Search Images Maps Play YouTube News Gmail Drive More »
Sign in
Screen reader users: click this link for accessible mode. Accessible mode has the same essential features but works better with your reader.

Patents

  1. Advanced Patent Search
Publication numberUS20060027475 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/185,129
Publication dateFeb 9, 2006
Filing dateJul 20, 2005
Priority dateJul 21, 2004
Publication number11185129, 185129, US 2006/0027475 A1, US 2006/027475 A1, US 20060027475 A1, US 20060027475A1, US 2006027475 A1, US 2006027475A1, US-A1-20060027475, US-A1-2006027475, US2006/0027475A1, US2006/027475A1, US20060027475 A1, US20060027475A1, US2006027475 A1, US2006027475A1
InventorsJames Gleason, Robert Adams, Kirk Brown
Original AssigneeJames Gleason, Adams Robert G, Kirk Brown
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Tool storage and carrier assembly
US 20060027475 A1
Abstract
A portable storage assembly and method of assembly is disclosed. The storage assembly can include a bag having at least one storage volume and a bottom member; and a tray that receives the bottom member in a stacked relationship and supports the bag such that a second storage volume is formed under the bottom member of the bag and above a base of the tray.
Images(6)
Previous page
Next page
Claims(33)
1. A portable storage assembly, comprising:
a bag having at least one storage volume and a bottom member; and
a tray that receives the bottom member in a stacked relationship and supports the bag such that a second storage volume is formed under the bottom member of the bag and above a base of the tray.
2. The portable storage assembly according to claim 1, wherein the bottom member defines a male first stacking component and the tray defines a female stacking component.
3. The portable storage assembly according to claim 1, wherein the bottom member nests within the tray.
4. The portable storage assembly according to claim 1, further comprising an attachment mechanism to removably attach the bag and the tray.
5. The portable storage assembly according to claim 4, wherein when the bag and tray are attached, lifting of the bag causes the tray to travel with the bag in the stacked arrangement with a load of the tray borne by the attachment mechanism.
6. The portable storage assembly according to claim 4, wherein the attachment mechanism includes a spring biased button that is received in a corresponding aperture of the tray.
7. The portable storage assembly according to claim 6, wherein the button includes a control surface that facilitates lateral movement of the button during attaching of the bag and tray.
8. The portable storage assembly according to claim 4, wherein the tray includes an additional attachment mechanism for establishing a removable connection to a second tray in a stacked relationship.
9. The portable storage assembly according to claim 4, wherein a lowering action of the bag with respect to the tray connects the attachment mechanism to a corresponding member to attach the bag and the tray without direct manual manipulation of the attachment mechanism.
10. The portable storage assembly according to claim 1, wherein the tray is received by a second tray in a stacked relationship such that third storage volume is formed under the first tray and over a base of the second tray.
11. The portable storage assembly according to claim 1, wherein the bottom member is supported by a ledge disposed on a sidewall of the tray.
12. The portable storage assembly according to claim 1, wherein the bottom member includes an outer lower edge that is disposed laterally inward of a corresponding inner upper edge of the tray.
13. The portable storage assembly according to claim 1, wherein the tray includes a handle having a stowed position where the handle is disposed in the second storage volume and a carrying position.
14. The portable storage assembly according to claim 13, wherein the tray includes a handle receiving ledge upon which the handle rests when disposed in the stowed position.
15. The portable storage assembly according to claim 13, wherein the handle includes a positioning mechanism to hold the handle in the carrying position, the positioning mechanism engaging a member of the tray that is adapted to receive an attachment mechanism for establishing detachable connection between the bag and the tray.
16. The portable storage assembly according to claim 1, further comprising a set of wheels connected to the tray and positioned to facilitate rolling of the storage assembly across a surface.
17. The portable storage assembly according to claim 1, wherein there are a plurality of stacked trays and the bag is disposed on the uppermost one of the trays in a stacked arrangement and the lowest one of the trays include a set of wheels to facilitate rolling of the storage assembly across a surface.
18. The portable storage assembly according to claim 1, wherein the tray includes at least one divider for separating the second storage volume.
19. The portable storage assembly according to claim 1, wherein the bottom member and the tray form a seal to reduce entry of contaminants into the second storage volume.
20. The portable storage assembly according to claim 1, further comprising a sealing mechanism disposed between the bottom member and the tray to reduce entry of contaminants into the second storage volume.
21. The portable storage assembly according to claim 1, wherein the bag is a soft-sided tool bag.
22. A method of assembling a portable storage assembly that includes a bag having at least one storage volume, the bag being removably attachable to a tray, comprising:
aligning the bag over the tray;
lowering the bag to engage an attachment mechanism of the bag with a receiving member of the tray; and
securing the attachment mechanism and the receiving member so that the bag is removably attached to the tray in a stacked relationship and a second storage volume is formed under the bag.
23. The method according to claim 22, wherein the securing includes moving the bag with respect to the tray.
24. The method according to claim 22, wherein a bottom member of the bag nests within the tray.
25. The method according to claim 22, wherein when the bag and tray are attached, lifting of the bag causes the tray to travel with the bag in the stacked arrangement with the load of the tray borne by the attachment mechanism.
26. The method according to claim 22, wherein the attachment mechanism includes a spring biased button that is received in a corresponding aperture of the tray.
27. The method according to claim 22, wherein the button includes a control surface that facilitates lateral movement of button during lowering and securing.
28. The method according to claim 22, further comprising removably attaching the tray to a second tray so that the bag and trays are in a stacked relationship and a third storage volume is formed between the trays.
29. The method according to claim 22, wherein the bag is secured to the tray without direct manual manipulation of the attachment mechanism.
30. A bag for carrying and storing a plurality of articles, comprising:
at least one body panel that defines a storage volume;
a bottom member secured to the at least one body panel; and
an attachment mechanism to removably attach the bag to a member disposed under the bag in a stacked relationship to the bag.
31. A storage device, comprising:
a base;
sidewalls that extend upward from a perimeter of the base in a generally vertical direction; and
a supporting surface disposed with respect to the sidewalls to alternatively support another storage device and a bag stacked onto the storage device base in spaced relationship to base.
32. The storage device according to claim 31, further comprising a receiving member to detachably receive an attachment mechanism of the stacked one of the another storage device and the bag.
33. The storage device according to claim 31, further comprising an attachment mechanism to removably attach the storage device to a member disposed under the storage device in a stacked relationship to the storage device.
Description
    RELATED APPLICATION DATA
  • [0001]
    This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/590,236 filed Jul. 21, 2004, the disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.
  • TECHNICAL FIELD
  • [0002]
    The present invention relates generally to a carrier for holding and storing small items such as tools and, more particularly, to a storage assembly arranged to hold and increase the portability of a plurality of articles.
  • BACKGROUND
  • [0003]
    There are a wide variety of utility bags and hand-tool carrying devices on the market. Some devices are of the tool box variety, which are of rigid plastic or metal and include a hinged top and a removable tray that lifts out to reveal the inner confines of the box for bulk tool storage. Some tool boxes include drawers that slide outward for accessing tools that have been placed in the drawers.
  • [0004]
    “Soft-sided” utility bags, which recently have been introduced on the market, make up another class of tool carrying devices. These bags typically are made from synthetic fabrics and are available in a variety of sizes and configurations. Soft-sided bags are generally similar to a doctor's bag with a zippered top opening that provides access to an inside volume where tools lay in a bulk storage arrangement. Some bags include inner and/or outer pockets for storing and organizing small items, such as fasteners, drill bits, short tools and so forth.
  • [0005]
    While soft-sided bags offer an alternative to boxes, both configurations have a finite amount of tool storage capability. Also, even with the presence of internal and external pockets, it can be difficult to organize and to find certain tools or supplies, such as fasteners, electrical connectors, plumbing fittings, and so forth. Furthermore, workers typically do not like to carry a tool bag with excess weight from tools that may not be used for a given job. At present, there is no way to organize a single tool storage bag or box for specific types of jobs without unpacking unwanted items and adding other items to the container. Such an activity tends to be time consuming and leads to disorganization and misplacement of the unpacked items.
  • [0006]
    Accordingly, there is a need in the art for an improved tool storage assembly.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • [0007]
    According to one aspect of the invention, a portable storage assembly includes a bag having at least one storage volume and a bottom member; and a tray that receives the bottom member in a stacked relationship and supports the bag such that a second storage volume is formed under the bottom member of the bag and above a base of the tray.
  • [0008]
    According to another aspect of the invention, a method of assembling a portable storage assembly includes a bag having at least one storage volume, the bag being removably attachable to a tray includes aligning the bag over the tray; lowering the bag to engage an attachment mechanism of the bag with a receiving member of the tray; and securing the attachment mechanism and the receiving member so that the bag is removably attached to the tray in a stacked relationship and a second storage volume is formed under the bag.
  • [0009]
    According to yet another aspect of the invention, a bag for carrying and storing a plurality of articles includes at least one body panel that defines a storage volume; a bottom member secured to the at least one body panel; and an attachment mechanism to removably attach the bag to a member disposed under the bag in a stacked relationship to the bag.
  • [0010]
    According to still another aspect of the invention, a storage device includes a base; sidewalls that extend upward from a perimeter of the base in a generally vertical direction; and a supporting surface disposed with respect to the sidewalls to alternatively support another storage device and a bag stacked onto the storage device base in spaced relationship to base.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS
  • [0011]
    These and further features of the present invention will be apparent with reference to the following description and drawings, wherein:
  • [0012]
    FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a tool storage assembly according to the present invention;
  • [0013]
    FIG. 2A is a fragmentary section view of a bag component of the tool storage assembly and an attached tray having a support arrangement according to one embodiment of the invention;
  • [0014]
    FIG. 2B is a fragmentary section view of a bag component of the tool storage assembly and an attached tray having a support arrangement according to another embodiment of the invention;
  • [0015]
    FIG. 3 is a section view of a detachable tray from the tool storage assembly taken along a longitudinal axis of the tray;
  • [0016]
    FIG. 4 is a section view of the detachable tray from the tool storage assembly taken along a transverse axis of the tray;
  • [0017]
    FIG. 5 is a cross-section of an attachment mechanism used to connect the detachable tray to a bag component of the tool storage assembly or to connect two trays together;
  • [0018]
    FIG. 6 is a perspective view of a detachable tray from the tool storage assembly having interior dividers, a handle and wheels;
  • [0019]
    FIG. 7 is a perspective view of a detachable tray from the tool storage assembly having a cover;
  • [0020]
    FIG. 8 is a perspective view of a tool storage assembly with plural trays attached to a bag; and
  • [0021]
    FIG. 9 is a perspective view of a tool storage assembly with plural trays in a stacked arrangement.
  • DESCRIPTION
  • [0022]
    In the description that follows, like components have been given the same reference numerals, regardless of whether they are shown in different embodiments of the present invention. To illustrate the present invention in a clear and concise manner, the drawings may not necessarily be to scale and certain features may be shown in somewhat schematic form. Features that are described and/or illustrated with respect to one embodiment may be used in the same way or in a similar way in one or more other embodiments and/or in combination with or instead of the features of the other embodiments.
  • [0023]
    Aspects of the present invention are directed to a tool storage assembly that includes a portable tool bag component and one or more detachable trays. The tray, or trays, can be used to expand the tool and supply carrying capacity of the tool bag. The tool storage assembly can be used, for example, by tradesmen, construction workers, handymen, electricians, plumbers, carpenters, sportsmen, artists and any other person to carry a number of articles. Although the bag and assembly are described in the example environment of a tool bag and tool storage assembly, it will be appreciated that non-tool items can be transported and stored by the devices described herein and the present invention is not intended to be limited to tool carrying and storing.
  • [0024]
    Quick release retaining mechanisms are provided to engage and detachably retain a first tray to the tool bag. The trays also can include quick release retaining mechanisms so that additional trays can be attached to the first or other preceding tray. In one arrangement, the tool bag rests on the first tray (e.g., the tool bag is stacked on the first tray) and any additional trays are stacked under the first tray. The stacking arrangement can include partially nesting the tool bag in the first tray and each tray in an adjacent lower tray. The entire assembly, including tool bag and attached tray(s), can be carried. For example the tool bag can include a handle and/or a carrying strap(s). When lifted, the retaining mechanisms can bear the weight of the attached tray(s) and its (their) contents to maintain the stacked arrangement of the bag and tray(s). In addition, each tray can include a handle such that one or more trays can be transported without the bag. One tray can have wheels such that when the wheeled tray is attached as the lowest tray, a user can roll the tool storage assembly across a surface, such as a floor.
  • [0025]
    Depending on the level of organization desired by a user of the tool storage assembly, multiple trays can be used to organize tools and supplies. For instance, a worker can place commonly used tools (e.g., screw drivers, a hammer, pliers, a power drill, eye protection, etc.) in the tool bag. Items related to specific types of jobs can be placed in separate trays and individual trays can be selectively attached to the tool bag based on projected tool need. Trays having contents that the user does not believe will be used on a particular job can be left behind (e.g., at a workshop or in a vehicle). As a non-extensive list of examples, plumbing related items (e.g., a pipe wrench, bonnet wrenches, Teflon tape, solder, washers and so forth) can be placed in a first tray, electrical related items (e.g., wire strippers, a voltage meter, wire nuts, electrical tape and so forth) can be placed in a second tray, and wood working items (e.g., router bits, wood screws, wood glue, sand paper and so forth) can be placed in a third tray.
  • [0026]
    Referring now to FIG. 1, shown is a perspective view of a tool storage assembly 10. The tool storage assembly 10 can include a “soft-sided” tool bag 12 and one or more trays 14. In one embodiment, the tool bag 12 is an adapted version of the tool bag 12 shown and described in commonly assigned U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/563,024, filed Apr. 16, 2004, the disclosure of which is herein incorporated by reference in its entirety.
  • [0027]
    In the illustrated embodiment, the tool bag 12 includes a bottom member 16 and generally vertical body panels 18 that are securely attached to the bottom member 16. The bottom member 16 can be generally rectangular with curved corners as illustrated or rectangular with angular corners. As will be appreciated, the bottom member 16 need not be rectangular, but the shape should be coordinated with a shape of the trays 14 to facilitate attachment of the trays 14 to the bag 12.
  • [0028]
    The bottom member 16 may be made of any durable material (e.g., molded rubber or plastic) having properties that prevent or delay the environment from damaging the tool bag 12 or the contents thereof. For example, the bottom member 16 can minimize water or moisture from entering the tool bag 12 by absorption through the bottom member 16, even when the tool bag 12 is placed on a damp surface. The body panels 18 can be formed of a conformable material. For example, the body panels 18 can be formed from fabric, cotton, nylon, leather, plastic, rubber and the like. In alternative embodiments, the tool bag 12 can be arranged to have a more rigid configuration, such as the configuration of a tool box that is made from metal or plastic. Modifications to the illustrated embodiment to removably attach one or more trays to a tool box will be apparent to one of ordinary skill in the art.
  • [0029]
    The tool bag 12 can include straps 20 for transporting the tool bag 12 by carrying, pulling, lifting, etc. The straps 20 may be securely or removably attached to the tool bag 12 in a number of ways, for example, by stitching or with clips. Other types of handles may be used to facilitate transporting the tool storage assembly 10.
  • [0030]
    With additional reference to FIGS. 2A and 2B, the body panels 18 and bottom member 16 enclose a main storage cavity or volume 22 that can be accessed through an opening at the top of the tool bag 12 or elsewhere on the tool bag 12. As depicted in FIG. 1, the opening can be closed with a closing mechanism 24 (e.g., a zipper, snaps, pull-tie, Velcro fastener or the like). Attached to the exterior and/or the interior of the body panels 18 can be supplemental storage devices 25 for holding tools, supplies (e.g., screws, nails and other loose items), mobile phones, beverage containers and so forth. The retaining devices can take the form of pockets with or without closing mechanisms (e.g., zippers, Velcro fastener, etc.), pouches, compartments, loops, mesh pockets, and so forth. Some or all of the supplemental storage devices 25 can include elastic material or elastic weaves. The main storage space 22 and/or the supplemental storage devices 25 can be partitioned with dividers.
  • [0031]
    As indicated, the bottom member 16 can be made from a relatively durable material that holds a predetermined shape. For instance, the bottom member 16 can be made from molded rubber or plastic. The bottom member 16 can be fairly rigid or resilient (e.g., deformable when exposed to a force, but generally returning to the predetermined shape when the force is removed). Tread-like grooves (not shown) can be formed in an exterior of the bottom member 16 to give the tool storage assembly 10 a rugged appearance and/or added flexibility.
  • [0032]
    The bottom member 16 is of a configuration to interact with the trays 14. Such interaction may provide for relatively secure stacking and attachment, relatively uniform distribution of weight and/or relative isolation from the external environment and contaminants (e.g., water, snow, dirt, mud, saw dust, dry-wall dust, etc.).
  • [0033]
    With reference to FIGS. 1-4, the bottom member 16 can have a generally horizontally disposed base 26 with generally vertical sidewalls 27 extending up from a perimeter of the base 26. Directions are used here to facilitate description of the relationship and interaction of the described parts, but is not intended to be limiting of the invention as recited by the claims appended hereto. An outer lower edge 28 of the bottom member 16 can be received in an opening defined by an inner upper edge 30 and upper surface 32 of the tray 14. An outer lower side 34 of the bottom member 16 can be supported by a ledge 36 of the tray 14 such that the lower side 34 of the bottom member 16 is in spaced relationship to an inner lower side 38 of the tray 14. The inner lower side 38 of the tray 14 can be defined by a base 40 of the tray 14 upon which tools and supplies can rest. The inner upper edge 30 of the tray 14 can be defined by a generally upwardly disposed side wall 42 of the tray 14. The inner upper edge 30 is disposed above the ledge 36.
  • [0034]
    As is apparent, the bottom member 16 nests within the tray 14 and is supported such that a storage volume 44 is defined by the outer lower side 34 of the bottom member 16, the side walls 42 of the tray 14 and the base 40 of the tray 14. In this arrangement, the bottom member 16 of the bag 12 can be considered a male stacking component, which is received by the tray 14 having a female stacking component defined at least in part by the ledge 36 and upper inner edge 30.
  • [0035]
    When the tool bag assembly 10 is placed on a surface (e.g., a work surface, a floor, etc.), the ledge 36 provides subjacent support to the bottom member 16 such that the tool bag 12 is supported by the tray 14. Although the ledge 36 can contact the outer lower side 34 continuously or non-continuously around a lower perimeter of the bottom member 16, it is contemplated that the weight of the tool bag 12 and the contents of the tool bag 12 is distributed over a large portion of the ledge 36 to stabilize the tool bag 12 portion of the tool storage assembly 10.
  • [0036]
    An attachment mechanism 46 is provided to secure the tray 14 to the tool bag 12 such that lifting of the tool bag 12 will cause the tray 14 to move with the tool bag 12 and generally maintain the stacked arrangement of the tool bag 12 and tray 14.
  • [0037]
    With additional reference to FIG. 5, shown is a cross-section of an embodiment of the attachment mechanism 46. Multiple attachment mechanisms 46 can be disposed on the bottom member 16 to interact with the tray 14. For example, one attachment mechanism 46 can be located on one end of the tool bag 12 and a second attachment mechanism 46 can be located on an opposite end of the tool bag 12.
  • [0038]
    The illustrated attachment mechanism 46 includes a spring biased button 48 that projects through an aperture 50 defined by a generally upwardly disposed portion of the bottom member 16. A housing 52 can be secured to the bottom member 16 (e.g., the housing can be integrally molded with the bottom member 16 or attached to the bottom member 16, such as with rivets, adhesive, etc.). The housing 52 can retain a spring 54. The spring 54 exerts force on the button 48 to achieve extension of the button 48 beyond the sidewall 27 of the bottom member 16. The button 48 can include a control surface 56 disposed on a lower side of the button 48. The control surface 56 is disposed at an angle to the longitudinal axis of the button 48. When force is applied to the control surface 56 (e.g., the control surface 56 being forced in a cam-like manner), the button 48 will have a tendency to move inward and compress the spring 54. The button 48 can include a stop feature 58 to limit over-travel of the button 48 through the aperture 50 and/or an anti-rotation feature (not shown) to limit rotational movement of the button 48 (e.g., to keep the control surface 56 in a downwardly facing arrangement).
  • [0039]
    The tray 14 can include a feature to engage the attachment mechanism 46. In the illustrated embodiment, the tray 14 includes an aperture 60 into which the button 48 is received. The aperture 60 is positioned on the tray 14 such that when the tool bag 12 is placed in the stacked arrangement described herein with respect to the tray 14, the button 48 is surrounded by material of the tray 14. For instance, the aperture 60 can be at least partially defined by a raised portion 62 of the sidewall 42 of the tray 14 that has an upper surface 32′ disposed above the rest of the upper surface 32 of the tray. As illustrated, the sidewall 27 of the bottom member 16 surrounding the aperture 50 can form a recess 64 to accommodate the raised portion 62.
  • [0040]
    The tool bag 12 can be connected to the tray 14 by aligning tool bag 12 over the tray 14 such that the attachment mechanism(s) 46 is disposed over a corresponding engagement feature(s) of the tray 14 (e.g., raised portion 62 and aperture 60). The tool bag 12 then can be lowered such that the upper surface 32′ of the tray 14 disposed over the aperture 60 contacts (e.g., engages) the control surface 56 of the button 48, thereby deflecting the button 48 inward. As the tool bag 12 is lowered further, an upper inner edge 30′ of the tray 14 disposed over the aperture 60 will apply force to the distal tip of the button 48 until the outer lower side 34 of the bottom member 16 begins to engage the ledge 36. At this point, the distal tip of the button 48 will begin to enter the aperture 60 and the spring 54 will force the button 48 through the aperture 60.
  • [0041]
    The upper surface of the button 48 can be generally parallel to the longitudinal axis of the button 48 such that when the tool bag 12 and the tray 14 are assembled in the manner just described, the tray 14 does not exert substantial deflecting force on the button 48 during lifting of the tool bag 12. Rather, the button 48 will engage the raised portion 62 defining the perimeter of the aperture 60 such that when the tool bag 12 is lifted (e.g., by applying upward force to the straps 20), the tray 14 will move with the tool bag 12.
  • [0042]
    It is noted that during normal assembly of the tool bag 12 and the tray 14, no manual (e.g., user) interaction with the attachment mechanism 46 takes place. The tool bag 12 simply can be lifted, aligned over tray 14 and lowered to nest with the tray 14. During this action, the attachment mechanism performs a self-locking function to detachably secure the tool bag 12 to the tray 14. Alternatively, the attachment mechanism 46 can include manually locking members or buttons.
  • [0043]
    The tray 14 can be detached from the tool bag 12 by exerting longitudinal force on the button 48 to compress the spring 54 and move the distal tip of the button 48 back through the aperture 60 of the tray 14. Such longitudinal force can be applied, for example, manually by a user of the tool storage assembly 10. Thereafter, a lifting movement of the tool bag 12 with respect to the tray 14 will cause disengagement of the tool bag 12 from the tray 14 in a manner that is generally the reverse of the assembly process described above.
  • [0044]
    As shown in FIG. 8, an additional tray 14 or multiple additional trays 14 can be attached to an assembled tool bag 12 and tray 14 in a similar manner to the way the tool bag 12 is connected to the first tray 14. When attaching an additional tray(s) 14, the first attached tray 14 is stacked onto the additional tray 14.
  • [0045]
    Alternatively, as shown in FIG. 9, multiple trays 14 can be stacked without the tool bag 12. The tool bag 12 can be stacked onto a stack of trays 14 or the stack of trays 14 can be used by themselves.
  • [0046]
    With continued reference to FIGS. 1-5, each tray 14 can have an outer lower edge 66 that is disposed laterally inward of the upper inner edge 30. That is, the cross-sectional width of the tray 14 at its bottom is smaller than the cross-sectional width of the tray 14 at its top. In this manner, the base 40 of one tray 14 can at least partially fit, or nest, into an underlying tray 14. As can be appreciated, construction of the trays 14 to nest in this manner can be carried out in a number of ways. Two examples are illustrated respectively in FIGS. 2A and 2B, but the illustrated examples are in no way intended to be limiting of the invention as defined by the claims appended hereto.
  • [0047]
    In the example of FIG. 2A, the outer surface of each of the bottom member 16 and the tray 14 form a stepped configuration. In this embodiment, the outer lower edge 28 of the bottom member 16 is disposed laterally inward of the rest of the outer surface of the sidewall 27 of the bottom member 16 by an abrupt displacement. Similarly, the outer lower edge 66 of the tray 14 is disposed laterally inward from the rest of the outer surface of the sidewall 42 of the tray 14 by an abrupt displacement. Each of the lower edges 28 and 66 are disposed such that the cross-sectional width defined by the respective lower edges 28, 66 (outside width) are slightly smaller than the cross-section width defined by the upper inner edge 30 (inside width) of the tray 14. In the embodiment of FIG. 2A, the ledge 36 is defined by a shoulder 68 formed by the inner side of the sidewall 42 of the tray 14.
  • [0048]
    In the example of FIG. 2B, the outer surface of each of the bottom member 16 and the tray 14 follow a linear or curvilinear configuration. In this embodiment, the outer lower edge 28 of the bottom member 16 is disposed laterally inward of the rest of the outer surface of the sidewall 27 of the bottom member 16 by an generally gradual or tapered displacement. Similarly, the outer lower edge 66 of the tray 14 is disposed laterally inward from the rest of the outer surface of the sidewall 42 of the tray 14 by a generally gradual or tapered displacement. Each of the lower edges 28 and 66 are disposed such that the cross-sectional width defined by the respective lower edges 28, 66 (outside width) are slightly smaller than the cross-section width defined by the upper inner edge 30 (inside width) of the tray 14. In the embodiment of FIG. 2B, the ledge 36 is defined by a projection 70 disposed on the inner side of the sidewall 42 of the tray 14.
  • [0049]
    In another embodiment, the upper surface 32 forms the ledge 36 upon which the bottom member 16 is supported when placed in a stacked relationship with the tray 14. In this embodiment, a separate shoulder, projection or other supporting member may not be included as part of the tray 14.
  • [0050]
    Similar to the bottom member 16, the trays 14 can be made from a relatively durable material that holds a predetermined shape. For instance, the tray 14 can be made from molded rubber or plastic, but need not be made from the same material as the bottom member 16. The trays 14 can be made to be fairly rigid or resilient (e.g., deformable when exposed to a force, but generally returning to the predetermined shape when the force is removed). Tread-like grooves (not shown) can be formed in an exterior of the trays 14 to give the tool storage assembly 10 a rugged appearance and/or added flexibility.
  • [0051]
    As indicated, each tray 14 can be formed to interact with another tray 14. The outer lower edge 66 of one tray 14 can be received in an opening defined by the inner upper edge 30 and upper surface 32 of an underlying tray 14. An outer lower side 72 of the overlying tray 14 can be supported by the ledge 36 of the underlying tray 14 such that the lower surface 72 of the overlying tray 14 is in spaced relationship to the inner lower side 38 of the underlying tray 14.
  • [0052]
    As is apparent, the overlying tray 14 nests within the underlying tray 14 and is supported such that a tool storage volume 44 is defined by the outer lower side 72 of the overlying tray 14, the side wall 42 of the overlying tray 14 and the inner lower side 38 of the underlying tray 14. In this arrangement, the overlying tray 14 can be considered a male stacking component, which is received by the underlying tray 14 having a female stacking component defined at least in part by the ledge 36 and upper inner edge 32.
  • [0053]
    When the tool bag assembly 10 having two stacked trays 14 attached to the tool bag 12 is placed on a surface (e.g., work surface, floor, etc.), the ledge 36 of the underlying tray 14 provides subjacent support to the overlying tray 14. In turn, the ledge 36 of the overlying tray 14 provides subjacent support to the bottom member 16 such that the tool bag 12 is supported by the stacked trays 14. Although the ledge 36 of the underlying tray 14 can contact the outer lower side 72 of the overlying tray 14 continuously or non-continuously around a lower perimeter of the outer bottom side 72, it is contemplated that the weight of the tool bag 12, the contents of the tool bag 12, the overlying tray 14 and the contents of the overlying tray 14 will be distributed over large portions of the ledge 36 of the underlying tray 14.
  • [0054]
    Similar to the attachment mechanism 46 of the bottom member 16, each tray 14 can include one or more attachment mechanisms 74 to secure the overlying tray 14 to the underlying tray 14. In one embodiment, the attachment mechanism(s) 74 of the tray 14 comprise a spring biased button. For example, the attachment mechanism 74 can take on the same form as the attachment mechanism 46 and, as a result, the attachment mechanism 74 will not be separately described in detail. Also, in this embodiment, attachment and detachment of an overlying tray 14 to an underlying tray 14 can be carried out in the same manner that the tool bag 12 is attached and detached from one of the trays 14 and, as a result, attachment and detachment of an overlying tray 14 to an underlying tray 14 will not be separately described in detail. It can be appreciated that multiple attachment mechanisms 74 can be disposed on each tray 14 for interaction with an underlying tray 14. For example, one attachment mechanism 74 can be located on one end of the tray 14 and a second attachment mechanism 74 can be located on an opposite end of the tray 14. As illustrated, the sidewall 42 of the tray 14 adjacent the attachment mechanism 74 can define a recess 76 (FIG. 1) to accommodate the raised portion 62 of another tray 14.
  • [0055]
    When the attachment mechanisms 46 and 74 are the same or compatibly configured, a user of the tool storage assembly 10 who is in possession of multiple trays 14 can assembly the trays 14 in any order and connect the tool bag 12 to an uppermost one of the trays 14. When multiple trays 14 are attached to the tool bag 12 in the stacked arrangement described herein, the attachment mechanisms 46 secure the stack of trays 14 to the tool bag 12 such that lifting of the tool bag 12 will cause the stack of trays 14 to move with the tool bag 12 and generally maintain the stacked arrangement of the tool bag 12 and trays 14. The number of trays 14 that can form part of the tool storage assembly 10 is dependent upon the desire of the user.
  • [0056]
    The attaching mechanisms 46 and 74 can take on any form that is effective to removably attach one of the trays 14 to the tool bag 12 and one tray 14 to another tray 14. As will be appreciated, the attachment mechanisms 46 and 74 are not limited to comprising a spring biased button that is received by a cooperating aperture and include a wide variety of alternative possibilities. Without limitation, some alternative possibilities include detents, resilient members with or without catch components, catches, pawls, clips, removable and/or slidable pins, threaded fasteners, quarter turn fasteners, clamps, magnets, interlocking members, latches, belt buckles, snaps, zippers, Velcro fastener and the like, as well as any cooperating structures for interacting with these alternative attaching mechanisms.
  • [0057]
    Combinations of attaching mechanisms can be used. For example, the tool bag 12 can be removably attached to a tray 14 by inserting a member(s) projecting from one side of the bottom member 16 (or tray 14) into a corresponding recess(es) or aperture(s) in the tray 14 and tilting an opposite side of the tool bag 12 (or tray 14) downward to engage a resilient member(s) of the bottom member 16 (or tray 14) with a corresponding catch(es) of the tray 14.
  • [0058]
    In yet another example, each of the bottom member 16 and the tray 14 can include cooperating members that have an engaged position and a disengaged position. To establish the engaged position, the tool bag 12 (or tray 14) can be placed on top of the tray 14 such that the cooperating members are laterally offset and in the disengaged position. Then, the tool bag 12 (or tray 14) can be laterally moved (e.g., slid) with respect to the tray 14 to bring the cooperating members into the engaged position. The cooperating members of the tool bag 12 (or tray 14) can include portions that, in the engaged position, are vertically below portions of the cooperating members of the tray 14 so that lifting of the tool bag 12 will result in lifting of the tray 14 by upward force exerted on the cooperating members of the tray 14 by the cooperating members of the tool bag 12.
  • [0059]
    The attaching mechanism 46 of the tool bag 12 need not be connected to the bottom member 16, but could be attached to the body panels 18 or other component of the tool bag 12. The attaching mechanism 46 could be formed as part of the tray 14 with cooperating and/or receiving components formed as part of the tool bag 12.
  • [0060]
    With reference to FIG. 6, the tray 14 can include dividers 78 that divide the storage volume 44 of the tray 14 into segments 80. The segments 80 can be used to separate and organize tools or parts in a manner selected by the user.
  • [0061]
    One or more of the trays 14 can include various features to enhance the portability of the tray 14 and/or the tool storage assembly 10. For example, with reference to FIGS. 1 and 6, the tray 14 can include a handle 82. The handle 82 can be pivoted, folded and/or otherwise moved between a stowed position 84 (FIG. 1; shown in dashed lines) where the handle 82 is disposed in the storage volume 44 and a carrying position 86 (FIG. 1). In one embodiment, the handle 82 can be pivotally attached to the tray 14 at opposite ends of the tray 14, such as by inserting projections of the handle 82 into corresponding recesses of the tray 14. A shown in FIG. 6, the tray 14 can include a handle receiving ledge 88 upon which the handle 82 can rest when disposed in the stowed position 84. In other embodiments, the handle 82 can be retained in the stowed position 84 by a clip, detent, shoulder or projection attached to or integrally formed with the interior of the tray 14. In the stowed position 84, the handle 82 can be sufficiently disposed within the tray 14 so as not to interfere with attaching the tool bag 12 (or another tray 14) to the tray 14.
  • [0062]
    To assist in positioning and maintaining the handle 82 in the carrying position 86, the handle 82 can include a positioning mechanism 90. For example, the positioning mechanism 90 can include a spring biased button 92 that cooperates with the aperture 60. Two such positioning mechanisms 90 can be provided for interacting with apertures 60 disposed at opposite ends of the tray 14. When the handle 82 is moved from the stowed position 84 to the carrying position 86, the button 92 can “snap” into the corresponding aperture 60. To lower the handle 82 to the stowed position 84, the button 92 can be pushed inward by the user and the handle 82 can be rotated downward. In alternative embodiments, the positioning mechanism 90 can include a detent, clip, catch, or other structure formed on one of the tray 14 or the handle 82.
  • [0063]
    With continued reference to FIG. 6, one or more of the trays 14 can include a set of rollers 94 (e.g., wheels or casters) attached to tray 14 such that when the tray 14 is placed on a surface (e.g., floor, workbench, vehicle bed, etc.) the tray 14 can be rolled across the surface. In one embodiment, four rollers 94 are present, one adjacent each corner of the tray 14. When additional trays 14 and/or the tool bag 12 are stacked on the tray 14 having rollers 94, the entire tool bag assembly 10 can be rolled across the surface. To assist in navigation, the rollers 94 can pivot. One or more of the rollers 94 can include a lock to minimize undesired rolling. If two trays 14 have rollers 94, one tray may have space to receive the rollers 94 when the other tray is stacked thereon, and/or the rollers 94 may be removed to facilitate stacking.
  • [0064]
    With reference now to FIG. 7, the tray 14 can be covered with a lid 96. In one embodiment, the lid 96 can cover the opening defined by the tray 14 while still allowing the tool bag 12 (or another tray 14) to be attached to the tray 14. For example, the lid 96 can be formed from a sheet of plastic or rubber material. Such a lid 96 can provide additional subjacent support to the bottom member 16 of the bag 12. In another embodiment, and as illustrated, the lid 96 can cover the opening and include one or more securing mechanisms 98 to removably attach the lid 96 to the tray 14. For example, each securing mechanism 98 can include a spring biased button 100 to engage the corresponding aperture 60 of the tray 14 in the manner that the attachment mechanism 46 connects the tool bag 12 to the tray 14. In either embodiment, the lid 96 assists in the storing of a tray 14 apart from the tool bag 12 or an overlying tray 14 so that items stored in the tray 14 will have a reduced likelihood of falling out of the tray 14 or being exposed to contaminants (e.g., dusts, moisture, etc.). The lid 96 can include a handle (not shown) to assist in carrying the assembled lid 96 and tray 14.
  • [0065]
    Returning now to FIG. 1, the tray 14 and/or bottom member 16 can be fabricated from a pliable or compliant material, including molded rubber or plastic, so that when the tool bag 12 is stacked on the tray 14, a seal is formed between the tray 14 and bottom member 16 to reduce the introduction of contaminants (e.g., dusts, moisture, etc.) into the storage volume 44 of the tray 14. A similar seal between a pair of stacked trays 14 can be present. In other embodiments, the tool storing assembly 10 can include a sealing mechanism (not shown) to reduce the introduction of contaminants into the storing volume of the tray 14. For instance, a gasket or o-ring can be disposed adjacent the upper inner edge 30 (FIG. 2A, 2B) and ledge 36 (FIG. 2A, 2B) to provide a sealing surface against which the bottom member 16 and/or overlying tray 14 can contact.
  • [0066]
    Although particular embodiments of the invention have been described in detail, it is understood that the invention is not limited correspondingly in scope, but includes all changes, modifications and equivalents coming within the spirit and terms of the claims appended hereto.
Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US622263 *Mar 14, 1898Apr 4, 1899 And harmon h
US695149 *Jul 22, 1901Mar 11, 1902Charles L GilbertTraveling-bag.
US1193809 *May 22, 1915Aug 8, 1916 Combination tool-chest and hand-box
US1268124 *Apr 3, 1917Jun 4, 1918Archer B JenningsTool-chest.
US1521310 *Mar 15, 1923Dec 30, 1924Moran Clyde FCombination tool case
US3696850 *Jul 12, 1971Oct 10, 1972Rosenblum Julia RMultiple unit hand luggage
US4724976 *Jan 12, 1987Feb 16, 1988Lee Alfredo ACollapsible container
US4756394 *Nov 17, 1986Jul 12, 1988Cohen Fred EExpandable hand luggage with wheels and separable compartments
US4787488 *May 11, 1987Nov 29, 1988Giorgio CampaniniExpandable piece of luggage
US5209279 *Nov 29, 1991May 11, 1993Wilson Johnny DDual unit handbag
US5219423 *Nov 20, 1991Jun 15, 1993Sony CorporationCarrying system
US5314046 *Mar 13, 1992May 24, 1994Fabio PedriniExpandable container with internal manual operation system
US5971119 *Aug 15, 1997Oct 26, 1999Chi; Chen LungLuggage case
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7311200 *Jan 19, 2006Dec 25, 2007Travel Caddy, Inc.Collapsible wheeled tool bag
US7503569 *May 9, 2006Mar 17, 2009Keter Plastic Ltd.Portable container assembly
US7581736 *Nov 22, 2006Sep 1, 2009Garza Jr Edward RPortable tool box with extendable central lifting handle
US7604103 *Dec 5, 2005Oct 20, 2009OmniQuest, Ltd.Toolbag with expandible pockets
US7845377Dec 2, 2008Dec 7, 2010Edwards Jr Robert FCoin separator tray for purse or handbag
US8714355Mar 4, 2009May 6, 2014Stanley Black & Decker, Inc.Integrated storage system with locking containers
US8967379 *Mar 12, 2013Mar 3, 2015Lf Centennial Ltd.Tool storage and transport system
US9060581 *Dec 6, 2013Jun 23, 2015Lifetime Brands, Inc.Picnic organizer package bagging system
US9283669 *Jun 18, 2014Mar 15, 2016Rooster Products International, Inc.Toolbag with selectively-removable tray and cushion
US20060138006 *Jan 19, 2006Jun 29, 2006Travel Caddy, Inc. D/B/A TravelonCollapsible wheeled tool bag
US20070012694 *May 9, 2006Jan 18, 2007Keter Plastic Ltd.Portable container assembly
US20070137958 *Dec 5, 2005Jun 21, 2007Brian HamlinToolbag with expandible pockets
US20070194543 *Dec 28, 2006Aug 23, 2007Nikolai DuvigneauPortable container assembly
US20080016166 *Jun 28, 2007Jan 17, 2008Bigfoot Networks, Inc.Host posing network device and method thereof
US20090288979 *Dec 31, 2008Nov 26, 2009Hong Fu Jin Precision Industry (Shenzhen) Co., Ltd.Computer parts organizer and assembly tray for assembling a computer
US20100132857 *Dec 2, 2008Jun 3, 2010Edwards Jr Robert FCoin Separator Tray for Purse or Handbag
US20100224527 *Mar 4, 2009Sep 9, 2010The Stanley WorksIntegrated storage system with locking containers
US20110155730 *Dec 7, 2010Jun 30, 2011The Stanley Works Israel Ltd.Multi-material connection and carrier assembly using the same
US20110233084 *Jan 13, 2011Sep 29, 2011Watson Christopher MStorage System for Archery Equipment and Accessories
US20140185963 *Dec 6, 2013Jul 3, 2014Lifetime Brands, IncPicnic organizer package bagging system
US20140262886 *Mar 12, 2013Sep 18, 2014Lf Centennial Ltd.Tool storage and transport system
EP2253432A3 *May 17, 2010Jan 21, 2015The Stanley Works Israel Ltd.Rolling container assembly with mount structure
EP2340917A3 *Dec 16, 2010Nov 23, 2011The Stanley Works Israel Ltd.Multi-Material Connection and Carrier Assembly using the same
WO2015014705A1 *Jul 24, 2014Feb 5, 2015Atec Innovation GmbhContainer system for tools
Classifications
U.S. Classification206/373, 150/113, 190/110
International ClassificationB65D85/28, A45C3/06
Cooperative ClassificationB25H3/021, A45C2003/008, A45C7/0045, A45C5/14
European ClassificationA45C7/00C4, B25H3/02B
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Oct 26, 2005ASAssignment
Owner name: PULL R HOLDINGS LLC, CALIFORNIA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:GLEASON, JAMES;ADAMS, ROBERT G.;BROWN, KIRK;REEL/FRAME:016688/0954;SIGNING DATES FROM 20040806 TO 20040810
Owner name: PULL R HOLDINGS LLC, CALIFORNIA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:ADAMS, ROBERT G.;GLEASON, JAMES;REEL/FRAME:016688/0882;SIGNING DATES FROM 20051004 TO 20051005