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Publication numberUS20050111995 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 10/997,614
Publication dateMay 26, 2005
Filing dateNov 24, 2004
Priority dateNov 25, 2003
Also published asWO2005052440A1
Publication number10997614, 997614, US 2005/0111995 A1, US 2005/111995 A1, US 20050111995 A1, US 20050111995A1, US 2005111995 A1, US 2005111995A1, US-A1-20050111995, US-A1-2005111995, US2005/0111995A1, US2005/111995A1, US20050111995 A1, US20050111995A1, US2005111995 A1, US2005111995A1
InventorsRodney Everson
Original AssigneeEverson Rodney W.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Carbon dioxide power system and method
US 20050111995 A1
Abstract
A system and method for driving a power tool or other implement using pressurized gas delivered from a portable canister, a business method for distributing canisters for use with such a system and method, and a compact distribution block for regulating pressure and delivering fluid from the canister to the tool.
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Claims(22)
1. A portable tool drive system comprising at least one canister for containing a pressurized drive fluid, a distribution block attached to said canister, and a regulator for regulating a fluid delivery pressure; wherein said distribution block comprises a refill port, and a discharge port for delivery of the drive fluid.
2. The portable tool drive system of claim 1, wherein the discharge port comprises a quick-release coupling.
3. The portable tool drive system of claim 1, further comprising at least one gauge for indicating a fluid pressure.
4. The portable tool drive system of claim 3, comprising only a single gauge for indicating a regulated fluid delivery pressure.
5. The portable tool drive system of claim 1, wherein the distribution block further comprises a pressure-relief safety valve for venting excess fluid pressure.
6. The portable tool drive system of claim 1, wherein the distribution block comprises a first coupling for attachment to the canister, and a second coupling for attachment of a fluid delivery conduit to the discharge port, and wherein the first and second couplings are oriented at an oblique angle relative to one another.
7. The portable tool drive system of claim 6, wherein the distribution block further comprises a third coupling for attachment of a gauge for indicating a fluid pressure, and wherein the first and third couplings are oriented at an oblique angle relative to one another.
8. The portable tool drive system of claim 1, wherein the regulator and the distribution block are combined as an integral component.
9. The portable tool drive system of claim 1, comprising two canisters for containing a pressurized drive fluid, and a jumper providing fluid communication between the two canisters.
10. The portable tool drive system of claim 1, further comprising an emergency release allowing high-volume discharge of the pressurized drive fluid for fire-suppression purposes.
11. An integral distribution block and pressure regulator for a portable tool drive system, said integral distribution block and pressure regulator comprising a first coupling for attachment to a portable container of pressurized fluid, and a second coupling for attachment to a fluid discharge conduit, wherein said first and second couplings are oriented at an oblique angle relative to one another.
12. The integral distribution block and pressure regulator of claim 11, further comprising a third coupling for attachment of a gauge for indicating a fluid pressure, wherein the first and third couplings are oriented at an oblique angle relative to one another.
13. The integral distribution block and pressure regulator of claim 11, further comprising a refill port.
14. The integral distribution block and pressure regulator of claim 11, further comprising a pressure-relief safety valve for venting excess fluid pressure.
15. The integral distribution block and pressure regulator of claim 11, wherein the first and second couplings comprise threaded bores in a lower housing portion of the integral distribution block and pressure regulator, and wherein the integral distribution block and pressure regulator further comprises an upper bell cover mountable onto the lower housing portion to enclose a variable pressure regulation mechanism.
16. A method of driving a power tool, said method comprising:
installing a distribution block and pressure regulator onto a canister;
substantially filling the canister with a pressurized drive fluid via a fill port in the distribution block; and
coupling a power tool to a discharge port in the distribution block to deliver the pressurized drive fluid to drive the power tool.
17. The method of claim 16, wherein the step of substantially filling the canister comprises delivering compressed CO2 into the canister through the fill port.
18. The method of claim 16, further comprising refilling the canister after discharging at least a portion of the pressurized drive fluid.
19. The method of claim 16, further comprising:
uncoupling the power tool from the discharge port after discharging at least a portion of the pressurized drive fluid;
exchanging a first canister, distribution block and pressure regulator for a second canister, distribution block and pressure regulator; and
re-coupling the power tool to a discharge port in the second distribution block.
20. The method of claim 19, wherein the second canister is of a different size than the first canister.
21. The method of claim 16, further comprising mounting the canister, distribution block and pressure regulator to a user-wearable carrier.
22. The method of claim 16, further comprising activating an emergency release to trigger a high-volume discharge of the pressurized drive fluid from the canister for fire-suppression purposes.
Description
CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/525,097 filed Nov. 25, 2003, and U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/560,422 filed Apr. 8, 2004, which applications are incorporated herein by reference in their entireties for all purposes.

TECHNICAL FIELD

The present invention relates generally to a portable power system and method for driving tools or other implements; and more particularly to a pressurized fluid drive system and method for power tools and the like, preferably utilizing carbon dioxide (CO2) or other fluid dispensed from a self-contained portable canister as the pressurized drive fluid.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Power tools and other implements are commonly used in various industrial, residential, automotive and other applications. For example, power nail-guns and staplers are commonly used in the construction trades, power impact wrenches and lifts are used in automotive repair and maintenance, and power paint sprayers and rollers are used in various paint and finish applications. Various other tasks are or can be performed with the assistance of power tools and implements.

Known power tools and implements commonly utilize pressurized air (pneumatic-drive) or pressurized liquid (hydraulic-drive) as their fluid power sources. In other known systems and methods, a controlled explosion of butane or other hydrocarbon fuel source is utilized as a power source for nail-guns and the like.

Such previously known systems and methods for driving power tools and implements have been found to have a number of disadvantages. For example, pneumatic and hydraulic drive systems generally require that the tool be connected, typically by a length of hose, to a stationary compressor or the like. This limits the applicability of such systems to applications requiring ease of portability, and presents safety risks and inconveniences resulting from the hoses being stretched through the workplace, often becoming entangled with other equipment and creating tripping hazards. Butane cartridges, compressors, and other equipment associated with previously known systems and methods also tend to be quite expensive, and/or to require frequent maintenance, adding further expense and inconvenience.

Thus it can be seen that needs exist for improved systems and methods for driving power tools and other implements. It is to the provision of improved systems and methods meeting these and other needs that the present invention is primarily directed.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In example forms, the present invention is an improved system and method for driving power tools and other implements. The system and method of the present invention preferably utilize self-contained tanks or canisters of pressurized fluid, most preferably carbon dioxide (CO2), as the power source to drive various power tools and implements. Such tanks and canisters are commercially available in various sizes, typically at a pressure of about 720-810 p.s.i. (nominal 800 p.s.i.).

In one aspect, the present invention is an inexpensive disposable tank or canister containing pressurized liquid CO2 or other pressurized drive fluid, for use as a power source to drive various power tools and implements. The tank or canister optionally comprises an attached or integral fitting and/or adapter for coupling to a regulator, a hose, a coupling element of a power tool or implement, a fill attachment, a pressure-relief safety valve, and/or a quick-release coupling for attachment to a tool or to a connection hose in communication with the tool.

In another aspect, the invention is a universal distribution block or adapter for connection to CO2 tanks or canisters of different sizes. For example, a common distribution block can be provided to couple both 20-ounce and 2-pound CO2 canisters to a tool or implement. In other embodiments, a common distribution block couples to two or more of a 20-ounce CO2 canister, a 2-pound CO2 canister, a 5-pound CO2 tank, a 20-pound CO2 tank, and/or a 50-pound CO2 tank. Optionally, the distribution block includes attachment couplings or integral mounts for a pressure regulator, a fill attachment, a pressure-relief safety valve, and/or a quick-release coupling for attachment to the tool or to a connection hose in communication with the tool. In still other embodiments, the distribution block may be fitted with an adaptor that allows recharging of a CO2 tank without removing the distribution valve or regulator.

In still another aspect, the invention is a system including a CO2 power source and one or more tools or implements driven by that source. For example, in one example system according to the present invention, a hand-portable canister or tank of pressurized liquid CO2 is connected via a flexible hose to a power tool such as a nail gun or stapler. In other embodiments, the flexible hose is fitted with an in-line pneumatic oiler to provide lubrication or antifreeze to the tool. In still other embodiments, the system utilizes CO2 as the drive source for one or more other tools or implements, such as for example a stapler, a paint gun or roller, an impact wrench, a jack or automotive lift, a pressurization fitting for leak-testing plumbing or other conduits or vessels, and/or a spray applicator for pesticides or other fluids.

In still another aspect, the invention is a method for driving a power tool or other implement using pressurized CO2 or another compressed fluid.

In another aspect, the invention is a system for driving a power tool or other implement using pressurized CO2 as the power source, which system also functions as a fire extinguishing or suppression system. For example, a canister or tank of CO2 can be connected via a first coupling of a distribution block to a power tool or implement such as an impact wrench and/or vehicle jack, and connected via a second coupling of the distribution block to a release mechanism for discharging CO2 through a hose or nozzle in the fashion of a CO2 fire extinguisher. This system is of particular advantage in automotive racing or other applications of potential fire risk.

In another aspect, the invention is a system including a CO2 power source and one or more tools or implements driven by that source including a system of one or more gauges and/or scales used to monitor the CO2 power source. For example, in one embodiment a gauge is used to measure the pressure inside both the regulator and the line, while a calibrated scale is used to determine the amount of CO2 remaining in the tank.

In another aspect, the invention is a CO2 powered system used to drive one or more tools or implements that utilizes ergonomically designed connections, regulator and gauge suitable for portable, hip-mounted use. For example, the regulator, gauge and line connector can be positioned at acute angles relative to the tank in order to minimize user interference and discomfort while using the CO2 powered system. A harness or belt can be provided, having mounting loops or other releasable fastening means, for carrying the fluid canister, the tool, and related implements, in a safe and convenient manner. The components of the tool and drive system can be provided as a kit, and/or as separate components.

In still another aspect, the invention is a business method for distributing, selling and exchanging replacement CO2 tanks for driving power tools and the like. For example, the CO2 tanks can be sold with both a distributor valve and a universal fitting for bottles and tools already affixed to the tank. In this manner, the tanks are ready to use as bought. Upon emptying the tank, the end user can exchange the empty tank for a full tank with a licensed retailer. In other embodiments, the user may return an empty tank to a retailer and have the tank refilled.

In another aspect, the invention is a portable tool drive system including at least one canister for containing a pressurized drive fluid, a distribution block attached to the canister, and a regulator for regulating a fluid delivery pressure. The distribution block preferably includes a refill port, and a discharge port for delivery of the drive fluid.

In another aspect, the invention is an integral distribution block and pressure regulator for a portable tool drive system. The integral distribution block and pressure regulator preferably include a first coupling for attachment to a portable container of pressurized fluid, and a second coupling for attachment to a fluid discharge conduit, and the first and second couplings are oriented at an oblique angle relative to one another.

In yet another aspect, the invention is a method of driving a power tool, the method including the steps of installing a distribution block and pressure regulator onto a canister; substantially filling the canister with a pressurized drive fluid via a fill port in the distribution block; and coupling a power tool to a discharge port in the distribution block to deliver the pressurized drive fluid to drive the power tool.

These and other aspects, features and advantages of the invention will be understood with reference to the drawing figures and detailed description herein, and will be realized by means of the various elements and combinations particularly pointed out in the appended claims. It is to be understood that both the foregoing general description and the following brief description of the drawings and detailed description of the invention are exemplary and explanatory of preferred embodiments of the invention, and are not restrictive of the invention, as claimed.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a side view of a tool and drive system according to an example embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 2 is an elevational view of a distribution block or adapter according to an example embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 3 is an assembly view of a dual-canister drive system according to an example embodiment of the invention.

FIGS. 4 and 5 are perspective and top views of pack-mounted drive systems according to two alternate embodiments of the invention.

FIGS. 6 and 7 show distribution block and regulator valve assemblies according to alternate forms of the invention.

FIG. 8 shows a portable fluid drive canister fitted with a universal distribution block incorporating a pressure gauge, quick release connector, pressure regulator, and fill attachment, according to another example embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 9 shows an exploded view of the distributor block component of FIG. 8.

FIG. 10 shows an example embodiment of the system of the present invention, including a portable fluid drive canister powering a pneumatic nail gun.

FIG. 11 shows another example embodiment of the system of the present invention, including a portable fluid drive canister powering an air brush paint or finish applicator.

FIG. 12 shows another example embodiment of the system of the present invention, including a portable fluid drive canister powering an air inflation system.

FIG. 13 shows another example embodiment of the system of the present invention, including a portable fluid drive canister powering an impact wrench.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF EXAMPLE EMBODIMENTS

The present invention may be understood more readily by reference to the following detailed description of the invention taken in connection with the accompanying drawing figures, which form a part of this disclosure. It is to be understood that this invention is not limited to the specific devices, methods, conditions or parameters described and/or shown herein, and that the terminology used herein is for the purpose of describing particular embodiments by way of example only and is not intended to be limiting of the claimed invention. Also, as used in the specification including the appended claims, the singular forms “a,” “an,” and “the” include the plural, and reference to a particular numerical value includes at least that particular value, unless the context clearly dictates otherwise. Ranges may be expressed herein as from “about” or “approximately” one particular value and/or to “about” or “approximately” another particular value. When such a range is expressed, another embodiment includes from the one particular value and/or to the other particular value. Similarly, when values are expressed as approximations, by use of the antecedent “about,” it will be understood that the particular value forms another embodiment.

With reference now to the drawing figures, example embodiments of various aspects of the present invention are shown and described. FIG. 1 shows a system 10, including a canister 20 containing a pressurized gas or liquid, for example pressurized liquid CO2. The canister 20 may be for example a 20-ounce CO2 tank, a 2-pound CO2 tank, a 5-pound CO2 tank, a 20-pound CO2 tank, or a 50-pound CO2 tank. A is mounted to the canister 20, and includes fittings or couplings for a fill attachment 32, a pressure-relief safety valve 34, a pressure regulator valve and gauges 36, and/or a quick-release and attachment coupling 38 for attachment to a hose 40 or fitting for delivery of pressurized CO2 to drive a power tool or implement 42. FIG. 2 shows the internal boring of an example form of the distribution block 30 in broken lines. The tool 42 is depicted as a nail gun, but in other embodiments may take the form of, for example, a stapler, a paint gun or roller, an impact wrench, a jack or automotive lift, a pressurization fitting for leak-testing plumbing or other conduits or vessels, and/or a spray applicator for pesticides or other fluids, or other power-driven tool or implement.

FIG. 3 shows an alternate embodiment of a drive system for power tools or implements according to the invention. This embodiment includes a plurality (two are shown) of CO2 tanks or canisters 20, and one or more valved jumper(s) 60 connected between successive tanks to permit the user to select either one of the tanks, or both of the tanks in tandem, as the drive source for a power tool. This embodiment provides a greater volume of pressurized drive fluid, as for increased duration of use and/or for applications requiring increased volumetric flow. The dual-canister system also allows for weight balancing, for example by allowing one canister 20 a to be mounted on a belt or harness on the left-hand side of a wearer's body, and the other canister 20 b to be mounted on the wearer's right-hand side.

FIG. 4 shows an alternate embodiment of the invention, for example directed to a portable spray applicator for dispensing pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, or other fluid or fluidized material. A first tank 20 contains the pressurized drive fluid, which pressurizes a product tank 80 containing the material to be dispensed, to permit the user to dispense product through a wand and hose assembly 82. A fill coupling 84 extends from adjacent the regulator 86, for allowing refilling of the pressurization tank 20. One or more gauges 88, such as tank pressure gauge 88 a and line pressure gauge 88 b are optionally provided to allow the user to monitor tank pressure and working pressure delivered to the product tank. The tanks 20, 80 are optionally contained in a shell 90 for ease of portability. In example embodiments, the shell 90 takes the form of a backpack having one or more shoulder straps 92, or other user-wearable or hand-carried device. In another embodiment, shown in example form in FIG. 5, the pressurization tank 20′ is removably installed in fluid communication with a pressurizable bladder or reservoir 100 within the shell 90′, which serves as the product tank to contain the material to be dispensed.

FIGS. 6 and 7 show alternate forms of quick-disconnect regulator and distribution block components for use with the portable pressurized fluid drive system 110 of the present invention. The distribution block 130 is preferably releasably mounted to a canister 120 containing pressurized drive fluid, substantially as disclosed above, for example by means of a threaded coupling. Alternatively, the distribution block 130 is permanently affixed to or integrally formed with the pressurization canister 120. The distribution block 130 preferably comprises a gate valve 132 for opening and closing fluid discharge from the canister 120, a fill port coupling 134 for refilling the canister when spent, a safety-release valve 136 for venting excess pressure from the canister, and a quick-disconnect coupling 138 for connection of the regulator assembly 140. The regulator assembly 140 preferably includes a high-pressure gauge 142 for displaying the tank pressure within the canister 120 when valve 132 is open, and a low-pressure gauge 144 for displaying the regulator discharge pressure delivered to the tool. An adjustment knob 146 allows the user to selectively control the regulator discharge pressure within a range. A second quick-disconnect coupling 150 is preferably provided for connection of the hose delivering drive fluid at the regulated pressure to the tool.

FIGS. 8-13 depict a portable pressurized fluid drive system 210 according to another example embodiment of the invention. A CO2 tank or canister 220 is preferably coupled via a length of pneumatic hose 222 to drive a power tool such as a nail gun 224 (FIG. 10), a paint sprayer 226 (FIG. 11), an inflation hose 228 (FIG. 12), or an impact wrench 230 (FIG. 13). Of course in other embodiments, the tool may take the form of, for example, a stapler, a paint roller, an impact wrench, a jack or automotive lift, a blower nozzle for cleaning, a pressurization fitting for leak-testing plumbing or other conduits or vessels, a spray applicator for pesticides or other fluids, and/or another power-driven tool or implement. The hose 222 is preferably connected to the pressurized drive system and/or the tool via quick-connect and swivel couplings 234 for ease of use and to resist tangling and kinking of the hose. The system can optionally also include a tool belt or harness for holding the CO2 canister, the driven tool, and/or various associated implements about the user's waist, and for hose management for safety and convenience of use.

FIG. 8 shows an integral distribution block and pressure regulator 250 in greater detail, according to an example form of the invention. The integral distribution block and pressure regulator 250 preferably comprises a lower housing 252 having internal threads or other connection means for releasably coupling with the canister 220, a fill coupling 254 for attachment to an external fluid refill source for refilling the canister when spent, a pressure-relief valve 256 for venting excess pressure from the canister, a coupling for attachment of a line pressure indicating gauge 258, a coupling for attachment of the quick disconnect fitting 234, an upper housing or bell cover 260 for containing the internal regulator components, and an adjustment knob 262 for selectively controlling the line pressure output. The incorporation of the pressure regulator, fill connection, safety release valve, gauge coupling, and tool hose coupling into a compact integral unitary distribution block assembly advantageously reduces the size and weight of the system, improving portability and ease of use, reducing manufacturing cost, and increasing durability. The provision of a universal distribution block as shown, suitable for attachment to various sizes of CO2 canisters, advantageously permits the user to interchange canisters of different sizes with the same tools and implements, depending on the scope of the intended project and/or canister availability.

In preferred form, the integral distribution block and pressure regulator 250 provides for connection of only a single indicator gauge, namely line pressure display gauge 258; and no gauge is provided for indicating the tank pressure or fill level of the canister. It has been found that a tank pressure gauge provides less accuracy than is generally desirable for indicating the level of fluid fill remaining in the canister. Also, providing a tank pressure gauge increases cost, decreases durability, and makes the overall device bulkier and more cumbersome to use. Accordingly, the system of the present invention preferably comprises a calibrated digital or spring-based scale (such as are commonly used by fishermen to weigh fish, for example), for measuring the weight of the CO2 tank to indicate how much CO2 remains in the tank. The scale may, for example, be mounted between the canister 220 and the canister bracket or carrier portion of the belt or harness worn by the user, to provide an accurate indication of the total weight of the canister and its contents. Also, the gauge 258 and line connector 234 preferably extend at acute angles relative to the housing of the integral distribution block and pressure regulator 250, in order to reduce the profile of the system and minimize user interference and discomfort.

FIG. 9 is an exploded view of an integral distribution block and pressure regulator 250 similar to that of FIG. 8, showing the internal regulator components. Manual actuation of the adjustment knob 262 allows a user to variably control the pressure and volumetric flow rate of the compressed gas from within tank 220. As the distal end of the screw 270 extending from the adjustment knob 262 presses on washer 272, the spring 274 is compressed. Pressure is thereby exerted on the safety release valve 276. Safety release valve 276 is concentrically surrounded by a rubber washer 278 and forms a seal with the distributor block face 280. A second washer 282 rests on top of rubber washer 278 to help maintain a tight seal. Safety release valve 276 presses on release pin 284, which releases compressed gas from the tank. Release pin 284 is engaged within bolt 286, which is screwed into the lower housing 252 of the distributor block 250. A pressure distribution chamber is defined between rubber washer 278 and the base of cavity 290. The base of cavity 290 communicates compressed fluid at the regulated pressure through ports 292 and 294 to the line pressure gauge 258 and to the quick release coupling 234. A first threaded bore 296 in the lower housing 252 receives the pressure gauge 258 for connection to the distributor block 250, and a second threaded bore 298 receives the quick-release coupling 234 for connection to the distributor block to form the fluid discharge port for delivering regulated pressure fluid to the tool, either directly or via a delivery conduit such as a flexible hose. The threaded bores 296, 298 that receive the pressure gauge and the discharge coupling are both preferably oriented at an acute angle relative to the threaded bore in the bottom of the lower housing 252 that engages the distribution block to the canister 220, so that the installed gauge and coupling will extend at a downward angle (See FIG. 8) toward the canister, to minimize the system's overall profile. A threaded bore 300 receives the fill coupling 254. In order to prevent the over-pressurization of the distributor block, safety release mechanism 276 has a release valve 302 that releases and discharges fluid if the pressure exceeds a predetermined maximum. The over-pressurized fluid is released to the surrounding environment by bleeding through the threads of bell cover 260, and/or through one or more relief holes drilled through the bell cover. In an alternate embodiment, the pressure gauge 258 is optionally omitted, and a slot is provided in the bell cover 260. An indicator finger projecting from the washer 272 extends through the slot in the bell cover, and moves up and down with the washer as the pressure is adjusted. Numerical pressure indicia are engraved or imprinted on the bell cover along the slot to indicate the pressure by alignment with the indicator finger of the washer 272.

In its various embodiments, the system of the present invention is compact and lightweight, and is particularly well-suited for hand-portable applications. For example, as described above, the system can be incorporated into a backpack or other user-wearable or hand-carried device. Alternatively, the replaceable CO2 tank may include a hook, clip or other feature(s) to permit a user to carry the tank on his or her belt, tool apron, or the like. Quick-release couplings are preferably provided to permit the user to quickly and easily replace spent CO2 cartridges, and/or to permit quick and easy interchangeability of tools. A convenient length of hose preferably couples the tank and the tool, to permit the user a full range of motion in use, but to prevent tangling and/or tripping hazards. Optionally, the hose is a self-coiling or self-retracting hose for easier handling and all hose connections are fitted with a swivel connector to prevent the hose from tangling.

In alternate embodiments of the invention, the system of the present invention comprises a kit for provision as original equipment or retrofit equipment for an automobile or other vehicle. For example, a portable carrying case houses one or more replaceable CO2 canisters or tanks; a hose, regulator and coupling assembly; an impact wrench and socket for removing lug nuts; and a CO2-powered jack adapted to raise the weight of the vehicle. To change a tire, the user places the jack under the vehicle, connects a CO2 tank to the jack, and actuates a valve to direct CO2 to the jack to raise the vehicle. A CO2 tank is then connected to drive the impact wrench, which is used to remove the lug nuts. The wheel is then removed and replaced with the spare, and the lug nuts are replaced using the impact wrench. The jack is then lowered by releasing the pressurized fluid.

In order to reduce the likelihood of freezing up of equipment due to temperature drop from expansion of the CO2 as the system is operated, it is preferred that the distribution block be formed of a heat-conductive material such as aluminum, copper, brass or other metal(s) or heat-conductive material(s), and have sufficient mass to promote heat transfer to the working fluid. It is further preferred that the hose extending between the CO2 tank and the tool be heat-conductive, and/or have a relatively high length to diameter ratio (for example on the order of 60:1 or more) to promote heat transfer to the working fluid. In addition, an in line oiler 225 may be positioned between the distribution block and the tool, as seen in FIG. 10, in order to provide lubrication or antifreeze to the tool.

A further advantage to the system and method of the present invention is that the use of CO2 as the drive fluid permits the system to also serve dual purpose as a fire suppression device. For example, the distribution block mounted to the CO2 tank can include an emergency release mechanism to permit high-volume discharge of CO2 through a hose and nozzle coupled thereto, in similar fashion to the operation of a CO2 fire extinguisher.

The present invention also encompasses a method of distribution and use of a pressurized fluid drive system substantially as disclosed. In example form, the method of the present invention preferably comprises providing one or more refillable canisters for containing a pressurized fluid for driving a power tool, the canisters having a distribution block connected thereto. The distribution block preferably includes a refill coupling for attachment to an external source of pressurized fluid, for refilling the canister when spent; and a coupling for attachment of a power tool to receive the pressurized drive fluid from the canister, for example via a hose or other fluid delivery conduit. The canisters are preferably sold to users from various supply locations in a pre-charged state, filled with pressurized fluid and ready to use. In one embodiment, upon emptying the canister, the end user can return the spent canister to a licensed supplier, and exchange it for a full canister. The supplier then inspects, tests, cleans, repairs (if necessary), and refills the canister for resale and reuse. In alternate embodiments, the user may return an empty canister to a supplier and have the tank refilled for further use.

While the invention has been described with reference to preferred and example embodiments, it will be understood by those skilled in the art that a variety of modifications, additions and deletions are within the scope of the invention, as defined by the following claims. For example, although the drive fluid has been described herein as utilizing CO2 as the drive fluid, it will be understood that the invention also includes systems, equipment and methods substantially as described, but utilizing compressed air, compressed nitrogen, other compressed gasses, and/or mixtures thereof, as the drive fluid(s).

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7213734Sep 27, 2005May 8, 2007Atcheson John CPneumatic tool drive system
US7325397 *May 18, 2007Feb 5, 2008Chi Ping LeeDevice for continuously supplying compressed air from a portable container to a pneumatic tool by greatly reducing pressure of compressed air and then precisely adjusting same
US7721631Nov 5, 2007May 25, 2010The Boeing CompanyCombined wrench and marking system
US7845532Nov 9, 2007Dec 7, 2010Stanley Fastening Systems, L.P.Cordless fastener driving device
US8203096 *Sep 10, 2007Jun 19, 2012Hypertherm, Inc.Wearable autonomous material processing system
US8350182Mar 10, 2008Jan 8, 2013Hypertherm, Inc.Portable autonomous material processing system
US8890021Dec 6, 2012Nov 18, 2014Hypertherm, Inc.Portable autonomous material processing system
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Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
May 15, 2006ASAssignment
Owner name: I A M POWER SOURCE, INC., GEORGIA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:EVERSON, RODNEY W.;REEL/FRAME:017616/0022
Effective date: 20050919
Nov 22, 2005ASAssignment
Owner name: GARDNER GROFF, P.C., GEORGIA
Free format text: NOTICE OF RELEASE OF LIEN;ASSIGNORS:I A M POWER SOURCE, INC.;EVERSON, RODNEY W.;REEL/FRAME:017608/0617
Effective date: 20051122
Nov 1, 2005ASAssignment
Owner name: GARDNER GROFF, P.C., GEORGIA
Free format text: NOTICE OF CLAIM OF LIEN;ASSIGNORS:I A M POWER SOURCE, INC.;EVERSON, RODNEY W.;REEL/FRAME:016964/0518
Effective date: 20051101