Title:
FRONT RELEASE BUCKLE
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A front release buckle includes a female buckle member, which has a hooked portion at the front side of a top-open receiving chamber thereof, a male buckle member, which has a front hook vertically insertable into the top-open receiving open chamber into engagement with the hooked portion of the female buckle member, a control slide coupled to the female buckle member and movable relative to the female buckle member between an open position to open the top-open receiving chamber for the insertion of the front hook of the male buckle member into engagement with the hooked portion and a close position to close the top-open receiving chamber and to hold down the front hook of the male buckle member after engagement of the front hook with the hooked portion, and a spring member that supports the control slide in the close position.



Inventors:
Young, Yao-ming (Chungli City, TW)
Application Number:
11/870411
Publication Date:
04/16/2009
Filing Date:
10/10/2007
Assignee:
NIFCO TAIWAN CORPORATION (Taipei, TW)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A44B11/28; A44B11/25
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Primary Examiner:
DO, ROWLAND
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
NIFCO TAIWAN CORPORATION (TAIPEI, TW)
Claims:
What the invention claimed is:

1. A front release buckle comprising: a female buckle member, said female buckle member comprising a top-open receiving chamber, a hooked portion vertically disposed in said top-open receiving chamber near a front side of said female buckle member, two sliding grooves arranged in parallel at two opposite lateral sides outside said top-open receiving chamber, and a mounting portion disposed at a rear side of said female buckle member for the mounting of a belt; a male buckle member, said male buckle member comprising a front hook disposed at a front side thereof and vertically insertable into said top-open receiving open chamber into engagement with said hooked portion of said female buckle member, and a rear mounting portion disposed at a rear side thereof for the mounting of a belt; a control slide coupled to said female buckle member and movable relative to said female buckle member between an open position to open said top-open receiving chamber for allowing insertion of said front hook of said male buckle member into said top-open receiving chamber of said female buckle member into engagement with said hooked portion and a close position to close said top-open receiving chamber and to hold down said front hook of said male buckle member in engagement with said hooked portion of said female buckle member after insertion of said front hook into said top-open receiving chamber, said control slide comprising a plurality of sliding rails respectively coupled to said sliding grooves of said female buckle member to guide movement of said control slide relative to said female buckle member along said sliding grooves; and a spring member mounted in said top-open receiving chamber of said female buckle member and connected between a part of said control slide and a part of said female buckle member to support said control slide in said close position.

2. The front release buckle as claimed in claim 1, wherein said female buckle member comprises a trough defined in said top-open receiving chamber; said control slide comprises a bottom lug protruded from a bottom wall thereof and inserted into said trough of said female buckle member; said spring member is accommodated in said trough and connected between an end wall of said trough and said bottom lug of said control slide.

3. The front release buckle as claimed in claim 2, wherein said bottom lug of said control slide comprises a locating rod fastened to one end of said spring member to force said spring member against said end wall of said trough.

4. The front release buckle as claimed in claim 2, wherein said female buckle member comprises a stop block disposed in said trough remote from said end wall of said trough for stopping against said bottom lug of said control slide to hold said control slide in said close position.

5. The front release buckle as claimed in claim 1, wherein said front hook of said male buckle member has a smoothly arched front guide face for guiding said control slide into said close position, and a front protrusion forwardly extending from a bottom side of said smoothly arched front guide face for keeping in close contact with a bottom surface of said top-open receiving chamber.

6. The front release buckle as claimed in claim 5, wherein said male buckle member comprises at least one angled edge for pushing said control slide from said close position to said open position.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to buckles and more particularly, to a front release buckle, in which a front hook of the male buckle member is vertically insertable into the female buckle member into engagement with a hooked portion in the female buckle member. Therefore, the front release buckle of the present invention can bear a strong pulling force in horizontal direction.

2. Description of the Related Art

Conventional front release buckles are commonly comprised of a male buckle member and a female buckle member. These front release buckles are intensively used in backpacks, travel bags, shoulder bags, etc., to join two parts together.

FIG. 11 illustrates a front release buckle according to the prior art. As illustrated, the buckle is comprised of a male buckle member A and a female buckle member B. The male buckle member A has a center guide rod A2 forwardly extending from the front side, and two spring arms A1 forwardly extending from the front side and equally spaced from the center guide rod A2 at two sides. The two spring arms A1 each have a front end terminating in a retaining block A3 that defines a barbed engagement portion A4. The female buckle member B has a front open side B1, a longitudinal track B2 disposed on the inside and extending to the front open side B1 on the middle, and two side holes B3 respectively cut through the two opposite lateral sidewalls thereof. The side holes B3 each define a front engagement edge B4. When in use, the center guide rod A2 and the two spring arms A1 of the male buckle member A are inserted into the front open side B1 of the female buckle member B to force the center guide rod A2 into the longitudinal track B2, and at the same time the two spring arms A1 are squeezed in direction toward the center guide rod A2 by the two opposite lateral sidewalls of the female buckle member B. After insertion of the center guide rod A2 into the longitudinal track B2, the spring power of the spring arms A1 of the male buckle member A forces the retaining blocks A3 sideways, thereby causing engagement of the barbed engagement portions A4 of the retaining blocks A3 with the respective front engagement edges B4.

The aforesaid front release buckle is functional, however it still has drawbacks as follows:

1. Because the male buckle member A and the female buckle member B are attached together in horizontal direction, the engagement structure between the male buckle member A and the female buckle member B must bear a horizontal pulling force. When an excessively high pulling force is produced, the male buckle member A and the female buckle member B may be separated directly in horizontal direction (the engagement direction). Therefore an improvement in this regard is necessary.

2. The male buckle member A is fastened to the female buckle member B by means of engaging the retaining blocks A3 of the spring arms A1 into the side holes B3 of the female buckle member B. The engagement force between the spring arms A1 and the side holes B3 is insufficient to bear a strong pulling force, and the spring arms A1 may be permanently deformed or damaged when the belt is stretched heavily. Further, the retaining blocks A3 may be forced away from the respective side holes B3 accidentally, causing unintentional release of the buckle.

3. When fastening the male buckle member A to the female buckle member B, the center guide rod A2 must be accurately aimed at the longitudinal track B2 to ensure accurate positioning. If the center guide rod A2 is not accurately aimed at the longitudinal track B2 when fastening the male buckle member A to the female buckle member B, the spring arms A1 and the center guide rod A2 may be deformed or broken unintentionally.

4. Because the spring arms A1 and the center guide rod A2 are suspending at the front side of the male buckle member A, they may be permanently deformed or broken accidentally when the male buckle member A is not fastened to the female buckle member B.

5. The structural design of the center guide rod A2 is complicated and the matching precision of the male buckle member A and the female buckle member B is critical, and therefore the fabrication of the front release buckle is complicated, showing a low yield rate.

Therefore, it is desirable to provide a buckle that eliminates the aforesaid drawbacks.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention has been accomplished under the circumstances in view. According to one aspect of the present invention, the front release buckle is comprised of a female buckle member, a male buckle member, a control slide and a spring member. The male buckle member comprises a front hook that is to be inserted vertically downwards into the female buckle member into engagement with a hooked portion of the female buckle member. After engagement between the front hook of the male buckle member and the hooked portion of the female buckle member, the control slide holds down the front hook of the male buckle member in the female buckle member in positive engagement with the hooked portion, therefore the front release buckle of the present invention can bear a high pulling force in horizontal direction.

According to another aspect of the present invention, the control slide is supported on the spring member. After engagement between the front hook of the male buckle member and the hooked portion of the female buckle member, the spring member immediately pushes the control slide from the open position to the close position to hold down the front hook of the male buckle member in the female buckle member, assuring positive engagement between the female buckle member and the male buckle member and prohibiting vibration and vertical displacement of the male buckle member relative to the female buckle member.

According to still another aspect of the present invention, the front hook of the male buckle member can be forced into engagement with the hooked portion of the female buckle member or disengaged therefrom only when the control slide has been moved backwards relative to the female buckle member through a certain distance from the close position to the open position, and therefore the front release buckle will not be released accidentally.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is an exploded view of a front release buckle according to the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a part of the present invention, showing the relationship between the sliding rails of the control slide and the beveled guide faces and the sliding grooves of the female buckle member.

FIG. 3 is a schematic drawing of the present invention, showing the control slide moved backwards along the sliding grooves of the female buckle member for the insertion of the male buckle member into the female buckle member.

FIG. 4 is a schematic sectional side view of the present invention, showing the control slide moved backwards along the sliding grooves of the female buckle member for the insertion of the male buckle member into the female buckle member.

FIG. 5 is a schematic oblique top elevation of the present invention, showing the control slide moved to the close position and the front hook of the male buckle member inserted into the top-open receiving chamber of the female buckle member.

FIG. 6 is a schematic sectional side view of the present invention, showing the control slide moved to the close position and the front hook of the male buckle member inserted into the top-open receiving chamber of the female buckle member.

FIG. 7 is an elevational assembly view of the present invention, showing the male buckle member and the female buckle member fastened together.

FIG. 8 is a sectional side view of FIG. 7.

FIG. 9 is a schematic sectional side view of the present invention, showing the angled edges of the male buckle member attached to the front edge of the control slide.

FIG. 10 corresponds to FIG. 9, showing the front hook of the male buckle member forced into the top-open receiving chamber of the female buckle member.

FIG. 11 is an exploded view of a front release buckle according to the prior art.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

Referring to FIGS. 1 and 2, a front release buckle in accordance with the present invention is shown comprised of a female buckle member 1, a control slide 2, male buckle member 3 and a spring member 4.

The female buckle member 1 comprises a top-open receiving chamber 10, a hooked portion 11 vertically disposed in the top-open receiving chamber 10 near one side, namely, the front side, a mounting portion 12 provided an opposite side, namely, the rear side for the mounting of a belt, a trough 13 formed in the top-open receiving chamber 10 on the middle for accommodating the spring member 4, a stop block 14 disposed in the top-open receiving chamber 10 between the hooked portion 11 and the trough 13, two horizontal sliding grooves 15 arranged in parallel at two opposite lateral sides outside the top-open receiving chamber 10, and a plurality of beveled guide faces 16 respectively disposed adjacent to the horizontal sliding grooves 15.

The control slide 2 is covered on the top side of the top-open receiving chamber 10 of the female buckle member 1, comprising two side panels 21 arranged in parallel at two opposite lateral sides, a plurality of sliding rails 22 respectively protruded from the side panels 21 and respectively coupled to the sliding grooves 15 of the female buckle member 1 to guide movement of the control slide 2 relative to the female buckle member 1 along the sliding grooves 15, a bottom lug 23 protruded from the bottom wall on the middle between the two side panels 21 and inserted into the trough 13 of the female buckle member 1, and locating rod 24 protruded from the bottom lug 23.

The male buckle member 3 comprises a front hook 31 at the front side, and a rear mounting portion 32 at the rear side for the mounting of a belt. The front hook 31 has a smoothly arched front guide face 311, and a front protrusion 312 forwardly extending from the bottom side of the smoothly arched front guide face 311.

The spring member 4 is mounted in the trough 13 of the female buckle member 1, having one end stopped against an end wall of the trough 13 of the female buckle member 1 and the other end coupled to the locating rod 24 of the control slide 2.

During installation, the spring member 4 is coupled with its one end to the locating rod 24 of the control slide 2 and then inserted with the bottom lug 23 of the control slide 2 into the trough 13 of the female buckle member 1 to have the other end of the spring member 4 be stopped against one end wall of the trough 13 of the female buckle member 1. When inserting the bottom lug 23 of the control slide 2 into the trough 13 of the female buckle member 1, the sliding rails 22 of the control slide 2 are moved along the beveled guide faces 16 into the sliding grooves 15 for allowing movement of the control slide 2 relative to the female buckle member 1 along the sliding grooves 15.

Referring to FIGS. 3˜8, when fastening the male buckle member 3 to the female buckle member 1, move the control slide 2 along the sliding grooves 15 in one direction to open the hooked portion 11 and the top-open receiving chamber 10 and to simultaneously compress the spring member 4 (see FIGS. 3 and 4), and then insert the front hook 31 of the male buckle member 3 vertically downwardly into the top-open receiving chamber 10 to force the front hook 31 into engagement with the hooked portion 11 (see FIGS. 5 and 6), thereafter release the control slide 2. When a user released the control slide 2, the spring member 4 immediately pushes the control slide 2 backwards to its former position to close the top-open receiving chamber 10 and the hooked portion 11 again. At this time, the bottom lug 23 is stopped against the stop block 14, and therefore the control slide 21 is kept in position to hold down the front hook 31 of the male buckle member 3 in positive engagement with the hooked portion 11 (see FIGS. 7 and 8).

Further, during return stroke of the control slide 2, the control slide 2 is guided by the smoothly arched front guide face 311 of the front hook 31 into position to hold down the front hook 31 of the male buckle member 3 in the top-open receiving chamber 10 of the female buckle member 1 in positive engagement with the hooked portion 11. At this time, the front protrusions 312 of the front hook 31 are kept in close contact with the bottom surface of the top-open receiving chamber 10, and the control slide 2 holds down the male buckle member 3 in the top-open receiving chamber 10, prohibiting vibration or vertical displacement of the male buckle member 3 relative to the female buckle member 1.

Further, the mounting portion 12 of the female buckle member 1 and the rear mounting portion 32 of the male buckle member 3 are respectively fastened to a respective belt by means of a winding method, the use of a clamp or the application of a thermal bonding process.

Referring to FIGS. 9 and 10 and FIG. 1 again, the front hook 31 of the male buckle member 3 has an angled edge 33 between the smoothly arched front guide face 311 and the front protrusion 312. The male buckle member 3 can be fastened to the female buckle member 1 directly without moving the control slide 2 with the fingers. As shown in FIGS. 9 and 10, the user can attach the angled edges 33 of the male buckle member 3 to the front edge of the control slide 2 and then push the male buckle member 3 to move the control slide 2 backwards, and then force the front hook 31 downwards into the inside of the top-open receiving chamber 10 and then into engagement with the hooked portion 11. When the front hook 31 of the male buckle member 3 is set into engagement with the hooked portion 11 of the female buckle member 1, the control slide 2 is returned by the spring member 4 to hold down the male buckle member 3, assuring positive engagement between the female buckle member 1 and the male buckle member 3.

As indicated above, the invention provides a front release buckle 1 that has the following advantages and features:

1. Unlike the prior art horizontal engaging design, the invention has the front hook 31 of the male buckle member 3 to be forced vertically downwards into engagement with the hooked portion 11 of the female buckle member 1 and then held down in the engagement position by the control slide 2, therefore the front release buckle of the present invention can bear a high pulling force, eliminating the drawbacks of the prior art design.

2. After engagement between the front hook 31 of the male buckle member 3 and the hooked portion 11 of the female buckle member 1, the spring member 4 immediately pushes the control slide 2 to its former position to hold down the male buckle member 3 in the female buckle member 1, assuring positive engagement between the female buckle member 1 and the male buckle member 3 and prohibiting vibration and vertical displacement of the male buckle member 3 relative to the female buckle member 1.

3. The front hook 31 of the male buckle member 3 can be forced into engagement with the hooked portion 11 of the female buckle member 1 or disengaged therefrom only when the control slide 2 has been moved backwards along the sliding grooves 15 of the female buckle member 1 through a certain distance from the close position to the open position, and therefore the front release buckle will not be released accidentally.

In conclusion, the scope of the present invention is the vertical loading of the front hook 31 of the male buckle member 3 into engagement with the hooked portion 11 of the female buckle member 1 and the use of the spring member 4 to automatically return the control slide 2 and to have the control slide 2 hold down the engagement between the front hook 31 of the male buckle member 3 and the hooked portion 11 of the female buckle member 1.

Although a particular embodiment of the invention has been described in detail for purposes of illustration, various modifications and enhancements may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. Accordingly, the invention is not to be limited except as by the appended claims.