Title:
GROMMET TIE OFF (GTO)
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A removable grommet for attaching a string to an object, the grommet includes a barrel defining a central channel extending through a first section and a second section of the barrel, the first section being sized to allow the string, but not a knotted portion of the string, to pass through, and the second section being sized to allow the knotted portion of the string to pass through.



Inventors:
Yazdi, Kamran (Los Angeles, CA, US)
Application Number:
12/347441
Publication Date:
07/02/2009
Filing Date:
12/31/2008
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
473/539
International Classes:
A63B51/10; A63B51/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
LEE, MICHAEL S
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
TAFT, STETTINIUS & HOLLISTER LLP (SUITE 1800, 425 WALNUT STREET, CINCINNATI, OH, 45202-3957, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A removable grommet for attaching a string to an object, the grommet includes a barrel defining a central channel extending through a first section and a second section of the barrel, the first section being sized to allow the string, but not a knotted portion of the string, to pass through, and the second section being sized to allow the knotted portion of the string to pass through.

2. The grommet of claim 1, wherein the central channel is at least partially defined by an internal shoulder extending from an interior surface of the barrel, and the internal shoulder operative to distinguish the first section from the second section.

3. The grommet of claim 1, wherein the grommet includes a flange extending radially from the barrel.

4. The grommet of claim 3, wherein the flange is circumferential and extends generally perpendicularly from the barrel.

5. The grommet of claim 1, wherein the central channel of first section is substantially cylindrical and includes a first diameter, and the central channel of the second section is substantially cylindrical and includes a second diameter, where the first diameter is greater than twice the second diameter.

6. The grommet of claim 1, wherein a first interior wall of the barrel within the first section is substantially cylindrical and defines a first cavity, and a second interior wall of the barrel within the second section is substantially cylindrical and defines a second cavity, where the first interior wall is joined to the second interior wall by a horizontal wall.

7. The grommet of claim 1, wherein the barrel is a frustrum.

8. The grommet of claim 1, wherein an exterior longitudinal surface of the barrel is cylindrical.

9. A grommet for attaching a string to an object, the grommet including a central bore extending through a barrel, the central bore including a first chamber at least partially defined by a first vertical interior wall of the barrel, a second chamber at least partially defined by a second vertical interior wall of the barrel, where the barrel includes a horizontal interior wall bridging the first vertical interior wall and the second vertical interior wall.

10. The grommet of claim 9, wherein the first chamber is substantially cylindrical, the second chamber is substantially cylindrical, and the first chamber is more than twice the diameter of the second chamber.

11. The grommet of claim 9, wherein the grommet includes a flange extending radially from a distal end of the barrel.

12. The grommet of claim 11, wherein the flange is circumferential and extends generally perpendicularly from the barrel.

13. The grommet of claim 9, wherein the barrel is a frustrum.

14. The grommet of claim 9, wherein an exterior longitudinal surface of the barrel is cylindrical.

15. A method of securing a string to an object comprising the acts of: providing a grommet including a barrel with a longitudinal bore having a diameter that varies along at least a portion of the longitudinal bore, where an interior of the barrel includes at least one radially extending internal wall; mounting the grommet to the object; passing at least a portion of the string through the longitudinal bore of the grommet; tying a length of the string in a knot; and applying tension to the string to draw the knot into the longitudinal bore to abut the at least one radially extending internal wall, where the radially extending internal wall inhibits passage of the knot through the entire longitudinal bore.

16. The method of claim 15, wherein at least one radially extending internal wall cooperates with a first vertical internal wall of the barrel to at least partially define a substantially cylindrical cavity which the knot is recessed within.

17. The method of claim 15, wherein the grommet includes a circumferential flange extending from a distal end of the barrel.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application claims priority of U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 61/009,819, filed Jan. 2, 2008, the disclosure of which is hereby incorporated by reference.

PRELUDE

This disclosure is generally related to devices and methods of attaching string to objects and, more specifically, to devices and methods for stringing athletic racquets to ensure the tension of the racquet is not substantially compromised other than through material failures of the string itself.

It is a first aspect of the present invention to provide a removable grommet for attaching a string to an object, the grommet includes a barrel defining a central channel extending through a first section and a second section of the barrel, the first section being sized to allow the string, but not a knotted portion of the string, to pass through, the second section being sized to allow the knotted portion of the string to pass through. In a more detailed embodiment of the first aspect, the central channel is at least partially defined by an internal shoulder extending from an interior surface of the barrel, and the internal shoulder is operative to distinguish the first section from the second section. In yet another more detailed embodiment, the grommet includes a flange extending radially from the barrel. In a further detailed embodiment, the flange is circumferential and extends generally perpendicularly from the barrel. In still a further detailed embodiment, the central channel of the first section is substantially cylindrical and includes a first diameter, and the central channel of the second section is substantially cylindrical and includes a second diameter, where the first diameter is greater than twice the second diameter. In a more detailed embodiment, a first interior wall of the barrel within the first section is substantially cylindrical and defines a first cavity, and a second interior wall of the barrel within the second section is substantially cylindrical and defines a second cavity, where the first interior wall is joined to the second interior wall by a horizontal wall. In a more detailed embodiment, the barrel is a frustrum. In another more detailed embodiment, an exterior longitudinal surface of the barrel is cylindrical.

It is a second aspect of the present invention to provide a grommet for attaching a string to an object, the grommet including a central bore extending through a barrel, the central bore including a first chamber at least partially defined by a first vertical interior wall of the barrel, a second chamber at least partially defined by a second vertical interior wall of the barrel, where the barrel includes a horizontal interior wall bridging the first vertical interior wall and the second vertical interior wall.

In a more detailed embodiment of the second aspect, the first chamber is substantially cylindrical, the second chamber is substantially cylindrical, and the first chamber is more than twice the diameter of the second chamber. In yet another more detailed embodiment, the grommet includes a flange extending radially from a distal end of the barrel. In a further detailed embodiment, the flange is circumferential and extends generally perpendicularly from the barrel. In still a further detailed embodiment, the barrel is a frustrum. In a more detailed embodiment, an exterior longitudinal surface of the barrel is cylindrical.

It is a third aspect of the present invention to provide a method of securing a string to an object comprising the acts of: (a) providing a grommet including a barrel with a longitudinal bore having a diameter that varies along at least a portion of the longitudinal bore, where an interior of the barrel includes at least one radially extending internal wall; (b) mounting the grommet to the object; (c) passing at least a portion of the string through the longitudinal bore of the grommet; (d) tying a length of the string in a knot; and, (e) applying tension to the string to draw the knot into the longitudinal bore to abut the at least one radially extending internal wall, where the radially extending internal wall inhibits passage of the knot through the entire longitudinal bore.

In a more detailed embodiment of the third aspect, at least one radially extending internal wall cooperates with a first vertical internal wall of the barrel to at least partially define a substantially cylindrical cavity which the knot is recessed within. In yet another more detailed embodiment, the grommet includes a circumferential flange extending from a distal end of the barrel.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a cross-sectional view of a first exemplary grommet in accordance with the present disclosure;

FIG. 2 is a cross-sectional view of a second exemplary grommet in accordance with the present disclosure;

FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional view of the first exemplary grommet of FIG. 1 installed in a tennis racquet section;

FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional view of the first exemplary grommet of FIG. 1 installed in a tennis racquet section along with string;

FIG. 5 is a cross-sectional view of the second exemplary grommet of FIG. 2 installed in a tennis racquet section; and

FIG. 6 is a cross-sectional view of the second exemplary grommet of FIG. 2 installed in a tennis racquet section along with string.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

The exemplary embodiments relate to devices and methods of attaching string to objects and, more specifically, to devices and methods for stringing athletic racquets to ensure the tension of the racquet is not substantially compromised other than through material failures of the string itself. Of course, it will be apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art that the preferred embodiments discussed below are exemplary in nature and may be reconfigured without departing from the scope and spirit of the present invention. However, for clarity and precision, the exemplary embodiments as discussed below may include optional steps, methods, and features that one of ordinary skill should recognize as not being a requisite to fall within the scope of the present invention.

Referring to FIGS. 1, 3, and 4, a first exemplary grommet 10 includes a knot end 12 and a string end 14. The knot end 12 is adapted to receive a knot 16 (See FIG. 4) tied in a string 18 which extends through the grommet 10. The first exemplary grommet 10 includes a barrel 20 having a circular central channel or bore 22 extending from the string end 14 to the knot end 12. A pair of vertical walls 24, 26 cooperate with a horizontal wall 28 to define distinct cylindrical cavities 30, 32 within the barrel 20. In exemplary form, the horizontal wall 28 can be considered to form an internal shoulder.

The exterior of the barrel 20 has a substantially conical shape that tapers from the knot end 12 to the string end 14. Proximate the knot end 12, a circumferential flange 34 extends from the barrel 20 to increase the cross-section of the grommet. As will be discussed hereafter, this increased cross-section inhibits a string knot 16 from passing through the entire length of the channel 22.

The channel 22 may have a generally circular cross section and may vary in diameter over its length. In particular, the channel 22 at the knot end 12 of the grommet 10 has a diameter more than three times that of the channel diameter at the string end 14. As discussed hereafter, the difference in diameters along the length of the channel 22 is operative to allow the string to pass through the channel while preventing the knot 16 in the string 18 from passing through.

It is within the scope of the disclosure to utilize various transitions along the length of the channel 22 between the string end 14 to the knot end 12. For example, the transition may comprise a step change or may comprise a projection extending radially into the channel. It is also within the scope of the disclosure to utilize a grommet 10 having a central channel 22 with a cross section other than circular. For example and without limitation, the central channel or portions of the central channel may have oval, rectangular, square, triangular, or other cross sections.

Referring specifically to FIGS. 3 and 4, installation and utilization of the first exemplary grommet 10 includes inserting the string end 14 into an opening 36 within the perimeter of a sporting racquet 38. The flange 34 of the grommet 10 is oriented to abut the outermost surface of the racquet 38 so that tension upon the string 18 is operative to push/pull the flange 34 snuggly against the outermost surface of the racquet 38. In this way, the grommet 10 is ultimately mounted to the racquet 38 using the tension of the string 18. Thereafter, the string 18 is threaded through the channel 22 so that at least a continuous portion of the string extends completely through the channel.

In use, it is anticipated that the string will be in tension and maintained in tension by a racquet stringing machine (not shown) or other similar device. While the string 18 is in tension, a knot 16 is formed in the string proximate the knot end 12 of the grommet 10. Thereafter, the string 18 is released from the racquet stringing machine, but still maintained in tension, so that the knot 16 becomes seated within the larger cavity 30 of the grommet 10. Because the diameter of the smaller cavity 32 is too small to allow throughput of the knot 16, the knot remains seated against the horizontal wall 28, but recessed within the grommet 10. It is to be understood that the openings 36 formed though the racquet 38 are commonly the same size. But in certain instances the openings may have varied diameters between inside and outside and thus the first exemplary grommet is particularly useful where openings are not of substantially the same size/diameter.

Referring to FIGS. 2, 5, and 6, a second exemplary grommet 110 includes a knot end 112 and a string end 114. The knot end 112 is adapted to receive a knot 116 (See FIG. 6) tied in a string 118 which extends through the grommet 110. The second exemplary grommet 110 includes a barrel 120 having a circular central channel or bore 122 extending from the string end 114 to the knot end 112. A pair of vertical walls 124, 126 cooperate with a horizontal wall 128 to define distinct cylindrical cavities 130, 132 within the barrel 120. In exemplary form, the horizontal wall 128 can be considered to form an internal shoulder.

The exterior of the barrel 120 has a substantially cylindrical shape with a substantially constant external diameter from the knot end 112 to the string end 114. Proximate the knot end 112, a circumferential flange 134 extends from the barrel 120 to increase the cross-section of the grommet. As will be discussed hereafter, this increased cross-section inhibits a string knot 116 from passing through the entire length of the channel 122.

The channel 122 may have a generally circular cross section and may vary in diameter over its length. In particular, the channel 122 at the knot end 112 of the grommet 110 has a diameter more than three times that of the channel diameter at the string end 114. As discussed hereafter, the difference in diameters along the length of the channel 122 is operative to allow the string to pass through the channel while preventing the knot 116 in the string 118 from passing through.

It is within the scope of the disclosure to utilize various transitions along the length of the channel 122 between the string end 114 to the knot end 112. For example, the transition may comprise a step change or may comprise a projection extending radially into the channel. It is also within the scope of the disclosure to utilize a grommet 110 having a central channel 122 with a cross section other than circular. For example and without limitation, the central channel 122 or portions of the central channel may have oval, rectangular, square, triangular, or other cross sections.

Referring specifically to FIGS. 5 and 6, installation and utilization of the second exemplary grommet 110 includes inserting the string end 114 into an opening 136 within the perimeter of a sporting racquet 138. The flange 134 of the grommet 110 is oriented to abut the outermost surface of the racquet 138 so that tension upon the string 118 is operative to push the flange 134 snuggly against the outermost surface of the racquet 138. In this way, the grommet 110 is ultimately mounted to the racquet 138 using the tension of the string 118. Thereafter, string 118 is threaded through the channel 122 so that at least a continuous portion of the string extends completely through the channel.

In use, it is anticipated that the string will be in tension and maintained in tension by a racquet stringing machine (not shown) or other similar device. While the string 118 is in tension, a knot 116 is formed in the string proximate the knot end 112 of the grommet 110. Thereafter, the string 118 is released from the racquet stringing machine, but still maintained in tension, so that the knot 116 becomes seated within the larger cavity 130 of the grommet 110. Because the diameter of the smaller cavity 132 is too small to allow throughput of the knot 116, the knot remains seated against the horizontal wall 128, but recessed within the grommet 110. It is to be understood that the openings 136 formed though the racquet 138 are commonly the same size. But in certain instances the openings may have varied diameters between inside and outside and thus the first exemplary grommet is particularly useful where openings are not of substantially the same size/diameter.

Exemplary embodiments of the present disclosure may be constructed from materials such as plastics, aluminum (or other metals), composites (such as fiberglass, graphite, carbon fiber, etc.) or any combination thereof. In an exemplary embodiment, the grommet 10, 110 is constructed of Delrin thermoplastic.

Although the exemplary grommets 10, 110 have been described herein with reference to stringing a tennis or other racket, the invention may be utilized in any context in which the invention may prove advantageous. In such other uses, the string described above may be any flexible line or cord, such as, but not limited to, rope, monofilament, cord, cable, etc.

While exemplary embodiments of the invention have been set forth above for the purpose of disclosure, modifications of the disclosed embodiments of the invention as well as other embodiments thereof may occur to those skilled in the art. Accordingly, it is to be understood that the invention not limited to the above precise embodiments and that changes may be made without departing from the scope of the invention. Likewise, it is to be understood that it is not necessary to meet any or all of the stated advantages or objects of the invention disclosed herein to fall within the scope of the invention, since inherent and/or unforeseen advantages of the present invention may exist even though they may not have been explicitly discussed herein. All references mentioned herein are incorporated by reference.