Title:
Arrangement for releasably fastening mask strap to breathing tube of snorkel
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A flexible fastening device includes a male fastening unit including a hook member securely looped around a mask strap, and a stud, and a female fastening unit including a clip put on a breathing tube of a snorkel, and two opposite latched members projected from the clip. The clip includes a bent bridge interconnected the latched members. The latched members include an aperture formed between its open ends. A space is defined by the latched members and the bridge and is communication with the external through the aperture. In a fastened position of the male and the female fastening units the stud is lockingly received in the space. Compressing opposite portions of the clip toward each other will deform the bridge, splay the latched members, and enlarge the aperture so as to permit a subsequent pulling of the stud out of the space through the aperture.



Inventors:
Shiue, Chih-cheng (Escondido, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/430954
Publication Date:
11/29/2007
Filing Date:
05/10/2006
Assignee:
QDS Injection Molding LLC
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B63C11/16
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
SIPPEL, RACHEL T
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BRUCE H. TROXELL (FALLS CHURCH, VA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A device comprising a flexible male fastening unit attached to a head strap of a mask for swimming, and a flexible female fastening unit attached to a breathing tube of a snorkel, wherein: the male fastening unit includes a hook member securely looped around the head strap, and a stud including an enlargement and a post; and the female fastening unit includes a clip put on the breathing tube, and two opposite latched members projected from the clip wherein the clip includes a bent bridge interconnected the latched members, and the latched members include an aperture formed between its open ends; wherein a space is defined by the latched members and the bridge; and wherein in a fastened position of the male and the female fastening units the enlargement is fitted in the space and the post is clamped by the aperture; whereby compressing opposite portions of the clip toward each other will deform the bridge, splay the latched members, and enlarge the aperture so as to permit a subsequent pulling of the stud out of the space through the aperture.

2. The device of claim 1, wherein the bridge is bent outward.

3. The device of claim 1, wherein the clip has a section of C.

4. The device of claim 1, wherein the clip has a section of ring.

5. The device of claim 1, wherein the clip further comprises two opposite pressing portions.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of Invention

The present invention relates to snorkels and more particularly to a device for releasably fastening a head strap of a mask for swimming (including a face mask) to a breathing tube of snorkel for a diver engaging in deep diving, surface diving or the like with improved characteristics (e.g., safety and quick fastening and releasing).

2. Related Art

Snorkels are ubiquitous tools for divers engaging in deep diving, surface diving or the like. A snorkel typically comprises a breathing tube secured to a head strap of a mask for swimming (including a face mask) such that a diver may freely inhale and exhale. Also, the breathing tube together with a mask strap retaining clip are detached from the mask strap for ease of storage.

A conventional snorkel is shown in FIG. 1 and comprises a clip A attached to a head strap by looping around it, and a sleeve-like retaining member B integrally formed with the clip A and tightly put on a breathing tube. Both the clip A and the retaining member B are attached onto the breathing tube in a storage state of the snorkel. In use, hold the head strap around the head and open an opening C of the clip A to allow the head strap to pass. The head strap is thus attached to the clip A. To the contrary, open an opening C of the clip A to allow the head strap to exit from the clip A. It is understood that it may be difficult of detaching the breathing tube from the head strap if opening C of the clip A is relatively small. To the contrary, the head strap may be disengaged with the breathing tube unintentionally or slide relative to the breathing tube if the opening C of the clip A is relatively large.

Preferably, the head strap is held in position by the clip A. Also, the retaining member B is secured to the breathing tube in a predetermined position. Further, a simple engaging or disengaging operation of the breathing tube and the head strap is able to achieve its purpose quickly. Furthermore, the fastening of the breathing tube and the head strap is reliable (i.e., an unintentional disengagement of the breathing tube with the head strap is not possible). It is clear that the prior arrangement shown in FIG. 1 is not able to achieve that goal. Another point to be considered is that many breathing tubes are made of an elastomeric material. Thus, the need for improvement still exists.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It is therefore an object of the present invention to provide a snapping based device for quickly fastening or unfastening a head strap of a mask for swimming and a breathing tube of a snorkel.

It is another object of the present invention to provide a device comprising a flexible male fastening unit securely loop around a head strap of a mask for swimming, and a flexible female fastening unit tightly put on a breathing tube of a snorkel, wherein the male fastening unit includes a stud, and the female fastening unit includes a space open to the external through an aperture, and wherein in a fastened position of the male and the female fastening units the stud is lockingly received in the space.

In one aspect of the present invention the female fastening unit further includes a clip put on the breathing tube such that compressing opposite portions of the clip toward each other will enable a subsequent pulling of the stud out of the space.

In another aspect of the present invention the female fastening unit further includes two opposite latched members projected from the clip. The clip includes a bent bridge interconnected the latched members. The aperture is formed between open ends of the latched members. The space is defined by the latched members and the bridge. Compressing opposite portions of the clip toward each other will deform the bridge, splay the latched members, and enlarge the aperture.

The above and other objects, features and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from the following detailed description taken with the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a front view of a conventional snorkel;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a preferred embodiment of device for releasably fastening a head strap of a mask for swimming to a breathing tube of a snorkel according to the invention;

FIG. 3 is a sectional view of FIG. 2; and

FIGS. 4, 5, and 6 are views similar to FIG. 3 showing the male fastening unit prior to securing to the female fastening unit, the male fastening unit secured to the female fastening unit, and the female fastening unit being compressed to flexibly deform so as to allow the male fastening unit to detach therefrom respectively.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Referring to FIGS. 2 and 3, a preferred embodiment of the invention is shown and comprises a male fastening unit 10 and a female fastening unit 20. A head strap 30 of a mask for swimming is adapted to pass through the male fastening unit 10 for attachment and the female fastening unit 20 is adapted to tightly put on a predetermined position of the breathing tube 40.

The C-shaped male fastening unit 10 comprises a hook member 11 and a stud 12. The hook member 11 is constructed similar to one well known in the art but has a narrow slit 11a such that the head strap 30 is prevented from unintentionally disengaging with the male fastening unit 10 by passing the slit 11a. The stud 12 is shaped as a mushroom and comprises an enlargement 12a having a tapered end and an enlarged base, and a post 12b having a diameter smaller than that of the enlargement 12a. The stud 12 is dimensioned and shaped to easily insert into an aperture 22a formed by two opposite latched members 22 of the female fastening unit 20 as detailed later.

The female fastening unit 20 comprises a C-shaped clip 21 put on the breathing tube 40, the latched members 22, an outward bent bridge 23 interconnected the latched members 22 and adapted to divide the C-shaped clip 21 into a first curved section 21a and a second curved section 21b, and a gap 25 formed between open ends of the first and second curved sections 21a and 21b. The latched members 22 are projected from the C-shaped clip 21 and are disposed oppositely. A space 22b is defined by the latched members 22 and the bridge 23, and the aperture 22a is formed between open ends of the latched members 22. The stud 12 is adapted to insert into the aperture 22a with the enlargement 12a fitted in the space 22b as detailed later.

Two opposite pressing portions 24 are formed on the C-shaped clip 21 with the bridge 23 disposed therebetween. One of the pressing portions 24 is less convex than the other one. In use, a diver may press the pressing portions 24 to compress the bridge 23 and the gap 25 is thus decreased. Also, the latched members 22 are splayed to increase the sizes of the aperture 22a and the space 22b. Further, the breathing tube 40 is also flexibly deformed.

Referring to FIG. 4, it shows the male fastening unit 10 prior to securing to the female fastening unit 20. As shown, the enlargement 12a is about to pass the aperture 22a to enter the space 22b. The latched members 22 are slightly splayed and the stud 12 is slightly decreased in size during the engagement. By configuring as above, the enlargement 12a is adapted to easily insert into the space 22b.

Referring to FIG. 5, it shows that the stud 12 is secured by the latched members 22 in which the post 12b is clamped by the open ends of the latched members 22 and the enlargement 12a is fastened.

Referring to FIG. 6, a diver may compress the first and second curved sections 21a and 21b toward each other so as to flexibly deform the bridge 23. The latched members 22 are splayed and the aperture 22a is enlarged. Thus, the diver may easily pull the stud 12 out of the aperture 22a. The female fastening unit 20 may return to its inoperative state as shown in FIG. 4 when a compressing force exerted on the first and second curved sections 21a and 21b is removed.

While the C-shaped clip 21 has a section of C in the described embodiment, it is possible that the C-shaped clip 21 is completely closed (i.e., formed as a ring clip) and the ring clip is also adapted to tightly put on the flexible breathing tube 40 for fastening in other embodiments. Similarly, pressing the C-shaped clip 21 will flexibly deform the bridge 23 and enlarge the aperture 22a so as to easily pull the male fastening unit 10 out of the female fastening unit 20.

In brief, the characteristics of the invention are that the female fastening unit 20 are adapted to flexibly deform, the aperture 22a is therefore enlarged, and the male fastening unit 10 is thus capable of easily pulling out of the engaged female fastening unit 20 by passing the enlarged aperture 22a.

While the invention herein disclosed has been described by means of specific embodiments, numerous modifications and variations could be made thereto by those skilled in the art without departing from the scope and spirit of the invention set forth in the claims.