Patent application title: FASTENER FOR CONSTRUCTING POSTS FOR FURNITURE
Stephen Vestergaard-Jensen (Bridgeport, CT, US)
IPC8 Class: AF16B3906FI
Class name: Expanded, threaded, driven, headed, tool-deformed, or locked-threaded fastener having structure to restrict rotation of threaded, mating pieces (e.g., nut lock) with an elongated member in the nature of a rotation preventing key disposed axially of the threaded elements
Publication date: 2010-12-23
Patent application number: 20100322740
The disclosure relates to a fastening device with a stem which is engaged
on a first end by a cross-dowel with a transverse threaded aperture and
on a second end by a cylinder with a set-screw. The second end of the
stem includes an aperture surrounded by an oval-shaped longitudinally
elongated countersunk region. This aperture can capture the set-screw
within a small range of longitudinal positions, thereby allowing for fine
adjustments to be made to align the sidewalls of adjacent post segments
joined by the fastening device.
1. A fastener, including:a stem with a first end and a second end;a first
device for rotationally engaging said first end; anda second device for
engaging said second end along a range of positions.
2. The fastener of claim 1 wherein said first end includes an externally threaded portion and wherein said first device includes an internally threaded passageway for rotationally engaging said externally threaded portion.
3. The fastener of claim 2 wherein said first device is cylindrically shaped and wherein said internally threaded passageway is transversely oriented within said first device.
4. The fastener of claim 3 wherein said second end includes an aperture and wherein said second device includes a securing element for insertion into said aperture.
5. The fastener of claim 4 wherein said second device is cylindrically shaped with an unthreaded passageway which is transversely oriented within said second device.
6. The fastener of claim 5 wherein said second device includes a longitudinally oriented internally threaded passageway.
7. The fastener of claim 6 wherein said second device further includes a set-screw with external threads, threaded into said longitudinally oriented internally threaded passageway, and wherein said securing element comprises an end of said set-screw.
8. The fastener of claim 7 wherein said end of said set-screw terminates in a pointed tip, wherein said pointed tip can engage said aperture of said second end along a range of longitudinal positions of said stem, said range being at least equal to a pitch distance of said externally threaded portion of said first end of said stem.
9. The fastener of claim 8 wherein said aperture in said second end of said stem is surrounded by a first counter-sunk region.
10. The fastener of claim 9 wherein said first counter-sunk region is oval-shaped, longitudinally elongated along said stem.
11. The fastener of claim 10 wherein said first device includes a first tool-engaging slot for rotating said first device.
12. The fastener of claim 11 wherein said second device includes a second tool-engaging slot for rotating said second device.
13. The fastener of claim 12 wherein said first tool-engaging slot indicates a rotational position of said internally threaded passageway.
14. The fastener of claim 13 wherein said second tool-engaging slot indicates a rotational position of said unthreaded passageway.
15. The fastener of claim 14 wherein said set-screw includes a tool-receiving aperture.
16. The fastener of claim 15 wherein an opening of said internally threaded passageway is surrounded by a second counter-sunk region.
17. The fastener of claim 16 wherein an opening of said unthreaded passageway is surrounded by a third counter-sunk region.
18. The fastener of claim 1 wherein said stem, said first device and said second device are made from stainless steel.
19. A fastener for assembly of furniture posts, comprising:a stem having a first end and a second end, said first end being threaded, and said second end defining a hole therethrough, said second end further defining a counter-sunk region adjacent to an entry of said hole;a first cylinder for insertion into a first post, said first cylinder having a threaded hole therethrough; said threaded hole for receiving said threaded first end of said stem; said first cylinder further having a slot for alignment of said cylinder to said first end;a set screw having external threads and a pointed end, said set screw further having a second end having a tightening aperture;a second cylinder for insertion into a second post, said second cylinder having an unthreaded hole therethrough and a threaded hole on a top portion of said second cylinder; said top portion having a slot for alignment of said second cylinder to said second end; said unthreaded hole for engaging said second end of said stem; said threaded hole on said top portion for receiving said set screw that locks said second cylinder when said set screw is rotated by said tightening aperture.
20. A method of fastening furniture posts, comprising:inserting a first cylinder into a first post; said first post having a first aperture;inserting a stem into said first aperture; said stem having an indicator mark to confirm said mark is flush with an end of said first post;inserting a set-screw into said first cylinder;inserting a second cylinder into a second post; said second post having a second aperture;inserting an end of said stem that is protruding from said first post into said second cylinder that is within said second post;rotating at least one of said posts to thread said stem into said second cylinder; andtightening said set-screw at said first cylinder to an extent sufficient to prevent free rotation of said stem.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
1. Field of the Invention
The present invention relates to a fastener for the use in constructing posts for furniture, or similar structures. In particular, the present invention provides the strength of a longitudinally-oriented threaded fastener while allowing for adjustment to align the lateral sides of the posts.
In the prior art, it is well known to pack and transport furniture in a disassembled state in order to reduce the packaging volume and to reduce transportation expense. However, this requires the consumer to assemble the furniture, or to incur added expense to have the furniture assembled after purchase. This requires the assembly procedure to be straightforward and simple for a broad range of consumers. More important, however, in the assembly of some furniture, particularly bunkbeds which are designed to hold sleeping children several feet above the floor, it is important that the resulting assembly be fool-proof. While longitudinally-oriented threaded fasteners can provide very reliable strong connections between adjacent portions forming a post for such furniture as a bunkbed, such fasteners may not allow for the satisfactory alignment of the lateral sides of the posts. In other words, when portions of a post of rectangular cross section are connected end-on-end to form a post, it is aesthetically important for the lateral sides to align without sacrificing the strength of the resulting post.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
It is therefore an object of the present invention to provide a strong reliable fastener for securing adjoining post segments together so as to form a post, such as may be used for furniture and similar structures.
It is therefore a further object of the present invention to provide a fastener for securing adjoining post segments together so as to form a post, which is relatively simple and straightforward for the consumer to assemble.
It is therefore a final object of the present invention to provide a fastener for securing adjoining post segments together, wherein the lateral sides of adjoining post segments may be aligned with each other.
These and other objects are attained by providing a fastener which comprises a longitudinal stem with a first half which is threaded and a second half which includes a cross-aperture with a somewhat longitudinally elongated oval-shaped counter-sunk region; a cross-dowel which is inserted laterally into a first post segment and which presents a threaded aperture to the threaded portion of the longitudinal stem; and a cylinder which is inserted laterally into a second post segment and presents an unthreaded aperture for receiving the second half of the longitudinal stem, thereby aligning cross-aperture and the oval-shaped counter-sunk region within the center of the cylinder for receiving a set screw which screws into the cylinder.
The resulting structure presents a very intuitive device which can be easily assembled by the user, resulting in a very strong fastened connection. Further, as will be described herein, the ability of the set screw to engage the longitudinal stem throughout a relatively small longitudinal range (at least equal to the pitch of the threads of the first half of the longitudinal stem) allows an adjustment to be made to align the lateral sides of adjoining post segments.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
Further objects and advantages of the invention will become apparent from the following description and from the accompanying drawings, wherein:
FIG. 1 is an exploded perspective view of an embodiment the fastener of the present invention.
FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a longitudinal stem of an embodiment of the fastener of the present invention.
FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a cross-dowel of an embodiment of the fastener of the present invention.
FIG. 4 is a perspective view of a cylinder and set-screw of an embodiment of the fastener of the present invention.
FIG. 5 is a perspective view, partially in phantom, of an embodiment of the fastener of the present invention, fastening two post segments together.
FIG. 6 is a perspective view, partially exploded, of an embodiment of the fastener of the present invention being used to assemble a child's bed.
FIGS. 7A-7C are perspective views illustrating the details of the final assembly steps using the fastener of the present invention.
The present fastener invention and method of using the same has the ability, among other things, to not only lock a leg extension or post onto another bed leg or post, but also has the ability to generate extreme compression between the two connecting legs or posts that will make the combined legs or posts rock solid as if the combined legs or posts were one solid piece of wood.
Many prior art devices use pins to place beds on top of each other. The resulting compression between these bed posts, if any, is due to the weight of the bed and gravity. These posts can easily be moved or disconnected by shaking or moving the beds. None of these prior art bed posts allow for such a hard direct compression like the fastener of the present invention.
Referring now to the drawings in detail wherein like numerals indicate like elements throughout the several views, one sees an exploded perspective view of an embodiment of fastener 10 in FIG. 1. Fastener 10 includes longitudinal stem 12, cross-dowel 14, cylinder 16, and set-screw 18. All elements of fastener 10 are typically made from stainless steel, although one skilled in the art will recognize a range of equivalents after review of the disclosure.
As shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, longitudinal stem 12 includes a first end 20 and a second end 22. First end 20 includes external threads 24 while second end 22 includes cross-aperture 26 which further includes counter-sunk region 28 which is typically slightly oval-shaped and elongated in the longitudinal direction. Additionally, the middle of the longitudinal stem 12 typically includes a ring-shaped groove or indicator mark 30.
As shown in FIGS. 1 and 3, cross-dowel 14 is cylindrically shaped with a transverse internally threaded aperture 40 for receiving external threads 24 of first end 20 of longitudinal stem 12. Counter-sunk region 42 is formed on the surface of cross-dowel 14 around at least one opening of transverse internally threaded aperture 40 in order to initially capture first end 20 of longitudinal stem 12 throughout a range of deviating angles. Additionally, an end of cross-dowel 14 includes slot 44, resembling that of a flat-head screw, rotationally aligned and positioned with respect to the transverse internally threaded aperture 40, thereby allowing the user to use a conventional flat-head screwdriver to rotate cross-dowel 14 to the desired rotational orientation of internally threaded aperture 40 for capture of external threads 24 of first end 20 of longitudinal stem 12.
As shown in FIGS. 1 and 4, cylinder 16 is hollow with internally threaded longitudinal aperture 50. Cylinder 16 further includes transverse passageway 52 with an opening surrounded by oval-shaped countersunk region 54. The edge of cylinder 16 includes slots 56, 58 which are radially aligned with each other thereby forming a detent with which the user can use a flat-head screwdriver to rotate cylinder 16 so that transverse passageway 52 can be rotationally aligned to receive second end 22 of longitudinal stem 12. Similarly, slots 56, 58 are rotationally aligned and positioned so as to indicate the orientation of transverse passageway 52. FIGS. 1 and 4 likewise illustrate set-screw 18 which includes external threads 60 which are complementary to the external threads of aperture 50. Set-screw 18 further includes pointed tip 62 and hex-tool receiving aperture 64 for receiving a hex-tool 400 such as that illustrated in FIGS. 7A and 7C.
The installation process of fastener 10 with respect to post segments 100, 200 can be explained by reference to FIGS. 5, 6 and 7A-7C. As shown in FIG. 6, post segment 100 can extend from the frame of bed 300 while post segment 200 provides the length of the leg or post of bed 300. The user first inserts cylinder 16 into transverse blind aperture 102 of post segment 100. Transverse blind aperture 102 is dimensioned so that cylinder 16 can be fully inserted or seated within transverse blind aperture 102. The user then uses a flat-head screwdriver or similar tool to rotate cylinder 16 so that transverse passageway 52 is aligned with longitudinal blind aperture 104 of post segment 100. The user then inserts second end 22 of longitudinal stem 12 into longitudinal blind aperture 104, typically to the depth that ring-shaped groove or indicator mark 30 is flush with the end 106 of post segment 100. The user then inserts set-screw 18 into internally threaded longitudinal aperture 50 and uses a hex-tool to screw set-screw 18 therein. The user may have to rotate longitudinal stem 12 appropriately so that pointed tip 62 of set-screw 18 is captured within counter-sunk region 28 and cross-aperture 26 of longitudinal stem 12. The user assures that set-screw 18 is inserted sufficiently to insure that stem 12 is securely engaged both rotationally and longitudinally. The user then inserts cross-dowel 14 into transverse blind aperture 202 of post segment 200. Transverse blind aperture 202 is dimensioned so that cross-dowel 14 can be fully inserted or seated within transverse blind aperture 202. The user then uses a flat-head screwdriver or similar tool to rotate cross-dowel 14 so that transverse internally threaded aperture 40 is aligned with longitudinal blind aperture 204 of post segment 200. The user then inserts the first end 20 of longitudinal stem 12, which is protruding from longitudinal aperture 104 of post segment 100, into longitudinal aperture 204 of post segment 200 so that external threads 24 of longitudinal stem 12 are captured within transverse internally threaded aperture 40 of cross-dowel 14. The user then rotates at least one of post segments 100, 200 to thread longitudinal stem 12 into cross-dowel 14 until the ends 106, 206 of respective post segments 100, 200 abut each other. However, in the very likely event that the lateral sides of post segments 100, 200 are not satisfactorily aligned with each other as illustrated in FIG. 7A, the user partially unscrews or "backs out" the set-screw 18 using hex-tool 400 as shown in FIG. 7A to allow a small degree of longitudinal movement of longitudinal stem 12. Typically, the amount of longitudinal freedom of movement required for longitudinal stem 12 is typically no greater than about one pitch distance of the external threads 24. Additionally, set-screw 18 remains inserted to an extent sufficient to prevent free rotation of longitudinal stem 12. The user then can rotate at least one of post segments 100, 200 so that the ends 106, 206 abut each other and the sides of post segments 100, 200 are properly aligned as shown in FIG. 7B. This causes post segment 200 to torque and compress against post segment 100 thereby causing a very tight compression between the post segments 100, 200. The user then re-tightens set-screw 18. As the counter-sunk region 28 and cross-aperture 26 of longitudinal stem 12 can be engaged by set-screw 18 through a range of longitudinal positions (the range equal to at least the pitch distance of external threads 24) by turning the hex-tool 400 as illustrated in FIG. 7C, possibly followed by additional torquing of post segment 100 for compression of the posts. This compression of posts results in a very strong and aesthetic engagement of post segments 100, 200 into a post structure suitable for many uses, including, but not limited to, bunkbeds and other kinds of furniture.
Thus the several aforementioned objects and advantages are most effectively attained. Although preferred embodiments of the invention have been disclosed and described in detail herein, it should be understood that this invention is in no sense limited thereby and its scope is to be determined by that of the appended claims and their equivalents.
Patent applications by Stephen Vestergaard-Jensen, Bridgeport, CT US