System and Method for Replacing Worn Shoe Heels

Abstract

A heel shoe tip removal and replacement system with an outer housing, and electrical or mechanical removal mechanism for re-applying a tip to the heel of a shoe. While the heel is inserted into the removal/replacement apparatus, the plastic tip is engaged and removed by the heel tip removal system. Once the tip is removed, a new tip of like size is inserted into the removal/replacement apparatus. The apparatus then applies enough force to the new tip to securely attach the new tip to the shoe heel.

Claims

What is claimed: 1 . A shoe heel tip removal and replacement apparatus comprising: an outer housing, having an opening for inserting at least one cartridge member, wherein the at least one cartridge member contains claspers for inserting and removing a heel tip; and a base member, wherein the base member comprises an inner mechanism composed of gears and thrust bearings to engage, extract and attach, a heel tip. 2 . The shoe heel tip removal and replacement apparatus according to claim 1 , wherein the inner mechanism is electronically operated. 3 . The shoe heel tip removal and replacement apparatus according to claim 1 , wherein the inner mechanism is battery operated. 4 . The shoe heel tip removal and replacement apparatus according to claim 1 , wherein the inner mechanism is mechanically operated. 5 . The shoe heel tip removal and replacement apparatus according to claim 1 , wherein the cartridge is functional to extract and replace shoe heel tips simultaneously. 6 . The shoe heel tip removal and replacement apparatus according to claim 1 , wherein the attachment process is pressure operated. 7 . The shoe heel tip removal and replacement apparatus according to claim 1 , wherein the outer housing contains a removable base member. 8 . The shoe heel tip removal and replacement apparatus according to claim 1 , wherein the outer housing comprises an adjustable opening for shoe heel insertion. 9 . The shoe heel tip removal and replacement apparatus according to claim 1 , wherein the inner mechanism includes a frictional component for holding the heel in place. 10 . A method for removing and replacing heel tips comprising: inserting a shoe heel having a worn tip into an apparatus; providing an apparatus housing a heel tip extraction and insertion mechanism, inserting a cartridge containing claspers, initiating engagement of the heel tip by the claspers, extracting a heel tip with the claspers, removing the cartridge; replacing the heel tip within the cartridge; re-inserting the cartridge into the apparatus, and attaching the heel tip to the shoe heel. 11 . The shoe heel tip removal and replacement method according to claim 10 , wherein the apparatus comprises a plurality of cartridges. 12 . The shoe heel tip removal and replacement method according to claim 10 , wherein the mechanism is electronically operated. 13 . The shoe heel tip removal and replacement method according to claim 10 , wherein the mechanism is battery operated. 14 . The shoe heel tip removal and replacement method according to claim 10 , wherein the mechanism is mechanically operated. 15 . The shoe heel tip removal and replacement method according to claim 10 , wherein the cartridge is functional to extract and replace shoe heel tips simultaneously. 16 . The shoe heel tip removal and replacement method according to claim 10 , wherein the attachment process is pressure operated. 17 . The shoe heel tip removal and replacement method according to claim 10 , wherein the apparatus contains a removable base member. 18 . The shoe heel tip removal and replacement method according to claim 10 , wherein the apparatus comprises an adjustable opening for shoe heel insertion. 19 . The shoe heel tip removal and replacement method according to claim 10 , wherein the mechanism includes a frictional component.
PRIORITY CLAIM [0001] This application claims priority to U.S. Provisional application No. 61/484,768 filed on May 11, 2011. FIELD OF THE INVENTION [0002] The present invention pertains generally to heel tip removal and replacement. More particularly, this invention relates to a device that removes worn heel tips and replaces the worn heel tips with new secure tips. BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION [0003] A stiletto heel is a long, thin, high heel found on some boots and shoes, usually for women. It is named after the stiletto dagger, for the slender appearance of the heel and a small diameter. Shoe tips are generally found on most women's shoes at the end of the heel. An unrepaired shoe tip can cause damage to carpets, floors, and lawns when the plastic covering is no longer thick enough to protect those items from damage by the heel. [0004] When a high heel tip becomes worn or voided from the bottom of a heel, a person is forced to visit the shoemaker to have it replaced or buy a new pair of shoes. It is impracticable, costly and timely to have the shoe dropped off at a shoe repair shop and then wait to have the tip replaced. Therefore, this invention is geared toward an easier, cost effective, and resourceful means for repairing heel tips. [0005] There are two primary disadvantages of current heel tip removal systems. These systems require an excessive amount of force from the user; and none of the systems have found a way to combine the removal and replacement of the heel tips into a seamless process. Furthermore, most of the existing heel tip devices solely focus on removal of heel tips but do not disclose a system for replacement of the heel tips. [0006] U.S. Pat. No. 5,228,163 discloses a device for heel tip removal where a circular member supports the shoe from which the pin is to be removed such that the high-heel of the shoe extends downwardly along the vertical axis. The circular member is pivotal about the horizontal axis. A grasper, which includes a gap defined by one movable jaw and one fixed jaw, and a rotary handle for closing and opening the gap, grasps the pin. The grasper is moved up and down by a piston and cylinder arrangement. Thus, when the grasper grasps the pin, and the piston and cylinder arrangement moves the grasper in the direction away from the shoe, the pin is removed from the shoe. However, U.S. Pat. No. 5,228,163 does not disclose a method for attaching a new heel tip to the shoe heel. [0007] U.S. Pat. No. 5,970,551 discloses a tool assembly for repairing high heel shoes comprises a hammer handle having opposite first and second ends, a hammer head securely mounted to said first end of the hammer handle, and an end cap releasable attached to the second end of the hammer handle for storing replacement heel taps. The end cap may be detached from the hammer handle and placed underneath a high heel shoe for serving as a shoe stand for the purpose of driving a replacement tap into the heel. The tool assembly further comprises pliers that are removably attached between the hammer handle and the end cap for disengaging heel taps. However, U.S. Pat. No. 5,970,551 does not disclose a method for removing and replacing heel tips which does not require an excessive amount of force from the user. [0008] It is the object of this invention to eliminate such problems found within the prior art by reducing the amount of force exerted by a user to remove a heel tip, add a convenient method to attach replacement heel tips, and combine the aforementioned process into one system. SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION [0009] This invention is a device that will remove the heel tip from shoe heels and replace the old worn tip with a secure new tip. It should be noted that this invention is not applicable only to stiletto heels but is also adaptable to remove any other type of heel currently in the art or to be later developed. This removal and replacement system may be operated via an electrical, battery operated, or mechanical means. The sturdy exterior of this device may house a frictional component that will aids in stabilizing the shoe heel during the extraction and attachment of a shoe heel tip. The base member of this apparatus houses a mechanically, electrically, or battery operated gear which controls the force needed to retract an old heel tip and the force needed to attach a new heel tip. The base member is removable from the exterior to allow for battery, gear, or mechanical replacement. The base member may also be removed in to extract any loose heel tips which released within the apparatus. [0010] This system also comprises a heel tip cartridge. The heel tip cartridge is used to extract the old heel tip from a shoe heel. The heel tip cartridge, so-dimensioned to clasp or retain the heel tip, is used for easily ejecting and inserting the heel tip from or into, respectively, the apparatus. Once the heel tip cartridge has extracted the old heel tip, the cartridge is then ejected from the apparatus and a new heel tip is placed into the cartridge. The cartridge is then re-inserted into the apparatus to allow the new heel tip to be inserted into the shoe heel. [0011] Alternatively, separate shoe tip cartridges may be used for the shoe tip extraction and insertion processes. One cartridge may be specifically designed for extraction and another cartridge may be specifically designed for insertion. In yet another embodiment, just one cartridge could allow for the extraction and insertion processes to take place simultaneously. This cartridge would be pre-loaded with a new heel tip so that the extraction and insertion process could take place seamlessly with minimal removal and insertion efforts by the user. [0012] In another embodiment, the removal and replacement system is operated via a mechanical means. This embodiment contains inner gears, which are operated by the user continually applying force to a depressible or rotatable section of the sturdy exterior. In turn, this pressure drives the ejection and insertion of the heel tip from and into the heel, respectively. [0013] Other systems, methods, features, and advantages of the present disclosure will be or become apparent to one with skill in the art upon examination of the following drawings and detailed description. It is intended that all such additional systems, methods, features, and advantages be included within this description, be within the scope of the present disclosure, and be protected by the accompanying claims. BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS [0014] FIG. 1 shows the outer view of the heel tip remover/replacer, according to the present invention. [0015] FIG. 2A shows a top view of the heel tip remover/replacer where the cartridge is holding a heel tip. [0016] FIG. 2B shows an exploded view of the heel tip remover/replacer with the cartridge outside. [0017] FIG. 3 is a side view of the heel tip remover/replacer with a heel inserted into the apparatus and the claspers attached to a heel tip. [0018] Similar reference characters denote corresponding features consistently throughout the attached drawings. DETAILED DESCRIPTION [0019] The invention pertains to a device that removes a heel tip and replaces the worn tip with a new secure tip. In the preferred embodiment, as shown in FIG. 1 , the invention is comprised of an outer shell 10 attached to a base member 90 which contains internal mechanical or electrical parts 70 and thrust bearings 60 . The outer shell comprises an opening 40 for heel insertion. The apparatus also contains an opening 30 so dimensioned to allow insertion and removal of a shoe tip cartridge 50 containing a shoe tip. The engagement mechanism 20 initiates extraction and insertion of the heel tip once depressed by the user. [0020] FIGS. 2A and 2B show the cartridge member 50 in relation to the apparatus. The shoe tip cartridge 50 can be inserted either before or after the heel has been inserted. The shoe tip cartridge 50 contains set of claspers 100 . The claspers 100 are of a size and rigidity to effectively grasp a heel tip. The claspers 100 may contain some sharp or barbed point that would allow for ease of grasping with minimal electrical, battery operated, or mechanical force. When the user has securely inserted the heel and the shoe tip cartridge 50 into the apparatus, the user would then depress the engagement mechanism 20 . The engagement mechanism 20 will cause the claspers 100 to grasp the heel tip and extract the heel tip from the heel. Alternatively, mere insertion of the heel tip cartridge 50 into the apparatus may cause the claspers 100 to engage a heel tip which has already been inserted into the apparatus. [0021] The battery, electrically, or mechanically operated gears 70 operate in concert to engage the cartridge member 50 . Once the cartridge member 50 has been engaged, the gears 70 operate to cause claspers 100 to pinch or grab the heel tip. The gears 70 may also operate to cause a rotational downward motion to aid in the separation of the heel tip from the shoe heel during the extraction process. [0022] In another embodiment, the system may contain a plurality of cartridges 50 where one cartridge 50 is used for the extraction process and another cartridge 50 may be used for the insertion process. In a separate embodiment, the one cartridge 50 may contain a means for the extraction and insertion processes may happen simultaneously if a new heel tip is placed in the cartridge 50 before the cartridge 50 is inserted into the apparatus. [0023] FIG. 3 shows an inside view of the apparatus and the interoperability between the gears 70 and thrust bearings 60 . Thrust bearings 60 are used to absorb the pressure from inserting the heel into the apparatus and any rotation and downward motion of the claspers 100 that may be needed to detach or reattach heel tips. Once the worn heel tip has been extracted from the shoe heel, the cartridge 50 may then be ejected from the apparatus while the heel is still inserted into the apparatus. The frictional component 80 also aids in the stabilization of the shoe heel while the cartridge 50 is being ejected or inserted. [0024] Next, the user would match the replacement plastic shoe tip, based on previous size, and place it in the heel tip cartridge 50 . Once a new heel tip has been placed in the cartridge 50 , the user may then re-insert the cartridge 50 with the new heel tip into the apparatus. Depressing the engagement mechanism 20 a second time will forcibly attach the new plastic tip to the previously exposed portion of the shoe heel. Alternatively, depressing the engagement mechanism 20 for a predetermined period of time may initiate attachment; or depressing the engagement mechanism 20 succinctly multiple times may initiate the attachment. [0025] The base member 90 contains any electrical, mechanical, or battery operated parts to facilitate the extraction or insertion processes. These parts may consist of battery or mechanically powered gears 70 and thrust bearings 60 . The mechanically or battery operated gears 70 will interact with each to create a force to extract worn tips from the shoe heel. These gears 70 will also operate to provide the force necessary to secure a new tip to the shoe heel. The thrust bearings 60 will aid in the extraction process by absorbing pressure when the heel is inserted into the opening 40 and allowing enough distance to be created between the shoe heel and the worn heel tip once extracted. The outer shell 10 is used as a means to securely insert a shoe heel. The first opening 40 is adjustable in size to accommodate several variations of shapes and sizes of heels. Once adjusted to the appropriate size, the user would place a shoe heel in the hole 40 . Alternatively, the user may insert the shoe heel and then adjust the opening 40 to securely fit the shoe heel. FIG. 3 shows a side view where a frictional component 80 also aids in stabilizing the shoe heel for the heel tip extraction and insertion procedures. The frictional component 80 may be made of rubber or some other non-abrasive material so as not to harm the shoe heel during insertion and removal to and from the apparatus. [0026] It is to be understood that the present invention is not limited to the embodiments described in the following claims, but encompasses any and all embodiments within the scope of the specification.

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