US 3593481 A
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United States Patent  Inventor Tom '1. Mikulin 1469 Bellevue Ave., Burlingame, Calif. 94010  Appl. No. 808,603
Mar. 19, 1969 July 20, 1971  Filed  Patented  EXTENSIBLE STRUCTURE 7 Claims, 13 Drawing Figs.
 US. Cl 52/632, l4/l,52/l17,52/121  Int. Cl E04h 12/34, EOld 15/10  Field ofSearch 52/111,
l5 6] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 999,126 7/19ll Sisfermann 14/1 X 2,269,364 1/1942 Farrand 182/41 3,416,267 12/1968 Maniu 52/117 X 3,435,570 4/1969 Berry 52/111 X Primary Examiner-Alfred C. Perham AtlorneyGordon Wood ABSTRACT: A structure adapted to be extended from a compact form to a greatly elongated form to provide a vertically extending tower or a horizontally extending bridge or the like. The main structural members are similar to lazy tongs and the sides of the structure are formed of pivotally connected panels adapted to be nested in side by side relation in the compact form and opened into coplanar relationship in the extended form. Locking means is provided for fixedly connecting the extended sections together to provide the equivalent of a rigid structure.
? "SECTION" PATENT-EB JULPOIQYI SHEET 7 BF 7 INVENTOR. 722M ZM/m/A/N Irma Ir EXTENSIBLE STRUCTURE This invention relates to an extendable structure and more particularly to a structure that may be stored in a compact condition and extended vertically to provide a tower or extended horizontally to provide a bridge or the like. The invention will be described with reference to an elongated strength member and the method of forming it. However it will be apparent that the ultimate use to which the structural member is directed may take one of many forms.
The main object of the present invention is the provision of a structure which may be readily converted from a compact form in which the space required for the structure is minimal to an elongated form for use in whatever application is desired.
Another object of the invention is the provision of an extendable structure incorporating means for fixedly securing the sections of the structure relative to each other so that for all practical purposes the final structure is the equivalent of a rigid body in which the sections are welded together.
Still another object of the invention is the provision of an elongated structure consisting of nestable sections which can be extended to provide an elongated strength member incorporating bracing for optimum strength.
Other objects of the invention will be apparent from the following specification and from the drawings.
FIG. 1 is a side elevation of a vertically extending form of the invention showing the lower end in the process of being raised to the extended condition.
FIG. 2 is a fragmentary side elevation of the structure taken at right angles to FIG. 1.
FIG. 3 is a side elevation of the extended upper end of the structure of FIGv 1.
FIG. 4 is a view similar to FIG. 3 but taken at right angles thereto.
FIG. 5 is a side elevation of the structure similar to FIG. 2 but with the drive chains removed for clarity.
FIG. 6 is a cross section taken along lines 6-6 of FIG. 5 showing the means for holding the locking shaft in one of its two positions.
FIG. 7 is an enlarged vertical sectional view taken generally along lines 7-7 of FIG. 3.
FIG. 8 is an enlarged vertical section taken generally along the lines 88 of FIG. 3.
FIG. 9 is a greatly enlarged vertical sectional view showing the transition between a partially expanded and fully expanded frame of the structure.
FIG. 10 is a horizontally extending section of the structure taken in a plane indicated by lines Ill-10 of FIG. 5.
FIG. 11 is a semischematic fragmentary view showing the interaction of the locking shaft.
FIG. 12 is a side elevation showing the shaft in its locked position.
FIG. 13 is a side elevation of a portion of a vehicle showing a modified form of the invention carried thereby and which is adapted to be expanded to a horizontally extending member to form a bridge or the like.
The form of the invention disclosed may be provided with a suitable base generally designated 1 and including four posts 2 extending upwardly from said base and between which posts the structure may be contained. As best seen in FIG. 3, wherein the upper portion of the extended structure is shown, the same consists of a plurality of similar sections each of which is provided at its upper and lower ends with relatively heavy end plates 3 and 4 extending between opposed sides of the structure. In the particular form shown in FIGS. 3 and 4 the cross-sectional shape of the structure is generally rectangular and each section includes a pair of section segments or panels 5,6 pivotally connected by pivot shaft 7 to provide one complete side 8 of the structure connected top and bottom to end plates 3,4. The opposite side 9 of the structure consists of panels 10,11 pivotally connected together by pivot shaft I2 and pivotally secured at their upper and lower ends to end plates 3,4. Each of the above-noted panels may be conveniently formed by a pair of vertically extending angle bars 15,16 connected at their upper and lower ends by bars 17,18 and stiffened with a diagonal brace 19 (FIG. 4). Extending between the opposed end plates 3,4 are shafts 21 by which the panels are pivotall y connected to said plates.
At this point, and as best seen in FIG. 5, the top and bottom plates 3 of each section are adapted to be stacked vertically in coplanar relationship when the structure is in its compact form and panels 5,6 are adapted to lie substantially in side by side relationship as are panels 10,111.
One method of opening the structure from the compact form to the elongated form is shown in FIGS. 1 and 2. An upper sprocket shaft 23 parallel to end plates 4 is rotatably supported in bearings 24 attached to posts 2. Said shaft 23 is provided with a pair of sprockets for driving sprocket chains 26,27 and between which chains extend a plurality of driving bars 28. An idler shaft 30 similar to shaft 23 is rotatably sup ported on the posts 2 and is provided with sprockets for engaging the lower ends of the runs of chains 26,27.
Each end plate 3,4.is provided with a pair of horizontally spaced-apart toothed blocks 31 which are adapted to be engaged by one pair of bars 28 so that as the inner runs of chains 26,27 move upwardly the end plates 4 are driven upwardly from their nested position to the spaced apart positions of FIG. 3.
Similarly, a pair of chains 33 are provided on the opposite side of the structure and supported on sprocket wheels carried by upper and lower shafts 34,35 respectively. Shaft 23 is driven through a wheel 34 by means of a belt 36 which in turn is driven from the output end of gear reducer 3'7. Shafts 23,24 are driven together by a connecting chain 38 so that both sides of the chain drive are driven at the same speed. Fixed guides 39,40 secured to posts 2 are provided in engagement with the inner runs of the chains so as to hold the bars 28 in meshing engagement with the toothed blocks 31.
The manner in which each section is extended from its nested condition to its extended condition will now be described.
As best seen in FIGS. 5 and 10, the pivot shaft 12 which pivotally connects the panels 10,11 of each section 9 is fixedly secured, intermediate its ends, to a pair of horizontally spaced-apart slides 42 and said slides are connected together at a point spaced from shaft 12 by means of a crosspiece 43 (FIG. 10). The free end portions of slides 42 are provided with slotted plates 44 formed with elongated slots 45 which register with similar slots 46 in slides 42. Slidably received in the inner slots 46 are the opposite ends of a shaft 48 carried by the corresponding ends of a pair of diagonal braces 49 which are formed at their opposite ends with sleeve portions 50 swingably carried by the lower shaft 21 of panel 6. Also pivotally supported on shaft 48 are the inner ends of a pair of braces 52 which are similarly swingably supported at their upper ends on the shaft 21 of upper panel 5 (see FIGS. 7, 8). It will be noted that the braces 49,50 associated with shaft 48 cause the slide 42 to maintain a perfectly horizontal position at all times and in all positions of the structure. For this reason the open ended slots 45 in plates 44 carried by slides 42 can receive therein a pair of pins 54 carried by the inner ends of pairs of braces 55,56 (FIG. 5). In this manner the pins 54 which are completely detached from the slides 42 in the compact position enter the slots 45 and cooperate with slides 42 to brace the structure as the latter is erected.
Upon continued upward movement of the structure the panels 5,6 become coplanar as do the panels 10,11. Immediately before the final elongated position of the section is achieved the free end of slides 42 engage the pivot shafts 7 which connect the panels 5,6 together. This is accomplished by providing outwardly opening slots 57 in slides 42 and which slots terminate inwardly in enlarged generally circular portions 58 which are of a size to rotatably receive shaft 7 (FIG. 11). However the width of slot portion 57 is less than the diameter of portion 58 and shaft 7 is provided with flatted portions to provide a pair of opposite flat sides 59 the spacing between which is sufficiently small to permit shaft 7 to enter the slotted portion 57 of slides 42. By the present invention the shaft 7 is then rotated through 90 so that the shaft 7 can not inadvertently be disconnected from slides 42 through the restrictive slot 57. The manner in which the shaft 7 is rotated will now be described.
Fixedly secured to the opposite ends of each shaft 7 are a pair of earns 62 each formed to provide a flat side 63 which, as the structure moves upwardly relative to the posts 2 engages lever 64 pivotally mounted on a plate 65 which in turn is swingably secured by pivot pin 66 to post 2. As best seen in FIG. 9 the arrangement is such that the flat side 63 of each cam 62 swings plate 65 outwardly slightly and at the same time the lever arms 64 urge the earns 62 in a counterclockwise direction so that shaft 7 is given a quarter turn to a position with flats 59 vertical as best seen in FIG. 12. Upon downward movement of the structure toward its nested position the flat portion 63, of each cam 62 engages an upwardly opening groove 69 on arm 64 and swings. the latter downwardly to a limited extent and thereafter causes the plate 65 to be swung outwardly against the urgency of compression spring 70 causing the cam 62 to be swung back to its original position at which the flattened portions of shaft 7 may be disconnected from guides 42 through the restricted slots 57. The shaft 7 is maintained in one or the other of the 90 spaced-apart positions by the coaction of a spring urgedpin 71 and a flattened portion 72 on said shaft 7; the pin 71 being carried by the panel (FIG. 6).
It will be understood that, upon downward movement of the structure, it is necessary to impart a laterally directed force on shaft 7 so as to cause the two panels of the section to start moving outwardly from their coplanar position. This is accomplished on one side by means of an arm 74 which is swingably mounted on post 2 by means of pivot 75. Arm 74 is provided with a slanted cam surface 76 at its upper end to engage cam 62 as indicated in FIG. 9 thereby urging the shaft 7 laterally outwardly. However the arm 74 must be in a normal position clear of the structure and for this purpose a compression spring 77 is provided between arm 74 and the outer end of a link 78. The lower end of arm 74 is provided with a cam portion 80 which, upon downward movement of the structure is engaged by a preceding end plate 3 as indicated in H0. 9
thereby urging the upper end inwardly to the dot-dash position at which it urges the shaft 7 outwardly.
The function of urging the section toward its collapsed position is performed on the other side of the structure also as seen in FIG. 9. The outer ends of pivot shaft 12 are provided with rollers 83 which, upon downward movement of the structure engage a slanted camming surface 84 of cam 85 so that shaft 12 is urged outwardly to initiate the collapse of the section. Upon upward movement of the structure the roller 83 engages the underside of an arm 88 which is pivotally supported on post 2 by pivot 89 and which is provided with a pin 90 cooperating with a slot 91 in an arm 92 spring urged to the position shown in FIG. 9 by compression spring 93. The fact that arm 88 is thus yieldably mounted permits it to swing outwardly slightly but at the same time to urge the roller 83 toward the position at which the panels are coplanar. Upon downward movement of the roller the latter swings the arm 88 outwardly against the resiliency of spring 93.
From the above description it will be seen that there is provided a structure which is automatically converted from a collapsed position to a vertically extending rigid structure with a degree of rigidity comparable to a welded structure. Furthermore it will be apparent that the upper end of the structure may be provided with means such as platform 96 (FIG. 5) so as to elevate heavy objects.
Although a structure of substantially rectangular cross-sectional configuration has been described herein in detail the invention contemplates application of the invention to other shapes. For example, a structure of triangular configuration and other shapes may be formed by the present invention since, as long as there are two sides which cooperate to impart rigidity, they need not be in opposed relationship.
As stated previously the invention is not restricted to formation of a tower of the type hereinbefore described and may be extended horizontally or at an angle to the vertical depending upon the particular application for which the structure is desired. For example, in FIG. 13 a structure similar to that described above is shown supported on a truck 98 and extending in a horizontal direction. It will be apparent that the actuation of the structure to effect its elongation and collapse can be the same as that previously described. However, in this case rollers such as indicated at 99 may be provided to engage the lower side of the structure and the upper side of the structure may be secured to a foundation 100 fixed relative to the truck 98. Aside from this means to effect a couple to support the structure the apparatus is substantially the same as that hereinbefore described.
The horizontally disposed structure of FIG. 13 may be employed as a bridge across a river or for other purposes. In the event it is employed as a bridge itwill be apparent that two or more similar structures may be placed in side by side relationship and connected together to form a support of whatever width is desired.
Although the above-described structure has certain similarities to prior art lazy tong devices it will be noted that, technically, the lazy tong principle is not really employed because the entire structure nced not be extended simultaneously to permit its use-it being usable when partly extended as readily as when fully extended. Also it will be appreciated that various different means may be employed to open the structure. For example, if a bridge is to be formed in a remote area it may be opened by a tank, jeep or by a helicopter.
I. A structure adapted to be extended from a compact form to a greatly elongated form to provide a vertically extending tower or a horizontally extending bridge and the like comprising:
a plurality of sections,
each of said sections including at least two sides interconnected at their corresponding ends by transversely extending rigid connecting members,
each of said sides comprising a pair of similar panels pivotally connected together to permit said panels to be swung outwardly to a nested position in side by side relationship and to swing about their pivot into substantially coplanar relationship to form one of said sides,
means preventing said panels from swinging inwardly of said section from said coplanar relationship and nestable bracing means extending generally diagonally of each section when the structure is extended,
said structure being of generally rectangular cross-sectional configuration and said two sides are spaced apart in op posed relation, interengaging elements carried by said sides respectively and adapted to cooperate and connect said sides together when said structure is extended,
said interengaging elements including an elongated bar carried at one end by one side and connected at its opposite end to the other side when the structure is extended.
2. A structure adapted to be extended from a compact form to a greatly elongated form to provide a vertically extending tower or a horizontally extending bridge or the like comprising:
a plurality of sections,
each of said sections including at least two sides interconnected at their opposite ends by connecting members, each of said sides comprising a pair of similar panels pivotally connected together to permit said panels to be swung to a nested position in side by side relationship and to swing about their pivot into substantially coplanar relationship to form one of said sides,
' a pair of elongated braces pivotally connected together at one end and pivotally connected at their opposite ends to the opposite ends of a side respectively,
establishing a fixed support includes an elongated bar connected at one end to one side of a section and adapted to extend transversely of the length of said structure when the latter is extended.
6. A structure according to claim 5 wherein means is provided for connecting the other end of said bar to the opposite side of the section.
7. A structure according to claim 6 wherein said last-mentioned means includes a shaft adapted to engage said other end of said bar.