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Publication numberUS20050077805 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 10/683,884
Publication dateApr 14, 2005
Filing dateOct 10, 2003
Priority dateOct 10, 2003
Publication number10683884, 683884, US 2005/0077805 A1, US 2005/077805 A1, US 20050077805 A1, US 20050077805A1, US 2005077805 A1, US 2005077805A1, US-A1-20050077805, US-A1-2005077805, US2005/0077805A1, US2005/077805A1, US20050077805 A1, US20050077805A1, US2005077805 A1, US2005077805A1
InventorsWilliam Dalebout, Philip Utykanski, Jon White, Devin Weber
Original AssigneeDalebout William T., Utykanski Philip A., White Jon M., Weber Devin J.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Modular storage cabinet
US 20050077805 A1
Abstract
A modular cabinet system is disclosed. Posts are mounted between a top member and a bottom member to form a sturdy frame. The frame is configured to slidably receive side panels to form an exterior. The frame is also configured to receive doors and shelving to form a door cabinet or drawers to form a drawer cabinet. The doors rotate on a hinge rod, which is received in the top and bottom members of the frame. Alternatively, the frame receives a set of drawers. The frame slidably receives drawer brackets in the posts of the frame. The drawer brackets are spaced to provide a desired clearance between drawers. The disclosed cabinets use the same frame and panels whether the cabinet is to receive doors or drawers. The cabinet is also easily assembled such that it can be shipped in a compacted form and assembled by the purchaser or user.
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Claims(39)
1. A modular cabinet comprising:
a plurality of posts mounted between a top member and a bottom member to form a frame, the frame being configured to interchangeably receive at least one drawer or at least one door or at least one shelf;
wherein each of the plurality of posts has at least one panel groove formed longitudinally therein; and
a plurality of panels attached to the frame of the cabinet to form an exterior.
2. The modular cabinet of claim 1, wherein each of the plurality of posts is a single-piece post.
3. The modular cabinet of claim 2, wherein each post is formed from extruded aluminum.
4. The modular cabinet of claim 1, wherein the top and top members are formed from blow molded plastic.
5. The modular cabinet of claim 1, wherein the frame further comprises a channel formed longitudinally in each of the plurality of posts and wherein at least one drawer is mounted to the frame using a drawer bracket, the drawer bracket being received in the channel, the drawer bracket being fastened to the post at a selected height.
6. The modular cabinet of claim 1, wherein the at least one door comprises a hinge rod, and wherein the top and bottom members of the frame each have an receptacle formed therein, the receptacle in the top and bottom members being configured to receive the hinge rod.
7. The modular cabinet of claim 1, wherein the components of the cabinet are compactable and form a kit such that the modular cabinet can be transported in a compact form, the kit being configured to be assembled by a user or purchaser, wherein the user or purchaser assembles substantially all the components of the kit by screwing, sliding or snapping the components together.
8. A modular cabinet comprising:
a plurality of posts mounted between a top member and a bottom member to form a frame, the frame being configured to interchangeably receive at least one drawer or at least one door of at least one shelf, wherein the at least one door is received in first and second receptacles formed in respective bottom and top members and wherein the drawer has a drawer bracket that is received in respective channels formed in each of two of the plurality of posts, wherein each of the plurality of posts has at least one panel groove formed longitudinally therein; and
a plurality of panels attached to the frame of the cabinet to form an exterior.
9. The modular cabinet of claim 8, wherein each of the plurality of posts is a single-piece post.
10. The modular cabinet of claim 8, wherein each post is formed from extruded aluminum.
11. The modular cabinet of claim 8, wherein the drawer bracket is slidably received in the channel.
12. A modular cabinet comprising:
a plurality of posts mounted between a top member and a bottom member to form a frame, each of the plurality of posts having at least one panel groove and at least one channel formed longitudinally therein, the at least one channel being configured to receive a shelf bracket or a drawer bracket; and
a plurality of panels attached to the frame to form an exterior, each panel being slidably received in the panel groove of two of the plurality of posts.
13. The modular cabinet of claim 12, wherein the frame is configured to interchangeably receive at least one drawer or at least one door.
14. The modular cabinet of claim 12, wherein each of the plurality of posts is a single-piece post.
15. The modular cabinet of claim 14, wherein each post is formed from extruded aluminum.
16. The modular cabinet of claim 12, wherein the top and bottom members are formed from blow molded plastic.
17. The modular cabinet of claim 12, wherein the components of the cabinet are compactable and form a kit such that the modular cabinet can be transported in a compact form, the kit being configured to be assembled by a user or purchaser, wherein the user or purchaser assembles substantially all the components of the kit by screwing, sliding or snapping the components together.
18. A modular cabinet comprising:
a pair of rear posts and a pair of front posts mounted between a top member and a bottom member to form a frame, each of the rear posts having at least two panel grooves, and each of the front posts having at least one panel groove, each post of the rear posts and front posts having a channel formed longitudinally therein, the channel being configured to receive a shelf bracket or a drawer bracket; and
a plurality of panels attached to the frame to form an exterior, each panel being slidably received in the panel groove of two of the posts.
19. The modular cabinet of claim 18, wherein each of the plurality of posts is a single-piece post.
20. The modular cabinet of claim 18, wherein the front posts further comprise a flange positioned adjacent the door or drawer.
21. The modular cabinet of claim 18, wherein each post is formed from extruded aluminum.
22. A modular cabinet comprising:
a plurality of posts mounted between a top member and a bottom member to form a frame, each of the plurality of posts being a single piece post having at least one panel groove formed longitudinally therein;
a plurality of panels attached to the frame to form an exterior, each panel being slidably received in the panel groove of two of the plurality of posts;
a channel formed longitudinally in each of the plurality of posts; and
at least one drawer mounted to the frame by a drawer bracket, the drawer bracket being slidably received in the channel, the drawer bracket being fastened to the post at a selected height to suspend the drawer so as to provide clearance for the drawer.
23. The modular cabinet of claim 22, wherein the frame is configured to interchangeably receive at least one door instead of the drawer.
24. The modular cabinet of claim 22, further comprising a retainer and a first and a second drawer, wherein the retainer is configured to prevent the second drawer from moving to an open position when the first drawer is in the closed position.
25. The modular cabinet of claim 22, wherein the components of the cabinet are compactable and form a kit such that the modular cabinet can be transported in a compact form, the kit being configured to be assembled by a user or purchaser, wherein the user or purchaser assembles substantially all the components of the kit by screwing, sliding or snapping the components together.
26. The modular cabinet of claim 22, wherein the posts are formed from extruded aluminum.
27. A modular cabinet comprising:
a plurality of posts mounted between a top member and a bottom member to form a frame, each of the plurality of posts being a single piece post and having at least one panel groove formed longitudinally therein;
a plurality of panels attached to the frame to form an exterior, each panel being slidably received in the panel groove of two of the plurality of posts;
a channel formed longitudinally in each of the plurality of posts;
a plurality of shelf brackets, each shelf bracket being slidably received in the channel, the shelf brackets being fixed to the post a selected height; and
at least one shelf mounted on the plurality of shelf brackets.
28. The modular cabinet of claim 27, wherein the frame is further configured to receive at least one door, the door having a hinge rod that pivots in a hinge receptacle formed in the bottom member.
29. The modular cabinet of claim 28, wherein the frame is also configured to interchangeably receive at least one drawer instead of the at least one door and the shelf.
30. The modular cabinet of claim 27, further comprising casters attached to the bottom of the bottom member.
31. The modular cabinet of claim 27, wherein the components of the cabinet are compactable and form a kit such that the modular cabinet can be transported in a compact form, the kit being configured to be assembled by a user or purchaser, wherein the user or purchaser assembles substantially all the components of the kit by screwing, sliding or snapping the components together.
32. The modular cabinet of claim 27, wherein the posts are formed from extruded aluminum.
33. A cabinet drawer, comprising:
a bottom plate;
first and second side plates;
a rear plate; and
a front plate, wherein each plate is linked to at least one other plate in a tongue and groove relationship.
34. The cabinet drawer of claim 33, wherein the bottom plate and the side plate each connect to the first side plate in a tongue and groove relationship.
35. The cabinet drawer of claim 33, wherein the front plate is connected to the bottom plate in a tongue and groove relationship.
36. A cabinet drawer comprising,
a bottom plate;
a rear plate;
first and second opposing side plates; and
a front plate, wherein each of the plates are connected to at least one other plate such that a portion of each plate is selectively received by a portion of at least one other plate, such that the plurality of plates are readily assemblable into a drawer.
37. The cabinet drawer of claim 36, wherein each plate receives another plate in a male-female relationship.
38. The cabinet drawer of claim 36, wherein at least two plates are coupled through a double tongue and groove relationship.
39. The cabinet drawer of claim 36, wherein the portion of the at least one other plate is slidably received by the receiving plate.
Description
    BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • [0001]
    1. The Field of the Invention
  • [0002]
    The present invention relates to modular cabinet. More specifically, the present invention relates to a break down cabinet with a frame that can interchangeably receive doors, drawers, and shelves.
  • [0003]
    2. Related Technology
  • [0004]
    Storage cabinets are well known articles used in garages, homes, offices and the like for various organizational and storage purposes. Storage cabinets are manufactured in various sizes, sturdiness, and quality, depending on the desired use for the cabinet. Generally, the larger and sturdier the cabinet, the more it will cost to manufacture.
  • [0005]
    Assembly and shipping costs are generally a significant expense associated with manufacturing storage cabinets. Because typical cabinets are big and bulky, they are difficult and expensive to ship. They also require a large amount of packaging and take up valuable space during shipping. In addition to taking up shipping space, the bulky nature of storage cabinets often requires wholesalers or retailers to use significant amounts of valuable floor space or storage space to store or display the storage cabinets.
  • [0006]
    One technique used to reduce the manufacturing costs of large bulky items is to ship the item disassembled and provide the purchaser with assembly instructions. However, large sturdy cabinets tend to not be of the knockdown type because they require more structural support than existing knockdown techniques can provide. For instance, storage cabinets used in garages to store heavy tools generally have metal frames that are spot welded or bolted before shipping. These cabinets are typically not sold in disassembled form because it is not practical for most purchasers to assemble the cabinet where welding or other sophisticated connecting means are necessary to provide proper structural support.
  • [0007]
    It is also known in the field of cabinets to make and sell sets of differently shaped cabinets in a storage cabinet system. These cabinet systems generally have several cabinet pieces that accommodate different needs. For instance, one cabinet may be tall and narrow to accommodate tall items and another cabinet may have a drawer system for accommodating numerous items such as a tool set.
  • [0008]
    Existing storage cabinet systems are expensive to manufacture because many of the pieces that make up the different cabinets are unique to each cabinet. Because of this uniqueness, manufacturing costs for one unique piece cannot be shared with the manufacturing costs of another.
  • [0009]
    In addition, the cabinet user is limited in his or her ability to modify existing cabinets. If a person's cabinet needs change, he or she must purchase an entire cabinet to meet that need. Generally, a user cannot modify an existing cabinet to form a cabinet having a significantly different shape or feature.
  • [0010]
    Therefore, what is needed is a modular storage cabinet system that includes cabinets that are lightweight and provide adequate structural support for relatively heavy objects. Each piece of the cabinet system also needs to knockdown and be easily assembled by a user. Furthermore, the cabinet system needs to be efficiently manufactured.
  • BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • [0011]
    The present invention relates to a modular storage cabinet system that overcomes the problems associated with existing knockdown storage cabinet systems. In one version of the invention, a plurality of posts are mounted between a top member and a bottom member to form a frame. Each post has a panel groove formed longitudinally therein. A plurality of panels attach to the frame to form an exterior. The panels slide in the grooves of two of the posts. In one embodiment, the frame is further configured to interchangeably receive a drawer assembly or a door.
  • [0012]
    The cabinets of the present invention can be knocked down for shipping and then easily assembled by a user. In one embodiment, the posts are attached to the top and bottom member with screws. The side panels are easily attached to the frame by sliding the panels into the grooves in the posts. The sliding connection is a particularly easy assembly step that makes the cabinet simple and quick to assemble.
  • [0013]
    The cabinets of the present invention are lightweight and sturdy. In one embodiment, the posts of the frame are made from extruded aluminum and the top and bottom members are made from blow-molded plastic. The frame provides adequate structural support such that the side panels can be made lightweight. The frame also provides a sturdy support for receiving drawers, doors, or shelves.
  • [0014]
    The sturdy, lightweight construction of the present invention significantly reduces the shipping costs associated therewith. Because the cabinets are sturdy, the cabinets can be used to store heavy objects such as tools in a garage.
  • [0015]
    Because the frame is configured to receive different assemblies, such as a drawer, a door, or a shelf, the general frame structure can be used for different cabinets in a modular cabinet system. For instance, in one embodiment, the frame receives a door and side panels to form a cabinet.
  • [0016]
    The door is easily installed in the frame. The top and bottom members of the frame each have a receptacle (e.g., an aperture or a recess) formed therein that receive a hinge rod mounted in the door. The door pivots on the hinge rod so as to move between an open and a closed position.
  • [0017]
    Alternatively, the cabinet is made into a drawer cabinet by attaching drawers to the frame. The drawers knock down and are easily assembled by a purchaser or user. In an exemplary embodiment, the frame's posts have a channel in addition to the panel grooves.
  • [0018]
    In one embodiment, drawer brackets slide into the channel and are screwed into the posts at a selected position. Because the brackets are slid into the channels on the frame, the drawers will be aligned properly within the cabinet. In an exemplary embodiment, the assembly grooves provide a quick and easy method to securely and properly assemble a cabinet with a drawer assembly.
  • [0019]
    Because different cabinets within the modular cabinet system are built on the same or a similar frame, fewer different pieces are produced, thereby reducing the manufacturing costs associated therewith. For instance, a tall cabinet and a short cabinet may share the same top and bottom members and other components such as casters and shelf brackets.
  • [0020]
    The similar frame used in the various cabinets of the cabinet system also allows a user to more easily modify the cabinet system. For instance, if a user wants to convert a shelf cabinet into a drawer cabinet, the user can install drawers on the same frame as the shelf cabinet. Alternatively, to make the cabinet taller, the user can install longer posts and side panels.
  • [0021]
    A novel and useful cabinet drawer design and assembly method are also discussed.
  • [0022]
    These and other objects and features of the present invention will become more fully apparent from the following description and appended claims, or may be learned by the practice of the invention as set forth hereinafter.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • [0023]
    To further clarify the above and other advantages and features of the present invention, a more particular description of the invention will be rendered by reference to specific embodiments thereof which are illustrated in the appended drawings. It is appreciated that these drawings depict only typical embodiments of the invention and are therefore not to be considered limiting of its scope. The invention will be described and explained with additional specificity and detail through the use of the accompanying drawings in which:
  • [0024]
    FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an exemplary modular cabinet of the present invention;
  • [0025]
    FIG. 2 illustrates an exploded view of the modular cabinet of FIG. 1;
  • [0026]
    FIG. 3 illustrates an exploded view of a first door of the modular cabinet of FIG. 1;
  • [0027]
    FIG. 4 illustrates an exploded view of a second door of the modular cabinet of FIG. 1;
  • [0028]
    FIG. 5A is a perspective view of a rear post of the modular cabinet of FIG. 1;
  • [0029]
    FIG. 5B is a top plan view of the rear post of the modular cabinet of FIG. 1;
  • [0030]
    FIG. 6A is a perspective view of a front post of the modular cabinet of FIG. 1;
  • [0031]
    FIG. 6B illustrates the placement of the panels into the posts of the modular cabinet of FIG. 1;
  • [0032]
    FIG. 7 is a perspective view of the modular cabinet of FIG. 1 with the doors and shelf removed;
  • [0033]
    FIG. 8 is a perspective view of the modular cabinet of FIG. 1 disassembled and in a compacted form;
  • [0034]
    FIG. 9 is a perspective view of the modular cabinet of FIG. 7 with drawers installed therein, rather than doors;
  • [0035]
    FIG. 10 is a partially exploded perspective view of the modular cabinet of FIG. 9 with the top and side panels removed to show the interior components of the cabinet;
  • [0036]
    FIG. 11 shows a rear perspective view of the cabinet of FIG. 9 partially exploded;
  • [0037]
    FIG. 12 is a perspective view of the modular cabinet of FIG. 9 with the top and side panels removed to show the interior components of the cabinet;
  • [0038]
    FIG. 13 shows a perspective view of the drawer bracket, slide rail, and slide rail insert upon which a drawer of the modular cabinet of FIG. 9 slideably opens;
  • [0039]
    FIG. 14 shows an exploded view of a drawer of the modular cabinet of FIG. 9;
  • [0040]
    FIG. 15A shows a front view of the drawer retainer of the modular cabinet of FIG. 9;
  • [0041]
    FIG. 15B shows a side view of the drawer retainer of the modular cabinet of FIG. 9;
  • [0042]
    FIG. 16A shows a perspective view of the drawer retainer of the modular cabinet of FIG. 9 installed therein and rotated to the closed position; and
  • [0043]
    FIG. 16B shows a perspective view of the drawer retainer of the modular cabinet of FIG. 9 installed therein and rotated to the open position.
  • [0044]
    FIG. 17A shows an exploded view of various components of the drawer of the modular cabinet of FIG. 9.
  • [0045]
    FIG. 17B shows a drawer groove of the side plate of the drawer of FIG. 17A in more detail.
  • [0046]
    FIG. 17C shows a tab of the bottom plate of the drawer of FIG. 17A.
  • [0047]
    FIG. 18A shows the various components of FIG. 17A fully assembled and a front plate partially assembled.
  • [0048]
    FIG. 18B shows a portion of the connection between the side plate and bottom plate of the drawer of FIG. 18A.
  • [0049]
    FIG. 18C illustrates a portion of the connection between the bottom plate and rear plate of the drawer of FIG. 18A.
  • [0050]
    FIG. 19 illustrates the Drawer of FIG. 18A with the front plate fully assembled.
  • [0051]
    FIG. 20 illustrates a partial exploded view of the drawer of FIG. 18A with additional assembly components.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF EXEMPLARY EMBODIMENTS
  • [0052]
    With reference to FIG. 1, a modular storage cabinet 20 according to the present invention is shown. In one version of the invention, the cabinet 20 has a plurality of posts 22 a-22 d mounted between a bottom member 24 and a top member 26 to form a frame. Side panel 28 is slidably received by posts 22 b and 22 c. Doors 30 a and 30 b connect to bottom member 24 and top member 26. Doors 30 a and 30 b, shown in a closed position, are selectively movable between an open and a closed position such that doors 30 a and 30 b provide access to the interior of storage cabinet 20. In an exemplary embodiment, cabinet 20 has casters 32 a-32 c (fourth caster at left rear corner not shown in FIG. 1), which allow the cabinet 20 to roll on a surface.
  • [0053]
    FIG. 2 shows various parts of cabinet 20 in exploded view. The posts 22 a-22 d, bottom 24, and top 26 are configured to be connected to form a frame. Each corner of bottom member 24 has a slot 34 a-34 d wherein one end of each post attaches to bottom member 24. Top member 26 has corresponding slots in each corner to receive the other end of each post 22 a-22 d. The posts 22 a-22 d are mounted between bottom member 24 and top member 26 by inserting posts 22 a-22 d into slots 34 a-34 d and fastening bottom member 24 and top member 26 to posts 22 a-22 d, using a fastener such as a screw or bolt. Once assembled, posts 22 a-22 d, bottom member 24 and top member 26 form a sturdy frame that is configured to firmly support other features of cabinet 20, as described more fully below.
  • [0054]
    Side panels 28 a-28 c slidably connect to posts 22 a-22 d to form an exterior about the frame of cabinet 20. For instance, posts 22 a and 22 d receive side panel 28 a, posts 22 b and 22 c receive side panel 28 b, and posts 22 c and 22 d receive side panel 28 c. Posts 22 a and 22 b are also configured to receive doors 30 a and 30 b. In an exemplary embodiment, each post 22 a-22 d is also configured to slidably receive a shelf bracket 36 a-36 d. Shelf brackets 36 a-36 d are configured and arranged to support shelf 38.
  • [0055]
    As shown in FIG. 2, cabinet 20 has a pair of door panels 39 a and 39 b. Door panels 39 a and 39 b pivot on hinge rods 40 a and 40 b respectively. Bottom member 24 has hinge receptacles 42 a and 42 b for pivotally receiving one end of hinge rod 40 a and 40 b respectively. Receptacles 42 a and 42 b may be an aperture or a recess formed in bottom or top member 24 and 26. Top member 26 has corresponding receptacles for pivotally receiving the other end of hinge rods 40 a and 40 b thereby forming a hinge on which doors 30 a and 30 b can pivot. In one embodiment, hinge rod 40 a is spot welded to door panel 39 a such that hinge rod 40 a rotates within hinge receptacles 42 a rather than door panel 39 a.
  • [0056]
    Handles 44 a and 44 b connect to doors 30 a and 30 b, respectively, for opening and closing doors 30 a and 30 b. A lock 46 is mounted on door panel 39 b for securing doors 30 a and 30 b. Guide brackets 48 a and 48 b facilitate the locking mechanism of doors 30 a and 30 b. Casters 32 a-32 c mount to the bottom side of bottom member 24 and provide the cabinet 20 with mobility.
  • [0057]
    Turning now to FIG. 3, the components of door 30 b are shown in exploded view. Panel 39 b has a top hinge hole 50 where rod 40 b is slidably received in panel 39 b. Panel 39 b also has a bottom hinge hole (not shown) opposite hinge hole 50. Hinge rod 40 b extends through both hinge holes in door panel 39 b so as to be disposed along the inside edge of door panel 39 b.
  • [0058]
    Hinge rod 40 b is formed longer than panel 39 b. The length of hinge rod 40 b is selected to extend beyond the upper and lower ends of panel 39 b such that hinge rod 39 b can extend into receptacles 42 b of bottom member 24 and the corresponding receptacle of top member 26.
  • [0059]
    Door panel 39 b also has a lock hole 52 where lock 46 can be mounted thereon. Lock 46 includes lock rods 54 a and 54 b. Guide brackets 48 a and 48 b are mounted to door panel 39 b and are configured to slidably receive lock rods 54 a and 54 b. Guide brackets 48 a and 48 b provide structural support for lock rods 54 a and 54 b and position lock rods 54 a and 54 b for engagement with bottom member 24 and top member 26.
  • [0060]
    Lock 46 has a key member 56 configured to receive a key and rotate a cam 58. Rotation of cam 58 causes lock rods 54 a and 54 b to extend. When lock rods 54 a and 54 b are in the retracted position, doors 30 a and 30 b are unlocked. When lock rods 54 a and 54 b are extended, they engage bottom member 24 and top member 26, thereby preventing door 30 b from rotating about hinge rod 40 b, and thus locking door 30 b. Locking door 30 b prevents access to the interior of cabinet 20.
  • [0061]
    Locking mechanisms for cabinets are well known. Any type of locking mechanism can be used with the cabinets of the present invention. In addition, the lock 46 may be mounted on door 30 b at any desired location.
  • [0062]
    Door panel 39 b also includes handle holes 60 a and 60 b for mounting handle 44 b. In one embodiment, handle 44 b is mounted to door panel 39 b with spacers 62 a and 62 b therebetween. Any suitable means can be used to connect the handle to the door, such as a screw.
  • [0063]
    Door 30 b can be made from different types of materials depending on the desired strength, weight, and cost of the door. In one embodiment, panel 39 b is formed from tred plate. In another embodiment, panel 39 b is formed from another type of metal or plastic. Hinge rod 40 b is preferably formed from a sturdy material such as metal or hard plastic. Handle 44 b can be made of metal or plastic as desired.
  • [0064]
    Hinges for doors are well known. Cabinet 20 may have a hinge system that is different from rods 40 a and 40 b. For instance, hinge brackets may be attached or slidably received in posts 22 a-22 d, such that the weight of doors 30 a and 30 b is supported by posts 22 a-22 d rather than bottom member 24 and top member 26.
  • [0065]
    As shown in FIG. 4, door 30 a is formed similarly to door 30 b. Door 30 a includes panel 39 a, which receives hinge rod 40 a in hinge holes 50 such that hinge rod 40 a is disposed along the inside edge of door panel 39 b. Hinge rod 40 a is formed to extend beyond door panel 39 a at both ends so as to engage hinge receptacle 42 a in bottom member 24 and an opposing receptacle in top member 26.
  • [0066]
    Panel 39 a has a rim 63 on the inner inside edge thereof. When doors 30 a and 30 b are in the closed position, rim 63 extends from door 30 a behind door 30 b such that door 30 a does not open unless door 30 b is open. Rim 63 prevents access to the inside of cabinet 20 via door 30 a when door 30 b is locked.
  • [0067]
    As mentioned above with reference to FIG. 2, posts 22 a-22 d are mounted between bottom member 24 and top member 26 to form a frame. FIGS. 5A and 5B show rear post 22 c in more detail (in an exemplary embodiment, rear post 22 d is formed substantially similar to post 22 c discussed hereafter). In one embodiment, post 22 c is an elongate member shaped or formed to have two panel grooves 64 a and 64 b and a channel 66. In an exemplary embodiment, post 22 c is also formed with screw holes 68 and a screw mount 70 formed therein.
  • [0068]
    In one embodiment, panel grooves 64 a and 64 b are square or rectangular and have an opening that forms a slit where panels 28 b and 28 c are inserted. The opening is configured to be the same width or smaller than the thickness of panels 28 b and 28 c such that panels 28 b and 28 c engage the sidewalls and may flex the sidewall and/or walls of panel grooves 64 a and 64 b out slightly.
  • [0069]
    Panel grooves 64 a and 64 b can receive panels 28 b and 28 c by means other than frictionally. For instance, in another embodiment, the edge of panels 28 b and 28 c is shaped to slide into panel grooves 64 a and 64 b from the top end of post 22 c. The shape on the edge is substantially larger than the opening, such that panels 28 b and 28 c are prevented from sliding out of panel grooves 64 a and 64 b, thus interlocking panels 28 b and 28 c with post 22 c.
  • [0070]
    Channel 66 runs longitudinally along the inside of post 22 c and opens to the interior of cabinet 20. Channel 66 is configured to receive a corresponding bracket or structure. Because channel 66 opens to the interior of cabinet 20, channel 66 serves as a mounting apparatus for slidably receiving structures in the interior portion of cabinet 20. Screw holes 68 are centered in the opening of channel 66 such that structures slidably received in channel 66 can be secured or positioned at a desired location along channel 66.
  • [0071]
    As shown in FIG. 5B, in an exemplary embodiment, channel 66 is formed in post 28 c in the cross-sectional shape of a short “T”. Channel 66 has recesses 74 a and 74 b that oppose each other such that opposite ends of a plate slidably fit in channel 66.
  • [0072]
    In one embodiment, channel 66 is configured to receive a drawer bracket 82 discussed in detail below with reference to FIG. 14. Channel 66 is also configured to receive a shelf bracket 36 a-36 d (FIG. 2). Shelf brackets 36 a-36 d are configured to slidably fit within the particular shape of channel 66. Channel 66 retains shelf brackets 36 a-36 d therein. The height of shelf brackets 36 a-36 d is selected by fastening shelf brackets 36 a-36 d to channel 66. Shelf brackets 36 a-36 d support a shelf 38.
  • [0073]
    Cabinet 20 may have any number of shelves positioned at any desired height therein. For a second shelf, an additional bracket is placed on each post 22 a-22 d at the desired height.
  • [0074]
    Another example of a channel (not shown) in a post of the present invention comprises a notch rather than an elongate slot. In the case of notches, clips or other fastening devices may be placed in the notches to support a shelf or a drawer. The clips may clip into position and/or may be fastened with a fastener such as a screw.
  • [0075]
    In an exemplary embodiment, posts 22 a-22 d are formed by extruding aluminum or another material or by blow molding plastic. Posts 22 a-22 d extruded from aluminum are particularly lightweight and sturdy. Extruding posts 22 a-22 d also allows any number of desired grooves and/or channels to be formed therein. Posts 22 a-22 d may also have grooves or channels (e.g., elongate grooves or channels) formed on the outside thereof such that other structures or features can be attached to the outside of cabinet 20 (e.g., with a connecting panel or bracket positioned between adjacent posts). Using outside grooves or channels, cabinets can be connected together or mounted to a wall.
  • [0076]
    In an exemplary embodiment, posts 22 a-22 d are single piece posts. Forming posts 22 a-22 d as a single piece reduces the complexity of assembling cabinet 20 and provides for a more sturdy cabinet 20.
  • [0077]
    FIGS. 6A and 6B, show front post 22 a in more detail (front post 22 b is formed substantially similar to post 22 a described hereafter). Post 22 a has panel groove 64 formed in one side thereof and a flange 74 formed in the other side. Post 22 a also has a screw mount 70 and a channel 66 with screw holes 68 formed therein.
  • [0078]
    As shown in FIG. 6B in an exemplary embodiment, post 22 a is identical to post 22 c except that post 22 a only has one panel groove 64 and post 22 a has a flange that extends along one side thereof. Panel groove 64 of post 22 a is configured to slidably receive side panel 28 a in the same way that panel groove 64 of posts 22 c and 22 d slidably receive side panel 28 c. Channel 66 of post 22 a is also formed the same as channel 66 of posts 22 c and 22 d. Screw holes 68 can be used to secure interior components of cabinet 20 to the frame of cabinet 20. Screw mount 70 is used to connect top member 26 to post 22 a.
  • [0079]
    Flange 74 is formed in post 22 a to be adjacent door 30 a when the door is closed. Hinge rod 40 a of door 30 a is mounted in bottom member 24 such that door 30 a is positioned adjacent to flange 74. Flange 74 provides some enclosure for the gaps that occur do to the spacing needed between door 30 a and post 22 a for door 30 a to open and close.
  • [0080]
    FIG. 7 shows the frame of cabinet 20 with side panels 28 a-28 c inserted therein to form an exterior. Posts 22 a-22 d are mounted between bottom member 24 and top member 26 by inserting posts 22 a-22 d into slots 34 a-34 d of bottom member 24 and secured thereto by screwing a screw or the like through bottom member 24 and into screw mount 70 (FIGS. 5 and 6) in the end of each post 22 a-22 d. In a similar manner, top member 26 is mounted over posts 22 a-22 d on the end opposite bottom member 24.
  • [0081]
    With top member 26 removed, side panels 28 a-28 c are installed between posts 22 a-22 d. Side panels 28 a-28 c are received between two posts 22 a-22 d by sliding the side panel in the panel groove 64 of each of the two posts.
  • [0082]
    In another embodiment, the panel grooves are attached to the frame by a means other than the panel grooves formed in posts 22 a-22 d.
  • [0083]
    In yet another embodiment, grooves can be formed in the top and bottom members of the frame. While one or more of the side panels are received in the grooves in the top and bottom members to form the exterior. In one such embodiment, vertical corner posts are not employed.
  • [0084]
    Casters 32 are mounted to the underside of bottom member 24. Four caster apertures 77 are formed in each corner of bottom member 24 and are configured to receive a screw or the like for securing the corresponding four casters (e.g., casters 32 a-32 c) to cabinet 20. Such casters 32 a-32 c are known in the art and may have known features such as the ability to lock or swivel.
  • [0085]
    Cabinet 20, as shown in FIG. 7, is configured to receive doors 30 a and 30 b. Bottom member 24 and top member 26 have hinge holes 50 for receiving hinge rods 40 a and 40 b of doors 30 a and 30 b (not shown). Posts 22 a-22 d each have a channel 66 for receiving a shelf bracket 36 for installing a shelf in cabinet 20.
  • [0086]
    A stop 76 is formed in bottom member 24. Door 30 a abuts stop 76 when door 30 a is in the closed position. Stop 76 prevents door 30 a from rotating into the interior of cabinet 20. Rim 63 (FIG. 3) abuts door 30 b and prevents door 30 b from rotating into the interior of cabinet 20 when door 30 a is in the closed position.
  • [0087]
    A lock aperture 78 is positioned adjacent to stop 76 and is configured to receive lock rods 54 a and 54 b of lock 46 (FIG. 2). Guide brackets 48 a and 48 b of door 30 b position lock rods 54 a and 54 b over lock aperture 78 such that when lock rods 54 a and 54 b are extended, lock rods 54 a and 54 b slide into lock aperture 78. Top member 26 has a corresponding stop 76 and lock aperture 78.
  • [0088]
    The frame of cabinet 20 can be used in multiple cabinet designs. In addition to receiving doors, modular cabinet 20, shown in FIG. 7, is configured to receive drawers to form a drawer cabinet (discussed in detail below). For instance, channel 66 functions as a point of attachment for alternative interior components such as shelves or drawers. An exterior channel may also be formed on the exterior of posts 22 a-22 d such that components (e.g., additional cabinets) may be attached to the exterior of cabinet 20.
  • [0089]
    Cabinet 20 can be modified by attaching different components to the frame thereof. Alternatively, the frame can be modified to create a similar but different design. For instance, cabinet 20 may be made taller by replacing posts 22 a-22 d and side panels 28 a-28 c with longer posts and taller side panels. In yet another embodiment, cabinet 20 is made wider by replacing one or more of side panels 28 a-28 c and top and bottom members 26 and 24, respectively, with wider versions of each. Cabinet 20 does not necessarily need to be on casters 32. For instance, in one embodiment, cabinet 20 has no casters and is mounted on a wall.
  • [0090]
    Referring now to FIG. 8, the components of modular cabinet 20 can be disassembled and stacked, as shown, for easy and compact shipping. Modular cabinet 20 can be shipped as a kit in a container (e.g., a box) with assembly instructions for the user to assemble at his or her convenience. Shipping cabinet 20 in compacted form and allowing the purchaser or user to assemble cabinet 20 significantly reduces shipping and manufacturing costs.
  • [0091]
    Because of the simple construction of modular cabinet 20, a purchaser or user can easily assemble modular cabinet 20. A user assembles cabinet 20 by fastening casters 32 to bottom member 24. Posts 22 are mounted to bottom member 24 with a screw or like fastener. Side panels 28 a-28 c slide into panel grooves 64 of posts 22 a-22 d. Doors 30 a and 30 b are assembled by screwing handles 44 a and 44 b to door panels 39 a and 39 b with spacers 62 a and 62 b therebetween. Lock 46 and guide brackets 48 a and 48 b are attached to panel 39 b. Doors 30 a and 30 b are then slidably received in hinge holes 50 of bottom member 24. Top member 26 is mounted on the partial assembly of cabinet 20 by inserting hinge rods 40 a and 40 b into hinge holes 50 of top member 26. Top member is then fastened to posts 22 a-22 d at its corners using screws or the like.
  • [0092]
    As shown in FIG. 9, modular cabinet 20 can have drawers 80 installed therein in place of doors 30 a and 30 b. In an exemplary embodiment, drawers 80 include four drawers. However, cabinet 20 can have any desired number of drawers or both drawers and doors.
  • [0093]
    Modular cabinet 20 with drawers 80 has the same posts 22 a-22 d, bottom member 24, top member 26, side panels 28 a-28 c and casters 32 a-32 c. Drawers 80 can also use the same handle 44 and spacers 62 as used on doors 30. Top drawer 80 a has a drawer lock 81 for securing and locking drawers 80 and preventing access thereto.
  • [0094]
    FIG. 10 shows an exploded view of cabinet 20 with drawers 80 a-80 d. Drawer brackets 82 are mounted between two posts on either side of cabinet 20. Drawer brackets 82 are positioned at a desired height to allow clearance between individual drawers 80 a-80 d and/or top or bottom members 26 and 24, respectively. A slide rail 84 is attached to drawer bracket 82. A slide rail insert 86 attaches to drawers 80 a-80 d. Slide rail 84 is configured to slidably receive slide rail insert 86. The sliding mechanism of slide rail 84 and slide rail insert 86 allows drawers 80 a-80 d to slidably move relative to drawer bracket 82 such that drawers 80 a-80 d can move between an open and a closed position. A slit 87 is formed in drawers 80-80 d to provide a location for latching drawers 80 a-80 d.
  • [0095]
    FIG. 11 shows drawer brackets 82 mounted between posts 22 b and 22 c. Each drawer bracket 82 is slidably received within channel 66 of post 22 b and 22 c.
  • [0096]
    The drawer version of cabinet 20 also includes a retainer 88 that can prevent drawers 80 b-80 d from opening when drawer 80 a is closed. An activator tab 89 runs parallel to the back of drawers 80 a-80 d and is configured to be contacted by drawer 80 a when drawer 80 a is in the closed position. Latches 90 run parallel to the side of drawers 80 b-80 d and each latch is configured to engage one of drawers 80 b-80 d when drawer 80 a is moved to the closed position.
  • [0097]
    FIG. 12 shows cabinet 20 with drawers 80 a-80 d installed therein. Drawer brackets 82 are connected to and supported by posts 22 a-22 d. Drawer brackets 82 provide the necessary structural support for drawers 80 a-80 d. Drawer brackets 82 are mounted on posts 22 a-22 d at a desired height such that drawers 80 a-80 d are properly spaced in cabinet 20.
  • [0098]
    Drawers 80 a-80 d are shown in FIG. 12 in the closed position. With top drawer 80 a in the closed position, latches 90 of retainer 88 are partially inserted into slits 87 thereby engaging drawers 80 b-80 d and preventing them from sliding to the open position.
  • [0099]
    FIG. 13 shows, slide rail 84, slider rail insert 86, and drawer bracket 82 in more detail. Slide rail 84 has an inner rail 92 that is formed to slidably receive slide rail insert 86. Inner rail 92 also slides within slide rail 84. When one of drawers 80 a-80 d is opened, slide rail insert 86, and if necessary inner rail 86, extend to open drawers 80 a-80 b. Slide mechanisms for drawers are well known in the art. Any slide mechanism capable of connecting to the frame of cabinet 20 can be used with the present invention. For instance, the slide mechanism for drawers 80 a-80 d may have ball bearings to facilitate sliding.
  • [0100]
    Drawer bracket 82 has an elongate plate 94 with holes 96 for attaching slide rail 84. At each end of elongate plate 94, a mounting plate 98 is formed thereon. As discussed above, drawer bracket 82 is mounted between two posts 22. Plate 98, located on each end of drawer bracket 82, is configured to slide into channel 66 of post 22. Drawer bracket 82 slides within channel 66 and is positioned at a desired height by placing a screw through hole 100 in mounting plate and into screw hole 68 of post 22 (FIGS. 5 and 6).
  • [0101]
    Drawer bracket 82 has a leg 102 at each end that is angled to position mounting plate 98 at the proper angle to be received by channel 66 of posts 22 a-22 d. In addition, by angling leg 102, elongate plate 94 extends inward thereby providing clearance between drawers 80 a-80 d and posts 22 a-22 d. Drawer bracket 82 also provides additional structural support for the frame of cabinet 20. This additional structural support allows cabinet 20 with drawers to withstand greater loads.
  • [0102]
    In an exemplary embodiment, drawer brackets 82 are made from a single planer elongate strip of metal. Plate 98 is formed by punching out a portion of leg 102 to leave a hole 104. Forming drawer bracket 82 from a single piece minimizes manufacturing costs.
  • [0103]
    Drawer 80 is shown in exploded view in FIG. 14 to illustrate the drawer components and knock down capability of drawer 80. Drawer 80 is formed from a bottom plate 104, two side plates 106, a front plate 108 and a rear plate 110. The drawer plates can be made of thin metal or alternatively any or all of the drawer plates may be made of plastic or another sturdy material. Drawer 80 may knock down as described more fully below with reference to FIGS. 17-20. Alternatively, the plates of drawer 80 may connect by fastening such as by screwing, or the plates may connect by other means such as by snapping or adhesive.
  • [0104]
    Drawer 80 also has a cover 112 that fits over front plate 108. Cover 112 is made of a finished material such as tread plate to protect drawer 80. Handle 44 and spacers 62 are connected to cover 112 and front plate 108. Handle 44 provides means for moving drawer 80 between the open and closed positions. Slide rail inserts 86 are connected to each of the two side plates 106. As discussed above, drawer 80 slides between an open and a closed position on slide rails 84. Side plate 106 has slit 87 where latches 90 of retainer 88 (FIG. 12) can latch drawer 80 and prevent it from sliding.
  • [0105]
    Drawer 80 is modular such that it can be shipped in pieces to be assembled by a purchaser or a user. Shipping drawers 80 disassembled and compacted reduces shipping costs and eliminates most of the manufacturer's expenses that would be associated with assembling drawers 80.
  • [0106]
    FIG. 15A shows retainer 88 of cabinet 20 in more detail. Retainer 88 forms a shaft having activator tab 89 and latches 90 connected thereto. Activator tab 89 is formed generally perpendicular to latches 90. Upper and lower pins 114 a and 114 b are formed in respective ends of retainer 88.
  • [0107]
    A top bracket 116 and a bottom bracket 118 receive pins 114 of retainer 88 such that retainer 88 is mounted between top bracket 116 and bottom bracket 118. Top and bottom brackets 116 and 118 allow retainer 88 to rotate thereon. Top and bottom brackets 116 and 118 also connect to post 22 c, thereby connecting retainer 88 to the frame of cabinet 20. When top drawer 80 a contacts activator tab 89, retainer 88 rotates within brackets 116-118, thereby causing latches 90 a-90 c to move into slits 87. This retains each of drawers 80 b-80 d in a locked position.
  • [0108]
    Bottom latch 90 a and bottom bracket 118 are connected by a spring 122. As shown in FIG. 15B, bottom latch 90 a has a hook 124 where spring 122 attaches on one end. Bottom bracket 118 has a hook 125 for attaching the other end of spring 122.
  • [0109]
    In FIG. 16A, retainer 88 is shown in the latched position. When drawer 80 a contacts tab 89, retainer 88 is rotated and bottom latch 90 a is inserted in slit 87 of bottom drawer 80 d. The latches 90 a-90 c engage respective drawers 80 b-80 d and prevent drawers 80 b-80 d from sliding to the open position. When drawer 80 a is not moved against tab 89, spring 122 exerts a force on latch 90 a, which biases latch 90 a and retainer 88 to move to the unlatched position. However, when drawer 80 a (FIG. 12) is in the closed position, drawer 80 a engages activator tab 89 and causes retainer 88 to rotate until latches 90 engage slits 87 in drawers 80 b-80 d. Thus, drawer 80 a in the closed position forces latch retainer 88 to rotate to the closed position.
  • [0110]
    In FIG. 16B, drawer 80 a is in the open position and retainer 88 is rotated to the unlatched position. Spring 122 biases retainer 88 such that when drawer 80 a is in the open or partially open position, latches 90 are automatically disengaged from slits 87 in drawers 80 b-80 d.
  • [0111]
    In one embodiment of the present invention, the drawers 80 a-80 d knock down and are readily assemblable by a user. FIG. 17A illustrates various plates of an exemplary drawer 80. In one embodiment, side plates 106 each have a first drawer groove 126 a formed along the bottom thereof and a second drawer groove 126 b formed along the rear thereof.
  • [0112]
    FIG. 17B shows a close-up view of the drawer groove 126 formed in side plate 106. As shown in FIG. 17B, the edge of side plate 106 is folded over to form a tongue 127. The drawer groove 126 b is likewise formed from a folded edge to form a tongue 127.
  • [0113]
    Rear plate 110 has a similar drawer groove 126 c, including folded edge to form a tongue, that is formed at each end thereof and is configured to slidably receive and interlock correspondingly configured drawer grooves 126 b of side plates 106.
  • [0114]
    Likewise, bottom plate 104 has a drawer groove 126 d that includes a tongue is formed in each side thereof. Drawer groove 126 d is configured to be slidably received in respective bottom drawer groove 126 a of each side plate 106.
  • [0115]
    A flange 128 a is formed on the bottom edge of rear plate 110. A plurality of tabs 130 a (FIG. 17C) are formed along the rear part of bottom plate 104. One such tab 130 is shown in a close-up view in FIG. 17C. Tab 130 forms a drawer groove and is configured to receive and engage flange 128 of a rear plate 110. Tab 130 is a type of drawer groove that does not include the tongue 127.
  • [0116]
    Bottom plate 104 also has a flange 128 b that is configured to engage front plate 108 (FIG. 18A).
  • [0117]
    Drawer 80 is assembled by holding first and second side plates 106 vertical and sliding the drawer grooves 126 c of rear plate 110 into the drawer groove 126 b of respective first and second side plates 106. Bottom plate 104 is then slidably received by side plates 106 by sliding opposing drawer grooves 126 d on bottom plate 104 in the bottom drawer groove 126 a of respective side plates 106. As bottom plate 104 reaches complete insertion, the plurality of tabs 130 engage flange 128 a.
  • [0118]
    In FIG. 18A, side plates 106, rear plate 110 and bottom plate 104 are fully engaged. As shown in FIG. 18B, when drawer grooves 126 a and 126 d slidably engage, they form a double tongue-and-groove relationship. Tongue 127 that forms groove 126 a fits in groove 126 d and tongue 127 that forms groove 126 d fits in groove 126 a. In an exemplary embodiment, rear plate 110 also engages side plates 106 in a double tongue and groove relationship.
  • [0119]
    Turning now to FIG. 18C, bottom plate 104 and rear plate 110 are configured to engage one another. As shown in FIG. 18C, tab 130 of bottom plate 104 engages flange 128 a of rear plate 110 in a single tongue and groove fashion where tab 130 forms the groove and flange 128 a forms a tongue.
  • [0120]
    FIG. 18A also illustrates how front plate 108 is connected to form drawer 80. Front plate 108 is initially inserted between flange 128 (FIG. 17A) and fastener tabs 134 of side plates 106. Front plate 108 is then slidably received by bottom plate 104.
  • [0121]
    FIG. 19 shows front plate fully installed in the drawer assembly. Tabs 130 on front plate 108 are slidably received by flange 128 b of bottom plate 104. The connection between bottom plate 104 is a single tongue and groove relationship similar to the engagement between bottom plate 104 and rear plate 110.
  • [0122]
    FIG. 20 shows the final assembly step for assembling an exemplary drawer of the present invention. Screw 136 is inserted through hole 140 of side plate 106 and secured with a nut 138. Screws 142 a and 142 b are inserted through respective holes 144 a and 144 b in front plate 108 and respective holes 146 a and 146 b of cover 112 and respective spacers 62 a and 62 b and attached to handle 44. Connecting screws 142 a and 142 b to handle 44 secures cover 112 to drawer.
  • [0123]
    In another embodiment of a knock down type drawer of the present invention, the groove and tongue connections between plates are arranged differently. For instance, the front plate may engage the side plates by a double tongue and groove relationship. In yet another version of the drawer of the present invention, clips are used to connect the plates of the drawer to assemble the drawer.
  • [0124]
    The present invention may be embodied in other specific forms without departing from its spirit or essential characteristics. The described embodiments are to be considered in all respects only as illustrative and not restrictive. The scope of the invention is, therefore, indicated by the appended claims rather than by the foregoing description. All changes which come within the meaning and range of equivalency of the claims are to be embraced within their scope.
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Classifications
U.S. Classification312/249.11
International ClassificationA47B88/00, A47B31/00, B62B3/02, B62B3/00, A47B88/04, A47B47/00
Cooperative ClassificationA47B88/941, A47B88/40, B62B3/006, A47B31/00, B62B2205/006, B62B3/02, A47B47/0083
European ClassificationA47B88/00D, A47B88/04, A47B47/00T, B62B3/00C, B62B3/02, A47B31/00
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Mar 1, 2004ASAssignment
Owner name: ICON IP, INC., UTAH
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:DALEBOUT, WILLIAM T.;UTYKANSKI, PHILIP A.;WHITE, JON M.;AND OTHERS;REEL/FRAME:015018/0156
Effective date: 20040116
Nov 7, 2005ASAssignment
Owner name: BANK OF AMERICA, N.A., AS ADMINISTRATIVE AGENT, MA
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