|Publication number||US20040050888 A1|
|Application number||US 10/243,148|
|Publication date||Mar 18, 2004|
|Filing date||Sep 13, 2002|
|Priority date||Sep 13, 2002|
|Publication number||10243148, 243148, US 2004/0050888 A1, US 2004/050888 A1, US 20040050888 A1, US 20040050888A1, US 2004050888 A1, US 2004050888A1, US-A1-20040050888, US-A1-2004050888, US2004/0050888A1, US2004/050888A1, US20040050888 A1, US20040050888A1, US2004050888 A1, US2004050888A1|
|Original Assignee||Philip Warner|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (5), Referenced by (12), Classifications (14)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
 1. Field of Invention
 The present invention relates to a universal tool support apparatus and, more particularly, to a universal tool support apparatus for releasably connecting to a tool to enable the tool to be supported by various support pieces.
 2. State of the Art
 A common problem for workmen, such as construction workers, is to temporarily secure a work tool while the worker carries out some other task. Frequently, a worker is not in a place where the tool can simply be placed on the ground or any level place without the possibility of it falling or sliding, risking damage to the tool and injury to others. The worker typically needs some means to secure a tool so that it will not move or fall, and will be ready for further use as the work progresses.
 Work belts or utility straps are commonly used to hold tools thereon, such as the utility belt shown in U.S. Pat. No. 5,941,438, issued to Price. Other tool holders are designed to fit on ordinary belts. An example is shown in U.S. Pat. No. 5,582,338 granted to Tamura. However, attaching one or more tools to a worker's belt of any kind might encumber the other tasks at hand by making the worker less able to maneuver. Moreover, large tools, such as a large drill or a small saw, may simply be too large to affix to a work belt.
 In addition, a tool might not have any means for easily attaching the tool to a work belt. Brackets and flanges exist for bolting onto various tools to form a permanent attachment. The process of attaching such devices is a rather expensive and cumbersome, and does not satisfy the need for a universal mechanism which can be quickly and easily attached to and detached from many different work tools.
 Accordingly, what is needed is an attachment apparatus for attaching to a work tool to enable the tool to be supported or hung from a variety of support pieces and surfaces, including a work belt, a pouch or pocket, a ladder rung or any other such surface. In addition, an attachment apparatus is needed for easily and quickly attaching to and detaching from a large variety of tools, so that the same attachment apparatus can be used on more than one tool as a workman progresses through a series of tasks.
 The present invention provides a universal tool attachment apparatus that may be easily and quickly attached to and detached from almost any work tool. The apparatus of the present invention includes a support member for supporting a work tool securely on separate pieces or surfaces when the tool is not in use.
 The invention comprises, in one form thereof, a universal tool support apparatus adapted for supporting a work tool on various separate support pieces. A belt member has a securing element for releasably securing the belt member to the tool. An attachment member has a first element connected to the belt and a second element adapted to be supported by the separate support piece.
 In another embodiment, a tool attachment apparatus is provided for adapting a tool to be supported by an external member. A strap is adapted for connecting to the tool. A securing element is disposed on the strap for releasably securing the strap to the tool. A flange member is connected to the strap, and a support member is connected to the flange for making contact with the external member to support the tool thereon. The support member may be a hook or clamp, depending on the type of surface to be contacted for support.
 Another embodiment of the present invention comprises a connector apparatus adapted to connect a belt to a work piece. A buckle member has a securing element for releasably securing the belt to the buckle member. An attachment member has a first element connected to the buckle member and a second element connected to the first element, the second element being adapted to function as the work piece.
 One advantage of the present invention is that the attachment apparatus may be easily and readily attached to and detached from a portion, such as the handle, of almost any work tool. Thus, each tool being used does not require a separate attachment piece. Moreover, the attachment apparatus of the present invention enables a work tool to be supported on a variety of support pieces or surfaces, such as a worker's belt or pocket, a ladder rung, a shelf or any of a number of other surfaces, depending on the location and needs of the worker. In summary, the attachment apparatus of the present invention is versatile, inexpensive and flexible in its uses.
 The above-mentioned features and advantages of this invention, and others related thereto, as well as the manner of attaining them, will become more apparent and the invention will be better understood by reference to the following description of an embodiment of the invention taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, wherein:
FIGS. 1 and 2 are perspective views of the attachment apparatus of one embodiment of the present invention;
FIG. 3 is a plan exploded view of the attachment apparatus in FIGS. 1 and 2;
FIG. 4 is a plan view of the attachment apparatus in FIGS. 1 and 2;
FIG. 5 is a side view of a portion of the attachment apparatus in FIGS. 1 and 2;
FIG. 6 is a perspective view showing the attachment apparatus of the present invention connected to a work tool according to the present invention;
FIG. 7 is a pictorial view showing an example of one way in which the attachment apparatus of the present invention may support a work tool according to the present invention.
FIG. 8 is a perspective exploded view of the attachment apparatus of another embodiment of the present invention;
FIG. 9 is a perspective view of the flange member of the attachment apparatus shown in FIG. 8;
FIG. 10 is a perspective view of the attachment apparatus in FIG. 8, showing one embodiment of a securing member for securing the attachment apparatus to a work tool;
FIG. 11 is a perspective view of the attachment apparatus in FIG. 8, showing another embodiment of a securing member for securing the attachment apparatus to a work tool; and
FIG. 12 is a perspective view showing another embodiment of the attachment apparatus of the present invention.
 Corresponding reference characters indicate corresponding parts throughout the several views. The exemplification set out herein illustrates one preferred embodiment of the invention, in one form, and such exemplification is not to be construed as limiting the scope of the invention in any manner.
 Referring now to the drawings, and, more particularly, to FIGS. 1 and 2, one embodiment of the present invention is shown. An attachment apparatus 10 includes a belt 12, a connector member 14 and a hook member 16. Connector member 14 includes a buckle member 18 disposed on a flat support member 20 running transverse across the connector member 14.
 As better seen in FIGS. 3 and 4, connector member 14 also includes a flange piece 22 connected at a right angle to the flat support member 20. As shown, flange piece 22 may be integral with flat support member 20. A hole 24 is disposed in the flange piece 22 through which a threaded end 26 of hook member 16 extends. A nut 27 and O-ring 28 are positioned on the proximal side of flange piece 22, and a lock nut 29 and washer 30 are disposed on the threaded end 26 of hook member 16 on the distal side of the flange piece 22. This arrangement enables hook member 16 to swivel relative to flange piece 22. As shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, hook member 16 is bent so that one end 32 of the hook forms a J-shaped hook portion 33 having a tapered end 34 thereon. Alternately, end 34 might have a beaded end or form a rectangular or other shape.
 Belt member 12 may be made of a nylon or nylon tube netting with a loop strap at each end and being heat seared at each end. Alternately, belt member 12 may be composed of plastic, rubber, polyurethane or other flexible material. Connector member 14 and hook member 16 may be made of aluminum or some alloy thereof. Alternately, connector member 14 and hook member 16 may be composed of plastic. Likewise, bead 34 may be made of plastic or metal.
FIG. 5 shows a side view of the embodiment shown in FIGS. 1-4. Buckle member 18 includes a securing post 38 disposed transverse to the flat support member 20. A loop 40 at the end of belt member 12 is wrapped around the securing post 38 and secured to the belt member 12 permanently by heating or stitching or temporarily by clinging fabric, such as Velcro. Buckle member 18 includes a clip member 42 pivotal about a hinge pin 43.
 A clamp portion 44 is formed on the underside of clip member 42 in close proximity with a separate clamp-mating piece 45 on buckle piece 18. When clip member 42 is pivoted open, as shown by the dotted lines, the loose end 46 of belt 12 is inserted between clamp portion 44 and clamp mating piece 45. With clip member 42 pivoted shut, the end of belt 46 is clamped in place between clamp portion 44 and clamp mating piece 45.
 The belt member 12 may be about eight inches long and one inch wide. However, the belt may be about of any desired length and width. The hook member 16 may be cut from a two inch by ¼ inch “U” bolt. The connector member 14 may be made of a single ⅛ inch aluminum piece, bent at a right angle to form flat support member 20 and flange piece 22.
 In the foregoing embodiment, the buckle member 18 may fit integrally within a groove, indentation or aperture in the flat support member 20, as shown. Buckle member 18 performs the function of attaching the hook member 16 to the belt member 12 and the function of securing the belt member 12 at the desired position on a work tool. Alternately, or in addition to securing end 46 of belt member 12 between clamp portion 44 and clamp mating piece 45, the end 46 may be composed on a fabric, such as Velcro®, having a property of clinging to the fabric of belt 12 so the end 46 is folded back over one surface of belt 12 to be secured thereto by a clinging fabric.
FIG. 6 shows one manner in which the embodiment of the present invention shown in FIGS. 1-3 may be utilized in connection with a tool 60. As shown, belt 62 is wrapped around the handle of tool 60 with the belt being secured to the body of the belt 62 by one of the securing elements previously mentioned. As shown therein, hook 64 has a J-shaped end 66 extending outward for connecting the end 66 of hook 64 to a suitable surface or support piece. Hook member 64 may be swiveled relative to tool 60 and belt 62 to place the hook end 66 out of the way when it is not being used.
 Looking now at FIG. 7, one manner of using the attachment apparatus of the present invention shown in FIG. 6 to support tool 60 is shown. Hook 64 extends from belt 62 that is firmly secured to tool 60. Hook 64 is hooked in a loop 68 of a workman's belt. Alternately hook 64 may be hooked over a worker's utility belt or to the pocket of a workman's pants. Hook 64 may also be hung over the rung of a ladder or any other surface that would provide stability for the hook.
 Referring now to FIGS. 8 and 9, another embodiment of the present invention is shown. An attachment apparatus 70 includes a belt 72, a connector member 73 and a hook member 78. Connector member 73 includes a flat buckle piece 74 with two parallel slots 75 and 76 running transverse across the connector member 73 and a center post 77 disposed between the slots.
 As best seen in FIG. 9, connector member 73 includes a flange piece 82 connected at a right angle to the buckle member 74. A hole 84 is disposed in the flange piece 82 through which a threaded end 83 of hook member 78 extends. A nut 85 and O-ring 86 are positioned on the proximal side of flange piece 82, and a lock nut 87 and washer 88 are disposed on the threaded end 83 of hook member 78 on the distal side of the flange piece 82. This arrangement enables hook member 78 to swivel relative to flange piece 82.
 As shown in FIG. 8, hook member 78 is bent to form a J-shaped portion 79 with the distal end having a bead 80 thereon. Alternately, portion 79 might form a rectangle or other shape.
 Referring now to FIG. 10, the embodiment shown in FIGS. 8 and 9 is shown, assembled together with a securing member 89 at the end of the belt member 72. Securing member 89 may be a piece of Velcro or other fabric that will attach to the fabric of the belt to secure the belt 72 in any desired position about a work tool. The belt member 72 may be about eight inches long and one inch wide. However, the belt may be about of any desired length and width. The hook member 78 may be cut from a two inch by ¼ inch “U” bolt. The belt member 72, connector member 73 and hook member 78 may be made of the same materials as described for belt member 12, connector member 14 and hook member 16 in the discussion regarding the embodiment shown in FIGS. 1-4.
FIG. 11 shows another embodiment of the present invention, in which an attachment apparatus 90 includes a clip buckle 92 having a belt 94 threaded through the lower part of the clip buckle. Clip buckle 92 is a conventional buckle having a lower piece (not shown) similar to buckle piece 98 through which the belt member 94 is threaded. Clip buckle also has a hinged cover piece 93 that swivels to clamp on the belt member 94 at the desired location. A connector member 96 has a buckle piece 98 and a flange piece 99, essentially identical to buckle piece 74 and flange piece 82 shown in FIGS. 8 and 9.
 Referring now to FIG. 12, apparatus 100 shows another embodiment of the present invention. In this embodiment, a clip piece 102, rather than a hook, is attached to a flange piece 104. As in the other embodiments shown, a buckle piece 106 has a belt 108 threaded through it. Buckle piece 106 is connected to the flange piece 104, which in turn hold clip piece 102.
 One advantage of this embodiment is that the clip piece 102 may be used to secure the work tool to a support piece or surface that could not be used with a hook member. For example, clip 102 may attach to an article of clothing on the worker, to a hanging construction sheet or to some other member not conducive for a J-shaped hook. Clip 102 may also make a more secure connection to a support piece than could be done by a hook member.
 Similarly, the clip embodiment shown in FIG. 12 may be clipped to a loop, a belt, a piece of clothing or other hanging material or anything to which the clip 102 might be secured.
 It is understood that the present invention includes any other conventional type of attachment member, other than a hook or a clip, attached to a buckle piece.
 In summary, the apparatus of the present invention may be releasably attached to and removed from any work tool. A buckle or securing fabric holds the strap in place around a portion of the work tool. The apparatus of the present invention is strong, lightweight and inexpensive. It can pivot to move the hook out of the way when not being used.
 While this invention has been described in certain embodiments, the present invention can be further modified within the spirit and scope of this disclosure. This application is therefore intended to cover any variations, uses, or adaptations of the invention using its general principles. Further, this application is intended to cover such departures from the present disclosure as come within known or customary practice in the art to which this invention pertains and which fall within the limits of the appended claims.
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|EP2332697A1 *||Nov 24, 2010||Jun 15, 2011||Makita Corporation||Hook for electric power tools and electric power tool equipped with the hook|
|WO2007118296A1 *||Apr 13, 2006||Oct 25, 2007||John Albert||Belt-mountable holster for holding a power tool|
|U.S. Classification||224/269, 224/584, 224/930|
|International Classification||A45F5/10, B25H3/00, A45F5/00|
|Cooperative Classification||A45F2005/1013, B25H3/006, A45F5/00, A45F2200/0575, A45F5/021|
|European Classification||A45F5/02B, B25H3/00C, A45F5/00|