Title:
Workbench having a rotatable worktop
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The workbench of the present invention includes a support and a rotable worktop having multiple useable positions. The support includes interconnected spaced-apart support members. The worktop includes opposing surfaces, each adapted to support at least one tool.



Inventors:
Wichert, Joseph L. (Chicago, IL, US)
Application Number:
09/776618
Publication Date:
08/08/2002
Filing Date:
02/02/2001
Assignee:
WICHERT JOSEPH L.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B25H1/10; B27C9/04; (IPC1-7): A47B85/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
CHEN, JOSE V
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
K&L Gates LLP-Chicago (P.O. Box 1135, Chicago, IL, 60690, US)
Claims:

The invention is hereby claimed as follows:



1. A workbench comprising: a support; and a worktop rotatably connected to the support, said worktop including having at least two useable positions.

2. The workbench of claim 1, which includes at least one locking mechanism connected to the support and adapted to secure the worktop in one of the useable positions.

3. The workbench of claim 2, wherein the locking mechanism includes a plurality of locking bars.

4. The workbench of claim 1, which includes at least one locking mechanism connected to the worktop and adapted to secure the worktop in one of the useable positions.

5. The workbench of claim 4, wherein the locking mechanism includes a plurality of locking bars.

6. The workbench of claim 1, wherein the support includes spaced-apart support members.

7. The workbench of claim 6, which includes at least one support brace connecting the support members.

8. The workbench of claim 1, wherein the worktop includes opposing surfaces, each surface adapted to support at least one tool.

9. The workbench of claim 1, which includes opposing rotating connectors connected to the worktop.

10. The workbench of claim 9, wherein each rotating connector includes a pin extending from an end of the worktop.

11. The workbench of claim 1, which includes a substantially horizontally extending rotating connector attached to the worktop and the support members.

12. The workbench of claim 1, which includes a plurality of moving devices connected to the support.

13. The workbench of claim 12, wherein the moving devices includes casters, at least one of said casters having a locking mechanism.

14. The workbench of claim 1, which includes a toolbin connected to the support.

15. The workbench of claim 1, which includes a hook connected to the support.

16. A workbench adapted to support at least two tools, said workbench comprising: spaced-apart support members; a worktop extending between and connected to the support members, said worktop adapted to move the tools into useable positions; and at least one locking mechanism adapted to engage the worktop and secure the worktop in a useable position.

17. The workbench of claim 16, wherein the worktop includes multiple surfaces, wherein each surface is adapted to support at least one tool.

18. A method for moving at least one tool between a non-useable and a useable position, said method comprising the steps of: attaching a tool to a surface of the worktop; rotating the worktop such that said tool is moved from the non-useable to the useable position; and securing the worktop in the useable position.

19. The method of claim 18, which includes disengaging at least one locking mechanism prior to the rotating step.

20. The method of claim 18, which includes locking the worktop in a useable position using at least one locking mechanism.

Description:

DESCRIPTION

[0001] The present invention relates in general to a workbench, and more particularly to a workbench having a rotatable worktop with multiple usable positions.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] Workbenches of various types are well known. Known workbenches generally have a supporting structure and a worktop attached to the supporting structure. Certain known workbenches are adapted to be attached to other supporting structures such as walls. Other known workbenches are portable. Example workbenches are illustrated in U.S. Pat. Nos. 6,039,416 and 6,029,721.

[0003] Various types of power tools are commercially available for both professional and non-professionals users. A number of these power tools such as grinding wheels, saber saws, band saws, jigsaws, reciprocating saws and belt sanders are normally mounted to a stable surface to insure safe and proper operation. Such power tools are often attached to the upper surface of a workbench.

[0004] Workbenches with or without power tools are often used in areas with limited floor space such as garages, tool shops, tool sheds, basements, etc. Therefore, there is a need for a workbench that occupies a limited amount of floor space, provides a substantial amount of working surface area and is adapted to support a plurality of power tools.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0005] The workbench of the present invention generally includes a support and a worktop rotatably connected to the support. In one embodiment, the support or supporting structure includes spaced-apart interconnected support members. The workbench also preferably includes locking mechanisms connected to the support members or the worktop for securing the worktop in a fixed position relative to the supporting structure. The worktop includes opposing surfaces and is rotatably connected to the support members. The workbench of the present invention enables a plurality of tools to be positioned on or attached to each of the surfaces of the worktop in a space normally required to support one tool. The user rotates the worktop and tools between the two useable positions of the worktop. It should be appreciated that the worktop of the present invention could include more than two useable surfaces. For instance, the worktop could be triangular.

[0006] It is therefore an advantage of the present invention to provide a workbench with a rotable worktop.

[0007] Other objects, features and advantages of the invention will be apparent from the following detailed disclosure, taken in conjunction with the accompanying sheets of drawings, wherein like numerals refer to like parts, elements, components, steps and processes.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0008] FIG. 1 is a top front perspective view of the workbench of the present invention illustrating the rotable worktop with a tool positioned on or attached to each useable surface of the worktop;

[0009] FIG. 2 is a bottom plan view of the top of the workbench taken in cross section from just above the support braces, and illustrating the locking mechanisms and a tool positioned in a non-useable position on the worktop; and

[0010] FIG. 3 is a side elevational view of the present invention illustrating the worktop rotating between the two useable positions.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0011] Referring now to the drawings, the workbench of the present invention, generally designated by numeral 10, includes a support or supporting structure 12 and worktop 14 rotatably connected to the support 12. In the illustrated embodiment, a plurality of tools 16 and 18 are shown connected to the opposing surfaces 14a and 14b, respectively, of the worktop 14. In FIGS. 1 and 2, tool 16 is in a usable position and tool 18 is in a non-usable position.

[0012] The support 12 includes spaced-apart support members 20 and 22. In the illustrated embodiment of the present invention, support member 20 includes interconnected spaced-apart top and bottom members 20a and 20b, respectively, and interconnected spaced-apart side members 20c and 20d, respectively. Similarly, support member 22 includes interconnected spaced-apart top and bottom members 22a and 22b, respectively, and interconnected spaced-apart side members 22c and 22d, respectively. Each top member 20a and 22a preferably defines a centrally positioned horizontally extending pivot aperture or hole (not shown) passing therethrough. In this embodiment, the members are suitably connected or formed to create the rigid support members 20 and 22. It should be appreciated that the present invention contemplates a portable workbench with a rotable worktop, and in such embodiment, the support members are connected to facilitate folding of the support members.

[0013] The support members 20 and 22 are connected at their lower end by spaced-apart support braces 24 and 26 which extend generally laterally between the support members 20 and 22. It should be appreciated that braces 24 and 26 are spaced a predetermined distance from top members 20a and 22a for enabling the worktop (and the tools attached thereto) to rotate between useable positions. Generally, support brace 24 laterally connects side members 20c and 22c and support brace 26 laterally connects side members 20d and 22d. It is contemplated that the support braces could be alternatively arranged, that diagonally extending support braces could be used, and that the structure of the supporting structure and support members could vary.

[0014] The support 12 may be extruded, cut or manufactured in any conventional manner using steel, aluminum, plastic, wood or any other suitable material. The support is preferably formed as two or more pieces of steel that are connected, combined or otherwise joined to form an integral unit. In one embodiment, a single piece of steel is cut and bent to form the side and top members for each of the support members. The bottom members are connected to the side members and braces are connected to the respective side members. Alternatively, a plurality of individual pieces of material are welded or otherwise suitably connected to form the support members.

[0015] The worktop is extruded, cut, formed or manufactured in any suitable manner using wood, plastic, steel, aluminum or any other suitable material. In a preferred embodiment, the worktop is preferably a single piece of wood with two sides. Alternatively, the worktop could be two or more pieces of wood or other material joined to form an integral unit. It is also contemplated that the worktop could be made of the same or different materials. For example, the first surface could be made of wood and the second surface made of plastic and connected to the first wood surface. It should be appreciated that the worktop could include more than two usable surfaces.

[0016] The worktop 14 is rotatably connected to the support 12 such that the worktop is adapted to rotate about pivot point 30 between the useable positions as illustrated in FIG. 3. More specifically, the worktop includes opposing ends or edges 40 and 42. The ends 40 and 42 are pivotally or rotatably connected to the support by any suitable pivotal or rotating connector. One preferred rotating connector includes a hollow rod (not shown) horizontally extending through the worktop and the pivot apertures (not shown) in the top members 20a and 22a, and cotter pins (not shown) transversely extending through each end of the rod to prevent displacement of the rod. One or more washers (not shown) are preferably used between the top members and the cotter pin or other securing device. Another preferred rotating connector includes a pin extending generally transversely from each end 40 and 42 of the worktop and adapted to rotatably engage the pivot holes in the top members 20a and 20b of the support members enabling the worktop to rotate between the two useable positions. Other rotating connectors such as a plurality of rods, pins, dowels, bars, or other mechanisms are contemplated. It is also contemplated that a single or dual rotary connector could pass through the worktop and rotatably engage the support.

[0017] The tools 16 and 18 are preferably secured or attached to the first and second surfaces 14a and 14b using any suitable connecting or fastening device. In the illustrated embodiment, a grinding wheel 16 is shown connected to the first surface 14a and a jig saw 18 is shown connected to the second surface 14b. It should be appreciated that while only two tools are illustrated, a plurality of tools may be connected to each surface depending on the size of the worktop and the tools. The tools may also be removably connected to the first and second surfaces using any suitable removable connecting device.

[0018] The workbench of the present invention includes at least one and preferably a plurality of locking mechanisms which lock and support the worktop in one of the useable positions. The locking mechanisms could be connected to the support, the worktop or could be removably connected to the workbench. The illustrated embodiment of the present invention employs four locking mechanisms in the form of locking bars 48 that are moveably attached to the bottom surface of the top members 20a and 22a. The locking bars 48 rotate between locking and unlocking positions as illustrated in FIG. 2. Each locking bar 48 preferably includes a connecting member that rotatably connects the locking bar to the support. Any suitable device can be used to connect the locking bars to the support. It is also contemplated that locking mechanisms of the present invention could be secured to the worktop, that the locking mechanism may include a deadbolt, a spring-loaded or other suitable device that positions the worktop in the useable positions and prevents the worktop from rotating during tool use. It should also be appreciated that the locking mechanisms prevent the worktop from rotating in either direction.

[0019] It is also contemplated that the workbench is movable. In one embodiment, casters or wheels (not shown) are attached to the lowermost portion of the support members enabling the workbench to be easily moved. Preferably, the movable device includes a wheel locking mechanism that enables the user to lock the workbench in place when the tools are being used. In a preferred embodiment, the workbench includes four casters (not shown) where at least two of the casters have brakes to lock the workbench in place.

[0020] In using the workbench, the brakes on the casters are unlocked and the workbench is moved to a work position in the work area, if not already properly positioned. The casters are locked in place using the brake so the workbench won't move. The locking mechanisms are then moved to the unlocked position. The worktop is rotated until a power tool selected by the user is in the usable position. The locking mechanisms are then moved back to the locked position, positioning and locking the worktop and the tool in the usable position. The selected tool may then be used. If another tool is desired, the locking mechanisms are unlocked or disengaged, the worktop is rotated until the worktop and the selected tool are in the useable position and then the locking mechanisms are locked or reengaged, positioning the worktop in the useable position.

[0021] It is also contemplated that the workbench may include a toolbin (not shown) preferably connected to the support. The toolbin is adapted to hold different hand-held tools, such as hammers, wrenches, screwdrivers, etc., that may be required by the user during operation of the power tools. In addition, the toolbin may be used to hold nuts, bolts, screws, etc.

[0022] In an alternative embodiment, the workbench includes at least one extending side member (not shown) connected to the support. In one embodiment, the extending side member is pivotally connected to the support by a hinge. The extending member is lifted and locked in place using any suitable locking device such as a locking brace. It is also contemplated that extending member may be slideably extendably positioned in a pocket defined between the first and second surfaces.

[0023] It is contemplated that the present invention could include one or more power strips (not shown) and hooks (not shown) attached to or incorporated thereon. The powerstrip may be connected to a power source and the tools connected to the powerstrip for operation. The hooks may be used to suspend tools, gloves, aprons, goggles, etc., when not in use.

[0024] In a further alternative embodiment, the workbench of the present invention is collapsible. The various components of the support are removably connected together using a removable connecting device. Once the support is assembled, the worktop can be placed between the top members and a dowel, bar, rod, pins or the like passed through the holes into the worktop, rotatably connecting the worktop to the support. The tools may then be removably connected to the worktop. The worktop and tools are rotated to place a specific tool in a useable position as needed. After a particular job is complete, the tools may be removed and the workbench disassembled. It should be appreciated that the workbench may also be portable.

[0025] While the present invention is described in connection with what is presently considered to be the most practical and preferred embodiments, it should be appreciated that the invention is not limited to the disclosed embodiments, and is intended to cover various modifications and equivalent arrangements included within the spirit and scope of the claims. Modifications and variations in the present invention may be made without departing from the novel aspects of the invention as defined in the claims, and this application is limited only by the scope of the claims.