Title:
Device and method for twist fastening wire
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A preformed fence clip and fence clip nut are provided that are designed to tie the fence fabric of a chain link fence to the fence posts that make up its frame. The fence clips used are generally circular in shape having an open end from which extend outward a pair of clip legs. The opening in the fence clip allows it to be slipped over the outer surface of a fence post resulting in the fence clip encircling the fence post and leaving the clip legs extending perpendicularly therefrom which are then engaged by the fence clip nut which is employed to twist the clip legs together and synch down the clip over the fence post and contained fabric strand. This configuration provides a situation in which the fence clip nut is left in place once the installation is complete which effectively and permanently covers the sharp ends of the fence clip legs which pose a potential danger to people and property.



Inventors:
Hoepfner, Thomas L. (Fargo, ND, US)
Application Number:
10/205537
Publication Date:
01/29/2004
Filing Date:
07/25/2002
Assignee:
HOEPFNER THOMAS L.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E04H17/06; (IPC1-7): E04H17/02; B21F27/00
View Patent Images:
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20080116436FLEXIBLE COMPOSITE STRUCTUREMay, 2008Chun-hsia
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Primary Examiner:
FERGUSON, MICHAEL P
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Curtis V. Harr (Fargo, ND, US)
Claims:

What is claimed:



1. A fence clip nut comprising: a nut body defining an inner cavity having an open end and a closed end and an outer surface extending between said ends; and at least two wire hole cavities further defined by said nut body in said inner cavity.

2. A fence clip nut as in claim 1 wherein at least a portion of the outer surface has elements forming a cross section with a polygonal shape.

3. A fence clip nut as in claim 2 wherein said wire hole cavities are closer to said closed end then said open end of said nut body.

4. A fence clip nut as in claim 3 wherein said inner cavity extends from said open end of said nut body toward said closed end of said nut body where it terminates with said wire hole cavities.

5. A fence clip nut as in claim 4 further comprising a rounded edge between said open end of said nut body and said inner cavity.

6. A fence clip nut as in claim 5 formed from an ABS plastic.

7. A wire nut for twist fastening two wire ends comprising: a nut body defining an inner cavity having an open end and a closed end with said inner cavity extending inward toward said closed end and an outer surface extending between said ends; a first and second wire hole cavity further defined by said nut body in said inner cavity; and parallel sidewalls defined by said inner cavity such that said inner cavity does not taper.

8. A wire nut for twist fastening two wire ends as in claim 7 wherein at least a portion of the outer surface has elements forming a cross section with a polygonal shape.

9. A wire nut for twist fastening two wire ends as in claim 8 wherein said wire hole cavities are closer to said closed-end then said open end of said nut body.

10. A wire nut for twist fastening two wire ends as in claim 9 wherein said inner cavity extends from said open end of said nut body toward said closed end of said nut body where it terminates with said wire hole cavities.

11. A wire nut for twist fastening two wire ends as in claim 10 further comprising a rounded edge between said open end of said nut body and said inner cavity.

12. A wire nut for twist fastening two wire ends as in claim 11 formed from an ABS plastic.

13. A method of connecting fencing fabric to a fence post comprising the steps of: A. placing a wire post clip having two wire ends about said fence post so as to catch a portion of said fencing fabric; B. placing a fencing nut having a nut body defining an inner cavity having an open end and a closed end and an outer surface extending between said ends and at least two wire hole cavities further defined by said nut body in said inner cavity, about said two wire ends of said post clip such that said two wire ends are engaged by said two wire hole cavities; C. twisting said nut body so as to twistedly connect said two ends.

14. A method of connecting fencing fabric to a fence post as in claim 13 wherein at least a portion of the outer surface of said nut body has elements forming a cross section with a polygonal shape.

15. A method of connecting fencing fabric to a fence post as in claim 14 wherein a powered tool is used to grip said polygonal shape and twist said nut body.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] The present invention relates to an improvement in the methods used to attach fencing fabric to the vertical and horizontal posts used to construct chain link and other similar types of fencing. More specifically, to a method of attaching the fencing fabric to these posts that utilizes a simplified clip and securement method and which also does not leave the sharp ends of the clip exposed which can result in injury to people or animals or damage to clothing or other related property.

[0002] The most common and widely used method of attaching the fabric of chain link fence to the fence frame has been through the use of aluminum J-hooks that are attached and twisted by hand. Typically a user hooks one end of the J hook to the fabric bending the long arm around a post and then twistedly attaching the long end to the fencing fabric with a pliers or other hand tool.

[0003] One recent method of attaching the fabric of a chain link fence to the plurality of horizontal and vertical posts, that make up its frame, has been by the use of steel wire clips that encircle the posts and a section of the fence fabric. These steel wire clips are generally circular in nature and contain an open end made up of two extending legs and are threaded around the relevant pole in a manner so that they capture a strand of the fence fabric between themselves and the outer surface of the fence post. The extending legs of the clip are then grasped by the use of a pair of pliers or other grasping implement and twisted together. This twisting motion wraps the ends of the legs around one another and serves to draw the body of the clip tight to the outer surface of the fence post which in turn securely holds the fencing fabric in the desired position in respect to the fence post.

[0004] There are a number of problems associated with this method of attaching fencing fabric to the fence posts that make up the frame of a chain link fence. The most prominent of these is the time that is necessary to complete this operation even by the most skilled of laborers. There are examples in the prior art that have attempted to address this situation as illustrated by U.S. Pat. No. 5,275,333 issued to Wick et al. which provides a tool that is specially designed to perform the clip leg wrapping operation with the aid of an electric or battery operated drill or other similar device. This tool utilizes a disc containing two holes through which the legs are fed and the disc is then rotated by the use of a centrally located drive shaft. The rotational force thus applied serves to twist the legs together to tie the clip to the fence post.

[0005] While the above described tool performs the desired function, it suffers from design flaws that make it a less than desirable solution. The first of these is the requirement that the clip legs be fed through the holes in the disc which can be difficult and time consuming. Additionally, it leaves the twisted up legs of the clip exposed after the installation is complete. This creates an unsightly and potentially dangerous situation as the ends of the legs can be sharp which can lacerate or puncture anything that accidentally comes into contact with them; a very real possibility considering the general use of these types of fences in enclosing residential and commercial property and the resulting close proximity of these sharp ends to people and animals.

[0006] A possible solution to the problem of the exposure of the twisted ends of the clip legs is the use of wire nuts which are threaded on to the ends of multiple wires to tie them together, many of which are detailed in the prior art. The most relevant of these in regard to the present invention is illustrated in U.S. Pat. No. 3,3333,609 issued to Fielding which joins a plurality of wires together by holding their ends stationary while the wire nut is rotated. This causes the wires to be twisted together forming the desired connection. The problem with this is that it is primarily designed for use with electrical wire connections and is therefore not heavy enough for use with fence clips. Additionally, these wire nuts do not attach permanently to the twisted wire ends and are easily removed by reversing the rotation of the wire nut, by placing an outward force on the body of the wire nut, or can even fall off on their own over time. Thus, the use of commonly available wire nuts for the purpose of tying the legs of a fence wire clip together in the installation of a typical chain link fence is an inadequate solution to this problem.

[0007] Therefore, it can be seen that it would be desirable to provide a method of fastening the fencing fabric used in the construction of chain link fences to the posts that make up its frame in a manner that can be accomplished by the use of an easy and effective process that can be accomplished in significantly less time than the processes that were previously available. Additionally, that it would be desirable to provide such a method of attaching fencing fabric which employs the use of a device that both facilitates the connection of the wire clip's legs but also, in the attachment process, becomes permanently fixed on the end of the twisted wires to form a protective barrier which eliminates the possibility of injury or property damage posed by the exposed connection.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0008] It is the primary objective of the present invention to provide a means by which fencing fabric, commonly used in the construction of chain link fences, can be attached to fence posts which will utilize a preformed fence clip and fence clip nut to tie a strand of the fencing fabric to the fence post and effectively twist the legs of the fence clip together to secure the connection.

[0009] It is an additional objective of the present invention to provide such a fencing fabric connection means in which the fence clip nut is constructed in a manner which allows it to be employed to twist and tie the clip legs together quickly and easily to reduce the overall time that is generally required to construct such fences.

[0010] It is a further objective of the present invention to provide such a fencing fabric connection means in which the fence clip wire remains permanently on the twisted ends of the clip legs after the installation is complete to protect people and property from possible injury or damage due to contact with the sharp points of the clip legs.

[0011] It is a still further objective of the present invention to provide such a fencing fabric connection means that makes uniform and aesthetically pleasing connections which enhance the overall appearance of a chain link fence.

[0012] These objectives are accomplished by the use of a preformed fence clip and fence clip nut that are designed to tie the fence fabric of a chain link fence to the fence posts that make up its frame. It is important to note that the present invention is suitable for use with other types of fences or situations were wire clips need to be twisted, as such the contained reference to chain link fences are for illustrative simplicity. The fence clips used are generally circular in shape having an open end from which extend outward a pair of clip legs. The opening in the fence clip allows it to be slipped over the outer surface of a fence post resulting in the fence clip encircling the fence post and leaving the clip legs extending perpendicularly therefrom. During the process of passing the fence clip over the fence post, a strand of the fencing fabric is placed between the inner surface of the fence clip and the outer surface of the fence post. Therefore, when the fence clip is tightened down, the strand of the fencing fabric is secured to the fence post.

[0013] The extending clip legs are then engaged by the fence clip nut which is the component of the present invention employed to twist the clip legs together and synch down the clip over the fence post and fabric strand. The fence clip nut is a hexagonally shaped device that is primarily shaped like a common fastening nut but is elongated in its longitudinal axis. The fence clip nut is ideally fabricated out of high impact plastic such as ABS plastic, nylon or other material and is constructed with an opening on its lower surface and a closed upper surface. Additionally, the use of the high impact plastic in its construction allows the fence clip nut to be made in a wide variety of colors to match the color of the fence being installed resulting in a more ascetically pleasing construction as it will blend in with its surroundings.

[0014] The opening in the lower surface of the fence clip nut provides a point of entrance to its hollow interior which is the portion of the fence clip nut which is used to grasp and twist the fence clip legs. This interior is composed of a large centrally located body hole which is flanked on opposite sides by half circle wire holes. Additionally, the central body hole extends into the body of the fence clip nut to a depth (relative to its longitudinal axis) that is generally greater than half of its overall length while the two wire holes extend slightly beyond the terminal point of the central hole.

[0015] During the installation of the present invention, the two extending clip legs are inserted into the fence clip nut within the two wire holes and are extended to their ends beyond the end of the central body hole. The ends of the wire holes are separated from one another by the divider and provide a point of securement for each of the fence clip legs which will hold them stationary relative to the fence nut clip regardless of any motion imparted to its external surface. Once the fence clip nut is properly positioned, an external tool such as a socket and ratchet or drill is fitted on the nut rotation flats and rotational force is applied to the fence clip nut. This rotational force twists the central portion of the fence clip legs around each other because the position of the fence clip body on the fence post holds it stationary relative to the fence clip legs and the engagement of the ends of the fence clip legs in the wire holes which hold them stationary relative to the fence clip nut thereby imparting the rotational motion to the extending fence clip legs.

[0016] During the twisting motion described above, the entanglement of the two fence clip legs shortens their overall length. As the fence clip legs shorten, they pull out of the ends of the wire holes which releases them from their tie with the fence clip nut. However, this release of the fence clip legs does not allow the fence clip nut to be removed from the twisted section of the clip legs because, as a result of the twisting motion, their central portion expands to a degree that also expands the interior diameter of the fence clip nut in its central and forward portions. These expansions create an interior diameter at the forward portion of the central body hole that is greater than the diameter at its opening. This configuration provides a situation which allows the fence clip nut to freely rotate once the fence clip legs have pulled free from the wire holes while at the same time not allowing the fence clip nut to be removed from the twisted fence clip legs. This design of the present invention effectively and permanently covers the sharp ends of the fence clip legs which pose the potential danger that is the partial focus of the invention. Finally, it should be understood that this process may be reversed at any time prior to the clip legs being pulled from the wire holes.

[0017] For a better understanding of the present invention reference should be made to the drawings and the description in which there are illustrated and described preferred embodiments of the present invention.

DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0018] FIG. 1 is a top elevation view of an example of the prior art illustrating a specialized tool which is used to engage the extending legs of a fence clip to fasten strands of a fencing fabric to a fence post.

[0019] FIG. 2 is a top elevation view of the prior art illustrated in FIG. 1 which details the twisting of the fence clip legs during the attachment process.

[0020] FIG. 3 is a top elevation view of the prior art illustrated in FIG. 1 which details the configuration of the fence clip legs and the remaining components of the invention once the attachment process has been completed.

[0021] FIG. 4 is a perspective view of a section of a typical chain link fence illustrating the manner in which the present invention is employed to attach the fencing fabric to the fence posts.

[0022] FIG. 5 is a perspective elevation view of the fence clip nut component of the present invention illustrating the orientation of its major components.

[0023] FIG. 6 is a side elevation view of the fence clip nut of FIG. 5 and illustrates the configuration of the rotation flats in relation to its remaining components.

[0024] FIG. 7 is a bottom elevation view of the fence clip nut of FIG. 5 and illustrates the configuration of the central body hole and wire holes and their orientation in relation to the nut body.

[0025] FIG. 8 is side elevation cut-away view of the fence clip nut taken along line 3 of FIG. 7 and illustrates the configuration of the central body hole and wire holes in relation to the nut body.

[0026] FIG. 9 is a top elevation view of the circular post clip component of the present invention illustrating the construction of its clip body and extending clip legs.

[0027] FIG. 10 is a top elevation view of a circular fence clip as engaged to the outer surface of a fence post and illustrates the manner in which the fence clip is used to attach a strand of the fencing fabric.

[0028] FIG. 11 is a top elevation view of the circular fence clip of FIG. 10 and further illustrates the manner in which the fence clip nut engages the extending fence clip legs to synch up the fence clip around the outer surface of the fence post and secure the fabric strand.

[0029] FIG. 12 is a top elevation view of the circular fence clip of FIG. 10 with a cut-away view of the fence clip nut and illustrates the manner in which the fence clip nut engages the ends of the fence clip legs prior to rotational force being applied to the outer surfaces of the fence clip nut.

[0030] FIG. 13 is a top elevation view of the circular fence clip and cut-away view of the fence clip nut of FIG. 12 and illustrates the configuration of the present invention when the attachment process has been completed.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

[0031] Referring now to the drawings, and more specifically to FIGS. 1, 2, and 3 which illustrate an example of the prior art, a wire tie clip 10 is detailed which utilizes the use of a specialized tie implement 22 to attach a wire tie clip 10 and a fence fabric strand 18 to a fence post 20 during the construction of a chain link fence. This process is accomplished by placing the wire tie clip 10 around a fence post 20 in such a manner so that the fence fabric strands 18 are positioned between the outer surface of the fence post 20 and the clip body 16. Further, the clip sides 12 extend forward from the clip body 16 along either side of the fence post 20 and terminate in two clip legs 14 which in turn extend outward from the fence post 20 in a perpendicular fashion that leaves an open gap in the wire tie clip 10. This open gap between the extending clip legs 14 allows the wire tie clip 10 to be passed over the fence post 20 and thereby facilitates the tying of the fence fabric strands 18 to the fence post 20.

[0032] Once these components of the prior art have been properly positioned, the tie implement 22 is placed over the ends of the extending clip legs 14. The tie implement 22 is a device designed to work with a power tool such as an electric or battery operated drill which connects to a centrally located drive shaft 26. The drive shaft 26 extends forward from its rearward end to a point where it is attached to the central portion of a metallic disc 24 which itself contains two holes (not shown) that pass through its body from its front to rear surfaces. In the connection with the wire tie clip 10, the ends of the clip legs 14 are fed through these holes from its forward surface to its rearward. Once this has been accomplished, rotational force is applied to the drive shaft 26 which in turn rotates the disc 24 and the attached clip legs 14. This rotational force twists the clip legs 14 around one another which forms the tie twist 28 and synchs the clip body 16 around the outer surface of the fence post 20 which in turn secures the fence fabric strands 18 in the desired position relative to the fence post 20.

[0033] The configuration of a typical chain link fence 32 is illustrated in FIG. 4 which details the use of the present invention to tie the strands 34 of fencing fabric 33 to the horizontal and vertical fence posts, 36 and 38, that make up the frame 35 of the chain link fence 32. Typically, a chain link fence 32 is made up of a plurality of vertical fence posts 38 that are anchored into the ground and extend upward from that point. The upper ends of the vertical fence posts 38 are equipped with a post cap 40 which are in turn fitted with an upwardly extending post loop 42 which forms the point of attachment for the horizontal fence posts 36. The frame 35 of the chain link fence 32 is completed by feeding the horizontal fence posts 36 through the post loops 42 of the vertical fence posts 38 to tie them together. When this is completed, fencing fabric 33 is stretched over the frame 35 and tied to its components in a plurality of positions.

[0034] The tying of the fencing fabric 33 to the frame 35 of the chain link fence 32 is accomplished through the use of the present invention. The present invention is composed of the circular post clip 44 which physically ties the fencing fabric 33 to the frame 35 and the fence nut clip 30 which secures the circular post clip 44 in the desired location. The tying process is accomplished by employing the circular post clip 44 to secure individual strands 34 of the fencing fabric 33 to the vertical and horizontal fence posts, 36 and 38, to the frame 35. Once the circular post clips 44 are placed in the proper location, the fence clip nuts 30 are positioned on the extending clip legs 46 and synched up by the use of a ratchet 48 and socket 50, or other rotationally drive tool, to stretch the fencing fabric 33 over the frame 35 and complete the chain link fence 32.

[0035] The manner of construction of the fence clip nut 30 is further detailed in FIGS. 5, 6, and 7. The fence clip nut 30 is essentially a common hexagonal nut having a conically shaped upper nut body 52 which is closed off and which is constructed of high impact plastic such as ABS or nylon, although a wide variety of other materials may be used as needed. This design of the fence clip nut 30 creates a smooth surface which when coming into contact with people, animals, or property does not pose a threat of damage or injury. Additionally, the lower portion of the nut body 52 is equipped with a plurality of nut rotation flats 54 which provide surfaces upon which rotational force can be applied to the fence clip nut 30 as described above.

[0036] Additionally, the interior of the fence clip nut 30 is equipped with a central cavity 57 which extends longitudinally from the lower nut surface 60 to approximately two thirds of the overall length of the nut body 52. The central cavity 57 of the nut body 52 is made up of a relatively large central body hole 56 which extends into the nut body 52 to a point that is at or slightly beyond its midpoint and a pair of wire holes 58 that extend past the terminal end of the central body hole 56 to the full depth of the central cavity 57. Additionally, the configuration of the central cavity 57 is illustrated detailing the location of the central body hole 56 in relation to the wire holes 58 which extend outward on a lateral line from opposite outer edges of the central body hole 56. The central cavity 57 is the component of the fence clip nut 30 which is used to engage the clip legs 46 of the circular post clip 44 and its operational characteristics will be described in further detail in the text below.

[0037] The interior construction of the fence clip nut 30 and the configuration of the circular post clip 44 are further detailed in FIGS. 8 and 9. The circular post clip 44 is made up of a performed piece of relatively heavy gauge wire having a clip body 64 that is formed in a circular fashion to match the general shape of the outer surface of the horizontal post 36 (used for illustrative purposes). Additionally, the circular post clip 44 is also fashioned with a pair of laterally extending clip legs 46 which break the circle formed by the clip body 64 leaving a clip gap 47 which allows the circular post clip 44 to be passed over the horizontal fence post 36.

[0038] As described above, the central cavity 57 of the fence clip nut 30 is made up of a central body hole 56 and a pair of laterally oriented wire holes 58 which are further detailed in FIG. 8. The purpose of the wire holes 58 and the reason that they extend further into the fence clip nut 30 than the central body hole 56 is to provide a point of anchorage for the outer ends of the clip legs 46 when the fence clip nut 30 is initially attached to the clip legs 46. Additionally, the upper ends of the wire holes 58 are separated by the divider 68 which isolates the upper ends of the two wire holes 58 from one another and adds further stability to the securement of the clip legs 46 during the installation process. Finally, the lower edges of the central cavity 57 are equipped with a opening taper 62 at their junction with the lower nut surface 60 which aid in the insertion of the clip legs 46 into the central cavity 57 as they limit any tendency of the clip legs 46 to snag or catch on the lower nut surface 60.

[0039] The manner in which the present invention is employed to attach a fabric strand 34 to a horizontal post 36 is further detailed in FIGS. 10, 11, 12, and 13 which illustrate the relative positions of the fabric strand 34 in relation to the circular post clip 44 and the manner in which the fence clip nut 30 is employed to secure the circular post clip 44 to the horizontal post 36. Initially, the clip body 64 is slipped over the horizontal post 36 through the use of the clip gap 47 in a manner that engages a fabric strand 34 in the desired fashion. With this accomplished, the circular post clip 44 is rotated so that the fabric strand 34 or chain link is contained within a space between the inner surface of the circular post clip 44 and the outer surface of the circular post clip 44. Then the clip gap 47 is closed by pinching the clip legs 46 together which in turn allows the fence clip nut 30 to be fitted over the extending clip legs 46 in a manner so that they engage the wire holes as previously described.

[0040] With the fence nut clip 30 properly positioned in relation to the clip legs 46, rotational force is applied to the exterior of the fence clip nut 30 which imparts a twisting motion to the clip legs 46. This twisting motion results in the two clip legs 46 being twisted around one another forming the clip twist 66 within the cental cavity 57 of the fence clip nut 30. As the clip legs 46 become twisted together their overall length shortens which results in their ends being released from their forward portions of the wire holes 58. This results in the fence clip nut 30 being released from its ties with the clip legs 46 and it is therefore capable of freely rotating without imparting any motion to the clip twist 66. Additionally, the twisting action of the clip legs 46 tends to expand the outer diameter of the clip twist 66 which in turn slightly expands the inner diameter of the central cavity 57 at its middle and forward portions while leaving the diameter at its opening in the lower nut surface 60 substantially the same. The result of this process is that, while the fence clip nut 30 may be able to rotate on the clip twist 66, it cannot be removed from the completed attachment. This feature of the present invention is pivotal to its operation as it provides a permanent means of protection for the sharp edges left after the joining of the clip legs 46.

[0041] Although the present invention has been described in considerable detail with reference to certain preferred versions thereof, other versions are possible. Therefore, the spirit and scope of the appended claims should not be limited to the description of the preferred versions contained herein.