Title:
Magnetic arm band
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A magnetic arm band including a top sheet of material, a bottom sheet of material, a two dimensional array of magnets positioned between the two sheets of material and stitching to encase each magnet in an individual pocket. Two cinch straps on the band allow the band to be worn on the limb of a user. A stiff sheet of material is used to retain the shape of the band. The magnets may be magnetized after assembly.



Inventors:
Shurm, Michael (San Jose, CA, US)
Application Number:
10/894499
Publication Date:
01/26/2006
Filing Date:
07/20/2004
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A45C13/30
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
LARSON, JUSTIN MATTHEW
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Law Offices of Thomas Schneck (SAN JOSE, CA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A magnetic arm band comprising: a top sheet of material; a bottom sheet of material; a two dimensional array of flat magnets between the top and bottom sheets of material; a stitching pattern extending through said top sheet of material and said bottom sheet of material such that each magnet in said array of magnets is individually enclosed in a pocket; a pair of side cinch straps of sufficient length to attach said band to a user's upper arm; and a means for inhibiting bending of said top sheet of material and said bottom sheet of material.

2. The arm band of claim 1, wherein said magnets are neodymium magnets.

3. The arm band of claim 2, wherein said magnets are coated.

4. The arm band of claim 1, wherein said cinch straps include a elastic segment.

5. The arm band of claim 1, further including a means for holding a pencil on said top sheet of material.

6. A method of making a magnetic arm band comprising: positioning a two dimensional array of non-magnetized flat magnets between two sheets of material of similar dimension; sewing said sheets of material such that said magnets are each enclosed in a pocket; and magnetizing said magnets.

7. The method of claim 6, wherein said magnets are neodymium magnets.

8. The method of claim 7, wherein said magnets are coated neodymium magnets.

9. The method of claim 6, wherein one of said sheets includes a means for inhibiting bending of said top sheet.

Description:

TECHNICAL FIELD

The present invention generally relates to devices for holding tools or metallic building materials such as screws, nails, and bolts, and more particularly to such devices that may be worn on the arm of the user.

BACKGROUND ART

When working, a builder or mechanic needs to have a number of items within-easy reach. These items include both tools (such as wrenches, hammers, screwdrivers and the like) and articles to be acted upon by the tools (such as screws, nails, bolts, nuts, washers, tacks, etc.) When working, the user of these tools often requires both hands be free. Thus any device for holding the tools and hardware preferably should leave both hands free.

One solution to this problem is a standard utility belt. Such a belt is worn about the waist and generally includes a number of pockets and usually at least one loop. A number of devices can be carried in or on such a belt. A hammer may be inserted into the loop and the pockets may contain a number of nails or screws used by a worker. Such a belt has a number of potential drawbacks however. Items placed in such pockets could fall out of the tool belt pocket if the user is prone on a flat surface, as is the case when working under a vehicle or in a crawl space.

One alternative to a tool belt which has been used is to use magnets to hold the tool and other metallic devices. U.S. Pat. No. 4,826,059 discloses a magnetic tool holder including a set of magnetic bars which are positioned side by side between sections of material on a holder. A pair of loops allows the device to be affixed about the waist of a user. In one embodiment of this device the device is worn about the wrist and is secured by a single strap and fastener extending from the device.

A number of wrist mounted magnetic holders have also been disclosed. U.S. Pat. No. 5,333,767 discloses a single magnet mounted on a wrist band. The single magnet can hold small articles such as screws, nails, or bolts. The magnet used is a block-type ceramic magnet polarized in selected regions and a flux concentrator for increasing the magnetic flux density at the holder surface.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,593,073 discloses a wrist band made of a flexible resilient strip having a central magnetic portion for holding nails or other similar objects. A combination of hooks and hook receptors are used to fasten a wrist band onto a user's wrist.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,530,508 discloses alternative magnetic wrist band including an elongated flexible band able to strap around a user's wrist using a single centrally located hook and hook receptor combination. A number of elongated magnetic bars are held in a central portion of the wristband and spaced in a substantially parallel strip. By alternating the surface polarity of adjacent magnetic bars, the device may be shortened for smaller wrist sizes or collapsed in an accordion fashion for storage.

Bands worn on the wrist are not very suitable for holding tools. Instead, they are best suited for holding small items, such as washers or small screws or small nails. When using a hammer or other heavy tools, a band on the wrist would move repeatedly with significant force. This could jar loose items on the band. In contrast, a band on the upper arm would be subject to much less force, as the upper arm moves much less in such movements.

Design of these devices suffer from a number of drawbacks. If a single large flat magnet is used the magnetic surface is unable to bend. This makes the device less comfortable to wear. If a number of flat magnets are used (such as bar magnets) the device is able to bend around a user's wrist. However, this generally comes as the cost of holding power of the device. Weaker magnets generally are used to prevent problems associated with very strong magnets. During assembly of the device, the magnets are attracted to each other and any metal objects, making an article difficult to manufacture, especially if the item is sewn.

A second problem is the need for a holder to hold a variety of objects. Ideally a device for the greatest functionality would be able to hold both tools (including hammers which can be quite heavy), and objects to be used with the tools (such as nails, screws, bolts, etc.) The surface would be most useful if it were adapted to allow the nails, screws or other similar hardware to be easily grippable and removable from the surface.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The above objects have been achieved by an armband including a top sheet material, a middle sheet material and a bottom sheet material. Extending along the edges of the materials are two independently adjustable cinch straps. The adjustable cinch straps are preferably hook and loop fastener types. One embodiment of the cinch straps include an elastic element to provide greater comfort and accommodate flexing of the arm.

The magnets preferably are flat magnets arranged in a two-dimensional grid each, magnet separated by stitching extending through the layers of material. This grid provides a typography that is advantageous for both securely holding the band adapting the band to the contours of the users arms and allowing easy or removal of small objects from the band.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a top view of the armband of the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a cross-sectional view along lines of FIG. 1.

BEST MODE FOR CARRYING OUT THE INVENTION

The present magnetic tool holding band is both rugged and durable yet also flexible means for providing a magnetic source to hold metal objects. With reference to FIG. 1, the top sheet of material 10 is shown having adjustable cinch straps 15 affixed to two sides of material 10. The cinch straps 15 may be sewn onto the materials making up the band or affixed with adhesive or any other fixing means. In the illustrated embodiment the cinch strap is about 18 inches long. The largest central area 16 of the cinch strap is comprised of a “hook” material. At one end of hook material 16 is an small elastic band 24. At the end of elastic 24 is loop 22. At the opposite end of hook material 16 is “loop” material 26. Material 26 may then be inserted through ring 22 cinched tight and pressed against hook material 16 to serve the band onto the arm or leg of a user. Each of these cinch straps are independently adjustable to allow for a proper fit. In one embodiment, the elastic section is about 0.75 inches long, the hook section 14.5 inches long, and the loop section 2.75 inches long.

The elastic portion 24 allows an amount of flexibility (for example during flexing of a user's arm). The cinch straps may be stored affixed together. The user then may simply slide one arm or leg into the device and cinch to tighten if necessary. The cinch strap allows a form fit on the upper middle or lower arm and fits a range of arm sizes. Additionally the band could be used on the lower leg. The elastic section accommodates flexing in which the limb may change in diameter somewhat while ensuring a snug fit that prevents the limb from sliding off the device to which it has been attached.

The sheet of material on the outward facing surface of the armband preferably is a durable material which would not be damaged by the tools and is resistant tearing by nails or screws. One possible material to be used as an encasing material is a two-sided material including an inside knit polyester with an outside rough non-skid neoprene layer. This would be waterproof and potentially suitable for marine use. The surface is high textured to reduce sliding and rolling. This material is sold as Toughtek® by (company, location?).

Arranged in a two-dimensional grid are a number of magnets 18. The magnets are preferably sufficiently strong to allow tools such as hammers to be retained even during arm movement. Neodymium rare earth magnets may be used, although reasonably flat magnet of disc or other shape would be adaptable to the present use.

Neodymium magnets are a very strong commercially available magnet. Commercially available magnets are rare earth magnets composed primarily of Neodymium (Nd), Iron (Fe), and Boron (B). It is preferred that the magnets be coated (e.g., with a nickel or ceramic paint coating) to prevent iron oxidation and to strengthen the brittle magnet. The magnetic strength is sufficient such that an array of one inch diameter by 0.25 inch thick magnets can support a framing hammer even during rigorous arm motion.

It is preferred that the magnets be magnetized after positioning of the magnets and sewing of the armband. Because these are very strong magnets it is difficult to prevent the magnets from sticking to one another during manufacture of the armband. If the device is sewn the magnets may stick not only to each other but also to the sewing machine needles or other sewing equipment. However, if the magnets are magnetized only after assembly this would not be a problem. The magnets are separated by a stitched grid 20 such that each magnet is encased in its own compartment.

The various layers of the material are assembled by first sewing a single seam lengthwise along the edge of the band. Then six perpendicular seams are sewn. After the perpendicular seams are sewn the magnetic discs may be inserted in the channels. Once the magnets are inserted in the channel another seam is sewn lengthwise across the band with the magnets between the lengthwise seams. This process is repeated until each of the magnets have been secured within an individual compartment in the encasing materials. Following this the cinch straps are sewn on and the item is ready to be placed into a magnetizer to magnetize the magnets.

This assembly technique is time and resource efficient. In addition the sewing of the bottom and top material with the flat magnets sandwiched in between creates small valleys in between the magnets. This allows easier removal of small items (such as washers that are flat). The washers can be slid off of the top of a magnet into a groove and readily pried off of the strong magnet. In addition, the two-dimensional grid allows the band to flex in both dimensions. Thus, the band is able to flex both around and across a user's arm or leg. The bending, twisting, and flexing is not possible with a single rigid magnet or bar-type magnets. The gaps also prevent items that are round in one dimension such as nails and screws from rolling across the surface of the armband. The gaps serve to retain the article in place even as the article momentarily comes in contact with another surface.

Extending along the sides of material 10 on which the cinch straps are not affixed may be one or more elastic strap 30. Such a strap may be 1.5 inches long and about 0.25 inches wide. This provides a holder for a pencil, pen or other similar device. One or more such holders may be included as part of the device and may be attached simply sewing on the elastic strip, glueing on the strip or attached by any other means.

The cross section taken along arrows A of FIG. 1 is illustrated in FIG. 2. This view shows the magnets 18 each encased in a pocket defined by top material 10 and bottom material 14. The device has at least two material sheets joined together. In the illustrated device these sheets are rectangular but square or oval sheets may be also used. As noted, the top sheet may a durable two ply material. A waterproof material is desirable for some uses. The top sheet 10 is in the present preferred embodiment as a two-sided material having a inside knit polyester and outside rough, non-skid neoprene. This neoprene layer is the layer which the tools would contact. The bottom material may be a knit polyester, nylon, canvas or leather material or any other material which is comfortable against the wearer's skin. Sheet 10 and sheet 14 may be used alone. Alternatively, a rigid backbone material 12 may be used. This backbone material preferably is joined to material 14 to form a single sheet. This backbone material is sufficiently stiff such that the armband retains a essentially linear surface even when not being worn. In one embodiment the backbone may be made of 20 mm polycarbonate sheet or other similarly stiff material. Such a backbone of material. For the purposes of this invention, stiff material shall mean any sheet of material having equal or greater stiffness of a 20 mm polycarbonate sheet. The use of a stiff layer enhances the assembly, storage and packaging of the device by ensuring that it retains its shape.

On the edge of the material is hook material 16. Stitching 20 affixes together the materials.