at least partially within the respective bushings.

26. The method of claim 23 further comprising mounting the base to a wall.

27. A method of making a tool rack, the method comprising: extruding a material to form a channel having an upper surface and a lower surface spaced apart from the upper surface, forming at least one opening that extends generally vertically in the upper surface of the channel; forming at least one opening that extends generally vertically in the lower surface of the channel and that is concentrically aligned with the at least one opening of the upper surface; forming a piece of sheet metal to have a generally U-shaped cross-section defining an interior space, attaching a support rod to the formed piece of sheet metal such that the support rod is at least partially within the interior space defined by the formed piece of sheet metal, the support rod including first and second spaced-apart end portions coaxially aligned with one other, the support rod's first and second end portions respectively configured to be slidably positioned at least partially within the at least one opening in the upper surface of the channel and the at least one opening in the lower surface of the channel to thereby enable the support rod and formed piece of sheet metal attached thereto to be pivotably supported from and swivel relative to the base.

28. The method of claim 27 further comprising forming a plurality of laterally-spaced openings in the piece of sheet metal to thereby provide multiple hook locations for selectively attaching hooks at various locations along the piece of sheet metal.

29. The method of claim 27, further comprising, without using any tools or fasteners, slidably positioning the support rod's first and second members at least partially within the respective openings of the upper and lower surfaces of the channel.

Description:

FIELD OF INVENTION

The present invention relates to racks having arms capable of swiveling and supporting tools therefrom.

BACKGROUND OF INVENTION

The storage and organization of tools and other equipment is useful for allowing convenient retrieval of a tool when needed. Pegboard type hooks have been used to provide for storing and organizing tools linearly along a wall. But storing multiple tools in this manner can use up a considerable amount of wall space, which may not be available or sufficient for storing multiple tools.

SUMMARY OF INVENTION

According to one aspect of the invention, a tool rack generally includes a base for mounting the tool rack to a support surface. The base includes first and second spaced-apart ribs or flanges extending outwardly therefrom. The first rib has at least one aperture therein concentrically aligned with at least one aperture of the second rib. The tool rack also includes at least one arm. The arm includes a support rod having first and second spaced-apart end portions coaxially aligned with one other. The support rod's first and second end portions are respectively configured to be slidably positioned at least partially within the at least one aperture in the first rib and the at least one aperture in the second rib. Accordingly, the arm can be pivotally supported from the base such that the arm can swivel relative to the base.

In another aspect of the invention, a tool rack generally includes a base for mounting the tool rack to a support surface. The base includes a channel having an upper surface and a lower surface spaced apart from the upper surface. The upper surface includes at least one opening extending generally vertically therein. The lower surface includes at least one opening extending generally vertically therein and concentrically aligned with the at least one opening of the upper surface. The tool rack also includes at least one arm having a bar at one end portion of the arm and a tool support portion. The bar includes first and second spaced-apart end portions coaxially aligned with one other. The bar's first and second end portions are configured to be slidably positioned at least partially within the respective openings of the upper and lower surfaces of the base. Accordingly, the arm can be pivotally supported from the base such that the arm can swivel relative to the base.

According to a further aspect, the invention provides methods related to a tool rack having a base and at least one arm. In one exemplary embodiment, a method generally includes pivotably mounting the arm to the base without using any tools or fasteners by slidably positioning the arm's first and second members at least partially within the respective openings of the upper and lower surfaces of the base such that the arm can swivel relative to the base.

In yet another aspect, the invention provides methods of making tool racks. In one exemplary embodiment, a method generally includes extruding a material to form a channel having an upper surface and a lower surface spaced apart from the upper surface, forming at least one opening that extends generally vertically in the upper surface of the channel, forming at least one opening that extends generally vertically in the lower surface of the channel and that is concentrically aligned with the at least one opening of the upper surface, forming a piece of sheet metal to have a generally U-shaped cross-section defining an interior space, and attaching a support rod to the formed piece of sheet metal such that the support rod is at least partially within the interior space defined by the formed piece of sheet metal.

Further aspects and features of the present invention will become apparent from the detailed description provided hereinafter. In addition, any one or more aspects of the invention may be implemented individually or in any combination with any one or more of the other aspects of the invention. It should be understood that the detailed description and specific examples, while indicating exemplary embodiments of the invention, are intended for purposes of illustration only and are not intended to limit the scope of the invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The present invention will become more fully understood from the detailed description and the accompanying drawings, wherein:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a tool rack according to one exemplary embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the base of the tool rack shown in FIG. 1, and illustrating the base's generally C-shaped channel and mounting openings for the arm according to one exemplary embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of an exemplary arm and hooks that can be used with the tool rack shown in FIG. 1 according to one exemplary embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 4 is an end elevation view of the arm shown in FIG. 3;

FIG. 5 is a side elevation view of the exemplary support rod that is shown attached to the arm in FIG. 3, and illustrating the support rod's upper and lower end portions that can be slidably positioned within mounting openings of the base shown in FIG. 2 according to one exemplary embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of the exemplary hook that is shown attached to the arm in FIG. 3, wherein the exemplary hook includes a configuration capable of supporting various types and sizes of tools according to one exemplary embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 7 is a perspective view of the exemplary stop that is shown attached to the arm in FIG. 3, wherein the stop can be used for inhibiting downward movement of a tool being supported by the arm according to one exemplary embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 8 is an elevation view of the exemplary stop shown in FIG. 7;

FIG. 9 is a perspective view of a tool rack according to another exemplary embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 10 is a perspective view of the base of the tool rack shown in FIG. 9;

FIG. 11 is an elevation view of the base shown in FIG. 10;

FIG. 12 is an upper view of the base shown in FIG. 10;

FIG. 13 is a perspective view of an exemplary bushing that can be positioned at least partially within a mounting opening of the base shown in FIGS. 10 through 12 according to an exemplary embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 14 is a front side elevation view of the bushing shown in FIG. 13;

FIG. 15 is a back side elevation view of the bushing shown in FIG. 13;

FIG. 16 is top view of the bushing shown in FIG. 13;

FIG. 17 is an upper perspective view of a tool rack according to another embodiment of the invention including a base as shown in FIGS. 10 through 13 and three arms as shown in FIG. 3;

FIG. 18 is a lower perspective view of the tool rack shown in FIG. 17;

FIG. 19 is a side elevation view of the tool rack shown in FIG. 17;

FIG. 20 is a top view of the tool rack shown in FIG. 17 with the top of the hoe shown in broken lines for clarity;

FIG. 21 is a perspective view of a tool rack including a base as shown in FIGS. 10 through 13 and three exemplary arms according to another embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 22 is a perspective view of a tool rack including a base as shown in FIGS. 10 through 13 and three exemplary arms according to another embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 23 is a perspective view of a tool rack according to another exemplary embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 24 is a perspective view of a front portion of the base of the tool rack shown in FIG. 23;

FIG. 25 is a perspective view of a tool rack according to another exemplary embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 26 is a perspective view of a tool rack according to another exemplary embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 27 is a perspective view of a tool rack according to another exemplary embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 28 is a perspective view of a tool rack according to another exemplary embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 29 is a perspective view of a tool rack according to another exemplary embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 30 is a perspective view of a tool rack according to another exemplary embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 31 is a perspective view of an exemplary bushing having a groove for engagingly receiving a portion of an arm to thereby couple the bushing for common rotation with the arm;

FIG. 32 is a partial perspective view of a tool rack according to another exemplary embodiment; and

FIG. 33 is a perspective view of one of the arms shown in FIG. 32.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF EXEMPLARY EMBODIMENTS

The following descriptions of the various embodiments are merely exemplary in nature and are in no way intended to limit the invention, its application, or uses.

According to various aspects, the invention provides mechanisms that provide for easy assembly and attachment to commonly constructed vertical walls of the housing industry using common tools like screwdrivers and other tools. In addition, various embodiments are configured to utilize space in an efficient manner in order to enhance storability of various types of tools in various locations including difficult to utilize corner space. By way of example and as described herein, various embodiments include at least one arm (e.g., arm 30 in FIG. 3, etc.) capable of stowage for tools, such as shovels, racks, brooms, and the like of general home and yard maintenance. As described herein, the arms preferably provide for adjustability by pivotal rotation about a vertical axis, for example, to allow the arms to be pivotably moved from an area of common use, and also preferably provide additional adjustability for locating tools at various locations along the arm length to improve usability and utility.

In one aspect, the invention relates to a channel-shaped feature attachable to adjacent vertical supporting structure so that the channel length runs generally horizontally along the horizon. When mounted in this exemplary manner, the channel-shaped feature can also provide a plurality of mounting holes generally aligned with the vertical axis, thereby providing adjustability along the length of the channel.

In another aspect, the invention relates to an arm having a plurality of generally horizontal holes along the arm length. These holes, however, could be other features such as lugs, tabs, grooves, wires, combinations thereof, and/or other connecting features. As described and shown herein, the connective features can be common and/or complex in shape and design depending, for example, on storage intent for the particular application. Still yet other aspects of the invention relating to the arm are shown by way of example in FIGS. 26 through 30 and described herein. Further aspects include hooks and cam-type stops as described herein. Still further aspects include methods of making and/or using tool racks, arms, hooks, and cam-type stops.

Referring now to FIG. 1, there is shown an exemplary embodiment of a tool rack 20 embodying several aspects of the invention. As shown, the tool rack 20 generally includes a base 22 and a plurality of arms 30 pivotably mounted to the base 22 such that the arms 30 can swivel relative to the base 22.

As shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, the base 22 includes a generally C-shaped channel or cross-section. The base 22 includes a generally horizontal first rib or flange 24 and a generally horizontal second rib or flange 26. The ribs 24 and 26 are spaced apart from one another and extend generally outwardly from a generally vertical portion 27. In this particular embodiment, the ribs or mounting surfaces 24 and 26 are generally parallel to one another.

As shown in FIG. 2, generally circular holes 28 extend completely through the upper and lower ribs 24 and 26. Each hole 28 in the upper rib 24 is aligned with a corresponding hole in the lower rib 26. As described herein, these vertically-extending holes 28 function as pivotal connection points for the arms 30. Alternatively, the base 22 can include other types of openings or apertures that function as pivotal connection points for the arms 30. For example, other embodiments include a base having non-circular holes, a base having openings (e.g., blind holes, etc.) that do not extend completely through the upper and lower ribs, combinations thereof, etc.

With reference now to FIGS. 1 and 3, the arms 30 can be pivotably mounted to the base 22 such that the arms 30 can swivel relative to the base 22. Each arm 30 includes end portions 34 and 36 configured (e.g., sized, shaped, etc.) to be slidably positioned at least partially within the holes 28 defined by the respective upper and lower ribs 24 and 26 of the base 22. This pivotal mounting arrangement allows the arms 30 to swivel relative to the base 22.

Each arm 30 also includes a tool support portion 38, which in one embodiment is formed of sheet metal (or other suitable material). In the illustrated embodiment, the tool support portion 38 provides multiple hook locations for selectively attaching hooks (or other suitable tool support devices) at various locations along the arm 30. Exemplary hooks that can be attached to an arm in various embodiments of the invention include wire pegboard-style hooks 50 as shown in FIG. 3, a hook 52 as shown in FIG. 6, and/or a hook 58 shown in FIG. 8, combinations thereof, etc.

In various embodiments, the base 22 is formed by extrusion. In these particular embodiments, the base 22 may include a generally C-shaped channel extruded from nylon, plastic, aluminum, another extrudable material, combinations thereof, etc. As shown in FIG. 2, the channel 22 generally includes first and second spaced-apart parallel ribs or flanges 24 and 26. Each flange 24 and 26 includes a plurality of spaced-apart apertures or openings 28. The apertures 28 extending through the first flange 24 are concentrically aligned with corresponding apertures 28 extending through the second flange 26, to provide one or more pairs of concentrically aligned apertures 28. The apertures 28 function as pivotal connection points for the arms 30. Alternatively, the apertures 28 can also be used for pivotally connecting another support structure, such as arm 130 (FIG. 9), arm 330 (FIG. 21), arm 430 (FIG. 22), arm 730 (FIG. 26), arm 830 (FIG. 27), arm 930 (FIG. 28), arm 1130 (FIG. 30), combinations thereof, etc.

In the illustrated embodiment, the apertures 28 are generally circular holes through the flanges 24 and 26 that are configured (e.g., sized, shaped, etc.) to provide support for the support rod's end portions 34 and 36 (FIG. 1) of the arms 30. The end portions 34 and 36 of the support rod or bar 32 are configured to be slidably positioned into the apertures 28 in the first and second flanges 24 and 26.

In various embodiments, the apertures 28 are configured such that the sidewalls defining the apertures 28 have sufficient surface area to distribute the load of the rod end portions 34 and 36 for reducing the rotational friction between the rod end portions 34 and 36 and the aperture sidewalls. Accordingly, the arms 30 can be pivotally supported from the base 22 by slidably positioning the rod end portions 34 and 36 within apertures 28 of the first and second flanges 24 and 26. With this pivotal mounting arrangement, the arms 30 are able to relatively freely swivel relative to the base 22.

The mounting base 22 can also include one or more mounting openings 31 (e.g., slots, holes, notches, etc.) that can be used for mounting the base 22 to a vertical support surface (e.g., wall, corner, etc.) with one or more fasteners (e.g., screws, etc.). In the illustrated embodiment of FIGS. 1 and 3, six spaced-apart generally circular holes 31 are defined through the portion 27 of the base 22. By way of example, these holes 31 can be spaced to allow the base 22 to be mounted to studs spaced sixteen inches apart from one another. Alternatively, more or less than six openings and/or different types and sizes of mounting openings can be used in other embodiments for mounting the base to a wall or other vertical support surface. In further embodiments, the base 22 can be attached to a wall using any other suitable means with or without the openings 31. In addition, the dimensions set forth in this paragraph (as are all dimensions set forth herein) are mere examples and can be varied depending, for example, on the particular application.

FIGS. 3 and 4 illustrate an exemplary embodiment of an arm 30 that can be used with one or more of the tool racks of the present invention. As shown, the arm 30 includes a support rod 32 at one end portion thereof, and a tool support portion 38 extending outwardly from the support rod 32.

In the illustrated embodiment, the arm's tool support portion 38 comprises sheet metal that has been formed (e.g., bent, shaped, etc.) to have a generally U-shaped cross-section defining an interior space. Alternatively, the tool support portion 38 may be formed from other materials and/or define other channel shapes besides U-shaped channel. In other embodiments, the tool support portion may not include a channel defining an interior space, such as the embodiments shown in FIGS. 21 and 22 and described below.

The support rod 32 may be formed from a wide range of materials, including metals, plastics, composite materials, etc. In one particular embodiment, the support rod 32 comprises an aluminum bar having a generally round or circular transverse cross-section. Alternatively, other suitable cross-sectional shapes and materials can be used for the support rod 32 in other embodiments.

As shown in FIG. 5, the support rod 32 has been formed (e.g., bent, shaped, etc.) to have a generally C-shaped portion 33 with the end portions 34 and 36 depending generally downwardly from the portion 33. The end portions 34 and 36 are coaxially aligned with each other. The end portions 34 and 36 are configured (e.g., shaped, sized, positioned, etc.) such that the end portions 34 and 36 can be slidably positioned within respective upper and lower holes 28 of the base 22.

As shown in FIG. 3, the support rod's generally C-shaped portion 33 is positioned within the interior space defined by the generally U-shaped channel of the sheet metal portion. The support rod's end portions 34 and 36, however, are external to the generally U-shaped channel of the tool support portion 38.

In one particular embodiment, the support rod 32 is welded to the sheet metal portion of the arm 30. Alternatively, any other suitable means (e.g., adhesives, friction or interference fits, mechanical fasteners, resilient ribs, combinations thereof, etc.) may be employed for engaging the support rod 32 to the tool support portion 38 depending, for example, on the particular materials used for the support rod 32 and the tool support portion 38.

In various embodiments, the tool support portion 38 can also include ribs or stiffeners 41 that are integrally formed into or attached to the sheet metal forming the tool support portion 38. These stiffeners 41 can be configured to provide the arm 30 with additional strength and reinforcement, for example, to inhibit twisting of the arm 30 if the arm 30 is supporting more weight on one side than the other (e.g., supporting tools on only one side, etc.). By way of example, various embodiments include the stiffeners 41 bonded to the sheet metal by welding, adhesives, mechanical fasteners (e.g., screws, etc.), combinations thereof, etc. In the illustrated embodiment of FIG. 4, the stiffeners 41 on one side of the arm 30 may be attached (e.g., welded, etc.) or abut against the corresponding stiffeners 41 on the other side of the arm 30. Alternate embodiments include arms that do not include the stiffeners 41, such as the arms 130 shown in FIG. 9.

The tool support portion 38 of the arm 30 includes a plurality of laterally spaced-apart openings 39. In one particular embodiment, the openings 39 are drilled into the sheet metal forming the tool support portion 38. While drilling the openings 39, the stiffeners 41 can help assist with locating the positions at which the openings 39 should be drilled. Alternatively, the openings 39 can be formed using other suitable methods.

The openings 39 provide multiple hook locations for selectively attaching hooks (or other suitable tool support devices) at various locations along the arm 30. Exemplary hooks that can be attached to the arm 30 include wire pegboard-style hooks 50 as shown in FIG. 3, a hook 52 as shown in FIG. 6, a hook 58 having a cam-type stop 59 as shown in FIG. 8, combinations thereof, etc.

In the illustrated embodiment of FIG. 3, the arm 30 includes three vertically-spaced rows of the laterally-spaced openings 39 on each side of the tool support portion 38. Accordingly, having the vertically-spaced rows of openings 39 also allows hooks to be spaced vertically from one another. Alternate embodiments include arms having more or less than three vertically-spaced rows of openings and/or arms having different means besides openings for attaching hooks. For example, FIG. 9 illustrates another tool rack 120 having arms 130 with only one row of laterally-spaced openings 139 on each side of the arm 130.

With reference back to FIG. 1, this particular illustrated tool rack 20 includes arms 30 having tool support portions 38 formed from sheet metal with laterally-spaced openings 39, and formed bars 32 with end portions 34 and 36 that may easily be inserted into apertures 28 of the mounting base 22. Accordingly, embodiments of the present invention provide easy-to-assemble tool racks with attachable hooks that may be adjustably positioned to support a variety of differently-sized tools.

In various embodiments, either or both end portions 34 and 36 may include openings for receiving a cotter pin or other stop. After the rod end portions 34 and 36 are slidably positioned within the apertures 28, a cotter pin may be positioned within an opening defined by either or both of the rod end portions 34 and 36 to inhibit removal of the arm 30 from the mounting base 22. Alternatively, other stops besides cotter pins can be used in other embodiments for inhibiting removal of an arm from a mounting base.

During use, one or more tools may be supported from the arm 30. With the weight of the arm 30 and the tools supported thereby, the arm 30 acts as a loaded cantilever resulting in a bending moment M (FIG. 1) at the base of the cantilever acting on the upper rod end portion 34. The bending moment M is the product of the arm length and the cantilever load L at the distal end or tip of the arm. The bending moment M is also equal to the product of the spacing length S (distance between the upper and lower apertures 28 and rod end portions 34 and 36) and the force (opposite F2) that is exerted by the wall at the location of the lower rod end portion 36. The cantilever load L accordingly causes a force to be applied via the rod end portions 34 and 36 against and away from the mounting base 22. As shown in FIG. 1, a force F1 in a direction away from the mounting base 22 is applied via the upper rod end portion 34 to the mounting base 22. A force F2 in a direction towards the mounting base 22 is applied via the lower rod end portion 36 to the mounting base 22 and against the wall. The wall provides an equal but opposite force to the mounting base 22 that counters the force F2, and the bending moment M at the base 22 of the cantilever acting about the upper rod end portion 34. The rod end portions 34 and 36 accordingly provide for distributing the force resulting form the cantilever load to two pivot points. In various embodiments, the lower rod end portion 36 is sufficiently spaced from the upper rod end portion 34 to reduce the effects of the bending moment acting about the upper rod end portion 34. By virtue of the lower rod end 36 being spaced from the upper rod end portion 34, the rod end portions 34 and 36 thus establish two points of support, which, in turn, provide improved support over a single pivot rod design. If only the upper rod end portion 34 were employed, the full cantilever load would produce a bending moment acting only on the upper rod end portion 34. This, in turn, would result in a higher transverse force acting between the upper rod end portion 34 and the upper aperture 28 than what would occur in two sufficiently spaced rod end portions 34 and 36 as in various embodiments of the present invention. In various embodiments, the spacing between the upper and lower openings in the base and the first and second rod end portions is about one-sixth the length of the arm, such that the bending moment caused by the cantilever load on the arm results in a transverse force acting on the rod end portions that is about six times that of the cantilever load. Accordingly, various embodiments of the present invention can provide for reduced frictional force and reduced wear between the pivoting elements and the apertures. Alternatively, the spacing between the upper and lower openings in the base and/or the spacing between the first and second end portions can be greater or less than about one-sixth the length of the arm depending, for example, on the particular application. Furthermore, the first and second coaxially aligned rod end portions are preferably configured to be easily inserted into the concentrically aligned apertures, without the use of tools or fasteners such as screws, bolts, rivets, or other fastening device that would require the use of a tool to assemble or affix.

In addition, having two spaced-apart end portions 34 and 36 (instead of a single rod defining the end portions 34 and 36) allows the arm 30 to be pivotably mounted to the base 22 with less clearance. The end portions 34 and 36 can be slidably positioned within the apertures 28 with less drop-down height being needed than that needed for an arm having a single rod defining the end portions. This, in turn, increases the mountability of the tool rack 20 by allowing the tool rack 20 to be mounted in more locations, such as more closely to a ceiling or other horizontal surface. Other embodiments, however, include arms with a single rod that is slidably positioned within upper and lower apertures of a base.

In various embodiments, the channel defined by the base can be sized to allow one or more of the arms to swivel into a position in which the arm is generally confined within the channel. In these embodiments, the arms can be swiveled and positioned within the channel, for example, during non-use to get them out of the way, thus providing a very compact storage position for the tool rack when it is not being used.

As mentioned above, a wide range of hooks and other devices capable of supporting tools may be selective attached at various locations along the arms 30. As shown in FIG. 3, exemplary hooks that can be attached to the arm 30 include wire pegboard-style hooks 50, a hook 52 (also shown in FIG. 6), a hook 58 having a cam-type stop 59 (also shown in FIG. 8), combinations thereof, etc.

Regarding the hook 52 shown in FIG. 6, this hook 52 includes a rod that is formed (e.g., bent, shaped, etc.) to have end portions 53 and curved indentations 54 along the hook's upper surface. The end portions 53 can be configured to be positioned within a corresponding pair of openings in an arm (e.g., openings 39 in arm 30 (FIGS. 1 and 3), openings 139 in arm 130 (FIG. 9), openings 339 in arm 330 (FIG. 21, etc.). The curved indentations 54 can be configured to cooperate with one another to support or accommodate certain tools having a particular size and/or shape, such shovels, rakes, etc.

The hook 52 also includes curved protrusion or looped end portions 56. These curved protrusions 56 can be configured to cooperate with another portion 57 of the hook 52 to accommodate and support certain tools having a different size and/or shape than the tools which can be supported by the curved indentations 54. Accordingly, the hook 52 can be used to support a variety of differently-sized and differently-shaped tools.

With reference now to FIGS. 7 and 8, there is shown an exemplary hook 58 according to one embodiment of the invention. The hook 58 includes a rod 63 that is formed (e.g., bent, shaped, etc.) to have end portions 61 configured to be positioned within a corresponding pair of openings in an arm (e.g., openings 39 in arm 30 (FIGS. 1 and 3), openings 139 in arm 130 (FIG. 9), openings 339 in arm 330 (FIG. 21), etc.).

The hook 58 also includes a stop 59. The stop 59 is pivotably mounted to the rod 63. The stop 59 including a gripping end portion or surface 65 for frictionally gripping a tool generally between the gripping surface 65 and the arm or another adjacent surface.

In the illustrated embodiment, the gripping end portion 65 includes a plurality of protrusions or nubs. Alternatively, the gripping end portion 65 may be substantially smooth, for example, when the stop 59 is formed from a resiliently compressible material, such as rubber or a relatively soft plastic.

A wide range of materials can be used for the formed rod 63, including metals, plastics, composites, combinations thereof, etc. Likewise, a wide range of materials can also be used for the stop 59, including nylons, plastics, rubbers, metals, composites, combinations thereof, etc. In one particular embodiment, the formed rod 63 comprises aluminum, and the stop 59 comprises nylon.

By way of example only, FIGS. 17 and 18 illustrate the hook 58 supported from an arm 30 of the tool rack 220. As shown, the stop 59 has pivoted or cammed against a handle 271 of a tool being supported by the tool rack 220. The pivotal motion of the cam-type stop 59 causes the tool handle 271 to be frictionally supported between the stop's gripping surface 65 and the arm 30.

FIG. 9 illustrates another embodiment of a tool rack 120 having a mounting base 122 and arms 130. The arms 130 are pivotably mounted to the base 122 such that the arms 130 can swivel relative to the base 122.

In the particular embodiment of FIGS. 9 and 12, the base 122 may comprise a stamped or pressed sheet metal bracket. Alternatively, the base 122 may be formed from other suitable materials and/or be fabricated from other suitable manufacturing processes, such as injection molding, etc.

As shown in FIGS. 10 and 11, the base 122 includes first and second spaced-apart parallel ribs or flanges 124 and 126. The ribs 124 and 126 may be integrally formed or drawn from the sheet metal. Each rib 124 and 126 includes a plurality of spaced-apart apertures 128. Each aperture 128 in the upper rib 124 is concentrically aligned with a corresponding aperture 128 in the lower rib 126. The apertures 128 in the ribs 124 and 126 thus form pairs of aligned apertures 128 that define vertical-mounting holes for functioning as pivotal connection points for arms 130. Alternatively, the apertures 128 can also be used for pivotally connecting another support structure, such as arm 30 (FIG. 3), arm 130 (FIG. 9), arm 330 (FIG. 21), arm 430 (FIG. 22), arm 730 (FIG. 26), arm 830 (FIG. 27), arm 930 (FIG. 28), arm 1130 (FIG. 30), combinations thereof, etc.

The mounting base 122 can also include one or mounting openings 131 (e.g., slots, holes, notches, etc.). These openings 131 can be used to mount the base 122 to a vertical support surface (e.g., wall, corner, etc.) with one or more fasteners (e.g., screws, etc.). In the illustrated embodiment of FIG. 10, the base 122 includes a generally circular hole 131 adjacent each corner of the base 122. Alternatively, more or less than four openings, and/or different types and sizes of mounting openings can be used in other embodiments for mounting the base to a wall or other vertical support surface. In further embodiments, the base 122 can be attached to a wall using any other suitable means with or without the openings 131.

With continued reference to FIG. 9, the tool rack 120 includes arms 130. In other embodiments, however, one or more of the arms 130 attached to the tool rack 120 can be replaced by another arm, such as the arm 30 (FIG. 3), or any one of the arms shown in FIGS. 21, 22, 26, 27, 28, and 30, etc.

As shown in FIG. 9, each arm 130 includes a support rod at one end portion thereof. Each arm 130 also includes a tool support portion 138 extending outwardly from the support rod.

In the illustrated embodiment, the arm's tool support portion 138 comprises sheet metal that has been formed (e.g., bent, shaped, etc.) to have a generally U-shaped cross-section defining an interior space. Alternatively, the tool support portion 138 may be formed from other materials and/or define other channel shapes besides U-shaped channel. In other embodiments, the tool rack 120 may be used with an arm having a tool support portion that does not include a channel, such as the arms shown in FIGS. 21 and 22 and described below.

The support rod of the arm 130 may be formed from a wide range of materials, including metals, plastics, composite materials, etc. In one particular embodiment, the support rod comprises an aluminum bar having a generally round or circular transverse cross-section. Alternatively, other suitable cross-sectional shapes and materials can be used for the support rod in other embodiments.

As shown in FIG. 9, the support rod is positioned at least partially within the interior space defined by the generally U-shaped channel of the sheet metal portion. The support rod's end portions 134 and 136, however, are external to the generally U-shaped channel of the tool support portion 138.

The support rod's end portions 134 and 136 are coaxially aligned with each other. The end portions 134 and 136 are also configured (e.g., shaped, sized, positioned, etc.) such that the end portions 134 and 136 can be slidably positioned within respective upper and lower openings 128 of the base 122.

In one particular embodiment, the support rod is welded to the sheet metal portion of the arm 130. Alternatively, any other suitable means (e.g., adhesives, friction or interference fits, mechanical fasteners, resilient ribs, combinations thereof, etc.) may be employed for engaging the support rod to the tool support portion 138 depending, for example, on the particular materials used for the support rod and the tool support portion 138.

The tool support portion 138 of the arm 130 includes a row of laterally spaced-apart openings 139. In one particular embodiment, the openings 139 are drilled into the sheet metal forming the tool support portion 138. Alternatively, the openings 139 can be formed using other suitable methods.

The openings 139 provide multiple hook locations for selectively attaching hooks (or other suitable tool support devices) at various locations along the arm 130. Exemplary hooks that can be attached to the arm 130 include wire pegboard-style hooks 50, a hook 52 as shown in FIG. 6, a hook 58 having cam-type stop 59 as shown in FIG. 8, combinations thereof, etc.

In the illustrated embodiment of FIG. 9, bushings 140 are positioned within the mounting openings 128. These bushings 140 are preferably formed of a material that allow for easier rotation of the arms 130 relative to the base 122 by reducing friction associated with the relative rotation. In various embodiments, the bushings 140 preferably provide sufficient surface area to distribute the load of the rod end portions 134 and 136 for reducing rotational friction between the rod end portions 134 and 136 and the mounting openings 128. Whether it is desirable to use bushings may depend, for example, on the particular materials used for the arms and the base. For example, FIG. 1 illustrates an embodiment in which bushings are not shown positioned within the mounting openings 28. In other embodiments, however, bushings can be positioned within the mounting openings 28 depending, for example, on the particular materials used for the base 22 and the support rod 32.

Depending on the particular application, the bushings 140 may be configured to remain stationary relative to the base 122 such that the arm 130 rotates relative to the bushing 140. For example, each bushing 140 may be sized and shaped to snuggly fit within one of the mounting openings 128 to thereby form a sufficient friction or interference fit with the base 122 such that the bushing 140 does not rotate along with the arm 130. Having the arm 130 rotate within the bushing 140 can help reduce wear and tear on the arm 130 due to the rotational movement, which, in turn, can help prolong the useful life of the arm.

Alternatively, a bushing may be coupled for common rotation with the arm such that the arm and bushing rotate together relative to the base. For example, FIG. 31 illustrates an exemplary bushing 1040′ having a notch or groove 1080 along an upper portion 1084 of the bushing 1040′ extending from the central passageway 1088 through the bushing 1040. The arm 130 may then be engagingly positioned within the bushing's notch 1080 to thereby retain the positioning of the bushing 1040′ relative to the arm 130. In which case, the bushing 1040′ would rotate along with the arm 130. In such embodiments, this can help ensure that possible wear and tear due to the rotational movement is on the bushing 1040′ and not the arm 130, thus helping to prolong the useful life of the arm 130.

As shown in FIG. 11, the ribs 124 and 126 respectively include tapered or angled upper surfaces 167 and 169. To accommodate for this taper or draft angle, the bushings 140 include tapered shoulders 142 as shown in FIGS. 13 through 16. The tapered shoulder 142 allows the upper surface of the bushing 140 to remain relatively flat and horizontal despite the angled surfaces 167, 169 of the respective ribs 124, 126.

FIGS. 17 through 20 illustrate another embodiment of a tool rack 220 that is shown supporting various tools. As shown, the tool rack 220 includes the base 122 (also shown in FIGS. 10 through 12), arms 30 (also shown in FIGS. 3 and 4), bushings 140 (also shown in FIGS. 13 through 16), hooks 52 (also shown in FIG. 6), and hooks 58 (also shown in FIGS. 7 and 8).

FIG. 21 illustrates another embodiment of a tool rack 320. As shown, the tool rack 320 includes the base 122 (also shown in FIGS. 10 through 12) and arms 330. The arms 330 are pivotably mounted to the base 122 such that the arms 330 can swivel relative to the base 122.

Each arm 330 includes a formed bar 332 having first and second end portions 334 and 336. The end portions 334 and 336 are configured to be slidably inserted into upper and lower apertures 128 in the base 122.

Each arm 330 includes a tool support portion 338. In this particular embodiment, the tool support portion 338 comprises a generally flat piece of sheet metal, although other suitable materials can be used for the tool support portion 338. In one particular embodiment, the sheet metal forming the tool support portion 338 is welded to the bar 332. Alternatively, any other suitable means (e.g., adhesives, friction or interference fits, mechanical fasteners, resilient ribs, combinations thereof, etc.) may be employed for engaging the tool support portion 338 to the bar 332, depending, for example, on the particular materials used for the bar 332 and the tool support portion 338.

The tool support portion 338 includes a plurality of laterally spaced-apart openings 339. In one particular embodiment, the openings 339 are drilled into the sheet metal forming the tool support portion 338. Alternatively, the openings 339 can be formed using other suitable methods.

The openings 339 provide multiple hook locations for selectively attaching hooks (or other suitable tool support devices) at various locations along the arm 330. Exemplary hooks that can be attached to the arm 330 include wire pegboard-style hooks 350, a hook 52 as shown in FIG. 6, a hook 58 having a cam-type stop 59 as shown in FIG. 8, combinations thereof, etc.

FIG. 22 illustrates another embodiment of a tool rack 420. As shown, the tool rack 420 includes the base 122 (also shown in FIGS. 10 through 12) and arms 430. The arms 430 are pivotably mounted to the base 122 such that the arms 430 can swivel relative to the base 122.

Each arm 430 includes a formed bar 432 having end portions 434 and 436. The end portions 434 and 436 are configured to be slidably inserted into upper and lower apertures 428 in the base 422.

In this particular embodiment, hooks 450 are welded to the formed bar 432. Alternatively, other suitable means can be used for attaching hooks to the arms 430.

FIGS. 23 through 24 illustrate another embodiment of a tool rack 520. As shown in FIG. 23, the tool rack 520 includes a base 522 and arms 30 (also shown in FIGS. 3 and 4). The arms 30 are pivotably mounted to the base 522 such that the arms 30 can swivel relative to the base 522.

In this particular embodiment, the base 522 may comprise a formed sheet metal bracket. Alternatively, the base 522 may be formed from other suitable materials and/or be fabricated from other suitable manufacturing processes, such as injection molding, etc.

As shown in FIG. 24, the base 522 includes first and second spaced-apart parallel ribs or flanges 524 and 526. The base 522 may be rolled to form these integral first and second ribs 524 and 526, or may be processed by other means to produce integral ribs 524 and 526.

Each rib 524 and 526 includes a plurality of spaced-apart apertures 528. Each aperture 528 in the upper rib 524 is concentrically aligned with a corresponding aperture 528 in the lower rib 526. Accordingly, the apertures 528 in the ribs 524 and 526 form pairs of aligned apertures 528 that define vertical-mounting holes for functioning as pivotal connection points for the arms 30. Alternatively, the apertures 528 can also be used for pivotally connecting another support structure, such as arm 130 (FIG. 9), arm 330 (FIG. 21), arm 430 (FIG. 22), arm 730 (FIG. 26), arm 830 (FIG. 27), arm 930 (FIG. 28), arm 1130 (FIG. 30), combinations thereof, etc.

As shown in FIG. 23, a backing plate 529 may be secured to the base 522 to reinforce the base 522. In one particular embodiment, the backing plate 529 comprises a generally rectangular steel plate welded to the base 522. Alternatively, other suitable materials can be used for the backing plate 529, and/or any other suitable means (e.g., adhesives, mechanical fasteners, combinations thereof, etc.) may be employed for attaching the backing plate 529 to the base 522.

FIG. 25 illustrates another embodiment of a tool rack 620. As shown in FIG. 25, the tool rack 620 includes a base 622 and arms 30 (also shown in FIGS. 3 and 4). The arms 30 are pivotably mounted to the base 622 such that the arms 30 can swivel relative to the base 622.

In this particular embodiment, the base 622 may be fabricated by stamping, pressing, punching, forging, combinations thereof, etc. The base 622 includes apertures 628 along upper and lower portions of the base 622. The upper apertures 628 are aligned with the lower apertures, thus providing vertical mounting openings for functioning as pivotal connection points for the arms 30. Alternatively, the apertures 628 can also be used for pivotally connecting another support structure, such as arm 130 (FIG. 9), arm 330 (FIG. 21), arm 430 (FIG. 22), arm 730 (FIG. 26), arm 830 (FIG. 27), arm 930 (FIG. 28), arm 1130 (FIG. 30), combinations thereof, etc.

The apertures 628 may be defined by eyelets or barrel-type cylinders 664 attached (e.g., welded, adhesively bonded, etc.) to the base 622. In one particular embodiment, the eyelets 664 comprise pieces of strap material welded to the base 622.

A backing plate 629 may be secured to the base 622 to reinforce the base 622. In one particular embodiment, the backing plate 629 comprises a generally rectangular steel plate welded to the base 622. Alternatively, other suitable materials can be used for the backing plate 629, and/or any other suitable means (e.g., adhesives, mechanical fasteners, combinations thereof, etc.) may be employed for attaching the backing plate 629 to the base 622.

FIG. 26 illustrates another embodiment of a tool rack 720 suited for mounting in a corner. As shown, the tool rack 720 includes a base 722 having an upper portion 724 and a lower portion 726. The upper and lower portions 724 and 726 are generally triangular shaped, which facilitates mounting of the tool rack 720, for example, in a corner of a room.

Apertures 728 are disposed along both the upper and lower portions 724 and 726. The upper apertures 728 are generally aligned with the lower apertures 728. Accordingly, the upper and lower apertures 728 form pairs of aligned apertures 528 that define vertical-mounting holes for functioning as pivotal connection points for the arms 730. Alternatively, the apertures 728 can also be used for pivotally connecting another support structure, such as arm 30 (FIGS. 3 and 4), arm 130 (FIG. 9), arm 330 (FIG. 21), arm 430 (FIG. 22), arm 830 (FIG. 27), arm 930 (FIG. 28), arm 1130 (FIG. 30), combinations thereof, etc.

As shown in FIG. 26, the base 722 includes mounting openings 731 (e.g., slots, holes, notches, etc.) that can be used for mounting the base 722 to a vertical support surface (e.g., wall, corner, etc.) with one or more fasteners (e.g., screws, etc.). In the illustrated embodiment of FIG. 26, the base 722 includes a plurality of mounting slots 731. Alternatively, the base 722 can include more or less slots than that shown in FIG. 26. In addition, the base 722 can also or alternatively include different types and sizes of mounting openings. In further embodiments, the base 722 can be attached to a wall using any other suitable means with or without the openings 731.

In the particular illustrated embodiment of FIG. 26, each arm 730 includes a formed bar 732. The formed bar 732 includes end portions configured to be slidably inserted into upper and lower apertures 728 in the base 722.

In addition, hooks 750 are welded to the formed bar 732. Alternatively, other suitable means can be used for attaching hooks to the arms 730.

FIG. 27 illustrates another embodiment of a tool rack 820 suited for mounting in a corner. As shown, the tool rack 820 includes a base 822 having first and second portions disposed generally perpendicular to one another, for example, to facilitate mounting of the tool rack 820 in a corner.

The base 822 includes upper apertures generally aligned with lower apertures. Accordingly, the upper and lower apertures form pairs of aligned apertures that define vertical-mounting holes for functioning as pivotal connection points for the arms 830. Alternatively, the apertures can also be used for pivotally connecting another support structure, such as arm 30 (FIGS. 3 and 4), arm 130 (FIG. 9), arm 330 (FIG. 21), arm 430 (FIG. 22), arm 730 (FIG. 26), arm 930 (FIG. 28), arm 1130 (FIG. 30), combinations thereof, etc.

In the illustrated embodiment of FIG. 27, the apertures are defined by eyelets or barrel-type cylinders 864 attached (e.g., welded, adhesively bonded, etc.) to the base 822. In one particular embodiment, the eyelets 864 comprise pieces of strap material welded to the base 822.

With continued reference to FIG. 27, each arm 830 includes a formed bar 832. The formed bar 832 includes end portions configured to be slidably inserted into upper and lower apertures defined by the cylinders 864, which, in turn, are attached to the base 822. Either or both of the outer arms 830 may further comprise bends or offset portions 878 to provide more spacing between adjacent arms 830.

In addition, hooks 850 are welded to the formed bar 832. Alternatively, other suitable means can be used for attaching hooks to the arms 830.

FIG. 28 illustrates another embodiment of a tool rack 920. As shown, the tool rack 920 includes a base 922 and arms 930. The arms 930 are pivotably mounted to the base 922 such that the arms 930 can swivel relative to the base 922.

The base 922 includes upper apertures generally aligned with lower apertures. Accordingly, the upper and lower apertures form pairs of aligned apertures that define vertical-mounting holes for functioning as pivotal connection points for the arms 930. Alternatively, the apertures can also be used for pivotally connecting another support structure, such as arm 30 (FIGS. 3 and 4), arm 130 (FIG. 9), arm 330 (FIG. 21), arm 430 (FIG. 22), arm 730 (FIG. 26), arm 830 (FIG. 27), arm 1130 (FIG. 30), combinations thereof, etc.

In the illustrated embodiment of FIG. 28, the apertures are defined by eyelets or barrel-type cylinders 964 attached (e.g., welded, adhesively bonded, etc.) to the base 922. In one particular embodiment, the eyelets 964 comprise pieces of strap material welded to the base 922.

The base 922 includes mounting openings 931 (e.g., slots, holes, notches, etc.) that can be used for mounting the base 922 to a vertical support surface (e.g., wall, corner, etc.) with one or more fasteners (e.g., screws, etc.). Alternatively, the base 922 can include more or less openings and/or at different locations than that shown in FIG. 28. In addition, the base 922 can also or alternatively include different types and sizes of mounting openings. In further embodiments, the base 922 can be attached to a wall using any other suitable means with or without using the openings 931.

With continued reference to FIG. 28, each arm 930 includes a formed bar 932. The formed bar 932 includes end portions configured to be slidably inserted into upper and lower apertures defined by the cylinders 964, which, in turn, are attached to the base 922. Either or both of the outer arms 930 may further comprise bends or offset portions 978 to provide more spacing between adjacent arms 930.

In addition, hooks 950 are welded to the formed bar 932. Alternatively, other suitable means can be used for attaching hooks to the arms 930.

FIG. 29 illustrates another embodiment of a tool rack 1020 suited for mounting in a corner. As shown, the tool rack 1020 includes a base 1022 and arms 1030. The arms 1030 are pivotably mounted to the base 1022 such that the arms 1030 can swivel relative to the base 1022.

The base 1022 includes an upper portion 1024 and a lower portion 1026. The upper portion 1024 is generally triangular shaped. The lower portion 1026 includes first and second portions disposed generally perpendicular to one another. Accordingly, the configuration of the base 1022 facilitates mounting of the tool rack 1020, for example, in a corner of a room.

The base 1022 includes upper apertures 1028 generally aligned with lower apertures. Accordingly, the upper and lower apertures form pairs of aligned apertures that define vertical-mounting holes for functioning as pivotal connection points for the arms 1030.

In the illustrated embodiment of FIG. 29, the upper apertures 1028 are defined by the upper portion 1024 of the base 1022. The lower apertures are defined by barrel-type cylinders 1064 attached (e.g., welded, adhesively bonded, etc.) to the bottom of the upper portion 1024.

The base 1022 includes mounting openings 1031 (e.g., slots, holes, notches, etc.) that can be used for mounting the base 1022 to a vertical support surface (e.g., wall, corner, etc.) with one or more fasteners (e.g., screws, etc.). Alternatively, the base 1022 can include more or less openings and/or at different locations than that shown in FIG. 29. In addition, the base 1022 can also or alternatively include different types and sizes of mounting openings. In further embodiments, the base 1022 can be attached to a wall using any other suitable means with or without using the openings 1031.

With continued reference to FIG. 29, each arm 1030 includes a formed bar 1032. The formed bar 1032 includes upper and lower end portions configured to be slidably inserted into upper and lower apertures 1028. In this particular embodiment, the lower end portions 1036 extends generally upwardly for insertion into the lower opening of the barrel 1064.

In addition, hooks 1050 are welded to the formed bar 1032. Alternatively, other suitable means can be used for attaching hooks to the arms 1030.

Bushings 1040 can also be positioned within the apertures 1028, for example, to reduce friction associated with the relative rotation between the arms 1030 and the base 1022.

Depending on the particular application, the bushings 140 may be configured to remain stationary relative to the base 1022 such that the arm 1030 rotates relative to the bushing 1040. For example, each bushing 1040 may be sized and shaped to snuggly fit within one of the mounting openings 1028 to thereby form a sufficient friction or interference fit with the barrel 1064 such that the bushing 1040 does not rotate along with the arm 1030. Having the arm 1030 rotate within the bushing 1040 can help reduce wear and tear on the arm 1030 due to the rotational movement, which, in turn, can help prolong the useful life of the arm 1030.

Alternatively, each bushing 1040 may be coupled for common rotation with an arm 1030 such that the arm 1030 and bushing 1040 rotate together relative to the base 1022. For example, FIG. 31 illustrates an exemplary bushing 1040′ having a notch or groove 1080 along an upper portion 1084 of the bushing 1040′ extending from the central passageway 1088 through the bushing 1040. The arm 1030 may then be engagingly positioned within the bushing's notch 1080 to thereby retain the positioning of the bushing 1040′ relative to the arm 1030. In which case, the bushing 1040′ would rotate along with the arm 1030. In such embodiments, this can help ensure that possible wear and tear due to the rotational movement is on the bushing 1040′ and not the arm 1030, thus helping to prolong the useful life of the arm 1030.

FIG. 30 illustrates another embodiment of a tool rack 1120 suited for mounting in a corner. As shown, the tool rack 1120 includes a base 1122 and arms 1130. The arms 1130 are pivotably mounted to the base 1122 such that the arms 1130 can swivel relative to the base 1122.

The base 1122 includes upper and lower portions 1124 and 1126 extending generally outwardly from generally vertical portion 1127. The portion 1127 includes first and second portions disposed generally perpendicular to one another. Accordingly, this exemplary configuration of the base 1122 facilitates mounting of the tool rack 1120, for example, in a corner of a room.

The base 1122 includes upper apertures 1128 generally aligned with lower apertures 1128. Accordingly, the upper and lower apertures 1128 form pairs of aligned apertures that define vertical-mounting holes for functioning as pivotal connection points for the arms 1130. Alternatively, the apertures 1128 can also be used for pivotally connecting another support structure, such as arm 30 (FIGS. 3 and 4), arm 130 (FIG. 9), arm 330 (FIG. 21), arm 430 (FIG. 22), arm 730 (FIG. 26), arm 830 (FIG. 27), arm 930 (FIG. 28), combinations thereof, etc.

With continued reference to FIG. 30, the upper apertures 1128 are defined by the upper portion 1124 of the base 1122. The lower apertures 1128 are defined by eyelets or barrel-type cylinders 1064 attached (e.g., welded, adhesively bonded, etc.) to the lower portion 1126 of the base 1122.

The base 1122 includes mounting openings 1131 (e.g., slots, holes, notches, etc.) that can be used for mounting the base 1122 to a vertical support surface (e.g., wall, corner, etc.) with one or more fasteners (e.g., screws, etc.). In this particular illustrated embodiment, the base 1122 includes two slots 1131 and a generally circular hole 1131. Alternatively, the base 1122 can includes more or less openings and/or at different locations than that shown in FIG. 30. In addition, the base 1122 can also or alternatively include different types and sizes of mounting openings. In further embodiments, the base 1122 can be attached to a wall using any other suitable means with or without using the openings 1131.

In the particular illustrated embodiment of FIG. 30, each arm 1130 includes a formed bar 1132. The formed bar 1132 includes end portions 1134 and 1136 configured to be slidably inserted into respective upper and lower apertures 1128 in the base 1122.

In addition, hooks 1150 are welded to the formed bar 1132. Alternatively, other suitable means can be used for attaching hooks to the arms 1130.

Bushings 1140 can also be positioned within the apertures 1128. The bushings 1140, for example, can help reduce friction associated with the relative rotation between the arms 1130 and the base 1122.

FIG. 32 illustrates another embodiment of a tool rack 1220 that includes a base 1222 and arms 1230. The arms 1230 are pivotably mounted to the base 1222 such that the arms 1230 can swivel relative to the base 1222. In this particular embodiment, the arm's lower end portions 1236 include openings 1237 for receiving a cotter pin 1243. Accordingly, after an arm's end portions 1234 and 1236 have been slidably positioned within the apertures of the base 1222, a cotter pin 1243 may be positioned within the arm's opening 1237 to inhibit removal of the arm 1230 from the mounting base 1222. Alternatively, other stops besides cotter pins can be used in other embodiments for inhibiting removal of an arm from a mounting base. In addition, other embodiments can include both end portions 1234 and 1236 having openings 1237, only the upper end portions 1234 having openings 1237, or neither end portion 1234 and 1236 having openings 1237.

In various embodiments, an arm can include a stop for inhibiting continued downward movement of the arm end portions into the openings of the mounting base. The stop may be an integral part of the arm such that the arm and stop are integrally or monolithically as a single component. Alternatively, the stop may be a separate component that is separate engaged to the arm.

In the particular illustrated embodiment in FIG. 33, members 1245 are disposed on the arm end portions 1234 and 1236. The members 1245 include a lower shoulder 1247 that operates as stop to inhibit continued downward movement of the arm 1230 relative to the base 1220 once the members 1245 abut against the mounting base 1222. In various embodiments, the circular members 1245 may be an integral part of the arm 1230 such that the members 1245 and the arm 1230 are integrally formed as a single component. In other embodiments, the members 1245 may be separately attached to the arm 1230. Further embodiments include other stops besides the generally circular members 1245 for inhibiting downward movement of an arm relative to a mounting base, such as bushings, clamps, non-circular members, and/or members defining a shoulder that does not go completely around the arm end portion.

Various aspects of the invention can be used with a wide range of tools and other equipment, including yard tools, rakes, shovels, hoes, clippers, brooms, fishing poles, wrenches, etc. Accordingly, the specific references to tools herein should not be construed as limiting the scope of the invention to only one specific form/type of tool. Further, the particular methods of manufacture and geometries disclosed herein are exemplary in nature and are not to be considered limiting. The steps, processes, and operations described herein are not to be construed as necessarily requiring their performance in the particular order discussed or illustrated, unless specifically identified as an order or performance. It is also to be understood that additional or alternative steps may be employed. In addition, any one or more aspects (e.g., tool racks, bases, arms, hooks, bushings, methods of making such components, methods of using such components, etc.) of the invention may be implemented individually or in any combination with any one or more of the other aspects of the invention.

Certain terminology is used herein for purposes of reference only, and thus is not intended to be limiting. For example, terms such as “upper”, “lower”, “above”, and “below” refer to directions in the drawings to which reference is made. Terms such as “front”, “back”, “rear”, “bottom” and “side”, describe the orientation of portions of the component within a consistent but arbitrary frame of reference which is made clear by reference to the text and the associated drawings describing the component under discussion. Such terminology may include the words specifically mentioned above, derivatives thereof, and words of similar import. Similarly, the terms “first”, “second” and other such numerical terms referring to structures do not imply a sequence or order unless clearly indicated by the context.

When introducing elements or features of the present invention and the exemplary embodiments, the articles “a”, “an”, “the” and “said” are intended to mean that there are one or more of such elements or features. The terms “comprising”, “including” and “having” are intended to be inclusive and mean that there may be additional elements or features other than those specifically noted.

The description of the invention is merely exemplary in nature and, thus, variations that do not depart from the gist of the invention are intended to be within the scope of the invention. Such variations are not to be regarded as a departure from the spirit and scope of the invention.