Patent application title: Power a-frame
Chad Jensen (Zimmerman, MN, US)
IPC8 Class: AA47B9704FI
Class name: Supports easel; book, copy or music score holder knockdown or collapsible
Publication date: 2008-09-11
Patent application number: 20080217501
A collapsible support frame including at least two sets of panels
1. A collapsible support apparatus comprising:at least two sets of panels
connected such that the device is collapsible.
2. A collapsible support apparatus adapted for supporting sheeting comprising:a base;at least two support members movably joined to the base forming an apex; andat least one locking mechanism configured to lock the support members together such that the weight of the sheeting is distributed at the base and the apex.
3. The support apparatus according to claim 2 wherein the support apparatus is comprised of a lightweight material such that the apparatus weighs less than 40 pounds and the apparatus is able to support at least 6000 pounds.
4. The support apparatus of claim 2 wherein the apparatus collapses to fit into a space in the range of about 5 feet by 1 foot by 8 inches.
The present application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/901,348, filed Feb. 14, 2007, which is incorporated herein in its entirety by reference.
FIELD OF THE INVENTION
The present invention relates generally to a support rack. More particularly the present invention relates to a lightweight, foldable and/or collapsible A-frame support for supporting sheeting.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
Large rigid sheets of construction materials are commonly used at building sites. These materials are generally delivered to the building sites in a large quantity and require storage until the materials are needed for use. Because the sheets of material are relatively large, generally four feet by eight feet, they take up a lot of space and can get in the way of various construction activities. The sheeting is usually quite heavy, yet fragile. Thus, moving the sheets from one place to another can be arduous and one must be very careful not to damage the sheeting when moving it.
Traditionally, construction workers have used sawhorses or the like to stack sheeting out of the way to permit construction to continue without the need to continually move the sheeting out of the way. However, sawhorses are heavy and often are only single use. There exist collapsible, portable a frame devices for supporting sheeting. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 5,085,329 to Crowell et al. discloses a sheeting support having two end support assemblies. However, the support disclosed in the '329 Patent requires a connecting assembly consisting of two rods that connect one support assembly to the other. The connecting assembly is required to give stability to the support assemblies.
There is a need for an easy to use, simple and light weight collapsible sheeting support that is stable and durable.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
The present invention provides a light weight, strong, easy to use collapsible sheeting support system. In an embodiment, the support may be comprised of aluminum, plastic, copper, wood or any other suitable material. The support may hold up to 6000 lbs. of sheeting up off the ground and away from moisture.
It is an object of the present invention to provide a support system that can be easily set up on any concrete flat surface. It is another object of the present invention to provide a support system that supports sheeting in a leaning position that makes the sheeting easier to handle and reduces awkward lifting. This upright position is ideal for measuring, cutting and lifting the sheeting.
It is yet another object of the present invention to provide a support system that can be stored in a small space of about 5'×1'×8''.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES
The invention may be more completely understood in consideration of the following detailed description of various embodiments of the invention in connection with the accompanying drawings, in which:
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an embodiment of the present invention in a collapsed position.
FIG. 2 is a perspective view of an embodiment of the present invention in a partially assembled state.
FIG. 3 is a perspective view of an embodiment of the present invention depicting the base opened flat.
FIG. 4 is a perspective view of an embodiment of the present invention in an assembled state.
FIG. 4a is an exploded view of a fail safe locking mechanism according to an embodiment of the present invention.
FIG. 5 depicts a side plan view of an embodiment of assembled set of supports in use supporting sheeting.
FIG. 6 depicts a side plan view of an embodiment of a collapsed set of supports.
FIG. 7 depicts a side plan view of an embodiment of a collapsed set of supports in an upright position.
FIG. 8 depicts a side plan view of an embodiment of an assembled set of supports.
FIG. 9 depicts a perspective view of an embodiment of an assembled set o supports.
FIG. 10 depicts an embodiment of a locking mechanism of an embodiment of the present invention.
FIG. 11 depicts a set of supporting sheeting according to one aspect of the present invention.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
Detailed Description of the Drawings
Referring to FIG. 1, there can be seen a perspective view of an embodiment of the present invention in a collapsed state. When in a collapsed state, a pin or locking member may be placed to hold the support system 10 in a collapsed state. The support system 10 of the present invention may include at set of support assemblies 20a and 20b. Each set may include a pair of support assemblies. In an embodiment, support assemblies 20a and 20b may fold using a movable joint in at least 3 places. In one embodiment support assemblies 20a and 20b the movable joints 50a, 50b, and 50c may be pivots. One of skill in the art will recognize that any suitable method of movable joints may be used.
Each support assembly may include a base 30. Base 30 may be comprised of two pieces 30a and 30b. In one embodiment, base 30 may include grooves 60 such that the base is slide resistant. In another embodiment, base 30 may include slide resistant material on its floor contacting surface 80.
In an embodiment, leaning support members 40 may be joined to the base at movable joints 50a, 50b and 50c. Leaning support members are locked into place such that the weight of the sheeting is at apex 80 and base 30, not at the midline. Therefore, that is no need for rods or other connecting members to join support assembly 20a to support assembly 20b. In a preferred embodiment apex 80 and base 30 include wire fed welds to enhance the stability and durability of support system 10. Further, in a preferred embodiment, all hardware is lock-tight, using rubber coated hardware. Leaning support members 40 may be grooved or flat or any other suitable configuration. Leaning support members 40 are attached to base 30 at each of 4 attachment points. These attachment points may include bolts and wire fed welds.
First locking mechanism may include brackets and a pin that locks the support piece together. The brackets may be L-brackets. Although, one of ordinary skill will recognize that other locking mechanism may be used. As can be seen in FIGS. 4a and 10, support system 10 may include a fail safe locking mechanism 100 to ensure support members are stable. In a preferred embodiment, fail safe mechanism 100 may include interlocking fingers 110. According to the preferred embodiment, fail safe mechanism 100 may include male and female interlocking fingers 110.
According to one aspect of the present invention, support system 10 may be comprised of aluminum, plastic, copper, wood or any other suitable material. Support system 10 is a light weight and weighs in the range of about 20-30 pounds. Despite its light weight, support system 10 may support at least 6000 pounds of sheeting. In an embodiment, a handle 120 may be attached to support system 10 for ease of carrying.
As can be seen in FIGS. 1-4, in operation support system 10 may be assembled in the following way. First, a pin or other member is removed. Then, replace the pin in the unhinged a-frame and fold the frame open. Lay the a-frame open such that base 30 lies flat on the ground. Next, pull leaning support members 40 up and lock together at the apex 80.
According to one embodiment of the present invention, the device includes four panels that may be connected together such that the device is collapsible for ease of transport. In one embodiment the panel may be comprised of aluminum or any other material that is light weight, strong and durable. In an embodiment the panels may be welded, bolted or otherwise attached.
In one embodiment of the present invention two shorter panels, for example in the range of 30-40 inches may be placed flat on the ground. Each short panel may include a self made hinge welded to the panel that connects the short panel to a longer panel. In one embodiment, for example, the longer panel may have a length in the range of 40-60 inches. In an embodiment the shorter panel may be connected to the longer panel with a bolt or any other suitable connection mechanism.
According to one embodiment, the top of the longer panel may include fingers that are welded onto the longer panel such that the fingers lock the two longer panels together. In yet another embodiment, the top of the longer panels may include L shaped hinges that are bolted to the top of the longer panels. According to one aspect of the present invention, a pin may be slid through the L-shaped hinges and the top of the longer panels and then locked with a cotter pin. Any suitable mechanism of connecting and locking the panels may be used and is contemplated by the inventor.
In one embodiment, the panels may be extruded through a custom die. According to one aspect, the alloy and temper of the excursion is about 6005-t6.
The embodiments above are considered to be illustrative and not limiting. Additional embodiments are within the claims. Although the present invention has been described with reference to particular embodiments, workers skilled din the art will recognize that changes may be made in form and detail without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention.
Patent applications in class Knockdown or collapsible
Patent applications in all subclasses Knockdown or collapsible