Title:
Replacement friction lock buckle apparatus for tightening a strap
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A friction lock buckle apparatus for tightening a strap is provided having two opposing side walls and a plurality of cross rails spanning there between. The friction lock buckle is provided with one cross rail comprising a removable coupling screw for being received into the closed loop end of a strap. The coupling screw is removable so as to enable the buckle to be used to replace a failed buckle or repair a strap having a failed buckle. The buckle includes a friction lock member to frictionally engage an opposing end of the strap to the buckle. The replacement buckle replaces failed buckles on strapped articles such as backpacks, reduces waste and saves money by reducing the necessity of replacing the article.



Inventors:
Yazzie Sr., Lemont Lee (St. Michaels, AZ, US)
Application Number:
11/418620
Publication Date:
11/09/2006
Filing Date:
05/05/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A44B11/04; A44B11/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
SANDY, ROBERT JOHN
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Galasso & Associates, LP (Austin, TX, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A replacement friction lock buckle apparatus for tightening a strap, the buckle comprising: a frame comprising: a first sidewall having a hole therethrough; a second sidewall having a threaded cavity opening in an inside surface, the second sidewall distally spaced from the first sidewall, wherein the spacing of the sidewalls is adapted to receive width of a strap there between; an upper cross arm having two opposing ends, the upper cross arm spanning between and having opposing ends secured to the sidewalls; and a friction lock member for frictionally securing a portion of the strap in position on the frame, the friction lock member comprising: a friction lock cross arm having a roughened outside surface portion for frictionally retaining the strap, the friction lock cross arm spanning between and having opposing ends secured to the sidewalls, the friction lock cross arm receiving a portion of the strap around a portion of its circumference, the roughened outside surface frictionally engaging the strap portion to resist the strap from sliding over the friction lock cross arm; and a lower cross arm aligned with and spaced apart from the friction lock cross arm forming a slot; the slot spacing selected to permit strap to pass between the friction lock cross arm and the lower cross arm, the friction lock and lower cross arms positioned such that the lower cross arm biases the strap portion against the roughened outside surface portion; and a cylindrical coupling screw having a threaded end, a smooth cylindrical portion and an opposing second end, the coupling screw sized to be removably insertable through the hole of the first sidewall, the threaded end sized and configured to be removably and threadably received into the threaded cavity of the second sidewall, the coupling screw having a length sized such that the coupling screw, when threaded into the cavity of the sidewall, spans the distance between the sidewalls with the opposing second end resting in the hole of the first sidewall, wherein the smooth cylindrical portion of the coupling screw is adapted for receiving into a closed loop end of the strap.

2. The replacement friction lock buckle apparatus of claim 1, wherein the material of the friction lock buckle is selected from the set consisting of bronze, aluminum, brass, alloys of aluminum, alloys on bronze, steel, stainless steel.

3. An improved buckle for a strap of the type in which the buckle member has two portions, each portion attached to opposing ends of the strap, where at least one portion is secured to a closed loop at the end of the strap, where the at least on portion has opposing first and second sidewalls, wherein the improvement comprises: a cylindrical coupling screw having a threaded end, a smooth cylindrical portion and an opposing second end, the coupling screw sized to be removably insertable through a hole of the first sidewall, the threaded end sized and configured to be removably and threadably received into a threaded cavity of the second sidewall, the coupling screw having a length sized such that the coupling screw, when threaded into the cavity of the sidewall, spans the distance between the sidewalls with the opposing second end resting in the hole of the first sidewall, wherein the smooth cylindrical portion of the coupling screw is adapted for receiving into the closed loop end of the strap, wherein the cylindrical coupling screw permits the buckle to be retrofitted to a strap needing a replacement buckle.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims priority to co-pending U.S. Provisional Patent Application having Ser. No. 60/678,763 filed May 6, 2005 entitled “Yazzie Union”, having a common applicant herewith.

FIELD OF THE DISCLOSURE

The disclosures made herein relate generally to strap securing buckle apparatus and more particularly to buckles that are configured to be removable from and replaceable on a strap, thereby repairing the strap and returning the strap to service.

BACKGROUND

The use of straps to secure object and cargo are well known. When hiking and camping in the outdoors for instance, secure retention of the backpack on the hiker is required while hiking trails and climbing over obstacles. Other similar strap and buckle applications include straps used to close certain forms of luggage, straps used to mount and secure a luggage carrier to a luggage rack of a vehicle, straps used to secure articles together for transport, straps used in clothing, as well as almost endless other uses.

Commercially manufactured straps for consumer consumables such as backpacks often provide straps having buckles that can be prone to early failure in use, perhaps due to cost compromises made in materials and manufacturing. It is common for such straps to have a sewn or riveted loop on one end, wherein the loop is permanently engaged to the buckle of the strap. A problem with conventional strap buckles for such consumer items is that after the buckle fails from use or stress, the buckle is not replaceable. The failure of the buckle can result in the backpack or other article becoming unusable. Replacing the backpack or other article is a needless expense and generates increased waste of natural resources as well as contributing to the filling of landfills.

Therefore, a replacement friction lock buckle apparatus or coupling for straps, one which is configured to be installable as a replacement onto strapped articles such as back packs, a buckle apparatus having a metallic construction with a longer working life than typical original strap buckles, a replacement buckle or coupling which returns articles having broken strap buckles back into service and eliminates the need to purchase replacements for such broken backpacks and articles, such a replacement strap buckle or coupling apparatus would be useful and novel.

SUMMARY OF THE DISCLOSURE

Accordingly, embodiments of the inventive disclosures made herein comprise a replacement friction lock buckle apparatus for tightening a strap for use on an article such as a backpack. The friction lock buckle apparatus is designed to replace the existing buckle on the strap of a backpack. The friction lock buckle of the present inventive disclosure is designed to have a longer working life that many commercial strap buckles and is designed to be easily retrofitted to an existing strap such as on a backpack.

In one embodiment of the inventive disclosures made herein, a friction lock buckle apparatus for tightening a strap comprises a metallic frame having a first sidewall having a hole therethrough and a second sidewall having a threaded cavity opening in an inside surface wherein the second sidewall is spaced apart from the first sidewall in a spaced facing relationship. The spacing of the sidewalls is chosen so as to accommodate the width of the intended strap between the sidewalls. The sidewalls have a plurality of cross arm members spanning between the sidewalls. First an upper cross arm having two opposing ends where the upper cross arm spans between and has opposing ends secured to the sidewalls. The frame includes a friction lock member for frictionally securing a portion of the strap in position on the frame of the buckle. The friction lock member comprises a friction lock cross arm having a roughened outside surface portion for frictionally retaining the strap to the friction lock cross arm. The roughened surface portion is configured to engage with the fabric of common and widely used web type straps, or alternately to embed into the surface of non web straps such as leather straps. The roughened surface acts to increase the friction between the strap and the friction lock cross arm so as to inhibit the sliding of the strap over the friction lock cross arm. The friction lock cross arm spans between and has opposing ends secured to the sidewalls of the frame. The friction lock cross arm receives a portion of the strap around a portion of its circumference wherein the roughened outside surface frictionally engages the strap to resist the strap from sliding over the friction lock cross arm. A lower cross arm is provided and is aligned with and spaced apart from the friction lock cross arm, the spacing selected to permit the thickness of the strap to pass between the friction lock cross arm and the lower cross arm. The friction lock and lower cross arms are in positions on the frame such that the lower cross arm biases the strap against the roughened outside surface portion, and the tension in the strap holds the strap against the friction lock cross arm roughened surface. A cylindrical coupling screw is provided having a threaded end and a smooth cylindrical body. The coupling screw is sized so as to be removably insertable through the hole of the first sidewall of the frame and then to threadably engage into the threaded cavity of the opposing sidewall. The coupling screw has a length sized such that the coupling screw, when threaded into the cavity of the sidewall, spans the distance between the sidewalls with the end opposing the threaded end resting in the hole of the first sidewall. The smooth cylindrical portion of the coupling screw is adapted for being received into the closed loop end of the strap. The coupling screw couples the closed loop end of the strap to the buckle. The coupling screw is removable from the buckle to allow the buckle to be retrofitted onto an existing strap to replace a failed or weakened buckle.

In various embodiments of the inventive disclosures made herein, the replacement friction lock buckle apparatus is formed of a metallic material such as bronze, aluminum, brass, alloys of aluminum, alloys on bronze, steel, or stainless steel. A metallic construction is preferred to obtain improved durability and an extended service life for the buckle.

It is an objective of the inventive disclosure made herein to provide a replacement friction lock buckle apparatus configured to be installable as a repair or replacement onto strapped articles such as backpacks, thereby returning the strapped article to service.

It is another objective of the inventive disclosure made herein to provide a replacement friction lock buckle apparatus having a metallic construction with a long working life.

It is another objective of the inventive disclosure made herein to provide a replacement friction lock buckle apparatus that eliminates the need to purchase replacements for broken backpacks and other strapped articles after a strap buckle has failed, thereby conserving natural resources and saving the owner money.

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

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The drawings show a form of the invention that is presently preferred; however, the invention is not limited to the precise arrangement shown in the drawings.

FIG. 1 presents a perspective view of one embodiment of the replacement friction lock buckle apparatus in accordance with the inventive disclosures herein.

FIG. 2 presents a cut away view along section lines ‘A-A’ of FIG. 1 of the replacement friction lock buckle apparatus in accordance with the inventive disclosures herein.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

In preparation for explaining the details of the present inventive disclosure, it is to be understood by the reader that the invention is not limited to the presented details of the construction, materials and embodiments as illustrated in the accompanying drawings, as the invention concepts are clearly capable of other embodiments and of being practiced and realized in various ways by applying the disclosures presented herein.

FIG. 1 presents a perspective view of one embodiment of the replacement friction lock buckle apparatus in accordance with the inventive disclosures herein. The friction lock buckle apparatus 1 for a strap has a frame comprising a first sidewall 2 with a hole 3 through the sidewall. The hole is sized to received the cylindrical coupling screw member 4 through the hole 3. Opposite the first sidewall 2 is a second sidewall 5 which has a threaded cavity 6 opening into an inside surface of the sidewall. The two sidewalls are spaced apart from each other so as to be adapted to receive the width of a strap between the sidewalls. The sidewalls are held in spaced position by a number of cross arms. One cross arm is an upper cross arm 12 having two opposing ends, the upper cross arm 12 spanning between and having opposing ends secured to the sidewalls 2 and 5. The buckle includes a friction lock member for frictionally securing a portion of the strap in position on the buckle. The friction lock member comprises a friction lock cross arm 7 having a roughened outside surface portion 8 for frictionally retaining the strap to the friction lock cross arm. The friction lock cross arm spans between and has opposing ends secured to the sidewalls 5 and 2. A lower cross arm 9 is provided below the friction lock cross arm 7, the lower cross arm 9 spans between the opposing sidewalls 2 and 5. The lower cross arm 9 is aligned with and spaced apart from the friction lock cross arm 7, the spacing selected to permit strap to pass between the friction lock cross arm 7 and the lower cross arm 9. A cylindrical coupling screw 4 has a threaded end 10, a smooth cylindrical portion and an opposing second end 11. The second end of the cylindrical coupling screw has a small slot thereon for receiving a screwdriver blade therein for torsionally twisting and tightening the threaded portion 10 of the coupling screw 4 into the threaded cavity 6 of the second sidewall 5. The coupling screw 4 spans the distance between the sidewalls 2 and 5 with the opposing second end resting in the hole 3 of the first sidewall.

FIG. 2 presents a cut away view along section lines ‘A-A’ of FIG. 1 of the replacement friction lock buckle apparatus in accordance with the inventive disclosures herein, specifically showing the second sidewall 5, the upper cross arm 12, the friction lock cross arm 7 and the lower cross arm 9. A first end of a strap 15 has a closed sewn loop received and engaged around the coupling screw 4 or the buckle. The buckle is installed onto the sewn end by unscrewing the coupling screw 4 from the first sidewall , threading the coupling screw through the closed loop of the strap 15, then screwing the coupling screw back into the sidewall 5, thereby coupling the strap to the buckle. An opposing end of the strap has a free end that is threaded over a top portion of the friction lock cross arm 7, around over the rough surface 8 and then down and through the slot between the friction lock cross arm 7 and the lower cross arm 9. The free end of the strap then threads behind the lower cross arm 9 and is held against the lower cross arm 9 by the tension in the strap.

The discussed construction, illustrations and sequence of operation is for one embodiment of the invention, but is in no way limiting to other embodiments. The operating modes may be changed and enhanced without deviating from the intention of this inventive disclosure.

In the preceding detailed description, reference has been made to the accompanying drawings that form a part hereof, and in which are shown by way of illustration specific embodiments in which the invention may be practiced. These embodiments and certain variants thereof have been described in sufficient detail to enable those skilled in the art to practice the invention. It is to be understood that other suitable embodiments may be utilized and that logical, material, and mechanical changes may be made without departing from the spirit or scope of the invention. To avoid unnecessary detail, the description omits certain information known to those skilled in the art. The preceding detailed description is, therefore, not intended to be limited to the specific forms set forth herein, but on the contrary, it is intended to cover such alternatives, modifications, and equivalents, as can be reasonably included within the spirit and scope of the appended claims.