Curved corner clamp
A clamp for grasping a major extent of rounded corner of a vehicle hatch or door opening, and providing an anchor-like extended grip by which re-positioning forces are evenly applied to the rounded corner. This grip assures that the entire curved corner retains or is returned to its original shape as it is adjusted into alignment with the rest of the opening. This in turn facilitates smooth and continuous replacement of the elastomeric weather seal around the opening to restore a completely functional seal about the hatch or door when it is closed.
Latest Steck Manufacturing Company, Inc. Patents:
This application claims priority of U.S. Provisional Application Ser. No. 60/676,169 filed 29 Apr. 2005, and the entire content of that application is incorporated herein by reference.BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
This invention relates to a unique corner clamp apparatus that is useful in automotive body repair. There has always been some need for realigning and/or pulling the framework around door openings, and particularly hatchback openings, in various automotive vehicles. The location of hatchbacks at the rear of a vehicle, and generally above the rear bumper, is often exposed to “rear end” collisions during which all, or at least a corner, of the hatchback opening is damaged, displaced and/or deformed. The curved shape of these corners is formed by mated sections of metal sheeting, connected by what is commonly called a “pinch weld” which is formed to extend around and define the hatchback opening. The corners of such opening are formed in approximately a 90° curve of desired radius, and are part of a continuous aperture into which a door (usually termed a “hatch”) is mounted. Such a door, in most cases, is hinged at the top so as to swing vertically between closed and open positions. The edges of the pinch weld provide a spline-like shape extending about and outward from the hatchback opening.
A flexible seal (e.g. a weather seal that is usually elastomeric) is secured around the opening, usually surrounding the pinch weld, including the rounded corners of the hatch frame, and this configuration, when damaged, must be carefully restored at a body repair shop, to again achieve proper alignment and sealing of the hatchback door. The most common damage is displacement of a part of the hatchback frame inward of the opening it forms, and particularly at the corners that are difficult to grasp and pull in the direction(s) necessary to restore the shape of the hatchback aperture.SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
The present invention provides a unique clamp for grasping a major extent of such a displaced rounded corner, and providing an anchor-like extended grip by which re-positioning forces are evenly applied to the rounded corner. This grip assures that the entire curved corner retains its shape as it is adjusted into alignment with the rest of the door aperture. This in turn facilitates smooth and continuous replacement of the elastomeric weather seal around the door aperture to restore a completely functional seal about the hatchback door when it is closed.BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
A series of tapped holes 27 are formed through the inner edge of the inner plate, and a series of gripping set screws 28 with pointed tips are fitted into these holes. Preferably these set screws are of the socket head type, for ease of adjusting the pressure they exert. A corresponding set of conical bottom holes 30 are formed along the inner edge of base plate 20, in alignment with the pointed tips of the set screws, to accommodate the pointed tips of the set screws 28 if they pierce the pinch weld during application of the clamp. In addition a pair of flat-tipped socket head adjusting screws 33 are threaded through holes in plate 22, near the opposite edge of that plate from the gripping set screws 28.
As seen in
While the form of apparatus herein described constitutes a preferred embodiment of this invention, it is to be understood that the invention is not limited to this precise form of apparatus, and that changes may be made therein without departing from the scope of the invention that is defined in the appended claims.
1. A clamp for gripping and pulling edges of sheet metal formed along a radius to define an opening of predetermined shape, said clamp comprising
- a rectangular base plate having a longer surface curved along its length width such that the inner radius of the curved plate corresponds to an outer surface of a curved corner of the opening, one end of said base plate providing a first clamping surface,
- a shorter inner plate also curved such that its outer surface corresponds to the inner curved surface of the base plate, said outer surface of said inner plate providing a second clamping surface opposite sid first clamping surface
- aligned holes, one in each of said plates, and a bolt and nut fastener extended through said holes, whereby tightening of said fastener will cause the end edges of said plates to exert a clamping force on a curved corner of a hatch opening,
- a series of tapped holes formed through the end edge of the inner plate, and a series of gripping set screws fitted into said tapped holes for individual adjustment against the pinch weld.
2. A clamp as defined in claim 1, wherein said set screws include socket heads for ease of manipulation, particularly in tightenng.
3. A clamp as defined in claim 1, further including a pair of socket head adjusting screws threaded through spaced apart holes in said inner plate, located on the opposite edge of said inner plate from said the gripping set screws, providing for adjustment of the spacing between said plates in the gripping position.
4. A clamp as defined in claim 1, further including pointed tipss on said gripping set screws.
5. A clamp as defined in claim 4, including corresponding set of conical bottom holes formed along the inner edge of the clamp plate, in alignment with the pointed tips of said gripping screws, to accommodate the pointed tips in the event they pierce the pinch weld during application of the clamp.
International Classification: B21D 1/12 (20060101);