Title:
Removable modular shelving unit
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A removable shelving unit for use with pop-up campers, flea market vendor tables and certain dormitory furniture. The shelving unit consists of two side arms, which use either a bottom edge or a slot as a stabilizing mechanism for the shelving unit. A plurality of shelves are attached, either directly to the side arms, or to a back attached to the side arms. One of a several securing apparatuses are used to secure the shelving unit to various fixed members in the pop-up camper, on the tables, or furniture. Certain securing apparatuses are for use with the flat surface of a table, a rod or a C-shaped track.



Inventors:
Jipp, Lester F. (Worthington, OH, US)
Application Number:
09/740496
Publication Date:
06/20/2002
Filing Date:
12/18/2000
Assignee:
Space Maker Systems
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47B47/00; B60R11/00; (IPC1-7): A47B9/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
ANDERSON, GERALD A
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
TWIN OAKS ESTATE,HAHN LOESER & PARKS, LLP (1225 W. MARKET STREET, AKRON, OH, 44313, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. A removable shelving unit for attachment to a fixed member, the removable shelving unit comprising: a shelf support member, the shelf support comprising two side arms; a means for stabilizing the shelving unit, the means for stabilizing being integral with the side arms; a plurality of shelves attached to the shelf support member; and a means for securing the shelf support member to the fixed member.

2. The removable shelving unit according to claim 1, wherein the shelf support member further comprises a back attached to the side arms, the plurality of shelves being attached to the back.

3. The removable shelving unit according to claim 1, wherein the means for stabilizing the shelving unit comprises the side arms having a horizontally extending surface adapted for engagement with a flat surface.

4. The removable shelving unit according to claim 3, wherein the horizontal extending surface is a bottom surface of the side arm.

5. The removable shelving unit according to claim 3, wherein the horizontal extending surface is an upper edge of a slot formed in the side arm.

6. The removable shelving unit according to claim 1, wherein the means for securing comprises: a vertical slot in the side arm; a tightening block adjustably connected to the vertical slot; a spanner wing adapted to engage a C-shaped fixed member; and a means for tightening the spanner wing, the means for tightening engaging the spanner wing and the tightening block.

7. The removable shelving unit according to claim 1, wherein the means for securing comprises: a horizontal slot in the side arm; a tightening block attached to the arm proximate the horizontal slot; and a screw adjustably attached to the tightening block and adapted to engage a flat surfaced fixed member.

8. The removable shelving unit according to claim 7, wherein the upper and lower edges of the slot have similar lengths.

9. The removable shelving unit according to claim 7, wherein the upper edge of the slot is longer than the lower edge of the slot.

10. The removable shelving unit according to claim 1, wherein the means for securing comprises: a slot in each side arm; a means for clamping, the means for clamping adapted to engage a rod shaped fixed member; and a secondary means for securing the side arms to the means for clamping.

11. The removable shelving unit according to claim 10, wherein the means for clamping comprises two sandwich clamps connected by a plurality of tightening screws.

12. The removable shelving unit according to claim 11, further comprising at least one sandwich clamp having an abrasive surface proximate the tubular fixed member.

13. The removable shelving unit according to claim 10, wherein the secondary means for securing comprises: a tightening block attached to the arm proximate the slot; and a screw adjustably attached to the tightening block and adapted to engage the means for clamping.

14. The removable shelving unit of claim 1, wherein the means for stabilizing the shelving unit comprises a bottom surface associated with the side arms which is supported on a surface and a securing apparatus to secure the side arms to the fixed member adjacent the surface.

15. The removable shelving unit of claim 14, wherein the securing apparatus is adapted to engage and be secured to a C-shaped fixed member.

16. The removable shelving unit of claim 14, wherein the securing apparatus comprises a tightening member and associated securing device adapted to engage the fixed member wherein the securing device is select8ively tightened to the fixed member in association with the tightening member.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] This invention relates generally to shelving units and more particularly to removable, modular shelving units for use in environments where space constraints limit available shelving options, such as in a pop-up type camper or dormitory type environment. Alternatively, the shelving of the present invention may allow the user to easily provide shelving in a desired location by providing different interchangeable securing apparatus for use therewith.

[0002] Pop-up campers have a hard roof and hard part-height walled lower section connected by a folded material such as canvas or a vinyl. During transportation, the roof is lowered down to the top of the part-height walled lower section, thus reducing the height of the pop-up camper while being towed. At the campsite, the roof is raised forming a complete walled camper where the folded material forms the walls between the lower section and the roof. Because the roof is lowered during transportation, it is not possible to have rigid structures in a pop-up camper which extend higher than the top of the part height walls. As a result of this restriction, pop-up campers typically have little or no shelving space.

[0003] There are many other situations where temporary or removable shelving is desired, such as tables used by vendors at flea markets or similar events and college dormitory rooms, where the students are not allowed to add any permanent structures to the rooms.

[0004] The foregoing illustrates limitations known to exist in present shelving units. Thus, it is apparent that it would be advantageous to provide an alternative directed to overcoming one or more of the limitations set forth above. Accordingly, a suitable alternative is provided including features more fully disclosed hereinafter.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0005] In one aspect of the present invention, this is accomplished by providing a removable shelving unit which includes two side arms, where the side arms have a support surface for engaging a corresponding surface on a fixed member to which the shelving unit is to be attached. The removable shelving unit can be configured using one of a plurality of different attachment structures for attachment to different fixed members, such as a rod, a flat surface, a C-shaped track, etc. The removable shelving preferably includes a back connecting the two side arms together. A plurality of shelves are attached to the back.

[0006] The foregoing and other aspects will become apparent from the following detailed description of the invention when considered in conjunction with the accompanying drawing figures.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING FIGURES

[0007] FIG. 1 is a front perspective view of a removable shelving unit;

[0008] FIG. 2 is a rear perspective view of the removable shelving unit shown in FIG. 1;

[0009] FIG. 3 is an exploded perspective of a first embodiment of a means for securing the removable shelving unit to a bed roller track or like structure;

[0010] FIGS. 4A and 4B are perspective views of alternate embodiments of a second embodiment of a means for securing the removable shelving unit to a table; and

[0011] FIGS. 5 and 5A are perspective views of a sandwich clamp mechanism for securing the removable shelving unit to a rod.

[0012] FIG. 6 is a perspective view of an alternative securing mechanism for securing the removable shelving unit to furniture or the like.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0013] FIGS. 1 and 2 show a removable shelving unit 10 according to the present invention. Each removable shelving unit 10 uses a securing apparatus 50a, 50b, 50c, 50d for securing the shelving unit 10 to a fixed member. Preferably, the shelving unit 10 is adapted to attach to a variety of fixed members, typically found in pop-up campers, dormitory furniture and other places where removable shelving is needed. Securing apparatus 50a, shown in FIG. 3 is used with a C-shaped track 32, such as the bed roller track in a pop-up camper. Securing apparatus 50b, shown in FIGS. 4A and 4B, are used with flat planar surface, such as the dinette table in a pop-up camper, folding tables used by flea market vendors, etc. Securing apparatus 50c shown in FIG. 5 is used with a rod 70, such as the guide handle use with a Coleman® Swing Level Galley® or others rods, such as those used in some types of dormitory furniture. Securing apparatus rod shown in FIG. 6 may be used to attach the modular shelving to a vertically oriented structure such as associated with furniture or the like.

[0014] The shelving unit 10 includes two side arms 12 and a plurality of shelves 20. Preferably, a back 14 is attached to side arms 12, either directly, or through back supports 13 or both. Although the back 14 is preferred, it can be eliminated. However, without the back 14, it may be necessary to provide some other means for making the shelving unit 10 sturdy, such as cross braces, or permanently fastening the shelves 20 to the side arms 12. Two vertical shelving rails or standards 26 are attached to the front side of back 14. Typically, the rails 26 included a plurality of slots or other apertures into which shelf brackets 22 can be attached. The use of rails 26 and shelf brackets 22 allow the shelves 20 to be removably attached to the shelving unit 10 and allow the shelf positioning to be changed as needed. The construction further allows for easy disassembly and storage of the shelving unit 10 for subsequent use, or to allow transportation thereof.

[0015] The shelving unit 10 also includes a stabilizing feature 30, 56b for stabilizing the shelving unit 10 to a flat surface. The stabilizing feature is either the lower edge 30 of the side arms 12 or the upper edge 56b of a slot 56 in the side arms 12. Normally, the stabilizing feature rests on or engages a flat or planar surface, such as a tabletop, galley upper surface, desktop, or counter top or other surface or structure.

[0016] FIG. 3 shows a first embodiment of the removable shelving unit 10. This shelving unit 10 uses a securing apparatus 50a, which is adapted to engage a C-shaped track member 32. An adjustable tightening block 36 is attached using bolts 37 and nuts (not shown) to a vertical slot 34 in side arm 12. Other suitable fastening mechanisms could also be used. A tightening bolt 38 is attached through the tightening block 36 to a spanner wing 40. To install this first embodiment of the shelving unit 10, the shelving unit, which consists of two side arms 12 with attached securing apparatus 50a and attached back 14, is positioned on a surface adjacent the C-shaped track member 32. The adjustable tightening blocks 36 are vertical adjusted, by loosening bolts 37, until the spanner wing 40 is positioned in the vertical center of the C-shaped track member 32. Bolts 37 are then re-tightened. The spanner wings 40 are turned sideways (horizontal) and the shelving unit 10 is moved towards the C-shaped track member 32 until the spanner wings 40 are inside the track member 32. The spanner wings 40 are then turned vertical to position the spanner wings 40 to engage the short sides of the C-shaped track member 32. Next, the tightening bolts 38 are tightened to secure the shelving unit 10 to the C-shaped track member 32. Shelf brackets 22 are attached to shelf rails 26 and the shelves are attached to the shelf brackets 22. In this embodiment, the lower edge 30 of the side arms 12 acts as a stabilizing feature. The construction of this embodiment allows the shelving unit 10 to attach to a bench associated with a pop-up camper as an example. The securing apparatus 50a provides an attachment fitted with stabilizers that attach to the campers bed slide railing. A flange and screw mechanism such as shown, or a like mechanism, is attached to the stabilizer, and combines with feet or bottom supporting surfaces associated with the arms 12, to rest on the camper bench, or other flat planar surface. This provides a firm, stable attachment of the shelving unit 10. Depending on the application and enviromnent in which the shelving unit 10 is used, the assembled structure can then provide shelves at a desired height above the surface, and in a camper as an example, may have a top which stands approximately 30 inches above the bench.

[0017] A second embodiment of the removable shelving unit 10 is shown in FIGS. 4A and 4B. This shelving unit 10 uses a securing apparatus 50b, which is adapted to engage a flat, horizontal surface, such as a table surface. A tightening block 58 is attached to each side arm 12. A thumbscrew 60 with a tee nut at the threaded end of the tightening block 58 passes through the tightening block. Each side arm 12 has a horizontally extending slot 56. The upper surface 56b of the slot 56 engages the table surface, acting as the stabilizing feature. FIGS. 4A and 4B show two versions of this second embodiment. The first version, shown in FIG. 4A, is used with tables where parts of the table leg mechanism, such as a folding table, come close to the edge of the table. In this first version, the lower edge 56a, and the corresponding portion of the side arm 12 below slot 56, have been shortened relative to the upper edge 56b of slot 56. In the second version, shown in FIG. 4B, the upper and lower edges 56b, 56a of the slot 56 have the same length and the corresponding portion of the side arm 12 below the slot 56 has not been removed. To install this second embodiment of shelving unit 10, slots 56 of side arms 12 are slid over an edge of a table. Thumbscrew 60 is then tightened against a lower surface of the table to secure the shelving unit 10 to the table. The remainder of the shelving unit 10 is assembled as discussed above.

[0018] FIGS. 5 and 5A show a third embodiment of the removable shelving unit 10. This shelving unit 10 uses a securing apparatus 50c, which is adapted to engage a rod 70 or like structure. Securing apparatus 50c includes two main parts, a clamping mechanism 71 and a secondary securing apparatus 73. The clamping mechanism 71 consists of two sandwich clamps 72 attached to one another with a plurality of tightening screws 74. Preferably, at least one sandwich clamp 72 includes an abrasive surface, such as abrasive strips 76. Although the sandwich clamp 72 shown is flat, other shapes, such as a curved shape which corresponds to the curvature of the rod 70 could be used. The secondary securing apparatus 73 consists of a tightening block 78 attached to each side arm 12, adjacent a clamp receiving slot 75 in each arm 12, and a thumb screw 80, engaging the tightening block 78 and adapted to engage the clamping mechanism 73. To install this third embodiment of the removable shelving unit 10, the clamping mechanism 71 is attached to the rod 70 by placing one sandwich clamp 72 below the rod 70 and the other sandwich clamp 72 above the rod 70. Tightening screws 74 are placed through holes in both sandwich clamps 72 and nuts (not shown) are attached to the screws 74. Screws 74 are tightened until the clamping mechanism 71 is firmly attached to the rod 70. The side arms 12 are then slid over clamping mechanism 71 with clamp receiving slots 75 sliding over the clamping mechanism 71. Thumbscrews 80 are tightened to secure the shelving unit 10 to the rod 70. The remainder of the shelving unit 10 is assembled as discussed above. When this third embodiment of the shelving unit 10 is removed, the clamping mechanism 71 can be left in place or removed as desired.

[0019] FIG. 6 shows a fourth embodiment of a securing apparatus for attachment of the removable shelving unit 10 to furniture or the like. In some environments, and due to space constraints, the availability of shelving is limited, and it would be advantageous to provide the ability to position shelving at a desired location, while having the ability to vary the location or manner in which the shelving is situated in such an environment. As merely an example, dormitory rooms at educational facilities or the like are many times very cramped for space. In an environment of this type, conventional furniture is many times not usable, and specialized furniture arrangements are necessary. It would be advantageous in this and other situations to allow the user to flexibly position shelving in a desired fixed location, but not in a permanent manner. Freestanding shelving is typically not available for use in cramped spaces such as this, and the shelving unit according to the invention therefore provides distinct advantages. Therefore, the securing apparatus 50d of FIG. 6, allows the shelving unit 10 to be easily attached to furniture typically provided in such an environment, or allow the shelving to be mounted to other furniture as desired. This shelving unit 10 uses the securing apparatus 50d which is adapted to engage vertical planar or other surface which may be a part of a desk or table top associated with furniture or the like. This construction would also allow mounting to other vertically oriented surfaces as desired. Securing apparatus 50d comprises a tightening block 82 which engages a substantially vertically oriented flat surface associated with a front or side portion of the furniture, such as a desk type article or a bunk headboard. A tightening block 82 is attached to each side arm 12, with FIG. 6 only showing the left arm thereof, and the right arm being a mirror image of the arrangement as shown. A plurality or thumb screws 84 are threaded into engagement with the tightening block 82, and extend from tightening block 82 toward a vertically extending slot 86 provided in each side arm 12. The upper surface 86b of the slot 86 engages a portion of the furniture, acting as the stabilizing feature. To install this embodiment of shelving unit 10 and associated securing apparatus, slots 86 of side arms 12 are slid over and into engagement with an edge of the furniture. Thumbscrews 84 are then tightened against a vertically oriented surface of the furniture to secure the shelving unit 10 thereto. The remainder of the shelving unit 10 is assembled as discussed above. When this embodiment of the shelving unit 10 is removed, the securing apparatus 50d can be left in place or removed as desired, while providing extra space if needed in the area of the furniture. It should be apparent that depending on the particular characteristics of the furniture, the securing apparatus could be modified to allow proper securement of the shelving unit 10 thereto.

[0020] As described in the present invention, the shelving unit when combined with a securing apparatus as desired for a particular environment or application, allows the shelving to be easily and effectively fixed in association with structure in the environment. The invention may be provided in a kit form, with various securing apparatus provided to give the user flexibility in mounting the shelving in a desired location. Other securing mechanisms could be provided for particular attachment schemes, which are contemplated and encompassed in the present invention. Although preferred embodiments of the invention have been described herein, various modifications or variations will be apparent to one skilled in the art without departing from the principles and teachings herein. Accordingly, the invention is not to be limited to the specific embodiments illustrated, but is only intended to be limited by the scope of the appended claims.