Title:
Quick assembly grill
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A quick assembly grill that may be assembled in a few minutes by a user, without the use of tools. The grill includes a leg assembly that snaps onto a base for the grill and side posts that attach to the leg assembly for supporting side tables for the grill. The side posts may attach by bolts and wing nuts, and thus do not require tools for assembly. In addition, the leg assembly snaps onto the base, and the side tables snap onto the side posts, and also do not require tools for assembly. A quick connect gas control for a burner is included on one of the side tables. The quick connect controller inserts into a hole in the side table, and is rotated to lock the control into place.



Inventors:
Speck, Steven L. (Neosho, MO, US)
Coates, Len (Reeds, MO, US)
Hargis, Samuel Jason (Galena, KS, US)
Puangnak, Tienchai (Neosho, MO, US)
Application Number:
10/319008
Publication Date:
06/17/2004
Filing Date:
12/13/2002
Assignee:
Sunbeam Products, Inc. (Boca Raton, FL, US)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
126/304R, 126/305, 126/276
International Classes:
A47J37/07; (IPC1-7): F24C3/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
GRAVINI, STEPHEN MICHAEL
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
LEYDIG, VOIT & MAYER, LTD. ((SEATTLE OFFICE) TWO PRUDENTIAL PLAZA SUITE 4900, CHICAGO, IL, 60601-6731, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. A grill, comprising: a firebox; a base having a plurality of posts extending upward therefrom; a leg assembly having a plurality of sleeves for fitting over the plurality of posts and connected to the firebox; and a plurality of connections for attaching the sleeves to the posts without the use of tools.

2. The grill of claim 1, wherein the leg assembly comprises a first leg and a second leg, each having one of the plurality of sleeves at a bottom end thereof, and each extending upward and inward from the post and connecting to the other.

3. The grill of claim 2, wherein one of the first and second legs comprises a horizontally extending end for fitting over a horizontally extending end of the other of the first and second legs.

4. The grill of claim 3, wherein the firebox is connected to the horizontally extending ends of the first and second legs.

5. The grill of claim 4, wherein the leg assembly comprises a third leg and a fourth leg, each having one of the plurality of sleeves at a bottom end thereof, and each extending upward and inward from the post and connecting to the other.

6. The grill of claim 5, wherein one of the third and fourth legs comprises a horizontally extending end for fitting over a horizontally extending end of the other of the third and fourth legs.

7. The grill of claim 6, wherein the firebox is connected to the horizontally extending ends of the third and fourth legs.

8. The grill of claim 5, wherein the first, second, third, and fourth legs comprise right front, right rear, left front, and left rear legs, respectively.

9. The grill of claim 1, wherein each of the plurality of connections for attaching the sleeves to the posts without the use of tools comprises a flexible and resilient tab on one of the respective post and the respective sleeve for fitting into a hole on the other of the respective post and the respective sleeve.

10. The grill of claim 9, wherein for each connection, the tab is mounted integral with the post, and the hole is located on the sleeve.

11. A grill, comprising: a side table having a sleeve on an underside thereof; a side table post for fitting into the sleeve; and a connection for attaching the sleeve to the post without the use of tools.

12. The grill of claim 11, further comprising a second sleeve on the side table for receiving the post.

13. The grill of claim 11, further comprising: a second sleeve on the underside of the side table; a second side table post for fitting into the sleeve; and a second connection for attaching the sleeve to the post without the use of tools.

14. The grill of claim 13, wherein each connection comprises a flexible and resilient tab on one of the post and the sleeve for fitting into a hole on the other of the post and the sleeve.

15. The grill of claim 11, wherein for the connection, the tab is mounted integral with the sleeve, and the hole is located on the post.

16. The grill of claim 11, wherein the connection comprises a flexible and resilient tab on one of the post and the sleeve for fitting into a hole on the other of the post and the sleeve.

17. A grill comprising: a side table; a burner on the side table; an opening in the side table; a gas control for attaching in the hole, the gas control having a connector for attaching the gas control to the opening without the use of tools.

18. The grill of claim 17, wherein the opening comprises a inwardly extending flange, and wherein the connector connects to the flange without the use of tools.

19. The grill of claim 18, wherein the flange comprises a notch therein, and wherein the connector connects to the notch.

20. The grill of claim 19, wherein the connector comprises a flexible and resilient tab that may be rotated to fit into the notches.

21. The grill of claim 20, wherein the flexible and resilient tab comprises a sloped front surface for permitting the flexible and resilient tab to roll over the flange and lock into the notch.

22. The grill of claim 21, wherein the flexible and resilient tab comprises a back surface that prevents rotation of the flexible and resilient tab out of the notch.

23. The grill of claim 22, further comprising a stop that engages the flange prevents rotation of the flexible and resilient tab beyond the notch.

24. The grill of claim 17, wherein the opening comprises at least two flanges, each comprising a notch therein, and wherein the connector connects to each of the notches without the use of tools.

25. The grill of claim 24, wherein the connector comprises a pair of flexible and resilient tabs that may be rotated to fit into the notches.

26. The grill of claim 25, wherein each of the flexible and resilient tabs comprises a sloped front surface for permitting the flexible and resilient tab to roll over the respective flange and lock into the respective notch.

27. The grill of claim 26, wherein each of the flexible and resilient tabs comprises a back surface that prevents rotation of the respective flexible and resilient tab out of the respective notch.

28. The grill of claim 27, further comprising a stop that engages a flange prevents rotation of the flexible and resilient tabs beyond the respective notches.

29. The grill of claim 27, further comprising a pair of stops, each of which engages a different one of the flanges and prevents rotation of the flexible and resilient tabs beyond the respective notches

Description:

TECHNICAL FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0001] The present invention is directed to grills, and more specifically outdoor grills for use in backyard cooking, for example.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] Grilling is a popular way to cook foods, especially when the weather is warm outside. Conventional grills utilize charcoal or wood, or may be a gas or propane variety. Most large grills for use in backyard cooking include a firebox mounted about waist high on a frame. The frame typically includes wheels so that the grill may be rolled to a convenient location in the yard.

[0003] One problem with conventional grills is transporting the grills after purchase, and storing the grills for retailers, because of the large size of the grills. Most retailers assemble a single grill for display and stock other grills in boxes. The grills in the boxes include many parts, and a user is required to assemble the grill when the box is taken home. Although the user can often pay to have the grill assembled, the assembly charges can be expensive and the assembled grill is very large, and often requires a pick-up truck or another open vehicle to transport home. In addition, transporting home an assembled grill requires tying down of the grill and careful driving.

[0004] If a user brings a grill home in a box, the user may be overwhelmed by the number of parts that need to be assembled so that the grill is ready for use. The user may also not have the necessary tools to assemble the grill, requiring an additional purchase of the needed tools. The firebox and the wheels must be attached to the frame. In addition, if the grill is a propane grill, the propane attachments must be properly attached to the propane tank and the controls and firebox for the grill. Often, assembly takes several hours and can be frustrating for a user.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0005] The present invention provides a quick assembly grill that may be assembled in a few minutes by a user, without the use of tools. To this end, the grill includes a leg assembly that snaps onto a base for the grill and side posts that attach to the leg assembly for supporting side tables for the grill. The side posts attach by bolts and wing nuts, and do not require tools for assembly. In addition, the leg assembly snaps onto the base, and the side tables snap onto the side posts.

[0006] A control panel is included on the front of the grill and is attached to both the side posts and the leg assembly. The control panel provides stability for the leg assembly and the side posts, and is also easily attached by bolts and wing nuts. The control panel may also include a basket at its lower edge for receiving cooking tools, such as tongs or grill cleaning brushes. The firebox also easily attaches to the leg assembly by bolts and wing nuts.

[0007] The present invention also provides a quick connect gas control for a burner that is included on one of the side tables. The quick connect controller inserts into a hole in the side table, and is rotated to lock the control into place.

[0008] The quick assembly grill of the present invention does not require tools for assembly, and may be quickly assembled by a user and ready for use after a few minutes. The quick assembly grill is very stable, and the connectors for the grill remain connected so that a user is not required to continually tighten or reattach the connections.

[0009] Other advantages will become apparent from the following detailed description when taken in conjunction with the drawings, in which:

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0010] FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a quick assembly grill in accordance with the present invention, showing the grill fully assembled;

[0011] FIG. 2 is an exploded perspective view of the grill of FIG. 1, showing parts of the grill prior to assembly;

[0012] FIG. 3 is an exploded side perspective view of a base and leg assembly for the grill of FIG. 1;

[0013] FIG. 4 is a bottom perspective view showing assembly of side posts of the grill of FIG. 1 into a side table;

[0014] FIG. 5 is a bottom side perspective view of one side post of FIG. 4 shown inserted into the side table;

[0015] FIG. 6 is an exploded side perspective view of a side table and gas control for the side table of the grill of FIG. 1;

[0016] FIG. 7 is a partial cut-away bottom perspective view showing the gas control of FIG. 6 prior to connection to the side table of FIG. 6;

[0017] FIG. 8 is a side view of the gas control of FIG. 6;

[0018] FIG. 9 is a partial cut-away bottom perspective view showing the gas control of FIG. 6, similar to FIG. 7, showing the gas control inserted into an opening of the side table; and

[0019] FIG. 10 is a partial cut-away bottom perspective view showing the gas control of FIG. 6, similar to FIG. 9, showing the gas control rotated and locked into position in the opening of the side table.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0020] In the following description, various aspects of the present invention will be described. For purposes of explanation, specific configurations and details are set forth in order to provide a thorough understanding of the present invention. However, it will also be apparent to one skilled in the art that the present invention may be practiced without the specific details. Furthermore, well-known features may be omitted or simplified in order not to obscure the present invention. In addition, to the extent that orientations of the invention are described, such as “top,” “bottom,” “front,” “rear,” and the like, the orientations are to aid the reader in understanding the invention, and are not meant to be limiting.

[0021] Referring now to the drawings, in which like reference numerals represent like parts throughout the several views, FIG. 1 shows a quick assembly grill 20 made in accordance with the present invention. The quick assembly grill 20 includes a firebox 22 mounted on a leg assembly 24. The leg assembly 24 is mounted on top of a base 26. Side tables 28, 30 extend out of the left and right sides of the quick assembly grill 20, respectively. A propane tank (not shown) may be provided at the bottom of the quick assembly grill 20 for supplying fuel for a fire in the firebox 22.

[0022] Although the present invention is described with use of the propane tank, several aspects of the present invention may be used for several different kinds of grills including, but not limited to, grills that utilize charcoal or gas sources other than propane.

[0023] Turning now to FIG. 3, the base 26 in the embodiment shown is I-shaped, but other configurations may be used. For example, a U-shaped base may be used, or box frame may be used. Preferably, however, the base 26 is a unitary structure that includes each of the four corners of the base. The base may be, for example, formed of plastic or another suitable material.

[0024] One side of the base 26 includes downwardly-extending posts 34 for receiving an axle 35 that carries wheels 36. The wheels 36 may be attached to the axle 35 in a suitable manner, such as by press-fitting the wheels 36 onto the axle 35 during assembly, or press fitting retainers on the ends of the axle to capture the wheels. The opposite end of the base 26 includes downwardly-extending posts 37 that are arranged to rest on the ground. The downwardly-extending posts 37 and the wheels 36 are preferably arranged so that when all of the wheels 36 and posts 37 are resting on the ground, the quick assembly grill 20 is level.

[0025] Upwardly-extending posts 38 extend out of the four corners of the base 26. The upwardly-extending posts 38 each include a conical base 40 and an upwardly-extending cylinder 42 attached to the top of the conical base 40. Each of the upwardly-extending cylinders 42 includes a flexible, resilient tab 44. In the embodiment shown, the tab 44 is formed by a U-shaped channel 46 formed in the upwardly-extending cylinder 42. The flexible, resilient tab 44 is attached at a bottom of the U-shaped channel 46, and is formed of a flexible, resilient material so that it may move relative to the upwardly-extending cylinder 42. For example, the flexible, resilient tab 44 may be formed integral with the upwardly-extending cylinder, and may be formed of plastic. A protrusion 48 is formed on the end of the flexible, resilient tab 44, the function of which is described in detail below.

[0026] The leg assembly 24 can be seen in FIGS. 2 and 3. In the embodiment shown, the leg assembly 24 includes right front, left front, right rear, and left rear legs 50, 52, 54, and 56. Each of the legs 50, 52, 54, 56 is preferably formed of tubular steel, and therefore is hollow. Other structures may be used, but tubular steel provides rigidity and structure for the frame, and also is lightweight. The legs 50, 52, 54, 56 each include a lower sleeve 58 that, in the embodiment shown, consists of the hollow tubular end of the respective leg. A hole 60 is located on the outer portion of the lower sleeve 58. The legs 50, 52, 54, 56 each extend upward and inward from the lower sleeves 58 to approximately a right angle 62 at their upper portions, where the legs extend horizontally. The ends 64 of the right rear and left front legs 54, 56 are reduced in diameter so that they may fit into the ends 66 of the right front and left rear legs 50, 52. A series of holes 68 are provided at the top of the legs 50, 52, 54, 56.

[0027] To assemble the base 26 and the leg assembly 24, a user inserts the ends 64 of the right rear and left front legs 54, 56 into the ends 66 of the right front and left rear legs 50, 52, respectively. The assembled right front and right rear legs 50, 54 may then be inserted onto the upwardly-extending cylinders 42 on the right side of the base 26. Similarly, the assembled left front and left rear legs 52, 56 may be inserted onto the upwardly-extending cylinders 42 on the left side of the base 26.

[0028] When the legs 50, 52, 54, 56 are inserted onto the upwardly-extending cylinders 42, the lower sleeves 58 fit tightly over the upwardly-extending cylinders 42, and the hole 60 on each of the legs 50, 52, 54, 56 aligns with the respective protrusion 48 on the flexible, resilient tab 44. The protrusions 48 may be pressed inward by the user so that the lower end of the lower sleeves 58 may be pressed past the protrusions 48. Alternatively, the protrusions 48 may include a sloped surface that allows automatic retraction of the protrusions 48 upon insertion of the lower sleeves 58. When the lower sleeves 58 are pressed onto the upwardly-extending cylinders 42 a sufficient amount so that the holes 60 align with the protrusions 48, the protrusions 48 snap outward into the holes 60 and lock the legs 50, 52, 54, 56 into place.

[0029] The holes 68 at the top of the legs 50, 52, 54, 56 may be used for attachment of the firebox 22. To this end, the top portions of the legs 50, 52, 54, and 56 extend horizontally to provide a base for the firebox, and bolts (not shown) may be provided for extending downward through the box and into the holes. Wing nuts (also not shown) may be used to thread on the bolts to lock the firebox 22 into place without the use of tools. To provide further stability for the leg assembly 24, one of the sets of holes 68 may extend through the ends 64 of the right rear and left rear legs 54, 56 and another may extend through the ends of the end 66 of the right front and left front legs 50, 52 and these two sets of holes may align when the respective legs are connected together. Extending a bolt through these holes further adds to the stability of the leg assembly 24.

[0030] The upwardly-extending cylinders 42 are preferably rigid and hold the leg assembly 24 in place so that the legs 50, 52, 54, 56 are firmly held into position. Moreover, the firm attachment of the lower sleeves 58 to the upwardly-extending cylinders 42 prevents the ends 64 of the right rear and left front legs 54, 56 from being released from the ends 66 of the right front and left rear legs 50, 52.

[0031] The detail of the attachment of one of the side tables 28 can be seen in FIGS. 4 and 5. Each of the side tables 28, 30 are attached in a similar manner, and only the attachment of the side table 28 is shown in the drawings. Although the general shapes of the two side tables are the same, the side table 30 includes a side burner 70, discussed further below. In addition, the side table 30 includes cup holders 72, provided for the convenience of the user so that a drink may be placed in one of the cup holders 72 and may not be accidentally overturned during cooking on the quick assembly grill 20.

[0032] Turning now to FIG. 4, the side table 28 is attached by a pair of front and rear posts 74, 76. The front and rear posts 74, 76 are similar in construction, and similar posts are used on the opposite side to connect to the other side table 30. By making the posts similar in construction, the chance of a user improperly assembling the quick assembly grill 20 is lessened. In addition, providing four similar posts simplifies manufacture of the quick assembly grill 20.

[0033] The posts 74, 76 each include a flattened, concave lower end 78. The posts 74, 76 extend upward and outward from the flattened, concave lower end 78 and then just outward to form outwardly-extending tubes 80. To this end, the posts 74, 76 may each be formed of tubular steel, which provides structural rigidity, and is lightweight. Each of the posts 74, 76 includes a hole 82 at a lower, distal end. The function of the holes 82 is described below.

[0034] The side tables 28, 30 may be formed of plastic, steel, or another suitable material, but preferably are formed of plastic. An underside 84 of the side table 28 is shown in FIG. 4. The underside 84 includes two pairs of inner and outer sleeves 86, 88 for receiving the outwardly-extending tubes 80. Alternatively, a single sleeve or more than two sleeves may be provided on the underside 84 for receiving the outwardly-extending tubes 80.

[0035] In the embodiment shown in the drawing, the outer sleeves 88 include flexible, resilient tabs 90 inside a lower surface. The flexible, resilient tabs 90 may be formed, for example, integral with the outer sleeves 88. To this end, a pair of slots 92 may extend along sides of the flexible, resilient tabs 90 for defining the flexible, resilient tabs 90. A protrusion 94 extends from the end of the flexible, resilient tab 90 into the outer sleeve 88.

[0036] To install the side tables 28, 30, the outwardly-extending tubes 80 of the posts 74, 76 are extended first into the inner sleeve 86 and then further into the outer sleeve 88. The flexible, resilient tab 90 includes a sloped surface on the back of the protrusion 94 for allowing the protrusion 94 to move outward as the outwardly-extending tube 80 is inserted into the outer sleeve 88. Insertion of the outwardly-extending tube 80 continues until the flexible, resilient tab 90 aligns with the hole 82, where the protrusion 94 snaps into the hole 82 and locks the post 74 or 76 into place. As such, the posts 74, 76 may be firmly attached to the side tables 28, or 30 without tools, and form a rigid connection with the side tables 28, 30.

[0037] A control panel 95 is provided for attaching on the front of the leg assembly 24. The control panel 95 includes knobs 96 for controlling the flow of gas into the firebox 22. The control panel 95 includes rolled sides 97 and an opening 98 at a top portion of the ends of the rolled sides. A basket 99 is provided on the bottom of the control panel 95 for receiving cooking tools, for example.

[0038] To assemble the control panel 95, the leg assembly 24, and the side tables 28, 30, a user aligns the flattened, concave lower ends 78 of the front side table posts 74 against the sides of the front legs 50, 52, and places the control panel 95 over both the flattened, concave lower end 78 and the front right and front left legs 50, 52. The front posts 74 for the side tables 28, 30 extend out of openings 98 on the control panel 95. Bolts (not shown) may then be extended through the control panel 95, the flattened, concave lower end 78 of the posts 74 and the front right and front left legs 50, 52 of the leg assembly 24. The bolts may be attached by wing nuts, also not shown. The rear side table posts 76 for the side tables 28, 30 may be similarly attached to the right rear and left rear legs 54, 56 of the leg assembly 24, without a control panel.

[0039] The control panel 95 provides stability for the quick assembly grill 20, and specifically for the front side table posts 74 for the side tables 28, 30. Moreover, as can be understood, the side tables 28, 30 and the control panel 95 may be attached to the leg assembly 24 without the use of tools.

[0040] In accordance with another aspect of the present invention, the quick assembly grill 20 provides a quick connect gas control 106 (FIGS. 6-10) for one of the side tables 28, 30. In the embodiment shown, the quick connect side burner gas control 106 is connected to a gas hose 107 (FIG. 2) that attaches to a gas source, such as a propane tank. The quick connect side burner gas control 106 includes a structure, such as a valve, to regulate the flow of gas to the burner 70, and is configured to attach to a side table, such as the side table 30. However, it can be understood that a side burner, such as the side burner 70 may be provided on either or both of the side tables 28, 30, and thus the quick connect side burner gas control 106 may be used on either or both of the side tables if desired.

[0041] The side table 30 includes an opening 100 in a front, inside corner. The opening 100 includes inwardly-extending lower flanges 101 (best shown in FIG. 7) that extend partly into the opening. The flanges 101 each include notches 102, 104. In the embodiment shown, the notches 102, 104 are offset from one another.

[0042] The quick connect side burner gas control 106 includes a flat, rectangular base 108 along a top surface and outwardly-extending shoulders 110 on opposite sides of the control and extending parallel to, and spaced below, the flat base 108. Flexible, resilient tabs 112 are also located below the base 108, one each behind the shoulders 110. Each flexible, resilient tab 112 includes an upper sloped surface 113 (FIG. 8) and a rearward surface 115 that extends perpendicular to a longitudinal axis for the quick connect side burner gas control 106. A stop 114 extends downward from the flat base 108 and just rearward from the flexible, resilient tab 112.

[0043] The flat base 108, the shoulders 110, the flexible, resilient tab 112, and the stop 114 may be formed integrally as one plastic piece. As such, the quick connect side burner gas control 106 is easy to manufacture. Preferably, as described above, each side of the flat base 108 includes a similar shoulder 110, flexible, resilient tab 112, and stop 114. However, only one side may include these features and still provides some of the benefits of the present invention.

[0044] To install the quick connect side burner gas control 106 in the opening 100, the flat base 108 is extended upward between the lower flanges 101 and into the opening 100 (FIG. 9). The flat base 108 and the quick connect side burner gas control 106 are then rotated counter-clockwise so that each of the flexible, resilient tabs 112 engages the lower flanges 101. Rotation is continued so that the sloped surface 113 of each of the flexible, resilient tabs 112 engages the lower flanges 101, causing each flexible, resilient tab 112 to bend downward. Further rotation of the flat base 108 with the flexible, resilient tab 112 bent downward causes the flexible, resilient tab 112 to align with the offset notches 102, 104. When the flexible, resilient tabs 112 align with the notches 102, 104, each flexible, resilient tab pops outward into the notches 102, 104 (FIG. 10), aligning the perpendicular backside 115 of each flexible, resilient tab 112 with the inside of the respective notch 102 or 104. Each stop 114 engages an outer edge of the flanges 101, preventing further rotation.

[0045] The engagement of the perpendicular back portion 115 of each flexible, resilient tab 112 with the backside of the respective notch 102 or 104 and the engagement of the stop 114 with the lower flanges 101 prevents rotation of the quick connect side burner gas control 106 in either direction within the opening 100. Thus, the quick connect side burner gas control 106 is locked into position in the opening 100, and has been connected without the use of tools. A knob or other control (not shown) may be attached to the top of the quick connect side burner gas control 106 so that a user may easily control the flow of gas into the side burner 70.

[0046] Other assembly of the quick assembly grill 20 may be required, such as attachment of gas hoses to the side burner 70 or a burner within the firebox. 22, but such attachments are known in the art and are not described here so as not to obfuscate the invention. In addition, if desired, additional features may be provided for the quick assembly grill 20 such as a side tray 116.

[0047] The quick assembly grill 20 of the present invention provides many benefits over prior art grills. Its assembly is simple and does not require tools. The base 26 and leg assembly 24 may be quickly connected so as to form a rigid structure for supporting the firebox 22 and the side tables 28, 30. The side tables 28, 30 may be quickly assembled and attached to the side table posts 74, 78 and the leg assembly 24. In addition, the quick connect side burner gas control 106 may be quickly attached to the side table 30, without tools, so that the quick assembly grill 20 is ready for operation.

[0048] Other variations are within the spirit of the present invention. Thus, while the invention is susceptible to various modifications and alternative constructions, a certain illustrated embodiment thereof is shown in the drawings and has been described above in detail. It should be understood, however, that there is no intention to limit the invention to the specific form or forms disclosed, but on the contrary, the intention is to cover all modifications, alternative constructions, and equivalents falling within the spirit and scope of the invention, as defined in the appended claims.