Title:
Socket sling
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A holder of wrench sockets that has a carrying handle (40), and a main member (56). The main member (56) extends from the handle (40) and passes through the existing drive hole (62) in the sockets (58) to form a chain of sockets (60) that are retained in place by a stop (68). The handle (40) is easily removable so the sockets can be laid out on a tray (120) for easy access and deployment.



Inventors:
Maser, Donald C. (Orlando, FL, US)
Application Number:
09/978728
Publication Date:
04/17/2003
Filing Date:
10/16/2001
Assignee:
MASER DONALD C.
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
206/378
International Classes:
B25H3/00; (IPC1-7): A47F7/00; A47F7/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
NOVOSAD, JENNIFER ELEANORE
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
DONALD CLIFTON MASER (ALTOONA, PA, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. A compact open type of ratchet wrench socket holder for use under adverse conditions such as bumping and jarring comprising: (a) an elongated flexible main member having an arbitrarily chosen first and second end, a longitudinal axis and a transverse-section that will freely pass through the drive receptacle of a ratchet wrench socket and any additional sockets that are aligned axially with said socket preferably having the same drive receptacle size (b) a means for connecting or disconnecting said second end of said main member to or from said first end thereby forming or breaking a loop that allows the sockets surrounding the main member to be released for use or collected for storage.

2. The holder of claim 1 wherein the means for either connecting or disconnecting is a combination of two locks a positive lock and a forcible lock.

3. The holder of claim 1 further including an area at an end of the main member that is substantially more rigid than the main member itself whereby the resulting straightness of said end facilitates the passing of said end through said sockets and said rigid end increases the effectiveness of a positive pinch lock.

4. The holder of claim 1 further including a tray comprised of a elongated sheet of substantially rigid material that has a longitudinal vee groove near the center of its top surface and that has a ridge of material at each outboard longitudinal edge of said top surface, whereby said vee groove allows easy axial alignment of said sockets in a series on said tray, and said ridges prevent said sockets from being swept away from the tray by a careless hand.

5. The holder of claim 1 further including an obstruction projecting transversely from the main member near said first end of sufficient size to prevent said sockets from moving past said end.

6. The holder of claim 5 further including a split that runs transversely to the main member through said obstruction separating the obstruction into two parts, the two parts allowing the main member to hang in a straight drop, one part to form a handle of sufficient size to fit comfortably in the average human hand and the remaining part to form a stop of sufficient length to protrude far enough from the open end of the largest socket to be gripped in the thumb and forefinger and although said means for connecting or disconnecting could be placed at the inboard end of either the handle or the stop it is placed in the larger handle thereby conserving materials of manufacture and giving maximum accessibility to said means for connecting or disconnecting.

7. The holder of claim 6 wherein the main member is not flexible but is substantially rigid having a permanent indentation at the axial lock.

8. The holder of claim 6 wherein the means for either connecting or disconnecting is a combination of two locks a positive lock and a forcible lock.

9. The holder of claim 8 wherein said positive lock is a axial lock and said forcible lock is an axial lock.

10. The holder of claim 9 wherein the positive axial lock is a projection of substantially rigid material that is held in position in said handle by a spring and is pressed into said main member by an incline on a slide that moves axially to the main member and is contained in the wall of said handle thereby creating a pinched area in the main member that prevents the main member from being extracted axially from said handle.

11. The holder of claim 9 wherein the forcible axial lock is a depression at the top of an incline that is mounted on a slide that is contained by the wall of said handle so that said slide moves axially to the main member and said depression engages a projection that moves in a substantially transverse direction and said projection is held in said depression by the force of a spring until said slide is urged with a predetermined force which is transferred directly to the depression and indirectly to said projection by the profile of the depression so that said projection is released from the depression and said lock is forced open.

12. The holder of claim 8 wherein said positive lock is an axial lock and said forcible lock is a radial lock.

13. The holder of claim 12 wherein the positive axial lock is a first aperture that is located in the end wall of said handle that communicates with a second aperture and said second aperture communicates with a lead in notch thereby forming an elongated opening that is itself open at its notch end allowing the main member to enter and said opening having a dimension across its length at said first aperture that is small enough to prevent the main member from being extracted axially from said handle but larger than the dimension across the second opening.

14. The holder of claim 12 wherein the forcible radial lock is a second aperture that is located in the end wall of said handle between a first aperture and a lead in notch and that communicates with said first aperture and said lead in notch thereby forming an elongated opening that is itself open at its notch end allowing the main member to enter, and said opening having a dimension across its length at said second aperture that is smaller than the corresponding dimension across said first aperture so that if the main member is moved from said first aperture to said lead in notch a predetermined amount of force is required for the main member to pass said second aperture.

15. The holder of claim 1 wherein said main member is an elongated round tube that is made of a flexible, plastic material that can be transversely cut with a plurality of common tools by the end user to a length to fit any size socket set that he or she may own.

16. The holder of claim 15 further including an elongated round stiffening rod of substantially rigid material with a diameter of a size that requires a force fit into the internal diameter of the first end of said plastic tube whereby the resulting stiffness of said first end facilitates the passing of said end through a series of aligned wrench sockets and increases the effectiveness of a positive pinch lock.

17. The holder of claim 15 further including, attached to the second end of said tube, a stop bushing that has a free fit between the internal diameter of said stop bushing and the outside diameter of said tube and has a taper in the outboard end of said bushing so that a wedge lock connection is made; first, by forcing a tapered plug into the internal diameter of said end, thereby creating an expanded end; second, by forcing said expanded end into a matching taper on the internal diameter of said bushing.

18. The holder of claim 1 wherein said main member is a rope that has located on said first end a stop and a stop connection to said rope that is suitable for rope and has located on said second end a portion impregnated by a substantially rigid plastic thereby making said end straight so it can be passed easily through a series of aligned wrench sockets and whereby the resulting stiffness of the impregnated end increases the effectiveness of a positive pinch lock.

19. The holder of claim 1 wherein said main member is a one piece monolithic plastic ball and rod chain that has a substantially correct size ratio between said ball and rod areas and a substantially correct formulation so that said plastic main member has properties suitable for use as said ratchet wrench socket holder.

20. The holder of claim 16 wherein the outside diameter of said elongated round stiffening rod has ridges transversely applied whereby a force fit between said rod and said main member is easily accomplished.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001] Not applicable

BACKGROUND

[0002] 1. Technical Field

[0003] This invention relates to a holder and particularly to a ratchet wrench, socket holder.

[0004] 2. Description of the Related Art

[0005] There has been a need for a socket holder that is spill-proof. A spill-proof holder is useful if the user carries his tool boxes around from place to place and handles them roughly from job site to job site and in and out of a vehicle. The sockets inside a tool box handled in this way become a mixed mass of confusion if the socket holders are not spill-proof.

[0006] Spilt sockets take time and effort to reorganize and, in the case of a spill outside of the tool box, may become lost or may become a tripping hazard.

[0007] Presently the successful spill-resistant socket holders and those that are being newly marketed are shown in the Sears special catalog, “Craftsmans Power and Hand Tools” through May 31, 2002 (hereafter referred to as CPHT) pages 20, 30, 47, and 149. Two of these holders are under patent protection.

[0008] These devices all have a forcible lock for each socket. The forcible lock is either magnet based see CPHT page 20 item B, and U.S. Pat. No. 5,343,181 (1994) to Negus; spring and ball based see CPHT page 20 item K; or is mechanically applied through friction. The friction is either applied directly see CPHT page 30 item S, page 47 item K, page 149 item Q, or by a lever actuator see CPHT page 20 item L, and U.S. Pat. No. 5,725,107 (1998) to Dembicks.

[0009] The lever actuated type of holder is too awkward to be considered spill-proof under adverse conditions such as rolling a tool box down a set of stairs. The holders and levers will bump against each other and other items in the tool box and shift into the unlocked position. This type of holder is expensive, fragile, and overly complicated.

[0010] The direct friction type of holder is two weak to be considered spill-proof under the adverse conditions previously described or the constant vibrations inside a moving car. The sockets will bump and slowly be forced free of their friction hold. This type of holder has sharp metal edges that will do damage to other items in the tool box.

[0011] Negus's magnetic type of holder is heavy. If more than one of this type of holder were put into the same tool box, they will cling together in one large, heavy mass. They will also cling to other ferrous metal tools inside the tool box, and to the box itself if ferrous. This holder has a fixed number of socket compartments and if the user did not have all these compartments occupied by owning a full set of sockets, he would not know at a glance a socket was missing and perhaps lying on the floor as a potential tripping hazard.

[0012] The spring and ball based holder requires more force to operate than the others making it more spill-resistant, but harder to use.

[0013] Most weekend mechanics purchase socket sets as the need arises. This leads to having a lot of socket sets spread about in different holders. And unfortunately, the holders are the low quality socket holders the sockets were originally purchased in.

[0014] Many user would like to put all their socket sets into one uniform type of serviceable, good looking, compact, holder and put all the holders into one open structured tool box with the other ratchet wrench accessories.

[0015] It would be hard to make any of the fore-mentioned holders compact in respect to a tailor made overall length, since they are made to accommodate the maximum number of sockets in a set lengthwise.

[0016] The fore-mentioned socket holders were created for the professional mechanic that uses them on a constant basis.

[0017] These socket holders are rigid and will not conform to the odd spaces found in a small carry along tool box.

[0018] Prior art was not found for a socket holder that is, itself, run through the drive receptacle of an aligned series of ratchet wrench sockets.

SUMMARY

[0019] In accordance to the present invention a ratchet wrench socket holder comprising a handle, a flexible main member, a stop and a connection means between the handle and the main member thereby; allowing the sockets to be strung like the pearls on a necklace, releasable for use and collectable for storage.

OBJECTS AND ADVANTAGES

[0020] The invention herein described was created for the weekend mechanic who uses his or her tools intermittently, and who likes to find tools organized, intact, ready for use, and who because of a certain amount of unfamiliarity would like tools and tool holders as friendly as possible (no sharp edges) to cut himself or herself on or mark belongings.

[0021] The tools in this case are ratchet wrench sockets that can be grouped by impalement on socket holders that can be tailor made to fit all the different socket sets that he or she may own into one good looking uniform group of socket holders. Socket holders that are easily individually identified because of their open construction (not incased in their own group container).

[0022] Ratchet wrench socket holders that are compact, flexible, and rugged allowing them to be packed into odd spaces so that more of them can be put into one place at a time, preferably a small carry along tool box.

[0023] Socket holders that do not release their contents under adverse conditions such as rolling the tool box down a set of stairs.

[0024] The invention was created for someone like the landlord who does a lot of his own building repairs and must handle his tools roughly and is constantly shuffling tools around from one job site or rental property to another. Or for anyone who likes everything of one kind (multiple socket sets) in one place, in one neat, good looking, easy to handle, easy to store, easy to color code, easy to recognize, and secure package.

DRAWING FIGURES

[0025] In the drawings, closely related figures have the same number but different alphabetic suffixes.

[0026] The sections are best sections. Only that which will clarify the configuration is given section lines.

[0027] FIG. 1 shows the preferred embodiment of the socket holder as if it where ready for use.

[0028] FIG. 2 shows the preferred embodiment of the socket holder as if it where taken apart in logical order.

[0029] FIG. 3 is a continuation of FIG. 2 at point 46.

[0030] FIGS. 4 and 4A are sections on line 4, 4A of FIG. 1.

[0031] FIG. 5 is a section on line 5 of FIG. 1 and FIG. 12.

[0032] FIG. 6 shows the thumb slide.

[0033] FIG. 7 is an enlarged section on line 7 of FIG. 4.

[0034] FIG. 8 is an enlarged section on line 8 of FIG. 4.

[0035] FIG. 9 is an enlarged section on line 9 of FIG. 4.

[0036] FIG. 10 shows the alignment tray.

[0037] FIG. 11 and 11A shows the alignment tray in use.

[0038] FIG. 12 shows an additional embodiment of the socket holder as if it where ready for use.

[0039] FIG. 13 shows an additional embodiment of the socket holder as if it where taken apart in logical order. FIG. 13 is continued on FIG. 3 at point 136.

[0040] FIGS. 14 and 14A are sections on line 14, 14A of FIG. 12.

[0041] FIG. 15 is an enlarged section on line 15 of FIG. 14.

[0042] FIG. 16 is an enlarged section on line 16 of FIG. 14.

[0043] FIG. 17 shows a loop embodiment with a hook.

[0044] FIG. 18 shows a loop embodiment with a weld.

[0045] FIG. 19 shows a loop embodiment with a plug.

DESCRIPTION

[0046] Preferred Embodiment:

[0047] A holder of wrench sockets including sub-assemblies 40 and 41 will be described according to the preferred embodiment with reference to FIGS. 1-11A. The handle sub-assembly 40 is removable from the bougie sub-assembly 41 as shown in FIG. 4A.

[0048] Shown in FIG. 1 is the complete socket holder assembly with the two sub-assemblies 40 and 41 locked together. Markings 36 FIG. 1 are used to indicate the kind of sockets that are contained on this particular holder. The M mark stands for metric, {fraction (3/8)} for size, D for drive, 12 point for the number of teeth in the sockets.

[0049] This identification of the holder could also be done by color coding different parts of the holder such as handle 30 could be light gray for metric system of measurement, thumb slide 42 could be black for 12 points of teeth, and stop 68 could be white for a {fraction (3/8)} inch drive size.

[0050] The exploded drawing FIG. 2 shows how the different parts are put together to form the handle sub-assembly 40.

[0051] The complete handle sub-assembly 40 is made up by inserting thumb slide 42 into the free fit of slot 38, then inserting spring 44 into the open interior and free fit of the handle 30 and finally by pressing pin 34 into hole 32. The pressing of pin 34 into hole 32 locks all four parts together as shown in FIG. 4A.

[0052] Corrosion resistant metal would be a suitable material for spring 44 and pin 34; rigid plastic for thumb slide 42 and casing handle 30. The spring 44 is a rectangular strip bent to the configuration shown in FIG. 2.

[0053] Continuation of the projection line at 46 FIG. 2 takes the exploded assembly to FIG. 3 and the bougie sub-assembly 41.

[0054] Stiffener rod 50 is forced into the internal diameter 54 of the flexible and elastic main member 56 until the reference lines 48 and 52 are flush with each other forming a stiff end portion of member 56 that can be moved easily through the drive receptacle of a series of aligned sockets 58. The assembled positional relationship of rod 50 and tube 56 is shown in FIG. 4A.

[0055] The flexible main member 56 is similar to the black plastic vinyl tubing used for sprinkler systems available at most large hardware stores but some alternatives are rope, chain, and flexible monolithic (one piece) plastic ball and rod chain. And because different materials often require different joining methods, the stop and stiffener rod for each alternative may be slightly different from their counterparts used in the presently preferred embodiments, but are functionally the same.

[0056] A substantially rigid resilient material such as brass is suitable for the stiffener rod 50. Another suitable material is rigid plastic. Ridges projecting transversely from the outside diameter of the stiffener rod to make it easier to force into the main member is applicable to the fore-mentioned materials and other materials.

[0057] To further put together the sub-assembly 41 FIG. 3, the tube end (line 64) of main member 56 is run through the free fit of hole 66 of stop 68. Then the small end of the tapered plug 72 is forced into the internal diameter 54 of the main member 56 forming a plugged end. Finally the plugged end is forced into stop 68 until reference lines 74, 70, and 64 are flush with one another. With reference to FIG. 5, this action creates a wedge lock between the plugged end of the main member 56 and the tapered length 100 of stop 68 forming an obstruction to the movement of sockets 58. The complete bougie assembly 41 is shown in FIG. 11.

[0058] A substantially rigid plastic would be suitable for the stop 68 and plug 72 FIG. 3.

[0059] A way to market the socket holder will be to pre-assemble only the rod 50 and the tube 56 in the making of bougie assembly 41. The flexible main member 56 will then be supplied to a pre-determined length long enough to be cut down by the user to fit a particular group of his or her sockets. The user will then assemble the main member 56, stop 68 and plug 72 to complete the bougie 41 in a tailor made fashion.

[0060] With reference to FIG. 1, a full description of assemblies 40, 41 includes friction ridges 114 on thumb slide 42 FIG. 8 to prevent slippage between the thumb and the thumb slide top. Ferrules 73 around the diameter of taper plug 72 FIG. 5 to insure the plug will stay in place.

[0061] To operate the socket holder the user lays out the sockets 58 in an organized fashion on elongated tray 120 FIG. 11. The elongated tray 120 FIG. 10 has a longitudinal vee groove 116 in its top surface 117 to allow easy alignment and positioning of the sockets 58. A secondary ridge restraint 118 at each outboard longitudinal edge of the top surface 117 of the tray 120 is included to prevent the aligned sockets (not shown) from being swept from the tray by a careless hand.

[0062] To further operate the socket holder the user moves the end 86 FIG. 11 of the main member 56 through the sockets 58 aligned on the tray 120 until the stop 68 is butted against the drive receptacle 62 FIG. 5 of the largest socket. This running through action forms the socket chain 60 as shown in FIG. 11A.

[0063] With reference to point 121 FIG. 11A, and a view of FIG. 4 and FIG. 4A mirrored 180 degrees horizontally for the left hand, the user grips, between the thumb and forefinger of the right hand, the point 121 of the main member 56 and inserts end 86 into the open end of handle assembly 40 FIG. 4A in the left hand. Handle assembly 40 is in open position as indicated by direction arrow 88 of the thumb slide 42.

[0064] When end 86 FIG. 4 is all the way into assembly 40, thumb slide 42 is moved with the users left thumb to the closed position indicated by direction arrow 82.

[0065] The sockets are now secure and may be put into a tool box. To use the sockets the preceding operation is reversed except for organizing the sockets on the tray. The sockets should stay organized on the tray in normal use.

[0066] A full description of the operation of the socket holder includes the details of moving thumb slide 42 to the closed position shown in FIG. 4. First note in FIG. 6 and FIG. 9 that the thumb slide is held in place by a top 112, neck 108 and flange 106. These features limit the direction of motion of the thumb slide 42 to a back and forth axial motion in line with the main member 56 FIG. 4. A back and forth motion that ends at spring tab 90 FIG. 4A in the inboard direction, and the handle casing 30 at the end of slot 38 in the outboard direction. This motion is made possible by a free fit between thumb slide 42 FIG. 9, slot 38 and handle casing 30. The axial stroke forward that butts thumb slide 42 FIG. 4A against spring tab 90 moves incline 102 of wedge 110 against a lobule projection 94 of spring 44 producing a downward thrust that is transferred through spring 44 to a lobule projection 92. Lobe 92 FIG. 4 is then forced downward into the elastic main member 56 creating a pinch between the lobe 92 and a lobe 96 at point 84. The stiffening rod 50 is rigid and can not pass the pinch between lobes 92 and 96; thereby, forming a connection and an axial positive lock between main member 56 and handle 40. At this time an axial forcible lock is also created between the thumb slide 42 and spring lobe 94 by depression 104. A predetermined amount of force is required to unlock thumb slide 42 with a reverse motion as indicated by arrow 88. The force requirement is determined by the stiffness of spring 44, the size of depression 104 and friction factors within the handle assembly 40.

[0067] An Additional Embodiment:

[0068] A holder of wrench sockets according to an additional embodiment will be described with reference to FIGS. 3, 5 and FIGS. 10-16.

[0069] The configuration and operations of bougie assembly 41 FIG. 3 has been previously described in the preferred embodiment and is cross-referenced from continuation point 136 to the same point on FIG. 13 of the additional embodiment.

[0070] Shown in FIG. 12 is the complete socket holder assembly with sub-assemblies 130 and 41 locked together. Markings 36 FIG. 12 are used to indicate the kind of sockets that are contained on this particular holder. The M mark stands for metric, {fraction (3/8)} for size, D for drive, 12PT for the number of teeth points in the sockets.

[0071] The identification of the holder could also be done by color coding different parts of the holder similar to that done in the preferred embodiment.

[0072] The exploded assembly FIG. 13 shows how the different parts are put together to form the assembled holder in FIG. 12.

[0073] Handle assembly 130 FIG. 14A is removable from bougie assembly 41.

[0074] For clarity, FIG. 13 is shown in three parts: handle extrusion 122, guide block 122A, and retention bracket 122B. In actual practice these parts may be incorporated into a one piece molding of substantially rigid plastic. This one piece molding can be shown in FIG. 14 and FIG. 14A without sacrificing drawing clarity.

[0075] A further description of handle 130 as if it were one piece.

[0076] Handle 130 has a longitudinal entry slot 128 FIG. 16 that is open on top and open on the left end as shown in FIG. 14. The left end of which is also partially obstructed by projections from the near and far side that form, from top to bottom respectfully: a lead-in notch 134, a radial retention aperture 146, and an axial retention aperture 148 that communicate with each other. The right end of the slot is closed to form a tip guide 126 and a tip pocket 124.

[0077] To operate the socket holder of the additional embodiment in reference to point 121 FIG. 11A, and a view of FIG. 14 and FIG. 14A mirrored 180 degrees horizontally for the left hand, the user grips, between the thumb and forefinger of the right hand, point 121 FIG. 11A of the main member 56 and grips in the left hand assembly 130 FIG. 14A. The user then inserts main member end 86, through entry slot 128, down tip guide 126, and into tip pocket 124 as indicated by arrow 142. The user then continues with the right hand to push point 140 FIG. 14, through lead-in notch 134, down radial retention aperture 146, and into axial retention aperture 148 as indicated by arrow 144 FIG. 14A.

[0078] The sockets are now secure and may be put into a tool box. To use the sockets the preceding operation is reversed except for organizing the sockets on the tray. The sockets should stay organized on the tray in normal use.

[0079] A full description of the operation of the socket holder includes the details of moving the main member 56 FIG. 14A at gripping point 121 into the axial retention aperture 148.

[0080] After end 86 is inserted into tip pocket 124, point 140 is guided as indicated by direction arrow 144 to the radial retention aperture 146 by entry slot 128 and the vee shaped lead-in notch 134 FIG. 15. Because main member 56 is elastic it is allowed to pass through the smaller aperture 146 and into the larger axial retention aperture 148. Aperture 148 is larger than aperture 146, but it is smaller than the outside diameter of the main member 56 and creates a pinch in the main member at point 140 FIG. 14 which prevents the rigid, non-compressible, stiffening rod 50 from passing through the aperture 148; thereby, forming a connection and an axial positive lock between main member 56 and handle 130. In this position end 86 of the main member is also held in place by tip pocket 124. The smaller radial retention aperture 146 prevents transverse movement of the main member at point pinch 140 unless a force of a predetermined amount is applied to point 121 in a direction opposite to arrow 144; thereby, forming a radial forcible lock between main member 56 and handle 130.

[0081] If compared equally to all open type socket holders with carrying handles, yet another advantage of the herein described invention is that it is the most compact of all these socket holders. The fact that it is flexible and can fit into odd spaces, that 90 percent of the socket holder itself is inside the sockets themselves, taking up no additional space outside of the sockets, and the fact that it can be easily tailor made to length, make this possible.

[0082] The tailor made holder of the herein described invention shows at a glance if a socket is missing.

[0083] Under a jarring and bumping type of adverse condition, it is the most spill-resistant of the open type holders. This is so because it has a no pass positive lock in addition to a forcible lock, as was described with the axial retention aperture 148 FIG. 13 and radial retention aperture 146 respectively.

[0084] The present invention is not limited to the holding of the ratchet wrench sockets illustrated in the above embodiments, but is applicable as a holder of other objects as well.

[0085] Although the description above contains many specificities, these should not be construed as limiting the scope of the invention but as merely providing illustrations of two of the presently preferred embodiments of this invention. For example the plug could be brass instead of plastic. The stiffening rod could be glued into place instead of forced into place. The main member could be a flexible loop instead of a flexible straight drop. The loop could be formed by using a standard eye 150 FIG. 17 and a standard hook 152 between the stop and handle of the presently preferred embodiments. A loop embodiment is shown in FIG. 18 that has a single obstruction in the main member 56 created by simply joining the stop 68 and handle 40 or 130 of the presently preferred embodiments by a weld at point 156. Another loop embodiment is formed if a connector plug 154 and the ends of the main member 56 are joined as shown in FIG. 19. If all parts of the looped preferred embodiments are made small enough to pass through a group of axially aligned wrench sockets, yet other embodiments (not shown) of the herein described invention are formed.

[0086] Although certain embodiments have been shown and described, it should be understood that many changes and modifications may be made therein without departing from the scope of the appended claims.





 
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