Title:
IMPLEMENT HOLDER
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An implement holder having a piece of fabric tubing having a near end and a far end; a piece of heat shrink tubing secured to the fabric tubing far end such that at least a portion of the heat shrink tubing extends beyond the fabric tubing far end; and a detachable connector secured to the fabric tubing near end, whereby an implement can be held by the implement holder by inserting an implement into the heat shrink tubing and securing the apparatus with the detachable connector.



Inventors:
Moreau, Darrell A. (Manchester, NH, US)
Moreau, Andre W. (Spring Hill, FL, US)
Application Number:
12/503128
Publication Date:
11/05/2009
Filing Date:
07/15/2009
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
224/268
International Classes:
A44B99/00; A45F5/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
SKURDAL, COREY NELSON
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MESMER & DELEAULT, PLLC (Manchester, NH, US)
Claims:
We claim:

1. An implement holder apparatus for holding an elongated implement comprising: a piece of fabric tubing having a proximal end and a distal end; a piece of heat shrink tubing secured to the fabric tubing distal end wherein at least a portion of the heat shrink tubing extends beyond the fabric tubing distal end; and a detachable connector secured to the fabric tubing proximal end, whereby an implement can be held by the implement holder by inserting an implement into the heat shrink tubing and securing the apparatus with the detachable connector.

2. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the fabric tubing is nylon tubing or cotton tubing.

3. The apparatus of claim 2, the fabric tubing comprising spandex.

4. The apparatus of claim 1 further comprising a hook secured to the detachable connector for securing the apparatus to a desired securing location.

5. The apparatus of claim 4, wherein the hook is a swivel hook.

6. The apparatus of claim 1, further comprising an implement cap secured to the heat shrink tubing such that an implement can be held by inserting its corresponding cap that forms a part of the apparatus.

7. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the heat shrink tubing has a 2:1 shrink ratio.

8. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the heat shrink tubing extends beyond the fabric tubing distal end by at least 0.635 cm.

Description:

BACKGROUND

1. Field of the Invention

The invention is in the field of tubular shaped, open-ended implement holders.

2. Description of the Related Art

Neck lanyards are popular tools for hanging identification badges, writing implements, small tools, and the like around a person's neck. They keep things within arm's reach. Often a person will want to carry particular implements but using one neck lanyard exclusively is not possible. Perhaps lanyards in general are prohibited due to safety concerns. Perhaps the user wishes to attach the implement holder to an article of clothing, clip board, binder, or other item. Or, perhaps a user wishes to use the same implement holder with many different implements. In these cases, a dedicated neck lanyard with a particular implement holder cannot be used. What is needed, therefore, is an implement holder that can be attached to several different items and hold several different implements.

SUMMARY

The invention is an apparatus that satisfies the need for an implement holder that can be attached to several different items and hold several different implements. An apparatus that can be attached to several different items and hold several different implements comprises a length of fabric tubing coaxially doubled over itself having a proximal end forming an opening and a distal end forming a fold; an elastic cylinder disposed within the fabric tubing fold; and a detachable connector secured to the fabric tubing proximal end, whereby an implement can be held by the implement holder by inserting an implement into the distal end and securing the apparatus with the detachable connector. These and other features, aspects, and advantages of the present invention will become better understood with regard to the following drawings, description and claims.

DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 shows a partial assembly of the apparatus with the hook, connector, and fabric tubing.

FIG. 2 shows the assembly of FIG. 1 with heat shrink tubing ready to assemble over the end.

FIG. 3 shows the assembly of FIG. 2 with an implement held in the end of the fabric tubing.

FIG. 4 shows the final assembly of one embodiment after heat shrinking the heat shrink tubing onto the implement.

FIG. 5 shows a partial assembly of another embodiment, a fabric tube with an elastic cylinder.

FIG. 6 shows the assembly of FIG. 5 with the hook and connector secured on one end, and the elastic cylinder disposed in a fold of the fabric tubing.

FIG. 7 shows the final assembly of the second embodiment with an implement held by the holder.

DESCRIPTION

One embodiment invention is an apparatus comprising a length of fabric tubing coaxially doubled over itself having a proximal end forming an opening and a distal end forming a fold; an elastic cylinder disposed within the fabric tubing fold; and a detachable connector secured to the fabric tubing proximal end, whereby an implement can be held by the implement holder by inserting an implement into the distal end and securing the apparatus with the detachable connector. Another embodiment is an apparatus comprising a piece of fabric tubing having a proximal end and a distal end; a piece of heat shrink tubing secured to the fabric tubing distal end such that at least a portion of the heat shrink tubing extends beyond the fabric tubing distal end; and a detachable connector secured to the fabric tubing proximal end, whereby an implement can be held by the implement holder by inserting an implement into the heat shrink tubing and securing the apparatus with the detachable connector.

Turning to FIG. 1, the apparatus has a length of fabric tubing 12 having a proximal end 12a and a distal end 12b. The fabric tubing is preferably made of stretchable nylon tubing or cotton tubing. Zens Manufacturing, Inc., of Milwaukee, Wis., makes suitable tubing. The tubing may also include a spandex additive, i.e., nylon with spandex, cotton with spandex, and the like.

A detachable connector 14 is secured to the fabric tubing proximal end. A securing means 16 is secured to the connector 14, or can be an integral part of the connector. The securing means secures the apparatus to an article of clothing, such as a neck lanyard, or an item like a clip board or binder. The securing means shown is a swivel clasp hook, which is the preferred embodiment. However, other securing means could be used, as is appreciated by those having skill in the art. Suitable detachable connectors with securing means are manufactured by ITW Nexus of Des Plaines, Ill. The distal end of the fabric tubing does not have any hardware attached at this point. The end of the fabric tubing can be cut to length with a pair of scissors or other means, and is left raw.

FIG. 2 shows the partial assembly of FIG. 1 with addition of a piece of heat shrink tubing 18 ready to install over the fabric tubing 12. The preferred heat shrink tubing 18 has a 2:1 shrink ratio, and is manufactured by 3M of St. Paul, Minn.

In FIG. 3, a person assembling the apparatus moves the heat shrink tubing 18 toward the fabric tubing proximal end. An implement 20 is then inserted into the open end of the heat shrink tubing 12, business end out. The implement can be any elongated member, but is most frequently a pen, pencil, marker, highlighter, flashlight, screw driver, or even a flash memory stick. The fabric tubing 12 should preferably overlap the implement 20 by between about 1.27 cm (0.5 inches) and 1.91 cm (0.75 inches).

Turning to FIG. 4, the heat shrink tubing 18 is placed so that it overlaps the fabric tubing 12 and implement 20. Preferably, about 0.635 cm (0.25 inches) of the heat shrink tubing 18 engages the implement 20 itself. Once the components are in place, a heat gun or other heat source can be used to shrink the heat shrink tubing 18 to securely fasten the apparatus to an implement. The implement holder apparatus can then be fastened wherever it is needed, such as onto a neck lanyard, belt loop, three ring binder, or other item. Alternatively with this embodiment, an implement cap, such as a pen cap, could be secured to the holder. The pen can then be simply removed from the cap for use, or assembled back into the cap when not in use.

Another embodiment of the present invention is described in FIGS. 5-7. In FIG. 5, a length of fabric tubing 12 is shown with an elastic cylinder 22 positioned so that one edge is near the middle of the length. In the preferred embodiment, the elastic cylinder is made of rubber, but other elastic materials can be used. The fabric tubing 12 is then inverted or pulled over itself so that the cylinder 22 is captured inside the fabric tubing 12. The cylinder 22 is then pushed to the end near a fold 24 in the fabric tubing 12. The process of inverting the fabric tubing material can be accomplished either manually or by using a vacuum system. In either process, a mandrel (not shown) placed on the inside of the tubing can be used to help the inversion process.

By inverting the fabric tubing 12, the overall length is reduced to approximately half its original length. The fabric tubing is then cut on the opposite end of the fold 24 to the desired length. After the fabric tubing 12 has been cut, a connector 14 can be secured to the fabric tubing 12. A securing means 16 is preferably provided at the end of the connector 14, which can be a swivel hook, as shown in FIG. 6.

Once the apparatus is assembled, an implement 20 can be inserted into the opening as shown in FIG. 7. The elastic cylinder 22 will remain tight around the circumference of the implement, but will expand as the implement is being inserted. One of the key benefits of this arrangement that has been discovered is that the fabric tubing selected, together with the elastic tubing, has a low coefficient of kinetic friction. This makes it easier to slide the implement in the holder. The arrangement also results in a high coefficient of static friction. This helps the holder hold the implement very securely. The combination of the fabric tubing and the elastic cylinder yields results that are superior to other implement holders.

Although the preferred embodiments of the present invention have been described herein, the above description is merely illustrative. Further modification of the invention herein disclosed will occur to those skilled in the respective arts and all such modifications are deemed to be within the scope of the invention as defined by the appended claims.





 
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