BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
1. Field of the Invention
The invention relates to an article that retains cylindrical bodies to a structure. More specifically, the invention relates to an article for retaining bolts to a workpiece in a particular orientation until the bolt is needed to be secured to the workpiece.
2. Description of the Related Art
During assembly and manufacturing processes, bolts and other fasteners are often required to be positioned within the pieces they are to fasten or secure prior to the need to secure the pieces. If the bolts are not secured in place, it becomes difficult to change the pieces' orientation without having the bolts fall out of the bores in which they have been placed.
Another problem with bolts is they often have to be manually inserted into position due to the shape and size thereof. It is difficult to automate these procedures due to the difficulty of handling the bolts.
- SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
U.S. Pat. Re. 36,164 addresses this concern by disclosing a bolt retainer. The bolt retainer is designed to be slightly larger than the bore into which it is being inserted and to be slightly smaller inner diameter than the outer diameter of the bolt it is designed to hold. It does so by creating concave and convex sections that extend inwardly and outwardly, respectively, when taking the side view perspective. While this bolt retainer aids in the positioning of the bolt, it does not do so with enough force. Further, the bolt retainer lacks an outwardly extending piece that would aid in the handling of the bolt.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
A bolt retaining article retains a bolt within a bore of a structure prior to the bolt being threadingly engaged within the bore. The bolt retaining article includes a tubular body that extends through a longitudinal axis and defining an inner diameter and an outer diameter. The tubular body includes a plurality of concave sections and a plurality of convex sections. Each of the plurality of concave sections are disposed adjacent each of the plurality of convex sections. An engaging arm extends outwardly from said tubular body to secure the bolt retaining article to the structure. The bolt retainer article is adapted to receive the bolt therethrough to prevent the bolt from falling out and away from the structure.
Other advantages of the invention will be readily appreciated as the same becomes better understood by reference to the following detailed description when considered in connection with the accompanying drawings, wherein:
FIG. 1 is a side view of one embodiment of the invention;
FIG. 2 is a top view of one embodiment of the invention;
FIG. 3 is a side cross-sectional view of one embodiment of the invention taken along lines 3-3 of FIG. 2;
FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional view taken along lines 4-4 of FIG. 2;
FIG. 5 is a cross-sectional view taken along lines 5-5 of FIG. 2; and
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT(S)
FIG. 6 is a cross-sectional side view of one embodiment of the invention inserted into a bore of a structure.
Referring to the Figures, a bolt retaining article is generally shown at 10. The bolt retaining article 10 is used to position a bolt 12 within a bore 14 or some type of threaded hole. As is shown in the Figures, the bolt retaining article 10 is received by a compression limiting device 16 which is, in turn, received by the bore 14. The compression limiting device 16 is disclosed in a copending, co-owned patent application (identified by Clark Hill, PLC attorney docket no. 19041-085656), which is hereby incorporated by reference.
The bolt 12 is shown as a standard bolt 12 having a tool engaging head 18 and a shaft 20. The shaft 20 may include a threaded portion 22. The threaded portion 22 defines a bolt outer diameter.
The bolt retaining article 12 includes a tubular body 24. The tubular body 24 extends between a first end 26 and a second end 28. The tubular body 24 is fabricated from a thermoplastic polyolefin alloy having a hardness of Shore D40, a tensile strength of approximately 1,000 psi at yield, and a flexural modulus (tangent) of approximately 25,000 psi.
The tubular body 24 defines a longitudinal axis 30. When the bolt 12 is inserted into the tubular body 24, the bolt 12 is coaxial with the tubular body 24 and also extends along the longitudinal axis 24.
The tubular body 24 includes a plurality of concave 32 and convex 34 sections. When viewing the tubular body 24 through a side view, as is shown in FIG. 1, the concave sections 32 extend inwardly into the tubular body 24 whereas the convex sections 34 extend outwardly. The concave sections 32 define an inner diameter of the tubular body 24. The inner diameter of the tubular body 24 is slightly less than the outer diameter of the shaft 20 of the bolt 12. This ensures that the bolt retaining article 10 will frictionally engage the bolt 12 and prevent it from slipping out therefrom. The compression of the bolt retaining article 10 also provides forces directed outwardly against the sides of the bore 14 (or device 16 inserted therein) preventing the removal of the bore 14 therefrom.
Likewise, the convex sections 34 define the outer diameter of the tubular body 24. The outer diameter of the tubular body 24 is slightly greater than the bore 14. This ensures that the bolt retaining article 10 will frictionally engage the bore to prevent the bolt retaining article from slipping out therefrom. This will, in turn, prevent the bolt 12 from slipping out of the bore 14 prior to the bolt 12 threadingly engaging a threaded portion 38 of the bore 14.
In the embodiment shown, the concave sections 32 alternate with the convex sections 34. More specifically, each side of each concave section 32 adjoins a convex section 34. As such, each side of each convex section 34 adjoins a concave section 32. The interior of the tubular body 24 includes a number of ribs 36. The ribs 36 aid in the retention of the bolt 12 within the tubular body 24. The ribs 36 are raised from an inner surface 37 of the tubular body 24.
In the preferred embodiment, the concave 32 and convex 34 sections extend between the first 26 and second 28 ends of the tubular body 24. In alternative embodiments (not shown), the concave 32 and convex 34 sections extend through only a portion of the length of the tubular body 24.
The bolt retaining article 10 also includes an engaging arm 40 that extends out from the tubular body 24. In the preferred embodiment, a plurality of engaging arms 40 extend out therefrom. The engaging arms 40 are extensions of the tubular body 24 and extend out obliquely from the outer sides of the tubular body 24 to distal ends 42.
Each of the plurality of engaging arms 40 are bent when the bolt retaining article 10 is inserted into the bore 14. The resiliency of the engaging arms 40 add more compressive forces against the bore 14 to prevent the bolt retaining article 10 from falling out of the bore 14.
The engaging arms 40 act as a handle upon which an automated device, such as a robot, can hold and/or guide a bolt 12 to its proper position. The outward direction of the engaging arms 40 facilitates this task by allowing a device to grasp the engaging arms 40 without having to hold the bolt 12.
In addition, the distal ends 42 may provide a positive edge against which any lip or ledge in the bore 14 may prevent the bolt retaining article 10 from being removed.
The engaging arms 40 extend out of each of the concave sections 32. This allows the bolt retaining article 10 to incorporate the engaging arms 40 without adding to the outer diameter thereof because the convex sections 34 extend out further than the concave sections 32 at the point at which the engaging arms 40 are secured to the tubular body 24.
The invention has been described in an illustrative manner. It is to be understood that the terminology which has been used is intended to be in the nature of words of description rather than of limitation.
Many modifications and variations of the invention are possible in light of the above teachings. Therefore, within the scope of the appended claims, the invention may be practiced other than as specifically described.