US 20060196396 A1
A knock-down table that can be quickly assembled and disassembled for compact storage or shipping. The apparatus includes a table top, a plurality of detachable legs and a ring-shaped brace. Coupling members are provided on the bottom side of the table top and project downwardly therefrom. Sockets are formed in the top ends of the table legs for slidably receiving the coupling members. The ring-shaped brace interconnects each of the legs and maintains the structure in a substantially rigid configuration.
1. A collapsible table comprising:
a table top;
a plurality of coupling members mounted on a bottom side of said table top;
a plurality of elongated legs, each of said legs having a top end adapted for releasably coupling to one of said coupling members; and
a brace for interconnecting said legs and maintaining said legs in a substantially rigid arrangement.
This application is a continuation of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/104,259, filed Apr. 12, 2005 and entitled “Knock-Down Table” which is a continuation of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/207,682, filed Jul. 26, 2002 and entitled “Knock-Down Table,” both of which are incorporated herein by reference in their entirety.
1. Field of the Invention
The present invention relates to a table that can be quickly and easily assembled or disassembled.
2. Description of the Related Art
Various table designs have been proposed for use in an outdoor environment such as on a lawn, patio or garden. Many of these tables are manufactured as a rigid unitary structure whereby the table top is permanently attached to the leg assembly through welding or other means. However, tables manufactured as a unitary structure are typically quite heavy and bulky. Furthermore, these tables cannot be disassembled and therefore require a large amount of storage space when not in use. These limitations present significant problems because it is often necessary to move or store outdoor tables due to changes in the weather or other factors.
Because of the problems associated with unitary table structures, numerous alternative table designs have been proposed whereby the table can be collapsed or disassembled for compact storage. Tables that can be assembled and disassembled by the owner are commonly referred to as “knock-down” tables. In recent years, knock-down tables have become increasingly popular, not only for their advantages with respect to compact storage, but also for the cost savings to the consumer. Manufacturers reduce costs by not expending resources to assemble the table in the factory and, in addition, the disassembled table is less expensive to ship because it can be transported in a smaller container. Therefore, in general, a disassembled table can be purchased at a lower price than a similar assembled table. It has been found that many consumers are more than willing to assemble an outdoor table themselves in order to take advantage of the cost savings.
Existing knock-down table designs take many different forms. One particular type is described in U.S. Pat. No. 1,800,685 to Griffis. This invention includes a leg assembly comprising two frame members hinged about a central axis. When unfolded, the frame members form an X-shaped leg assembly which provides the support structure for the table top. The table top is placed on top of the X-shaped leg assembly and dowel pins on the bottom of the table top fit into openings in the top surface of the frame members. A central locking bolt is provided to secure the table top onto the frame members.
Another type of knock-down table is described in U.S. Pat. No. 3,267,889 to Bedol. Specifically, this invention comprises a table top and a frame, or tripod, which can be used to support the table top in a horizontal plane. The frame, or tripod, consists of three elongated tubular legs of uniform diameter and length which are connected to each other, intermediate their ends, by an encompassing triangular collar. The table top rests on top of the frame, but the table top can be removed and the frame can be collapsed for compact storage.
Yet another knock-down table design is described in U.S. Pat. No. 4,315,467 to Vanderminden. This invention discloses a cocktail table comprised of a table top having a flat shape with a depending peripheral edge. A leg assembly is provided which includes three pivotally interconnected legs to support the table top. Each leg includes an outwardly directed portion that frictionally engages the peripheral edge of the table top. The legs are connected to each other and pivot with respect to each other thereby allowing the legs to be pivoted into a substantially flat configuration for shipping or storage.
Various other collapsible table designs and related inventions are disclosed in U.S. Pat. Nos. 1,997,660 to Smith, U.S. Pat. No. 2,803,419 to Phillips, U.S. Pat. No. 3,160,121 to Bedol, U.S. Pat. No. 3,215,381 to Ching, U.S. Pat. No. 3,242,887 to Haydock, U.S. Pat. No. 3,366,079 to Koransky, U.S. Pat. No. 4,482,119 to Zelkowitz, and U.S. Pat. No. 5,404,828 to Tesney.
Although numerous knock-down table designs have been proposed, none of the existing designs has been sufficient to provide all of the qualities desired in an outdoor table. Because of their various designs, each of the existing knock-down tables has one or more shortcomings, such as, for example, insufficient structural integrity, difficulty of assembly or disassembly, need for specialized tools or skills, excessive number of components, excessive weight, or bulkiness in design. No knock-down table has yet been disclosed that satisfies all of the requirements for a convenient and durable outdoor table.
Thus, there remains a very real and substantial need for an improved knock-down table that can be quickly and easily assembled and disassembled. It is desirable that such a table be capable of being fully dismantled for shipping and compact storage in a substantially flat configuration. It is also desirable that such a table include a minimum number of parts and utilize pop-in components for convenience and ease of use. It is also desirable that such a table be constructed of lightweight materials that are resistant to corrosion. Finally, it is desirable that such a table be inexpensive to manufacture, be aesthetically appealing, and be versatile enough for a wide range of applications. The present invention addresses these needs.
The present invention provides a new and improved knock-down table that can be quickly and easily assembled and disassembled without the need for specialized tools or training. The knock-down table of the present invention is generally characterized by a horizontal table top, a plurality of legs and a brace for interconnecting each of the legs. The legs are attached to the table top using convenient pop-in components that provide a sturdy and rigid connection.
Coupling members are provided on the bottom side of the table top for coupling the leg assembly to the table top. In a first preferred embodiment, each coupling member comprises at least one pin extending downward from the table top. At least one socket is formed in the top end of each leg for receiving the pin(s). The pins slide into the sockets in a snug friction-fit relationship. The pins preferably extend at a downward and inward angle relative to the horizontal plane of the table top and therefore the table top is prevented from detaching from the leg assembly while the legs are in a fixed position. Furthermore, the weight of the table top serves to strengthen the connection between the table top and the legs by applying force to the connecting components and thereby ensuring that the pins cannot become inadvertently dislodged from the sockets. Therefore, this table design possesses a very high degree of stability in the assembled condition.
Each of the legs is attached to a ring-shaped brace located intermediate the ground and the table top. U-shaped brackets are provided along the inner surface of each leg for receiving the brace. The brace is coupled to the legs using allen bolts (i.e. bolts formed with allen sockets), however, other attachment means may also be used. When the brace is coupled to the legs, the legs are prevented from moving relative to each other and the leg assembly is maintained in a rigid configuration.
At least three legs are used in order to provide a stable support structure for the table top, however, the number of legs may vary. Each leg is preferably a substantially hollow elongated member having a rectangular cross-section. Ribs extend lengthwise through the inner hollow portion of each leg for added structural integrity and also to form the sockets for receiving the pins. The bottom end of each leg rests on the ground and is preferably covered by a cap fitting. The cap is made of a durable plastic to prevent sliding or skidding and also to protect the ground surface from being scratched or damaged.
The table top is preferably formed of component parts. The first component is a top ring with supports that extend across the ring. A surface member rests on top of the ring and supports and provides the primary surface for the table top. A flexible annular rim is placed over the surface member and top ring to maintain the table top in a rigid configuration.
The knock-down table apparatus may also take alternative forms which work equally as well. For example, in another preferred embodiment, the pins are provided in the top ends of each leg and extend upward therefrom. The coupling members on the bottom side of the table top are formed with sockets for receiving the pins. The table is assembled by inserting the pins in the legs into the sockets in the coupling members. In yet another preferred embodiment, each leg is formed with one pin and one socket and each coupling member is also formed with one pin and one socket. The pin from the coupling member is inserted into the socket in the leg and the pin from the leg is inserted into the socket in the coupling member.
The table components are preferably extruded and can be manufactured in an efficient manner by using the same extrusion for multiple components. For example, the legs, coupling members, supports, and brace may all be formed with identical cross-sections and hence may be conveniently cut from the same extrusion.
The table is described herein with particular reference to use in an outdoor environment such as on a lawn, patio or garden, however, it will be understood that the table is equally suitable for use in a home or commercial establishment.
Other features and advantages of the invention will become apparent from the following detailed description, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, which illustrate, by way of example, the features of the invention.
As shown in
Still referring to
Referring now to
The substantially hollow inner portion of each leg is preferably formed with ribs 38, 40 that provide the leg with excellent structural integrity. The ribs also advantageously define sockets 34, 36 for slidably receiving the pins 30, 32 on the coupling members 14. When two pins are used for each leg, the legs are prevented from rotating relative to the table top. The pins 30, 32 preferably slide into the sockets 34, 36 in a snug friction-fit relationship.
Referring now to
A bolt 54, such as, for example, an allen bolt, is used to securely couple the brace 18 to each bracket 52 (and therefore to each leg 16). As best illustrated in
A plastic insert 68 is preferably provided in the vertical intermediate portion 20 of each leg 16. The insert 68 is inserted between the two ribs 38, 40 to provide the leg 16 with additional structural support and also to provide a threaded seat 61 for the bolt 54. The insert 68 is preferably inserted after the leg 16 is extruded but before it is shaped. The insert 68 extends into at least one of the outwardly inclined portions 16, 22 of the leg 16. When the extruded leg is shaped, the insert is shaped with the leg thereby causing it to be fixed in location within the leg.
It should be appreciated that alternative table top shapes may also be used with the present invention. For example, other shapes that will work equally well with the present invention include, but are not limited to, the octagonal table top 110 shown in
In a variation of the present invention, the knock-down table may be manufactured for use with an umbrella as illustrated in
The primary components of the present invention (except for the surface member and flexible rim) are preferably made of a lightweight, non-rusting aluminum alloy, such as 6061. Because aluminum is lightweight and the components are generally hollow in construction, the table can be easily lifted while in the fully assembled configuration. Aluminum is resistant to corrosion and therefore the table can be left outdoors for extended periods without rusting or diminishing in aesthetic value. Aluminum is also very durable and therefore the table can withstand impacts without incurring significant damage and will have a very long design life.
In a preferred embodiment, different components of the invention may all be formed with identical cross-sections. Therefore, the table legs, coupling members, supports and brace may all be cut from the same extrusion and then shaped into the desired configuration. This design commonality advantageously provides the manufacturer with cost savings that can be passed onto the consumer.
An exemplary method of assembling the table will now be described with reference to the preferred embodiments and figures described above. With the table in the disassembled configuration as illustrated in
With the legs attached to the table top and rigidly interconnected together with the brace, the table provides a very sturdy and rigid structure. Due to the inward inclination of the projections, the table top cannot be removed from the leg assembly while the legs are interconnected by the brace. Therefore, the entire table may be moved by lifting only the table top portion without danger of the table top becoming separated from the leg assembly. Because the table is made of lightweight materials, the table can be easily moved in the fully assembled configuration.
The table may be easily disassembled simply by turning the table back upside down, removing the bolts, removing the brace, and detaching each of the legs from the table top.
From the foregoing, it will be appreciated that the outdoor table of the present invention is very easy to assemble and has excellent structural integrity. Due to the minimal number of components and ease of use, the table may be quickly assembled and disassembled for transportation and storage. In addition, the outdoor table of the present invention is very versatile and can be used in a broad range of applications at home or in a commercial establishment. The invention is primarily designed for outdoor use, however, this same design works equally as well with an indoor table.
While a particular form of the invention has been illustrated and described, it will also be appreciated that various additional modifications can be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention.