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[ EN ]

Field of the Invention
This invention pertains to a paper sheets or book binding system for retaining and clamping an apertured margin portion of apertured material such as a stack of hole punched paper sheets. More particularly, the invention is directed to an improved binding connector (s) to bind a sheaf of papers into a bound report or booklet without a tool or any machine and to a novel binding strip and a novel binding strip and cover. A simple tool to debind a bound booklet which may also function to assist binding and rebinding is also contemplated.

Material Information
Various binding systems utilized in the past include ACCO fasteners, spiral binders, and various interlocking through hole devices, exemplified by U.S. Patent No.
3,970,331? 4,175,880; 4,369,013; 3,834,739; 1,841,989; U.K. Patent 950,768; and French Patent 2,505,262. U.S. Patent 4,730,972 discloses a first binding element including a bifurcated post having inwardly facing ratcheted surfaces with an integral square head or integrally attached binding strip, the post(s) being passed through punch hole
aperture(s) of a paper stack. Also provided is a separate locking button with an integral head, used with or without a margin strip, which button includes one or two hinged pawls which are cinched on the bifurcated post with the pawls successively ratcheting on the post for clamping a stack of paper sheets between the respective heads or strips. Excess post length is broken-off adjacent this locking button.

An improved book binding system is disclosed which utilizes in its preferred embodiaent an asymmetrically disposed bifurcated post on the head of one connector part and asymmetric disposed pawls on a head of a locking collar second conductor part to compensate for connector load incident to the opening of the book. Further, a flattened outer edge on the bifurcated post and a flattened surface on the through apertures in the locking collar corresponding to the flattened post portions are provided to facilitate breaking-off of the excess of the bifurcated legs of the post.
Further, each of the binding member heads and locking collar heads have a D-configuration in a preferred
embodiment. In a further improvement an integral circular rim is provided on the locking collar to facilitate entry of the locking collar particularly into a punch-hole aperture or strip circular aperture. The rim also prevents excessive splaying of the legs of the bifurcated post in the completed binding so that upon book opening, movement of the ends of the posts do not disengage the pawls of the locking collar from the post serrations. An integral circular
interference-fit rim is also provided extending from the underside of the post head which snaps or presses into an aperture of a binding strip employed with the binding connector and allows very accurate perpendicular orientation of the post(s) so that the punch-hole paper can be easily inserted thereover as well as allowing the strip to carry or transport the posts as if they were integral with the strip. Additionally, a pair of U-shaped pawls are provided which extend upwardly from the bottom of a relatively deep central beam of the locking collar toward an outer plane of the locking collar. Improvements in the construction of the binding strips with or without attachment of paper sheets stack covers are also described.
In another embodiment a double-beveled rim extending from the head of the post connector member permits the head of that member to "click" lock into a connector strip or cover positioned along an edge of the paper stack. Further, a groove is provided in the rim adjacent the base of the bifurcated posts which provides a relief volume to allow shearing of the pawls from a locking collar cross-bar in those instances where only a relatively few sheets of paper form the bound booklet and there is insufficient travel possible for the pawls to be sheared, i.e. the cross-bar bottoms out before the pawl is sheared.
Additionally, an inexpensive plastic tool with either an elongated stem or flat disc configuration is disclosed which variously has four discrete applications, namely
(1) used in binding to push the locking collar down over the posts into locking position, (2) includes a beveled edge which is inserted edgewise between the spaced posts to accurately break off the excess length of a post in the binding operation, (3} includes a bifurcated bit which extends from a surface of the disc which bit straddles the cross-bar and is operable to shear the locked pawls from the posts and debind the bound book, and (4) including a
relative draft angle on the bit and the cross-bar such that the cross-bar is gripped by the bit and after shearing, lifts the cross-bar and collar away from the remaining parts of the binding connector when the tool is withdrawn.
The above improvements result in a binding connector used singly, doubly, or as a triplet (with three-hole
punched paper), with or without binding strips. The
invention allows a user to haves
a) a modular system of mating components (a
binding member and locking collar) which enables use as a single post and collar fastener up to a deluxe bound document for a stack of sheets;
b) a system designed to withstand the asymmetric loading on a fastener resultant from the opening of the book;
c) a permanent but updateable/correctable binding system by replacing only one of the elements i.e. the locking collar and its integral pawls;
d) a system which does not necessitate the use of any machine or tool for assembly but which can employ a simple one-part hand tool for assembly, disassembly and reassembly of certain already used connector elements; and
e) complete reuseability of any binding strips and covers employed along with reuseability of the post- like binding element as long as it is not desired to bind a thicker document.

Figure 1 is an exploded perspective view of the
invention prior to complete assembly of a deluxe binding.
Figure 1A is a cross sectional view of the binding elements taken on the line A-A of Figure 1.
Figure 1B is a cross sectional view of the binding elements taken on the line B-B of Figure 1.
Figure 2 is an exploded perspective view of a strip and cover binding embodiment of the invention prior to complete assembly of a standard binding system.
Figure 2A is a cross sectional view of the binding elements taken on the lines A-A of Figure 2.
Figure 21 is a cross sectional view of the binding elements showing breakage of a binding post taken on the lines B-B of Figure 2.
Figure 2C is a detailed cross sectional view of the pawl and post locking mechanism of Figure 2B showing a critical orientation of the elements to obtain a clean frangible breaking of a post.
Figure 2D is a cross sectional view of the pawl and post interlock including a modification of the post to facilitate breaking.
Figure 3 is an exploded perspective view of a basic binding system including a pair of binding strips without a book cover.
Figure 3A is a cross sectional view of the binding elements taken on the line A-A of Figure 3.
Figure 3B is a cross sectional view of the binding elements taken on the line B-B of Figure 3.
Figure 4 is an exploded perspective view of a basic fastening arrangement of the invention showing binding elements, per se.
Figure 4A is a cross sectional view taken on the lines A-A of Figure 4.
Figure 4B is a cross sectional view taken on the lines B-B of Figure 4.
Figure 5 is a partial end view of the binding system of Figure 4 showing asymmetric loading upon opening of the book.
Figure 5A is a force diagram showing the vertical forces acting on the fastener system upon book opening.
Figure 6 is a top view of the binding element including the bifurcated post.
Figure 6A is a side view of the binding element of Figure 6.
Figure 6B is a cross sectional view of the binding element taken on the line B-B of Figure 6.
Figure 6C is a bottom view of the binding element of Figure 6.
Figure 7 is a bottom view of the locking collar of the invention.
Figure 7A is a longitudinal side view of the locking collar.

Figure 7B is a top view of the locking collar.
Figure 8 illustrates an interrelationship matrix of the various binding and fastening systems with an indication of which components are employed with respect to each of the particular binding and fastening systems.
Figure 9 is a top view of one end of the binding strip embodiment of Figure 3.
Figure 9A is a side view thereof.
Figure 9B is a bottom view thereof.
Figure 9C is an end view thereof.
Figure 10 is a side view of a combination disassembly and assembly tool showing use as an assembly tool.
Figure 10A is a bottom view of the tool of Figure 10 less its protective cap.
Figure 11 is a partial side view of the tool showing use as a disassembly tool.
Figure 12A is a bottom view of the binding element of another embodiment of the invention including a bifurcated post.
Figure 12B is a cross sectional view of the binding element of the invention taken on the line B-B of
Figure 12A.
Figure 13 is a cross-sectional partial view of the binding element of the Figure 12B embodiment showing it in locking position in a strip aperture.
Figure 14 is a top view of another embodiment of a paper sheets binding and debinding tool of the invention.
Figure 15 is an end view of the tool.
Figure 16 is a side view of the tool.
Figure 17 illustrates the use of the tool of the invention to assemble a locking collar on a post binding member in a counterbore of an apertured binding strip on one side of a paper sheets stack.
Figure 18A illustrates a first step in an additional use of the tool in breaking off excess length of a post after the locking collar and post connector member have clamped a paper sheets stack together.
Figure 18B illustrates a second completion step showing the tool breaking off excess length of a post of the
connecting element.
Figure 19 illustrates another use of the tool for debinding a paper sheets stack bound with a post binding member and locking collar.

Figure 1 illustrates what is termed a deluxe binding 10. In this binding a stack of punched hole paper sheets 11 is provided with a pair of covers 14, 15 affixed
respectively to a pair of binding strips 16 and 17. The covers and strips are positioned at a marginal edge 8 of the stack so that circular apertures in the covers 14, 15 and strips 16, 17 are aligned with apertures 12 of the paper sheet stack on the bottom and top of the paper sheet
stack. A binding member 18 having an asymmetric head 21 is inserted into the apertures 33 of the strip, the cover apertures and through the stack apertures as seen in
illustrated Steps 1, 2, and 3, in that order. At Step 2, the post legs 18a and 18b extend outwardly from strip 16. A locking collar 19 having a pair of matched apertures 23 is then placed over the bifurcated posts and slid down as shown at Step 3 so that a pair of pawls, incorporated into locking collar 19, ratchet down ratcheted surfaces 29a, 29b (Fig. IB) on the inner facing periphery of legs 18a and 18b until the respective covers and binding strips are cinched down to bind the paper sheets stack. Any excess length of the bifurcated posts 18a and 18b are then snapped off or
frangibly broken in the plane of a top surface 45 of the locking collar 19. The covers are then folded to dashed positions 14a and 15a, respectively, about hinges 14b and 15b to complete the overall binding. In this embodiment, the covers in their closed position conceal the heads 21, 19a of each of the binding members 18 and the locking collars 19.
Figure 1A shows the foregoing in more detail. A series of recesses 25 are provided on the exposed surface of each of the strips 16 and 17. The heads 21 and 19a of the binding member and locking collar, respectively, nest within the recesses 25. In a preferred embodiment, the heads rest in a non-interference fit with the recess 25, although in other embodiments, an interference fit or ridge as in the first related application or a tab may be provided. A layer of adhesive 24, such as contact cement, adheres to the underside of strips 16 and 17 to a marginal edge band 14c of the covers. Marginal band 14c also covers portions 11a and lib of marginal portions of the paper stack. A circular collar 32 of head 21 extends into a strip aperture 33 and a rim 28 of collar 19 extends into aperture 33 of strip 16. Rim 28 functions to give additional strength to the collar and helps to guide the legs during connector assembly. It also functions to prevent the splaying of the post legs, ensuring proper pawl tooth-to-ratchet tooth interlocking and preventing disengagement of the pawls from the leg ratchets by effectively lengthening the matched apertures 23 within the collar without thickening the collar head, thus
preventing the fractured ends of the posts from slipping out underneath the locking collar when the connector is in tension due to page opening. Score lines 15c and 15d may also be provided in one or both covers particularly with thick covers so as to allow for easy opening of the cover.
As particularly seen in Figure IB, the bifurcated legs 18a and 18b have a series of transversed ratchets 29a and 29b extending along their all or a portion of their overall length. Pawls 38 and 39 extend from a relatively deep medial bar 26 (Fig. 7B) extending between the matched apertures 23 in the head 19a of the locking collar. The pawls 38 and 39 of the locking collar are ratcheted down the leg ratchets 29a, 29b until the overall connector parts firmly cinch the edge margins of the paper stack by forcing the respective heads 21 and 19a of the binding member and the locking collar against the underside of the recess 25 in each of the strips. The excess of the post legs extending above the plane of surface 45 on the locking collar are then broken off as shown in Figure 2B.
A so-called standard binding system 20 is shown in Figure 2. This bounded document differs from the deluxe binding of Figure 1 in that the heads of the posts and collars nesting in the recesses of the binding strips, and the strips themselves, are visible in the closed document. Single cover sheets 34, 35 are adhesively affixed to the underside of the pair of binding strips 16, 17. As in
Figure 1, the binding member 18 is guided through the respective apertures in strip 17, sheet 35, paper stack 11, sheet 34 and strip 16 so that it emerges as seen in Step 2 exteriorally of strip 16. Locking collar 19 is then
positioned on the post legs in Step 3 and ratcheted down the inside of the bifurcated post legs 18a and 18b until the locking collar is guided into the recess 25 and the stack of paper sheets cinched between the respective strips and covers at the punched hole margin edge of the paper stack. The excess post lengths are then frangibly broken off and the binding is completed.
As can be seen in Figure 2A, the center line 55 of the ratcheted post and the pawl mechanism is asymmetric with respect to the center of the respective heads 21 and 19a of the binding member 18 and the locking collar 19. The pawls 38, 39 and the medial beam 26 extend through a circular aperture 34a in cover 34. A marginal portion 35b, 35c of the cover 35 extends between the underside of strip 17 and is affixed by adhesive 24 to the strip. Cover 34 is
similarly adhered to the strip. Rim 32 extending inwardly from head 21 of binding member 18 is recessed into the circular apertures 33 in the strip. In assembly it has been found convenient to first insert the binding member into the recess 25 and to rest the strip 17, with its attached cover, and the exterior top surface head 21 on a flat horizontal work surface. The paper sheets are then placed over the vertically extending post legs 18a and 18b, and the other strip with its affixed cover inserted over the post. The locking collar is then placed on the ends of the post legs and ratcheted downward over the length thereof until the locking collar is positioned in the recess 25 of strip 16 and the outer marginal edges of the paper stack are firmly cinched together. At that position as shown in Figure 2B, the pawls are interlocked with opposite ratchets of the legs 18a and 18b so that two internal leg ratchet teeth extend from above the upper end of the pawls to the plane of surface 45 of the locking collar. The excess leg lengths are frangibly broken by bending them around edge 37 so that a relatively smooth surface 36 is left at the end of the legs 18a, 18b.
As seen in Figure 2C, pawl teeth of pawl 39 (and 38) are sized so that two parallel, safety ratchet teeth 43, 44, remain below the plane 45 of the locking collar 19 top surface. The upper root of tooth 44 is at a distance D between the root and the aperture edges 37 of the collar

19. This distance D is shorter than the distances E between the edge 37 and the roots of the next lower tooth 43 and the first tooth extending above the plane of surface 45. This orientation of the tooth root upon bending of each
bifurcated post leg as seen in Figure 2B will break the leg off along the surface represented by arrow D rather than the longer surfaces E, thus giving a relatively smooth exterior aesthetically pleasing break surface. In a second
embodiment shown in Figure 2D, a series of parallel slots or score lines 47 may be molded perpendicularly into the post legs on the exterior surface of the legs at the same level as the root of each of the transverse ratchet teeth so that an even lesser distance D is present at the plane of surface 45 to facilitate a clean break.
Figure 3 illustrates a so-called basic binding system in which a stack of paper sheets 11 are bound without a cover but with a pair of binding strips 50 and the
aforementioned binding members 18 and locking collars 19. Similarly to the strips 16, 17 described above, strip 50 is apertured at 52 and the bifurcated legs of binding element 18 are passed therethrough and through the apertures 12 at an edge margin of the paper stack. As with the other modifications, the steps 1, 2 and 3 are illustrated showing how the binding element and locking collar are positioned and connected to form the overall binding. Colors of the strips and connector parts can be mixed or matched.
Figure 3A and 3B illustrate in detail the use of the basic connector parts with strips 50. Strip 50 may include a series of longitudinal ribs 51 on their inner surfaces for giving additional rigidity and to minimize the amount of plastic utilized in the strips. The details of this strip are seen in Figures 9-9C infra.
The basic fastening system is seen in Figure 4 where a system 40 includes three binding elements 18 which are positioned through each of three apertures 12 in a stack of paper sheets 11 and the binding elements and locking collars connected as previously described to cinch the marginal edge 8 of the paper stack sheets together.
Figures 4A and 4B show in more detail the basic
fastening mechanism including the offset or asymmetric position of the head 19a and head 21 with respect to the center line 55 of the bifurcated posts and the pawls, respectively. The asymmetric nature of the connector member heads 19a, 21 allows for less strength in the connector members when the book is opened into sections 11d and 11e by opening forces shown by arrows 56 in Figure 5 or forced downward in an opened position in a page copying machine. Figure 5A is a graphical representation of the involved vertical forces. F3, the resultant force on the overall connector is equal to the sum of the force F1, applied at the inner portion of the respective head, and the force F2, applied at the outer portion of the head, where those portions abut the edge of the paper stack or the recess of strips extending between the heads and the paper stack or cover. Therefore, in equation form F3 = F1 + F2. Since the post 18 is asymmetrically positioned in the head, X and Y in Figure 5A represent the distances between the center of the post and pawls and the force vectors F1 and F2. F1X = F2Y. Thus, the more the X distance is greater than X distance, the lower F3 will be relative to F1. Less structure and less strength is needed in the connector when the connector is asymmetric with the larger distance Y extending from the connector to the peripheral marginal edge 8 of the paper stack or given a fixed strength connector, that connector can withstand greater opening forces than a connecting member with symmetrical heads. A similar force diagram is included for the bottom number of sheets lie.
Figure 6 is a top view of the locking element 18 showing head 21. Figure 6A is a side view of the binding member showing the circular rim 32 insertable into strip aperture 33 and a flat side 62 on the exterior periphery of leg 18a. A similar "flat" is positioned opposite leg 18a on the exterior of leg 18b. This is more clearly shown in Figure 6C where the surfaces 62 are shown oppositely disposed on legs 18a and 18b with serrations 29a and 29b facing each other. It is noted that the bisector 65 of the head 21 intersects with the bisector 67 of legs 18a and 18b at a point 66 which is offset from the center of head 21 along bisector 65. This illustrates the asymmetric nature of the posts with respect to the head.

Figure 6B further illustrates the serrations 29a and 29b on legs 18a and 18b which may extend a majority of the way from the root of the head toward the tip of the legs 18a, 18b.
Figure 7 illustrates a bottom view of locking collar 19 in which a pair of matched apertures 23 are provided on either side of pawls 38 and 39. The apertures have flat outer surfaces 63 corresponding to the flats 62 on the post legs over which the locking collar is inserted such that the flats 63 slide over the legs flat surfaces 62 and a straight edge 37 (Figure 2B) is provided opposite the root of a serration tooth. As shown, the pawls and matching apertures are offset along bisector 75 so that its intersection 76 with bisector 77 provides for an asymmetric locking collar head. The flat straight end of the locking collar and the straight flat end of the head 21 of the binding member are alignable in parallel to the outer marginal edge 8 of the paper stack or slightly offset inwardly therefrom. A slight taper 19b is included around the top surface of the locking collar head. Similarly, the binding member head 21 is edge tapered as seen in Figure 6.
Figure 8 is self-explanatory in that it shows the four varieties of binding systems possible with the described invention coupled with those post/collar/strip/sheeted cover and folded cover components which are utilized with various of the systems. The various components are designed to mate with each other and build systems of bound documents
dependent on user's needs.
Figure 9 illustrates a top side of binding strip 50 where D-shaped recesses or counterbores 58 are provided surrounding asymmetrically arranged circular apertures 52 which are aligned with the apertures 12 of the paper stack (Fig. 3) so that the component parts (paper stack, strips, and covers, if included) may receive the two-part connectors 18, 19. The D-shaped recess 58 comprises a semi-circular annular section 58a surrounding half of the aperture 52 and an essentially rectangular section 58b having a semicircular portion 58d surrounding the other half of aperture 52. The recess edge 58c is aligned parallel to a
longitudinal edge of strip 50. The depth of the recess is about 0.9 use and which allows a head 21 of the binding member 18 or head 19a of the locking collar 19, which have thicknesses of about 1.0 and 1.5 mm, respectively, to fit therein. In this embodiment, adhesive or glue affixes the top of the ribs to the covers. A tapered edge 57 is provided on the strip essentially for aesthetic purposes. Figures 9A and 9C show side and end views of the strip which in a preferred embodiment has an overall height of 1.7 mm. Figure 9B illustrates the under, paper stack-facing, side of the binding strip. In order to conserve the use of plastic material and to save weight in shipping in the final bound document or book, recesses 59 are provided in the bottom surface leaving therebetween upstanding parallel ribs 53, 54, 55 for structural support. Further, a D-shaped, full rib thickness area 56 is provided which not only provides sufficient strength to withstand the F1 and F2 stress forces accompanying a book opening but also the stresses incident to the assembly of the locking collar on the posts against the strip recesses in cinching the overall binding connector elements on the paper stack Margin for proper binding. Area 56 which shows a straight edge 56a at one edge of the overall strip is also useful in reminding a user that that is the edge which is to be parallelly aligned with the margin edge 8 of the paper stack which is to be bound, thus ensuring the proper asymmetric positioning of the binding connector heads as described with respect to Figure 2.
Parallel ribs 53, 54, and 55 extend longitudinally between each of three (in the case of a three-hole punched paper stack) raised areas 56 spaced along the strips.
Figure 10 illustrates a binding connector disassembly tool 80 which may also be employed to initially assemble or reassemble the connector components. Tool 80 includes a cylindrical center section 81 and a smaller cylindrical probe end 81a connected to the center section by a conical section 81b. Integral with the probe section are a pair of pawl-engaging essentially flat rectangular tips 82, 83, preferably having curved ends as seen in Figure 10A. A flared collar 84 extends from an opposite end of the tool. A longitudinal bore 86 is provided within the central section 81. The tool may be first used to assist in the ratcheting down of locking collar 19 on the ratchets 29a, 29b of binding member 18. In Figure 10, the paper stack is not shown but as described above will have its binding margin edge held essentially between connector heads 19 and 21. The tool is placed over the extending posts as at position 3 in Figures 1, 2, 3, and 4 (preferably with the head 21 resting on a flat work surface) so that a flat surface 85 on collar 84, extending around the entrance to bore 86, seats on the flat surface 45 of the locking collar 19. Manual pressure may be applied by pressing one's fingers on the conical surface 84a of the flared tool collar 84 to push or ram the locking collar downwardly on the posts, ratcheting as it goes down, until the locking collar seats in a strip recess (if a binding strip is employed) or

stack is appropriately cinched or bound. The length of the bore 86 is such as to accommodate all the excess length of the binding member legs 18a, 18b so that even a very thin book of a few sheets can extend into the bore. To ensure safety, a rubber or other protective cap may be force fit or screwed over tips 82, 83, which cap may also be pushed or lightly tapped to cinch the paper sheets.
The use of the tool 80 is seen in Figure 11 where the ends 89 of tool tips 82, 83 when inserted into the matched apertures of locking collar 19 including flat surfaces 63 (Figure 7) rest on upper flat end surfaces 87 of pawls 38, 39, respectively. The bound document would normally be resting on a firm flat work surface. The tool is then driven downwardly by slight hammer or human palm impact to shear the pawls either individually free medial bar 26 or together from the bottom of the bar as shown at 88. The βtrips, the covers, and the binding member are all
resuabie. use of the latter is, however, then limited to a paper stack of the same or a few sheets greater than the original, due to the prior removal of the excess leg lengths but having two safety teeth remain. A new locking collar with integral pawls, of course, is necessary in reassembling the binding.
While the invention has been disclosed in terms of asymmetric aesthetically pleasing D-shaped heads, other asymmetric rectangular, square, oval, circular heads may be employed where the binding elements and pawls are offset laterally from the center of the heads with the long side, e.g. distance Y Figure 5A, is extending to the stack margin edge.
Figures 12A and 12B show an aspect of the present invention where the post connector member is modified to "click" lock into a strip aperture while the head of the post binding member is being seated into a strip or cover counterbore. Rather than a 360* full circle cylindrical ria as shown above, two approximately semicircular rim segments 4 ' , 5 ' , forming a bifurcated rim, are provided which extend longitudinally from the head 6' of post connector member 7 ' . An integral double-beveled edge 8 ' is provided around and extending laterally from rim segments 4 ' , 5 ' . The rim segments are separated by an open groove or gulley 9 ' extending across the underside of head 6 ' adjacent the root portions of the integral posts 14 ' . The function of this groove will be explained with respect to Figure 19.
Figure 13 shows the head rim segment and double-beveled edge construction of the Figure 12B post connector member in more detail and in conjunction with a binding strip 15 ' having multiple spaced apertures 16 ' therein. A counterbore 17 ' is provided on the outer side of the strip 15 ' to receive the head 6 ' of post connector member. A beveled peripheral reentrant exit portion 20 ' surrounds aperture 16 ' on the strip under surface opposite the strip top surface containing the counterbore. The outer diameter of the peripheral edge or ridge 8 ' is slightly (about 0.05 to about 0.10 mm) greater that the diameter of aperture 16 ' so that upon insertion of post connector member 7 ' into the strip aperture 16 ' and counterbore 17 ' , it is "click" locked into the strip. This is accomplished by action first of a first bevel 8a on the upper peripheral edge 16b of aperture 16 ' which moves the posts inwardly by a camming action, followed by a sliding action of the ridge 8 * against the internal surface of aperture 16 ' and then by the ridge 8 ' (and posts) snapping out and back to their original position with respect to their original longitudinal axis so as to lock in the position shown inward of the lower peripheral edge 16a of aperture 16 ' where a second inner bevel 8b of the edge is captured by the reentrant exit portion 20 ' .
An audible "click" is heard when the ridge passes through the aperture and locks in place adjacent strip exit portion 20 ' . This enables a user to ascertain that the post connector element is correctly seated in the counterbore of the strip. It also holds a post connector member firmly in a strip so that a user can reorient the member and strip in any spacial position prior to assembly in a paper stack without the member ( s ) dropping out of the strip. As in the U. S . 4 , 730 , 972 post connectors , the strip is cinched up by placement of a locking collar over the posts and the locking collar ratcheted down over the posts so as to hold the strip 15 ' and a locking collar strip on opposite sides of a margin edge of a paper sheets stack 31 ' (partially shown) and a cover 32' generally adhered by adhesive 33' to the underside of strip 15'.
It is contemplated that the connector of Figs 12A and 12B may be employed with an apertured flat cover with a proper hole size to accommodate the rim 4' and with
sufficient stiffness so that the hole does not distort when the double beveled rim is pushed through.
Figures 14-16 show a binding/debinding tool in the general form of an essentially flat finger-engageable push disc 40'. While disc 40' is shown as D-shaped corresponding to the preferred shape of the post connector member head and the locking collar head, it may be of another configuration such as circular, square or oval. A bifurcated bit 41' extends outwardly from one of the flat surfaces of the disc. The function of this bit is explained with respect to Figure 19. An aperture 42' is provided extending through the disc to accommodate the pair of posts of the post connector member (Figure 17). The aperture 42' preferably has an entrance bevel 43' to aid in guiding the tool onto and over the post ends. In physical size, the push disc is about 3 cm in length, 2.5 cm in width and 0.6 cm in
thickness. An edge bevel, preferably of about 45º, extends over about 0.4 cm of the disc peripheral edge when used with posts which have about a 0.3 cm separation. The disc may be made of relatively hard, high impact grade of plastic (such as polycarbonate) with the bit either integral therewith of the same material or in the form of a molded-in-place or subsequently attached metal bit. The aperture 42' may be used to hang the tool on a peg or nail so that it is
convenient to the binding work station.
Figure 17 illustrates the use of the tool 40' in binding a document or stack of paper sheets. Post connector member 7' is first passed through the apertures 46' in paper stack 31' through aperture 16' in strip 15'. Locking collar 19' is then placed over the posts and the aperture 42' of tool 40* placed over the posts so that it seats on top of the locking collar 19'. Thumb or finger pressure on the top surface of disc 40' (as indicated by arrows 45') forces collar 19' downward so that the pawls 38', 39' ratchet down ratchets 29a, 29b facing each other on the posts 14'. When the strips on both sides of the stack are cinched against the paper stack by the downward pressing of the collar by the disc, the disc is removed from the excess length of posts extending outwardly from the surface 22' of the locking collar. The tool affords a user a wider and more easily reached surface than surface 22' to push so as to seat the collar into locking position on the post connector member to bind the paper stack or book.
As shown in Figures 18A and 18B, the disc also
functions to initiate and break off one of the post legs. Rather than a user forcing his or her own finger into the space between the excess length of posts to effect breakage, the tool 40' is used edgewise so that bevel 44' enters the space 47' between the excess length of posts extending from the bound document. Open pushing the beveled edge between and lengthwise of the posts as indicated by arrows 48', one of the frangible posts 14' breaks off as indicated, adjacent its root, with the top surface 22' of the locking collar. The disc thickness is greater than the spacing between the posts on a common head. The disc thickness dimension is a function of the post spacing, the material frangibility, the bevel angle, and the bevel height.
Figure 19 illustrates third and fourth functions of tool 40'. The tool may be oriented so that bifurcated bit 41' straddles the cross-bar 26' of locking collar 19' and is seated against the free end of pawls 38', 39'. upon finger or palm pressure (approximately 30-40 pounds) or a sharp rap (kinetic energy) by the user's hand edge or palm as shown by arrow 56', the pawls may be sheared at their connection 49' with the bottom of the cross-bar 26', so as to debind the binding. This aspect of debinding is similar to the
debinding by the elongated tool described above. A
particular problem has existed however when debinding a thin booklet or stack of only a few sheets of stacked paper.
This condition exists when a bound document has only 10-15 sheets but is dependent on the paper thickness and whether covers and/or binding strips are employed. In such event, the cross-bar support posts and pawls bottomed out on the underside of post head of the prior art (illustrated by phantom line 54') and the pawls did not shear off when rapped by a bifurcated bit of the sore elongated tool. To solve this problem, an open groove 9' is provided in the post connector member 7', more specifically between rims 4' 5', which allows the pawls to be sheared and driven down into the groove past any remaining post ratchets, as
indicated by arrow 53'. The cross-bar or the bit may be provided with a relative draft angle 55' so that when the pawls are sheared off and drive below the cross-bar, the cross-bar and the remainder of the locking collar is
frictionally engaged with the bifurcated bit. When the disc is removed from its rapped position, it pulls the cross-bar and integral collar out of the strip counterbore 17'. The broken pawls can be shaken or dropped out of the groove 9s after the broken collar and cross-bar are pulled off the end of the bifurcated bit. Once debound, the book may be modified by adding or removing sheets of the paper stack. The binding strips are reusable as are the post connector members if an appreciably less member of sheets are to bound than formerly bound, or a new post may be snapped into position and locked in place with a new collar while reusing the chip and covers.
Tool 40' may be utilized to press locking collars on, to remove excess lengths of posts from, and to debind connectors which directly cinch a stack of paper sheets with or without the use of binding strips against the margins of a stack of paper sheets.
The above description of embodiments of this invention is intend to be illustrative and not limiting. Other embodiments of this invention will be obvious to those skilled in the art in view of the above disclosure.