US 3667518 A
A hand tool, in the form of a screwdriver in which a series of tool bits are stored in longitudinal recesses formed in the outer circumferential surface of the handle. The tool bits are retained in the recesses by an elastic O-ring, and may be easily removed by rolling back the O-ring for snap fitting into the shank portion of the tool.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent Stillwagon, Jr.
SCREWDRIVER WITH BIT STORING HANDLE Inventor: George B. stillwagon, Jl., Dayton, Ohio Assignee: Gardner-Denver Company, Dayton, Ohio Filed: Apr. 30, 1970 Appl. No.2 33,355
US. Cl ..145/62, 16/110.5, 206/17 Int. Cl ..B25g l/08 Field ofSearch ..145/61,62, 63; 206/16 R, 17,
206/DIG. 6; 7/15; 16/1 10.5
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS Small ..206/ l 6 UX [4 1 June6,1972
637,735 11/1899 Harrison ..l45/63 X FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS 271,732 6/1927 Great Britain ..206/DIG. 6
Primary Examiner-Andrew R. J uhasz Assistant Examiner-Michael Koczo, J r. Attorney-Marechal, Biebel, French & Bugg 57 ABSTRACT A hand tool, in the form of a screwdriver in which a series of tool bits are stored in longitudinal recesses formed in the outer circumferential surface of the handle, The tool bits are retained in the recesses by an elastic O-ring, and may be easily removed by rolling back the O-ring for snap fitting into the shank portion of the tool.
3 Claims, 4 Drawing Figures PATENTEDJUN s 1972 3,667, 518
M/ I/EW TOR GEORGE B. STILLWAGON, JR.
W444 ATTORNEYS 7/ SCREWDRIVER WITH BIT STORING HANDLE BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION Many hand tools, such as crew drivers and the like, have been proposed in which one or more interchangeable driving bits are stored in the tool handle. For example, U.S. Pat. No.
707,901 shows a hand tool having longitudinally extending grooves for receiving the tool bits. The tool bits are inserted axially through the end portion of the tool handle and are exposed through narrow slots formed by the grooves. The tool bits cannot fall out of the grooves since the slot formed by the groove is narrower than the diameter of the tool bit.
In US. Pat. No. 2,337,514 there is disclosed a tool handle having longitudinally extending compartments completely enclosed in the handle. The tool bits stored in these compartments are accessible by rotating a disk positioned between the end of the handle and a cap covering the disk. The disk has one hole in'it, while the cap has a plurality of holes corresponding to the compartments. When the hole in the disk is aligned with the desired compartment, the hand tool is tipped so that the handle is pointed downwardly, and the particular bit is removed axially from its compartment. A similar hand tool is disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 648,589 in which an end cap is rotatable with respect to the hand tool and disk. The cap has one hole for communication with cavities within the handle, and is spring biased away from the handle to retain the cap in any desired position of rotation.
In the aforementioned patents, the forming of the tool bit storage cavity by drilling or other means constitutes an additional step from the manufacture of the handle itself. Accordingly, the cost of production of these hand tools is significantly increased.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The present invention provides a tool handle having an outer gripping surface formed with a series of longitudinally extending flutes. A recess is formed inwardly of each flute and is adapted to receive a tool bit. The tool bits are retained in their respective recesses by an elastic resilient Oring received within a circumferential groove formed about the tool handle. The groove is longitudinally positioned on the handle such that the O-ring overlies the recesses, and the depth of the groove is such that the O-ring is stretched over the bits when they are inserted in their respective recesses and thus retains the tool bits therein. One end of a drive shank is received in an end of the handle while the other end of the shank has a coupling or socket secured thereto for receiving a tool bit.
A tool bit stored in one of the recesses may easily be removed by rolling the O-ring rearwardly away from the recess. The tool bit may then be radially extracted from the recess, or the tool handle may be rotated so that the tool bit drops out of the recess. During the removal or insertion of a tool bit into the recess, the O-ring is retained in the other circumferential portions of the groove extending between the axial flutes. The socket or coupling means on the end of the shank is adapted to receive and retain a tool bit in a snap fit arrangement.
The preferred embodiment of the invention is described in terms of a handle having a series of circumferentially spaced longitudinally extending flutes within which the bit-receiving recesses are formed. These flutes assist in forming a good gripping surface for the handle. However, the invention is not intended to be limited thereto and the bit receiving recesses may be formed in the outer surface of the gripping handle without relation to such flutes. Further, in the preferred embodiment, the bit receiving recesses are formed adjacent the forward portion of the handle and in this manner are substantially out of the way of the normal useage of the tool and therefore do not interfere with the useage of the tool. In this position, the elastomeric ring is positioned such that it may be readily engaged by the thumb of the user and rolled in either direction to permit extraction of one or more of the bits.
It is accordingly an important object of the present invention to provide a screwdriver or other driving tool in which a handle has provision for storage of a plurality of individually selectable bits, the storage means comprising recesses in the outer circumference of the handle which are radially open and which permit a radial insertion and extraction of the bit.
A further object is the provision of a driver, as outlined above, in which a simple elastomeric member is received in circumferential relation to the handle and which retains a series of bits within recesses formed within the handle and which may be retracted to permit withdrawal or insertion of any one of the bits.
These and other objects and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from the following description, the accompanying drawing and the appended claims.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the hand tool;
FIG. 2 is a fragmentary view of the handle portion;
FIG. 3 is a partial cross-sectional view of the handle portion; and
FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional enlarged end view taken generally along line 4-4 of FIG. 3.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT A hand tool, illustrated in the form of a screw driver, includes an elongated handle 12 which is preferably molded of plastic material and has a generally cylindrical outer gripping surface 14 extending between radial endsurfaces l5 and 16. A plurality of peripherally spaced and longitudinally extending flutes 18 are formed within the outer surface 14 of the handle to facilitate firm gripping of the handle. A longitudinally exrecess has rounded end surfaces.
The recesses 20 are adapted to receive a series of hardened steel tool bits 22-25, and the length of each recess 20 corresponds generally with the length of the corresponding tool bit. As shown in FIG. 1, the bit 22 is designed for driving slotted-head screws, and bits 23 and 25 are adapted for driving Phillips head screws. While each of the tool bits 22-25 has a hexagonal cross-sectional configuration, it is to be understood that tool bits of other configurations may be'stored within the recesses 20.
A generally circumferentially extending groove 28 is formed within the outer surface 14 of the handle 12 and receives an elastic and resilient O-ring 30. The groove 28 is positioned longitudinally on the handle 12 and has a sufficient depth so that the O-ring 30 extends laterally across each of the tool bits 22-24 and is elastically deformed over the bits to retain the tool bits within their corresponding recesses.
As illustrated by the tool bit 25 in FIG. 1, each of the bits 22-25 is adapted to be received within a tubular coupling or socket 35 secured to the outer end portion of an elongated hexagonal shank 36 having an inner end portion extending axially into the handle 12 through theend surface 15. Preferably, the socket 35 is constructed as shown in the Clark US. Pat. No. 2,550,775 to provide for magnetizing the selected tool bit. The bit is retained by a snap fitting connection such as shown in US. Pat. No. 2,522,217.
When it is desired to interchange tool bits, the tool bit retained by the socket 35 is removed and is inserted in its corresponding recess 20 simply by rolling the adjacent overlying portion of the O-ring 30 rearwardly out of the groove 28 and onto the surface 14 with the thumb as shown in FIG. 2. After the bit is placed within its recess, the O-ring 30 is released so that it snaps back into the groove 28. A similar procedure is used in removing one of the tool bits from its corresponding recess 20. That is, the handle 12 is turned until the selected tool bit is generally on top. The adjacent portion of the O-ring 30 is then retracted (FIG. 2), and the handle is rotated or turned to enable the selected bit to drop radially from its recess into the other hand. The selected bit is then snap-fitted into the socket 35.
From the drawing and the above description, it is apparent that a hand tool constructed in accordance with the present invention provides desirable features and advantages. For example, by storing and retaining a series of different tool bits within corresponding recesses formed within the outer gripping surface of the tool handle, and by employing an elastic retainer ring, the tool bits can be quickly and conveniently interchanged. That is, by simply rolling back a portion of the elastic O-ring 30, a tool bit may be quickly and conveniently inserted or removed by a generally radial movement from its corresponding recess. Moreover, the circumferential interruptions within the groove 28 produced by the flutes 18, are effective to assure that a portion of the O-ring 30 remains in the groove 28 when another portion of the O-ring is rolled from the groove. As a result, only the selected recess is opened when the adjacent portion of the O-ring is rolled rearwardly from the recess.
The hand tool thus described can be easily and efficiently manufactured. Since the flutes and recesses are on the outer surface of the handle 12, the hand tool can be manufactured by use of a mold or die having appropriate projections in the mold to readily form the desired grooves, flutes and recesses. The use of such a mold provides for efiicient and low cost production of the hand tool.
While the article herein described constitutes a preferred embodiment of the invention, it is to be understood that the invention is not limited to this precise hand tool article, and that changes may be made therein without departing from the scope of the invention which is defined in the appended claims. For example, while the recesses are preferably formed within the bottom surfaces of the flutes 18 and project inwardly from the flutes, it is within the scope of the invention to form the recess 20 directly within the outer surface 14 of the handle 12. Furthermore, while the O-ring is the preferred means for retaining the tool bits within the recesses 20, it is to be understood that another form of retaining means may be used. For example, a coil tension spring having opposite ends connected to form an annular ring might be used in place of the rubber O-ring 30. It is also within the scope of the invention for the tool bits 22-25 to comprise socket bits or Allen bits. Although shank 36 is shown to connect socket or coupling 35 to handle 12, it is to be understood that shank 36 can be omitted, and socket 35 secured directly to handle 12 to form a shorter hand tool. While the location of the recesses and elastic retainer O-ring are shown adjacent to the forward end 15 to facilitate gripping the tool handle, the recesses and O-ring may be located anywhere along the length of the handle.
While the form of apparatus herein described constitutes a preferred embodiment of the invention, it is to be understood that the invention is not limited to this precise form of apparatus and that changes may be made therein without departing from the scope of the invention which is defined in the appended claims.
1. A screwdriver having bit storage means for storing a plurality of selectable screwdriver bits for ready access and having an elongated shank projecting from said handle defining a driving coupler on the remote end thereof for selectively receiving said bits for use, the improvement in said bit storage means comprising means in said handle defining a plurality of radially outwardly-opening bit-receiving recesses, each of said recesses being oriented generally longitudinally of said handle and peripherally spaced about said handle, the depth of said recesses being somewhat less than the radial thickness of said bits so that a portion of the associated said bit in each said recess proects somewhat radially of said recess, means in said handle de imng a circumferential groove in intersecting relation to said recesses, an elastic band mounted in said groove having a circumference which is slightly less than that of said handle so as to bear radially against bits in said recesses for retaining the same, said band being deformable and movable out of said groove upon the application of an axial deforming force to permit insertion and removal of said bits with respect to said recesses.
2. The screwdriver of claim 1 in which said elastic band comprises an elastomeric O-ring.
3. The screwdriver of claim 1 in which said handle has an outer gripping surface, means in said handle defining a corresponding plurality of longitudinally-extending flutes in said outer surface, and in which said recesses project inwardly of said flutes.