Title:
Gutter clip and method for manufacture thereof
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A gutter clip for elevating a gutter end piece from ground in a first position and for retaining the gutter end piece to a gutter down spout in a second position is disclosed. The gutter clip includes a foot portion for engaging the ground when in the first position. Legs extend from the foot portion to a rotation portion. The rotation portion rotationally engages the gutter end piece. Arms extend from the rotation portion, and the arms releasably engage the gutter end piece in the first position and releasably engage the gutter down spout in the second position. The arms include a resistance implement for releasably engaging the gutter end piece and the gutter down spout. The gutter clip preferably is formed of a single body construction, formed by removing material from a starting material or by a molding process, and is rotationally engaged with the gutter end piece via a rotational fastener such as a screw



Inventors:
Tredennick, John Thomas (Pelican Rapids, MN, US)
Application Number:
11/368242
Publication Date:
09/06/2007
Filing Date:
03/03/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E04D13/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
KENNY, DANIEL J
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
ALAN LOUDERMILK (LOUDERMILK & ASSOCIATES PO BOX 3607, LOS ALTOS, CA, 94024-0607, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. A gutter clip for elevating a gutter end piece from ground in a first position and for retaining the gutter end piece to a gutter down spout in a second position, comprising: a foot portion for engaging the ground when in the first position; legs extending from the foot portion to a rotation portion, wherein the rotation portion rotationally engages the gutter end piece; arms extending from the rotation portion, wherein the arms releasably engage the gutter end piece in the first position and releasably engage the gutter down spout in the second position, wherein the arms include a resistance implement for releasably engaging the gutter end piece and the gutter down spout; wherein the gutter clip is formed of a single body construction and is rotationally engaged with the gutter end piece via a rotational fastener.

2. The gutter clip of claim 1, wherein the gutter clip is formed by removal of materials from a contiguous piece of starting material.

3. The gutter clip of claim 2, wherein the starting material is substantially flat, and after a cutting or punching process a bending process forms a final shape of the gutter clip.

4. The gutter clip of claim 1, wherein the gutter clip is formed by a molding process.

5. The gutter clip of claim 4, wherein the molding process forms the gutter clip in a single molding step.

6. The gutter clip of claim 4, wherein the molding process forms a substantially flat interim implement, wherein the interim implement is subjected to a bending process to form a final shape of the gutter clip.

7. The gutter clip of claim 1, wherein the arms include one or more resistance implement, wherein the resistance implement releasably engages the gutter end piece and the gutter down spout.

8. The gutter clip of claim 7, wherein the resistance implement comprises one or more protuberances.

9. The gutter clip of claim 7, wherein the resistance implement comprises a textured surface.

10. The gutter clip of claim 7, wherein the resistance implement comprises a sticky surface.

11. The gutter clip of claim 7, wherein the gutter clip is formed by a molding process, wherein the molding process forms the resistance implement integrally with forming the arms.

12. The gutter clip of claim 1, wherein the rotational fastener comprises a screw.

13. The gutter clip of claim 1, wherein the rotational fastener comprises a rivet.

14. The gutter clip of claim 1, wherein the gutter clip is formed to substantially conform to a shape of the gutter end piece in the first position and to a shape of the gutter down spout in the second position.

15. A gutter clip for elevating a gutter end piece from ground in a first position and for retaining the gutter end piece to a gutter down spout in a second position, the gutter clip comprising an integrally formed foot portion, leg portion, rotation portion and arm portion, wherein the foot portion engages the ground when in the first position, wherein the leg portion extends from the foot portion to a rotation portion, wherein the rotation portion rotationally engages the gutter end piece, wherein the arm portion extends from the rotation portion, wherein the arm portion releasably engages the gutter end piece in the first position and releasably engage the gutter down spout in the second position, wherein the arm portion includes a resistance implement for releasably engaging the gutter end piece and the gutter down spout, wherein the gutter clip is formed of a single body construction and is rotationally engaged with the gutter end piece via a rotational fastener.

16. The gutter clip of claim 15, wherein the gutter clip is formed by removal of material from a contiguous piece of starting material.

17. The gutter clip of claim 16, wherein the starting material is substantially flat, and after a cutting or punching process a bending process forms a final shape of the gutter clip.

18. The gutter clip of claim 15 wherein the gutter clip is formed by a molding process.

19. The gutter clip of claim 4, wherein the molding process forms the gutter clip in a single molding step.

20. The gutter clip of claim 15, wherein the gutter clip is formed by a molding process, wherein the molding process forms the resistance implement integrally with the arm portion of the gutter clip.

Description:

BACKGROUND

1. Field of Invention

This invention relates to eaves trough gutter systems on roofed structures and specifically relates to attending hardware of a water conducive gutter system, and more specifically to a gutter clip of a uni-body construction that provides a foot for a gutter end piece in one position and a clip mechanism for holding the gutter end piece to a gutter downspout in a second position.

2. Description of Prior Art

In the past, people have dealt with an end piece of a gutter system in various ways. These include:

  • 1) simply let the end piece be permanently affixed to a downspout;
  • 2) have the end piece removable for lawn maintenance and winter storage;
  • 3) hinge the end piece to swing away during non-usage time; or
  • 4) have no end piece at all.

A gutter clip has been contrived to work with a hinged end piece, but which could find some use in other applications. Traditionally, there are straps, wires, and strings used to hold end pieces in a raised position, but such implements were not particularly appealing. People have sometimes used legs, “T's” (such as illustrated in FIG. 1) and blocks to elevate the working end piece above the grass or other obstructions. These items generally all need to be moved independently of the end piece for maintenance or storage.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,012,682 (“the '682 patent”), invented by the inventor hereof, described a gutter clip offering substantial advantages over such traditional implements. The '682 patent enabled a two-part clip implement that provided a foot on which a gutter end piece may rest, and a retention mechanism that holds the gutter end piece to a gutter downspout in a folded position. It has been discovered, however, that the implement described in the '682 patent has certain disadvantages that limit its acceptance and make it more expensive to manufacture and install than is desired. The '682 patent is hereby incorporated by reference.

OBJECTS AND ADVANTAGES OF THE PRESENT INVENTION

The present invention seeks to improve upon the implement described in the '682 patent by providing an improved gutter clip that is easier to manufacture, install and operate. Objects and advantages of the improved gutter clip of the present invention include:

  • 1) To provide a dual purpose (upright retention during storage along with a leg support during use) for enhancing the performance of the end piece.
  • 2) Can be made to various specifications including size, color, material, and shape;
  • 3) Can be installed without modifications;
  • 4) Is easily adjustable;
  • 5) Is easily understood, and requires no plumbing or wiring;
  • 6) Is inexpensive to manufacture and install;
  • 7) Is attractive; and
  • 8) Helps prevent clogging.

Such objects and other advantages of the present invention will be understood based on the description provided hereinafter.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The present invention will be described by way of various preferred embodiments and the accompanying figures, in which:

FIG. 1 illustrates certain conventional systems used with hinged end pieces;

FIG. 2 illustrates a gutter clip in accordance with the present invention in relation to an entire gutter system;

FIG. 3 illustrates an exemplary gutter clip in accordance with the present invention employed as a support leg while the end piece is in use;

FIG. 4 illustrates an exemplary gutter clip in accordance with the present invention retaining the end piece in an upright position when not in use; and

FIG. 5 illustrates an exemplary preferred embodiment of a gutter clip in accordance with the present invention.

REFERENCES NUMERALS IN DRAWINGS

  • 10 foot
  • 11 arm
  • 11A leg
  • 12 protuberance
  • 13 hinged hole
  • 15 cross member
  • 16 gutter
  • 17 downspout
  • 18 end piece
  • 21 gutter clip

SUMMARY

In accordance with the present invention, a gutter clip is provided which is a self inclusive support leg and retaining clip for a gutter system end piece, preferably consisting of a uni-body construction. The gutter clip can be made of appropriate material (such as metal or plastic), color, size, and shape. The gutter clip desirably enhances the total working of gutter/downspout systems.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

The present invention will now be described by way of various preferred embodiments.

An exemplary preferred embodiment of gutter clip 21 is illustrated in FIG. 5. The structure preferably is made of and from a single piece of either plastic or metal, preferably formed from a single contiguous piece of material, either by cutting or other removal of material from starting material, or by injection molding or the like. The thickness and width of the frame may vary with the strength of the material used in its construction. Color is also a variable and may be selected based on the particular application or desired manner of implementation. The physical size of gutter clip 21 also may vary and is only limited by the size of end piece 18 to be accommodated (see FIG. 2).

Preferably, foot 10 of gutter clip 21, as illustrated in FIG. 5, is implemented to be tall enough to keep debris from plugging the end of end piece 18. Foot 10 also is implemented with a material having a thickness and shape so as to not allow gutter clip 21 to sink into the lawn or earth under end piece 18.

Toward the end of each arm 11 illustrated in FIG. 5 is protuberance 12 whose purpose is to grip downspout 17 as illustrated in FIG. 4 or to grip end piece 18 as illustrated in FIG. 2 or 3. While protuberance 12 is used in preferred embodiments, in other embodiments other resistance or gripping mechanisms are used, such as sticky surfaced materials (e.g., rubber), bumps or other textured surfaces, or other resistance enhancing implements. What is important is that arms 11 be provided with a resistance or gripping feature so that the arms hold or grip downspout 17 and end piece 18 in the manner illustrated.

Preferably, arms 11, as illustrated in FIG. 5, each also include hole 13 toward the center point. Holes 13 serve to engage a screw or other fastening implement (e.g., rivet) which facilitates a counter revolution of the adjoining parts, while mounting gutter clip 21 to end piece 18 as illustrated. Any rotational fastener may be used in accordance with the present invention.

Above foot 10, as illustrated in FIG. 5, preferably is cross member 15. Cross member 15 gives the gutter clip 21 strength and also provides a stop to prevent excessive rotation when in use.

Operation of a gutter clip in accordance with the present invention may be best understood with reference to FIGS. 3 and 4. Arm 11 and leg 11A of gutter clip 21 illustrated in FIG. 5 rotates preferably 90 degrees on end piece 18 of FIG. 2. When end piece 18 is in a working position, arms 11 are rotated parallel to the end piece 18 and arms 11 grip end piece 18 to keep it in position, while legs 11A and foot 10 serve to support end piece 18 and elevate it above the ground. When end piece 18 of the gutter system of FIG. 2 is not in use or is elevated to facilitate maintenance, arms 11 of gutter clip 21 rotate perpendicular to end piece 18 and grasp downspout 17. The entire gutter clip 21 will easily mount along the length of the end piece 18 to either accommodate a change in elevation of the discharge end of the end piece 18 or to improve ease of accessibility.

Important attributes of improved gutter clips in accordance with the present invention are improved manufacturability and installation. In preferred embodiments, gutter clip 21 is fabricated from a single piece of material. In one exemplary material, a starting material that is substantially flat is cut (e.g., by laser or physical implement such as a knife, press, punch or other cutter/cutting implement) in the desired shape, and then bent (optionally with heat, depending upon the material) to form the shape illustrated in FIG. 5. In one exemplary embodiment, the gutter clip preferably is punched from a piece of metal or plastic, and then subject to a bending process to form the final shape (with fastening holes drilled before or after the punching or bending steps). In other embodiments, gutter clip 21 is formed by injection or other molding to produce either a flat material of the desired shape, which is then bent (optionally with heat) to form the final form of the gutter clip, or is directly molded to be of the desired shape, preferably in a single molding step. Having a gutter clip of a single material, and preferably a contiguous material that enables a uni-body construction, facilitates manufacturing (with lower manufacturing costs) and installation, as only a single implement needs to be mounted to end piece 18, which may be accomplished with two screws or other suitable rotational fasteners. Such a uni-body construction facilitates manufacturing and installation, while also providing an implement having improved esthetics. Preferably, the manufacturing process integrally forms the resistance implement for the arms, such as a protuberance or textured surface, as previously described.

CONCLUSION, RAMIFICATIONS, AND SCOPE

The concept of the gutter clip in accordance with the present invention is a preferably “L” shaped swiveling bracket device, preferably consisting of a uni-body construction, that acts both as a supportive leg and a clip in relation to the end piece of a gutter system. The leg holds the end piece a few inches or other desired distance off the ground so that water can pass from the end piece without being clogged by twigs, leaves, and other debris that have collected at the opening of the piece. The gutter clip can be used also to hold the end piece in an upright position against the downspout when not in use.

A gutter clip accessory in accordance with the present invention preferably measures approximately 6 inches long, 3 inches wide, and 6 inches high. These measurements may change to accommodate various size downspouts. It can be made of any appropriate material and can be of any color. This accommodation of material and color is a convenience to the manufacturer and to the ultimate user of the gutter clip.

The gutter clip of the present invention allows for easy manufacture and also easy installation and adjustments. The elevation of the end piece can be adjusted by mounting the device along the length of the end piece. The gutter clip serves a dual purpose as a leg that does not remain behind when the end piece is elevated, and also provides a clip to hold the end piece in the raised position. Again, when the end piece is lowered to the lawn, no straps or wires remain on the downspout.

The gutter clip of the present invention also may be used as a leg support even if the end piece were not hinged to fold. The ability to fold the end piece into an upright position is a great convenience when mowing or entertaining. The gutter clip of the present invention makes that convenience more practical.

As will be understood from the foregoing description, the gutter clip is a device of dual function used to assist standard gutter fixtures of fixed dimensions to support an eaves trough downspout end piece during use to hold the end piece in a storage position during non-use and having two arms preferably about seven inches long having perpendicular leg continuations of the arms of approximately nine inches the distance from the leg continuation of the arm in such a fashion as to permit rotation of the arm also the legs are held parallel to each other by a cross piece at the ends of the legs and another cross piece two-thirds up the length of the legs.

The present invention improves prior gutter clips in size and shape in that is may be implemented with a uni-body construction, which eliminates any center hoop implement, which eliminates any moving parts, and enables the use of the clip on several, though not necessarily all, other size downspouts. In addition, the present invention desirably employs a cross bar and foot that have been turned vertical to the earth rather than horizontal. Such features enable the clip to sit around the end piece rather than in front of it. This attribute of the present invention greatly increases the ease of manufacture and installation and improves the overall look of the gutter clip.

Although the description above contains many specifics, these should not be construed as limiting the scope of the invention but as merely providing illustrations of some of the presently preferred embodiments of this invention. For example, the gutter clip can have other shapes with smoother edges and more rounded corners. The hinges and protuberance can be accommodated in some other fashion. Thus the scope of the invention should be determined by the appended claims and their legal equivalents, rather than by the examples given.