US 20050193530 A1
A storage system having a releasably mounted mounting clip that can be connected to a wall stud or ceiling joist. A variety of storage components can be joined to the mounting clip. The mounting clip can also be used to join boards and panels to construct furniture and stand-alone storage units.
1. A releasable mounting clip, comprising:
a clamp having a pair of jaws adapted to move relative to one another to clamp onto a supporting structure; and
an accessory mount joined to the clamp, and adapted to be secured to a plurality of modular storage components.
2. The releasable mounting clip of
a clip lock joined to the clamp for preventing unintentional movement of the mounting clip from the closed position to the opened position; and
a resilient locking handle for preventing the clip lock from inadvertent release.
3. The releasable mounting clip of
an ear defining a hole; and
a pin for insertion through the hole when the mounting clip is in the closed position.
4. The mounting clip of
a bicycle rack for connection to the accessory mount.
5. The mounting clip of
a shelf defining flange; and
a tool hook defining a channel for mating with the shelf flange to releasably engage the tool hook to the shelf.
This application is a continuation-in-part of application Ser. No. 10/412,623 filed Apr. 11, 2003, the disclosure of which is incorporated by reference herein.
This invention relates generally to storage systems and, more particularly, to a modular storage system having as its foundation a mounting clip that mounts to exposed wall studs or ceiling joists without the use of tools or additional fasteners. It provides a safe and secure connection that can be removed and reinstalled as desired.
In garages, basements, shops, offices, and buildings under construction, there are collections of items that are stored for short and long term. With varying degrees of organization, there can be clothing, tools, office supplies, sporting equipment, bicycles, recreational toys, yard furniture, yard tools, paint cans, gas cans, gardening accessories, lawn chemicals and any other item that can be stored in such areas. The degree of organization depends in large part on the availability of suitable storage space that may or may not be dedicated to the particular item being stored.
The notion of “a place for every thing and every thing in its place” has spurred home centers to stock large inventories of shelving and related items. Entire stores are now devoted to selling products for efficient storage of household and office items.
Shelving can be mounted on a wall and provide ample space for small items that are not desirably stored on a floor. Shelves and specialized racks are mounted on walls or ceilings using nails, screws or other suitable connectors. Mounting these items can vary in the degree of difficulty and the success and safety of a storage unit will, in large part, depend upon the skill of the installer.
To simplify installation, storage systems are known that use a single type of wall connection component on which various types of hangers can be mounted. A wall connection in one such system is a vertical standard having a series of vertical slots into which shelf brackets are inserted. The standards are screwed to a wall and are most secure when the screws are driven into the wooden studs supporting the wall.
Shelves are then mounted on the brackets and a number of different hooks, racks, and hangers can then be attached to store clothing, linens, office supplies, kitchen sundries, shop and yard tools, bicycles, skis and other sporting equipment.
These systems enable one to master the installation of a single type of component and realize the benefit of numerous different storage receptacles that are for general storage or dedicated receptacles. They typically provide a permanent installation of the standard, but are able to be rearranged with whatever storage receptacle is required for a given time. The systems are popular and efficient organizers, but they tend to be expensive and require numerous components for even basic installations.
Different types of clips, hangers, and mounts have been devised to simplify storage and/or installation. See for example, U.S. Pat. Nos. 2,852,802; 3,586,284; 4,286,444; 5,067,200; 5,172,529; 5,199,218; 5,842,581; and 6,315,134.
Despite efforts in the prior storage systems, there is none that provides a truly secure connection that can be installed without the use of tools. There is no known system that permits easy relocation of a mounting standard to suit changing storage needs. Further, there is no known storage system that provides installers of any skill level the identical measure of safety and precision for the wall or ceiling connection. Finally, there is no known system having a connector that is versatile enough to be used as a connector for assembly of “knock-down” or temporary furniture that can be used on construction sites, for example.
The present invention provides a mounting clip that can be installed on an exposed wall stud or ceiling joist without the use of tools. It provides a secure connection for a variety of hangers, receptacles, or other useful articles that can be supported on a wall or ceiling. The mounting clip of the invention can be installed, removed and reinstalled with consistent strength of the connection. The connection is so strong that it can be used to permanently secure plumbing, electrical and other building components in place. A mounting clip in accordance with the present invention can also be used to assemble temporary furniture and stand-alone storage units that require no connection to a wall.
The present invention is adaptable for use with any number of storage components that may be shelving units, racks, receptacles, or other dedicated storage unit. The mounting clip includes a clamp and an accessory mount. The clamp secures a clip to a board, pipe, or panel and the accessory mount enables connection to a variety of storage components.
One embodiment of the present invention is directed to a mounting clip that has a base plate, a clamping jaw, and a hand-operated lever that pivots to secure the clip to any exposed wooden building stud or joist component. The mounting clip's base plate and clamping jaw include opposing teeth that penetrate the wood when the lever is pivoted about its hinge.
A hinge is used to join the base plate and clamping jaw and enable relative clamping movement of the two. Preferably, the hinge is an over-the-center type that provides a very secure clamping action that is safe and consistent every time the mounting clip is installed. When the lever has been operated to secure the mounting clip into place there is one or more tab or “ear” that extends up adjacent to the clamping jaw. The tab has a hole through it that can receive a pin only when the mounting clip is in a fully installed position to serve as a clip lock. The base plate and clamping jaw must pivot relative to one another to be disengaged from the stud. To pivot relative to one another requires the base plate to move relative to the ear. This arrangement enables the pin in the tab holes to prevent accidental or unintentional disengagement when in place.
The clamping mechanism of the base plate and clamping jaw is activated by a lever that is hinged to the base plate at a location that is offset form the hinge that joins the base plate and clamping jaw. The optimum arrangement of hinges permits installation and removal by hand without the use of tools.
The pin is inserted through the hole in the tab and can serve the additional function of supporting any kind of storage system component that can possibly be designed to be joined to the pin. Shelf brackets, hooks, racks, baskets, cabinets, and other storage components are easily joined to the mounting clip by the pin. The pin thus prevents the clip from being disengaged and can simultaneously provide a connection point to a wall or ceiling. The pin can also support a pivoting storage component that can move relative to the clip due to the hinge action provided by the pin.
The clips are inexpensive to manufacture relative to the popular shelf standards used in modular storage systems today.
In the following detailed description of drawings the same reference numeral will be used to identify the same or similar elements in each of the figures.
The illustrated lever 26 has triangular flanges 27, which provide a location for connecting the base plate hinge 30 and the clamping jaw hinge 38 to the lever. The two hinges 30 and 38 are spaced apart to provide sufficient leverage to secure the mounting clip 20 to a stud 56.
The base plate 28 is preferably bent into an L-shape as illustrated, and has inwardly extending teeth 32 at one end and outwardly extending flanges 34 on the other end. The teeth 32 are shaped and dimensioned to engage and penetrate a wood stud 56 (
The clamping jaw 36 has inwardly extending teeth 40 that oppose the base plate teeth 32 to provide a solid stud connection. The clamping jaw 36 is sized to mate with the base plate 28 in the closed position (
The clamping jaw 36 in this illustrated embodiment includes a clip lock 48 that preferably includes upwardly extending flanges or ears 50, between which the base plate 28 is disposed. The ears 50 have aligned holes 52 that receive a pin 54 (
The mounting clip 20 is illustrated as having teeth 32 that penetrate wood studs as described above. The illustrated teeth are triangular, but they could be other shapes, sizes, and orientations. This design is perfectly acceptable where the resulting indented appearance of the stud is unimportant after the mounting clip 20 is removed. When appearance is important or the mounting clip 20 will be joined to materials that cannot be penetrated by the teeth 32, the mounting clip 20 can be fitted with compressible or high friction materials. Teeth, compressible materials or friction materials are all generally comprised in a category of clamp enhancers, but these may not be necessary when the clamp is designed to exert adequate pressure on the surface to which the clamp is mounted. Friction pads, rubber boots, plastics, adhesives, etc. can be used as clamp enhancers to further secure the mounting clip 20 for added security, and other materials or shapes of teeth can be used as well.
One category of clamp enhancers applies a highly localized pressure on the board or other member by effectively reducing the size of the clamp's interior space when in the closed positions. Without a clamp enhancer of this latter type, the mounting clip 20 defines an interior space dimension. These clamp enhancers effectively reduce the interior space dimension so that the clamping pressure is increased. Further, because the clamp enhancers preferably have a smaller surface area than the faces of the clamp 22, the force exerted by the clamp enhancers is greater. Teeth are thus able to penetrate wood and resilient pads grip better. Clamp enhancers can be: formed integrally with; joined to; or simply disposed in the space that is surrounded by the clamp 22.
The mounting clip 20 is illustrated as being connectable to a substantially rectangular member, but it can be shaped to connect to other shapes as well. For example, pipes, bars, and other round objects can be considered for use with a mounting clip 20 that has an arcuate base plate 28 and clamping jaw 36.
In operation, the mounting clip 20 is placed with the lever 26 in the opened position, the base plate teeth 32 on the opposite side of a stud, and the clamping jaw 36 teeth 40 on the near side of the stud. (See:
A pin 54 (generally referred to as an “accessory mount”) can secure brackets of many shapes and sizes to the secured mounting clip 20. The remaining drawings in the packet illustrate brackets, hangers, hinges, and other storage components that mate with the ear holes 52 so that a pin 54 can be inserted to provide secure storage even for very heavy loads. The drawings should be self-explanatory in this regard.
The wing portions 72 have retainer tabs 76 engage racks 80 (
The illustrated mounting clip 20 is preferably made of stainless steel to withstand corrosive environments or cold-rolled steel and/or plated if desired. Other materials will work also. The parts can be stamped out of sheet stock and bent to shape with adequate precision. The pin 54 is also preferably made of cold-rolled or stainless steel and it can be plated as desired. The adaptors described above are preferably plastic and are more preferably molded polypropylene or glass-filled nylon, or they can be zinc.
The lever 226 includes a cover 225 that provides added leverage due to its flared distal end 227. The smooth edges and corners also are less likely to cause discomfort to a user while being installed and uninstalled due to the ergonometric shape of the cover 225. Further, the cover 225 can provide a surface on which a corporate logo or other design 229 can be placed. Preferably, the cover 225 is made of a base 217 of relatively rigid material such as an olefin plastic, and a relatively soft grip 219 that is preferably a thermoplastic elastomer. The cover 225 includes tabs 205 which allow the cover to be snapped into the lever 226. Other means can also be used to connect the two.
The clamp 222 components are also somewhat modified in the mounting clip 200 as compared to the clamp 20 described above. The base plate 228 has inwardly extending teeth 232, but these are a different shape than those described in relation to the embodiment in FIGS. 1 to 4. In the mounting clip 200, the teeth 232, 240 are formed around generally circular openings. In a preferred embodiment, the teeth 232 and 240 are formed by piercing the base plate 228 and clamping jaw 236 so that the teeth 232 and 240 are essentially irregular triangular shapes that do not penetrate the wood excessively, but provide adequate grip. This formation of teeth is preferred over continuous ring-shaped teeth because the teeth 232 and 240 will not have as severe an impact on the board on which the clip is mounted. This is particularly beneficial when the clips 200 are going to be moved along the length of a board from time-to-time. It is not as critical when the clips 200 are relocated less frequently.
To further reduce the impact on the board, the teeth 232 and 240 are not all in a straight line vertically or horizontally (
Further, the teeth 232 and 240 do not need to penetrate the board very deeply due to their shape and size. The increased number, shape, and arrangement of teeth permit the use of shorter teeth that are not as likely to damage the associated board.
The base plate 228 is also formed with integral ribs 231 to provide rigidity. The clamping jaw 236 includes mating ribs 233, also for rigidity.
The base plate 228 of the mounting clip 200 also includes a pair of holes 235 through which nails, screws, or other fasteners can be driven into a board on which the mounting clip 200 is mounted. This provides additional load bearing capability, as well as serving as a theft inhibitor, but it is not necessary for most storage loads. A mating pair of slots 237 in the clamping jaw 236 aligns with the holes 235 so that whatever type of fastener is used, it can be installed after the mounting clip 200 has been moved to a closed position. (See:
The mounting clip 200, otherwise is very similar to the mounting clip 20 in design, materials, and operation. As viewed in
In alternate embodiments, the pin 241 is inserted through the holes 252 after an adaptor is placed over the mounting clip 200. Various adaptors are illustrated in
Also, because the modular storage components are interchangeable and may be used in different storage situations, it is possible to use them without a mounting clip of the type described herein. Instead, a mounting plate without the clamp feature of the mounting clip, can be fastened to a flat surface, such as a wall, and used with adaptors and storage components such as those described herein.
The bar 306 and shelf 310 are preferably extruded plastic or aluminum, but other shapes and materials can be used.
The resilient locking handle 400 includes a relatively rigid thumb grip 402 and a relatively resilient finger grip 404. On the lower side of the finger grip 404, a hook 406 is formed to engage the accessory mount 224 when installed. The locking handle 400 is easily operated by squeezing the thumb grip 402 and the finger grip 404 together to pivot the hook 406 into and out of engagement with the accessory mount 224. Further when installing this embodiment of the pin 241 with locking handle 400, a cam surface 408 is provided on the lower side of the hook 406 to engage the accessory mount 224 and snap the hook 406 into place simply by pushing the pin 241 and locking handle 400 into the holes 252 without squeezing (or with reduced squeezing effort) of the thumb grip 402 and finger grip 404.
On the base plate 426 is a channel 432 that is disposed between the accessory mount 224 of the mounting clip 200. The channel 432 includes holes 434 aligned with the holes 252 in the accessory mount 224 to accept the pin 241 and secure the bicycle rack 420 to the mounting clip 200. The hooks 422 and 424 could be used to hang things such as bicycles, hoses, and ladders, and they are not exclusively designed to store any one type of product.
A shelf 440 is also illustrated, which is joined to the mounting clips 200 via a transverse extruded bar 444 that extends through the channels 432 on the bicycle rack 420. The transverse bar 444 extends through a slot 446 on the underside of the shelf 440. The shelf 440 is preferably extruded plastic, but can be any suitable material.
The shelf 440 includes stabilizer brackets 448 that bear on studs (not illustrated) to provide torsional stability for the shelf 440. For additional stability, the stabilizer brackets 448 are fitted with leaf springs 450 that are compressed against the wall studs on installation and ensure a snug fit for the shelf. With this increased stability, heavier loads can be placed on or hung from the shelf 440 without risk of tipping and spilling the contents of the shelf 440.
The bicycle rack 460 includes an upper helmet hook 462 and a lower bicycle hook 464. A basket 466 is suspended from the bicycle hook 464. This embodiment of the bicycle rack 460 can be folded down when not in use because the hooks 462 and 464 are hinged. Hinges 470 are formed between the bicycle hook 464 and a pair of vertical rods 472 that are joined to the base plate 426. The vertical rods 472 are bent into loops 474 that restrain the bicycle hook 464 into a pivoting movement relative to the rods 472. The upper ends of the vertical rods 472 include hooks 476 for receiving and suspending the helmet hook 462. Finally, a pivot plate 478 and tension rod 479 joins the helmet hook 462 to the bicycle hook 464 to suspend the bicycle hook 464 from the vertical rod hooks 472.
In this configuration, it can be seen that the bicycle rack 460 is placed in its illustrated configuration and that the bicycle hook 464 is essentially suspended away from the wall by hanging in the helmet hook 462 in the rod hooks 476. To place the bicycle rack 460 in a storage (or folded) position, the helmet hook 462 is lifted up and removed from the rod hooks 476 to allow the bicycle hook 464 and the helmet hook 478 to pivot downward and adjacent to the wall. The opposite procedure would be used to replace the bicycle rack 460 to the use position illustrated in
The basket 466 is preferably made of a flexible fabric or netting to accommodate the folding and unfolding of the bicycle rack 460. A reinforcing rod 480 is preferably sewn into the basket 466 to provide stability. Buttons 482 reinforce the fabric seams to allow heavier loads to be placed in the basket 466.
Finally, resilient or other non-abrasive material 484 can be used on the hooks 462 and 464 to reduce the risk of scratching bicycle paint, helmets, or other accessories stored on the bicycle rack 460.
Disposed on the bar 516 are a number of tool hooks 522. The tool hooks 522 include a central slotted portion 524, a lower hook 526, and an upper channel 528. The channels 528 are for receiving a flange on a shelf, bar, or overhead storage system, such as depicted in
Under the shelf 440, is a bar 516 fitted with another embodiment of tool hooks 540 that have channels 542 that slidably engage a lower flange 544 on the bar 516.
It should be understood, that due to the modularity of the storage systems described herein, there are other anchoring pieces that could be used in place of the clips 20 and 200. Other anchors that may be joined to a wall or ceiling by other means, such as screws or nails, can take advantage of the modular storage systems described herein so long as they include any accessory mount that is compatible with these systems.
The foregoing detailed description is intended for clearness of understanding the invention, and no unnecessary limitations therefrom should be read into the following claims.