US 3717396 A
Matching pan elements of sheet plastic having complemental hooked interlocking members and projection and socket registering members are assembled into hollow panel components. Such hollow panel components have coplanar pegs projecting from an edge and/or tenons of channel-shaped cross section projecting laterally beyond a side to engage in complemental sockets in another panel for assembling such panels into cabinet walls, shelves or drawers.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
ghiiwfi States Patent 1 Bnpree [4 1 Feb. 20, 1973  MODULAR SHELL CABINET [56l References Cited STRUCTURE UNITED STATES PATENTS [761 Invent fla'ls'wemer Osnabrucke' 3,438,l64 4/1969 Duepree ..312/263 Landstfasse 4331 GuterslOh- 3,307,504 3/1967 Cloyd 6! a1. ..l08/58 A enwe d G y 3,325,585 6/l967 Brenncman ...52/262 l,l42,5l8 6/l9l5 Hinde ...52/585 [221 3,160,120 l2/l964 Skubic ..I08/53 2 3,497,079 2/1970 Kulweic ..52/620 x  App] No 8 3,543,462 12/1970 s am/3:61 ..52/264  Foreign Application Priority Data Primary Examiner-James T. McCall V V AztorneyRobert W. Beach Nov. 18, l969 Germany ..P 19 57 878.0
-  ABSTRACT Matching pan elements of sheet plastic having com-  "312/257 108/111 312/257 plemental hooked interlocking members and projec- 312/257 SM, 52/262,52/585 tion and socket registering members are assembled  Int. Cl. ....A47b 47/00 into hollow panel components, Such hollow panel V H components have coplanar pegs projecting from an  Field of Search ..312/257 R, 263, 111, 140, 257 g n /0r n n of ch nnelh p cross secti n SK, projecting laterally beyond a side to engage in comple- 312/257 SM; 287/2092 E; 108/51, 58, 111; 52/619, 620, 621, 585, 262, 264
mental sockets in another panel for assembling such panels into cabinet walls, shelves or drawers.
8 Claims, 9 Drawing Figures PATENTED FEBZO I973 SHEET 5 OF 5 factured readily and accurately and assembled quickly and easily to produce the panel structure.
A further object is to provide such structures utilizing a minimum amount of plastic material which, following assembly, are strong and rigid.
It is also an object to provide such components for shell cabinet work which, when assembled, will provide a construction attractive in appearance and of light weight.
Another object is to provide sheet plastic panels which can be assembled in different ways to provide different types of structures, either without modification or with minor modifications.
FIG. 1 is a perspective of matching pan elements in exploded relationship, which can be assembled into a hollow panel, showing the inner sides of an upper interior pan element and of a lower exterior pan element.
FIG. 2 is a top perspective of an end portion of a somewhat modified lower pan element.
FIG. 3 is a top perspective of upper and lower sheet pan elements assembled into a hollow panel, parts being broken away.
FIG. 4 is a top perspective of further modified interior and exterior matching pan elements in exploded relationship.
FIG. 5 is a top perspective of an end portion of a hollow panel formed from pan elements similar to those shown in FIG. 4, but modified to some extent.
FIG. 6 is a plan of a drawer component fabricated from hollow panels made of assembled pan elements.
FIG. 7 is a fragmentary detail plan showing a portion of a drawer construction made of components differing from those shown in FIG. 6, such components being shown in exploded relationship.
FIG. 8 is a plan of a different type of drawer fabricated from hollow panels, and FIG. 9 is a perspective showing fragments of component panels used in the construction of such drawer with the panel portions disposed in exploded relationship.
The hollow or shell panel components of the present invention can be made from molded or extruded sheet plastic pan elements of different types of construction. Such hollow panels are designed for assembly in the manufacture of chests, desks and other types of fumiture, including drawers, and for built-in cabinets including shelves. The interior of the pan elements making up each hollow panel are stiffened interiorly by feathers so that when they are assembled they will present a smooth exterior but will be strong and rigid, although light in weight.
The individual pan elements can be molded or extruded depending upon their design and have projections and sockets which can be interfitted to locate the pan elements in matching registry and to secure the pan elements permanently together to form the hollow or shell panels. Such panels also have projections and sockets to enable them to be assembled in coplanar relationship or perpendicular to each other depending upon the type of structure to be fabricated.
A modular building panel unit can be fabricated by assembling the exterior pan element 1 and the interior pan element 2 shown in FIG. 1. These matching elements are assembled in the relationship shown with their depressed sides facing each other. When assembled, such depressed sides will be on the interior of the panel, so that the exterior surface of the resulting hollow panel or shell will be smooth.
The exterior pan element 1 includes the sheet wall 3 having tenons 4 projecting at right angles from opposite end portions of such wall. Such tenons are preferably of channel-shaped cross section and are of a length to project laterally beyond a surface of the assembled panel.
End flanges 6 projecting inwardly from the wall are of sufficient width to close the opposite ends of the interior panel hollow when the pan sections 1 and 2 are assembled. Side comer flange sections 7 joined to the end flanges 6 extend along the sides distances at least equal to the width of the tenons 4. Such end and corner flanges also assist in rigidifying the opposite ends of the pan 1 and the resulting panel.
Hooked lock-joint fingers 8 project inwardly from the inner surface of the wall 3 a distance less than the thickness of the panel. Preferably these fingers are arranged in two rows extending lengthwise of the pan 1, and their root portions are connected together by fins 8'. Between adjacent lock-joint fingers 8 stump sockets 9 project from the inner surface of the sheet wall 3 alongside the finger-joining fins 8'. The fingers 8 and intervening fins 8 constitute strenghthening and rigidifying feathers, and additional intermediate feathers for strengthening and rigidifying purposes may be disposed between such feathers. These intermediate feathers are shown as spaced parallel fins 10 also projecting from the inner surface of the sheet wall 3.
The interior pan element 2 also includes a sheet wall 11. Side flanges 12 extend along opposite longitudinal edges of the wall 11 in positions such that their free edges abut the corresponding edges of wall 3 of pan 1, or lie alongside such edges of the wall 3 when the pans are assembled into a panel with their depressed sides facing each other. The width of each side flange should therefore be approximately equal to the thickness of the hollow panel. The combination of the sheet wall 11 and the two side flanges 12 provides a pan section of channel-shaped cross section.
From the interior side of wall 11 inwardly from flanges 12 hooked lock-joint fingers 13 project which are located in positions corresponding to the locations of the hooked lock-joint fingers 8 of pan 1. Such fingers are formed complementally to the fingers 8 and are proportioned so that when the two pan elements are assembled the hooked portions of such fingers will interengage in locking relationship.
In addition, pegs 14, which may be hollow or solid, project from the interior surface of the wall 11 in positions registering with the sockets 9 projecting from the interior of wall 3. Such pegs are of a size to fit snugly into the sockets for locating the pan elements accurately relative to each other and preventing relative edgewise sliding of the pans after they have been engaged in assembled relationship.
The edge flanges 12 of the interior pan 2 constitute strengthening and stiffening feathers for the wall 11, and additional feathers may be provided for further stiffening if desired. Thus, the hooked latch fingers 13' arranged in one row lengthwise of the pan can be carried or joined by a fin 13". In addition, intermediate ribs 15 can extend longitudinally of the pan element 2 in position either to be disposed in registry with or offset from the fins of the pan element 1 when the pan elements are assembled. One or more additional fins a extending longitudinally of the pan element 2 may be provided if desired at any suitable location or locations.
The interior pan element 2 preferably is sufficiently shorter than the exterior pan element 1 so that the pan element 2 will fit between the tenons 4 upstanding from the opposite end portions of the exterior pan element 1 when the pan elements are assembled. Alternatively, the opposite ends of the wall 11 of the interior pan element 2 can be notched at locations necessary to fitaround such tenons. If the tenons are of channelshaped cross section such notches need only be of a width and depth to receive the flanges of the tenons.
When the complemental pan elements 1 and 2 have been disposed in matching positions during assembly, the pegs 14 will slide into their respective stump sockets 9 to guide the pans accurately into their final assembled relationship. Continued approach movement of the pans will cause the hooks of the lock-joint elements 8 and 13 first to deflect wedgingly and then to snap into interlocking relationship to secure the pans positively against subsequent separation.
Alternatively, registration of the two pan elements can be accomplished by interfitting of the pegs 14 and stump sockets 9 and the pans could be secured together by adhesively bonding the edges of fins 10 and ribs 15, if they are disposed in registry, and the edges of flanges 12 and the corresponding edges of sheet wall 3 in abutting relationship. Such bonding procedure would eliminate the need for the interlocking elements 8 and 13. For bonding the two pan sections together any suitable adhesive can be employed, but setting of the adhesive can be expedited by applying thermosetting adhesive to contacting parts and accelerating setting of the adhesive by placing the panel in a dielectric, highfrequency field.
Panels resulting from the assembly of exterior pans 1 and interior pans 2 shown in FIG. 1 are adapted for assembly with other hollow panels disposed perpendicular to such resulting panels. Such panels can be connected by the tenons 4 fitting in complementalsockets. The end of a panel extending perpendicular to the panel formed by assembly of the pan elements 1 and 2 would cover any gap between an end flange 6 of the pan element 1 and the adjacent end of the sheet wall 11 of pan element 2. In some instances, however, it may be desirable to assemble the resulting hollow panels in 'end-to-end relationship, such as, for example, in making shelves. For such use the tenons 4 can be omitted and the sheet wall 11 can be made long enough to extend throughout the length of the panel between end walls 6. In such instance the end portions of the side flanges 12 of pan 2 would overlap the side corner flanges 7 of pan 1 or be cut out to abut such side comer flanges. In either case the interior hollow of the resulting panel would be completely enclosed.
In order to join hollow panels in end-abutting relationship, projections in the form of cantilever dowels or pegs 5 may project lengthwise from the end flanges 6, and such dowels may be either smooth or barbed. The barbed dowels of FIG. 2 are shown as having annular serrations or threads. Such pegs or dowels may fit into' complemental sockets having smooth bores, and the dowels can be secured in such sockets either simply by friction of the serrations or barbs or the dowels may be bonded in the sockets by suitable adhesive. Even where panels are to be jointed in end-to-end relationship, laterally projecting tenons may be provided to enable an additional panel or panels to be assembled in perpendicular relationship to the panels assembled in coplanar relationship.
In FIG. 3 a hollow panel is shown of a construction suitable for assembling in perpendicular relationship to a hollow panel formed by assembling the two pans l and 2 of FIG. 1. Such panel is formed by assembling the exterior pan element 1a and the interior pan element 2a with their depressed sides disposed in face-to-face relationship. The exterior pan element 1a has a plurality of parallel strengthening and rigidifying feathers extending lengthwise of it, including side flanges 12a of a width equal to the thickness of the finished hollow panel. Two parallel fins 15a are shown extending lengthwise of the central portion of the exterior pan 1a in parallel relationship. The edge of each of these fins has a rabbet for receiving an edge portion 17 of a complemental fin 10a projecting inward from the sheet wall of the interior pan element 2a.
In addition, the edge portion of one or move deep fins 18 projecting inward from the sheet wall of the interior pan element 2a may be engaged in the groove formed between ribs 19 projecting inwardly from the interior of the sheet wall of exterior pan elements la. Also the edges of side flanges 12a may be formed with rabbets having grooves 20 into which narrow edge flanges of the sheet wall of interior pan element 2a may fit. The complemental feather elements of the two pans which are interfitted can be bonded together to secure such pans permanently in their assembled relationship.
When the interengaged edges of the complemental feather elements projecting inwardly from the sheet walls of the pan 1a and 2a have been bonded together, a very strong and rigid shell panel results which still is very light. Moreover, the two pan sections are secured together sufficiently strongly so that they cannot be separated even by quite large interior prying forces. Consequently, it is practical to connect an end portion of the hollow panel shown in FIG. 3 by inserting snugly into the ends of the elongated socket recesses formed within it connecting members such as the tenons 4,
shown in FIG. 1. To enable such a connection to be made, the feathers extending from the sheet walls into the interior hollow of the panel should be located so that they will not conflict with entrance of the tenons 4' into recesses between feathers but will form sockets located in positions corresponding to the tenons 4 shown in FIG. 1.
Specifically, a comparison of FIGS. 1 and 3 will show that the nearer tenons 4 in FIG. 1 are located at the edge of the panel, and the recess at the left of FIG. 3 is located at the edge of the panel. The tenons farther away in FIG. 1 are spaced from the opposite edge of the panel and they are wider than the nearer tenons. Their location and width match the location and width of the recess near the right side of the panel shown in FIG. 3 which is spaced from the right flange 12a.
In addition, in most cases it is desirable for the tenons 4 to be capable of being locked into their sockets. For this purpose serrations 22, which preferably are undercut to form barbs, are provided on one surface of each tenon 4. Complemental serrations 22a are formed in the recesses of the panel shown in FIG. 3. Actually, such serrations are formed on opposite sides of the recess so that the panel of FIG. 3 can be fitted on and locked to the tenons 4 at either end of the panel formed by assembly of the pan sections shown in FIG. 1. The panels thus assembled are tightly and permanently secured together to form a strong, rigid and light panel assembly. The interengaged tenons and recesses are sufiiciently resilient so that a tight fit can be provided between them to minimize relative movement between the parts when they are assembled.
In FIG. 4 a modified type of shell panel construction is illustrated, including a plate or pan section lb, which does not have edge flanges, and a pan section 2b which has flanges 6a on opposite ends and flanges 12a on opposite sides. The exterior pan element 1b has stump sockets 9, as described in connection with FIG. 1, for receiving socket-engaging pegs carried by the inner side of the interior pan 2b to accomplish registration of the two pan elements for assembly. In this structure the feathers on the exterior pan section lb include fins 10b joined by a web 23 recessed inward from the sheet wall 3a to provide a wide outwardly opening groove between the fins. The interior pan element sheet wall 110 is formed with an outwardly opening narrow groove 24 located adjacent to and parallel to one edge of the pan.
In this instance the tenons 4a are carried by and projected inward from the interior pan sheet wall 11a instead of being carried by the exterior pan section as in the construction of FIG. 1. These tenons can be molded integrally with the pan sheet wall or can be formed separately and subsequently bonded to the wall, as may be preferred.
FIG. 6 illustrates the manner in which shell panels formed from the pan elements 1b and 2b of FIG. 4 can be incorporated in a drawer component of a cabinet. The sides are formed of shell panels 1b, 2b, formed as shown in FIG. 4. The tenons 4a of these panels can be received in recesses in front and back shell panels 25 constructed as shown in FIG. 3. The only difference between the drawer front and drawer back of FIG. 6 and the hollow panel of FIG. 3 is the provision of an external groove 24a in the sheet wall of pan 2a between the ribs 19 closer to the edge rib or flange 21 and such edge rib. This groove is spaced from the outer face of the corresponding edge flange 12a a distance equal to the spacing between the groove 24 in pan 2b shown in FIG. 4 and the panel edge, and the width of such groove is equal to the width of groove 24.
When the shell panels 1b, 2b and the shell panels 25 are assembled in the relationship shown in FIG. 6 to form the sides, front and back of a drawer, such panels would all be oriented so that the grooves 24 and 24a face inwardly and are in registry. Before the tenons 4a are inserted into the recesses of the panels 25 a drawer bottom board 26 is disposed within the drawer frame, and the front and back panels 25 are moved toward each other until the corresponding edges of the drawer bottom are fitted into the grooves 24a of such panels.
When the front and back panels have thus been assembled with the drawer bottom, the drawer, sides lb,
2b are moved toward the drawer bottom and front and black panels, and the tenons 4a are inserted into recesses in such front and back panels. As these tenons are moved fully into their sockets, the opposite edges of the drawer bottom 26 will be received in the grooves 24 of the side panels. Such engagement of the edges of drawer bottom 26 in the grooves 24 and 24a of the drawer frame walls will secure the drawer bottom firmly in place.
The grooves formed between the fins 10b and the webs 23 of the side panels lb, 2b, shown in FIG. 4, will open outwardly in the opposite sides of the drawer assembly, as indicated in FIG. 6. In mounting the drawer guide strips or runners can be provided on the opposite sides of the drawer-receiving opening to fit into such opposite grooves for supporting and guiding the drawer for sliding movement. construction In FIG. 7 an alternative type of drawer frame corner construction is shown employing the type of panel connection shown in FIG. 2. In this instance the drawer sides can be formed of shell panels 1,2 having structure such as shown in FIGS. 1 and 2. The other drawer wall panels 27 can be of any suitable solid or shell construction and have in their opposite end portions sockets 28 located appropriately to receive the cantilever dowels or pegs 5 projecting endwise from the end of panels 1,2. It is, of course, evident that pegs 5 will be shorter than the thickness of panels 27 so that the ends of panels 1,2 can abut the adjacent sides of the panels 27 in each instance.
While the panels 27 can be of shell construction as mentioned above, these panels alternatively can be wooden boards or can be plywood or particle board faced with a finishing sheet of veneer. In such construction the sockets 28 for pegs 5 can simply be blind holes bored in the inner side of the panel. Grooves 24b in panels 1,2 and grooves 240 in panels 27 will be provided to receive the margins of a drawer bottom.
FIGS. 8 and 9 show another type of drawer construction in which partitions are provided. The drawer front and the drawer back are made of shell panels 1,2, assembled from components such as shown in FIG. 1, for example. Side sections of the drawer frame can be formed from shell panels 25a, similar to the panels 25 shown in FIG. 6, having a structure similar to the panel of FIG. 3. The partitions are formed by shell panels 1c,2c the structure of which is similar to the panel of FIG. 4, except that the web 23 is omitted from the exterior pan lb and the panel side wall is continuous. Tenons 4a project from one side of the panel end, and similar tenons 4b project from the opposite side of the panel end. These tenons can then be received in corresponding sockets in. the ends of panels 25a abutting the opposite sides of the panels 10,20.
Alternatively, an end of a panel 25a can be constructed as shown in FIG. 5, in which tenons 4a project laterally from the panel at any location where a partition is desired. The drawer slides can be made as long as necessary, or can be made in more than one part joined by pegs a being inserted in sockets in the end of a coplanar panel section. The tenons 4a are molded integrally with the pan sheet wall, or can be bonded to such wall at any desired location.
In a partitioned drawer structure such as shown in FIG. 8 a separate bottom board 260 may be provided for each compartment. Alternatively, each partition panel 1c,2c can be made sufficiently narrower than the drawer frame panels so as to clear the bottom. In that instance a single bottom panel extending over the entire area of the drawer can be secured in place by its margins being received in inwardly opening grooves in the frame panels.
Modular shell panels for cabinet construction, and particularly for making drawers, can be provided in only a few standard widths, such, for example, as 40, 50 and 60 centimeters. Drawers of corresponding depth can be constructed from such panels which will meet most requirements. The side panels can also be made either in standard lengths or, particularly for a shell panel such as shown in FIG. 3, can be made of indeterminate length and simply cut off to the particular length desired. Consequently, components of a few types can easily be out according to the requirements of a considerable variety of structures. The shell panel components can be assembled quickly with unskilled labor and without requiring tools except for cutting the panels to the desired length in appropriate instances. It is therefore possible to construct drawers and other cabinet components from shell panels according to the present invention much more economically than constructing conventional drawers and cabinet parts while atthe same time providing a construction of extraordinarily high quality, rigidity and precision, which is very light.
1. A modular shell component for use in cabinet structures comprising a hallow panel including two sheet wall elements and means connecting said sheet wall elements in parallel spaced relationship, a projection having its root integral with one of said sheet wall elements and located adjacent to an edge thereof for reception in a socket of an adjacent panel, and a flange projecting from one of said sheet wall elements toward I the other of said sheet wall elements for closing the space between said sheet wall elements along said edge of said sheet wall element adjacent to said projection.
2. The shell component defined in claim 1, in which the projection projects transversely of the sheet wall elements from the inner face of the sheet wall element with which its root is integral, and the projection is of a length greater than the spacing between the sheet wall.
3. The shell component defined in claim 1, in which the projection projects transversely of the sheet wall' elements from the outer side of the sheet wall element with which its root is integral.
'4. The shell component defined in claim 1, in which the root of the projection is integral with the outer face of the flange, and the projection projects therefrom substantially parallel to the planes of the sheet wall elements.
5. The modular shell component defined in claim I, in which the hollow panel has projections projecting generally coplanar of the panel from an edge thereof, and pro ections pro ecting laterally beyon one side receiving the projection therein, for holding an edge of 7 said second hollow panel in abutment with a side outer face of the first hollow panel with the two panels in substantially mutually perpendicular relationship.
8. A cabinet structure comprising a first hollow panel including two sheet wall elements and means connecting said sheet wall elements in parallel spaced relationship, a projection having its root integral with one of said sheet wall elements and located adjacent to an edge thereof, and a second hollow panel including two sheet wall elements and means connecting said sheet wall elements of said second hollow panel in spaced parallel relationship, defining a socket complemental to said projection, opening lengthwise through an edge of said second hollow panel and receiving said projection therein, for holding an edge of said second hollow panel in abutment with a side outer face of said first hollow panel with said two panels in substantially mutually perpendicular relationship.