US 3142898 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Aug. 4, 1964 s. F. SWENCK ETAL 3,142,898
INTERLOCKING EXTRUSIONS AND MEANS FOR UNLOCKING THE SAME Filed April 11. 1961 INVENTORS GGOIPGEFSW/Kk Wu 1 mm B. NWuu/AI BMZM, MM MM ATTORNEY,
United States Patent 3,142,898 INTERLOGKING EXTRUSIONS AND MEANS FOR UNLQCKING THE SAME George F. Swenck and William B. McMullin, Henrico County, Va, assignors to Reynolds Metals Company,
Richmond, V2,, a corporation of Delaware Filed Apr. 11, 1961, Ser. No. 102,227 1 Claim. (Cl. 29.-270) The present invention relates to improvements in inter locking extrusions and means for unlocking the same and, more particularly, the present invention relates to snap-lock extrusions having means for cooperating with special hand tools for unlocking the snap-lock extrusions.
In recent years, there has been considerable development in extruded sections having generally complementary profile configurations so that the extruded sections are adapted to be assembled into interlocking engagement to form at least a portion of a panel having substantially smooth uninterrupted surface on one side therof at the joint between the sections. Such sections are usually extruded from light weight metals such as aluminum or the like, but may be extruded from other materials so long as the materials have sufficient resiliency or flexibility to permit the sections to be snap-locked together by the flexing of one section with respect to another. The extruded sections have great utility in the construction of Walls, ceilings and floors for buildings and for walls, floors, partitions and the like in vehicles. Many other uses are being derived for such interlocking sections whenever a panel-like structure is desired.
Typical extruded sections, as heretofore described, are disclosed in the copending applications of Ernest J. De Ridder, serially numbered 855,886, filed November 27, 1959, which has materialized into United States Patent 3,111,203, granted November 19, 1963, and 826,880, filed July 13, 1959, which has now materialized into United States Patent 3,055,461, granted September 25, 1962.
In such prior extruded sections having generally complementary profile configurations, the sections when snapped together could not be easily disassembled as the frictional forces between adjacent interlocking sections were such that the sections did not adapt themselves to sliding longitudinally or endwise of one another. Oftentimes during the construction of panel units, it may be desirable to remove one or more sections without removing the whole panel. In the past, to remove one section after it had been interlocked necessitated cutting of the section or so deforming the section that it was not capable of reuse. If, for example, two sections are interlocked and it is found that one section is not properly positioned longitudinally or endwise with respect to the other section, to remove such a section just after locking would necessitate destroying that section and possibly the section to which it is interlocked.
An important object of the present invention is to provide extruded sections particularly adapted for interlocking engagement along their side edges, the sections when locked together forming a portion of a strong panel and the sections being capable of being unlocked once they have been interlocked without damage thereto.
Another object of the present invention is to provide extruded sections having complementary profile configurations, the sections being adapted to snap-lock together in a manner so that they cannot become inadvertently unlocked and yet the sections being capable of separation by flexing one of the sections with respect to another section.
A further object of the present invention is to provide extruded sections capable of being interlocked to form part of a panel, the sections having a profile con- 3,142,898 Patented Aug. 4., 1964 figuration which assistsin the disassembly of the sections when desired.
Still another object of the present invention is to provide extruded sections capable of interlocking engagement, the invention further including meansfor unlocking the sections after the sections have been interlocked without damage to the sections.
Ancillary to the preceding object, it is a further object of the present invention to provide an improved tool for cooperating with the configuration of the extruded sections, the tool being used to flex one section with respect to the other section so that the sections may be easily disassembled.
These and other objects. of the present invention will appear more fully in the following specification, claim and drawings wherein:
FIGURE 1 is an enlarged fragmentary perspective view of a set of extruded sections of the present invention in interlocking engagement with one another and further illustrating a hand tool in position for disassembling or unlocking the sections;
FIGURE 2 is an enlarged, transverse, sectional view of the interlocking sections of FIGURE 1 and illustrating a further stage in the disassembly of the sections by the tool of the present invention; and
FIGURE 3 is a fragmentary, sectional view of a set of extruded sections interlocked together, the view being similar to FIGURE 2 but showing a modified tool as well as modified interlocking extruded sections.
Referring now to the drawings wherein like character or reference numerals represent like or similar parts and, in particular, to FIGURES 1 and 2, a portion of a panel generally indicated at 10 is shown made up of extruded sections 12, the extruded sections being preferably made of aluminum. The section of panel 10 might constitute a portion of a ceiling, side wall, partition, roof, floor or the like, it being understood that a plurality of sections 12 having generally complementary profile configuration are assembled together along their edges by interlocking one section to another until the desired size of the unit is accomplished.
Each extruded section 12 has an elongated main panellike body portion 14 which may have a plane, substantially uninterrupted outer surface 16 on one side thereof. Along one longitudinally extending side edge of the main body portion 14 of each section 12, there is provided, opposite the plane outer surface 16 of the main body portion 14, an integral rib 18 extending from the surface opposite, the surface 16. The rib 18 has an integral flangelike extension} 20 on its outer end, the extension 20 being disposed at substantially a right angle thereto.
The flange-like extension 20 has provided on its inner surface facing the main body portion 14, a longitudinally extending ridge 21 which is spaced outwardly of the rib 18. The ridge 21 on its inner side 23, as best shown in FIGURE 2, is preferably fiat and disposed at substantially to the surface of the extension 20 which faces the main body portion 14.
Extending somewhat outwardly beyond the rib 18 and overhanging the outer side of the rib 18 is a lip 22. The lip 22 lies substantially in the plane of the main body portion 14, and its outer surface 24 constitutes an extension of the plane uninterrupted outer surface 16. The other side of lip 22 is provided with a convexly curved surface 26 which opposesinner surface of the flange-like extension 20, the curved surface 26 merging at its inner side into a rounded groove 28 that in turn merges with the outer surface of the rib 18. The terminal edge of the flat outer surface 24 of lip 22 is set back or terminates short of the terminus of the lip and, preferably, the
radius of curvature of the convexly curved surface is at the terminal edge.
The other edge portion of each extruded section 12 or the complementary edge portion which is to be interlocked with the aforedescribed edge portion is also provided with an integral rib 30 extending from that side thereof opposite the plane uninterrupted outer surface 16 of the main body portion 14. The rib 30 is provided at its outer end \m'th an integral reversely turned flange-like extension 32 terminating in a flat end 34. The width of the flangelike extension 32 is equal to the spacing between the flat inner side 23 of ridge 21 and the opposed side of rib 18 so that the extension 32 will fit snugly against the inner side of flange-like extension 20 when two extruded sections 12 are assembled, as shown in FIGURE 1. At the junction between the main body portion 14 of the section and the rib 30, i.e., at the corner therebetween, there is provided a longitudinally extending groove 36. The groove 36 is complementary to and adapted to snugly receive the lip 22 on the section which is interlocked thereto, as best shown in FIGURE 1. The groove 36 is undercut so as to receive the portion of the lip 22 which projects forwardly of the terminal edge of the surface 24. The side wall of the groove merges at its outer end into a rounded nose portion 37 which is complementary to the groove 28 of the other section so that the nose portion will snugly interfit within the groove 28 when the two sections are in interlocking engagement.
It will now be understood that two sections 12 just previously described may be interlocked by partially engaging the lip 22 with the groove 36, the main body portion 14 of one section being inclined relative to the main body portion of another section as described in detail in the aforementioned De Ridder application Serial No. 855,886. The extruded sections 12 are then relatively rotated about their partial engagement until the uninterrupted outer surfaces 16 of the main body portions 14 are in coplanar relationship. As the sections are being rotated into interlocking engagement, the outer portion of the reversely turned flange-like extension 32 contacts the longitudinally extending ridge 21 and rides over the same, with one of the sections yielding slightly or deflecting until the flat end 34 of the extension 32 snaps down behind the longitudinally extending ridge 21. This firmly interlocks two adjacent extruded sections 12 against disengagement except by an endwise relative sliding movement. However, as heretofore pointed out, because of the friction between the sections, disengagement or disassembly of the sections by endwise sliding movement is impractical especially when the sections are of considerable length.
When adjoining sections 12 are in interlocking engagement, as shown in FIGURE 1, all of the confronting surfaces of the sections making up the joint are complementary and conform with each other so as to make a very tight joint that cannot be opened by imposition of loads on the uninterrupted outer surfaces 16 of the main body portion 14. The joint between the two interlocked sections in a sense has a latch arrangement to prevent reverse unlocking relative pivotal movement between the sections, the longitudinally extending ridge 21 and its inner side 23 constituting a ridge-like latch keeper element, whereas the flange-like extension 32 and its flat or flat end 34 constitute a tongue-like latch catch element.
In the modification shown in FIGURES l and 2, the flange-like extension 20 is provided outwardly of the 1ongitudinally extending ridge 21 with an integral longitudinally extending flange 38. The flange 38 provides a continuation of the flange-like extension 20, it lying substantially in the same plane as the flange-like extension 20. By providing the extruded sections 12 with the longitudinally extending flange 38, the latch arrangement provided by the longitudinally extending ridge 21 and the tongue-like latch catch element 32 may be unlatched so that the sections can be disassembled by rotating or pivoting them in a reverse direction.
As shown in FIGURE 1, a tool generally designated by the numeral 40 is provided for cooperating with the flange 38 and the flange-like extension 20 whereby the flange-like extension 20 and its integral rib 18 can be flexed relative to the flange-like extension 32 and its integral rib 30. In FIGURE 2, the flat end 34 of the flange-like extension 32 is shown as it is riding upwardly to clear the fiat inner side 23 of the longitudinally extending ridge 21. Once the flat end 34 has cleared the inner side 23, it is an easy matter to disassemble the extruded sections 12 by reverse rotation about the cooperating curved surfaces 26 and 36.
The tool 40 for use in unlocking the latch arrangement of adjoining extruded sections 12 includes a handle 42 having an elongated cross head element 44 extending substantially transversely of the axis of the handle. The cross head element 44 is U-shaped in cross-section, as shown in FIGURES l and 2, the head element 44 having one leg 46 longer than the other leg 48. The long leg 46 and the short leg 48 define a groove 50 having a length equal to the distance between the edge of the longitudinally extending ridge 21 and the outer free edge of the flange 38.
As illustrated in FIGURE 1, the tool 40 is slipped over the flange 38, the lower or longer leg 46 of the tool lying flush with the bottom or outer surface of the flangelike extension 20. By exerting a force on the handle 42 of tool 40 in the direction of the arrow A in FIG- URES 1 and 2, the longer lower leg 46 acts as a fulcrum in causing the flange-like extension 20 and the rib 18 to flex in a direction so that the tongue-like latch catch element defined by the flange-like extension 32 can free itself from the longitudinally extending ridge 21. Once the latch arrangement has been unlatched, the extruded sections 12, as mentioned above, may be easily rotated in a reverse direction to completely disassemble the same.
The tool 40 is shown with the handle 42 and the head element 44 as an integral unit. Of course, it is within the scope of the present invention to make the tool with the head element 44 as a separate unit fixedly attached to the handle. More than one handle may be provided on the head element and if the head element is made separate, it may be made by an extrusion process with the handle or handles subsequently attached.
While the interlocking configuration of the extruded section 12 has been specifically defined heretofore with the lip 22 having a convexly curved surface for engaging the complementary curved surface of the groove 36, it is, of course, within the scope of the present invention that other types of locking edge configurations may be provided so long as the profile configurations of the section utilize a'latch arrangement of the type heretofore described.
Referring now to FIGURE 3, a modified arrangement of a system for unlocking two sections 12' is disclosed. The extruded sections 12' have substantially the same profile configurations as the extruded sections 12 in that they are provided with the ribs 18' and 30, the ribs being provided with flange-like extensions 20 and 32'. The flange-like extensions 20' and 32' are provided with a latch arrangement substantially identical to the latch arrangement heretofore described with respect to FIG- URES 1 and 2 in that the extension 20 is provided with a ridge-like keeper element or longitudinally extending ridge 21' which retains the tongue-like catch element defined by the extension 32'. However, the flange 38' extending outwardly of the flange-like extension 20 is provided with an upwardly extending hook-shaped rib 60 having an undercut, sloping'and inwardly facing surface 62.
The tool 40' is provided with a handle 42 having an elongated head element 44' thereon, the head element being U-shaped in cross-section. A short leg 48 of the Ushaped head element 44 has extending along its free end an inwardly turned hook-shaped rib 63 complementary to the hook-shaped rib 60 of the flange 38', the hook-shaped rib terminating short of the opposed surface 45 of the longer leg 46', as best shown in FIGURE 3. At the free end of the longer leg 46', a rib 47 extends longitudinally along the same toward and terminating short of the plane of the short leg. When the tool 40' is applied to a set of interlocking extruded sections 12, as illustrated in FIGURE 3, the hook-shaped rib 63 of the tool engages the hook-shaped rib 60 of flange 38' whereas the rib 47 engages the undersurface of the flange-like extension 20 adjacent to the junction of the flange-like extension 20' with the rib 18'. By application of a force in the direction of the arrow B, the rib 47 acts as a fulcrum and the flange-like extension 20' is flexed relative to the flange-like extension 32' until the tonguelike latch catch element swings free of the ridge-like latch keeper element 21'. When this occurs, the extruded sections 12 can be rotated relative to each other in a reverse direction to easily disassemble the same.
It will now be obvious to those skilled in the art that the improved interlocking extruded sections and the system for disassembly of the same, as heretofore described, is susceptible to some modifications and changes without departing from the spirit and principles of the invention. The specific embodiment described has been shown merely for the purpose of illustrating the principles of the in' vention and to disclose structure which has fully and effectively accomplished the object and advantages of the invention. Therefore, the terminology used in the specification is for the purpose of description and not limitation, the scope of the invention being defined in the claim.
For use in unlocking extruded sections snap-locked together, the sections having a ridge-like keeper element on one section with a flange extending outwardly of the same and having an upwardly extending hooklike element along the edge thereof, the ridge-like keeper element cooperating with a tongue-like catch element 6 to restrain them against unlocking and the sections being sufiiciently resilient whereby the tongue-like catch element can ride over the keeper element and snap into latching engagement, a hand tool comprising a handle, an elongated head element carried on said handle and having an axis extending substantially transversely of the same, said elongated head element being substantially U-shaped in cross section and having one leg thereof shorter than the other leg thereof to define an elongated groove therebetween parallel to the axis of the head element, said shorter leg having a hook-shaped rib complementary to the hook-like element of the flange extending along its free edge toward and terminating short of the longer leg, said longer leg having a rib extending along its free edge toward the plane of the shorter leg, said head element being adapted to receive the flange of the one section in said groove with the hook shaped rib of the shorter leg hooking against said hook-like element of the flange and with the rib of said longer leg bearing against a different side of the one section and providing a fulcrum to flex the sections apart in unlocking direction.
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