Title:
Tool tray
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
There is provided a portable tool tray featuring an elongate rigid support frame having at least two opposing vertical frame members. The vertical frame members each define a hollow frame compartment for receiving multiple tools therewithin. The tool tray also features a plurality of fitting/component containers each connected to the vertical frame members. Each of the fitting containers define a hollow container compartment for receiving commonly used fittings and/or components therewithin. The tool tray is sized so as to be able to fit through conventional 16 inch construction stud openings.



Inventors:
Thayer, Thomas (Carlsbad, CA, US)
Application Number:
10/795694
Publication Date:
09/08/2005
Filing Date:
03/08/2004
Assignee:
THAYER THOMAS
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
206/349
International Classes:
B65D85/28; (IPC1-7): B65D85/28
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
POLLICOFF, STEVEN B
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Kit M. Stetina, Esq. (Aliso Viejo, CA, US)
Claims:
1. A portable tool tray adapted to transport tools and fittings through openings formed between studs of a structure, the tool tray comprising: an elongated and rigid support frame having at least two opposing vertical frame members, each of the vertical frame members defining a hollow frame compartment for receiving the tools therewithin; a plurality of connected fitting containers connected to the vertical frame members, each of the fitting containers defining a hollow container compartment for receiving the fittings therewithin; and wherein a tray size of the tool tray is generally smaller than each of the openings for allowing the tool tray to fit therethrough and transport the tools and fittings between the studs of the structure.

2. The tool tray of claim 1 wherein the support frame is fabricated from plastic.

3. The tool tray of claim 1 wherein each of the vertical frame members have a generally tubular configuration.

4. The tool tray of claim 1 wherein the support frame has an elongated horizontal frame member extended between the vertical frame members, the horizontal frame member being graspable by a user when carrying the tool tray.

5. The tool tray of claim 4 wherein the horizontal frame member is connected to the vertical frame members in a manner as to be elevated over the fitting containers.

6. The tool tray of claim 4 wherein the horizontal frame member has a generally tubular configuration.

7. The tool tray of claim 4 wherein the horizontal frame member and the vertical frame members are unitarily formed with each other.

8. The tool tray of claim 1 wherein each of the fitting containers have a generally cylindrical configuration.

9. The tool tray of claim 1 wherein each of the fitting containers are fabricated from plastic.

10. The tool tray of claim 1 wherein each of the fitting containers are connected to each other via an adhesive.

11. The tool tray of claim 1 wherein the fitting containers are connected to the vertical frame members via an adhesive.

12. The tool tray of claim 1 wherein each of the tool containers further comprise a container lid configured to releasably engage and seal an open top end thereof.

13. The tool tray of claim 1 wherein the vertical frame members each have a frame height and the fitting containers each have a container height, each of the frame heights being substantially taller than each of the container heights.

14. The tool tray of claim 1 wherein the fitting containers are generally positioned around the support frame and disposing the vertical frame members therebetween.

15. The tool tray of claim 1 wherein the tray size includes a tray length and each of the openings define an opening width between the studs, the tray length being generally shorter than the opening widths.

16. The tool tray of claim 15 wherein the tray size further includes a tray width, the tray width being generally narrower than the opening widths.

17. The tool tray of claim 16 wherein the each of the opening widths are approximately 16 inches.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

(Not Applicable)

STATEMENT RE: FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH/DEVELOPMENT

(Not Applicable)

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates generally to tool trays, and more particularly to an improved tool tray which is compact in size (i.e., length, width and height) to easily fit through conventional building construction 16″ stud openings while featuring a plurality of fitting/component containers and tubular vertical frame members, each utilized for holding and transporting various types of fittings, tools and the like.

Workers such as plumbers, typically require a number of commonly used tools, fittings and components to timely and successfully complete their everyday tasks. For instance, plumbers frequently use tools such as pipe cutters, wrenches, levels and hammers in relation to performing their plumbing tasks. Similarly, plumbers typically use commonly used fittings and/or components such as elbows, couplers, tees and the like which must be continuously inventoried and transported to the job site. In order to carry all the tools necessary for installing and/or repairing plumbing, plumbers oftentimes resort to the use of wearing tool belts or using large and bulky tool boxes.

Although conventional tool belts or boxes may achieve to a limited extent their general intended purpose, they are characterized by numerous deficiencies which detract from their overall utility. For example, a traditional tool belt is severely limited in size and carries only a few tools and/or fittings. As such, the plumber must constantly walk back and forth between the job site and tool source, typically a work van or truck. This obviously leads to unneeded fatigue and substantial waste in productive time which diminishes work performance and efficiency. Furthermore, the plumber may be subjected to additional fatigue due to constantly carrying the weight of prior art tool belts and the tools around the plumber's waist.

Traditional tool boxes, although having a greater storage capacity, are typically very bulky and heavy and often must be transported on casters. Due to their bulky size and weight, such prior art tool boxes typically cannot easily fit through conventional 16 inch stud spacings (i.e., openings) and oftentimes must be left in an open space upon the job site, thereby requiring the plumber to similarly walk back and forth to the stationary tool box.

Thus, there exists a substantial need in the construction trades, and in the plumbing and/or electrical trades in particular, for a tool carrying device that can hold and carry a variety of commonly used types of tools, fittings and components throughout a construction job site without imposing any significant physical burden on its user. More importantly, there exists a substantial need for a tool carrying device which can easily and readily fit through 16″ wooden stud openings without any significant maneuvering or significant manipulation in orientation of the same while carrying necessary tools and components throughout a construction job site.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention specifically addresses and alleviates the above-referenced deficiencies associated with the prior art tool belts and/or tool boxes. More particularly, the present invention comprises an improved tool tray which is specifically sized to conveniently and readily fit through conventional 16″ stud openings while featuring a multiplicity of fitting/component containers and tool holding tubular vertical frame members configured to hold most commonly used fitting and/or tools.

Although specifically adapted for use in the plumbing trade, the tool tray of the present invention is additionally suitable for all construction trades including, but not limited to, electrical, mechanical and mill work. For purposes of this application, the term “plumbing” shall be defined to include any and all such construction trades.

The tool tray of the present invention features a horizontal elongate support frame which is preferably fabricated from a rigid tubular material such as PVC and/or ABS plastic pipe. The support frame comprises two opposing vertical frame members and a horizontal frame member which extends therebetween.

Due to their tubular construction, the interior of the two vertical frame members form elongate frame compartments in which various commonly used plumbing tools such as hammers, levels, wrenches, pipe cutters, coilable rulers and the like can be inserted and carried.

In accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention, the tool tray of the present invention further includes a plurality of fitting/component containers for inventory and organizing commonly used fittings and/or fasteners such as elbows, couplings, tees, solder, flux, screws, pipe joint compound and the like. In the preferred embodiment, each of the fitting/component containers is formed of PVC and/or ABS pipe to include a generally cylindrical configuration having an open top end and a closed bottom end. Complimentary shaped container lids may be utilized to releasably close the top end of the containers and prevent any fittings and/or fasteners from inadvertently spilling from the containers. Suitable indicia indicating the contents of each container may be provided on the containers or lids to signify the contents in each container (i.e., ½″ nipples, ¾″ couplings and the like).

In the preferred embodiment of the present invention, the fitting/component containers are connected with each other and to the frame members in a parallel row configuration by suitable ABS/PVC adhesive. However, other fastening means are contemplated herein such as conventional mechanical fasteners and/or welding techniques.

Each of the vertical frame members preferably extends upwardly above each of containers such that the horizontal frame member functions as a handle bar to enable lifting and carrying of the tool tray. The height of the present tool tray is defined by the height of the vertical frame members, while the width of the tool tray is defined by the tool containers as they surround the support frame. Preferably, the width and/or length of the present tool tray are each sized less than 16 inches. By such size, the tool tray of the present invention may freely pass through conventional 16″ construction stud openings without any significant maneuvering or manipulation in orientation so as to be easily transported to the desired job location.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

These as well as other features of the present invention will become more apparent upon reference to the drawings wherein:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a tool tray constructed in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention and illustrating a plurality of connected fitting/component containers disposed around and connected to its tubular support frame;

FIG. 2 is a top view of the tool tray shown in FIG. 1 and illustrating two opposing vertical frame members of its support frame each having an open top end;

FIG. 3 is a side view of the tool tray shown in FIG. 2 and illustrating an elongated horizontal frame member of its support frame which extends between the two opposing vertical frame members; and

FIG. 4 is an end view of the tool tray shown in FIG. 2 and illustrating endmost fitting/component containers.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Referring now to the drawings wherein the showings are for purposes of illustrating preferred embodiments of the present invention only, and not for purposes of limiting the same, FIG. 1 perspectively illustrates a tool tray 10 constructed in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention. As indicated above, the present tool tray 10 is specifically sized to readily fit through conventional 16″ construction stud openings and features a plurality of fitting/component containers 12 and tubular vertical frame members 14.

Referring more particularly to FIGS. 1 and 3, the tool tray 10 of the present invention includes a horizontal elongate support frame 18. The support frame 18 is preferably fabricated from a rigid tubular material such as PVC and/or ABS plastic pipe. The support frame 18 is comprised of two opposing vertical frame members 14 and a horizontal frame member 20. The horizontal frame member 20 is horizontally extended between the two opposing vertical frame members 14.

Referring now to FIGS. 1 and 2, each of the two vertical frame members 14 have an interior which form an elongate frame compartment 32. The elongate frame compartments 32 are used to accommodate and carry various commonly used plumbing tools such as hammers, levels, wrenches, pipe cutters, coilable rulers and the like.

As mentioned above, the tool tray 10 of the present invention further includes a plurality of fitting/component containers 12 which are provided to inventory and organize commonly used fittings and/or fasteners such as elbows, couplings, tees, solder, flux, screws, pipe joint compound and the like. Each of the fitting/component containers 12 are preferably formed of PVC and/or ABS pipe to include a generally cylindrical configuration having an open top end 40 and a closed bottom end 42.

Referring now to FIG. 3, complimentary shaped container lids 48 may be used to selectively close the top end 40 of the containers 12 so as to prevent any fittings and/or fasteners from spilling from the containers 12. Moreover, suitable indicia which indicates the contents of each container 12 may be provided on the container 12 or lids 48 to signify the contents in each container 12 (i.e., ½″ nipples, ¾″ couplings and the like).

Referring now to FIGS. 1, 3 and 4, the fitting/component containers 12 which are provided in the present invention are connected with each other and to the vertical frame members 14 in a parallel row configuration. Even though the containers 12 may become connected in any fashion (e.g., fasteners, welding, etc.), it is preferred that suitable ABS/PVC adhesive is used for such connection.

As illustrated in FIGS. 1, 3 and 4, each of the vertical frame members 14 preferably extend upwardly above each of the fitting/component containers 12. This allows the horizontal frame member 20 to function as a handle bar to lift and carry the tool tray 10 of the present invention. In this respect, the height 52 of the present tool tray 10 is defined by the height of the vertical frame members 14. The width 54 of the present tool tray 10 is defined by the tool containers 12 as they surround the support frame 18. In the preferred embodiment, the width 54 and/or length 56 of the present tool tray 10 are each sized less than 16 inches. Such size allows the tool tray 10 of the present invention to freely pass through conventional 16″ construction stud openings without any significant maneuvering or manipulation in orientation so as to be easily transported to the desired job location.

Additional modifications and improvements of the present invention may also be apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art. Thus, the particular combination of parts described and illustrated herein is intended to represent only certain embodiments of the present invention, and is not intended to serve as limitations of alternative devices within the spirit and scope of the invention.