Patent application title: RETRACTABLE GARAGE STORAGE CONTAINER
Paul Lupinacci (Campbellville, CA)
Thomas Anthony Carson Lupinacci (Campbellville, CA)
IPC8 Class: AA47B4600FI
Class name: Specially mounted suspended type pivoted support
Publication date: 2010-05-06
Patent application number: 20100108627
Patent application title: RETRACTABLE GARAGE STORAGE CONTAINER
Thomas Anthony Carson LUPINACCI
BORDEN LADNER GERVAIS LLP;Anne Kinsman
Origin: OTTAWA, ON omitted
IPC8 Class: AA47B4600FI
Publication date: 05/06/2010
Patent application number: 20100108627
An overhead storage container in a closet like form that utilizes unused
space inside a garage, above a garage door. The storage container is
raised to a horizontal position and lowered through a 90-degree rotation
to a vertical position through the use of two ropes, one of which is
connected to a safety ratchet. The container will not lower or rise
unless the safety ratchet is disengaged by the rope it is connected to.
The second rope allows for lowering or raising of the container until
more rope must be released through the use of the safety ratchet.
1. A retractable storage container, said container comprising:a frame;said
frame attached to a mounting rod;said mounting rod connected to a
mounting bracket affixed to a wall;said storage container being attached
to a ceiling by a utility hook and a pulley;said pulley and a safety
ratchet connected by a pull rope and a ratchet release rope; andsaid
safety ratchet connected to said retractable storage container.
2. The container of claim 1 further comprising cotter pins attached to said mounting rod to prevent said mounting rod from detaching from said mounting bracket.
3. The container of claim 1 wherein said frame comprises a plurality of tubes and connectors.
4. The container of claim 1 wherein said frame is covered in mesh.
5. The container of claim 1 further comprising a shelf.
6. The container of claim 1 further comprising hooks.
7. The container of claim 1 further comprising a closet rod.
8. A method for lowering a retractable storage container, said method comprising the steps of:disengaging a safety ratchet through the use of a ratchet release rope; utilizing a pull rope to lower said retractable storage container, when said safety ratchet is not engaged.
FIELD OF THE INVENTION
The present invention relates generally to a system and method for utilizing ceiling space in a garage for storing items.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
Home-owners desire to utilize their garage for multiple purposes. For example, some would like to use the garage as a workshop while others would like to park their vehicle(s) inside. However, often storing belongings takes up so much garage space that other usages are restricted.
Although it is common to store items on the floor, on shelves or hanging on the wall, both floor and wall space is limited. An opportunity exists to provide storage space overhead. The difficulty with many overhead storage devices is that they are not easy to access since the user must carry items onto a ladder for storage and retrieval.
Thus there is a need to allow a user to store and retrieve items in a storage container at floor level as if utilizing a closet, and to further provide means to easily retract the storage container to occupy the space above an open garage door and below the garage ceiling.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
A garage may have any ceiling height. Typically in Canada and the U.S. a garage has a ceiling height of approximately nine or ten feet. The ceiling is usually constructed of joists or rafters and may be finished with drywall or sheet rock. The typical garage door opening is approximately seven feet high and wide enough to allow one or two vehicles to enter side by side.
Garage doors open by rolling upwards. This is accomplished by fitting the door with wheels on the two inside edges of the door. These wheels roll on wheel tracks which are fastened to the inside of the garage wall and ceiling. A torsion spring located on the garage door header inside garage wall above the garage door opening assists the raising and lowering operation.
Some garages utilize automatic garage door openers to facilitate the opening and closing operation. These openers consist of a motor typically mounted to the ceiling inside the garage with a transmission device such as a chain and/or rail attached to the garage door allowing the motor to raise and lower the door along the wheel tracks.
The garage door in its open position is generally oriented horizontally below the garage ceiling between the wheel tracks. There exists a space above the open garage door and below the garage ceiling which is typically not used and available for storage of items. Specifically, the portion of this space between one of the garage door wheel tracks and the garage door motor rail is utilized by embodiments of this invention to position a storage container in its retracted (overhead) position. As such, it provides significant overhead storage capacity.
Embodiments of the invention allow this storage container to be lowered from an overhead position to a lower position where items can be loaded and retrieved at floor level, thus eliminating the need to carry such items onto a ladder.
In its lowered position, the storage container defined in this invention is positioned generally vertically along the inside of the garage door opening (with the garage door closed) such that it is aligned in between one of the garage door wheel tracks and the garage door motor rail.
Embodiments of the invention provide the user all the advantages of overhead storage with the convenience of storing and retrieving items at floor level
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
Embodiments of the present invention will now be described, by way of example only, with reference to the attached Figures, wherein:
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of two storage containers in the raised position;
FIG. 2 is a plan view of a storage container about to be lowered;
FIG. 3 is a plan view of a lowered storage container;
FIG. 4 is a plan view of two storage container in the raised position;
FIG. 5 is a perspective view of the components of a storage container;
FIG. 6 is a plan view of mounting hardware for a storage container;
FIG. 7 is a perspective view of the mesh components of the storage container; and
FIG. 8 is a perspective view of a storage container with optional features.
As described above, embodiments of the invention are directed to providing overhead storage containers in a garage. The storage containers are provided with means for raising and lowering them from the ceiling of the garage. To describe in detail the embodiments we refer first to FIG. 1.
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of two storage containers in the raised position. Two storage containers 12 and 14 are shown in the raised position proximate to ceiling 16. Although two storage containers 12 and 14 have been shown, another embodiment may have a single storage container. Depending upon the dimension of the storage containers and the dimensions of the garage, any number of storage containers may be utilized. Storage containers 12 and 14 are surrounded by mesh 13 so that articles are contained within them. Mesh 13 may be of any form, such as a plastic or metal composite. More detail on mesh 13 is provided in the description of FIG. 7.
Storage containers 12 and 14 are mounted to mounting brackets 20. Storage containers 12 and 14 pivot along mounting rod 22. Storage containers 12 and 14 when raised, reside above garage door 24. Garage door wheels 26 and 28 roll along or are contained within wheel tracks 30 and 32, thus providing means for opening or raising garage door 24. Torsion spring 34 provides resistance so that the lowering of door 24 can be controlled with resistance. In the embodiment shown in FIG. 1, an electric motor 36 is used to raise and lower door 24. Motor 36 utilizes a rail 38 connected to door 24 by arm 40. When activated, the motor 36 moves the arm 40 along rail 38 to raise or lower door 24.
Referring now to FIG. 2 a plan view of a storage container about to be lowered is shown. The mechanism for lowering and raising storage container 14 comprises, a pulley 54 secured to ceiling 16 by a hook or other securing device 56. Securing device 56 attaches to ceiling 16 to a ceiling stud (not shown) or a ceiling bracket (not shown). One skilled in the art will appreciate that a solid attachment for securing device 56 must be provided. Two ropes pass through pulley 54, pull rope 64 and ratchet release rope 66. The same ropes pass through safety locking ratchet 60. Ropes 64 and 66 are attached to storage container 14 by means of a hook or other attachment device 62, positioned centrally at the base of the storage container 14.
In use, a user 50 holds a pull rope 64 in one hand and a ratchet release rope 66 in the other hand. By slowly pulling on the ratchet release rope 66, safety locking ratchet 60 is disengaged. Safety locking ratchet 60 is disengaged as long as ratchet release rope 66 is pulled. Each time the ratchet release rope 66 is pulled, the pull rope 64 will be released. This allows for slow and controlled lowering of the storage container 14. An example of a safety locking ratchet 60 is provided under the brand name "Rope Ratchet"® sold by Carolina North Mfg.
Referring now to FIG. 3 a plan view of a lowered storage container is shown. As such, the storage container resembles a closet. In this position articles in the storage container may be removed or more added. To raise the storage container 14, pull rope 64 is used. Ratchet release rope 66 passes through safety locking ratchet 60 such that the storage container 14 will remain stationary in its position whenever the ratchet release rope 66 is released. The storage container 14 can be raised to its horizontal (retracted) position by performing a series of manual pulls on the pull rope 64. The safety locking ratchet 60 works such that the ratchet release rope 66 is not required when raising storage container 14.
Once the storage container has been raised to the ceiling 16 the pull rope 64 and ratchet release rope 66 may be coiled or hung from attachment device 62 or some other connection at the base of storage container 14, so that they are out of the way of the garage door and people or pets in the garage.
Referring now to FIG. 4 a plan view of two storage containers in the raised position is shown to aid the reader in understanding how an embodiment of the invention may be installed. Here we have all of the features numbered as in previous Figures with the addition of cotter pins 92 which ensure that mounting rod 22 does not detach from mounting bracket 20.
Referring now to FIG. 5 a perspective view of the components of a storage container is shown generally as 14. Storage container 14 is encased in mesh 13 (see FIG. 7). Storage container 14 is constructed of a number of steel tubes and connectors. Steel has been used for strength, but aluminum or heavy wall PVC might also be used with any manner of connectors. It is not the intent of the inventors to restrict the materials used to the embodiment described. In one embodiment the tubing and fittings of QuixxSmart® Structures Inc. of Peabody Mass., were utilized.
In one embodiment the storage container 14 comprises the following components: a) four top base tubes 70; b) eight bottom base tubes 72; c) ten supporting tubes 74; d) three base connection tubes 76; e) six straight connectors 78; f) fourteen angle connectors 80; g) eight clamp connectors 82; h) one mounting rod 22. and i) four cross connectors 84.
Depending on the weight capacity and the strength of the tube material, the frame construction may vary, for example only six bottom base tubes may be used, so that there are three rows of bottom base tubes instead of four.
Although there is no restriction on the size of storage container 14 as long as it fits within the contained space and supports a required load, one that appears to be practical during testing utilized top base tubes 70 and bottom base tubes 72 having a length of three feet each, combining to make a total of six feet when connected by straight connectors 78.
Supporting tubes 74 in one embodiment were eighteen inches in length and base connection tubes 76 were thirty eight inches in length.
By utilizing tubes and connectors that may be assembled as separate components, embodiments of the invention may be easily transported in compact packaging.
FIG. 6 is a plan view of mounting hardware for a storage container. FIG. 6 illustrates mounting bracket 20 attached to wall 18. Any mounting means capable of supporting storage container 14 may be utilized in one embodiment, mounting bracket 20 is mounted to head frame 17, which is in turn secured to wall 18. Mounting bracket 20 is connected to mounting rod 22 through the use of bolts 90, nuts 92 and support plate 94. Cotter pin 96 serves to prevent mounting rod 22 from detaching from mounting bracket 20. This arrangement retains mounting rod 22 within mounting bracket 20 and allows storage container 14 to pivot.
Referring now to FIG. 7 a perspective view of the mesh components of a storage container is shown. Until now the mesh feature has been referred to solely as "mesh 13"; although it may be a single piece of mesh, wrapped around container 14 we here describe an alternative embodiment. Mesh 13 comprises bottom mesh 13a, base mesh 13b and top mesh 13c. Each of 13a, 13b and 13c are secured to the tubes of container 14 through the use of a connecting device 108 such as a plastic tie down tie or wire tie. Multiple connecting devices may be employed to secure mesh 13 to the tubes of container 14.
Referring now to FIG. 8 a perspective view of a storage container with optional features is shown. Storage container 14 may be equipped with hooks 100 which allow for items to be stored hanging from a hook 100. In addition load securing straps 106 may be utilized. Such a strap 106 may be of any design, but bungee cords are suggested.
A shelf 102 may also be utilized. The shelf 102 has base connection tubes 76 as a frame and clamp connectors 82 to attach to supporting tubes 74. Mesh 13d serves as the base material for shelf 102.
A closet rod 104 may also be utilized. Closet rod 104 has base connection tubes 76 and a supporting tube 74 to create a frame, which connects to supporting tubes 74 through the use of clamp connectors 82.
The above-described embodiments of the invention are intended to be examples only. Alterations, modifications and variations can be effected to the particular embodiments by those of skill in the art without departing from the scope of the invention, which is defined solely by the claims appended hereto. For example, although embodiments of the invention as described are for use in a garage, they may equally be used in other areas, such as attics or basements or in external structures such as barns.