US 3633793 A
Each of a plurality of elongated, hollow tubes has a plurality of male and female locking segments spaced about its outer periphery for interlocking with other tubes to form a composite unit. Each tube also is closed at its bottom end and is provided with a side opening adjacent said bottom end for removal of cut wires and the like stored in the tube.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent Harold E. Edmundson Beaverton, Oreg. 856,752
Sept. 10, 1969 Jan. 1 l, 1972 Scappoose Industries, Inc. Scappoose, Oreg.
Inventor Appl. No. Filed Patented Assignee DEVICE FOR STORING AND DISPENSING CUT WIRES AND THE LIKE 1 Claim, 6 Drawing Figs.
Int. CL... 865d 83/02 Field of Search 221/311, 131,132, 282; 21 1/86, 94; 52/589, 594; 46/25, 31
Primary Examiner- Robert B. Reeves Assistant ExaminerJohn P. Shannon, Jr. Attorney-Oliver D. Olson ABSTRACT: Each of a plurality of elongated, hollow tubes has a plurality of male and female locking segments spaced about its outer periphery for interlocking with other tubes to form a composite unit. Each tube also is closed at its bottom end and is provided with a side opening adjacent said bottom end for removal of cut wires and the like stored in the tube.
DEVICE FOR STORING AND DISPENSING CUT WIRES AND THE LIKE BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention relates to devices for storing and dispensing cut wires and the like for use at production stations where electrical harness assemblies and other products are made.
Prior devices of the class described are characterized by a construction in which a plurality of tubes are mounted upon or formed integral with an external rack or housing by which the tubes are supported in properly spaced arrangement. Such a rack or housing represents a substantial cost. Moreover it generally contributes to excessive bulkiness of the unit and thus utilizes an excessive amount of bench space. Still further, since the rack or housing will accommodate a fixed number of tubes, it is often necessary to utilize a plurality of such racks or housings at a given production station to accommodate the storage and dispensing of the required number of wires or the like.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION In its basic concept the present invention involves the provision on each of a plurality of hollow tubes of male and female interlock means by which to interconnect the tubes in any desired number and arrangement.
It is by virtue of the foregoing basic concept that the principal objective of this invention is achieved; namely, to overcome the disadvantages of prior devices as enumerated hereinbefore.
The foregoing and other objects and advantages of the present invention will appear from the following detailed description taken in connection with the accompanying drawing of the preferred embodiments.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING FIG. I is a foreshortened, fragmentary front elevation of a device for storing and dispensing cut wires and the like embodying the features of this invention.
FIG. 2 is a side elevation as viewed from the left in FIG. 1.
FIG. 3 is a fragmentary sectional view taken on the line 3- 3 in FIG. 1.
FIG. 4 is a plan view illustrating one form of male and female interlocking segments for connecting together a plurality of the tubes.
FIG. 5 is a plan view illustrating a second form of male and female interlocking segments.
FIG. 6 is a plan view illustrating a third form of male and female interlocking segments.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS Referring particularly to FIGS. 1 and 2 of the drawing, there is illustrated a plurality of elongated, hollow tubes 10 directly interconnected to form a composite unit which includes a plurality of rows of tubes. In accordance with this invention, the assembly of such a unit is accommodated by the provision on each tube of two male locking segments and two female locking segments, with all locking segments disposed at 90 intervals around the periphery of the tube. In this manner the length of each row and the number of rows may be varied as desired to provide a unit of any desired number of tubes in any desired configuration.
The male and female locking segments may be provided in a variety of forms. In the preferred embodiment illustrated in FIG. 4 each elongated tube is of generally rectangular cross section and each of two sides is formed with a dovetail groove extending longitudinally the full length of the tube. Each groove is defined by an inner wall 12 and laterally spaced sidewalls 14 which converge outwardly from the opposite sides of the inner wall. The remaining two sides are formed with outwardly projecting dovetail tabs which also extend longitudinally the full length of the tube. Each tab is defined by an outer wall 16 and laterally spaced sidewalls 18 which converge inwardly from the opposite sides of the outer wall. The complimentary dovetail grooves and tabs are dimensioned to interlock with each other frictionally along their entire length, whereby adjacent interconnected tubes are locked together firmly in any desired position of relative longitudinal adjustment.
Although the tubes may be made of metal, by stamping or extrusion, they are preferably formed by the extrusion of synthetic thermoplastic resin and then cut to desired length. The inherent warpage of such extruded tubings contributes to the frictional interlocking of the male and female segments, as will be understood.
In FIG. 5 of the drawing the male and female locking segments are formed as separate components which are bonded or otherwise secured to the outer sides of the tubing 10. The female segments are formed as an extruded strip of synthetic thermoplastic resin in the form of a dovetail groove defined by the inner wall 20 and the laterally spaced outwardly converging sidewalls 22. The male segments also are preferably formed as an extrude strip providing the dovetail tab defined by the outwardly diverging ribs 24.
In FIG. 6 the female locking segments are formed by the molding of a flexible synthetic thermoplastic resin to provide a socket 26 which defines a spherical segment somewhat greater than a hemisphere. The complimentary male locking segment also preferably is molded of the same or similar material to form an outwardly projecting ball 28 matching the size and shape of the socket. The female and male segments are bonded or otherwise secured to the sides of the tubing 10 in appropriate positions for securing a plurality of tubings together to form the longitudinally offset rows illustrated in FIG. 1 and 2.
It will be understood that the ball and socket members illustrated in FIG. 6 may be formed as elongated grooves and ribs, respectively, in the manner of the female and male locking segments illustrated in FIG. 5.
In the preferred embodiment illustrated in FIGS. 1-3, the composite assembly of tubes is disposed in substantially vertical position adjacent the rearward side of an assembly bench 30. As shown, the assembly is inclined slightly rearward for support against a vertical wall 32. A bar 34 on the bench serves to engage the bottom end of the rearwardmost row to maintain the assembly in proper position.
For use in the inclined position illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2, each tube is closed at its bottom end by means of an end wall 36 (FIG. 3). In the embodiment illustrated the end wall has an inner surface which inclines forwardly so that cut wires and the like disposed within the tube slide forward at the bottom end for easy access of the operator. For this purpose each tube is provided with a front opening 38 adjacent the bottom wall through which the fingers may be inserted to grasp a cut wire or the like for removal from the tube.
In order that the opening 38 in each tube 10 be exposed for access by the user, the tubes in each row disposed in front of another row terminate at their bottom ends above the openings in the tubes of the next rearward row, as illustrated in FIG. 2. This is accommodated by the frictional interengagement of the male and female locking segments of the embodiments illustrated in FIGS 4 and 5 and by the predetermined positioning of the male and female locking segments of the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 6.
From the foregoing it will be appreciated that the present invention provides economical and effective means by which to store and dispense a multiplicity of cut wires and the like. By virtue of the interlocking male and female locking segments secured to or otherwise formed integral with each tube, a multiplicity of tubes may be assembled in any length and number of rows desired for an assembly station. Since the assembly of tubes is self-supporting and therefore requires no external frame or housing, the assembly may be modified at any time to reduce or expand the unit. Further, because of the arrangement of interlocking segments which accommodates arrangement of the tubes in vertically staggered rows, with each tube provided with a bottom closed end and an adjacent access opening, the assembly of tubes may be disposed substantially vertically at the rear side of an assembly bench for most effective utility while occupying a minimum of space.
It will be apparent to those skilled in the art that various changes may be made in the size, number, type and arrangement of parts described hereinbefore, without departing from the spirit of this invention.
Having now described my invention and the manner in which it may be used, I claim:
1. A storage and dispensing for cut wires and the like, comprising a. a plurality of elongated straight hollow tubes of uniform cross section,
b. two female connector members and two male connector members on each tube, the connector members being disposed at intervals about the periphery of the tube, 0, The female connector members on said tubes being in releasable locking engagement with the male connector members of other of said tubes for securing the tubes together in substantially parallel and predetermined longitudinal relationship, a bottom wall closing the bottom end of each tube, and an access opening in the lower end of each tube terminating at its lower end above the bottom wall, the unit being disposed with the tubes extending substantially vertically and including at least tow rows of tubes, one disposed in front of the other with the bottom of the front row being disposed above the access openings in the next rearward row.