Title:
Tool holder with a locking mechanism
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A tool holder comprises a back mounting plate having a slotted tool support plate extending forwardly therefrom with a slidable lock plate mounted on the tool support plate translatable between a position wherein arms on the lock plate close the slots or open the slots which are used to hold the tools in the tool holder.



Inventors:
Whitehead, Michael L. (Clarinda, IA, US)
Yerena, Leopoldo P. (Riverside, CA, US)
Fernandez Caballero, Jesus M. (Riverside, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/485875
Publication Date:
09/13/2007
Filing Date:
07/13/2006
Assignee:
Lisle Corporation (Clarinda, IA, US)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47F7/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
KRYCINSKI, STANTON L
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BANNER & WITCOFF, LTD. (TEN SOUTH WACKER DRIVE, SUITE 3000, CHICAGO, IL, 60606, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A tool holder comprising, in combination: a back mounting plate; a tool support plate extending generally transversely from the back mounting plate, said tool support plate including a forward side and a back side joined to the back mounting plate, said tool support plate further including an open slot extending from the forward side toward the back side; and a lock plate mounted on the tool support plate, said lock plate including a retention arm moveable between a first position closing said slot and a second position opening said slot.

2. The tool holder of claim 1 wherein the tool support plate includes a forward retention flange along the forward side.

3. The tool holder of claim 1 including a plurality of spaced open slots extending from the forward side toward the back side of the support plate.

4. The tool holder of claim 1 wherein the lock plate is slidably mounted on the tool support plate and is slidably moveable to effect said movement of said retention arms between said first and second opinion.

5. The tool holder of claim 4 wherein the tool support plate includes a top side and said lock plate is slidably mounted on said top side.

6. The tool holder of claim 4 wherein the lock plate includes an upwardly projecting manual tab for engagement to slidably move the lock plate.

7. The tool holder of claim 1 including a locking mechanism for locking the lock plate in a generally immovable position.

8. The tool holder of claim 1 wherein the tool support plate includes a forward retention flange positioned on each side of said slot along the forward side.

9. The tool holder of claim 1 wherein the tool support plate includes a plurality of generally parallel, spaced open slots extending from the forward side toward the back side, and further including an upwardly extending retention flange at the forward side adjacent to each slot to retain a tool.

10. The tool holder of claim 9 wherein the lock plate comprises an elongate plate including a plurality of L shaped retention arms extending toward the forward side from said lock plate, and further including an upwardly extending manual tab for manual movement of the lock plate, said lock plate slidably mounted on the support plate, each one of said arms corresponding to a said one of said slots and movable simultaneously to open or close said slots.

11. The tool holder of claim 10 further including at least two mounting posts extending from said tool support plate, each of said posts extending through a slide slot in said lock plate to guide and limit the sliding movement of the lock plate.

12. The tool holder of claim 10 further including a mechanism for locking the lock plate in a generally fixed position on the support plate.

13. The tool holder of claim 12 wherein the locking mechanism comprises alignable openings in the lock plate and support plate and a rod member positionable in the aligned openings.

14. The tool holder of claim 7 wherein the locking mechanism comprises alignable openings in the lock plate and support plate and a rod member positionable in the aligned openings.

15. The tool holder of claim 1 wherein the lock plate is mounted for sliding movement over an upper surface of said tool support plate.

16. The tool holder of claim 1 wherein the lock plate is mounted for sliding movement upon under a lower surface of said tool support plate.

17. The tool holder of claim 1 wherein said back mounting plate and said tool support plate are integral.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

In a principal aspect, the present invention relates to a tool holder and, more particularly, to a tool holder designed to be useful for holding or storing pneumatic tools. The tool holder may include a retention or locking mechanism for retaining tools placed in the holder. The invention is therefore directed to various embodiments within the scope of the claims.

Automotive mechanics and repair technicians often rely upon various tools including pneumatic tools. Typically, pneumatic tools include disconnect plugs which are coupled to a pressurized air hose that supplies pressurized air to operate the tool and enable performance of various mechanical functions such as fastening, drilling, etc. Multiple types of air tools, as well as multiple types of air hose disconnect plugs are available in the marketplace. The disconnect plugs are generally designed to include a circular or peripheral slot or groove adjoined by spaced, circular ribs. Typically, an air hose having a hose connector will include a fitting to engage the slot or groove and seal the hose connector to the disconnect plug.

Heretofore, various devices have been made available to enable mechanics and other technicians to store their tools in an organized fashion. Such storage devices may include brackets having a plurality of slots which are sized and designed to receive and hold the disconnect plug, chuck or nozzle associated with a tool such as an air tool. Tools manufactured or made available by Pomona Electronics, their model number 4408M, Dunston Manufacturing product number ATR 19R and California Car Cover Company, air tool rack SKU number RB2340 comprise typical storage for tool holders of the type made available for mechanics. Another such tool is made available by SJ Discount Tools, their product number 2000, identified as “Mechanics Time Saver”. Promotional literature relating to tools of this nature are incorporated herewith by reference.

While such tool holders are useful to mechanics in the performance of their profession, various issues associated with the storage of tools, particularly pneumatic tools remain. Maintaining the security of such tools while not in use, for example, is such an issue. Securing such tools in a fixed position within a tool holder when not in use provides yet another challenge. Positioning such tools conveniently on a service cart or storage cabinet can present a further problem. These and other concerns have led to the development of the present invention and various embodiments relating thereto.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Briefly, tool holder embodiments of the invention comprise a back mounting plate, a tool support plate extending generally transversly from the back mounting plate and a lock plate that is typically slidably mounted on the tool support plate and movable between a locking position and an unlocking position. The tool support plate includes one or more spaced slots extending inwardly from the front edge of the tool plate. The slidable locking plate includes arms which are movable into and out of a position over the slots to lock or release a chuck or connector element of a tool, particularly a pneumatic tool, into position in the slot. Thus, the lock plate is slidable to effect movement between a locking and an unlocking position. Typically, the front side of tool support plate adjacent each of the slots includes an upwardly extending flange to facilitate maintaining a tool in position in the slot of the tool holder. Additionally, the lock plate may include a manual tab to facilitate its sliding movement. Also, a lock may be provided to lock the lock plate in a locked position or an unlocked position, depending upon the desires of the user of the tool holder. The back mounting plate is designed for attachment to a wall or other support or by means of fasteners or alternatively, may include a magnet or some other type of mounting mechanism or it may be supported on support legs.

Thus, it is an object of the invention to provide an improved tool holder, and particularly, a tool holder which is especially useful for storing and holding pneumatic tools.

A further object of the invention is to provide a tool holder which comprises a support plate in combination with a lock plate mounted slidably on the support plate.

Another object of the invention is to provide an easily useable, light-weight yet highly rugged tool holder, especially useful for holding pneumatic tools, components and other tools.

Another object of the invention is to provide an inexpensive yet highly functional tool holder construction.

These and other objects, advantages and features of the invention will be set forth in the detailed description which follows.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING

In the detailed description which follows, reference will be made to the drawing comprised of the following figures.

FIG. 1 is an isometric view depicting the tool holder in a first embodiment wherein various tools are held or supported thereby;

FIG. 2 is an exploded isometric view of the embodiment of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a top view of the embodiment of FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 is a front side view of the embodiment of FIG. 1;

FIG. 5 is a side view of the embodiment of FIG. 1 as viewed on the right hand side of FIG. 3;

FIG. 5A is a perspective view of the embodiment of FIG. 1 depicted holding various tools;

FIG. 6 is an exploded isometric view of a second embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 7 is a rear, plan view of the support panel or bracket of the embodiment of FIG. 6;

FIG. 8 is a rear view of a locking plate or panel of the embodiment of FIG. 6;

FIG. 9 is a top view of the support panel of FIG. 6;

FIG. 10 is a top view of the locking panel of FIG. 6;

FIG. 11 is an end view of the locking panel of FIG. 6;

FIG. 12 is an end view of the storage rack fastened or attached to a tool cart; and

FIG. 13 is an isometric view of the embodiment of FIG. 6 fastened to a tool cart.

DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Referring to the figures, a first embodiment depicted in FIGS. 1-5A is comprised of a sheet or cast metal construction and includes a back mounting plate 10 with a generally integral, transversely extending tool support plate 12 projecting forwardly from the back mounting plate 10. The back mounting plate 10 and the forwardly extending tool support plate 12 are typically fabricated from a formed sheet steel material, although the component parts may be cast or otherwise formed, and may be formed separately and attached together by welding, for example. The tool support plate 12 includes a forward side 14 with a plurality of slots, such as slots 16, 18, 20, 22 and 24 extending from the forward side 14 toward the back mounting plate 10. The slots 16, 18, 20, 22 and 24 are generally equally sized, generally parallel and equally spaced. However, the slots may be uniquely sized in length and width and uniquely spaced one from the other. The distance of the inward extent of the slots toward the back mounting plate 10 from the forward side 14 may thus be varied uniquely from slot to slot.

The slots 16, 18, 20, 22, 24 have generally parallel sides, such as sides 26 and 28, of slot 16, which are joined by a curved or semi-circular inner section 30. The slots are surrounded at the forward side 14 by upwardly extending flange sections 32 and 34, for example. The flange sections 32, 34 are provided to cooperate with chucks or the forward end of a disconnect plug of an air tool to retain the air tool in position within the slot, such as depicted in FIG. 1 without accidentally sliding from the slot, for example, the slot 16.

A lock plate 36 is slidably mounted on the top side 38 of the tool support plate 12. First and second headed rivets 40 and 42 include a shank 43, 45 respectively which fits through elongate passages or slots 44 and 46, respectively, in the lock plate 36 to limit slidable movement of the lock plate 36 in the direction generally transverse to a longitudinal axis of the slots, such as longitudinal axis 48 of the slot 16. The lock plate 36 further includes forwardly extending L-shaped arms, such as arm 50 having a forwardly extending leg 52 and a second leg 54 transverse to the forward leg 52 extending in the same direction as the slots 42 and 46. The arms 50 are rearward of the flange sections 32, 34. Thus, sliding movement of the lock plate 36, limited by the configuration and the extent of the slots 44, 46, effects movement of the leg 54 of the L-shaped arm 50 to open or close access to the slot 16. Similarly, the other slots 18, 20, 22 and 24 are open or closed by movement or as a result of sliding movement of the plate 36 on the tool support plate. A manual tab 60 is provided at one end of the lock plate 36. The manual tab or plate 60 extends generally upwardly from the sliding plate 36 and facilitates manual movement of the plate 36 between a position which closes off each of the slots 16, 18, 20, 22 and 24 and opens each of those slots for placement of a tool or part of a tool within the slot.

An opening 62 is provided in the lock plate 36. The opening 62 may be aligned with an opening 64 in the tool support plate 12. When so aligned, a pin or some other locking mechanism such as a padlock (not shown) may be inserted through the openings 62 and 64 to hold the plate 36 in a locked position. Further, the pin or other locking mechanism may be placed through the opening 64 when the lock plate 36 is in the fully open position to maintain the lock plate in that open position.

In use, as illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 5A, the lock plate 36 slides to a position to effect opening of each of the slots, for example, slot 16. The air tool may then be suspended by placing the disconnect plug or chuck of the air tool through the slot 16. To retain the air tool in the tool holder, the lock plate 36 may be manually slid to the closed position where it will retain the tool and optionally, may be locked in that position to retain the tool in the locked position. This provides for enhanced security with respect to maintenance of the tools.

A second embodiment of the device comprises an elongated, L-shaped support panel 102 including a horizontal portion 103 with a vertical back plate 104 depending therefrom. The back plate 104 includes a plurality of apertures 105 that receive fasteners 41 to secure the support panel 102 to a tool cart or similar supporting structure. The back plate 104 terminates at a lower edge with a U-shaped channel 106 positioned thereon. The horizontal portion 103 terminates at an upwardly turned retaining lip 107 and includes a plurality of spaced, linear slots 108 thereon. Adjacent an end of the horizontal portion 103 is a locking aperture 109.

The device also includes a lower locking panel 110 likewise including a second horizontal portion 111 with a vertical portion 112 depending therefrom. An edge of the second horizontal portion 111 includes an upwardly extending U-shaped sleeve 113 that slidably receives the lip on the support panel 102. Likewise, a lower edge 120 of the vertical portion 112 is slidably received within the U-shaped sleeve or channel 106 on the support panel back plate 104. The horizontal portion of the locking panel 110 further includes a plurality of L-shaped slots 114, each including a longitudinal section 115 that moves into and out of alignment with the slots on the support panel, with a lateral section 116 extending generally transversely therefrom. At an end of the locking panel is a lock 117 including a key-actuated receptacle 118 that is turned to extend or retract a latch member 119 through a locking aperture 133. When the latch member 119 is raised, it simultaneously extends through the locking apertures 109, 133 on the locking panel and support panel.

To use the above described device, a worker lowers the lock latch and slides the locking panel 112 into a position where the longitudinal section 115 of each L-shaped slot is substantially aligned with a slot 108 on the support panel 102. A tool quick-connect air fitting or disconnect plug 150 can then be slid into the aligned slots to suspend it from the panels. The upwardly extending retaining lip 152 of plug 150 will prevent the tools from being inadvertently detached, even if the device is in an unlocked orientation. To prevent unauthorized removal of any tools, a user slides the locking plate 112 sideways until the lateral section 114 of each slot encompasses each quick connect fitting, and the longitudinal sections 115 thereof are moved out of alignment with the support plate slots 108. At such time, locking apertures of the support plate and locking plate are aligned; the latch is moved to a locked position whereby it seats within the aligned locking apertures on the two plates, preventing the locking plate from sliding relative to the support plate.

The above described invention is not limited to the exact details of construction and enumeration of parts provided or embodiments described herein. Furthermore, the size, shape and materials of construction of the various components can be varied. Additionally, it is noted that the first embodiment provides for sliding movement of the lock plate upon the upper surface of the tool support plate whereas the second embodiment provides for sliding movement of the lock plate under the tool support plate.

Although there has been shown and described in the preferred embodiment of the present invention, it will be readily apparent to those skilled in the art that modifications may be made thereto which do not exceed the scope of the appended claims. Therefore, the scope of the invention is to be limited only by the following claims and equivalents thereof.