Title:
Magnetic wrench holder
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A novel tool holder for ended wrenches is disclosed as comprised of a tool holder portion and a magnetic base. The tool holder portion includes slots that receive ended wrenches which are magnetically retained by the base when the wrenches are fully inserted therein. The base exerts magnetic attraction both internally for the benefit of retaining the ended wrenches, and simultaneously exerting an external attraction for the mounting or placement of the tool holder on a magnetically attractive surface.



Inventors:
Evans, Michael Leroy (West Jordan, UT, US)
Application Number:
11/240979
Publication Date:
04/05/2007
Filing Date:
10/03/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65D85/28
View Patent Images:
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Foreign References:
DE65681C
Primary Examiner:
REYNOLDS, STEVEN ALAN
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
CHRISTOPHER D. HARRINGTON (SUITE 350 5300 CORPORATE GROVE SE, GRAND RAPIDS, MI, 49512, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. A tool holder for holding ended wrenches, the tool holder comprising: A tool holder portion with a top, a bottom, two sides, a front and a rear, with slots in said top for receiving ended wrenches; and, A magnetic base affixed to the bottom of said tool holder portion and in close proximity with that portion of ended wrenches that are received within said slots, the base exerting a magnetic attraction on the ended wrenches sufficient to retain the ended wrenches within the slots, and where said magnetic base also exerts a magnetic attraction externally and is capable of attachment to a magnetically attractive surface.

2. The tool holder of claim number 1, where the top of the tool holder portion is angled from front to rear for accommodation of ended wrenches of different lengths.

3. The tool holder of claim number 1, where the tool holder portion is manufactured from a plastic resin.

4. The tool holder of claim number 1, where the magnetic base is capable of retaining said wrenches when the tool holder is inverted.

5. The tool holder of claim number 1, where the magnetic base is capable of retaining contact with a magnetically attractive surface when holding ended wrenches.

6. A tool holder for the magnetic retention of ended wrenches, the tool holder comprising: A tool holder portion with a front, a rear, two sides, an inner wall, a top, and a bottom, where said top includes slots for receiving ended wrenches; A magnetic base affixed to the bottom of said tool holder portion and where said magnetic base is in close proximity with that portion of the ended wrenches received in said slots, said magnetic base exerting a magnetic attraction on said ended wrenches sufficient to retain the ended wrenches in said tool holder portion even when the tool holder portion is in an inverted position, and where said magnetic base also exerts an externally directed magnetic attraction that is sufficient to affirmatively and reversibly attach the tool holder portion to a magnetically attractive surface.

7. The tool holder of claim number 6, where the tool holder portion is manufactured from a plastic resin.

8. The tool holder of claim number 6, where the magnetic base is a generally “U” shaped channel.

9. The tool holder of claim number 6, where the magnetic base has a “T” shaped profile and contributes to part of the inner wall.

10. A tool holder for the magnetic retention of ended wrenches, the tool holder comprising: A tool holder portion with a front, a rear, two sides, an inner wall, a top, and a bottom, where said top in inclined from front to rear and includes slots for receiving ended wrenches; A magnetic base generally of a “U” shape, affixed to the bottom of said tool holder portion and where said magnetic base is in close proximity with that portion of the ended wrenches received in said slots, said magnetic base exerting a magnetic attraction on said ended wrenches sufficient to retain the ended wrenches in said tool holder portion even when the tool holder portion is in an inverted position, and where said magnetic base also exerts an externally directed magnetic attraction that is sufficient to affirmatively and reversibly attach the tool holder to a magnetically attractive surface.

11. The tool holder of claim number 10, where the tool holder portion is manufactured from a plastic resin.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

Not applicable.

STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT

Not applicable.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a novel tool holder. Specifically, the present invention relates to a magnetic wrench holder for holding wrenches for use by mechanics and others who would use wrenches. The holder of the present invention keeps wrenches in an ordered alignment and with convenient access.

Tool holders, including those for wrenches, are ubiquitous and come in many different styles and types. While tool holders may be commonly known, the ways and methods that are used to hold tools can be very distinct and have led to different products even when the usage is limited to a specific category, such as wrenches. The wrenches under consideration in the present application, are those known generally as end wrenches, and for the purposes of the discussion herein, this term would encompass both box wrenches and open-ended wrenches. The typical wrench suitable for use in the subject wrench holder, is a ferrous-based metal tool with one or both ends fashioned into dimensioned structure that is competent to fit a nut or a bolt head. The dimensions may be standard U.S. sizes, or they may be metric based, but the use of such wrenches is well known in the art. The composition of the metal making up the tool is typically an alloy that imparts a hardness to the tool. Nonetheless, the basic composition remains a ferrous alloy that is amenable to magnetic attraction.

Tool holders that take advantage of magnetic attraction are known in the prior art, and typically these are offered as strips that may be mounted onto a wall or some other surface. In use, tools are brought into close contact with the magnetic strip and the tool is held in place thereon. It takes a slight amount of pressure to overcome the magnetic attraction and this allows the user to easily extract the tool for use, when and as needed. It is possible to use a magnetic holder of this type to retain an end wrench, although there is no structured organization of the tools as far as size or as far as uniformity for access by a user.

Other types of magnetic tool holders have been known for use with drive sockets. Drive sockets are similar to wrenches in the sense they both are designed to be affixed to the head of a nut or bolt, but sockets are configured quite differently and the tool holders of the prior art take special advantage of this fact. In one instance, a magnetic socket holder uses a magnetic strip along the base of a tray for holding sockets. In another design, sockets are arrangeable on a “rack” that had a series of radii that correspond to each sized socket.

The need for a device to organize and present tools is well known, and is certainly the reason for the proliferation of tool holders. The ideal for retaining and positioning tools to be at the ready for a mechanic is a long sought after quest. There are conflicting objectives since the need exists for organizing the tools in an array so the needed size and type can easily be spotted, while at the same time the tools are best located as close to the actual point where they are to be used. The prior art is weak in terms of fulfilling these needs even given the myriad types of tool holders that are available. None of the prior art magnetic tool holders appear to have taken into consideration the use of the magnetic attraction for not only gripping the tool in a stored condition, but for also positioning the tool holder near the actual point of work.

The attributes and features of the present invention relative to the fulfillment of the needs of longstanding, will be discussed in more detail below.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

A new magnetic tool holder for retaining ended wrenches comprises a tool holder portion and a magnetic base portion, where the tool holder portion includes slots for holding tools in an organized array and in positions and orientations where they can easily be accessed by a user. In addition, the magnetic tool holder of the present invention compatibly and magnetically retains the portion of the ended wrenches that are inserted into the slots, and also the magnetic tool holder is able to be positioned on metal surfaces and be held in position. Thus configured, the magnetic tool holder allows ended wrenches to be retained while the tool holder is in an inverted position, allowing the tools to be used in areas where they are more accessible when held in this fashion.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a front isometric view of the magnetic tool holder of the present invention, with ended wrenches shown in phantom as they would be kept by the magnetic tool holder.

FIG. 2 is a side elevational view of the magnetic tool holder of FIG. 1, without any ended wrenches shown.

FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional view of the magnetic tool holder of FIG. 2, taken at Section Lines 3-3.

FIG. 4 is a top view of the magnetic tool holder of FIG. 1, without any ended wrenches shown and taken along Section Lines 4-4.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

A magnetic tool holder for retaining ended wrenches in accordance with the drawings, is disclosed as a magnetic wrench holder 10, with base 12 and tool holding portion 14. The magnetic tool holder also has a front 16, a rear 18, sidewalls 28, a top 22, and slots 24. The ended wrenches (shown in phantom) 26 are shown as installed in the slots 24. The base 12 includes the base end(s) 20. Turning to FIG. 3, the inner structure of the magnetic tool holder is revealed, with the inner wall 30, the base side(s) 32, the base side end(s) 34 and the tool holder portion bottom 36.

In use, the magnetic ended wrench holder of the present invention receives the ended wrenches in the slots, with the bulk of the ended wrench contained within the slot which extends downward to the tool holder bottom as shown in FIG. 3. The base, as may now be appreciated, is comprised of a magnetic material, preferably a 3/16″ magnetic sheet as supplied by Bunting Magnetic Company of Newton, Kans. The base is formed from the sheet material in a “U” shape with the base sides and the base ends projecting upwards (as shown in FIG. 3). For prototype purposes, the 3/16″ sheet was tacked together to form the necessary structure, however it is contemplated that pre-formed sheet, in the desired “U” shape, would be used for production purposes. The base is fitted to the tool holder bottom as shown, and may be held in place by fasteners or the components may be glued together, or both. The base is designed, in the preferred embodiment, to be flush with the sidewalls of the magnetic tool holder. The inner portions of the base are brought close enough to the slots to impart enough magnetic effect to cause the ended wrench to be kept in place.

One advantage of the present invention is the fact that the base exerts a useful magnetic attraction towards the exterior as well as the functional attraction described above. For instance, with a magnetic tool holder for ended wrenches that is stocked and ready for use, a mechanic working in the engine compartment of a motor vehicle can literally attach the magnetic tool holder to a compatible, magnetically attractive metal surface. The orientation of the magnetic tool holder is not important since it can be attached even while inverted or on its side, however, the placement of the magnetic tool holder close to the area being worked upon increases the efficiency of the mechanic and generally makes the job a lot easier. This arises from the fact that not only are there occasions when multiple sizes of wrenches must be used, but many times the mechanic will apply a wrench to test the size and see if it fits the particular nut or bolt in question. Having the magnetic tool holder adjacent to the actual work makes this whole process a lot quicker than would be the case if the mechanic had to reach for a new tool that was located several feet away.

The shape of the magnetic tool holder is not an accident. The top of the device is angled, with the part of the top closest to the front being lower than the top part closest to the rear. This angle allows different sized ended wrenches to be inserted into the slot best calculated to allow the end of the wrench to make magnetic contact with the base. Thus each ended wrench is firmly kept by the magnetic base and is also organized as to size.

The tool holder portion of the present invention is preferably manufactured from a plastic material. It is integrally affixed to the base, as mentioned above, by fasteners (not shown) or by glue, or both. It is possible to practice the present invention by altering the profile of the base somewhat. For instance, the portion of the lower part of the inner wall may be substituted with a magnetic sheet or panel. This may be best realized through the use of an inverted “T” shaped profile whereby the base sides are replaced by a single magnetic panel that integrates with the inner wall as discussed. The tool holder portion of the device would be reconfigured to adapt to the new profile whereby the sidewalls would extend further downward to engage the bottom of the inverted “T.” This and other configurations for both the tool holder portion and the magnetic base can be conceived of without affecting the teachings of the present invention.

Once the magnetic ended wrench holder is no longer needed for a particular job, it can be returned to the mechanic's tool chest where it can similarly be attached, magnetically, to the structure of the chest. In the alternative, the user may desire to store the magnetic tool holder on another metal substrate, the selection of which is left entirely up to the whims of the particular user, so long as it is a magnetically attractive surface. The magnetic wrench holder of the present invention may be applied so that the bottom of the base sits directly on such surfaces, or the base sides can be applied to the surfaces, in either case the magnetic tool holder has sufficient attraction to retain it in place.

The applications for the use of the present invention range from automotive repair where a large number of metal surfaces are available for use in placing the magnetic tool holder, to situations like plumbing within a residence where adjacent ferrous plumbing can be used as a mounting surface for the device. While planar metal surfaces may be preferred for the mounting of the magnetic tool holder described herein, it is understood that compatible metal surfaces may be non-planar and only require sufficient metal to base contact so as to allow the magnetic attraction to overcome any tendency for the magnetic tool holder to lift off or fall off the metal surface.

The magnetic ended wrench holder of the present invention has been illustrated in this specification and in the drawings. It may be appreciated that the teachings of the present invention can be applied in different ways and configurations without departing from the spirit and scope of the concepts taught herein. As a result, the description of the preferred embodiment is not meant to be limiting with respect to the boundaries of the invention.