US 3574433 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent Inventor Robert C. Bell Centereach, N.Y.
Appl. No. 806,791
Filed Mar. 13,1969
Patented Apr. 13, 1971 Assignee Eico Electronic Instrument Co., Inc.
' Brooklyn, N.Y.
CABINET 8 Claims, 6 Drawing Figs.
Int. Cl A47b 47/00, A47b 87/02 Field of Search 312/108,
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS Guillon et al.
Atkinson Lew Scharmer et al Gallagher Anders Primary Examiner-Casmir A. Nunberg Att0rney--Prangley, Clayton, Mullins, Dithmer & Vogel 312/263X 3 l2/263X 3l2/257X 312/263X 3l2/223X ABSTRACT: A cabinet consisting of essentially rectangular, substantially rigid top and bottom panels; four substantially rigid side panels; and, as the sole means for supporting the panels, a plurality of relatively nonelastic, essentially rigid connecting elements, each having two longitudinally extending grooves into which two edges of the respective adjacent bottom and side, top and side, and pairs of side panels are removably force fit.
CABINET This invention relates to a cabinet assembly and in particular to an easy-assemble, knock down type cabinet assembly having a plurality of like connecting elements which form the sole support for the panel walls of the cabinet, eliminating the need for comerpieces, braces, nails, screws or other like securing means.
A cabinet assembly comprised of grooved, reinforced elastomeric connecting elements which can be wedged into tight fit with inserted panels and of grooved, reinforced elastomeric corner elements for forming a continuous rectangular framework has been suggested in Clingman US. Pat. No. 2,956,705 granted Oct. 18, I960. While this prior art cabinet assembly is adequate for the intended purposes, the incorporation of the required reinforcements in the connecting elements and corner elements during or subsequent to the manufacture of the latter and the use of the reinforced elements together with the required wedging means in forming (or later dismantling) the final cabinet assembly are relatively'complicated, cumbersome and timeconsuming.
It is an object of this invention to provide a relatively simple easy-assemble, knock down cabinet assembly. It is another object of this invention to provide a cabinet assembly requiring no comerpieces, frame reinforcing means, nails, screws or any other means for securing the same. Other objects and advantages of the invention will be apparent from the following description and accompanying drawings illustrating the invention in its presently preferred embodiments.
In the drawings:
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a cabinet assembled in accordance with the invention;
FIG. 2 is a cross-sectional view taken on line 2-2 of FIG. 1;
FIGS. 3, 4 and 5 show modifications of the connecting element 14b shown in FIG. 2; and
FIG. 6 is a cross-sectional view, like that of FIG. 2, of the presently preferred connecting element.
As shown in FIG. 1, a completely enclosed cabinet (generally designated 10) in accordance with this invention includes a top panel 11, a bottom panel (not shown) and four side panels. Two side panels 12 and 13 are visible in FIG. 1 and a third panel I9 in FIG. 2. The fourth side panel is not specifically shown in the views presented. All of the panels are assembled into a cabinet assembly by connecting elements such as 14b.
As seen in FIG. 2 the connecting element 14b is provided with a groove or channel in which the edge of the top panel 11 is forced fit and snugly but removably held, and a second channel or groove for similarly holding the edge of side panel 13. In the embodiment illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2 the sidewalls of the cabinet are essentially normal to the top and bottom walls and the channels 20, 21 are in planes normal to each other.
The panels in the cabinet assembly of this invention are substantially rigid and may be chosen from a wide variety of suitable materials such as rigid" or semirigid" plastics (both natural and synthetic, thermoplastic or thermosetting), sheet metal, pressed board (e.g., Masonite or the like), wood, sheet glass, laminates of wood and plastic (e.g., Formica") or metal and decorative plastic, and any one of a number of other like materials. The degree of rigidity is not of critical importance so long as the various panels (e.g., to panel 11) have adequate strength to permit force fitting of their edges in the channels or grooves (e.g., 20) of the connecting elements (e.g., 14b) by compression or sliding action.
The connecting elements, such as Nb, of this invention are composed of nonelastomeric, essentially rigid materials such as metal, wood or the like. Most preferred materials of construction for the connecting elements are the rigid" and semirigid plastics, especially the thennoplastic materials which can be shaped to include the channels or grooves 20, 21 by extrusion or injection molding in mass production quantity.
Suitable plastics of the type described include polyoxymethylene (also known as Acetal resins," e.g., DuPonts Delrin or Celaneses Celcon), rigid" and semirigid grades of polyvinylchloride or polyvinyl acetals, acrylic ester and methacrylic ester polymers, polystyrene (especially high-impact" grades of polystyrene), ABS resins (acrylonitrile-styrene-butadiene terpolymers) and a wide variety of other like rigid thermoplastics. It will be obvious, of course, that compression molded, or cast and machined, thermosetting plastics (e.g., Bakelite" phenolic molding compounds) can also be used. A number of suitable plastics are described in, e.g., the 1967 Modern Plastics Encyclopedia.
The above-described connecting elements are the sole means used for securing and supporting the panels in the cabinet assembly of this invention.
A typical cabinet assembly according to this invention includes essentially rectangular top and bottom panels of essentially the same dimensions and opposed sidewall panels (e.g., I2 and 19) which are also essentially rectangular and of essentially the same dimensions. In this typical case there will be four connecting elements (14a, 14b, 14c, etc.) slightly longer than the length dimension of the top and bottom panels and receiving the length edges of the top and bottom panels as well as the adjacent edges of the side panels (e.g., as shown in FIG. 2, the adjacent edges of panel II, 13). Four like connecting elements (160, 17a, 17b shown and 1612 not shown), slightly shorter than the height dimension of the top and bottom panels, are used to receive and snugly but removably hold the height edges of these panels as well as the adjacent top and bottom edges of the opposed sidewall panels e.g., 12 and 19. Finally, four further like connecting elements (15a, 15b, 15c, etc.) are used to secure the adjacent vertical edges of adjacent side panels (e.g., l2 and 13) and extend between the ends of the longer connecting elements (such as I40 and 14b) forming what can be considered as exterior comer posts. In this way no other securing means are required, or even desirable, for holding the cabinet panels in the proper relationship.
Cabinets assembled in accordance with this invention may be used, for example, for enclosing electronic kits such as kit phonograph record players, kit radios and the like. As seen in FIG. 1, for example, one or more panels such as panel 13 may be provided with punch-out holes 18 through which pertinent parts of the kit (e.g., radio control knob arms and/or pushbutton station locators) may extend to the exterior. Like punch-out" holes in the rear panel (not shown) would be provided for permitting input of necessary electrical wiring or the like. Moreover, one or more (and if desired all) of the connecting elements can be made of transparent or translucent (plainor colored) material so that interior lighting means such as a small light bulb inside the cabinet can be lit to provide very pleasing aesthetic effects. Any number of other corollary features for other desired uses or aesthetic effects may be similarly incorporated into assemblies as described herein.
In FIG. 3 there is shown as embodiment wherein channel 21b of connecting element 14b is designed to provide a sloping front panel 13 for the cabinet assembly. In such an event one of the channels in element 14a would have a similarly slanted channel for receiving the front panel. Also the connecting elements 170 and 17b would be somewhat shorter than 16a (and 16b not shown) instead of being of equal length as in the embodiment of FIG. 1. Finally, in the embodiment suggested in FIG. 3, the "comer" connecting elements 15b and would be suitably mitered at their ends to suitably mate with surfaces of elements I40 and 14b.
The modifications of FIGS. 4 and 5 illustrate variations in design of the channels 20 and 21 in the connecting elements to assist in achieving snug force fitting.
In FIG. 4 the channels 20c and 210 are wider than the thickness of a panel at their outer opening to permit easy initial assembly, and then taper down to a dimension less than the thickness of the panel to snugly hold the panel edge once the edge is forced to the bottom of the channel.
In FIG. 5 the channels 20d, 21d have an hourglasslike cross section in which the narrow waist portion is narrower than the thickness of a panel to be received therein.
For example, if the cabinet panels are nominally 20-gauge decorative plastic-coated sheet metal laminates (overall thickness 0.020 inch) the connecting elements (e.g., 14b) can be y -inch (0.250 inch) square in overall cross section and the outer opening of channels 20c, 21c could be 0.022 to 0.025 inch to a channel depth of about 0.025 inch, tapering over the next 0.025 inch of channel depth to an opening of 0.0l5 to 0.018 inch for an additional 0.025 or 0.030 inch of channel depth (total channel depth of 0.075 to 0.080 inch). With the same cabinet panels the dimensions of channels 20d, 21d (in FIG. 5) could be, for. example, 0.025 to 0.050 inch at the opening tapering to 0.005 to 0.015 inch at the narrow waist of the hourglasslike shape and then widening again to 0.030 to 0.060 inch (e.g., 0.045 inch) at the bottom of the channel (total channel depth 0.080 to 0.l inch). The wide opening towards the bottom of the channel permits slight flexing open of the channel when the panel is inserted. Optionally the connecting element of HO. (or the other FIGS.) may include a channel such as channel 22 extending therethrough to aid in more uniform cooling of the connecting element when it is produced by extrusion of plastic materials or the like and, thusly, more uniform tolerance in the dimensions of the slots or channels 20d, 211d.
While the connecting elements have been shown in FIGS. 2 to 5 as having a substantially square configuration and specifically described as 0.250 inch square in cross section, it will be obvious that other cross-sectional shapes and sizes may be used as feasible and desired. One especially preferred cross-sectional shape is that shown in HO. 6 in which the outer surfaces of the connecting element are arcuately shaped to form a round 23. This shape is an especially desirable one for plastic extrusion fabrication of the connecting elements and provides the more uniform cooling and more uniform tolerances, referred to above, in channels 202, 21a.
It has also been found desirable in preferred embodiments to form the channels (e.g., 20 and 2!) so that the included angle between them in the unassembled state is less than the included angle between the respective panels (e.g., 11 and 13 respectively) when the cabinet is assembled. in this way the connecting element is spread open when the parts are assembled. This spreading open enhances and amplifies the holding power of the normal friction fit. The difference in angles is not particularly critical and may be as low as 2 or 3 and as high as 15, or or so. Practical consideration, i.e., the ease of assembly versus the degree of holding power desired, will dictate the final choice of angular difference. Obviously the difi'erence should not be so great that assembly cannot be efficiently and easily accomplished. in a typical case such as that illustrated in H0. 2, wherein the panels are to be assembled normal (90) to each other, the included angle between channels 20 and 21 of the connecting element may be from about 70" to about 88 in the preferred embodiment as discussed immediately above. Where one panel is to be sloped, the connecting element (such as illustrated in FIG. 3) is preferably constructed so that the included angle between the channels is likewise less, e.g., 2 to 20 less, than the final slope angle.
Methods of assembling the cabinet of this invention will be readily apparent to those skilled in the art. It is presently preferred to compressively force fit together the shorter connecting elements 16a, 17a, 17b, etc. and the respective adjacent edges of the panels with which these are associated and to center the elements on these panel edges. Subassemblies are then formed by connecting to the "front" panel l3 and the "rear" panel (not shown) the four connecting elements associated therewith, e.g., elements Ma, 14b, 15b and 150 for panel 13. The cabinet is then completed by pressing these subassemblies over the respective exposed edges of the panels ll, l2, 19, etc. at the front and rear" thereof.
It will be understood that variations and modifications may be made in this invention without departin from the scope of the appended claims. For example the aest etic appearance of the cabinet may be enhanced, if desired, by suitably mitering the adjoining ends of the longer connecting elements 14a, 14b, 14c, etc., and 15a, 15b, 150, etc. Also a permanent assembly may be achieved by applying a suitable glue or other adhesive in areas where the panels and channels or grooves of the connecting elements are joined; or as a bead or the like along the inside junctures of the connecting elements and panels in the subassemblies fabricated in the course of forming the final cabinet assembly.
l. A cabinet comprising a substantially rigid bottom panel; a substantially rigid top panel; four substantially rigid side panels; 12 elongated connecting elements respectively disposed at the adjacent edges of adjacent panels for interconnection thereof; each of said connecting elements being constructed of unitary, relatively nonelastic, essentiallyrigid material; each of said connecting elements having therein two longitudinally extending grooves respectively receiving the two adjacent edges of two adjacent panels; the width of at least a portion of each of said grooves being slightly less than the thickness of the edge of the associated panel, to accommodate removable, frictional engagement among said connecting elements and said panels; said grooves and said edges being shaped to accommodate press fitting of said panels respectively into said connecting elements.
2. Cabinet as defined in claim 1 in which each of said connecting elements is formed of plastic.
3. Cabinet as defined in claim 1 in which each of said grooves includes a first region near the surface of the associated connecting element and having a width greater than the thickness of the edge of the associated panel, a second region away from said surface and having a width less than the thickness of said edge, and a third region between said first and second regions and having a width which tapers from the width of said first region to the width of said second region, said first region being operative loosely to receive said edge, said third region being operative to guide said edge into said second region where said edge is frictionally engaged.
4. Cabinet as defined in claim 1 in which each of said grooves includes a first region near the surface of the associated connecting element and having a width greater than the thickness of the associated edge of the associated panel, a second region disposed away from said surface and having a width greater than the thickness of said edge, and a third region joining said first and second regions and having a width less than the thickness of said edge, each edge being defined by two substantially parallel planes, said first region being operative loosely to receive said edge, said second region accommodating temporary spread of the sides of said third region to permit movement of said edge through said third region and into said second region, whereby release causes frictional engagement between said third region and said edge.
5. Cabinet as defined in claim 1 in which at least one of the panels is provided with knock-out holes for accommodation of controls, electrical lead wires and the like for equipment contained therein.
6. Cabinet as defined in claim 1 including at least one sloping side panel extending between the top and bottom panels.
7. Cabinet as defined in claim 1 which the included angle between the grooves in each of the connecting elements, in
unassembled state, is less than the included angle between the panels associated therewith when the cabinet is assembled.
8. Cabinet as defined in claim 7 wherein the angle between the grooves in each of said connecting elements in the unassembled state is from about 2 to about 20 less than the angle between the panels in the final assembly.