Title:
Combination wedge-type fastener and installing tool
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A wedge-type fastener and tool for installing the same for preventing the separation of structural members during drilling or other operations. The fastener includes four spring biased pins which are adapted to be extended into aligned holes in the structural members providing four prongs of engagement increasing the bearing surface of the fastener without deformation of the structural members.



Inventors:
Avetisian, Edward (Burbank, CA, US)
Baic, Zeljko (Sylmar, CA, US)
Riddle, Kevin (Valencia, CA, US)
Application Number:
10/160803
Publication Date:
10/10/2002
Filing Date:
05/30/2002
Assignee:
Avibank Mfg., Inc.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B64C1/00; F16B5/02; F16B23/00; F16B33/02; F16B35/00; F16B37/00; F16B39/30; (IPC1-7): B25B1/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
MEISLIN, DEBRA S
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
GREENBERG TRAURIG LLP (GT) (CHICAGO, IL, US)
Claims:

We claim:



1. A combination wedge-type fastener and tool adapter for installing the same, said wedge-type fastener having a main body portion, a screw member having a head at one end and a threaded portion, a plurality of spaced prongs mounted in said main body portion coupled to the other end of said screw member, and a spindle mounted in said main body portion rotatable therein, disposed between said prongs, the improvement which comprises: said fastener having an irregularly configured main body portion, said spindle having an irregularly configured end on the outer surface thereof extending out of said main body portion, said irregularly configured end being rotatable with respect to said main body portion, said tool adapter having a socket therein receiving said main body portion configured to said main body portion, said tool adapter also having irregularly configured end engaging means adapted to engage said irregularly configured end to rotate the same while holding said main body portion in a stationary position.

2. The combination of claim 1 wherein said configured end engaging means is a socket configured to said irregularly configured end.

3. The combination of claim 1 wherein said configured end includes an irregularly configured socket therein, said tool adapter having a spindle portion configured to said irregularly configured socket for insertion therein.

4. The combination of claim 1 wherein said tool adapter includes an inner threaded wall adapted to threadably engage mating threads of a power tool, said irregularly configured end engaging means having a threaded end rotating opposite said end adapted to engage said irregularly configured end.

5. The combination of claim 4 wherein said adapter from includes resilient means encircling said configured end engaging means resiliently biasing the same toward said irregularly configured end when said fastener is inserted into said tool adapter.

6. The combination of claim 1 wherein said prongs comprise: four prongs, each having a wedging tip disposed in a circle of substantially 360°, each of said prong tips having a shoulder adapted to abut against said main body portion when said prongs are retracted into said main body portion.

7. The combination of claim 6 wherein said prongs are spring-biased.

8. The combination of claim 1 wherein said prongs comprises: four elongated prongs mounted in said main body portion, each having a tip at one terminal end with an elongated arcuate main body portion terminating at an enlarged head at the other end, and a shoulder at the intersection of the tip and the arcuate main body portion, the tips extending out of said main body portion; and an elongated spindle mounted in said main body portion terminating at one end in a spacer portion disposed between said prongs having an intermediate threaded portion engaging like mating threads on said enlarged heads, and terminating at the other end in an end portion.

9. The combination of claim 8 including a spring washer mounted in said main body portion encircling said spindle between said end portion and said enlarged heads.

10. The combination of claim 9 including a washer mounted in said main body portion encircling said spindle between said end portion and said heads.

11. The combination of claim 8 including a washer mounted on said spindle between said end portions and said main body portion abutting against a stop member on said spindle.

12. The combination of claim 11 wherein said main body portion has an enlarged diameter portion into which said washer is disposed.

13. The combination of claim 8 wherein said main body portion has a hollow throughbore terminating at one end in an opening of lesser diameter than said throughbore forming a shoulder, said enlarged heads abutting against said shoulder.

14. The combination of claim 13 wherein said main body portion has an opening of larger diameter than said throughbore at its other end, and a washer disposed in said opening of larger diameter between said main body portion and said end portion.

15. In the combination of a wedge-type fastener and a power tool adapter for installing the same, wherein said fastener comprises: a main body portion; a screw member having a head at one end and a threaded portion, a plurality of spaced prongs mounted in said main body portion coupled to the other end of said screw member; and a spindle mounted in said main body portion rotatable therein, disposed between said prongs, each of said prongs having a wedging tip disposed in a circle of substantially 360°, each of said prong tips having a shoulder adapted to abut against said main body portion when said prongs are retracted into said main body portion.

16. In the combination of claim 15 wherein said prongs are spring-biased.

17. In a combination of a wedge-type fastener and a power tool adapter, for installing the same, wherein said fastener comprises: a main body portion; four elongated prongs mounted in said main body portion, each having a tip at one terminal end with an elongated arcuate main body portion terminating at an enlarged head at the other end, and a shoulder at the intersection of the tip and the arcuate main body portion, the tips extending out of said main body portion; and an elongated spindle mounted in said main body portion terminating at one end in a spacer portion disposed between said prongs having an intermediate threaded portion engaging like mating threads on said enlarged heads, and terminating at the other end in an end portion.

18. In the combination of claim 17 including a spring washer mounted in said main body portion encircling said spindle between said end portion and said enlarged heads.

19. In the combination of claim 18 including a washer mounted in said main body portion encircling said spindle between said end portion and said heads.

20. In the combination of claim 17 including a washer mounted on said spindle between said end portions and said main body portion abutting against a stop member on said spindle.

21. In the combination of claim 20 wherein said main body portion has an enlarged diameter portion into which said washer is disposed.

22. In the combination of claim 17 wherein said main body portion has a hollow throughbore terminating at one end in an opening of lesser diameter than said throughbore forming a shoulder, said enlarged heads abutting against said shoulder.

23. In the combination of claim 22 wherein said main body portion has an opening of larger diameter than said throughbore at its other end, and a washer disposed in said opening of larger diameter between said main body portion and said end portion.

24. A wedge-type fastener comprising: a main body portion; four elongated prongs mounted in said main body portion, each having a tip at one terminal end with an elongated arcuate main body portion terminating at an enlarged head at the other end, and a shoulder at the intersection of the tip and the arcuate main body portion, the tips extending out of said main body portion; and an elongated spindle mounted in said main body portion terminating at one end in a spacer portion disposed between said prongs having an intermediate threaded portion engaging like mating threads on said enlarged heads, and terminating at the other end in an end portion.

25. The fastener of claim 24 including a spring washer mounted in said main body portion encircling said spindle between said end portion and said enlarged heads.

26. The fastener of claim 25 including a washer mounted in said main body portion encircling said spindle between said end portion and said heads.

27. The fastener of claim 24 including a washer mounted on said spindle between said end portions and said main body portion abutting against a stop member on said spindle.

28. The fastener of claim 27 wherein said main body portion has an enlarged diameter portion into which said washer is disposed.

29. The fastener of claim 24 wherein said main body portion has a hollow throughbore terminating at one end in an opening of lesser diameter than said throughbore forming a shoulder, said enlarged heads abutting against said shoulder.

30. The fastener of claim 29 wherein said main body portion has an opening of larger diameter than said throughbore at its other end, and a washer disposed in said opening of larger diameter between said main body portion and said end portion.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] 1. Field of the Invention:

[0002] The invention relates to wedging-type fasteners and installing tools, and, more particularly, to an improved wedge-type fastener and tool for installing the same used to temporarily secure two abutting structural members together to hold the same in alignment while permanent fasteners are installed in the members.

[0003] 2. Related Art:

[0004] Wedge-type fasteners are well known in the art for holding together temporarily two abutting structural members, such as aircraft panels, while permanent fasteners are installed to secure the panels together. One such fastener is described and claimed in U.S. Pat. No. 4,548,533 to Pratt. In Pratt, the fastener has a screw member with a head at one end with a threaded portion mounted in a main body portion, and a pair of spaced wire elements or pin members extending out of the main body portion. The pin members are movable in and out of the main body portion and a spreader is disposed between the wire members adapted to force the same outwardly to wedge the wire members into aligned holes in the abutting panels. The wire members of Pratt only provide two prongs of engagement in the aligned holes. Thus the holes only get aligned in one direction. Further, this fastener is generally only installed one way; that is, using the provided power tool. There is no way to install such fasteners in tight or close areas.

[0005] U.S. Pat. No. 5,927,919 to Blankenship, et al. describes in detail how such fasteners are used to temporarily hold together two or more panels prior to installation of permanent fasteners.

[0006] There is a need for a wedge-type fastener and tool for installing the same that can provide 360° support about the inside of the holes in the abutting panels in which it is installed to provide a high clamping load without marring or damaging the panels. Such a fastener should be able to be installed both by using power tools or manually using wrenches or the like when installation is required in areas with minimum access.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0007] It is an object of this invention to provide an improved wedge-type fastener and tool for installing the same.

[0008] It is a further object of this invention to provide a wedge-type fastener having 360° support about the inside the holes and provide forced alignment in abutting panels in which the fastener is installed.

[0009] It is another object of this invention to provide a fastener which can be installed or uninstalled in close or tight working areas using conventional wrenches or the like.

[0010] These and other objects are preferably accomplished by providing a wedge-type fastener and power tool adapter into which the fastener is inserted for installing the same having 360° of support for preventing the separation of structural members during drilling or other operations. The fastener includes four spring biased pins which are adapted to be extended into holes in the structural members providing four prongs of engagement increasing the bearing surface of the fastener and providing added force to align the holes without deformation of the structural members. The fastener has a socket at one end and wrenching flats on the body for using conventional tools for gripping the same.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING

[0011] FIG. 1 is an exploded view of a wedge-type fastener and a power tool with a tool attachment thereon for installing the fastener in accordance with the teachings of the invention;

[0012] FIG. 2 is a cross-sectional view of a portion of one type of power tool adapter in accordance with the teachings of the invention;

[0013] FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional view of a portion of another type of power tool adapter in accordance with the teachings of the invention;

[0014] FIG. 4 is an exploded view of a wedge-type fastener in accordance with the teachings of the invention;

[0015] FIG. 5 is an elevational assembled view of the fastener of FIG. 4; and

[0016] FIGS. 6 and 7 are views taken along lines 6-6, and 7-7, respectively, of FIG. 4.

[0017] FIG. 8 is a perspective view of manually operated tools used to install the fastener of FIGS. 1 to 7; and

[0018] FIG. 9 is a perspective view of another manually operated tool used to install the fastener of FIGS. 1 to 7.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

[0019] Referring now to FIG. 1 of the drawing, a power tool and fastener combination 100 is shown. Fastener 10 is shown in detail in FIGS. 4 to 7. As seen in FIG. 1, a conventional power tool 101 is shown having a handle grip 104, a trigger 105 and terminating in a threaded section 102 and inner threaded gripping portion 103 for providing attachment of a tool adapter thereto. Thus, tool 101 is old and well known in the art and a suitable tool having a conventional drill motor (not shown) used for installing fasteners of the type to be disclosed further herein is shown, for example, in U.S. Pat. No. 4,787,274. Further description is thus deemed unnecessary.

[0020] However, as particularly contemplated in the present invention, an installing tool portion or adapter 106 is provided having a main outer housing 107 (see also FIG. 2) threaded on its interior at threaded section 108 for threaded engagement to the threaded section 102 of tool 101.

[0021] Tool adapter 106 terminates at its other end in a drive socket 109 adapted to engage fastener 10 as will be discussed. Fastener 10, as seen in FIG. 5, has a socket 300 in end 16. Tool adapter 106 has a spindle 110 threaded on its exterior 301, terminating in end 111 which is adapted to fit into and engage socket 300. The other end 112 of spindle 110 is threaded at threaded portion 301 in the socket 113 of gripping portion 103 of tool 101.

[0022] Tool adapter 106 has a passageway 114 (FIG. 2) between socket 109 and the spindle 110. Spindle 110 has a shoulder 116 between end 111 and the main body portion 117 of spindle 110. An annular groove 118 is provided in main body portion 117 and a pair of washers 119, 120 encircle body portion 117 separated by a C-clip 121 snap fitting into groove 118. A coil spring 122 surrounds spindle 110 biased between washer 120 and gripping portion 103. A shoulder 123 is provided on body portion 117 between washer 120 and the threaded portion 103 of tool 101.

[0023] Another tool adapter 302 for an alternate installation of fastener 10 is shown in FIG. 3. Like numerals in FIG. 3 refer to like parts of FIG. 2. Thus, in FIG. 3, instead of spindle 110, a spindle 303 terminates at its forward end in a socket 305. Socket 305 thus has a shaped configuration on its interior 306. The socket 305 is adapted to abut against shoulder 307.

[0024] In both FIGS. 2 and 3, the tool adapters 106 and 302 are adapted to be quickly and easily threaded to the power tool 101 of FIG. 1.

[0025] Referring now to FIG. 4 of the drawing, fastener 10, shown in exploded view, includes a main body portion 11 having an integral portion 12. Fastener 10 further includes a spindle 13 terminating at one end in a spacer portion 14 and at the middle thereof in a threaded portion 15. Spindle 13 also includes a terminal end 16 separated from threaded portion 15 by an annular stop member 17. End 16 may be any suitable irregularly shaped configuration such as a 12-point configuration (i.e., the number of flats—e.g., 12, determine the configuration).

[0026] Main body portion 11 has a throughbore 18 having a reduced diameter opening 19 at one end with an abutment shoulder 20 and an enlarged opening 21 at the other end.

[0027] Fastener 10 further includes a prong member 100′ having plurality of prongs (at one end), such as prongs 22 (see also FIG. 5), each having an arcuate elongated portion 26 and each being integral with an enlarged head portion 27 through 30, respectively (see also FIG. 6). Prong member 100′ has a threaded portion 41 (FIG. 4) on the interior adapted to mate with threaded portion 15 of spindle 13.

[0028] A washer spring 31 (FIG. 4) is provided on the outer surface of spindle 13 between spindle 13 and the interior of housing 11. A washer 32 abuts against spring washer 31. As seen in FIG. 5, portion 16 of spindle 13 extends out of housing 11.. A washer 33 encircles the same and abuts against stop 601 of housing 11. Housing 11 may be swaged at opening 21 to retain the spindle 13 in housing 11. Cap 34 (FIG. 4) has an opening 35 therein receiving prongs 22 and the spacer portion 14 of spindle 13 therethrough. A nut 310 may be provided between washer 33 and the terminal end of portion 16.

[0029] The assembly of wedge-type fastener 10 will now be described. Prongs 22 of prong member 100′ are inserted inside housing 11 until enlarged heads 27 through 30 abut against abutment shoulder 20, FIG. 4, prongs 22 extending out of opening 19 as seen in FIG. 5.

[0030] Spring washer 31 and washer 32 are placed on spindle 13 and spindle 13 is now inserted into opening 18 on housing 11, then through opening 500 in fastener 100′ (FIG. 4) and rests between prongs 22 as seen in FIG. 5.

[0031] Washer 33 is now placed over spindle end 16 against shoulder 601 and the opening 21 is swaged to trap spindle 13 in housing 11.

[0032] The use of such fasteners in temporarily holding together two or more abutting structural members is shown in FIG. 1 in the aforementioned U.S. Pat. No. 5,927,919 so further description is deemed unnecessary.

[0033] Prongs 22 are thus inserted into the aligned panel holes, shoulders 40 (FIG. 4) on each prong engaging and abutting against the blind side of the panels into which the fastener 10 is inserted (FIG. 1). Rotation of end 16 of spindle 13 compresses spring washer 31 and, due to the engagement of threaded portion 15 and threads 41, moves spacer portion 14 between the prongs 22 thus expanding the same outwardly within the aligned holes in which the fastener 10 is inserted and draws shoulder 40 against the blind side of the panel. This provides 4 prongs of engagement about the mounting hole giving a high clamping load to the fastener 10. As seen in FIG. 5, this increased bearing surface provides substantially 360° clamp-up without deformation of the panels. Better alignment of the panels is provided since the prongs 22 are expanded and the expansion aligns the holes.

[0034] When it is desired to withdraw prongs 22, end 16 is rotated withdrawing spacer portion 14 from between the prongs allowing the prongs to be withdrawn from the aligned apertures into which they were extended.

[0035] Misaligned holes are thus quickly and easily aligned due to the use of 4 prongs. More surface area contact within the aligned holes into which the fastener extends takes place. The use of 4 prongs prevents marring or damaging of the panels, such as aluminum structural aircraft panels.

[0036] Since the fastener 10 is spring loaded, it is always ready for installation. The bias of spring washer 31 keeps the locking prongs forward in extended position and spacer portion 14 withdrawn.

[0037] The configuration of the main body portion 11 on the exterior thereof may vary depending on the installation.

[0038] Housing 11 may be made of any suitable material such as plastic, brass, etc. The fastener is installed by insertion of the wire prongs into aligned apertures in an aircraft skin or the like. A tool, such as a gun, power tool, or manually operable tool, is used to hold the housing portion 11 while simultaneously engaging end 16.

[0039] Of course, the various components may take differing configurations. For example, housing 11 can be any suitable shape engageable by a tool.

[0040] Each prong 22 terminates in a tip, each having a shoulder adapted to abut against housing 11 when prongs 22 are retracted into the housing 11. The tips 27 to 30, as seen in FIG. 7, form a circle of about 360°.

[0041] Thus, referring once again to FIGS. 1 and 2, the tool portion or adapter 106 is threaded onto the preexisting or prior art power tool 101. Fastener 10 is then inserted into socket 109 against the bias of spring 304 with end 111 of spindle 110 entering the socket 300 (FIG. 5) of fastener 10. The socket 109 is configured to mimic the configuration of portion 12 of fastener 10 and thus forms a firm, positive lock of the fastener within the tool adapter 106. Actuation of power tool 101 by pressing trigger 105 holds body portion 12 while rotating end 16 thus moving the spacer 14 between prongs 22 when the prongs 22 are inserted into aligned holes in panels 400, 401, as seen in FIG. 1. This draws the prongs 22 into an abutting position (shoulders 40 engaging panel 400) thus holding panels 400, 401 until permanent fasteners can be installed and the temporary fasteners 10 can be removed.

[0042] Reversing the actuation of the power tool 101, as is known in the art, reverses the end 16 to withdraw spacer 14.

[0043] Alternatively, as seen in FIG. 3, socket 306 may engage the exterior surface of end 16 with body portion 12 entering socket 109. Actuation of power tool 101 thus rotates end 16 in one direction, e.g., clockwise, to move spacer 14 between prongs 22, as heretofore discussed. Reversal of power tool 101, again as heretofore discussed, serves to withdraw spacer 14 from between prongs 22.

[0044] The invention herein has particular application in tight or close quarters where it may be difficult to use power tools. For example, as seen in FIG. 8, wherein like numerals refer to like parts of FIGS. 1 to 7, a conventional wrench 500′ having an open end 501 may be used to grasp and hold body portion 12.

[0045] A conventional socket wrench 502, having a socket 503, receives end 16 of fastener 10 therein. Thus, holding wrench 500′ holds the body portion 12 of fastener 10 allowing socket wrench 502 to rotate end 16 moving spacer 14 between prongs 22 as heretofore discussed.

[0046] A similar arrangement is shown in FIG. 9 wherein the same wrench 500′ holds body portion 12 while a conventional allen wrench 504 is inserted into socket 300 of end 16 and rotated while holding body portion 12. Thus, the fastener 10 can be installed two different ways using power tool adapter 106 and 302, or two ways using non-power tools as set forth in FIGS. 8 and 9. Of course, fastener 10 can also be installed manually by physically grasping and holding body portion 12 while grasping and manually rotating end 16.

[0047] Although a particular embodiment of the invention is disclosed, variations thereof may occur to an artisan, the scope of the invention should only be dependent on the scope of the appended claims.