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Publication numberUS3698267 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateOct 17, 1972
Filing dateDec 18, 1970
Priority dateDec 18, 1970
Publication numberUS 3698267 A, US 3698267A, US-A-3698267, US3698267 A, US3698267A
InventorsDenney Jon R
Original AssigneeDenney Jon R
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Fastener actuator
US 3698267 A
Images(2)
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent Denney [54] FASTENER ACTUATOR [72] Inventor: Jon R. Denney, 437 NW. 81st,

Oklahoma City, Okla. 731 14 22 Filed: Dec. 18, 1970 211 App]. No.: 99,602

[52] US. Cl. ..81/185, 81/179, 269/266 [51] Int. Cl ..B25b 13/58, B25b 13/12 [58] Field of Search ...81/129, 179, 185, 71; 269/266 56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,349,655 10/1967 Locke ..81/185 [4 1 Oct. 17,1972

Moncey ..81/129 X Peterson ..269/266 X Primary Examiner-James L. Jones, Jr. Attorney-Charles A. Codding [57] ABSTRACT A fastener actuator having a plurality of fastener engaging elements, each fastener engaging element being independently positionable in an engaging proximity to a fastener, the fastener engaging elements being adapted to cooperate to remove or tighten the fastener.

10 Claims, 12 Drawing Figures FASTENER ACTUATOR BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 1. Field of the Invention This invention relates generally to improvements in fastener actuators, and more particularly, but not by way of limitation, to a fastener actuator having independently positionable fastener engaging elements.

2. Description of the Prior Art In the past there have been various devices or fastener actuators for removing or tightening fasteners, such as nuts and screws. There have also been many attempts to construct such devices to incorporate a maximum versitility.

One such device was an adjustable wrench of the type commonly referred to as a crescent wrench. Although this device could remove nuts of various sizes, within limits, it was limited in that it had to be placed at a right angle to the fastener being removed and in that it could not be utilized to remove different types of fasteners, such as screws.

There have also been screw drivers having a split driving head. The basic theory of such devices was that by altering the degree of overlap between the split portions of the driving head, the same screw driver could be utilized to remove screws having various slot widths. This device was of course limited to removing screws and it had also been found that the split portions of the driving head rapidly became deformed to an extent that, for all practical purposes, rendered the device inoperable.

One other such device utilized a number, usually three or four, socket head type of wrench elements concentrically positioned, one element within the other, in a single driving head. The basic theory of this device was that only a particular socket head would drop into an engaging position about a nut, while the remaining socket heads would remain suspended. This device was of course limited to removing fasteners having a particular configuration corresponding to the three or four socket heads utilized in the device. It was also found that each socket head had to be constructed utilizing a relatively thin supporting wall so that the socket heads could be concentrically disposed. This latter limitation of course limited the torque capability of the device.

The increase in the number of machines utilizing fasteners sized in accordance with the metric system has posed an additional limitation in the versitility of fastener removers. These particular fasteners generally have required a special fastener actuator for their removal.

There has thus developed a need for a single fastener actuator which is adapted to remove or tighten fasteners of various configurations, including screws and nuts, and fasteners sized in accordance with various mathematical measurement systems.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The present invention contemplates a fastener actuator for removing and tightening fasteners. Thefastener actuator includes a housing having a support connected thereto. A plurality of fastener engaging elements are supported in the support. Each fastener engaging element is independently positionable in an engaging proximity to a fastener.

An object of the invention is to provide a fastener actuator capable of tightening and removing fasteners having various configurations.

Another object of the invention is to provide a fastener actuator capable of tightening and removing fasteners having various configurations and yet maintaining maximum torque characteristics.

A further object of the invention is to provide a single fastener actuator capable of tightening and removing screws and nuts.

A still further object of the invention is to provide a fastener actuator capable of removing and tightening fasteners notwithstanding the mathematical basis used to size the particular fastener.

One additional object of the invention is to provide a fastener actuator which is economical in construction and operation.

Other objects and advantages of the invention will be evident from the following detailed description when read in conjunction with the accompanying drawings which illustrate the various embodiments of the invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF Til-IE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a sectional view of a fastener actuator having a turning handle, shown in elevation, attached thereto.

FIG. 2 is a view of the fastener actuator of FIG. 1, taken substantially along the lines 2-2 of FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is an enlarged elevational view of some of the fastener engaging elements of the fastener actuator of FIG. 1, shown in one position thereof in the support plate.

FIG. 4 is a sectional view of the fastener engaging element of FIG. 3, taken substantially along the lines 4-4 of FIG. 3.

FIG. 5 is a sectional view of the fastener actuator of FIG. 1, showing the fastener engaging elements in engaging proximity about a fastener.

FIG. 6 is a view similar to FIG. 5, but showing the fastener engaging elements in engaging proximity about another fastener.

FIG. 7 is a sectional view of a modified fastener actuator.

FIG. 8 is a view of the modified fastener actuator of FIG. 7, taken substantially along the lines 8-8 of FIG. 7.

FIG. 9 is an enlarged elevational view of some of the fastener engaging elements of the fastener actuator of FIG. 7, shown in one position thereof in the support plate.

FIG. 10 is a sectional view of the fastener engaging element of FIG. 9, taken substantially along the lines 10-10 ofFIG. 9.

FIG. 11 is a sectional view of another modified fastener actuator. I

FIG. 12 is a partial sectional, partial elevational view showing yet another modified fastener actuator.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT Referring to the drawings in general, and to FIGS. 1 and 2, in particular, shown therein and designated by the general reference character 10 is a fastener actuator, having a turning handle 12 connected to one end thereof.

The fastener actuator includes a housing 14 having an open and a closed end 16 and 18, respectively, and a hollow inner portion 20, intersecting the open end 16 thereof. As shown more clearly in FIG. 2, the housing 14 is basically rectangularly shaped and, in a preferred form, is constructed of a metal or reinforced plastic.

A support plate 22 is disposed in a central portion of the hollow portion 20 of the housing 14, and is secured therein. The support plate 22 has a plurality of spaced apertures 24 extending therethrough.

A plurality of fastener engaging elements 26 are movably disposed in a portion of the hollow portion 20 of the housing 14. A portion of each fastener engaging element 26 is slidingly disposed in one of the apertures 24, and, as shown more clearly in FIG. 3, each fastener engaging element 26 has an upper most end 28 and a lower most end 30.

An engaging portion 32 is formed on a portion of each fastener engaging element 26, extending a distance generally from the lower most end 30 toward the upper most end 28 thereof. As shown more clearly in FIGS. 3 and 4, the engaging portion 32 has a basically rectangularly shaped cross-section, having a length 34 and a width 36. In a preferred form and as shown in FIG. 4, the length 34 is larger than the width 36.

A sliding portion 38 is formed on each fastener engaging element 26, generally between the engaging portion 32 and the upper most end portion 28 thereof. In a preferred form, the sliding portion 38 has a circularly shaped cross-section and is sized to slidingly extend through one of the apertures 24 in plate 22.

In a preferred form, the cross-sectional area of each sliding portion 38 is smaller than the cross-sectional area of the respective engaging portion 32, thereby forming an upwardly facing surface 40 encircling each fastener engaging element 26, generally between the engaging portion 32 and the sliding portion 38 thereof. The upwardly facing surface 40 of each fastener engaging element 26 is sized and disposed to engage the plate 22, in one position thereof, to limit the movement of each fastener engaging element 26 in one direction.

It should also be noted, that the cross-sectional area of each sliding portion 38 is sized with respect to the cross-sectional area of each engaging portion 32 such that, in the assembled position, the engaging portion 38 of each fastener engaging element 26 are positioned in a close proximity with respect to the engaging portions 38 of the adjacent fastener engaging element 26.

In practice and as shown in FIGS. 1 through 6, each fastener engaging element 26 should be sized and disposed in an approximate abutting relationship to the adjacent fastener engaging element 26. In this form, it may be desirable to coat the outer periphery of the engaging portion 32 of each fastener engaging element 26 with a bearing material, such as teflon to prevent the occurrence of corrosion or rust between the various fastener engaging elements 26.

A stop 42 is formed on the upper most end 28 of each fastener engaging element 26. Each stop 42 has a larger diameter that the respective aperture 24 in the plate 22, and each stop 40 will, therefore, engage the plate 22 and limit the movement of each fastener engaging element 26 in one direction.

It is apparent from the foregoing, that each fastener engaging element 26 is shaped such that each fastener engaging element 26 will slide in a generally upwardly and downwardly direction within one of the apertures 24 within the limits defined by the respective stop 42 and the respective upwardly facing surface 40, for reasons to be made more apparent below.

A permanent magnetic 50 is disposed in a portion of the hollow portion 20 of the housing 14, generally near the closed end 18 thereof, and is secured therein. In the form of the invention shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, each fastener engaging element 26 is preferrably constructed of a permanent type, magnetic material. The magnetic 50 is disposed such that the magnetic 50 repels each fastener engaging element 26, thereby biasing each fastener engaging element 26 to a position wherein the stop 42 of each fastener engaging element 26 is in engagement with the plate 22. In an alternate fonn, each fastener engaging element 26 could be constructed of a reinforced plastic, and the stop 42 constructed of a permanent type, magnetic material.

As shown more clearly in FIG. 1, each fastener engaging element 26 is sized such that when the fastener actuator 10 is in the non-operating position, that is in a position wherein the stop 42 of each fastener engaging element is in engagement with the plate 22, the ends 30 of the fastener engaging elements lie generally in the same horizontal plane, for reasons to be made more apparent below. In this position and in a preferred form, the open end 16 of the housing 14 is disposed in a horizontal plane slightly above the horizontal plane formed by the ends 30 of the fastener engaging elements 26.

It is apparent from the foregoing, that each fastener engaging element 26 is independently positionable with respect to the plate 22, that is each fastener element 26 may be moved in an upward direction, against the repelling force of the magnetic 50, independent of the movement of the other fastener engaging elements 26.

As shown more clearly in FIG. 2, the housing 14 forms an outer periphery, encircling the fastener engaging elements. In a preferred form, the gap between the housing 14 and the engaging portions '32 of the adjacent fastener engaging elements 26 should be minimized. The housing 14 cooperates with the fastener engaging elements 26 to define the torque capability of a particular fastener actuator 10, as will be described in greater detail below.

The turning handle 12 has a hand-grip portion 52 and a connecting portion 54. One end of the connecting portion 54 is secured to the hand-grip 52 and the opposite end of the connecting portion 54 is secured to the closed end 18 of the fastener actuator 10 at a central portion thereof. It is therefore apparent, that a turning motion of the hand-grip 52 is transmitted to the fastener actuator 10 via the connecting portion 54, for reasons to be made more apparent below.

OPERATION OF FIGS. 1, 2, 3 AND 4 The fastener actuator 10 is adapted to remove or tighten any fastener notwithstanding the configuration or sizing of the particular fastener. The fastener actuator 10 may thus be utilized to tighten or remove such fasteners, as nuts or screws, regardless of the particular mathematical basis utilized to size such fasteners.

The fastener actuator is normally in a non-operative position, that is a position wherein each fastener engaging element 26 is biased outwardly to a position wherein the stop 42 of each fastener engaging element 26 is in engagement with the plate 22. When the fastener actuator 10 is utilized to remove or tighten a particular fastener, the open end 16 of the fastener actuator is first positioned adjacent the fastener, and the fastener actuator 10 is moved downwardly over the fastener. In this position the open end 16 of the fastener actuator 10 encompasses the fastener, and each fastener engaging element 26 is independently positioned in an engaging proximity to the fastener. The

hand-grip 52 is then turned in a direction, the particular direction of course depending on whether the fastener is to be tightened or removed, thereby turning the fastener actuator 10. Each fastener engaging element 26 engages the fastener and cooperates with the other fastener engaging elements 26 to engage and tighten or remove the particular fastener.

Referring to FIG. 5, theoperation of the fastener actuator 10 may be more particularly described with reference to a particular type of fastener. As shown in FIG. 5, the fastener actuator 10 has been placed in an engaging proximity, or in other words in an operating position, about a nut 60 having a hexagonally shaped cross-section. The nut 60 has been threaded on a bolt 62, and is in engagement with a plate 64.

More particularly, the fastener actuator 10 has been placed about the nut 60, such that the open end 16 of the housing 14 encompasses the nut 60, and such that the open end 16 is in engagement with the plate 64. In this position, some of the fastener engaging elements 26 have been forced a distance in an upwardly direction against the biasing force of the magnetic 50 by the engagement of the fastener engaging elements 26 with the plate 64, some of the fastener engaging elements 26 have been forced a distance in an upwardly direction against the biasing force of the magnetic 50 by the engagement of the fastener engaging elements 26 with an upper portion of the nut 60, and some of the fastener engaging elements 26 have been forced a distance in an upwardly direction against the biasing force of the magnetic 50 by the engagement of the fastener engaging elements 26 with an upper end portion of the bolt 62. Thus, the fastener engaging elements 26 have been independently positioned in an engaging proximity about the nut 60, as shown in FIG. 5.

It is apparent that the fastener engaging elements 26 cooperate to form an engaging surface about the outer periphery of the nut 60. Therefore, when the handle 12 is turned, the engaging surface formed by the fastener engaging elements 26 will engage the outer periphery of the nut 60, and therefore turn or rotate the nut 60.

The fastener engaging elements 26 in effect cooperate to provide a laminated working area within the fastener actuator 10, and in cooperation with the additional strength provided by theportion of the housing 14 generally adjacent the open end 16 thereof, provide the turning strength or torque requirements of the fastener actuator 10.

As shown in FIG. 6, the fastener actuator 10 has been placed in an operating or engaging proximity to a screw 72 having a screw head 74 with a slot 76 formed therein. In this position, some of the fastener engaging elements 26 have been forced a distance in an upwardly direction against the biasing force of the magnetic 50 by the engagement of the fastener engaging elements 26 with the plate 64, some of the fastener engaging elements 26 have been forced a distance in an upwardly direction against the biasing force of the magnetic 50 by the engagement of the fastener engaging elements 26 with the upper portion of the head 74 of the screw 72, and some of the fastener engaging elements 26 have been forced a distance upwardly against the biasing force of the magnetic 50 by the engagement of the fastener engaging elements 26 with the portion of the screw head 74 formed by the slot 76 therein. It is apparent from the foregoing and from FIG. 5, that some of the fastener engaging elements 26, have been disposed in the slot 76 of the screw 72 and are, therefore, in an engaging proximity to the screw 72. Therefore, when the handle 12 is turned, the engaging surface formed by the fastener engaging elements 26, particularly those fastener engaging elements 26 which are disposed in the slot 76, will engage the screw 72 and turn or rotate the screw 72.

It is apparent from the foregoing that the fastener engaging elements 26 of the fastener actuator 10 are adapted to cooperate with the plate 22 and the magnetic 50, such that each fastener engaging element 26 is independently positionable in an engaging proximity to a fastener. The fastener engaging elements 26 cooperate to provide various configurations of engaging surfaces and the fastener actuator 10 is thus constructed to remove various fasteners, such as screws or nuts, notwithstanding the particular configuration, that is for example hexagonal or triangular, and regardless of the mathematical basis used to size the particular fastener, that is for example metric or otherwise. It should also be noted that in a preferred form, the particular number of fastener engaging. elements 26 utilized in a fastener actuator should be as large as possi' ble, or in other words, the cross-sectional area of the fastener engaging elements 26 should be as small as possible, within the torque limits of the particular fastener actuator. In this manner, the maximum engaging surface is assured about a particular fastener.

EMBODIMENT OF FIGS. 7, 8, 9 AND 10 The fastener actuator 10a is constructed similar to the fastener actuator 10, described before. One difference being that the closed end 18a has a recess formed in a central portion thereof. The recess 100 is sized to interconnectingly receive the rectangularly shaped end of a rachet-type wrench (not shown), such that the fastener actuator 10a may be turned by rotating the wrench. Various forms of such rachet-type wrenches are well known in the art, and no further description is required herein.

The outer periphery of housing 14a generally adjacent the open end 16 thereof, is tapered in a generally outwardly direction, and a portion 102 thereof is threaded. As shown in FIG. 7, a slot 104 is formed in a portion of the housing 14a generally adjacent and intersecting the open end 16 thereof, for reasons to be made more apparent below.

As shown more clearly in FIG. 8, the housing 14a has inner wall about the fastener engaging elements 26a.

The fastener engaging elements 26a are constructed similar to the fastener engaging elements 26, shown more clearly in FIGS. 3 and 4, the salient differences being that the engaging portion 32a of each fastener engaging element 26a has a hexagonal-shaped crosssection, as shown more clearly in FIGS. 9 and 10.

The fastener actuator a also includes a nut 106 disposed about a portion of the housing 140 generally adjacent the open end 16 thereof. The nut 106 is sized and disposed to threadingly engage the threaded portion 102 of the housing 14a.

It is apparent from the foregoing and from FIGS. 7 and 8, that as the nut 106 is threaded downwardly toward the open end 16 of the housing 14a, the portion of the housing 14a adjacent the open end 16 thereof will be moved into a closer proximity to the adjacent fastener engaging elements 26a, and will ultimately force each fastener engaging element 26a into a closer proximity with the adjacent fastener engaging elements 26a. The housing 14a will move in the manner described above due to the cooperation between the nut 106 and the tapered portion 102 of the housing 14a, for reasons to be made more apparent below.

OPERATION OF FIGS. 6, 7, 8 AND 9 The fastener actuator 10a will operate substantially the same as the fastener actuator 10, described before, one difference being that the fastener actuator 10a is adapted to cooperate with various forms of rachets and turning handles.

Each fastener engaging element 260 is constructed to be slidingly supported in the apertures 24 of the plate 22, such that each fastener engaging element 26a is independently positionable in an engaging proximity to a fastener in a manner as described before with respect to the fastener engaging elements 26. The particular cross-sectional shaping of the fastener actuators 26a may be more desirable and result in more engaging surface being available about a particular fastener, in some applications.

After the fastener actuator 10a has been placed in an operating or engaging position about a particular fastener, in a manner generally as described above, the nut 106 may be threaded downwardly about the housing 14a, thereby forcing a portion of the housing 14a to move into a closer proximity to the adjacent fastener engaging elements 26a. The nut 106 therefore, cooperates with the housing 14a to more'securely position the fastener engaging elements 260 in an engaging proximity about a particular fastener. This particular construction may be more desirable, particularly in smaller sizes of the fastener actuator 10 involving high torque applications.

EMBODIMENT OF FIG. 1 1

The fastener actuator 10c shown in FIG. 11, is constructed similar to the fastener actuator 10, shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, the salient difference being that the fastener actuator 10c doesnot utilize a permanent magnetic as the biasing force for the fastener engaging elements 26, but rather utilizes a plurality of springs 150.

One end of each of the springs 150 is disposed adjacent the stop 42 of one of the fastener engaging elements 26 and the opposite end of each spring 150 is in engagement with a portion of the closed end 18 of the housing 14c. Each spring is sized and disposed to bias the respective fastener engaging element in an outwardly direction, to a position wherein the stop 42 of each fastener engaging element 26 is in engagement with the plate 22.

Each spring 150 is held in position within the hollow portion 20 of the housing 14c by a cylindrically shaped retainer 152. One end of each retainer 152 is disposed in a recess 154 formed in the closed end 18 of the fastener actuator 10, and the opposite end of each retainer 152 is disposed in a recess 156 formed in the plate 22. It is apparent from the foregoing that the recesses 154 and 156 cooperate to secure each retainer 152 in an assembled position, as shown in FIG. 11.

OPERATION OF FIG. 11

The fastener actuator 10c will operate similar to the fastener actuator 10, the salient difference being that each fastener engaging element 26 is biased toward the plate 22 by the springs 150. This particular construction may be more desirable, particularly in larger sizes of a fastener actuator.

' EMBODIMENT OF FIG. 12

The fastener actuator 10d, shown in FIG. 12, is constructed similar to the fastener actuator 10, described before. The salient difference being the adjustable housing 14d.

As shown in FIG. 12, the lower end of the housing 14d terminates with a lower most end 160, at a point generally adjacent the plate 22. A retaining sleeve 162 is secured about the outer periphery of the housing 14d, generally between the closed end 18 and the end 160 thereof. The sleeve 162 has opposite ends 164 and 166.

A plurality of spaced apertures 168 are formed in the end 166 of the sleeve 162. The apertures are sized to slidingly receive a plurality of housing elements 170 which are slidingly disposed therein.

Each housing element 170 has an engaging portion 172 formed adjacent one end thereof, and a sliding portion 174 formed adjacent the opposite end thereof. As shown in FIG. 12, the sliding portion 174 of each housing element 170 is sized to slidingly extend into one of the apertures 168 in the sleeve 162, and has a smaller width than the adjacent engaging portion 172 thereby forming an upwardly facing surface 176 therebetween. The upwardly facing surface 176 is disposed and sized to engage a portion of the end 166 of the sleeve 162, thereby limiting the movement of each housing element 170, in one direction.

A stop 180 is formed on one end of each housing element 170, and each stop 180 is sized and disposed to engage a portion of the end 166 of the sleeve 162, thereby limiting the movement of each housing element 170, in one direction.

A plurality of springs 182 are disposed in the sleeve 162. One end of each spring is secured to the stop 180 of one of the housing elements 170 and the opposite end of each spring 182 is disposed adjacent the end 164 of the sleeve 162. Each spring 182 is sized to bias one of the housing elements 170 to a non-operatingposition, wherein the stop 180 thereof is in engagement with the end 166 of the sleeve 162.

The housing elements 170 are sized, such that, in the non-operating position thereof, as generally described above, the engaging portions 172 cooperate to provide a retaining wall about the fastener engaging elements 26 and, in this position, the housing elements 170 provide substantially the function as the housing 14, shown in FIG. 1. However, each housing element 170 is independently positionable about the fastener engaging elements 26, which is desirable in some applications as will be described below.

OPERATION OF FIG. 12

The fastener actuator d will operate similar to the fastener actuator 10, described before, in that each fastener engaging element 26 is supported in the plate 22 and each fastener engaging element 26 is independently positionable in an engaging proximity to a fastener. The fastener actuator 10d is therefore constructed to remove or tighten fasteners of various configurations in a manner as described before with respect to the fastener actuator 10.

The salient difference in operation being that the fastener actuator 10d is constructed such that it can be utilized to remove a fastener between and adjoining two pipe sections. When the fastener actuator 10d is utilized in this manner, the fastener actuator 10d is disposed about the fastener and the pipe sections and the fastener engaging elements 26 are moved into an engaging proximity about the fastener and the pipe sections. Each housing element 170 is also independently positionable about the pipe sections, thereby permitting the fastener actuator 10d to be so utilized.

The fastener actuators described herein provide a versitile, single-element hand tool. The same fastener actuator can be utilized to remove or tighten virtually any type of fastener, such as screws or nuts, regardless of the particular configuration of the fastener. This type of actuator is particularly useful where one periodically encounters a fastener sized in accordance with a metric system. The fastener actuators described herein are adapted to remove or tighten any fastener regardless of the mathematical basis used to sizedthe particular fastener.

Changes may be made in construction and arrangement of the parts or the elements of the various embodiments as disclosed herein without departing from the spirit and the scope of the invention as defined in the following claims. 1

What is claimed is:

1. A fastener actuator for removing and tightening fasteners, comprising:

a housing having an open end and a closed end and a hollow portion formed therein intersecting the open end thereof;

a support plate connected to the housing spaced from the open end and the closed end of the housing, having a plurality of aperture means formed therethrough;

a plurality of fastener engaging elements, each fastener engaging element, having an upper end and a lower end, the lower end of each fastener engaging element disposed generally near the open end of the housing, an engaging portion formed on the lower end portion and a sliding portion of a smaller cross-sectional area than the engaging portion formed on the upper end portion thereby forming an upwardly facing surface between the engaging portion and the sliding portion, and stop means formed on the upper end thereof, the sliding portion of each fastener engaging element being slidingly disposed through one of the aperture means of the support plate, each stop means engaging the support plate to limit the movement of one of the fastener engaging elements in one direction and each upwardly facing surface engaging the support plate to limit the movement of one of the fastener engaging elements in one other direction, each fastener engaging element being supported in the support plate and being independently positionable in an engaging proximity to a fastener; and

biasing means secured in the housing and disposed between the support plate and the closed end of the housing biasing each fastener engaging element in one direction.

2. The fastener actuator of claim 1 wherein the biasing means is further defined as being adapted to bias each fastener engaging element in a direction generally toward a non-operating position wherein the upper end portion of each fastener engaging element engages a portion of the support means.

3. The fastener actuator of claim 2 wherein the bias ing means is further defined to include a permanent magnetic supported in a portion of the housing, said magnetic being sized and disposed to repelling bias each fastener engaging element generally toward a non-operating position.

4. The fastener actuator of claim 2 wherein the biasing means is further defined to include a plurality of springs, each spring having opposite ends, one of said opposite ends of each spring being in engagement with a portion of the housing, the other end of each spring being in engagement with the upper end of one of the 1 fastener engaging elements, each of said springs being sized to bias one of the fastener engaging elements generally toward a non-operating position.

5. The fastener actuator of claim 1 wherein each fastener engaging element is defined further as being sized and disposed such that the engaging portion of each fastener engaging element is in. close proximity to the engaging portions of the adjacent fastener engaging elements.

6. The fastener actuator of claim 5 wherein the fastenerengaging elements are further defined as being sized such that the lower ends of the fastener engaging elements lie in substantially the same plane when the fastener engaging elements have been biased to the non-operating position.

7. The fastener actuator of claim 6 wherein the open end of the housing is sized to substantially encompass the fastener engaging elements and to support the fastener engaging elements in a position wherein the engaging portion of each fastener engaging element is in close proximity to the engaging portions of the adjacent fastener engaging elements.

8. The fastener actuator of claim 7 wherein the housing includes an outer periphery, a portion of said outer periphery generally adjacent the open end thereof being threaded and tapered, a slot being formed in a portion of the outer periphery intersecting a portion of the open end of the housing; and wherein the fastener actuator is defined further to include a nut disposed about a portion of the housing, said nut being sized and disposed to threadingly engage the threaded portion of the outer periphery, such that as the nut is threaded downwardly toward the open end of the housing, the open end of the housing is closed about the fastener engaging elements.

9. The fastener actuator of claim 6 wherein the housing is defined further to include a plurality of housing elements, said housing elements being sized and disposed to substantially encompass the fastener engaging elements and to support the fastener engaging elements in a position wherein the engaging portion of each fastener engaging element is in close proximity to the engaging portions of the adjacent fastener engaging elements, each of said housing elements being adjustably supported about the housing.

10. A fastener actuator for removing and tightening fasteners, comprising:

support means;

a plurality of fastener engaging elements, each fastener engaging element having an upper end and a lower end and an engaging portion formed on the lower end portion thereof, each fastener engaging element being supported in the support means and being independently positionable in an engaging proximity to a fastener; and

housing, having a hollow portion, the support means and the fastener engaging elements each being supported within the hollow portion of the housing, the housing comprising:

a plurality of housing elements, the housing elements sized and disposed to substantially encompass the fastener engaging elements and to support the fastener engaging elements in a position wherein the engaging portion of each fastener engaging element is in close proximity to the engaging portions of the adjacent fastener engaging elements, each of the housing elements being adjustably supported about the housing.

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Classifications
U.S. Classification81/185, 269/266, 81/179
International ClassificationB25B15/00, B25B13/00, B25B13/10
Cooperative ClassificationB25B13/105, B25B15/001
European ClassificationB25B13/10C, B25B15/00B