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Publication numberUS20060048459 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 10/935,435
Publication dateMar 9, 2006
Filing dateSep 7, 2004
Priority dateSep 7, 2004
Publication number10935435, 935435, US 2006/0048459 A1, US 2006/048459 A1, US 20060048459 A1, US 20060048459A1, US 2006048459 A1, US 2006048459A1, US-A1-20060048459, US-A1-2006048459, US2006/0048459A1, US2006/048459A1, US20060048459 A1, US20060048459A1, US2006048459 A1, US2006048459A1
InventorsThomas Moore
Original AssigneeMoore Thomas D
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Modular insulated panel collapsible sport/utility shanty
US 20060048459 A1
Abstract
An enclosure constructed of vinyl foam filled blow-molded panels. These panels are structured with tongue and groove connections built in to provide quick interlock one to another without the need for tools in assembly or disassembly. The construction characteristics provide panels that are rigid, strong, insulated, sound deadened with high flotation qualities. The enclosure is transportable by towing the assembled structure on a built-in sled bottom or dissembling the panels, stacking them and transporting them in a vehicle.
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Claims(12)
1. A portable enclosure for year-round outdoor activities, the enclosure comprising:
an assembly of panels structured to interlock one to another comprising interlocking floor panels, interlocking wall panels, interlocking roof panels, and an interlocking doorjamb panel, each panel comprising a molded structural shell having a hollow interior filled with thermal insulation material and having edges adapted to mate with edges of adjacent panels in tongue and groove interlocking connections forming weather sealed connections between panels, each of the panels adapted for heat insulation, sound insulation, and flotation and the assembly of panels adapted to be assembled together without the use of tools to form an enclosure, adapted to be disassembled without the use of tools, and adapted to be stacked together for transporting and storage;
2. The enclosure of claim 1 wherein the doorjamb panel further comprises a frame opening having a peripheral seal for engaging a door in a weatherproof fit and at least two vertical pins and further comprising a door having at least two brackets with vertical openings adapted to fit over the pins with a pivotable connection so that rings and pins serve as hinges for the door and the door fits within the frame opening with a tight weatherproof fit.
3. The enclosure of claim 1 wherein the panels are fabricated of vinyl formable by a blow molded process.
4. The enclosure of claim 1 wherein the panels are fabricated of vinyl formable by a vacuum molded process.
5. The enclosure of claim 1 wherein the panels are expansion foam filled to provide additional strength, rigidity, insulation, sounds deadening and added flotation.
6. The enclosure of claim 1 further comprising at least one stainless steel insert molded into a panel, the insert adapted to act as a heat shield.
7. The enclosure of claim 1 wherein the roof panels have a radius formed flange molded in a way that when assembled, sheds rain from the roof.
8. The enclosure of claim 1 further comprising a sleigh base with runners to enable the assembled enclosure to be towed.
9. The enclosure of claim 1 further comprising at least one floor trap door panel attached by a pop-in hinge to an opening in a floor panel adapted for use in ice fishing.
10. The enclosure of claim 1 further comprising at least one window opening in a side panel with side tracks adjacent to the at least one window opening and a window slide block adapted to slide in the side tracks for covering and uncovering the at least one window opening.
11. The enclosure of claim 1 further comprising a chimney access opening in a roof panel and a chimney access opening cover with a plug adapted for fitting in the chimney access opening.
12. The enclosure of claim 1 further comprising at least one pair of injected molded handy hold fasteners adapted to maintain coupling of the panels once assembled and adapted to be assembles and disassembled with out the use of tools.
Description
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to collapsible, towable shelters and particularly to a rigid vinyl structure constructed of modular interlocking vinyl foam-filled blow-molded panels, which may be used for temporary housing while engaging in field sports, work and recreational activities.

2. Description of the Prior Art

Sports-people utilize many styles of professionally fabricated and small homemade dwellings for protection against the elements and to render themselves invisible. These dwellings are constructed of materials such as canvas, wood, metal, nylon, plastic, glass, paperboard, leather and fiberglass. These small huts, houses, sheds, shanties, blinds or tents are constructed in a variety of ways. People have used ingenious concepts as a means to be in the wilderness undetected by wildlife. Small dwellings of this sort have existed for more than a century. The primary use of such an enclosure has been in the field for hunting and ice fishing. The inconvenience of hauling, moving and storing a small building limit their use amongst sports-people.

The vast majority of hunting and fishing enthusiast's want to spend their time engaged in the sport. They don't want to be encumbered with lugging around a building that once set up, doesn't provide the comfort or protection that was anticipated. The buildings constructed for deer hunting quite often are left on site year around. The ones constructed for spearing or fishing shanties have to be removed as the ice on lakes break up or by a specified date. Once removed, the small but cumbersome buildings are stored until the next season. Because of the “homemade” construction, the dwellings are hidden from view for lack of aesthetic appeal. The fact that these temporary dwellings are seasonal, complex to move and store, have challenged the minds of many would be inventors.

There have been hundreds of inventors who have created all kinds of camouflaged enclosures for man to hide from wildlife while in their domain. In the past, it would seem the inventor's approach is of a similar concept. It would appear that virtually most prior art describes a portable enclosure of a collapsible nature. They deal frequently with a foldable material with various types of support hardware. Most do not allow for freedom of movement or creature comforts while being utilized. When not in use for hunting and fishing, the shelters need to be stored. This is a particular problem during the off season.

The concern of what to do with the enclosures when not in use, often prevent ownership. Units of this magnitude are often challenging to erect and to knockdown. Once collapsed they can still be difficult to handle and store. Many sports people do away with this type of equipment after using only a few times. They look on them as more of a nuisance than a worthwhile piece of equipment.

Most inventions of temporary enclosures never make the marketplace. Only a relative few are manufactured beyond prototype. The most prominent in sporting goods outlets is the tent type with plastic or wood floors. They utilize modular tube type frames that when knocked down are still difficult to store. These tent type shelters are not suitable for spear fishing since they are not light tight. The absence of outside light is absolutely necessary for success in this sport. These types of shelters are dangerous because they afford no method of vented heat. Users often utilize gas mantle lights or infrared stoves as a heat source, which can cause illness or even death by asphyxiation. While they do provide protection from wind and rain, one must still remain bundled up when temperatures are below freezing. For limited comfort and convenience, the tent type enclosures are very expensive. They have a very limited season of use and can not be left on site. They must be manned when erected or they will blow over or away even in low winds.

All of the portable and permanent types of shelters whether manufactured or homemade, run a risk of being trapped in the ice. Many have actually sunk putting users in harms way. Owners are responsible for shanty removal when lost to open water as well as paying a large fine.

Prior art devices have not adequately solved these problems.

U.S. Patent Application #20030140573, published Jul. 31, 2003 by Marcinkowski, describes an assembleable and towable ice fishing shanty/hunting blind. The portable and assembleable enclosure has a floor constructed of a first rigid panel and a second hingedly interconnecting panel, a recessed channel extending about an outer perimeter of the floor panels. A plurality of walls are each constructed of a rigid material and exhibit an annular shaped projection along a first extending side edge. A corresponding and annular shaped recess extends along a second extending side edge and receives, in engaging fashion, a first extending side edge of a succeeding wall and so that the walls may be interconnected along opposing extending edges in addition to being secured to the floor in upwardly extending fashion from within the recessed channel. A peaked roof is constructed of a first rigid panel and a second interconnecting rigid panel and which is secured to an upper perimeter extending edge of the interconnected walls. First and second pairs of triangular shaped and hinged end panels securing to opposite ends of the peaked roof panels and to enclose the structure. The floor, walls and roof convert between a stacked and transportable configuration to an assembled configuration without the need of tools.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,749,387, issued May 12, 1998 to Thompson, discloses a portable ice fishing hut consisting of sturdy plastic roof and floor shells secured together by collapsible supports. The walls of the hut are manufactured from a flexible skin, and the entire structure can be collapsed together for convenient storage and transport.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,009,673, issued Jan. 4, 2600 to Adams, provides an insulated modular enclosure for use as a hunting blind, an ice fishing shelter, and wildlife observatory or the like. The enclosure comprises a plurality of rigid, insulated panels installed in a frame assembly to form a front wall, a back wall, spaced-apart end walls, a roof and a floor. The frame assembly comprises a plurality of track members mounted the roof and the floor, and configured to receive the top and bottom edges of the wall panels. The enclosure further comprises at least one opening or port in the nature of a window, a door, and a plurality of handles mounted to the exterior to facilitate transport of the enclosure. A sun visor is mounted to the exterior of the enclosure-above the at least one opening. A bench is mounted in the interior of the enclosure at a position immediately below the at least one opening for supporting a firearm. A storage shelf may also be provided in the interior of the enclosure. Skis may be mounted to the enclosure to facilitate transport of the enclosure over icy surfaces.

U.S. Pat. No. 4,631,877, issued Dec. 30, 1986 to Molodecki, shows a collapsible hut useful, in particular, for ice fishing. The hut comprises wall and roof panels, which can be releasably secured together in a first assembly to form the hut and in a second assembly to form parts of a container. Skis and/or wheels are provided for supporting the container for travel over the ground, so that the hut can readily be transported to remote locations. When the hut is collapsed, the panels can be packed flat to form a very compact storage package.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,592,960, issued Jan. 14, 1997 to Williams, claims a hunting blind that is constructed of a set of reflectively mirrored wall panels with a camouflaged top cover, to form a rectangular structure, which reflects the surrounding environment to conceal the structure of the blind. The wall panels are each preferably formed of a rigid sheet of reinforced closed cell foam material, with a sheet of mirrored clear plastic material bonded to one surface of the foam sheet. The mirrored surface of the plastic sheet is preferably secured directly to the foam sheet, thereby sandwiching the mirrored surface between the overlying clear plastic material and the foam panel to protect the mirrored surface from damage. The wall panels are rigidly but removably connected together with corner channel members to form a rigid, inflexible structure. A top closure or roof may be formed of a flexible camouflage sheet, or alternatively of rigid foam sheet having a camouflage pattern thereon. Other features, including internal anchor flaps, viewing ports and openable top hatches, a lower door for a hunting dog, and storage and shelf areas, may be provided as desired. The entire structure is easily transportable by disassembling the panels at the corner channel connecting members and removing the top cover, passing some hanging straps through the open view ports, and passing a pole through the straps to carry the disassembled structure using the central pole.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,513,471, issued May 7, 1996 to Worms, describes a sectional shelter that is made of a set of plastic panels arranged side by side, along with a plastic roof cap. The panels are coupled by ribs projecting from one edge portion of each panel and a channel along the other edge portion. Retainers are pivotally mounted on the inside of the wall adjacent the channeled edge portion so that the edge portion carrying the ribs may be captured between the inside wall of the panel and the retainer. The shelter has curved and straight panels so that it may have various configurations. Door and window openings are formed in the wall panels and are closed by doors and windows fastened on the panels.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,581,337, issued Jun. 24, 2003 to Skov, discloses a modular enclosure that includes first channels and a plurality of second and third channels which intersect the first channel at an angle, and a plurality of panels, each including a wall member and edge members pivotally coupled to the wall member. The wall members are configured to engage the first channel and the edge members are configured to engage the second and third channels. A method of assembling a modular enclosure is also disclosed, including providing a base including first channels, second channels, and third channels, providing a plurality of side panels each having a wall member and a first and second edge member pivotally coupled to the wall member, pivoting the first and second edge members so that they are non-parallel to the wall member, and inserting the wall members into the first channel, the first edge member into second channels, and the second edge members into third channels.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,286,269, issued Sep. 11, 2001 to Marcum, indicates a prefabricated shooting house, which can be easily assembled and disassembled from a position within the volume enclosed by the shooting house. The prefabricated package includes four rectangular side panels and a square top panel or roof, and requires no additional coloring or finish work. Assembly of the shooting house involves positioning four side panels, affixing three of the panels to adjoining side panels and a separately constructed bottom portion, positioning the top panel by raising it through the body diagonal of the house, and finally affixing the remaining side panel and top panel.

U.S. Pat. No. 3,854,746 issued Dec. 17, 1974 to Flynn, concerns a collapsible fishing shanty that has top, bottom, front, rear and side panels hinged together and foldable between an open position wherein a generally rectangular enclosure is provided with an access door and partially open bottom for fishing and a collapsed position wherein the panels lie stacked in accordion fashion in an interconnected flush coplanar relationship, two of the opposed wall panels having first and second panel portions hinged together to permit inward accordion type folding intermediate the other opposed wall panels. One of the wall panels has a pair of runners along an exposed surface forming a sled for transportation in the collapsed position. Preferably, all of the panels are molded plastic and the hinges are made of a living fabric extending the length of each related panel forming a sealed enclosure.

U.S. Pat. No. 3,436,881, issued Apr. 8, 1969 to Schlecht, puts forth a joint structure that comprises two interlocking components having sections that interfit transversely rather than axially. One interfitting section may be provided with a radial locking member adapted to extend into the interior of the other member and retained by ledges within the other member.

What is needed is a temporary portable outdoor shelter which is impervious to cold and make have a heat source inside and one that is usable in all types of outdoor recreational activity including on the ice for ice fishing and one that is easy to assemble, disassemble and transport.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

An object of the present invention is to provide a temporary portable outdoor shelter with insulated panels which interlock without the need for tools for assembly and disassembly and which stack for storing and transport and therefore a shelter which is impervious to cold and may have a heat source inside and one that is usable in all types of outdoor recreational activity including on the ice for ice fishing and easy to assemble, disassemble, transport and store.

Further objects include:

To provide an enclosure that is impervious to all natural elements

To provide an enclosure that can be utilized twelve months of the year.

To provide an enclosure that can be used in all seasons and climates.

To provide an enclosure that has excellent aesthetic appeal.

To provide an enclosure that is truly multi functional.

To provide an enclosure that is safe and sound.

To provide an enclosure of superior quality structure.

To provide an enclosure for temporary or permanent use.

To provide an enclosure that is assembled and knocked down without tools.

To provide an enclosure that offers a multitude of colors.

To provide an enclosure that is readily movable by one person.

To provide an enclosure with controllable atmosphere.

To provide an enclosure of superior creature comfort.

To provide an enclosure of superior camouflage and sound deadening qualities.

To provide an enclosure that can be manufactured economically.

To provide an enclosure that will last a lifetime.

To provide an enclosure that offers security against sinking through the ice.

To provide an enclosure that can offer multiple occupancy.

To provide an enclosure that accepts variable heat sources.

To provide an enclosure that converts for alternate uses.

To provide an enclosure that offers use to every member of the family.

In brief, the enclosure of the present invention is constructed of vinyl foam filled blow-molded panels. These panels are designed to provide quick interlock one to another. The construction characteristics provide panels that are rigid, strong, insulated, sound deadened with high flotation qualities.

Until recent years, technology has not been available that would allow for panels of this magnitude to be economically manufactured via the blow molded or vacuum molded process. The tongue and groove interlock has a unique weather seal flange. The flange prevents weather from entering the tongue and groove connection as well as eliminating light. The flange is molded as a part of the male or female joint on the outside of panels. The roof panels have a radius formed flange molded in a way that when assembled, sheds rain from the roof. This unique connection permits roof to be split in several sections for ease of handling. Once assembled all weather and light are sealed out.

All components are designed to tightly interlock to form a small building without the use of power or hand tools. The present invention is relatively easy to assemble by one person although easier with the help of an assistant. Once assembled the present invention can be tethered for temporary or permanent use. It can be moved readily by towing with machine or manually. It is equally movable in the knocked down or assembled position.

The present invention can be readily transported in the knocked down position by station wagon, van, small pick-up or trailer. The present invention can be transported in the assembled position if secured to vehicle or trailer. The individual components are structured to minimize tooling cost and provide ease of assembly.

There are fifteen different parts utilized to form the present invention. Two of theses components are injected molded handy hold fasteners. These fasteners are used to maintain coupling of the panels once assembled. These fasteners are assemble and disassembled with out the use of tools.

All panels are vinyl blow-molded and are expansion foam filled. This foam provides additional strength, rigidity, insulation, sounds deadening and added flotation. Several panels are common and can be used in more than one location to assemble the unit. There are stainless steel inserts molded into some of the units for the purpose of attachment, hangars or pins for the door, and heat shield.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

These and other details of my invention will be described in connection with the accompanying drawings, which are furnished only by way of illustration and not in limitation of the invention, and in which drawings:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the fully assembled shelter of the present invention;

FIG. 2A is a perspective view of a top of a roof panel of the invention of FIG. 1 with a double rain shield flange;

FIG. 2B is a perspective view of a bottom of the roof panel of FIG. 2A;

FIG. 3A is a perspective view of a top of a roof panel of the invention of FIG. 1 with a single rain shield flange;

FIG. 3B is a perspective view of a bottom of the roof panel of FIG. 3A;

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of a top of an edge roof panel of the invention of FIG. 1 with a roof vent opening therein;

FIG. 5A is a perspective view of a top of a roof vent plug of the invention of FIG. 1;

FIG. 5B is a perspective view of a bottom of the roof vent plug of FIG. 5A;

FIG. 6A is a perspective view of an outside of a wall panel of the invention of FIG. 1 with a window opening;

FIG. 6B is a perspective view of an inside of the wall panel of FIG. 6A;

FIG. 7 is a perspective view of a window slide for covering and uncovering a window opening in a wall panel;

FIG. 8 is an enlarged cross-sectional view of a joint between wall panels showing the sandwiched foam construction of the panels and the snap-fit tongue in groove connection and the overlapping outer rain shield flange;

FIG. 8 is a perspective view of a corner panel;

FIG. 10 is a perspective view of a doorjamb panel;

FIG. 11A is a rear elevational view of a door panel showing the interior face of the door panel;

FIG. 11B is an edge elevational view of a door panel showing the edge of the door panel;

FIG. 11C is a rear perspective view of a door panel showing the interior face of the door panel;

FIG. 11D is a front perspective view of a door panel showing the exterior face of the door panel;

FIG. 12 is a perspective view of the floor which forms the sleigh base showing the two floor panels and two bottom openings;

FIG. 12A is a cross-sectional view of a floor panel showing the protruding bottom sleigh runners;

FIG. 13 A is a perspective view of one floor panel;

FIG. 13B is a perspective view of the other floor panel;

FIG. 14 is a cross-sectional view of the floor joint with the two floor panels aligned for assembly;

FIG. 15 A is a perspective view of a top of a trap door;

FIG. 15 B is a perspective view of a bottom of a trap door;

FIG. 16 is a cross-sectional view of a locking mechanism between a trap door and a floor panel;

FIG. 16A is an enlarged perspective view of the sliding lock tab of the trap door lock;

FIG. 16B is a partial perspective view of the trap door showing the lock opening;

FIG. 17 is a cross-sectional view of a pop-in hinge connection from the trap door to a floor panel;

FIG. 18A is a perspective view of a top of a holding block for the floor panels forming the sleigh base;

FIG. 18B is a perspective view of a bottom of the holding block of FIG. 18A;

FIG. 19 is a perspective view of a handy hold block for securing the sleigh base to the rest of the enclosure.

BEST MODE FOR CARRYING OUT THE INVENTION

In FIGS. 1-19, a portable enclosure 20 for year-round outdoor activities comprises an assembly of panels structured to interlock one to another comprising interlocking floor panels 50A and 50B, interlocking wall panels 27, interlocking roof panels 22A-22C, and an interlocking doorjamb panel 41. Each panel comprises a molded structural shell having a hollow interior filled with thermal insulation material 60, as shown in FIGS. 8 and 14, and having edges adapted to mate with edges of adjacent panels in tongue 11 and groove 10 interlocking connections forming weather sealed connections between panels.

Each of the panels is adapted for heat insulation, sound insulation, and flotation and the assembly of panels is adapted to be assembled together without the use of tools to form an enclosure 20, adapted to be disassembled without the use of tools, and adapted to be stacked together for transporting and storage.

The enclosure of claim 1 wherein the doorjamb panel 41 further comprises a frame opening 45 having a peripheral seal 47 for engaging a door 40 with a peripheral flange 48 in a weatherproof fit and at least two, preferably four, vertical pins 42 and further comprising a door 40 having at least two, preferably four, protruding brackets 49 with vertical openings 43 adapted to fit over the pins with a pivotable connection so that rings and pins serve as hinges for the door and the door 40 fits within the frame opening 45 with a tight weatherproof fit.

The panels are preferably fabricated of vinyl formable by a blow molded or vacuum molded process to leave hollow interiors 9 in each of the panels are expansion foam filled with expansion foam insulation 60, as shown in FIGS. 8 and 14, to provide additional strength, rigidity, insulation, sounds deadening and added flotation.

In FIGS. 1-3, the roof panels 22A-22C have a radius formed flange 12 molded in a way that when assembled, sheds rain from the roof. In FIG. 5, a roof plug 32 with a center protruding plug 14 surrounded by a groove 15 between the plug 14 and a protruding outer rim 16 fits with a weather-tight connection into a chimney access opening 31 in a roof panel 22C, as seen in FIG. 4, the chimney access opening 31 having a peripheral groove 8 to receive the outer rim 16 of the roof plug 32. The removable roof plug 16 allows air to escape out the roof opening 31 to vent the enclosure as well as admitting a chimney through the opening when a heating source with a chimney is used in the enclosure.

In FIGS. 1 and 6, the side panels 27 may have window openings 34 for visibility out and for admitting daylight. Each of the window openings 34 has side tracks 7 to admit a window slide 33 with a handle 36 to slide up and down in the tracks for covering and uncovering the window opening 34.

The enclosure of claim 1 further comprising at least one pair of injected molded handy hold fasteners adapted to maintain coupling of the panels once assembled and adapted to be assembles and disassembled with out the use of tools.

In FIGS. 1, and 12-18, the floor panels 50A and 50B have a series of parallel bottom runners 51, protruding downwardly therefrom, forming a sleigh base with runners to enable the assembled enclosure 20 to be towed.

In FIGS. 14-17 floor trap door panels 53 are adapted for use over the floor panel openings 54, in FIGS. 12 and 13, for ice fishing. The trap door panels 53 attach to the floor panels 50 by a pop-in hinge connection with a protruding cylindrical edge 81 from each of the trap door panels 53 fitting pivotally into a mating cylindrical groove 80 in a floor panel 50 along one edge of the floor panel opening 54, is seen in FIG. 17. In FIGS. 15 and 16 an L-shaped sliding latch 61 for the trap door 53 comprises a vertical handle 62 for moving within a latch opening 59 in a floor panel 50, to move a horizontal tab 63 within a groove 66 in the trap door 53 into a mating groove 67 in the floor panel 50 with an indicating arrow 64 to show whether or not the trap door is latched.

In FIGS. 8 and 14, both the wall panels 27 and the floor panels 50 forming the sleigh base are interconnected by a tongue 11A having an air-filled enlarged bubble section 18 insertable in a groove 10A having a mating pair of recesses 17 to receive the bubble section 18 and an overlapping radius formed flange 12B and 12D.

All molded panels are preferably 50.8-mm wall thickness. The sleigh base will be slightly heavier in radius areas. Tongue and groove connections are preferably 25.4 mm deep on roof and wall panels. The connection of the two floor panels forming the sleigh base preferably has a 38.1 mm tongue and groove depth.

In use, when the structure of the present invention is knocked down, the components can all fit on the front section of the floor panel 50A forming half the sleigh base for ease of transporting by vehicle or when moved manually or towed by machine. The knocked down portable unit takes on a dimension preferably of 1066.8 mm×1930.4 mm×863.6 mm high. The assembled unit measures preferably 1625.6 mm×1930.4 mm×1981.2 mm high, outside dimension.

The connection of all components is by tongue and groove. Three different variations are utilized. The two-section floor or sleigh base is joined by an interference fit having a slightly bulbous male tongue collapse when entering the female groove of the rear sleigh section. The male section has a molded flange incorporated that runs the width and height of the base that contacts the ground. This flange overlaps the parting line of the tongue and groove when assembled. This prevents ice and snow from impacting in the connection when being pulled in the forward direction.

Once assembled, the interference fit will resist inadvertent disassembly. The interference can be modified at time of manufacture to a desirable resistance, probably 30-40 lbs. In FIGS. 12 and 13, the sleigh base formed by the floor panels 50A and 50B, is locked together by two handy hold blocks 70 with handles 76 and plugs 71 (as shown in FIG. 18) that are pressed into mating receptacles 6 on the inside walls of sleigh base overlapping parting line on opposite ends. The base exterior, consist of a series of molded runners 51 that are in total alignment when sleigh is assembled. These runners are solid vinyl and are a part of the outer skin of the sleigh base. They provide the primary rigidity and strength of the base.

The configuration of the radius side walls of the sleigh add dramatically to the strength as well. The floor or interior of sleigh base will be virtually smooth. It may have fine molded ridges to reduce slipping and offer additional rigidity on interior surface of floor. The floor section will be filled with approximately 25.4 mm of expansion foam to insulate against ice and snow. The insulation quality works both directions. It prevents the shelter of the present invention from melting into the ice when auxiliary heat is used. Thus preventing it from settling and locking into the ice when used for winter activities. It also aids in the flotation qualities that prevent sinking through the ice.

The vertical tongue and grooves of the wall sections are of a different design from the base sections. They are a more dramatic bulbous connection that will not press together. The joining must be that of a slide by action. This offers minimal clearance for assembled rigidity. The male edge of all wall panels has a molded flange that extends to cover the joint of panels when assembled. This is along the outside vertical edge and along the bottom outside edge of each wall panel. This is for keeping rain, ice and snow out of the joints of the assembled unit. The molded flange not only serves to shed the elements but it affords a light tight connection. This is absolutely necessary when using the present invention as a fish-spearing shanty. Just one of it's many uses. Should rain get into the assembled joints and freeze, it could prevent disassembly.

Once the base has been assembled and coupled on the walls at base parting line. The components that make up the vertical walls of the present invention can be assembled. First a corner section is placed into the female groove of the sleigh base wall. Caution must be used to align embossed arrows on each mating part for best results.

Next, assemble a 304.8 mm wide wall panel by placing the bottom of the wall panel to the top of the corner panel aligning corresponding male to female. The wall panel is slid down the corner panel, thus interlocking the two components together. The wall panel is then pressed into the sleigh base groove driving it home. A handy hold strap may be pressed into position on the inside bottom of the assembled wall panel locking it to the floor/base. The second wall panel is now assembled to the opposite side of the corner section panel. This establishes a vertical control to make adding additional panels easier. Wall panels should be added in the slide by manner one at a time. The third wall panel should be assembled moving the enclosure around the end of the sleigh base rather than down the side of the structure. After the next two wall panels are in position the next corner section panel should be installed being careful to align the embossed arrow on the corner panel to the arrow on the base. This leaves a space for one more wall panel to be assembled to complete the end surround of the present invention The rest of the enclosure can be made continuing the wall panel assembly in a like manner. The last vertical wall unit to be assembled should be a 304.8 mm wide wall panel. The doorjamb panel fills the space of three wall panels and is installed in center of side wall where indicated on sleigh base. Wall panels should be slid down door-jamb panel once assembled, rather than sliding the door jamb unit between two wall panels.

The next part of the enclosure is the four section, roof. The two panels that make up the roof peak are placed atop the end walls to approximate assembled location. It is important to have good alignment one panel to the other. With the peak sections resting on the end walls, the rear roof panel should be positioned.

Once the rear panel is aligned by the same method of embossed arrows, it can be pressed onto the vertical wall. The rear roof panel possesses the stainless steel chimney shield insert and is installed on the opposite side from door opening. All roof sections have molded hand-holds on the inside of panels for the purpose of leverage during assembly and disassembly. The forth roof panel is now placed in position above the doorway. This front roof panel is the same as the rear roof panel minus the chimney shield. The front roof panel is aligned and pressed into connection with the front peak section. The handy hold straps, at this point could be pressed into the receptacles molded into the roof sections that serve to keep roof panels coupled together.

When all the roof panels are locked together, the entire roof is aligned with its periphery groove positioned directly over the male tongue protruding from the wall panels. Using the molded hand holds on the inside, starting at one corner, pull the roof partially onto enclosure. Moving along edge of roof, start the roof all the way around before driving onto enclosure. A person can, at this point step outside to press the roof home onto all wall panels.

Every wall panel has a receptacle at top and bottom to lock panel to base unit and to lock roof to wall panels. This allows for the insertion of a handy hold strap to be installed which aids in maintaining assembly of the present invention in high winds or when left unattended. There are additional receptacles molded into roof panels and corner panels to add Bungy Cords for additional resistance to winds when set up for extended use.

The present invention enclosure is now complete minus the door. The door is designed to open outward with no moving parts. The doorjamb is equipped with four stainless steel hinge pins that are molded into the right side of the jamb as you view the present invention from the outside. The door can be hung on the pins through the holes in the molded hinge sections. The door must be assembled in an open position at an obtuse angle for overhead clearance. Once the door is assembled to hinge pins, it can be swung into a closed position like the door of a safe. This will seal out the light and weather. The door latching will be magnetic. This will be accomplished with metal tabs molded into latch edge of the doorjamb. A magnetic strip will be affixed to the latch edge of the door, similar to the door of a refrigerator. A hasp can be mounted on the jamb to padlock the door when unit is not in use.

The trap doors, which allow access to the ice, are uniquely designed to have a molded hinge. The floor of the present invention is molded in such a manner as to receive the trap doors simply by snapping the molded hinge bar into the molded receptacles. This action is performed without tools and allows for the trap doors to be readily opened and closed. When trap doors are in the open position they lean against the wall of the present invention in a near vertical position yet at an obtuse angle. The doors have a sliding latch that keep them secure when in a closed position.

The disassembly of the present invention is done in reverse manner of the assembly. No tools are required.

The sleigh base of the present invention has a ⅜ inches diameter eye bolt molded into each outside corner. These serve to tow the unit when assembled or in knocked down form. They also are the points of anchoring the unit when in use. The assembled unit is estimated to weigh less than a 125 pounds and therefore vulnerable to high winds when not manned. It will be necessary to secure the present invention in place. This is easily reconciled by screwing ten-inch long augers into the ground or ice then attaching the tether lines snugly at four locations. This is recommended when using the present invention in a permanent or temporary set up.

An auxiliary heat shielded vented gas stove can be added for winter comfort. The stove must be fitted with a double walled aluminum or stainless steel heat shield approximately twenty inches square. This shield is assembled as a part of the back of the stove and extends beneath the stove as well. The stove can be mounted in a portable manner against the rear wall opposite the door. This allows for 3 twenty-four inch sections of 3″ diameter chimney to be placed in position having at least a four inch wall clearance. The top section of chimney will contain a metal rain bonnet and is assembled from the outside through the roof stainless steel chimney hole. A vinyl weatherproof insert is assembled in the roof opening when a stove is not utilized.

The bottled gas supply remains outside the enclosure and feeds the stove by use of a hose or tubing. A hole molded in the side of the sleigh base provides the access for fuel line. The present invention can also be fitted with an electric source panel at a window opening. This will allow for the portable installation of an electronic high heat supply for use as a dry sauna.

The vinyl will be impervious to the weather. It will continuously be subjected to temperatures from minus fifty degrees F. to two hundred degrees F. without loss of integrity. It will not fracture when struck or walked upon in sub-zero weather. It must maintain dimensional stability from sub-zero to high solar temperatures. It cannot give off toxic or obtrusive odors at any temperature. It will have a high melting and kindling point. Solvents or household chemicals will not adversely affect it. It will possess great resistance to wear and friction. Its colors will be stable when continuously exposed to ultra-violet rays and solar heat. It will allow for a wide array of pigments for a variety of color choices. The material must be high grade yet economical for blow and injection molding.

The present invention is intended for but not limited to the following uses: Pike spearing or conventional ice fishing, turkey hunting blind, deer hunting blind, duck hunting blind, beach house, pool house, dry sauna, greenhouse, potting house, bunk house, utility storage, ticket booth, construction warming shack or any manner where temporary shelter is desired. With the addition of a Porta-Potty, it could serve as a camp latrine.

The suggested size of the present invention allows for two large people to simultaneously spear fish through the ice, each having his own decoy and field of view of the lake bottom. The twin holes are cut in the ice the size of the trap doors and the present invention is positioned over the holes. The vented stove best works located between the trap doors opposite the doorway. This seems to be the best layout for spearing or jig fishing. This size present invention will actually accommodate four adults for the purpose of keeping warm at outdoor winter activities. The trap doors, when in their closed position, will support the weight of a very large person.

Although the present invention can be manufactured in larger or smaller versions, this would seem to be the most desirable size. Experience finds that the 1625.6 mm×1980.4 mm model provides for safe use of spears, poles, spuds and guns. This allows for the buddy system for hunting, fishing, camping, etc. The propane stove is removed and is replaced with an electric heat supply when using the present invention for a dry sauna. A power supply is installed in one of the 127.0 mm×203.2 mm windows. The electric sauna heater is equipped with a heat shield and is fitted between the twin trap doors. Portable seating is added as desired.

Because of the unique panel connections, The assembled shanty will not permit any outside light. This is absolutely essential for successful pike spearing. When the windows and door are closed, the only light is emitted from the ice through the open trap doors. This is the ideal condition for this type of winter sport.

The window slides in each wall panel can be easily opened from inside the present invention This allows for viewing the surrounding terrain or allowing momentary fresh air or additional light without opening the door.

The tongue and groove design with the weatherproof overlay flange will allow the well-insulated present invention to be easily heated. Requiring only about seven thousand B.T.U's in minus twenty degree F. temperatures.

Not only does the unique design offer superb insulating qualities, these foam filled panels provide a safe haven against sinking through the ice. Any individual panel would keep an adult buoyant. The present invention containing two adults would not sink below the ice. The individual panels however, are not intended for use as life saving devices.

The available coat and tool hangars along with the vinyl cup holders are easily assembled in any receptacle molded into each wall panel. This provides ample places for storing poles, spears, spuds and clothes as well as holding ones favorite beverage. The only addendum required would be portable seating of ones choice.

When turkey hunting one can haul the present invention to their favorite location, make the assembly, insert the four augers in the earth and affix the tie down tethers. The user can remove one or all of the fifteen window slides providing a blind with a 360 degrees field of view. Position your favorite bait or decoys and you're ready to shoot turkeys through any of the fifteen windows.

As a deer blind, one need only to change bait and decoys and you are in business to bag that White Tail. For this particular sport, one may want to add the luxury of the vented propane stove. The present invention can be placed in position several weeks before the season and left in position for each scheduled hunt.

As a Geese and Duck blind, the present invention can be assembled minus the roof panels. This allows for a complete view of the sky and freedom of gun movement for leading that feathered target. The blind can be set up on land and towed to cover in the shallows. The present invention is not intended to be used for a flotation vehicle but rather to hide a user from view of wildlife.

The present invention can be taken on an extended camping trip and used as a bunkhouse for two adults or three children. Mosquito netting can be easily taped over open windows for cross ventilation if the shanty isn't needed for bunk space, with the addition of a Porta-Potty®, it can be used as a latrine with complete privacy.

The present invention will be available in many colors creating a bright beach house for those extended trips to the seashore. When used in this manner, it provides privacy for changing clothing or protection from the elements should a storm roll in. Care is always necessary to assure the present invention is tethered to the earth augers so that a unit will not be blown away. Each section of the shanty is of high flotation and can be recovered should a panel blow out to sea. This is another time one could add a Porta-Potty® to use the present invention as a latrine.

Bringing the present invention back home from the beach, it can be used at poolside temporarily or for the season as a pool house. One can store all of the pool supplies and toys in the multi-colored present invention. This provides an attractive and resourceful addendum to the area for both private and public pools.

The present invention can be converted to a backyard greenhouse or used solely for that purpose. An alternate acrylic roof can be affixed that allows for solar exposure. With such a conversion solar heat will be dramatic and must be controllable. This is done by sliding open, up to fifteen window covers bringing the temperature to a desirable level. On particularly hot days, the door can easily be removed allowing for complete cross ventilation.

The present invention can be easily converted to a potting house simply by adding a bench or two. Again the windows and door can be opened, for light advantage. This may be done without the optional translucent acrylic roof.

An electrical box is designed to fit one of the open windows for a permanent or temporary hook up of power. Electrical power can be used for a heat source when using the present invention as a dry sauna. The heater is insulated from damage to the vinyl structure and is easily set in place between the trap doors should you choose to set the sauna up at poolside, backyard, deck, or basement. One may choose to use the present invention permanently for this purpose. Because of its unique design, the unit is easily washed down and disinfected.

When electric power source is present, one may also add interior and exterior lighting. The windows can be opened or closed for aid in controlling temperature. The foam filled present invention will provide economical use as a sauna because of its insulated design quality. Water may be dashed on the heated stones without concern for steam affecting the structure. Seating of ones choice may be added for creature comfort during those long relaxing times in the sauna.

The present invention when not used for any of the previously suggested sports can serve in any backyard as a utility storage shed. It might be used for deck furniture, garden tools, lawn and garden chemicals, fishing equipment, outdoor grills, or any off-season item not in use. The present invention can be permanently tethered for this use.

The present invention, because of its unique design, provides a multitude of uses. It is intended to withstand rough handling and all elements typical with the out of doors. It is impervious to chemical contact, extreme temperature variation, and provides ease of cleaning as individual panels or an assembled unit. It is designed not to sink, it is easily heated, remains cool when enclosed, easy to transport as a knocked down unit. It is easy to assemble and disassemble, offers individual replacement parts, available in a multitude of colors. Colors may be multiple within a common unit for use as a pool house. The present invention is designed to last a lifetime with normal use. It has no competition in the market place offering these features. The present invention should be manufactured at a reasonable cost and distributed to a variety of users considering the unlimited uses this unit offers. It is aesthetically appealing and can be used for dozens of other purposes.

It is estimated that in inclement weather, it would take about thirty minutes to assemble the present invention when working alone and about fifteen minutes to disassemble and stack the unit. In favorable weather the time for assembly would be greatly reduced.

All individual parts are designed with weight, size and ease of handling given serious consideration to provide a comfortable, secure and safe environment to pursue life's pleasures in the out of doors.

It is understood that the preceding description is given merely by way of illustration and not in limitation of the invention and that various modifications may be made thereto without departing from the spirit of the invention as claimed.

FIG. 6A is a perspective view of an outside of a wall panel of the invention of FIG. 1 with a window opening;

FIG. 6B is a perspective view of an inside of the wall panel of FIG. 6A;

FIG. 7 is a perspective view of a window slide for covering and uncovering a window opening in a wall panel;

FIG. 8 is an enlarged cross-sectional view of a joint between wall panels showing the sandwiched foam construction of the panels and the snap-fit tongue in groove connection and the overlapping outer rain shield flange;

FIG. 9 is a perspective view of a corner panel;

FIG. 10 is a perspective view of a doorjamb panel;

FIG. 11A is a rear elevational view of a door panel showing the interior face of the door panel;

FIG. 11B is an edge elevational view of a door panel showing the edge of the door panel;

FIG. 11C is a rear perspective view of a door panel showing the interior face of the door panel;

FIG. 11D is a front perspective view of a door panel showing the exterior face of the door panel;

FIG. 12 is a perspective view of the floor which forms the sleigh base showing the two floor panels and two bottom openings;

FIG. 12A is a cross-sectional view of a floor panel showing the protruding bottom sleigh runners;

Referenced by
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Classifications
U.S. Classification52/79.1
International ClassificationE04H6/00
Cooperative ClassificationE04B1/34321, E04H1/1205, E04B1/6129, E04H2001/1288
European ClassificationE04H1/12B, E04B1/343C1