Title:
Portable tool tray with wind blocker
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The portable tool tray with wind blocker is a portable rectangular frame with a tray screen forming its bottom and also including a wind blocker that can be stored inside the tool tray or affixed in an upright position perpendicular to the tray to shield the worker from the wind. The wind blocker is stored inside the tray by being slid along tracks that are cut along the lower portion of the tray frame or being inserted within slots laterally defined within the sidewalls of the tray frame. The tray frame may have a faceplate that is of lesser height than the rest of the tray frame to allow the wind blocker to be slid into the tray frame. The wind blocker is equipped with sliders that allow the wind blocker to be slid along the tracks or into the slots defined within the sidewalls.



Inventors:
Silvas, Romero M. (San Angelo, TX, US)
Hinman, Eric (Quebra Dillas, PR, US)
Application Number:
11/097314
Publication Date:
10/13/2005
Filing Date:
04/04/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47F7/00; B25H3/06; (IPC1-7): A47F7/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
REYNOLDS, STEVEN ALAN
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Richard C. Litman (Alexandria, VA, US)
Claims:
1. A portable tool tray with wind blocker, comprising: a tray frame having an end wall and a pair of parallel sidewalls extending from opposing ends of the end wall, defining a substantially U-shaped tray frame having an open end and a lower edge; a flange extending inwardly from the lower edge of the U-shaped tray frame; a wire mesh screen removably disposed on the inwardly extending flange and forming a bottom wall of the tool tray; a wind blocker; and means for slidably disposing the wind blocker screen between the sidewalls of the U-shaped tray frame.

2. The portable tool tray with wind blocker according to claim 1, wherein the sidewalls have slots defined therein, the means for sliding including a plurality of sliders attached to the wind blocker and slidably disposed in the slots.

3. The portable tool tray with wind blocker according to claim 2, wherein the slots extend axially through the sidewalls, defining opposing tracks.

4. The portable tool tray with wind blocker according to claim 2, wherein the slots extend transversely through the sidewalls.

5. The portable tool tray with wind blocker according to claim 1, further comprising a faceplate removably attached to the open end of the U-shaped tray frame.

6. The portable tray with wind blocker according to claim 1, wherein the wire mesh screen is made from expandable metal.

7. The portable tool tray with wind blocker according to claim 1, wherein the wind blocker comprises a frame and a blocker screen disposed within the frame.

8. The portable tool tray with wind blocker according to claim 7, wherein the screen is made from wire mesh.

9. The portable tool tray with wind blocker according to claim 1, wherein the wind blocker is a solid plate.

10. The portable tool tray with wind blocker according to claim 9, wherein the wind blocker is made of aluminum.

11. The portable tool tray with wind blocker according to claim 9, wherein said solid plate has an aperture defined therein adapted for receiving a finger.

12. A portable tool tray, comprising: a tray frame having an end wall and a pair of parallel sidewalls extending from opposing ends of the end wall defining a substantially U-shaped tray frame having an open end and a lower edge; a flange extending inwardly from the lower edge of the U-shaped tray frame; a wire mesh screen removably disposed on the inwardly extending flange and forming a bottom wall of the tool tray; a wind blocker having a pair of sliders attached to and extending laterally from an end thereof; a pair of tracks defined longitudinally within the sidewalls of the U-shaped tray frame, the sliders being slidably disposed within the tracks.

13. The portable tool tray according to claim 12, further comprising a faceplate removably attached to the open end of the U-shaped tray frame.

14. The portable tray with according to claim 12, wherein the wire mesh screen is made from expandable metal.

15. The portable tool tray according to claim 12, wherein the wind blocker comprises a frame and a blocker screen disposed within the frame.

16. The portable tool tray according to claim 15, wherein the blocker screen is made from wire mesh.

17. A portable tool tray, comprising: a tray frame having an end wall and a pair of parallel sidewalls extending from opposing ends of the end wall, defining a substantially U-shaped tray frame having an open end and a lower edge, the sidewalls having a pair of slots normal to the lower edge defined therein at the open end of the frame; a flange extending inwardly from the lower edge of the U-shaped tray frame; a wire mesh screen removably disposed on the inwardly extending flange and forming a bottom wall of the tool tray; and a wind blocker having a pair of sliders attached to and extending laterally from an end thereof, the sliders being slidably disposed in the slots.

18. The portable tool tray with wind blocker according to claim 17, further comprising a faceplate removably attached to the open end of the U-shaped tray frame.

19. The portable tool tray with wind blocker according to claim 17, wherein the wind blocker comprises a solid plate.

20. The portable tool tray with wind blocker according to claim 19, wherein said plate has an aperture defined therein adapted for receiving a finger.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/560,696, filed Apr. 9, 2004.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to a tool tray, and more particularly to a lightweight tool tray that is equipped with a windscreen that shields the worker when deployed and that is stowed in the tool tray when not in use.

2. Description of the Related Art

Mariners working aboard commercial cargo vessels and tankers frequently must work on deck, sometimes in adverse weather conditions. Mariners, particularly mariners working as tankermen, spend much of their day on deck exposed to the elements. The confined nature of a ship means that it is essential for a tankerman to have a place to set his tools and the components of whatever piece of machinery or piping he is working on. Some solutions have included bags and buckets. Buckets present the problem that often the bucket cannot be placed underneath pipe manifolds because the piping gets in the way. Tool bags are not satisfactory, since they get oil and grease on them and are difficult to clean.

Tankerman often use drip pans for many of the jobs they might be assigned on deck. The benefits of a drip pan are that the tools are easily accessible and can be confined in a designated area. Tools or disassembled components may be oily, and by placing them in the drip pan the tankerman can avoid making a mess. A drip pan or tool tray is particularly helpful on a ship where a tool or loose part has the possibility of rolling away due to the unstable nature of a ship at sea. A tool or part that gets away from the tankerman might fall below a grating, be difficult to retrieve, and exposes the tankerman to potential injury.

Another aspect of work aboard a commercial cargo vessel or tanker is exposure to the wind. Many conventional solutions to this problem, such as hanging tarps or putting up windscreens, are ill suited for use aboard ship where workspaces are often confined. The relevant art does not reveal a tool tray that has a relatively small windscreen adapted to shield only one worker. There have been a variety of drip pans, tool trays, and screens for general purpose use and for particular applications with various advantages and disadvantages.

U.S. Design Pat. No. 220,637, issued May 4, 1971 to James B. Swett et al., shows a drainer tray that does not have a windscreen. U.S. Pat. No. 477,137, issued Jun. 14, 1892 to W. H. Mesick, teaches a sink and rack where the rack folds up to rest on the side of the sink when not in use. U.S. Pat. No. 894,938, issued Aug. 4, 1908 to Martha E. Brockman, describes a dish drainer adapted to be placed in a sink. U.S. Pat. No. 1,389,908, issued Sep. 6, 1921 to Harry Shults et al., discloses a dish drainer adapted to rest on top of a sink.

U.S. Pat. No. 1,587,693, issued Jun. 8, 1926 to Edith M. Beland et al., shows an attachment for sinks that makes a table or stand out of a sink. U.S. Pat. No. 2,715,284, issued Aug. 16, 1955 to Alfonso P. Molina, teaches a drain tray adapted for the rapid drying of dishes and glassware. U.S. Pat. No. 2,994,463, issued Aug. 1, 1961 to Clarence Drader, describes a bread carrier that is collapsible for easy storage. U.S. Pat. No. 3,003,248, issued Oct. 10, 1961 to William W. Wittie shows a sweater dryer and blocker that is a foldable rack that permits drying multiple sweaters at the same time. U.S. Pat. No. 3,385,453, issued May 28, 1968 to Angelo F. Dantino et al., teaches an adjustable display rack that is designed for the presentation of foodstuffs. U.S. Pat. No. 3,388,808, issued Jun. 18, 1968 to John R. Radek, describes a collapsible display tray for the display of merchandise. U.S. Pat. No. 4,169,532, issued Oct. 2, 1979 to Umberto Scapellati, discloses a parts tray with a screen over a pan, but does not include a windscreen.

U.S. Pat. No. 4,453,529, issued Jun. 12, 1984 to Fredric J. Spencer et al., shows a portable grill that features a detachable shelf. U.S. Pat. No. 4,569,327, issued Feb. 11, 1986 to S. Dean Velten, teaches a collapsible folding barbecue unit featuring adjustable grilling units. U.S. Pat. No. 5,213,221, issued May 25, 1993 to Charles E. T. Ray, Sr., describes a folding drying rack. U.S. Pat. No. 5,232,035, issued Aug. 3, 1993 to Joseph E. Adams, Jr., discloses a tire changing tool and workstand featuring a wire mesh parts tray in a metal frame.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,671,857, issued Sep. 30, 1997 to Per Sigmund Stromberg, shows a collapsible container that is stackable when assembled. U.S. Pat. No. 5,772,047, issued Jun. 30, 1998 to Paul Bostjancic, teaches a stationary service bench with tool panel. U.S. Pat. No. 6,497,331 B1, issued Dec. 24, 2002 to Ivano Morandi describes a metal wire shelf with collapsible sides, particularly for trolleys and the like. German Patent No. 3,121,362, published on Dec. 16, 1982, discloses a device for cleaning hand tools featuring a wire screen over a drip pan. German Patent No. 3,200,283, published on Jul. 14, 1983, shows a collapsible grill that has an upright wire mesh portion that supports a spit.

None of the above inventions and patents, taken either singly or in combination, is seen to describe the instant invention as claimed. Thus a portable tool tray with a wind blocker solving the aforementioned problems is desired.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The portable tool tray with wind blocker is a portable rectangular frame with a tray screen forming its bottom and also including a wind blocker that can either be stored inside the tool tray or affixed in an upright position perpendicular to the tool tray to shield the worker from the wind. The wind blocker is stored inside the tool tray by being slid along tracks that are cut along the lower portion of the tray frame or by being inserted within slots laterally defined within sidewalls of the tray frame. The tray frame has a faceplate that is of lesser height than the rest of the tray frame to allow the wind blocker to be slid into the tray frame. The wind blocker is equipped with sliders that allow the wind blocker to be slid along the tracks cut into the tray frame or to be slid into the slots within the sidewalls.

Accordingly, it is a principal object of the invention to provide the tankerman with an efficient, centralized location to keep his tools and disassembled components when working on a specific task.

It is another object of the invention to provide a tankerman with the means to shield himself from wind and flying spray when working on deck.

Still another object of the invention is to increase the productivity of a worker, particularly shipboard personnel, with a tool tray and attachable wind blocker that increases efficiency and also provides for safer working conditions.

It is an object of the invention to provide improved elements and arrangements thereof for the purposes described which is inexpensive, dependable and fully effective in accomplishing its intended purposes.

These and other objects of the present invention will become readily apparent upon further review of the following specification and drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is an environmental, perspective view of a portable tool tray with wind blocker according to a first embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 2 is an exploded, perspective view of the portable tool tray with wind blocker according to the first embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 3 is a top view of the portable tool tray with wind blocker with the windscreen in the process of being placed in the tool tray for storage.

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of the portable tool tray with wind blocker according to a second embodiment of the present invention.

Similar reference characters denote corresponding features consistently throughout the attached drawings.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

The present invention is a portable tool tray with wind blocker, designated generally as 10 in the drawings. As shown in FIG. 1, the portable tool tray with wind blocker 10 is designed to provide a shipboard worker, such as a tankerman 12, a convenient place to rest their tools while, at the same time, providing a wind blocker when working on such things as a cargo manifold 14.

FIG. 2 shows the individual components of the portable tool tray with wind blocker. The tray frame 20 is made of metal, preferably aluminum or other corrosion resistant alloy, and is formed in a U-shaped or open-ended rectangular shape with an end wall 22 and opposing sidewalls 24 and 26. Opposing sidewalls 24 and 26 have a track 28 or slot defined therein extending longitudinally and terminating just before the ends of the opposing sidewalls 24 and 26. The lower edge of the tray frame 20 has an inwardly extending flange 25 about its perimeter forming a perpendicular sill for the tray screen 30 to rest on. Tray screen 30 is shown in the preferred embodiment as a wire mesh screen. Tray screen 30 may be removed if the portable tool tray with wind blocker 10 is going to be used as a containment area or in conjunction with a drip pan. The tray screen 30 may be made from expandable mesh material.

As shown in FIG. 2, the open-ended tray frame 20 is closed by a faceplate 32. Face plate 32 is made of metal, preferably aluminum, has inwardly extending lugs 33 normal to the face plate 32 so that the face plate 32 may be attached to the open end of the tray frame 20. Faceplate 32 is attached to tray frame 20 by using bolts or other securing means through holes 34 defined in the lugs 33 that align with holes defined in the opposing sidewalls 24 and 26 at the open end of frame 20.

Wind blocker 40 has a wind blocker frame 42 and a wind blocker screen 44 disposed within the frame 42. Wind blocker screen 44 is a fine wire mesh and is attached to the wind blocker frame 42 by bolts, rivets, or other suitable means. Wind blocker 40 has dimensions slightly less than the tray frame 20 so that the wind blocker 40 may rest inside the tray frame 20 when not in use. Attached to the bottom of the wind blocker 40 is a pair of sliders 46. Sliders 46 are slotted cylindrical bars where the slotted end fits over the wind blocker frame 42 and the opposite, solid end has a diameter slightly less than the width of track 28.

FIG. 3 shows the portable tool tray 10 with the wind blocker 40 in the process of being moved into the storage position. The sliders 46 run along tracks 28 so that the wind blocker 40 may be placed in a variety of different positions, from fully extended to fully inserted above tray screen 30. The sliders 46 rotate 90° within the tracks 28 to block the wind.

FIG. 4 shows a second embodiment of the portable tool tray 100. The open-ended tray frame 200 omits the tracks 28 along the opposing sidewalls 24 and 26. Slots 202 are defined within the open end portion 204 of each sidewall 24 and 26, extending laterally through the sidewall 24 or 26 and to the top edge 50 of each sidewall 24 and 26. Wind blocker 208 attaches to the tray frame 200. Instead of mesh, wind blocker 208 is a solid plate made of metal, preferably aluminum, and has dimensions slightly less than the tray frame 200 so that the wind blocker 208 may rest inside the tray frame 200 when not in use. Attached to the bottom of the wind blocker 200 is a pair of sliders 46. The sliders 46 have a diameter slightly less than the width of slots 202. The sliders 46 are placed within the top portion 206 of the slots 202, thereby allowing the wind blocker 208 to attach to the tray frame 200. The wind blocker 208 may then be rotated down or up, depending on the needs of the user or removed from the tray frame 200 when not necessary. Wind blocker 208 has an aperture 210 defined within the blocker 208 so that users are able to easily access the wind blocker 208 in order to remove it from the tray frame 200.

It is to be understood that the present invention is not limited to the embodiment described above, but encompasses any and all embodiments within the scope of the following claims.