US 3888013 A
A novel construction of a device which serves as a template and a method of positioning and obtaining the appropriate outline of openings to be made in sheet materials to receive wall boxes such as electrical outlet boxes are disclosed. The device is adapted for insertion into and support by the wall box prior to the application of the sheet material, which itself generally forms the finish wall surface e.g. gypsum board to the rough wall e.g. studding. Thereupon the sheet material is preliminarily placed into the position against the wall studs that it will assume when fixed thereto in such a manner that the template device, previously supported by the wall box, becomes directly attached to the sheet material. Thereafter when the sheet material is withdrawn from its trial position against the studding the device serves as a template to designate the outline and exact position of the wall box opening to be cut in the sheet material. One aspect of the present invention is the positive attachment of the template itself to the sheet material which markedly reduces the chance of error in the positioning of openings to receive wall boxes and the like in the sheet material prior to its final attachment to the rough wall portions in the construction of houses, buildings and the like.
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent Benoit 1 DEVICE FOR DETERMINING THE POSITION AND OUTLINE OF OPENINGS TO BE MADE IN SHEET MATERIALS  Inventor: Lucien E. Benoit, R.F.D. 2,
Woonsocket, R.l. 02864  Filed: July 10, 1974  App]. No.: 487,229
Primary ExaminerHarry N. Haroian Attorney, Agent, or FirmRobert J. Doherty  ABSTRACT A novel construction of a device which serves as a 1 1 June 10, 1975 template and a method of positioning and obtaining the appropriate outline of openings to be made in sheet materials to receive wall boxes such as electrical outlet boxes are disclosed. The device is adapted for insertion into and support by the wall box prior to the application of the sheet material, which itself generally forms the finish wall surface e.g. gypsum board to the rough wall e.g. studding. Thereupon the sheet material is preliminarily placed into the position against the wall studs that it will assume when fixed thereto in such a manner that the template device, previously supported by the wall box, becomes directly attached to the sheet material. Thereafter when the sheet material is withdrawn from its trial position against the studding the device serves as a template to designate the outline and exact position of the wall box opening to be cut in the sheet material. One aspect of the present invention is the positive attachment of the template itself to the sheet material which markedly reduces the chance of error in the positioning of openings to receive wall boxes and the like in the sheet ma terial prior to its final attachment to the rough wall portions in the construction of houses, buildings and the like.
5 Claims, 11 Drawing Figures M p- /S 22 2O 14 32 w 50 ff 1 PATENTED JUN l 0 I975 SREET I DEVICE FOR DETERMINING THE POSITION AND OUTLINE OF OPENINGS TO BE MADE IN SHEET MATERIALS BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION The majority of modern construction. especially resi dential involves the use of pre-formed panels for finish walls or ceilings and is known generally as dry wall construction. This involves the use of many types of wall paneling including veneers, particle board. sheet rock etc. and requires during the installation of such careful measurement as to the positioning and outline of openings to be cut therein to receive service wall boxes such as electrical service outlets, electrical panel boxes, telephone outlets, TV antenna outlets. and openings in walls or ceilings for appliances such as fans, air conditioning units and the like. Boxes of this type are normally of metal construction having sides so as to present a closure for the containment of wires and connections and are fully open on one side only. They are shaped to accommodate the particular use to which they are put, for example. most standard electrical outlet boxes are rectangular in shape whereas junction boxes are more normally hexagonal or octangular in shape, telephone jack receptacles are partially semicircular etc. The term wall box as used herein encompasses all forms and configurations and is equally applicable whether the construction is interior, exterior, wall or ceiling: the essential aspect being the need to reliably locate the position and outline of the opening to be formed in the sheet material therein for receipt of the service or accessorty box regardless of its shape or function.
The most common method presently used to locate the position for such openings is for the carpenter, dry wall installer, or home owner to carefully measure the height and width at which some selected point on the box is located on the wall and to thereafter transpose those distances onto the sheet material. This involves two sets of measurements and introduces possible inaccuracies through the transposition of such onto the sheet material, the application of such to a reverse corner of the sheet material or the use of the wrong point on the box itself as the control. Various other inconsis tencies and inaccuracies could be introduced in such a method through either inexperience or carelessness. This procedure is also somewhat time consuming. In light thereofof the above drawbacks and in an attempt to reduce errors resulting in wasted materials it has long been sought to provide devices and installation methods which would either speed up the process or reduce the number of errors possible therein.
One such method is the use of chalk or other marking material applied to the outer edges of the outlet box which chalk is transferred to the sheet material when placed thereover in its trial position. This has met with some success however. slight deviations in the flatness of the sheet material being used or in the positioning and orientation of the outlet boxes themselves upon the studding has led to problems in the accurate impartation and transfer of the chalk or other marking medium to the sheet material. A further drawback of this method is the tendency of the chalk to smear and thus not leave a clearly delineated outline to follow. This method has thus not been readily adopted.
Other attempts to solve this problem are delinated in the following prior art patents: US. Pat. Nos.
2,775,812, 2,778.15 l, 2,803,662, 3,026,400 and 3.251,]30. Such prior art patents however present methods and devices which although in part utilizable. are either generally impractical, do not lend themselves for use in a variety of sheet materials or fail in other ways to provide a low cost, simple and positive device for accurately outlining and positioning the openings to be formed in sheet material for the receipt of wall boxes and the like,
This need of arriving at an improved device and method of forming wall openings is partucularly so today because the cost of professional labor has markedly increased the number of persons undertaking doit-yourself projects. Futhermore the number of wall boxes being provided in modern construction is increasing. Both these factors would tend to increase the likelyhood of error introduction thus wasting sheet materials.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION It is therefore an object of the present invention to provide a device in the nature of a template which can be quickly, easily and accurately utilized by the installer of dry wall construction so as to position openings to be formed therein for the receipt of wall boxes and the like which overcomes the inherent inaccuracies and other drawbacks of the present methods and the above mentioned disadvantages of prior art devices. Accordingly, the present invention includes a template which itself is first positioned in the outlet box and then temporarily attached to the sheet material to be cut. In this way the template through its direct attachment to the sheet material in the exact location of the outlet box in relation thereto provides a positive inexpensive, simple and error free mechanism for accomplishing the tasks under consideration hitherto unavailable.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS The accompanying drawings are illustrative of the invention wherein like reference characters designate similar parts in the several views.
FIG. 1 is a perspective view showing the device of the present invention inserted in the open side of a wall box affixed to the studding of interior or rough wall construction;
FIG. 2 is a side sectional view on an enlarged scale of the construction shown in FIG. 1 and additionally shows the sequential trial positioning of a sheet of dry wall material applied thereto and shows in particular the manner in which the template is temporarily supported by the outlet box and the penetration by the attachment means provided thereon into the sheet material whereby the template is affixed thereto in the proper position;
FIG. 3 is a partial plan view of the rear side of the sheet material with the template affixed thereto and represents a further step in the use of the novel device of the present invention;
FIG. 4 is a cross sectional view of a portion of the sheet material showing the template affixed thereto taken along the line 44 of FIG. 3;
FIG. 5 is a plan view showing a template blank of overall rectangular configuration and designed for use with a standard box such as that illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2 for receipt of standard electrical service outlet;
FIG. 6 is a plan view of a different form of template blank adapted for use with octangular shaped junction boxes such as are known in the trade;
FIG. 7 is a plan view of still another form of template blank adapted for use with a telephone jack receptacle;
FIG. 8 illustrates a further embodiment of the present invention having particular utility for the location of wall openings for the receipt of heating ducts. exhaust fans and other related devices which represent terminal portions emanating from duct work and the like and shows in particular the use of adjustable and separate sheet material marking or scoring devices;
FIG. 9 is an enlarged perspective view showing the constructional details of one such scoring device and the manner in which such is attached to the outer edge of a terminal portion of duct work or the like;
FIG. 10 is a portion of the scoring device shown in FIG. 9 in blank form;
FIG. II is a mirror image representation of the scoring device shown in FIG. 10 for use on opposite side (the left side as shown in FIG. 8) of the frame or duct work shown in FIG. 8 of the drawings.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS Turning now to FIGS. l7 of the drawings and more particularly to FIG. 1 thereof, the typical environment in which the present invention is operative is illustrated. Therein a typical upright or vertical stud 10 used in double wall construction is shown. Attached to the stud 10 is an electrical outlet wall box 12 of metal construction and generally closed except at its forward side by adjacent side walls 14 and end wall 16. The adjacent side walls I4 of the box 12 terminate in an outer peripheral edge and include flanges 22 in turn provided with a threaded openings 24 to enable an electrical outlet receptable to be attached thereto as is well known in the art. The wall box 12 may be mounted as by nailing to the stud 10 by means of straps 18 or by other means. It should be pointed out that the boxes referred to herein include those utilizable other than for electrical transmission, for example, TV reception boxes and telephone jack receptacles as well as all shapes and sizes thereof and that the term wall in wall box is used generically to designate all wall surfaces and includes ceilings as well as floors for both interior and exterior construction.
The template 26 of the present embodiment of the invention includes a frame 28, downwardly depending legs 30 and upwardly extending elements 32. As best shown in FIG. 5, the template 26 shown therein in blank form is constructed of relatively thin metal and in a single plane prior to the legs 30 and the upstanding elements 32 being bent in opposite directions away from said plane to positions generally normal thereto. Although it is preferred to form the template from flat metal as by stamping and cutting it should be brought out that the template 26 can be formed of other materials such as strong, stiff plastic sheet e.g. high impact polystyrene or ABS resin formulations or may similarly be formed into its usable configuration such as shown in FIGS. l-4 directly as by injection molding as in the case of resinous compositions.
Further referring to FIG. 5, the template 26 includes a frame 28 having a plurality of connected wall portions 34 each having inner and outer edges 36 and 38 respectively. The outer wall 38 defines the peripheral outline of the template which in this case is appropriate for the standard rectangular electrical box depicted.
In practice, the dry wall installer would be provided with a set of templates bearing in outline configuration to match the wall boxes most commonly utilized. The inner wall 36 in turn most generally defines a central opening 40 in order to reduce the amount of material in the frame portion 28 of the template 26 and to provide working access if necessary to the interior of the wall box while the template 26 is positioned therein. This further permits template placement into wall boxes which are already wired as the opening 40 enables the electrical outlet receptacle, switch or other device to project beyond the frame 28 and still not interfere with its positioning against the peripheral edge 20 of the box.
In the particular embodiment shown in FIGS. l5 the legs 30 extend inwardly from the inner wall edges 36 proximate the junctures of adjacent wall portions 34. This configuration of legs 30 proximate to adjacent wall portions 34 of the frame 28 as can best be seen by reference to FIGS. l3 enables such leg to engage two adjacent side walls 14 in the wall box 12 and in many other box constructions exhibiting regular or similar geometrical constructions.
The legs are preferably of leaf like configuration and are attached to an inner wall edge 36 of the frame by means of a web 42. Each leg 30 further includes a body portion 44 such body in turn having inner and outer flat surfaces 46 and 48 respectively. It can be seen that the outer surface 48 is adapted for engaging receipt by portions of the side walls 14 of the wall box I2 as best shown in FIGS. I and 3 of the drawings. The outer surfaces 48 of the legs 30 are those surfaces which are more proximate to the outer wall edges 38 of the frame when such legs are disposed in their functional position which is generally normal to the overall plane of the frame. Furthermore the edge 50 of the leg body 44 proximate the adjacent wall portions 34 of the frame 28 provides a secondary bearing surface designed to rest against that side wall 14 adjacent to that side wall 14 which the outer surface 48 of the same box engages. In that way different portions (surface 48 and edge 50) of each leg 30 engage adjacent side walls 14 of the box 12 at each corner thereof and thus provides positive sup port therein and alignment therewith. Also as many wall box receptacles e.g. those adapted for interconnection are provided with interior corner projections, the leg body 44 distal from wall portions 34 is stopped at 51 to reduce the possibility of interference contact therewith. As best shown in FIG. 2 of the drawings portions of the frame 28 are adapted to about the open peripheral edge 20 of the box 12.
Intermediate the leg connecting web 42 and the adjacent corner wall portions 34 an upstanding element 32 having a pointed end is provided. As previously indicatedthe upstanding elements 32 may be formed in their functional position generally normal to the frame 28 or, as depicted in the blank form shown in FIG. 5, may be initially stamped and then bent into their operative or functional position. It is especially helpful when both the legs 30 and the element 32 are produced in blank form and then bent into functional shape that for the ease in forming and reducing the extent of stamping necessary that such be grouped at opposite ends of the opening 40 such as shown. It is furthermore helpful that the upstanding elements 32 placed at the corners where adjacent wall portions 44 connect so as to assure positioning where the underlying and supporting frame structure is most rigid. However where rigidity or constructional techniques are not of prime importance or when the overall shape of the box does not lend itself to such construction as in the template shown in FIG. 6 it should be pointed out that the upstanding elements 32 may be positioned distal from the intersection portions of wall portions 34 and even may be positioned along the outer wall edges 38 of the frame. Also while it is preferable that the legs 30 are connected to the frame 28 along inner wall edges 36 such may alternatively emanate from the outer wall edges 38 or intermediate thereof. Disposition along the outer wall edges 38 is possible when such would not result with interference with the wall box and its supporting studding. In such case the legs would be placed over or outside the side walls 14 of the box rather than internally. Additionally while in FIG. 5 it is shown that the connecting webs 42 are disposed on opposed wall portions 34 their disposition could alternately be disposed in the position of the secondary bearing surfaces 50 in which case that portion serving as the web connection 42 of the leg would serve as the secondary bearing surface 50.
FIG. 6 illustrates another form in which the template of the present invention might take. Therein a frame 280 which presents an outline suitable for forming an opening for receipt of an electricaljunction box or ceiling light fixture. Legs 3011 when disposed in their functional position are disposed for engaging receipt by internal portions of the side walls of the wall box with which it is utilized. Similarly elements 32a when upwardly bent into their functional position are spaced about the frame for attaching engagement with the sheet material. FIG. 7 illustrates another form of template having particular use in forming telephone jack receptacle openings. Such template comprises a frame 28b. legs 30b and pointed elements 321) each serving the purpose above described in reference to templates 28 and 28a.
The functional operation of the preferred embodiment of the invention follows with particular reference to the template configuration of FIG. 5. In operation. that template appropriate for the particular box to be covered by the sheet material is placed within the box so that the underportions of the frame 28 rest on the peripheral edge of the box. The legs project into the box and outer surfaces 48 thereof contact the inner surfaces of the side walls 14 of the box. Additionally each secondary bearing surface of the legs 30 contact a side wall 14 adjacent that side wall in contact with the outer surface 48 of each leg 30. The template 26 is thus temporarily positioned in the box 12 in such a manner that the peripheral outline formed by its outer edges 38 defines the opening to be cut in the sheet material for receipt of the box. It is also contemplated that all or part of body portions 44 of the legs 30 may be roughened or textured. as by the provision of a dipped rubberized coating to increase the frictional contact between outer surfaces 48 and edges 50 with the sidewalls 14. particularly with templates for use with ceiling fixtures such as shown in FIG. 6.
In such position it will be seen that the upstanding elements 32 project forwardly in position for receipt and contact with the sheet material. The sheet material I'IlCh at this stage has been cut to the appropriate gross measurements of the wall that it is to cover is then placed in a trial position corresponding to that which it will take when permanently placed upon the wall. Thereafter it is firmly pressed towards the wall and into contact with the upstanding elements 32 which in turn penetrate and embed themselves into the wall material. Subsequently the sheet material is removed from the wall whereupon the template being attached thereto is removed at the same time. This positive transfer of the template from the box to the sheet pinpoints the exact position and outline of the opening that is to be formed therein. Thereafter the carpenter or dry wall installer may either use the template itself as the guide for cutting or otherwise forming the opening in the sheet material or trace around the template, remove such from the sheet material and subsequently form the opening using the tracing as the guide. As can best be seen in FIG. 2, the sheet material is normally most conveniently placed on an angle to the Wall as shown by the solid line representation ofsuch and in contact with the floor and thereafter moved upward and inward towards the wall and against the box or boxes to the position shown in the phantom line representation thereof. In this regard. it should be apparent that the open end of the box is normally positioned a distance outwardly from the outer edge of the wall studs equal to the thickness of the sheet material so that subsequently upon the appropriate opening being formed therein the sheet material will rest directly against the studding 10. This distance of course may be varied depending upon the particular type of wall finish construction being utilized.
One of the significant features of the present invention is that the template construction of the above embodiments is positively positioned in regard to the outlet box by multiple contact therewith and thereafter positively embedded into the sheet material itself. Ac cordingly this feature affords little opportunity for error being introduced into either the positioning or configuration of wall box openings formed in sheet ma terials. This enables the dry wall installer to quickly. easily and accurately and with a high degree of assurance form the sheet material openings necessary with a subsequent reduction in waste material both for the expert tradesman and the handy person.
A further embodiment of the present invention is shown in FIGS. 8-11 of the drawings and is particularly disposed to the marking of wall board material in locating openings to be formed therein for receipt of housings to be supported by terminal portions of duct work and the like such as would be necessary with hot air registers, exhaust fans. air conditioning units etc. Turning now to FIG. 8 in particular. the terminal portion of a hot air or air conditioning duct is attached to and or supported by studding 72. The duct is positioned slightly forward of the outward edges of the studding 72 much in the same manner as the terminal portions of outlet boxes etc. as shown in the previous embodiments for the same reason indicated in relation thereto. Although a large template similar in construction to that shown in the previous embodiments could be constructed with use with large openings under consideration here and actually forms a part of the previous embodiment; such is generally not practical.
Accordingly clips 74 are utilized as will hereinafter be explained to produce a mark or impression upon the sheet material from which the overall outline of the opening to be formed the exact positioning thereon can be determined. Such clips 74 are of a U-shaped cross shaped configuration comprised of an outer wall 76 and inner wall 78 in opposition thereto and a connecting side wall 80. The inner wall 78 is in turn provided with a threaded opening 82 for receipt of a threaded bolt 84 having a slotted knurled head 85 for respective ease in turning by a screwdriver or by hand. The outer wall is provided with an upstanding element 86 having a sharp end 88 for partial puncture or piercing of sheet material applied thereagainst. As is best seen from FIG. 9 of the drawings a clip 74 is attached to each corner of the rectangular duct thereon depicted by gripping peripheral portions thereof between the inner surface of the outer wall 76 and the blunted end of the bolt 82. The clip can be readily positioned or removed by means of the bolt 82. The outer walls 76 are adapted for contact with the outer walls of the duct work and thus insure proper clearance within the confines of the duct for affixing the clips thereto. in this way then it may be seen that the four corners of the duct shown in FIGv 8 or appropriate of other regular geometrical configurations could be defined by the positioning of the necessary number of clips e.g. two clips would be necessary to define a circle, three for a triangle etc. As in the previous embodiment. the sheet material is then p sitioned in that manner in which it is to assume in the final construction and thereafter forced against the up standing or pointed elements 86 which in turn cause an indentation or mark to be defined at each corner of the opening to be formed for the receipt of the peripheral portions of the duct. Also it is contemplated that the clips 74 could be preattached to each corner ofa board e.g. a piece of plywood, and the board then temporarily attached to the studding or other rough wall surface; such modification having utility in forming openings where no ducts are present as for a medicine cabinet or a crawl hole.
As shown in FIGS. 10 and 11 in order to provide for both left and right hand mounting of the clip 74 as shown in FIG. 8 it is necessary that clips of mirror image configuration be produced as represented. The clips are preferably formed in blank construction of sheet metal which is stamped and cut and thereafter bent into the configuration shown in FIG. 8 but as with the previous embodiment it should be pointed out that such clip may be formed by other methods and of other materials.
It should be further understood that variations and modifications and special adaptions of the embodiments of the present invention may be utilized without departing from the scope of the invention as set forth in the following claims:
I. A template or the like for determining the position and outline of openings to be made in sheet material to receive wall boxes open on one side thereof such as electrical outlet boxes prior to the use of such sheet material in a subsequent finish wall construction comprising,
a generally flat frame member having a peripheral configuration corresponding to the particular opening desired in said sheet material, said frame member having portions thereof adapted for contact with the outer edges of said open one side of such wall box, said frame member further having a plurality of connected walls each having inner and outer sides thereof,
means for temporarily supporting said member in a generally superimposed position over said open one side of said wall box, said means comprising a plurality of legs downwardly dependent from said member, each of said legs being attached to an inner side portion of said walls, attachment means on the upper surface of said member for directly temporarily attaching said template to said sheet material in the position corresponding to that of the underlying wall box in said finish wall construction when said sheet material is forced thereagainst and subsequently removed therefrom, and wherein said frame member is of a plural angle geometric configuration, said wall box comprising a plurality of sidewalls disposed in angular relationship to each other and exhibiting a geometric configuration at its open end corresponding to that of said frame member, said legs having first and second bearing surfaces adapted for engaging contact with respective adjacent surfaces of said wall box sidewalls.
2. The template construction of claim 1 wherein said frame member is rectangular configuration having opposed side and end walls, and wherein each of said legs is generally positioned at a corner of said frame membet.
3. The template construction set forth in claim I wherein said legs are of thin flat generally bladelike construction having opposed flat inner and outer surfaces and opposed edges, said first leg bearing surface comprising the outer surface thereof and said second bearing surface comprising that edge of the leg proximate said frame member.
4. The template construction set forth in claim 3 wherein said bearing surfaces are provided with a rubberized surface.
5. The template construction set forth in claim 2 wherein each of said upstanding elements is disposed between a leg and frame corner and is attached to an inner side portion of said walls.