Title:
HOLDER FOR STORING AIR GUNS AND OTHER HAND TOOLS
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A portable holder for storing air guns and other hand tools is disclosed. In a preferred embodiment, the holder comprises: a generally-tubular body having two open ends, one of which is flared; a slit or gullet on one side of the body and extending longitudinally from the flared open end of the body partway down the body; and a plurality of magnetic discs or feet for removably, yet securely attaching the holder to a workstation having a ferrous surface. A related process for storing such tools comprises: orienting a generally tubular holder adjacent a workstation's metal side; removably affixing the holder to that metal surface by at least one magnet; slipping the particular tool into a flared end of the holder; and guiding a portion of the tool, such as an attached air hose or the tool handle, into a gullet of the holder to rest the tool and orient the hose or handle for easy retrieval of the tool from the holder.



Inventors:
Yorns, Mark W. (Longmeadow, MA, US)
Tremblay, Thomas C. (Concord, MA, US)
Donovan, Brian T. (Belchertown, MA, US)
Fletcher, James W. (Wilbraham, MA, US)
Downey, William T. (Boston, MA, US)
Application Number:
10/907169
Publication Date:
10/06/2005
Filing Date:
03/23/2005
Assignee:
GUARDAIR CORPORATION (Chicopee, MA, US)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
248/206.5
International Classes:
A47G1/17; B25H3/00; (IPC1-7): A47G1/17
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Primary Examiner:
WOOD, KIMBERLY T
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
HOLLAND & BONZAGNI, P.C. (LONGMEADOW, MA, US)
Claims:
1. A process of storing a pneumatic tool, comprising the steps of: a. orienting a generally tubular holder adjacent a workstation's metal side; b. removably affixing the holder to that metal surface by at least one magnet; c. slipping the tool into a flared end of the holder; and d. guiding an air hose of the tool into a gullet of the holder to rest the hose and orient the tool for easy retrieval of the tool from the holder.

2. A process of storing a safety air gun, comprising the sequential steps of: a. orienting a generally tubular holder adjacent a flat ferrous surface; b. removably affixing the holder to that ferrous surface by at least one magnet; c. slipping a distal end of the air gun into a flared end of the holder; and d. guiding an air hose of the air gun into a gullet of the holder to rest the hose and orient the air gun for easy retrieval of the air gun from the holder.

3. The process of claim 2 wherein the ferrous surface is the metal side of a machine.

4. The process of claim 3 wherein the ferrous surface is the metal side of a workstation.

5. A process of storing a tool, comprising the sequential steps of: a. orienting a generally tubular holder adjacent a flat ferrous surface; b. removably affixing the holder to that ferrous surface by at least one magnet; c. slipping the tool into a flared end of the holder; and d. guiding a portion of the tool into a gullet of the holder to rest the portion and orient the tool for easy retrieval of the tool from the holder.

6. The process of claim 5 wherein the portion of the tool is a handle of the air gun.

7. The process of claim 5 wherein the ferrous surface is the metal side of a machine.

8. The process of claim 5 wherein the ferrous surface is the metal side of a workstation.

9. A portable holder for storing air guns, wherein the holder comprises: a. a generally tubular body having two open ends, wherein at least one end is flared; b. a gullet on the body extending from the flared open end toward the other open end; and c. magnetic connector means for removably attaching the holder to a ferrous surface, wherein the connector means comprises at least one magnet attached to the body.

10. The holder of claim 9 wherein the connector means comprises a plurality of magnetic discs attached to stanchions extending from the body.

11. A portable holder for storing a tool comprising: a. a generally tubular body having a first, flared open end and a second, open end; b. a gullet in the body to assist a user in removing a tool from the holder, wherein the gullet extends longitudinally from the flared end; and c. magnetic connector means for removably attaching the holder to a ferrous surface on a workstation, wherein the connector means comprise at least one magnet attached to the body.

Description:

This Utility patent application is based upon an earlier Provisional Patent Application, Ser. No. 60/558,664, filed Apr. 1, 2004. Applicants claim the benefit of priority from the Provisional Application.

FIELD

The present invention relates to devices and processes for holding or storing hand tools.

BACKGROUND

In an industrial setting, the typical workstation (e.g., a workbench, or a large, fixed machine tool or other manufacturing/processing device) includes one or more portable or semi-portable hand tools. These may range from pneumatic devices such as air guns (for cleaning/clearing the machine tool), which are powered by pressurized air delivered through air hoses, to hand tools (e.g., brushes, pliers, wrenches), to electric-powered devices (e.g., sanders, hand drills).

Because such tools are only used from time to time, but need to be called upon regularly and quickly, the tools are typically stored near the workstations where they are commonly used. Shelves or other storage units may be used for such a purpose. However, if space is at a premium, or the tools are unwieldy, or they are attached to air hoses or electric cords, or need to be stored at the machine, shelves may not provide an optimal solution.

For some hand tools, storage/holder devices are sometimes “home-built” (e.g., hooks/hangers are attached to the side of a workstation for tool storage). However, this requires that such hooks/hangers be fabricated, and oftentimes requires a permanent modification of the workstation to accommodate the hooks. Also, the hooks/hangers may not be adequately secured (or securable) for workplace safety. Their protrusions pose hazards of entanglement or cutting. Moreover, such hooks/hangers are often of limited versatility and are only useful for certain types of tools, namely, those incorporating hooks, eyelets or the like.

Accordingly, a primary object of the present invention is to provide a holder for storing air guns and other hand tools that is: portable; easily secured to a workstation or machine in different orientations; secure, sturdy, and safe; and that can be used for a wide variety of different types of hand tools.

It is a more specific object of the invention to provide a portable, magnetic holder for storing air guns.

It is another object to provide a related process for storing hand tools, in a magnetic holder, for easy retrieval.

SUMMARY

A portable holder for storing air guns and other hand tools is disclosed. In a preferred embodiment, the holder comprises: a generally-tubular body having two open ends, one of which is flared; a slit or gullet on one side of the body and extending longitudinally from the flared open end of the body partway down the body; and a plurality of magnetic discs or feet for removably, yet securely attaching the holder to a workstation having a ferrous surface.

In use, the user chooses how to orient the holder, and then places the discs against the workstation's metal side. This holds the body in place. A tool can subsequently be stored in the body by slipping the tool into the holder's flared end. The gullet provides a side clearance space/opening through which certain portions of the tool, or other attachments, e.g., an air hose, may be placed. The gullet also provides a way to orient the tool—the handle and/or trigger portion of the tool are naturally guided into the gullet when the tool is inserted. This consistent orientation facilitates quick, easy tool retrieval.

DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a top plan view of a holder for storing air guns and certain other tools according to the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a side elevation view of the holder of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of the holder attached to the side of a machine tool/workstation and in use holding a pneumatic tool; and

FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional partial view of the holder assembly.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

FIGS. 1-3 show a preferred embodiment of a portable holder 10 for storing air guns and other tools. In the preferred embodiment, the holder 10 comprises a generally-tubular body 12 having a first, flared open end 14, a second open end 16, and a hollow interior 18. A slit or gullet 20 is located on one “side” of the holder body 12, and extends from the flared end 14 of the body 12 partway longitudinally down the body. Magnetic connector means (e.g., discs 22a, 22b) for removably attaching the holder 10 to a workstation 24 are attached to the body 12 on the side opposite the gullet 20.

The portable holder is marketed under the trademark, GUNSLINGER™, by the Guardair Corporation of Chicopee, Mass.

The preferred body 12 includes stanchions 26a, 26b (see FIGS. 1-2) to facilitate attachment of the connector means 22a, 22b to the body 12 and to offset the holder 10 from the workstation 24. The stanchions 26a, 26b, like body 12, are currently made of stainless steel. They are integrally cast with the body 12. Alternatively, stanchions 26a, 26b could be separate articles attached by standard fasteners (e.g., bolts or adhesive).

In the illustrated embodiment, stanchions 26a, 26b have central stems and base housings or rims 28a, 28b. The rims resemble flat, round feet.

Connector means 22a, 22b are magnetic discs (i.e., round magnets) housed inside the rims 28a, 28b. The discs are attached inside the rims by magnetic force, currently aided by adhesive (though adhesive may be unnecessary). The magnets 22a, 22b are level with the bottoms of the rims 28a, 28b.

The preferred magnets 22a, 22b have central holes (e.g., 30a). As best shown in FIG. 4, pan head screws 32a, 32b pass through central holes (see FIG. 4) in stanchions 26a, 26b, through central holes in the rims 28a, 28b, and into the magnet holes (e.g., 30a). The screws are then tightened down by locknuts 34a, 34b inside the larger holes of the magnets. This tightens the rims 28a, 28b against the stanchions 26a, 26b. Screw 32a can be reached through an access hole 35 in body 12, while screw 28b is accessible through the gullet 20.

Alternatively, connector means 22a, 22b could be attached to stanchions 26a, 26b by other standard fasteners (e.g., adhesive or rivets). Similar connector means could instead be attached directly to the body, without any stanchions in-between.

In euphemistic terms, the body 12 and stanchions 26a, 26b resemble a fishing rod holder, while the connector means 22a, 22b can be thought of as magnetic feet.

Referring to FIGS. 1-2, the body 12 may be provided in different dimensions, but will typically be about 1-4″ in diameter and about 6″-24″ in length. Also, the gullet 20 can be of any size as desired, but will typically be at least ½″ wide for accommodating air hoses, triggers, or the like. The body 12 is preferably made of stainless steel. However, it could be made from any number of other materials, including plastic and wood.

Currently, the holder body 12 and stanchions 26a, 26b are integrally formed, with the rims 28a, 28b being separate. They could, of course, be molded or cast together, with the magnets being added later.

In use, as shown in FIG. 3, the portable holder 10 is simply, easily, and quickly attached to the side of any ferrous flat surface, such as illustrated workstation 24, by way of the connector means 22a, 22b. Where magnetic discs are used, the body 12 is positioned against the workstation 24 with the discs 22a, 22b contacting the workstation's metal side and holding the body in place. For storage, a tool 36 (here, a pneumatic impact wrench) is simply slipped into the flared end 14 of the holder 10. The gullet 20 provides a side clearance space or opening through which certain portions of the tool, or other attachments, e.g., an air hose 38, may be positioned, if needed or desired. As should be appreciated, the preferred holder 10 may be oriented in any manner depending on the needs of the user, and may be repositioned or reattached to other ferrous objects.

Instead of the second open end 16, the body 12 may have a closed end; however, having two open ends allows particularly long tools to be stored in the holder 10.

In another preferred embodiment, not shown, a second gullet is added to the opposite “side” of flared end 14. Both gullets are aligned to facilitate gripping and removal of the tool by a user. In addition, the currently non-flared end 16 would also be flared.

The invention can also be though of as a process for storing tools. In the preferred process, the steps comprise: orienting a generally tubular holder adjacent a workstation's metal side; removably affixing the holder to that metal surface by at least one magnet; slipping the tool into a flared end of the holder; and guiding a handle or air hose of the tool into a gullet of the holder to rest the tool in a convenient orientation for easy retrieval of the tool from the holder.

Since certain changes may be made in the above-described holder (e.g., different materials can be used), and related process, for storing air guns and other tools, without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention herein involved, it is intended that all of the subject matter of the above description or shown in the accompanying drawings shall be interpreted merely as examples illustrating the inventive concept herein and shall not be construed as limiting the invention.