US 3337158 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Aug. 22, 1967 J. F. BALL 3,337,158
WIRE DISPENSER Filed March 4, 1966 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 INVENTOR. JOf/N F BALL BZWWW ATTORNEY Aug. 22, 1967 J. F. BALL 3,337,158
WIRE DISPENSER Filed March 4, 1966 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 Z INVENTOR.
/ 8 JOHN F? BALL ATTORNEY United States Patent 3,337,158 WIRE DISPENSER John F. Ball, 7005 E. Jackrabbit Road, Scottsdale, Ariz. 85251 Filed Mar. 4, 1966, Ser. No. 531,722 9 Claims. (Cl. 242139) My invention relates to an improved wire dispenser, and more in particular a wire dispenser adapted to support a relatively large number of spools of various kinds of wire and the like, for dispensing the same as needed.
There are many types of wire and similar strand materials such as light weight chains, braided wire strands and the like, all of which are vended to the retailer and sometimes to the ultimate user on spools of various size. Such wires will include, for example, various diameter wires of copper, aluminum, iron and other metals, small multiwire cables of various materials, all of which may be bare or covered with various types of insulation. The number of such materials vended even in a relatively small hardware store, for example, is exceedingly great. They are supported for vending in many ways, commonly on a transverse pipe supported at its ends in a stand. Whatever the supporting or vending method used, there is usually little or inadequate provision for keeping the strands unraveled on the spool, so that time and material are frequently both lost with the methods now in use. Very commonly, material in stock cannot be located and the time required for vending small lots of wire or the like is not justified by the results obtained.
Accordingly the principal object of my present invention is the provision of an improved wire dispenser.
Another object is the provision of an improved wire dispenser which is particularly adapted for use in retail establishments, but which also is of great utility where wire is used in manufacturing operations, and wire of various sizes and type must be made quickly available.
Other specific features will be apparent from the following detailed description taken with the accompanying drawings wherein FIG. 1 is an isometric view showing the preferred embodiment of the invention which has been found to produce exceedingly good results in actual practice;
FIG. 2 is a sectional view taken along the line 22 of FIG. 1 and showing particularly the adjustability of one of the wire supporting posts and the manner in which the transverse spool supporting mandrels are held in place;
FIG. 3 is a slightly enlarged fragmentary sectional View partly in elevation showing a preferred manner of imparting a braking action to the individual spools to prevent over-run during the dispensing operation;
FIG. 4 is a fragmentary enlarged transverse sectional view taken along the line of 44 of FIG. 1 and showing the main supporting plate and some of its appurtenances in full lines;
FIG. 5 is a further enlarged fragmentary sectional view showing a preferred manner of driving the dispenser rotatably for selecting the wire desired;
FIG. 6 is an enlarged fragmentary sectional view showing the top and bottom plate and caster arrangement between the plates to facilitate rotating;
FIG. 7 is a relatively small partly schematic fragmentary elevational view showing one manner in which house current may be taken from a junction box to a driving motor forming a part of the dispenser, and
FIG. 8 is a fragmentary view, partly in section and partly in elevation, showing a modification.
In the embodiment of my present invention shown in the drawings, I utilize a bottom plate 11 on which the dispenser rests directly on the floor, a top plate 12 with an annular flange or apron 13, a cover plate 14, and two 3,337,158 Patented Aug. 22, 1967 sets of posts 16 and 17, three of each disposed between the top plate 12 and the cover plate 14. The posts 16 and 17 carry a transverse rod 18 and 18' which project through a pair of holes 19, a series of which is provided in the posts. These transverse rods act as mandrels for rotatably supporting the wire spools carrying the wire.
The posts 16 are stationary and may be secured by threading them into a steel pipe coupling 21, which in turn is welded to the top plate 12 at 22 as shown particularly in FIG. 5. A similar coupling 21 is secured to the top of the post 16, and it in turn is welded to the bottom face of the cover plate 14. The posts 17 extend at both top and bottom into smooth interior couplings 23 in which they are adapted to rotate. The couplings 23 are welded at 24 to the top plate 12, and cover plate 14 respectively, so that the posts 17 are rotatable with respect to such couplings but are adapted to be held in a fixed position by a pin 26, one end of which is anchored in position by a short chain 27 held to the top plate 12 by a special link 28 which is welded to the top face of plate 12. The pin 26 extends through a pair of oppositely positioned holes in the coupling 23, and is adapted to fit through a plurality of pairs of oppositely positioned holes in the posts 17 so that the posts 17 can be positioned in any one of several axial positions.
All of the transverse rods 18 and 18' may be placed in selected pairs of holes 19. For convenience, I show in the drawings that the rods 18' are supported in fixed position. The rods or mandrels 18 in the posts 17, however, are adjustable to any matching pairs of holes 19, and they are held in any desired position by means of a cap screw 31 threaded into tapped holes in the side of the posts 17 and provided with a suitable head, preferably an Allen head. In some instances, a large knurled head screw is adequate for holding the rod in position. While FIG. 1 shows a smaller number of openings for receiving the rods or mandrels 18', such rods may be secured in position if desired by means of the same cap screw 31 as shown at the left side of FIG. 5.
The cover plate 14 is, of course, secured to the top plate 12 through the posts 16 with the flanges of their associated couplings welded to the plates as already described. I wish to note also that while I show a threaded connection between the coupling 21 and the posts 16, and describe that the connection at the top is to be made in the same manner, any other suitable manner of attachment, such as welding throughout without the use of threads can be employed for connection of all of the posts at top and bottom. Since the entire assembly above the top plate'12 is connected together, a pair of spaced rings 32 (FIG. 1) may be welded to the top of the cover plate 14 in the manner shown in the drawing so that the entire assembly can be picked up with a lifting device such as a small crane for placement as desired.
For best utilization of the wire dispenser of the present invention, it is desirable that the entire mechanism be made rotatable about the bottom plate 11 which rests on the floor, and also preferably that the entire assembly be capable of drive by means of electric power for best results. First, I shall describe the manner in which the top plate 12 is supported in spaced but parallel relation to the bottom plate 11.
Looking now first at FIG. 5, an annular shouldered block 36 is welded throughout its periphery as shown at 37 to the top face of the bottom plate 11 centrally thereof. An annular shoulder results from the formation of an upper reduced diameter portion 38 of the block 36. The entire block has a central vertical bored hole 39 into which the shank of a shouldered screw 41 extends. A headed bushing 42 extends through the top plate 12 and is also apertured to receive the maximum diameter portion of shank 43. This shank 43 also has a reduced diameter threaded portion 46 of the block 36, thereby forming a shoulder on which the major portion 43 of the shank engages. Thus, the entire top plate 12 with the bushing 42 is rotatably supported on the top face of the reduced diameter portion 38 of the block 36. Any suitable means (not shown) may be employed to reduce friction between these surfaces but generally speaking the friction is reduced to a minimum because of the support by the top plate 12 and by means of a plurality of casters as will be explained.
Six pairs of casters 48 are disposed between top plate 12 and the bottom plate 11. In the form of the invention shown, a pair of such casters is placed midway between each pair of posts so that there will be six such sets of casters in all. Three such pairs of casters 48 appear in the FIG. 4 view which is partially broken away. The casters 48 (FIG. 6) are supported on trunnions 49 carried by a frame with upstanding cars 51 which receive the trunnions, and a base 52 which is welded at 53 to the bottom plate 11. The two casters 48 of each pair are aligned along a radius of the wire dispenser, and the several pairs employed preferably disposed between the posts 16 and 17 in the embodiment of the invention as shown. It should be understood that the number of posts may vary and the number of supporting casters may also vary.
While the wire dispenser may be constructed to be rotatedby hand, I prefer to rotate it electrically by means of a relatively slow speed electric motor 56 secured to a plate 12 by cap screws 57 and having a downardly projecting shaft 58 carrying a sprocket gear 59 whose hub 61 is suitably keyed to shaft 58. A second sprocket gear 62 is welded at 63 to the block 36, and a sprocket chain 64- is trained around the two sprocket gears 59 and 62. Thus, energization of motor 56 with consequent rotation of the motor shaft 58 will cause the entire unitary frame structure including the plates 12 and 14 and posts 16 and 17 with their attached transverse rods forming mandrels for the wire spools to rotate about the axis of shank 43.
Any suitable means may be employed to carry commercial electrical power to the motor 56. I indicate one suitable means in FIG. 7 in which a pair of conductors 66 is taken from a suitable junction box (not shown) and passed on through a conduit 67 to a collector ring assembly indicated by the reference character 68 and 69. Any suitable collector ring assembly may be used. By slight modification, I have been able to use a standard Lewyt collector No. 2113 successfully. An offset conduit 71 supported by an arm 72 carries a pendant control 73 of a normally open type, but constructed to close a circuit only while a button control is pressed with the thumb or finger that the circuit is closed and the motor operated. Controls of this type are well known and l deem it unnecessary to show the control in detail. I have, for example, used a No. X-8416-42 switch control sold by Graybar Electric Company. Below the collector rings and below the cover plate 14 is a suitable conduit 74 running to the motor 56.
I find it essential to apply controlled friction to the wire carrying spools, and I accomplished this result in a very simple manner. A conventional wire carrying spool 76 may have one end engaged directly against a contiguous post or a friction and spacing washer 77 may be interposed between the post and spool 76 as shown in FIG. 3. A collar 78 has a sliding fit on the rod 18 which acts as a mandrel for the spool 76, and a thumb nut 79 axially positioned in the collar 78 can be tightened to anchor the collar in any desired position. A coil spring 81 which can be placed under such tension as may be desired to limit free rotating of the spool 76 engages against a friction washer 82 which may be of any suitable material such as the fibrous pressboard material commonly known as Masonite. The coil spring 81 may be secured by both the collar 78 and the friction washer 82 or at neither of them. Suitably, however, I partially flatten the end helixes of the spring 81 and secure the spring to the collar and friction washer 32 by welding, brazing, or other conventional attachment methods so that the collar 78, washer 82, and spring 81 will remain together as a unit. Thus, it will be seen that it requires a little traction on the wire or other strand material to remove it from a spool, and when pulling action is stopped, there is no over-running of the spool and overrunning of the wire such as will occur with the dispensing means commonly used for wire dispensers.
For simplicity of illustration, I have shown only a small number of spools on the rods 18 but those skilled in the art will understand that the entire unit may be filled With spools, in which case it will be found desirable to rotate the posts 17 to a slightly different position than shown in FIG. 1 of the drawings. This action is facilitated by the fact that I provide a number of rings 83, one of which may be used for each spool, if desired, through which wire or other strand material may be passed as it leaves the spool. Because of this arrangement, the pulling atcion on the strand of wire or the like may be in almost any direction, and the strand will still be removed properly from the spool with the length of strand being dispensed defining more or less a straight line from the ring 83 to a point at which it is being held. This arrangement is particularly advantageous when the wire dispenser of the present invention is being used in a factory where parts are being assembled and more than one person will be withdrawing wire in relatively short lengths for use in assembly work.
Because of the friction inherent in the driving mechanism described, the machine shown in FIGS. 1-7 will be held adequately at any position to which it may be adjusted. The machine may be manually rotated, however, and in such use it is usually advisable to provide suitable means for preventing its turning too freely while strand material is being dispensed therefrom. It should be understood, of course, that in a manually rotatable machine, friction reducing thrust bearings (not shown) would normally be used to facilitate manual rotation.
Looking at FIG. 8, a suitable anchoring device for a manually rotated machine will employ a foot operated indexing and anchoring lever 86 pivoted at 87 on a suitable bracket 88 welded to bottom plate 11 and biased upwardly by spring 89. A notch 91 in the apron 13 of bottom plate 12 receives the anchoring lever 86 when it is in raised position to hold the unit against turning. A notch 91 may be provided at each post, or spaced in any other desired manner depending upon distribution of the spools 7 6. It should be noted that the notches have lead in curved approach portions 92 to facilitate engagement by the anchoring lever 86.
I have shown and described a specifically successfully employed embodiment of my invention so that those skilled in the art may understand the manner of using the same. The scope of the invention, however, is defined by the claims.
1. A wire dispenser of the character and for the purpose described, comprising (a) a bottom support,
(b) a unitary frame structure rotatably carried by said bottom support, and including (1) a main support plate (2) atop cover plate, and
(3) a plurality of radially disposed vertical posts interconnecting said main support plate and cover plate,
(c) a plurality of horizontal rod like mandrels for spools of wire extending through and carried by said posts, and
((1) means for controllably applying friction to said spools to prevent overrunning action of said spools when Wire is removed therefrom.
2. A wire dispenser as defined in claim 1 wherein at least one of said posts is rotatable about its axis, and
including means for controlling the axial position of said post at a plurality of positions.
3. A wire dispenser as defined in claim 1 wherein said friction supplying means includes a collar means for supporting said collar in fixed position on a mandrel and a coil spring held in compression between said collar and a wire carrying spool.
4. A Wire dispenser as defined in claim 1 wherein said friction supplying means includes a collar means for supporting said collar in fixed position on a mandrel, a friction washer supported on the mandrel against a spool, and a coil spring held in compression between said friction washer and said collar.
5. A wire dispenser as defined in claim 1 including a ring projecting from a post near a spool, whereby to permit Wire being dispensed from a spool to pass through said ring to permit wire being withdrawn from a spool at a relatively acute or obtuse angle with respect to the axis on which the wire spool rotates.
6. A Wide dispenser as defined in claim 1, including electrical means for rotating said unitary frame structure in response to application of pressure against a switch member.
7. A Wire dispenser as defined in claim 1 wherein said bottom support comprises a base plate, wherein said base plate carries a plurality of radially disposed casters mounted axial pivots and including a center pivot around which said top cover plate rotates.
8. A wire dispenser as defined in claim 1, including a center pivot around which the top cover plate is rotatable, a sprocket gear co-axial with said pivot carried by the bottom support, an electric motor with a vertical shaft carried by said top cover plate, a sprocket gear carried by the motor shaft in horizontal alignment with said first mentioned sprocket gear, and a sprocket chain trained around said two sprocket gears so that rotation of said motor will cause rotation of said unitary frame structure.
9. A wire dispenser as defined in claim 1, including means for locking said unitary frame structure at any selected one of a predetermined radial position.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS LEONARD D. CHRISTIAN, Primary Examiner.