Patent application title: Modular compter cable spool
David Robert Billings (Burlington, CA)
IPC8 Class: AB65H7518FI
Class name: Winding, tensioning, or guiding bobbin or spool
Publication date: 2013-01-10
Patent application number: 20130008993
Keeping computer, router and switch cables organized can be challenging
as cables may have excess length which can become entangled with each
other and which can be susceptible to damage. The enclosed invention
relates to a modular spool. Many copies of the spool may be linked
together to a large number with ease and convenience. They may also be
easily separated for convenient maintenance. Each spool has a male
connector on one end and a female connector on the other end, so that one
spool design can result in large lengths of connected spools. The spools
may be connected by a bayonet style system or by screws or pins after
alignment with a notch and key system.
An alternative embodiment has an array of nubs which matches an array of
nub ports which may be aligned by the shape of the plates at the end of
1. spool which may be modularly connected in a lateral manner consisting
of: an inner hub, a male receptacle plate, a male receptacle a female
receptacle plate a female receptacle.
2. A spool as in claim 1 where the male and female receptacles have and alignment mechanism and a fastening mechanism.
3. A spool as in claim 2 where the alignment mechanism is a notch and key.
4. A spool as in claim 2 where the alignment mechanism and the fastening mechanism is a bayonet system
5. A spool as in claim 2 where the fastening mechanism is a screw.
6. A spool as in claim 2 where the fastening mechanism is a pin.
7. A spool as in claim 6 where the pin is a cotter pin.
8. A spool as in claim 2 where the alignment mechanism is the shape of the male receptacle plate.
9. A spool as in claim 2 where the alignment mechanism is the shape of the female receptacle plates,
10. A spool as in claim 1 where the male receptacle is an array of nubs and the female receptacle is a matching array of ports.
11. A spool as in claim 1 where one of the receptacle plates is only marginally larger than the inner hub so that the device effectively only has one receptacle plate
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
 U.S. Pat. No. 3,606,002 Miller  U.S. Pat. No. 4,416,373 deLarosiere, Pierre J.  U.S. Pat. No. 5,096,063 Schreiter, Michael E  U.S. Pat. No. 6,497,382 King  U.S. Pat. No. 7,637,771 Lauren  U.S. Pat. No. 7,651,047 Peng et al
 Personal computers are usually serviced by multiple cables which serve a variety of functions such as mouse, printer, internet, speakers and many more. Routers and switches can have even more cables. But these cables can be hard to organize. The excess length of the various cables allows them to become tangled which can make minor computer repairs an exercise in disentanglement. Even worse, these excess wires can become vulnerable to physical damage due to people stepping on them or chair casters running over them. Since this damage to the wires can result in random and intermittent signal corruption, these excess lengths of cable are a source of system vulnerability which can be hard to isolate and remedy. Often times, cables are cut to custom length and the connectors attached by hand but these connections can have less reliability that factory made connections, and are expensive.
 The cable organization field has been busy recently with several types of spools, however, none of the prior art has a modular spool which both wraps the excess cable around a spool and organizes multiple spools together in a modular fashion. Some spool type designs include King in U.S. Pat. No. 6,497,382 and Peng et al in U.S. Pat. No. 7,651,047. Laursen in U.S. Pat. No. 7,637,771 describes a cable management system that couples spools to the system of a vertical panel using a bayonet style connection but this system appears to be hard to install and not economically or spatially efficient. Miller in U.S. Pat. No. 3,606,002 describes stacking spools but does not describe a means for easily connecting spools end to end. Schreiter, in U.S. Pat. No. 5,096,063, describes a system of modular spools but the spools connect in the lateral direction rather than the longitudinal direction and so would not be effective for organizing computer cables In U.S. Pat. No. 4,416,373, deLarosiere discloses a method for stacking bottles but this too, does not provide the ease of assembly or lateral stability needed to organize computer cables. In 1949 Loe Kirk Christiansen of Denmark connected objects together using and array of nubs and matching array of nub ports, but this technique has never been applied to spools and this application gives one of embodiments both lateral stability and ease of assembly. The relevant patent numbers for this prior art are unknown but the majority were believed to be assigned to the Lego Corporation. A product has been found which was purchased in Canada, circa 2003, which had a bayonet system for connecting hollow football shaped spheres end to end but this was not a spool shape to easily collect excess cable and was deemed unusable by the consumer of the product. It lacked the ease of use and stability which an array of nubs and matching ports provides. This product is particularly unsuitable for router cables due to spatial requirements since it was not a spool. It is not known if this product had patent protection.
 There is a need then for a way to organize excess cable lengths of multiple cables in a way which is neat and which allows for cables to be removed and added to the computer conveniently
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
 This invention describes a spool which can be connected in a modular fashion to other spools of its own kind to organize cables for use in computers, routers or switches. The spools link end to end so that an infinite number of identical spools may be linked together. The spools are easily linked and are also easily taken apart to make both organization of the cable, adding of cables and removal of cables easy. The spools each have a male connector on one end and a female connector on the other end. The spools can connect by various means including a bayonet style system, or a key type system with screw or cotter pin connection or a combination of these methods. The spool can be made as a single plastic part from a mold.
DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
 FIG. 1 shows a single spool from an oblique perspective.
 FIG. 2 the Male Receptacle for a bayonet style connection system from an end view as if the Male Receptacle Plate has been removed.
 FIG. 3 shows the Male and Female receptacles which are aligned by a key and notch and which are held in place by a screw from the end view as if the Male Receptacle Plate and Female Receptacle Plate has been removed.
 FIG. 4 shows the Male and Female receptacles which are aligned by a key and notch and which are held in place by a pin such as a cotter pin from the end view as if the Male Receptacle Plate and Female Receptacle Plate has been removed.
 FIG. 5 shows a single spool from the side view without being connected to another spool.
 FIG. 6 shows a side view of the bayonet style connection of two spools.
 FIG. 7 shows an end view of a Female Bayonet Receptacle.
 FIG. 8 shows a side view of a Female Bayonet Receptacle.
 FIG. 9 shows a Male Bayonet Receptacle from the end view.
 FIG. 10 show a side view of a Male Bayonet Receptacle.
 FIG. 11 shows oblique view of seven spools connected together side by side each of which has cable wrapped around it.
 FIG. 12 shows a side view of a single spool which has Dividers on it.
 FIG. 13 shows the end view of a Male Receptacle which is an Array of Nubs.
 FIG. 14 shows the end view of a Female Receptacle which is an Array of Nub Ports.
 FIG. 15 is a side view of a Male receptacle which is an Array of Nubs.
 FIG. 16 is a side view of a Female Receptacle which is an Array of Nub Ports.
 FIG. 17 is an end view of a Female Receptacle Plate.
 FIG. 18 is an end view of a Male Receptacle Plate.
 FIG. 19 is a side view of a spool with an Array of Nubs on one end and an Array of Nub Ports on the other end.
DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
 The invention is a single design of a spool. Multiple identical units of the spool may be linked side to side to any length desired. Each spool has a Male Receptacle (7) and a Female Receptacle ((9) and the joining of these two receptacles allows for the possible infinite length of joined spools. The spools may also be easily separated from each other if one of the cables needs to be removed, and the remaining spools then connected maintaining the order of the cables. Excess cable may be wrapped around the Spool Hub (1) to prevent untidiness and possible damage to cable integrity and ease maintenance.
 FIG. 1 shows an oblique view of a single spool. The Spool Hub (1) is attached to a Female Receptacle Plate (3) and a Male Receptacle Plate (5). One the Female Receptacle Palte (3) is a Female Receptacle (9), which is hidden in FIG. 1, and on the Male Receptacle Plate (5) is a Male Receptacle (7). For economical reasons the preferred embodiment may be a single piece of molded plastic though other multi piece embodiments may be possible and are considered to be within the scope of the invention. Two Thin Cable Stabilizing Ports (11) may be found on both The Female Receptacle Plate (3) and the Male Receptacle Plate (5) and these may be used to stabilize the cable on the spool, though their use is optional. Thick Cable Stabilizing Ports (13) may also be found. The length of the joined Male Receptacle (7) and the Female Receptacle (9) allows cable to Go Through the Thin Cable Stabilizing Ports (11) and the Thick Cable Stabilizing Ports (13) without hitting the adjacent spool.
 FIG. 2 shows the end view of a Screw Fastened Male Receptacle (2) which is one possible form of a Male Receptacle (7). It has two Alignment Notches (19) and two Alignment Keys (17) and two Inner Screw Holes (12). FIG. 3 shows the matching of a Screw Fastened Male Receptacle (2) and a Screw Fastened Female Receptacle (4). FIGS. 2 and FIGS. 3 and FIG. 4 shows the fasteners only as if Female Receptacle Plate (3) and the Male Receptacle Plate (5) have been removed. When connecting spools the receptacles are first aligned by inserting the Alignment Keys (17) into the Alignment Notches (19). In this embodiment the two spools are then attached by screwing a Screw (8) through the Outer Screw Holes (10) and the Inner Screw Holes (12).
 FIG. 4 shows a similar system except that a Cotter Pin (14) is used instead of a Screw (8) to fasten the two spools through and Outer Pin Hole (10) and an Inner Pin Hole (16).
 FIG. 5 shows a single spool which uses a bayonet system of joining from the side view. The Spool Hub (1) is between the Female receptacle Plate (3) and the Male Receptacle Plate (5. The Male Bayonet Receptacle (30) and the Female Bayonet Receptacle (32) are examples of the Male Receptacle (7) and the Female Receptacle (9) FIG. 6 shows a close up the bayonet system in the joined position from the side view. FIG. 7 shows the Female Bayonet Receptacle (32) from the end view. The Bayonet Alignment Notch (33) is connected to the Bayonet Fastening Channel (34). A Bayonet Fastening Channel Chamber, an area of the Bayonet Fastening Channel (34) with expanded height to provide for stabilization of the connection between two spools, is possible but is likely to be costly and so is not shown in drawings of the preferred embodiment. FIG. 8 shows this Female Bayonet Receptacle, which is an embodiment of a Female Receptacle (9), from the side. FIG. 9 shows the Male Bayonet Receptacle (30) from the end view with a Male Bayonet Notch (31). This Male Bayonet Receptacle (30) is an example of a Male Receptacle (7) as shown in a side view in FIG. 10.
 FIG. 11 shows seven spools linked together, each of which has a single cable wrapped around it and placed through two Thick Cable Stabilizing Ports, one for the Cable Going In (40), the other for the Cable Going Out (41). The entire assembled unit may lie on the floor, be suspended by the weight of the cables or physically supported by other means such as using the cable stabilizing ports of anther hole which is not shown, for suspension wires attached to shelving or hardware chassis. Using this system the spools may be easily added to neatly accommodate new cables or the spools may be easily removed either permanently or temporarily for maintenance purposes.
 FIG. 12 Shows a modified spool which may be used for hardware such as switches which have a high density of cables. The Spool Hub (1) has Dividers (45) attached to it so that multiple cables may be wrapped around it without being tangled. While this allows for a higher density of cables, during maintenance all wires on the single spool will have to be temporarily removed.
 In all embodiments, cables may be labels by placing labels on the Female Receptacle Plate (3) or the Male Receptacle Plate (5) or the Dividers (45).
 FIG. 13, FIG. 15 and FIG. 17 shows a Male Receptacle (7) which is an Array of Nubs (47) which matches an Array of Nub Ports (48) on the Female Receptacle (9) in FIG. 14, FIG. 16 and FIG. 18. The side view of FIG. 19 shows a spool with an Array of Nubs (47) on one end and an Array of Nub Ports (48) on the other end.
 For ease of alignment the Female Receptacle Plate (3) and the Male Receptacle Plate (5) may have shapes other than circular. One alternative is to have a straight edge on the Female Receptacle Plate (3) which matches a straight edge on the Male Receptacle Plate (5) to ease alignment of different spools. This straight edge can be a slice from of a circle, a square a rectangle, a triangle or a polygon. The Female Receptacle Plate (3) and the Male Receptacle Plate (5) can also be aligned ovals, ellipses or egg shapes to make the Male Receptacle (7) and the Female Receptacle (9) easy to align. These alternate shapes are not shown.
 A system of threads, a female thread and a male thread on each spool could also be used to fasten spools together except that this is believed to be less convenient due to an excessive number of turns required. It is also thought to be less stable and less cost efficient and is not shown.
Patent applications by David Robert Billings, Burlington CA
Patent applications in class BOBBIN OR SPOOL
Patent applications in all subclasses BOBBIN OR SPOOL