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Publication numberUS2802383 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateAug 13, 1957
Filing dateApr 6, 1953
Priority dateApr 6, 1953
Publication numberUS 2802383 A, US 2802383A, US-A-2802383, US2802383 A, US2802383A
InventorsBabyak George H
Original AssigneeBabyak George H
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Cotter key spreading tool and dies
US 2802383 A
Abstract  available in
Previous page
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)


650265 A. Bae ma .m Wfawe CUTTER KEY SPREADNG TOUL AND DIES p George H. Babyak, Van Nuys, Caif.

Application April 6, 1953, Serial No. 34633 3 Claims. (Cl. 31--l5) My invention relates generally to fastening means and theirapplication, and more particularly to the type of fastening means known as a cotter key.

When an object such as a wheel is to be held on a shaft, or a nut is to be kept from turning with respect to a screw, it is customary to use` a fastening means known as a cotter key or pin and consisting of a piece of wire, bent `upon itself,` and inserted through the shaft or screw and extending beyond the edges thereof to prevent the loosening or removal of the object being held. Cotter keys are conventionally made of a rather soft iron wire of a generally semi-cylindrical shape, with an eye or head formed by bending or doubling the wire upon itself to provide a pair of projecting legs extending away from the generally annular head so formed. One of the legs is made slightly longer than the other so that it is not so diflicult to separate the legs when they have been passed through the shaft, and they are to be bent apart. However, even with one leg shorter than the other, it is a comparatively slow and laborious job to separate the two legs so that the cotter key is held in the desired position. This problem becomes particularly acute when a large number of relatively inexpensive items are ot be fabricated, since the labor cost of installing the cotter keys becomes a major item of expense.

Itis therefore a major object of my invention to provide an improved cotter key and a tool for spreading the legs of the cotter key after the latter has been inserted in its desired position.

Another object of my invention is to provide such a tool that may be used for installing cotter keys in a wide variety of places and under a large number of different conditions.

It is a further object of my invention to provide a cotter key that is particularly adapted for use with my spreader tool, but which may nevertheless be used in the customary manner in all places where cotter keys are presently used.

Still another object of my invention is to provide a spreader tool having provision for receiving different dies to spread the cotter key, so that by changing the dies, the tool may be used to provide different types of spreading operations.

An additional object of my invention is to provide dies for usein spreader tools, and particularly adapted to the holding and spreading of cotter keys.

It is a still further object of my invention to provide a cotter key that meets the above requirements while being substantially no more expensive than previous cotter keys, and to provide a tool for spreading the keys that is both easy to use and economical to fabricate.

These and otherobjects and advantages of my invention will become apparent from the following descrip tion of a preferred form thereof, and from the `drawings illustrating that form in which:

Figure 1 is an elevational view of my improved spreading tool with the dies thereon in the position they will normally take when a cotter key is to be installed Patented Aug.` 13, 1957 in the center of a long shaft or at some distance from the end thereof;

Figure 2 is an enlarged view, principally in section, of the dies, shaft, and cotter key shown in Figure' l, with the key shown prior to having the legs separated; p

Figure 3 is a face View of the head die, taken in the direction of the arrow 3 3 of Figure 2;

Figure 4 is a View of the spreader die taken in the direction of the arrow 3-3 of Figure 2;

Figure 4 is a View of the spreader die 'taken in the direction of the arrow 4-4 of Figure 2;

Figure 5 is a View of a head die, somewhat similar to that shown in Figure 3, but intended for use where the cotter key is placed immediately against a larger flat object;

Figure 6 isa face view of a spreader die, generally simil-ar to the die shown in Figure 4, but likewise intended for use immediately against a larger object;

Figure 7 is a View of. a spreader die, partially broken away, and intended to separate the legs at an angle of 9()` to each other, instead of at an angle of 180 as the previous spreader dies are designed;

Figure 8 is a section view of a head die and a spreader die particularly adapted to turn the legs of the cotter key around a generally cylindrical shaft;

Figure 9 is a perspective view of la head die intended for` use with castellated nuts;

Figure l0 is a sectional view illustrating the'use of the head die shown in Figure 9 in conjunction with a castellated nut; and .y

Figure ll is an `elevational View of my improved cotter key intended foruse with my new spreader tool.

Referring now to the drawings and particularly to Figure l thereof, the numeral 20 indicates generally the spreading tool which consists `of a pair of members 21 and 22, pivotally held together by a stud 23 at a` point between the center of the members and one end. Thus, a pair of handle members are provided on one Side of the stud, while the opposite ends of the members 21 and 22 form a pair of opposed jaws that may be moved together by squeezing the handle members, in the manner of a pair of pliers. Preferably, a spring or other suitable means` 23 normally urges the members 21 and 22 apart so that the operation of the device is speeded.

At the ends of the jaws, I mount arpair of dies 24 and 25 that are aligned with each other and adapted to receiVe the head and leg ends, respectively, of a cotter key 26. The head receiving or head die 24 is provided with a recess adapted to receive the eye or annular head of the cotter key 26, and the leg receiving or spreading die 25 is adapted to receive the legs of the cotter key and spread them apart so that the key may not be withdrawn accidentally. As shown in Figures 2, 3, and 4, the head die 24 consists of a button-like body member having a stud member or boss 27 extending from the back thereof that ts into a corresponding hole in the jaw 22. The opposite face of the body has a recess in the form of a slot 3i) whose width and length are the proper size to receive the head of the cotter key 26, and whose bottom is curved to correspond to the curvature of the head of that key. Thus, as shown in Figure 2, the entire head of the cotter key `may be received with the head die 24, and the head of lthe key will be held against turning about the axis of the cotter key, and will also be supported against further axial movement into the head die 24.

As will hereinafter become apparent, the spreader die 25 may take Aany one of a number of forms, and in Figures l, 2, and 4, l have illustrated one of the simple forms in which the legs of the cotter key are intended to be spread apart a total distance of 180, each leg being bent from itsoriginal position, As indicated in Figure 2, the spreader die 25 includes a generally button-like body member having a stud 31 extending from the rear thereof that fits into a corresponding hole or recess in the jaw 21. On the opposite side or face of the body, there are a pair of slots 32 placed end-toend and aligned with'the slot 30 of the head die 24. The sides and ends of the slots 32, along the face of the die 25, are rectangular, but the slots both have varying depth, in the general form of arcs of a circle, as indicated in Figure 2. The ends of the slots 32 are immediately adjacent each other, and because of their curved depth, present a cusp or point 33 that is adapted to extend between the two legs of the cotter key 26 and to spread those legs. The cusp or point 33 formed between the two slots 32 is necessary to start the initial spreading of the legs of the cotter key, but the amount of total spreading, in degrees, is determined by the remainder of the slot. As previously mentioned, the slots 32 of the spreader die 35 are intended to spread the legs of the cotter key 26 a total distance of 180, but other spreader dies are possible that will spread the legs less than this amount, for example, 90 or even more than this amount, in the event that the legs are to be bent around the object they extend through.

kIt is important that the head die 24 and the spreader die 25 be properly aligned with each other since if these are out of alignment, the cusp 33 will not enter between the legs of the cotter key 26, and generally unsatisfactory results will be obtained. Normally, the position of the two dies 25 and 24 will be rotated 90 from that shown in Figures 1 and 2. This is done where the tool is held with its axis generally parallel to the axis of the shaft or similar object. Particularly in the case of applying cotter keys at or immediately adjacent the ends of shafts or bolts, this is the approved and preferred method of operation. However, where a cotter key is to be placed in the `middle of a fairly long shaft or member, this parallel alignment is clearly not possible, and the perpendicular alignment, indicated in Figures 1 and 2, will then be resorted to. In each case, however, the head die 24 and the spreader die 25 must be properly aligned with each other and properly oriented with respect to the cotter key on which they are to be used.

It is possible, of course, to make the studs 27 and 31 non-circular so that the head die 24 and the spreader die 25 may be inserted into the jaws 21 and 22 in only one position. Depending upon the particular form of stud shape chosen, the die 24 may be inserted in only one position, may be inserted in either of two positions, 180 apart, or may be inserted in four positions 90 apart. If the latter form of configuration is chosen, the dies 24 and 25 may be rotated 90 so that the single tool 20 may be used for spreading of the cotter keys with the tool held either parallel or perpendicular to the shaft. In many instances, however, it will be preferable to have the dies 24 and 25 insertable in the jaws 21 and 22 in only one or two positions, and to provide other tools for those occasions when another position of'die is necessary.

The cotter key that is used with my improved spreading tool is shown in Figure 11. In that gure, it will be seen that the cotter key 26 is formed of generally semi-cylindrical soft wire bent around a generally circular member to form a head 35, and with the ends of the wire then forced together and continued along, parallel to each other, to form a pair of legs 3&6 and 37 that touch each other and form a generally cylindrical body, each leg forming one-half of this body. This portion of the cotter key is similar to the keys previously made, but previous keys have had one leg longer than the other so that the longer leg may easily be bent away from the shorter leg, and thereafter the shorter leg bent in the opposite direction, thereby quickly and easily separating the legs. In addition, the previous keys have generally had the ends of the llegs tapered to some extent from the exterior of the cylindrical body to the diametral plane dividing one leg from the other. However, with my improved cotter key, I make both legs the same length, and form the ends at an angle the reverse of that pre- Viously done, so that, in effect, a notch is cut in the cylindrical body formed by the legs 36 and 37. This construction is also clearly indicated in Figure 2, and the notch 38 formed by the angular tapering or shaping of the legs 36 and 37 is quite important to the operation of my spreading tool, since it permits the cusp 33 to enter between the legsand separate them, as previously described.

Where the cotter key 26 is to be inserted through a member where there is ample working space on each side of the key, the head die 24 and the spreading die 25 shown in Figures 3 and 4 are very satisfactory. However, it often happens that the cotter key is to be inserted through a shaft or similar member immediately adjacent a member of much greater diameter, such as a washer, and there is not sufficient space between the key and the member to permit the use of the wider dies 24 and 25. Under these circumstances, it is necessary to use a modified form of head die that eliminates the need for any part of the spreading tool or the dies to extend beyond one side of the cotter key. Such a head die is shown in Figure 5 where the numeral 40 indicates a head die generally similar to the head die 24 shown in Figure 3, but with a segment of the button forming the body of the die omittedl so that a substantially semi-circular segment remains. In this remaining segment is the slot 30, similar to the slot 30 of the previously described head die 24, and this slot is so positioned that one of its sides is the at edge of the die 40 so that the slot may be said to extend from both the face of the die as well as from the flat side thereof. The head die 40 is located on the extreme edge of the jaws 21 and 22, depending upon whether the cotter key is to be installed upon the end of a shaft or at a point intermediate its ends. A stud or boss or other suitable holding member is provided on the rear of the die 40 to lit into and be held in a corresponding recess in the jaws.

To cooperate with the head die 40, I provide the spreading die 42 shown in Figure 6. From the previous description, it will be recognized that this die is similar to the spreading die 25 previously described, but with a segment of that die removed so that the slots 32 and the cusp 33 are located along the straight edge of the die, in -the manner generally similar to the location of the slot 30 in the head die 40. A boss or similai holding member is formed on the rear of this die to it within a corresponding aperture in the jaw 21, as previously described in 4connection with the head die 40. The head die 40 and spreader die 42 may be termed three-quarter dies, since the slots 30 and 32, respectively, are approximately three-quarters as wide as the corresponding slots 30 and 32 of the previously described head die 24 and spreader die 25. These three-quarter dies 40 and 42 will iind particular application where the cotter key 26 is to be placed immediately against a washer or similar member which bears against the sides of the cotter key.

In certain instances, it is not desirable to have the legs of the cotter key 26 each bent 90 from its original position so that the legs are parallel and extend away from each other, as indicated in Figure l. Thus, it may be desirable to have the legs 36 and 37'spread apart 90, and when this goal is sought, the spreader die 44 illustrated in Figure 7 may be used. This die is formed in a manner generally similar to the spreader 25 perviously described, and includes a button or body member held in place by a boss or stud 31 that enters a corresponding aperture in the jaw 21. The die 44 has a pair of slots 45 and 46 that meet at a cusp 47 in the center of the die, but the bottoms of these slots, instead of being curved like the bottoms of slots 32, are straight, and angularly positioned so that the slot 45 extends from the face of the die to one outer edge thereof, while the slot 46 is similarly shaped. In this way, the legs 36 and 37 are first separated by the cusp 47 and are then further bent apart by their passage along the bottoms of the slots 45 and 46. Since the bottoms of the slots, as indicated in Figure 7, form an angle of 90 with each other, the legs 36 and 37 will be similarly formed at an angle of 90 to each other when the spreading operation is completed.

When the legs are to be bent apart a distance of more than 180, as When the legs are to bent around a cylindrical shaft, a spreader die similar to the die 50 shown in Figure 8 may be used. Such a die will be of considerable use where cotter keys are relied upon to hold Wheels and similar members to round shafts, as is the case in small wheeled toys, such as toy automobiles, toy trains, etc. As indicated in Figure 8, the die Sil is provided with a recess Sl adapted to receive the particular shaft 52 through which the cotter key 26 is passed, and at the bottom of the recess, I provide a cusp 53 to enter the notch 3? of the cotter key and insure the initial separation of the legs 36- and 37. The legs 36 and 37 then are pressed around the shaft 52, following a groove 54 formed in the recess I, so that the legs lie snugly against the shaft. Preferably, the cotter key 26 is selected so that the legs 36 and 37 will each extend around approximately one-sixth the circumference of the shaft 52, and in this way the taper of the ends of the legs, which forms the notch 38, will provide a finished appearance to the cotter key when the latter is fully expanded. This condition is indicated in Figure 8.

In Figure 9 I have shown a modified form of head die that is intended particularly for use with castellated nuts. Such nuts are used where it is of great importance that the nut be held against turning with respect to the threaded shaft or member on which it is located. The shaft is provided with a diametrically extending hole in substantially the exact position it will be needed, this hole being of a size to receive the legs of a cotter key. The castellated nut is similar to conventional nuts in most respects, but at one end is provided with a portion of somewhat reduced diameter, and extending into this portionl are a series of diametrically extending slots in to which the head of a cotter key may lit. Thus, the nut is threaded onto the shaft, and turned to the desired position, whereupon the appropriate slot, nearest the hole in the shaft, is aligned with that hole and a cotter key is passed through the slots and the hole, and the legs of the key spread.

The slot 3) of the standard head die 24, previously described, is deep enough to receive the entire head or eye of the cotter key 2.a. This, it will be realized, is necessary Where the entire head of the cotter key projects beyond the surface against which the head die 24 bears. However, in the case of a castellated nut, the head or eye V35 extends into the slotof the nut or castellation, and hence this head must, in effect, be partially recessed or sunk if a tight fit of the cotter key is to be secured.

I accomplish this result by using the head die 60 illustrated in Figures 9 and l0. As shown in these figures, the head die 60 includes a body member in the general shape of a button or cylinder, having a boss or stud 61 projecting from the rear face thereof for insertion in a corresponding aperture of the jaw 22 of the tool 20. The front face of the die is provided with a projection 62 that extends generally radially across the face, and is approximately the width of the wire forming the eye 35. The inner face of the projection 62 is formed with a flat surface extending from the outer face of the projection toward the face of the body of the die, and then curving inwardly to receive the eye 35 of the cotter key 26. At the base of the projection, the curved surface continues into the body of the die, forming a slot 63 having an arcuate base or bottom that receives the head 35, thereby firmly holding the head and thus the cotter key 26 when its legs are spread.

The head die 60 may be described, in a slightly different manner, as being similar to the previously described head die 24, with the face of the die on each side of the slot 3@ cut away to a distance just slightly less than the depth of the slot, leaving a diametrically extending ridge across the face of the die the width of the slot. The slot, it will be appreciated, divides the ridge into two portions, and one of these portions is cut away so that only half of the original ridge remains, and the rest of the die face is hat.

In use, as indicated in Figure l0, a icastellated nut 64 is run on to a threaded member 65 to the desired position, and one of my improved cotter keys Z6 is then inserted through the previously formed hole 66. The head die 6?, mounted in one of the jaws 2.2 of the tool 20, is then placed over the head of the cotter key 26, with the projection 62 `extending over the head of the cotter key 26, adjacent the free end of the nut 64. The diametrically opposite side of the head 64I bears against one of the fiat surfaces of the nut, and the legs of the cotter key 26 are then spread by means of a suitable. die such as the spreader die 25 installed in the opposite jaw 2l. If desired, the spreader die 25 may be modified by cutting away a portion of its face, in a manner `similar to that employed in the fabrication of the die 6h, but generally this will not be necessary.

It will be appreciated that my improved cotter key and spreader tool therefor is particularly adapted for use in manufacturing processes where high production rates are essential. Thus, instead of requiring two orprnore separate operations to spread the legs of a cotter key, by the use of my improved key and tool, it is possible to do the job with a single operation that requires less time` than any one of the operations previously required. However, rny improved key and tool are equally useful where the emphasis is not necessarily upon speed or high production rates, but upon good workmanship. With these devices, the proper installation of cotter keys is greatly simplitied, and in many instances, keys can be applied where heretofore it was dithcult, if not impossible, to do so.

From the foregoing, it will be seen that I have provided an improved cotter key and spreader tool therefor that is fully capable of achieving the objects and securing the advantages heretofore set forth. While I have shown and described a preferred form of my invention, it will be apparent that those skilled in the art may make changes that in no way depart from the broad concepts thereof. Consequently, I do not wish to be restricted to the particular form of arrangement of parts herein described and shown, exceptas limited by my claims.

I claim:

l. A die of the class described for spreading the legs of a cotter key, which includes: a body member having a face in which a pair of co-axial slots are located, said slots being positioned end-to-end and with their bottom surfaces curved concavely along their longitudinal axis, said bottom surfaces meeting said face at the ends of said slots, each of said slots being of` a Width suicient to receive the widest dimension of a leg of a cotter key while providing lateral restraint therefor as the leg is bent; a pointed cusp located between said slots and formed by adjacent ends of said bottom surfaces, said cusp having its apex directed outwardly from said face and located inwardly from said face; and locating means on said body f member adapted to retain said body member in predetermined position in a holding member.

2. A cotter key spreader which includes: a pair of members each having a jaw on the end thereof, said members and said jaws being mounted for movement toward and away from each other; a head die mounted in one of said jaws and having a recess adapted to receive the head of a cotter key; and a spreader die mounted in the other of said jaws and aligned with said head die, said spreader die having a pair of adjacent ,recesses adapted to separately receive the legs of a cotter key, said recesses having a cusp between them, the bottom surface Vof each of said recesses being a concave arcuate continuation of the adjacent surface of said cusp, whereby a smooth curve is formed from the point of said cusp to the remote end of said recess.

3. A cotter key spreader which includes: a pair of members pivotally jointed intermediate their ends in the general manner of pliers, forming a pair of opposed jaws; a head die mounted in one of said jaws and having a recess whose depth is substantially equal to the diameter of the head of a cotter key; and a spreader die mounted in the other of said jaws and aligned with said head die, said spreader die having a pair of recesses therein located end-to-end and aligned to separately receive the legs of a cotter key, said recesses having bottom surfaces that are concavely curved along their longitudinal axes and that approach the faceof said die at the adjacent ends of said recesses to form a pointed cusp between said recesses.

References Cited in the le of this patent VUNITED STATES PATENTS Stein Nov. 14, Crosby May 13, Anekee Nov. 25, Grosvenor June 8, Dandeneau Nov. 15, Cooke Nov. 20, Dedering July 1, Jensen May 23, Schultz Sept. 21, Coonan Nov. 9,

FOREIGN PATENTS France June 10, Great Britain Dec. 4,

Patent Citations
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US1435344 *Jun 1, 1921Nov 14, 1922 Kabl stein
US1493477 *Jun 28, 1922May 13, 1924Crosby Raymond ACotter-pin tool
US1516877 *Oct 27, 1923Nov 25, 1924John AnekeeCotter-pin spreader
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US1768670 *Dec 21, 1927Jul 1, 1930T & S CorpCotter pin
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US2330013 *Dec 15, 1942Sep 21, 1943Mathew Schultz JosephCotter pin spreader
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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3153357 *Sep 17, 1962Oct 20, 1964Decker Robert WCotter pin bending tool
US5311798 *Sep 30, 1992May 17, 1994Trusky Michael TSpring spreading tool
U.S. Classification72/409.17, D08/54, 81/485
International ClassificationB25B27/08, B25B27/02
Cooperative ClassificationB25B27/08
European ClassificationB25B27/08