US 20050067925 A1
A method and apparatus for a structure having a moving object are disclosed in the present application. The structure, in one embodiment, includes an object and a outside structure. A first side of outside structure is situated at a substantially fixed distance from a second side of outside structure. The structure further includes two links wherein a first end of a first link is coupled to the first side of outside structure and a second end of first link is coupled to the object. Also, a first end of a second link is coupled to the second side of outside structure and a second end of second link is coupled to the object. The object is capable of performing a rotaxially rotation in response to the first and second links.
1. An apparatus comprising:
an object having a first side and a second side;
an outside structure having a first side and a second side, wherein said first side of outside structure is situated at a substantially fixed distance from said second side of outside structure;
a first end of a first link coupled to said first side of outside structure and a second end of first link coupled to said object; and
a first end of a second link coupled to said second side of said outside structure and a second end of second link coupled to said object, wherein said object is capable of performing a rotaxially rotation in response to said first and second links.
2. The apparatus of
a first end of a third link coupled to said first side of outside structure and a second end of third link coupled to said object; and
a first end of a fourth link coupled to said second side of said outside structure and a second end of fourth link coupled to said object, wherein said object is capable of performing a rotaxially rotation turning from said first side of object to said second side of object in response to said third and fourth links.
3. The apparatus of
a first end of a first bar coupled to said first link and a second end of first bar coupled to third link; and
a first end of a second bar coupled to said second link and a second end of second bar coupled to said fourth link, wherein said first and second bars assist said object to perform a rotaxially movement.
4. The apparatus of
5. The apparatus of
6. The apparatus of
7. The apparatus of
8. The apparatus of
a first wheel coupled to said third link for supporting said third link; and
a second wheel coupled to said fourth link for supporting said fourth link.
9. The apparatus of
10. An apparatus comprising:
a outside structure having a first side and a second side, wherein said first side of said outside structure is situated at a substantially fixed distance from said second side of said outside structure;
a first link rotaxially attached to said first side of said outside structure and a first plate;
a second link rotaxially attached to said second side of said outside structure and said first plate;
a third link rotaxially attached to said first side of said outside structure and a second plate; and
a fourth link rotaxially attached to said second side of said outside structure and said second plate.
11. The apparatus of
12. The apparatus of
13. The apparatus of
14. The apparatus of
a first end of said first link pivotally coupled to said first side of said outside structure;
a second end of said first link pivotally coupled to a first end of said first plate;
a second end of said first plate pivotally coupled to a second end of said second link; and
a first end of said second link pivotally coupled to said second side of said outside structure.
15. The apparatus of
a first end of said third link pivotally coupled to said first side of said outside structure;
a second end of said third link pivotally coupled to a first end of said second plate;
a second end of said second plate pivotally coupled to a second end of said fourth link; and
a first end of said fourth link pivotally coupled to said second side of said outside structure.
16. The apparatus of
a first end of a first bar coupled to said first link;
a second end of said first bar coupled to said third link;
a first end of a second bar coupled to said second link; and
a second end of said second bar coupled to said fourth link, wherein said first and second bars assist said rotaxially movement.
17. A device having multiple access sides comprising:
a movable structure for holding at least one article;
means for holding said movable structure, said means including a first two link mechanism so that said movable structure is capable of performing a rotaxial movement.
18. The device of
19. The device of
20. The device of
21. The device of
23. The device of
24. The device
25. A method for providing a structure having movable object comprising:
attaching a first end of a first link to a first surface of an object;
attaching a first end of a second link to said first surface of object;
moving said object through a trajectory from its original space through a rotaxially rotation in response to said first and second links;
changing orientation of said object; and
moving said object back to its original space.
26. The method of
attaching a second end of first link to a first support; and
attaching a second end of second link to a second support.
27. The method of
28. The method of
29. The method of
30. The method of
attaching a third link to a second surface of an object; and
attaching a fourth link to said second surface of object
Pursuant to 35 U.S.C. 119(e) and 37 C.F.R. 1.78, the present application claims priority to the provisional application entitled “Rotatable Storage with Alternatively Accessible Sides” Application No. 60/482,048, filed on Jun. 24, 2003, the inventor of which is William Jefferson Stone III.
The present invention relates generally to rotating storage structures that are used for supporting, holding and safekeeping objects. More particularly, the present invention relates to a reversing storage cabinet.
A typical structure, such as a cabinet, furniture, et cetera, may contain rotatable unit(s), for example, a cabinet may have a “lazy Susan” tray. These rotatable units have widespread applications from cabinetry design to sophisticated high precision equipment. There are a number of commercially available designs with regard to rotatable units within a structure on the market.
There are storage cabinets known in the prior art that rotate around an axis. For example, the storage cabinet described in U.S. Pat. No. 6,273,531 by Scheffer (2001) is located on the top of a desk and can be rotated around an axis. By rotating the cabinet around an axis one can alternatively access articles located on different sides of the cabinet. Other examples having similar designs are also described in various references, such as U.S. Pat. No. 4,610,492 by Molander et al (1986), U.S. Pat. No. 5,651,595 by Willis (1997) and U.S. Pat. No. 5,487,599 by Weisburn et al (1996).
There are disadvantages associated with these conventional designs. For example, the first disadvantage is loss of space because these conventional designs require significant space around the rotating object so that it can perform a rotation around an axis. Space loss in the front of the cabinet can typically be seen as temporary loss because the space is lost only when the cabinet is rotating. The space loss, however, is more wasteful when space is lost behind the cabinet. Space loss behind a cabinet is typically considered permanent loss of space because such space has no practical utilization or compensation temporary or XXX. Such permanent loss of space is illustrated in various conventional designs, such as those described in U.S. Pat. No. 4,610492 by Molander et al (1986) and U.S. Pat. No. 6,273,531 by Scheffer (2001).
Another conventional design for rotating an object within a structure uses non-obstructive rotation. To provide non-obstructive rotation of an object or cabinet, it is permanently moved forward away from a wall or other structure. A drawback associated with this design is space loss in front of the cabinet. This type of space loss can become a serious problem if space is at premium.
A second disadvantage associated with some conventional designs is lack of exclusive access. Conventional designs do not typically offer exclusive accessibility to one side of the storage cabinet while other sides of the cabinet are not accessible. This is not suitable when alternative access to different sides is needed. Examples of these situations are the cabinets in which one of the cabinet sides is used for jewelry or expensive collectibles while another side of the cabinet stores firearms, etc. In order to resolve this problem, conventional designs offer some designs including special enclosures and shields as such those described in U.S. Pat. No. 4,610492 by Molander et al (1986). However, providing special enclosures and/or shields as solutions are typically impractical in terms of convenience or cost, e.g. when storage cabinet is used for relatively large articles (books, TV sets, etc.).
A problem associated with the above-referenced designs is safety. For example, if the weight of stored articles in a cabinet is greater then the weight of the cabinet itself, the loaded cabinet can become heavy and cumbersome to rotate and may also create safety issues because it could tip over if it is not supported from the top. However, providing support from the top may increase the complexity and bulkiness of such designs and may also increase the total cost of the storage cabinet.
As mentioned, the problem in these conventional designs is waste of space. In the case of a bookcase in which the bookcase has two storage sides for accessing stored articles waste of space is significant in conventional rotating designs. To solve the problem of waste of space, a known solution employs a cam system including cam followers and grooves to resolve the problem of waste of permanent space behind a shelf in a cabinet as described in U.S. Pat. No. 4,124,262 by Schill (1978).
The disclosed cam system can reduce extra space needed for rotation. In other words, with application of the disclosed cam system, the rotating shelf within the cabinet does not require a big clearance for rotation. When rotation is needed, the center of the shelf is moved forward on its two (top and bottom) centered cam followers sliding in the transverse grooves of the enclosure. A pair of followers, mounted on opposite sides of the rotating shelf, guideone side to the opposite side of the stationary enclosure. In order for this rotation to perform correctly, these must be accurate grooves in the enclosure.
Even though the cam system reduces the problem of space waste, it generates new problems. For example, a problem associate with the cam system is uneven loading of the cabinet weight. The cam system loads the entire weight of the shelf with its content on the bottom center cam follower. In addition to supporting the shelf during the rotation, the bottom center cam follower also guides itself along the transverse groove through out the enclosure. This multi-functionality of the central bottom cam follower lowers the reliability and lifetime of the cabinet.
Another problem associate with the disclosed cam system is that upper and lower cam followers move independently of each other in the guides. There is no guarantee that these guide will move synchronously. Quite to the contrary, one cam always will tend to move faster than another. This will happen for two reasons. First, uneven weight distribution of the cabinet articles inside the cabinet; and second, uneven pull or push of the shelf by the person rotating the shelf Independent movement of the cam followers may cause the cam followers to be jammed in the guides. Even if there is no jam there is a high degree of wear and tear in the guiding system, which shortens the lifetime of the cabinet.
The conventional design using a cam system with an upper guiding system to support the cabinet in addition to the bottom guiding system, as described in the U.S. Pat. No. 4,124,262, adds an undesirable complication of the shelf design when the cabinet is used for light loads and top support is not needed.
Another problem with the design of the cam system is that it is dimension dependent. When dimensions of the cabinet are such that it is not deep but wide, the center cam follower of the cabinet is required to extend outside of the cabinet enclosure for shelf rotation. This adds serious complications in the cabinet design by requiring dynamic elongations to the guiding grooves of the enclosure with telescoping guides. Also for heavy loaded cabinets that are not deep but wide it is especially impractical for reliability and safety concerns.
FIG. 1 of U.S. Pat. No. 4,124,262 also shows wasted space on the left and right sides of the cabinet. In order to compensate for some of this waste, the left and right sides of the shelf are of cylindrically shaped. This design prevents two or more such cabinets to be placed next to each other in close proximity without wasted space. When the user has more than one cabinet it is advantageous to place them next to each other without wasted space for convenience of use and also for saving the total space allocated for the cabinets.
What is needed, therefore, is a cabinet with alternatively accessible sides that is economical in utilizing the space around it, convenient for accessing different sides of this cabinet, has some practical way of preventing access to side that are supposed to be inaccessible at given time, is strong so it can handle heavy loads using a reliable low wear mechanical arrangement for jam free rotation and is simple in design and not expensive when handling light loads.
The present invention comprises a compound movement link mechanism that allows an object to move from the space it occupies in one orientation and return to the same space in a different orientation. Preferably the object is a support structure having at least two selectively accessible sides. In a preferred embodiment, the object is supported by a pair of synchronis compound movement link mechanisms. Objectives of various aspects of the invention are mentioned below.
In view of the above-stated disadvantages of the prior art, objectives of the invention include providing an improved rotational storage for applications where alternative access to different sides of the cabinet is practical or needed.
Another objective of the invention is to provide a storage cabinet that is economical in utilizing the space allocated for it. In addition to be economical in utilizing the space around storage the cabinet, its design should provide alternative of access to different sides of the cabinet with convenience and ease.
A further objective of the invention is to provide limited access to the side or sides of the cabinet that are not being accessed at a given time. This secure access should be achieved economically and with simplicity of design.
A still further objective of the invention is to provide a storage cabinet that can be utilized for applications with heavy loads such as for example storing books, firearms, electronic equipment, etc.
Another objective of the invention is to provide a storage cabinet that can be simple in design with low cost for light load applications such as for example CD's, DVD's, stamp collections, etc.
A reversable storage cabinet with alternatively accessible sides, in one embodiment, includes a storage structure, which is used to hold at least one article. Means for holding the storage structure includes a four-link mechanism, wherein three of the links are serially connected. The three serially connected links are rotatably connected to two outside ends of a fourth link at two substantially separated locations. The fourth link is substantially stationary. The middle link of three serially connected links is a part of the storage structure allowing reorientation of the storage structure relative to the fourth stationary link for alternative access to the sides of storage cabinet.
Additional features and benefits of the present invention will become apparent from the detailed description, figures and claims set forth below.
The present invention will be understood more fully from the detailed description given below and from the accompanying drawings of various embodiments of the invention, which, however, should not be taken to limit the invention to the specific embodiments, but are for explanation and understanding only.
In the following description, for purposes of explanation, numerous specific details are set forth to provide a thorough understanding of the present invention. It will be apparent, however, to one skilled in the art that these specific details may not be required to practice the present invention. In other instances, well-known mechanical, circuitry, and devices are shown in block diagram form to avoid obscuring the present invention.
In the following description of the embodiments, substantially the same parts are denoted by the same reference numerals. Also, while references such as top, bottom and side may be used throughout the specification, it is to be understood that their orientation requirements are only to facilitate the explanation of the various embodiments and depending on the application, the top could be the side or bottom or vice verse.
An apparatus for a reversible storage system 100 having a moving object 102 are disclosed in the present application. The reversible storage system 100, in one embodiment, includes an object 102 and a frame 200. A first side of frame is situated at a substantially fixed distance from a second side of frame. The reversible storage system 100 further includes two links 304 and 308 wherein a first end of a first link 304 is coupled to the first side of frame and a second end of first link is coupled to the object 102. Also, a first end of a second link 308 is coupled to the second side of frame and a second end of second link 308 is coupled to the object 102. The object 102 is capable of performing a rotaxially rotation in response to the first and second links 304 and 308.
In one embodiment, the shelves 112 are adjustable and form a shelving system. The shelving system may help provide overall support to the movable object 102. Different shelf arrangements or configurations can provide different support to the bookcase 111. Adjustable shelves provide flexibility so that the shelves 112 can be arranged to a particular need. Vertical wall 116, in one embodiment, separates the first accessible side 111 and the second accessible side 121 of the movable object 102 for alternative access.
The outside structure 200 provides structural support for the movable object 102. The outside structure 200 includes a top stationary plate 210, a bottom plate 202, and two vertical support members 204 and 206. In this embodiment, the outside structure 200 is anchored to a wall 212 via two security brackets 214 and 216.
The entertainment center embodiment includes protective glass covers 103 and 132 which are preferably attached with hinges as depicted in
As seen in
The outside structure 200 of this embodiment, best depicted in
Referring back to
The rotaxial linkage mechanism includes multiple links capable of rotaxially, that is a combination of a rotating movement and a transverse movement. Preferably the rotaxial linkage mechanism is constructed to allow an object to be moved from an original space in a first orientation and returned to the original space in a different orientation. Preferably the rotaxial linkage mechanism includes a first link 304 and a second link 308. The outer ends of first and second links 304 and 308 of rotaxial linkage mechanism 300 may be rotatably connected to the base 202. Preferably base 202 has risers on each side to which the first and second links are preferably rotatably connected by first and second pins 310 and 312. The inner ends of first and second links 304 and 308 are preferably rotatably connected to plate 306 by third and fourth pins 314 and 316. A plate 306, in this embodiment, is preferably bolted to the bottom plate 104 of the movable object 102. First and second links 304 and 308 and plate 306 are connected serially and form a three movable link chain. This three-link chain together with the stationary base 202 form the preferred rotaxial linkage mechanism 300. The inner ends of the first and second links are preferably also rotatably attached to a low friction contact device such as for example, wheels, rollers, gliders or casters that are attached between the links and the base. The low friction contact device may also simply include the use of low friction materials for the base and the links or a low friction piece of material attached to the inner end of the links. The risers may be used to elevate the first and second links to compensate for the space needed for the low friction contact device. The preferred embodiment employs wheels 350 and 352 as the low friction contact device.
Depending on the application, plate 306 can be eliminated and first and second links 304 and 308 may be connected directly to bottom plate 104. In the embodiment where the first and second links 304 and 308 are connected directly to bottom plate 104, the first and second links, the bottom plate 104 and the base 202 form the rotaxial linkage mechanism. In yet another application the outer ends of the links can be rotatably attached to the floor to form the rotaxial linkage mechanism. In the latter embodiment appropriate spacers between the floor and the links should be employed to compensate for the distance needed by low friction contact device.
Top rotaxial linkage mechanism 400 is preferably located between the outside structure 200 and movable object 102. The top rotaxial linkage mechanism 400 is constructed, in one embodiment, substantially similar bottom rotaxial linkage mechanism 300. Top rotaxial linkage mechanism 400 provides top support for the movable object 102 The outer ends of top first and top second links 404 and 408 may be rotatably connected to top plate 210. Preferably the links 404 and 408 are rotatably connected to vertical support members 204 and 206 by pins 410 and 412. The inner ends of links 404 and 406 are preferably connected to a plate 406 by pins 414 and 416. Plate 406, in one embodiment, is bolted to top storage plate 106. As described with regard to the bottom rotaxial linkage mechanism, links 404 and 408 and plate 406 are connected serially and form a three link chain. As with the bottom rotaxial linkage mechanism 300 there are various embodiments that will provide the desired rotaxial movement. Top and bottom rotaxial linkage mechanisms 300 and 400 together with outside structure 200 form means to hold and support the movable object 102 and provide a predetermined path for its transitional movement from one alternate orientation to another.
Top rotaxial linkage mechanism 400, in one embodiment, is constructed similar to the bottom rotaxial linkage mechanism 300. As such, the length of the links of top rotaxial linkage mechanism 400 is substantially same as the links in bottom rotaxial linkage mechanism 300. Because of this, the respective pins of both bottom and top rotaxial linkage mechanisms 300 and 400 are located on the same axes allowing relatively jam free rotation of the movable object 102.
In the presently preferred embodiment, bottom and top rotaxial linkage mechanisms 300 and 400 are connected to each other to form a synchronized rotaxial linkage mechanism. This facillitaes the movement of the movable abject helping to form a strong and rigid reversible storage structure that can hold significant load. The synchronized rotaxial linkage mechanism preferaby comprises two rotaxial linkage mechanism interconnected in a manner that such that the first bottom link and the first top link rotate around their respective outer ends simultaneously and strike the same length arc. Similarly, the second bottom link and the second top link rotate around their respective outer ends simultaneously and strike the same length arc. In the preferred embodment, a torsion bar 430 is used to interconnect the two rotaxial linkage mechanisms. Preferably the outer end of torsion bar 430 is connected to the first bottom link 304 at its pin 310 and the other end of the torison bar 430 is connected to first top link 404 at its pin 410 to form a rigid coupling between first bottom link 304 and first top link 404. Partially due to the rigid coupling, links 304 and 404 are able to rotate synchronously and reduce the possibility of jamming. Minimizing the possibility of jamming is an advantage of the present invention over the conventional rotating cabinetry design, such as described in U.S. Pat. No. 4,124,262. Another advantage of employing vertical bar 430 is to enhance the safety of the reversible storage system 100 since it reduces the possibility of being tip-over.
To provide additional strength, a fully synchronized rotaxial mechanism may be employed. The fully synchronized rotaxial mechanism comprises a synchronized rotaxial mechanism with a rigid connection between the second top and second bottom links. The rigid connection, is preferably accomplished by adding a second torsion bar 440 and connecting one end of torsion bar 440 to seond bottom link 308 at pin 312 while the other end of torsion bar 440 is connected to second top link link 408 at pin 412 to form a rigid connection between links 408 and 308. This second torsion bar 440 increases the strength of the reversible storage system 100 and with the first torsion bar 430 further decreases the likelihood of jamming during movement.
In operation, movable object 102 shown in
To access the other side of the movable object 102, operation starts from release the locking device 136 if it is engaged. Then one pulls the cabinet frame away from the wall 210 using one of the handles 240. Because the pins 314 and 316 are part of the outside structure 200, the motion can be deduced from knowing the directions of the movement of these pins. The direction of the motion of the pins 314 and 316 is perpendicular to their links themselves. In starting position, links 304 and 308 are parallel, therefore motion of the movable object 102 at starting point is rectilinear without rotation. Moveable object 102 is directed away from the wall 212 with small angle to the one of the left or right sides. Transitional positions of the storage rotation are shown on
Second difference between common components of invention implementations shown in
All common parts in
In one implementation, revolute joints A and D are located at remote sides of the stationary base generally in the middle area of short, left and right sides of the storage frame. Points B and C for revolute joints 314 and 316 are located on different sides of the line AD generally symmetrically relative to this line. Also joints B and C located at the middle of the front and backsides of the bottom plate 104. In order for bottom plate 104 to rotate between alternate positions spaced generally 180° apart BC is generally perpendicular to AD in starting position of the storage, i.e.
The process of reversing the position of the plate 104 (i.e. movable storage) from the starting position of
For clarity of the explanation of the principal differences between different modifications of the present invention the changes are shown on the drawings but secondary differences, mostly dimensional are not reflected on the drawings. For example,
As shown on
Because of 45° degree angle between BC and AD angular distance between two alternate access positions is 90° (not 180° as in previous examples). Transitional positions from starting to final position are shown in intervals of 22.5° shown in
Second example of storage structure is that only front side has developed storage structure for holding essential articles while other three sides could be just blank walls. Then rotation of storage by 90° will block access to storage completely. Rotation of the storage back to starting position will open front side again for access. There could be more other applications of present inventions that could differ in details but follow the essentials of proposed inventions. To rotate bottom plate 8104 as representing storage rotation backward from final alternate access position to starting alternate access position for all four previous examples one has to follow shown figures from “E” to “A”.
All common parts shown in
Holding means include box 2200. Box 2200 has optional cover 2250. Right and left walls 2202 and 2210 of the box 2200 serve as stationary bases of the right and left side rotaxial linkage mechanisms 2300 and 2400 respectively for holding of proper storage 2102. There are also front and back walls 2204 and 2206, respectively.
Right rotaxial linkage mechanism 2300 and left rotaxial linkage mechanism 2400 connect storage 2102 with outside box 2200.
Movable three-link chain 2304, 2306 and 2308 together with stationary link 2202 represents four-link mechanism, which determines the positions and the process of movement of bottom plate 2104 and therefore determines the positions and the process of movement of reversible storage 2102 whereby is being means of holding storage cabinet relative to the stationary base 2202. The same is true for left rotaxial linkage mechanism 2400. Because of the substantial symmetry of the right and left rotaxial linkage mechanisms 2300 and 2400 and the relative uniformity of the gravitational load this embodiment even without torsion bars is providing generally jam free reversing of the storage 1102 for alternative accesses to upper and bottom sides of storage 1102. If there is more demanding application for strength, reliability and smoothness of the operation of the storage then storage can be modified, e.g. by introducing torsion rods.
Detailed mechanical operation of this embodiment is similar to the operation shown in
There could be many different schemes applied for simultaneous rotation of these four boxes.
This note relates to all other features not only to handles. Another important note relates to the meanings and usages of terminology. In the theory and technology different people prefer to use different words for description of same or similar things. This description is using these words interchangeably, not taking particular stand on this issue. Similar situation is with using words as storage, cabinet, storage cabinet, bookcase, hatch, etc.
Another example of interchangeability of words relates to the words rotate, reverse, transpose, etc. Description is using the word rotate in wide application of it—rotation not necessary about static axis but rotation about axis that can be different at different moments (like rotation about momentary axes). Reverse and transpose relates mostly to results of motion than to process of motion.
Although the description above contains much specificity, these should not be construed as limiting the scope of the invention but as merely providing illustrations of some of the presently preferred embodiments of this invention. Thus the scope of this invention should be determined by the appended claims and their legal equivalents. Therefore, it will be appreciated that the scope of the present invention encompasses other embodiments which may become obvious to those skilled in the art, and that the scope of the present invention is accordingly to be limited by nothing other than the appended claims, in which reference to an element in the singular is not intended to mean “one and only one” unless explicitly so stated, but rather “one or more”. All structural, chemical, and functional equivalents to the elements of the above-described preferred embodiment that are know to those of ordinary skill in the art are expressly incorporated herein by reference and are intended to be encompassed by the present claims. Moreover, it is not necessary for a device or method to address each and every problem sought to be solved by the present invention for it to be encompassed by the present claims.
In the foregoing specification the invention has been described with reference to specific exemplary embodiments thereof It will, however, be evident that various modifications and changes may be made thereto without departing from the broader scope of the invention. The specification and drawings are, accordingly, to be regarded in an illustrative rather than restrictive sense.