Patent application title: TOOL HOLSTER WITH A TOOL BIT
Earl Votolato (Newport Beach, CA, US)
EARL & KIMBERLY VOTOLATO LIVING TRUST
IPC8 Class: AA45F300FI
Class name: Carried by animate bearer article held by receiver receiver mounted on, or formed as part of, means at least partially encircling the torso for attaching carrier to bearer
Publication date: 2009-10-15
Patent application number: 20090255970
A tool holder is presented. Preferred tool holders include a holster for
securely holding a tool. A tool bit can be operationally coupled to the
holster so that the holster-tool bit assembly forms a complete tool,
where the holster can function as a handle of the tool bit. The tool bit
can be of the same type, or of a different type than that of the held
tool. Some embodiments include tool locks that securely hold the tool
within the holster when the holster is used to operate the tool bit.
1. A tool holder comprising:a holster configured to hold a first tool;
anda tool bit operationally coupled to the holster wherein the holster
forms a handle to operate the tool bit.
2. The holder of claim 1, wherein the tool bit comprises a blade.
3. The holder of claim 2, wherein the tool bit comprises a hooked blade.
4. The holder of claim 2, wherein the holster further comprises a blade guard.
5. The holder of claim 2, wherein the blade is permanently coupled to the holster.
6. The holder of claim 1, wherein the tool bit is rotationally affixed to the holster.
7. The holder of claim 6, wherein the tool bit is configured to ratchet into an operating position.
8. The holder of claim 1, further comprising a belt fastener.
9. The holder of claim 1, wherein the tool bit is removeably affixed to holster.
10. The holder of claim 1, wherein the holster further comprises a tool bit compartment configured to store at least one tool bit of the first tool.
11. The holder of claim 10, wherein the tool bit compartment has a cover substantially flush with a surface of the holster.
12. The holder of claim 10, wherein the tool bit compartment is configured to store at least three tool bits of the first tool.
13. The holder of claim 1, wherein the holster is sized and dimensioned to nest within another holster.
14. The holder of claim 1, wherein the tool bit is of a different type than that of the first tool.
15. The holder of claim 1, wherein holster comprises at least one tool lock configured to securely hold the first tool in place when the holster is used to operate the tool bit.
16. The holder of claim 15, wherein the at least one tool lock is disposed within an interior cavity of the holster.
This application claims the benefit of priority to U.S. provisional
application having Ser. No. 61/043669 filed Apr. 9, 2008. This and all
other extrinsic materials discussed herein are incorporated by reference
in their entirety. Where a definition or use of a term in an incorporated
reference is inconsistent or contrary to the definition of that term
provided herein, the definition of that term provided herein applies and
the definition of that term in the reference does not apply.
FIELD OF THE INVENTION
The field of the invention is tool holders.
A great deal of past effort has been directed toward creating multi-functional tool systems. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 6,257,106 to Anderson et al. titled "Hand/Survival Tool Having Multiple Implements" (July 2001) describes a pliers-based hand tool that includes other implements disposed within the handle of the tool. U.S. Pat. No. 6,983,506 to Brown titled "Universal, Interchangeable Tool Attachment System" (January 2006) also describes a similar tool. Another, more esoteric multi-functional tool includes U.S. patent application publication to Martin titled "Wallboard Cutting Tool" (June 2006). Martin describes a wallboard cutting tool that can include a tape measure. The above referenced tools are useful for their intended purposes. However, the collectively fail to provide for effectively holding the tool when not in use.
Although having multiple tool bits might be useful in some circumstances, in normal day-to-day on the job use one or two tools dedicated to specific functions fair much better. However, carrying multiple tools, even just a few (e.g., two or three), can become difficult if the tools are cumbersome, or can increase the risk of inadvertent loss of a tool. In response to such an issue, the market has developed many different types of tool holders. Three example tool holders include:
(A) U.S. Pat. No. 4,496,088 to Tuthill titled "Tool Holder" (January 1985) designed for holding pliers,
(B) U.S. Pat. No. 6,085,952 to Garland titled "Tool Holder for Fishermen and Tradesmen" (July 2000), and
(C) U.S. Pat. No. 6,994,238 to Estabaya titled "Screw Gun Holster" (February 2006) designed for holding a power drill.
Unfortunately, these holders have a single purpose, to merely hold tools. One result of this approach is that individuals require different holders for different tools, which can also become cumbersome. A better tool holder would reduce a need for additional different tools, or for additional, different tool holders.
Some progress has been made by others to offer tool holders that have greater utility. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 4,828,154 to Clifton titled "Hand Tool Organizer" describes a tool holder having a molded holster capable of holding a tool and tool bits. Even still, the contemplated tool holder to Clifton merely provides for holding a tool or tool bits for the tool, and fails to provide for holder that has utility while also reducing a need for additional tool holders.
Some minor work has been done to increase the utility of tool sheaths. U.S. Pat. No. 4,428,515 to Mayer titled "Knife Scabbard with Integral Blade Sharpener" (January 1984), and U.S. Pat. No. 4,495,696 to Fethke et al. titled "Scissors Sheath having Integral Blade Sharpener" (January 1985), both describe blade sheaths that include a blade sharpener. It should be noted that the contemplated sharpeners can only be used when blades are removed from the sheaths.
Interestingly, very little apparent effort has been put forth toward integrating tool bits into a tool holder so that the holder can both hold a first type of tool in a holster while also serving as a handle for a second type of tool. Such an approach, among other things, (1) reduces a need for multiple holders, and (2) provides for having just a few dedicated tools (e.g., a held tool and the holster) for specific "on the job" tasks.
Thus, there is still a need for a tool holder having a tool bit affixed to a tool holster.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
The inventive subject matter provides apparatus, systems and methods in which a tool holder can comprise a holster that includes a tool bit. One aspect of the inventive subject matter includes a holster for a tool (e.g., pliers, drills, utility knifes, screw drivers, etc.), that preferably is configured to hang on a user's belt. The holder also includes a tool bit that is operationally coupled to the holster in a manner where the holster can operate as a handle for the tool bit when an individual uses the tool bit. The tool bit can be of a different type than that associated with the tool held by the holster. For example, the tool bit coupled to the holster can be a utility knife blade where the holster is configured to hold pliers.
The tool bit is preferably a knife blade that is coupled to the holster. In a preferred embodiment, the holster also includes a blade guard to protect the blade and to protect the user during use.
It is contemplated that the tool bit can be permanently attached to the holster to form an integral tool. In other embodiments, the tool bit is removeably affixed to the holster to provide for replacing used or broken tool bits. Additionally, the tool bit can be rotationally coupled to the holster so that the tool bit can be positioned, possibly via ratcheting, into an operational configuration.
Various objects, features, aspects and advantages of the inventive subject matter will become more apparent from the following detailed description of preferred embodiments, along with the accompanying drawing figures in which like numerals represent like components.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING
FIG. 1A is a schematic of an exemplary tool holder.
FIG. 1B is a schematic of a front and back portion of the holder from FIG. 1A.
FIG. 1C is a schematic of a front portion of the holder from FIG. 1A having a tool bit (e.g., a blade).
FIG. 1D is a schematic of the tool holder from FIG. 1A holding a tool (e.g., a utility knife).
FIG. 2A is a schematic of another exemplary tool holder having a closed tool bit storage compartment.
FIG. 2B is a schematic of the tool holder from FIG. 2A where the tool bit storage compartment is open.
FIG. 3 is a schematic of a yet another exemplary tool bit holder having a belt fastener.
The following detailed description of the inventive subject matter is presented with reference to a tool holster having a bladed tool bit and where the holster is configured to carry a utility knife, preferably while being worn by a user. One should note that the bladed tool bit is considered independent of any other blades disposed within the utility knife. One should also note that the inventive subject matter is considered to include holsters for other types of tools beyond utility knifes (e.g., drills, pliers, scissors, markers, screw drivers, wrenches, etc.), and to include tool bits beyond blades (e.g., drill bits, screw driver heads, socket heads, lights, marker tips, etc.). The following detail description should not be construed to be limited to utility knifes.
In FIG. 1, tool holder 100 comprises holster portion 120 (also referred to as holster 120) and tool bit portion 140. Holster portion 120 is preferably configured to carry a first type of tool. Tool bit portion 140 represents an end of holder 100 where a tool bit can be disposed, where the tool bit can be of a second, different type than that of the first type of tool. In the example shown, the first type of tool is a utility knife and the tool bit includes a blade and blade guard assembly that forms a hooked-knife blade that can be used to cut string, ribbon, stretch wrap, plastic strapping, shrink wrap, foam, twine, or other materials. Such a tool holder and utility knife system is found to be useful within a warehouse, where workers handle shipping of packages.
The example embodiment presented in FIG. 1A illustrates a utility knife holster and a bladed tool bit. It is also contemplated that differing types of tools could also be accommodated. The following list represents preferred types of tools with their corresponding tool bits:
(A) Cutting: utility knife blades, hook blades, saws, multiple blades (e.g., scissors, shears, etc.), scrapers, chisels, scalpels, etc.
(B) Rotating: screw driver heads (e.g., star, hex, Philips, flat head etc.), drill bits, sockets, etc.
(C) Dispensing: chalk reservoir, tape dispenser, etc.
(D) Lighting: lights (e.g., LEDs, bulbs), magnifying glass, etc.
(E) Marking: pen, marker, pencil, etc.
(F) Gripping: pliers, wrench, etc.
(G) Other: hammers, punches, awls, etc.
It should be appreciated that some of the contemplated tool bits can be protected by bit guard 142, possibly molded into holder 100 as shown.
In FIG. 1B, holder 100 is formed from two main parts, front portion 122 and back portion 124. Portions 122 and 124 are displayed with their interiors visible. The two portions can be placed adjacent to each other and can be coupled to each other via fastener 126. Once joined, portions 122 and 124 form a holster in which a tool can be disposed. A preferred holster 120 has a cavity that can receive a separate tool. A more preferred holster 120 is configured, possibly contoured, to receive or hold a specific make or model of a tool. Such an approach allows for a tool manufacturer to ensure holder 100 can only hold to the manufacturer's tools. Holster 120 could be configured to hold a class of the manufacturer's tools, to hold tools of a product line, or to hold a specific model of tool.
It is also contemplated that the receiving cavity of holster 120 can be configured to nest with other distinct holders 100. Nesting holders provides for easy packaging for sale, where a package can comprises two, three, or even five or more nested holders. It is specifically contemplated that such holders 100 can be considered disposable, or replaceable. For example, if the tool bit of holder 100 becomes broken, a user can simply purchase a new holder. In a preferred embodiment, at least 40% a length of a first holder can be nested into the cavity of a second holder. In a more preferred embodiment at least 50% of the length can nest, and in yet a more preferred embodiment, at least 70% of the length can nest.
Portions 122 and 124 can be manufactured using any suitable process. In a preferred embodiment, portions 122 and 124 can be injection molded plastic. However, any other suitable, durable materials can also be used. For example, portions 122 and 124 can be die cast metal, wood, leather, or other materials. Although two portions are shown, any number of parts can be used to form holder.
One or more of portions 122 or 124 can also include one or more of tool locks 128 configured to hold a tool in position when the tool is disposed within holster 120. In the example shown, locks 128 are plastic, flexible arms having clips that mate with corresponding surfaces on a utility knife. Tool locks 128 are preferably placed within the internal cavity of holster 128 to prevent locks 128 from catching or snagging on external elements. When a user wishes to release the knife, the user merely flexes the arms to release the clips from the surface of the utility knife. Tool locks 128 can be mechanical, magnetic, or other types of locks that can secure the tool when holder 100 is used as a handle to operate the tool bit. Example tool locks 128 can include clips as shown, hook and loop fasteners, snaps, straps with buckles, or other locking systems known or yet to be invented. One should note that the tool bit can be operated regardless of whether or not a tool is disposed in holster 120.
Holder 100 can comprise one or more of fastener 126 to securely couple portions 122 and 124 together. In some embodiments, one, two, three or more mechanical fasteners (e.g., screws, bolts, rivets, etc.) can be used. It is also contemplated that fasteners 126 can be a chemical fastener (e.g., glue, ), or a thermal fastener (e.g., ultrasonic weld seams; see FIG. 1C). All methods of joining the parts of holder 100 are contemplated.
One or more of portions 122 or 124 can include bit holder 144. Bit holder 144 is configured to receive a tool bit so that the tool bit is operationally coupled to the holster. "Operationally coupled" means that the tool bit disposed in holder 100 can be operated by using the holster (e.g., holster portion 120) as a handle for the tool bit. In the example shown in FIG. 1B, bit holder 144 includes a recess into which a tool bit is disposed, or one or more projections that prevent the tool bit from moving relative to holster 120, as is the case where tool holder 100 includes a hooked blade assembly, referred to as a hooked blade.
In an embodiment where the tool bit comprises a hooked blade, bit holder 144 rigidly and permanently couples a tool bit to holster 120 where the tool bit is restricted from moving relative to holster 120. However, it is specifically contemplated that other tool bits would benefit from a holder that allows the tool bit to move relative to holster 120. For example, a circular cutting blade could be permanently, yet rotationally affixed to holster 120, possibly through a projection operating as an axle or pivot for the tool bit. It is also contemplated that tool bit holder could include a separate tool bit cartridge assembly physically distinct from holster 120 and that mechanically couples to holster 120. In some embodiments, the cartridge couples to holster via a ratcheting mechanism that allows the tool bit to be rotationally positioned at one or more angled stops relative to holster 120. Such an approach allows holster 120 to operate as an angled handle for the tool bit, possibly to provide additional torque or leverage during use. Contemplated cartridges could also be removeably affixed to holster 122, possibly through a bolt, screw, snap, or other fasteners. The cartridges can be replaced as needed.
In FIG. 1C, tool holder 100 has tool bit 146 (e.g., a knife blade) disposed within front portion 122. It should be understood that portion 122 or portion 124, or both could be configured to receive tool bit 146. It should also be noted that either portions, or other parts for that matter, can be configured with the various features discussed in this document. Recitation that a feature is located on one portion over another should not be construed to be limiting, and should be considered to include placing the feature on any suitable part of holder 100. Tool locks 128 in the form of flexible plastic arms with clips, are also shown in FIG. 1C.
In one preferred embodiment, bit guard 142 along with tool bit 146 form a hooked blade knife assembly. Bit guard 142 protects a blade from becoming nicked or dulled through accidental exposure to the elements, and protects a user from accidental injury.
In the embodiment shown in FIG. 1C, front portion 122 can be coupled to back portion 124 via one or more fasteners 126 in the form of weld seams. For example, portions 122 and 124 can be joined via ultrasonic welding.
Although a straight edge blade is shown as tool bit 146, the blade can be serrated or non-serrated. Other contemplated blade types can also include saw blades, scissors, razors, scrapers, or other cutting implements.
In FIG. 1D, holder 100 is shown holding a tool 160 (e.g., a utility knife). Tool 160 inserts into holster 120 and is preferably held in position by one or more tool locks 128 as previously discussed. Holder 100 is held together by one or more of fasteners 126, possibly screws. Tool bit portion 140 of holder 100 includes tool bit 146 operationally coupled to holster 120. In the embodiment shown, bit guard 142 protects tool bit 146 and forms a hooked blade. In the example shown, holder 100 has been configured to receive a specific model of a utility knife. Locks 120 securely hold the knife within holster 120 when holder 100 is used as a handle to operate the hooked blade.
In a preferred embodiment, holder 100 further includes one or more of hangers 150 that can be used to attach holder 100 to an individual's belt, or other convenient location, when holder 100 is not in use as a handle for tool bit 146. Hanger 150 can take on any suitable form including a tab as shown that inserts into a slot of a belt clip. It is contemplated that hanger 150 could connect with other articles of clothing, or appendage, beyond a belt including a pocket, belt loop, shirt sleeve, or other articles. Hanger 150 could include an elastic band to strap to an arm. Yet another hanger 150 could include a magnet for attaching to a metal surface. Hanger 150 could also be a hole as shown so that holder 100 can be hung from a hook.
In FIG. 2A, holder 200 can be configured with similar properties as previously described holder 100. In additional holder 200 includes bit compartment 230 disposed in a surface of holster 220 to hold tool bits preferably for tool 260 as opposed to replacement tool bits 246. Bit compartment 230 preferably comprises cover 232 (shown as closed), which is preferably substantially flush with the surface of holster 220. Ensuring that cover 232 is flush with the surface of holster 220 reduces a risk of cover 232 snagging on cloths, loose articles, or other items.
In FIG. 2B, holder 200 is shown with compartment 230 revealed by opening cover 232. In a preferred embodiment, compartment 230 is configured to store at least one of tool bits 234 for tool 260, and more preferably at least three bits, and yet more preferably at least five bits. In the example show, compartment 230 stores several blades for a utility knife. Although compartment 230 could store replacement tool bits 246, one should note that these blades are for tool 260 and are not necessarily replacements for tool bit 246. It is specifically contemplated that compartment 230 could store a heterogeneous set of tool bits for tool 260. For example, tool bits for tool 260 could include different screw driver heads, punches, blades, or other types of tool bits installable into tool 260.
In a preferred embodiment, cover 232 opens to an angle of at least 60 degrees from the surface of holster 120, and more preferably at least 90 degrees. Yet a more preferred embodiment allows cover 232 to open to an angle of at least 120 degrees. A smaller opening angle is considered beneficial for flat tool bits (e.g., blades) to prevent loss, and a larger opening angle is considered advantages 3-D bits (e.g., screw driver heads, marker tips, etc.) to allow a user's fingers to grasp the bits.
In FIG. 3, holder 300 is shown as having hanger 150 that can attach to an individual's belt. Hander 150 can include a tab that can insert into slot 372 of belt clip 370. Although the embodiment shown has a tab, hander 150 could include any suitable hanger. For hanger 150 could comprise a retractable string that attaches to a belt clip 370. The string could retract into holder 300, into clip 370.
One should appreciate that contemplated holsters can be formed to hold any nature of tool. Contemplated tools include hand tools, power tools, crafting tools, cooking tools, paint brushes, or other utensils. It is also contemplated that holsters could be formed for other devices beyond tools including guns, cell phones, or other devices that one would not ordinarily considered a tool.
It should be apparent to those skilled in the art that many more modifications besides those already described are possible without departing from the inventive concepts herein. The inventive subject matter, therefore, is not to be restricted except in the spirit of the appended claims. Moreover, in interpreting both the specification and the claims, all terms should be interpreted in the broadest possible manner consistent with the context. In particular, the terms "comprises" and "comprising" should be interpreted as referring to elements, components, or steps in a non-exclusive manner, indicating that the referenced elements, components, or steps may be present, or utilized, or combined with other elements, components, or steps that are not expressly referenced. Where the specification claims refers to at least one of something selected from the group consisting of A, B, C . . . and N, the text should be interpreted as requiring only one element from the group, not A plus N, or B plus N, etc.
Patent applications by Earl Votolato, Newport Beach, CA US
Patent applications by EARL & KIMBERLY VOTOLATO LIVING TRUST
Patent applications in class Receiver mounted on, or formed as part of, means at least partially encircling the torso for attaching carrier to bearer
Patent applications in all subclasses Receiver mounted on, or formed as part of, means at least partially encircling the torso for attaching carrier to bearer