Title:
Storage device for items
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A storage device is disclosed for small items such as cases for CDs and DVDs and for media disks such as compact disks, floppy disks and other storage media for computer software. The storage device includes a main support which is adapted to be used in an upright orientation, at least one cantilever structure having at least one lower fulcrum and at least two upper abutment structures. An item of one size is able to be supported by one lower fulcrum and one of the upper abutment structures, and an item of another size is able to be supported by the lower fulcrum and the other upper abutment structure.



Inventors:
Macarthur-onslow, Rohan James (Vaucluse, AU)
Application Number:
10/912398
Publication Date:
02/10/2005
Filing Date:
08/05/2004
Assignee:
MACARTHUR-ONSLOW ROHAN JAMES
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
211/41.12, 211/194, G9B/33.021
International Classes:
G11B33/04; (IPC1-7): A47G29/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
PUROL, SARAH L
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MADSON & METCALF;GATEWAY TOWER WEST (SUITE 900, 15 WEST SOUTH TEMPLE, SALT LAKE CITY, UT, 84101, US)
Claims:
1. A storage device comprising a main support which is adapted to be used in an upright orientation, at least one cantilever means which comprises at least one lower fulcrum means and at least two upper abutment means and wherein an item of one size is able to be supported by the one lower fulcrum means and one of the upper abutment means and an item of another size is able to be supported by the one lower fulcrum means and another upper abutment means.

2. The storage device as claimed in claim 1 wherein at least one of the abutment means comprises an abutment surface.

3. The storage device as claimed in claim 2 wherein the lower fulcrum means comprises a lower fulcrum surface.

4. The storage device as claimed in claim 1 wherein the cantilever means comprises a lateral support member which extends from the main support.

5. The storage device as claimed in claim 1 wherein the lower fulcrum means comprises a lateral support member extending from the main support.

6. The storage device as claimed in claim 5 wherein the lateral support member extends upwardly from the main support.

7. The storage device as claimed in claim 6 wherein the lateral support includes an upper fulcrum support surface.

8. The storage device as claimed in claim 7 wherein the lower fulcrum support surface is located at a distal end of the lateral support member.

9. The storage device as claimed in claim 8 wherein the lower fulcrum support surface comprises an upper surface at the distal end of the lateral support member.

10. The storage device as claimed in claim 1 comprising a plurality of substantially identical cantilever means configured to support an edge portion of an item.

11. A storage device comprising a main support which is adapted to be used in an upright orientation, a plurality of cantilever means which each comprise at least one lower fulcrum means and at least two upper abutment means and wherein an item of one size is able to be supported by the one lower fulcrum means and one of the upper abutment means and an item of another size is able to be supported by the one lower fulcrum means and another upper abutment means and wherein the cantilever means includes a first lateral portion located above one lower fulcrum means.

12. A storage device as claimed in claim 11 wherein one abutment comprises a lower surface of the first lateral portion.

13. The storage device as claimed in claim 11 wherein the cantilever means includes a second lateral portion located above the first lateral portion.

14. The storage device as claimed in claim 13 wherein the cantilever means includes a plurality of lateral portions one located above another and located further from the main support than the previous lateral portion.

15. The storage device as claimed in claim 14 wherein the cantilever means includes a plurality of upper abutment surfaces located respectively on lower surfaces of the lateral portions.

16. The storage device as claimed in claim 15 wherein a single cantilever means has a plurality of stepped upper abutment surfaces located above the lower fulcrum means.

17. The storage device as claimed in claim 11 wherein each cantilever means is aligned on one side of the main support.

18. The storage device as claimed in claim 11 wherein at least one abutment surface comprises a small ledge much shorter in lateral length than the length of the lower fulcrum means.

19. The storage device as claimed in claim 11 wherein the lower fulcrum means comprises a lateral support member which curves upwardly from the main support.

20. The storage device as claimed in claim 19 wherein each abutment surface is separated by a substantially constant vertical height.

21. A storage device comprising a main support which is adapted to be used in an upright orientation, at least one cantilever means which comprises at least one lower fulcrum means and at least two upper abutment means and wherein an item of one size is able to be supported by the one lower fulcrum means and one of the upper abutment means and an item of another size is able to be supported by the one lower fulcrum means and another upper abutment means and the device includes an attachment means at top and bottom ends of the main support.

22. The storage device as claimed in claim 21 wherein the main support comprises a stand.

23. The storage device as claimed in claim 22 comprising a plurality of main supports attached together through respective attachment means.

24. The storage device as claimed in claim 23 wherein the attachment means comprises male and female portions located at upper and lower ends of each main support.

25. The storage device as claimed in claim 24 wherein the main support is substantially planar.

26. The storage device as claimed in claim 24 wherein a female attachment portion is located in a lower surface of the lowermost lateral support member.

27. The storage device as claimed in claim 26 wherein each lateral support portion is located above the level of the outer ledge of the lower support member.

Description:

The present invention relates to storage devices such as those for small items such as cases for CDs and DVDs and for media disks such as compact disks, floppy disks and other storage media for computer software.

Typically a CD tower is used to store CDs in their CD cases. This device consists of an upright part with a multiplicity of angled openings along one side of the upright which are adapted to receive CD cases.

A problem with the above CD tower is that it does not have the ability to hold different sized cases or for that matter different items. Also CD towers tend to be of the same size, giving little or no flexibility.

The present invention provides an alternative storage device comprising a main support which is adapted to be used in an upright orientation, at least one cantilever means which comprises at least one lower fulcrum means and at least two upper abutment means and wherein an item of one size is able to be supported by the one lower fulcrum means and one of the upper abutment means and an item of another size is able to be supported by the one lower fulcrum means and another upper abutment means.

It is preferred that at least one of the abutment means comprises an abutment surface.

Preferably a plurality of upper abutment means comprise abutment surfaces.

The lower fulcrum means preferably comprises a lower fulcrum surface.

The cantilever means may comprise a lateral support member which extends from the main support.

Preferably the lower fulcrum means comprises a lateral support member extending from the main support.

The lateral support member may extend upwardly from the main support.

The lateral support member preferably includes an upper fulcrum support surface.

Preferably the lower fulcrum support surface is located at a distal end of the lateral support member.

The lower fulcrum support surface may comprise an upper surface at the distal end of the lateral support member.

It is preferred that the lateral support member comprises a shelf.

It is preferred that this shelf is upwardly curved.

Preferably the distal end of the lateral support member is thicker than a main body part of the lateral support member.

The device may include a plurality of cantilever means.

Preferably the cantilever means are substantially identical.

The cantilever means may be configured to support an edge portion of an item such as a CD case, floppy disk, floppy disk case, CD, DVD, CDR, video disks, compression devices such as zip discs etc.

It is preferred that one abutment means comprises a lower surface of a first lateral portion.

Preferably the first lateral portion is located above the lateral support member.

The first lateral portion lower surface is preferably above the level of the tip of the lateral support member.

Preferably the cantilever means includes a second lateral portion.

The cantilever means may include a plurality of lateral portions.

It is preferred that the cantilever means comprises a plurality of lateral portions located one above the other and successively extending further out than a previous lateral portion.

Each storage device may be in the form of a support panel which is adapted to be connected to like panels to form a complete storage device.

The second lateral portion may be located above the first lateral portion.

It is preferred that the second lateral portion is located further from the main support than the first lateral portion.

The cantilever means may include additional upper abutment surfaces.

It is preferred that successive abutment surfaces are located higher than previous abutment surfaces.

Each additional abutment surface may be located further out from the main support than a previous one.

It is preferred that a single cantilever means has a plurality of stepped upper abutment surfaces located above the lateral support member.

It is preferred that the distance of the abutment surface which extends furthest from the main support is less than half of the lateral length of a lateral support member.

Preferably the cantilever means comprises a stepped portion above the lower fulcrum means.

According to one embodiment the stepped portion includes the upper abutment surfaces.

According to another embodiment one abutment surface is located underneath a lateral support member of another cantilever means.

According to one embodiment a cantilever means includes a plurality of lateral support members spaced apart with upper abutment surfaces located respectively therebetween.

According to one embodiment there is provided a plurality of cantilever means.

Each cantilever means may be aligned on a side of the main support.

Preferably the device includes a plurality of aligned cantilever means.

According to another embodiment of the invention there is provided a plurality of differently aligned cantilever means, for example if the main support has a triangular configuration with three sides, each side may be provided with a plurality of cantilever means.

It is preferred that it is understood that a cantilever means includes a combination of surfaces which are able to hold an item in a cantilever fashion, i.e. with a lower surface of an item resting on a fulcrum means and a downward force being applied at an inner top end of the item by a surface which prevents the inner end of the item moving upwardly.

It is preferred that at least one abutment surface is located on the lower surface of a lateral protrusion.

Preferably at least one abutment surface comprises a small ledge much shorter in lateral length than the lateral support member.

It is preferred that the cantilever means defines successive gaps between successive lateral support members/lateral fulcrum means.

According to one embodiment lateral support members may have different heights, shapes, widths, thicknesses, lengths and spacings between adjacent lateral support members.

It is preferred that each abutment surface is separated by a substantially constant vertical height.

Preferably the device enables items of different sizes to be stored and oriented at substantially similar angles.

It is preferred that the device enables storage of items having different widths (vertical heights).

Preferably the abutment surfaces have a lateral length (distance from the main support) substantially the same as each other (excluding the lateral support member).

It is preferred that the device includes attachment means at top and bottom ends of the main support.

Preferably the main support comprises a stand.

The main support may include a detachable base.

Preferably the main support includes a planar member having cantilever means extending laterally from at least one side thereof.

The device may include a plurality of main supports.

The attachment means may comprise male and/or female portions located at upper and lower ends of the main support.

Preferably a male attachment means of one main support is able to interlock with a female attachment means of another main support.

Preferably the device includes a stand having an attachment portion comprising a male or female portion.

It is preferred that the attachment means includes a female portion located underneath a lateral support member.

Preferably the female portion comprises a recess located underneath a lateral support member.

It is preferred that the recess is substantially wedge shaped.

Preferably an upper end of the male support comprises a male attachment portion which is shaped to fit into a female attachment portion.

Preferably the male attachment portion comprises a wedge shaped head portion.

It is preferred that the male portion is configured to abut with a lobe portion of a lower end of a main support.

The main support may be substantially planar.

Preferably the main support is substantially rectangular.

According to one embodiment the main support may have a geometrical configuration with a plurality of sides.

According to one embodiment individual storage devices are attached together using grub screws or equivalent to ensure a secure connection.

According to a further embodiment the storage device does not have a base but instead has hooks or similar attachment means to enable the storage device to be connected to a wall or suspended from a ceiling or roof.

A preferred embodiment of the present invention will now be described by way of example only with reference to the accompanying drawings in which:

FIG. 1 shows an angled view of a schematic representation of a storage device in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 2 shows a front view of the storage device shown in FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 shows an angled view of a storage device according to one embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 4 shows a side view of the storage device shown in FIG. 3;

FIG. 5 shows a magnified side view of part of the storage device shown in FIG. 4;

FIG. 6 shows a side view of part of a storage device according to a further embodiment of the present invention; and

FIG. 7 shows a side view of top and bottom ends of storage devices shown in FIG. 6.

As shown in FIG. 1 the storage device in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention consists of a vertical support 11 and a base 12.

According to the preferred embodiment the vertical support 11 is detachably connected to the base 12.

As shown in FIG. 3 the vertical support 11 may in the form of a generally rectangular planar element having one face provided with vertically aligned shelves 13 which are also aligned in parallel one above or below another.

Each shelf 13 as shown in FIGS. 4 and 5 curves outwardly and upwardly from the main body 14 of the vertical support 11.

Each shelf 13 curves upwardly so that its outermost tip is almost pointing vertically upwardly.

The tip 15 of the shelf 13 has a generally flat horizontal upper surface 16.

A gap is created between adjacent shelves 13 to receive an item such as a CD case.

An item such as a CD case is held within the recess 17 in a cantilever fashion by the combined action of the upper surface 16 of the shelf 13 and an upper surface located below a shelf located above.

To enable different sized items to be held in the cantilever fashion a number of different upper surfaces are provided which narrow the gap close to the body 14 of the vertical stand 11.

As shown in FIG. 5 a three stepped formation 18 is provided at the juncture between the body 14 and lower surface of a shelf 13. The three stepped formation 18 is like a mezzanine roof formation with stepped upper surfaces 19, 20, 21.

The lateral length of each surface 19, 20, 21 is approximately the same and aligns with like upper surfaces 19, 20, 21 of a step formation 18 of another gap 17 above or below.

In the example shown there are three stepped upper surfaces 19, 20, 21, although there can be any desired number.

The vertical distance between upper surfaces 19 and 20, and 20 and 21 is approximately the same and is also similar to the lateral length. In this embodiment the vertical separation distance from the outermost upper surface 21 and the lower surface of the adjacent shelf 13 is larger than the vertical separation distance between adjacent upper surfaces 19 and 20, and 20 and 21. In the example given it is greater than the combined vertical height of the two vertical walls separating upper surfaces 19 and 20, and 20 and 21.

It is preferred that the lateral length of each upper surface 19, 20, 21 is sufficient to stably hold an upper edge of an item such as a CD case.

As shown in FIGS. 3, 4 and 5 each shelf is essentially a curved planar element with the stepped formation 18 located underneath it as previously described.

The curved upper surface of each shelf curves downwardly from the tip 16 and around through 180° at its inner end to form a vertical wall section 22 of the vertical structure 11.

The uppermost shelf 23 shown in FIG. 3 and FIG. 4 has a special stepped formation 24 located above it. This stepped formation 24 is not located below a shelf but instead extends into a wedge shaped protrusion 25 which acts as a male attachment portion which is adapted for receipt in a female wedge recess in a coupling fashion shown in FIG. 7. The female recess 26 is located in the bottom wall of the lowermost shelf 27. This recess 26 also has a wedge like configuration to match that of the wedge-like shape of the male portion 25. The upper end of the vertical structure 11 is also provided with a downwardly directed right angled structure 28. The upper surface of this structure is substantially horizontal and provides an abutment surface for a heel portion 29 located at the innermost end of the lower shelf 27 and acting as an inner wall of female recess 26. The heel portion 29 abuts with one side of the male portion 25 and sits on the top of the right angled structure 28. This provides greater coupling stability between two vertical structures 11.

As shown in FIG. 6 the stepped formation 18 may be replaced by one or more lateral ridges 30. The ridge 30 has a horizontal or slightly inclined lower surface 31 which is analogous to the upper surfaces 19, 20, 21. The top surface of the ledge 30 curves upwardly to the bottom of the shelf 32 located above. However the ledge could equally be replaced by an overhanging portion with a substantially vertical wall straight to the bottom of the shelf 32.

Alternatively a series of flat ledges may be provided one above another each having a different lateral length and preferably an increasing lateral length.

It is preferred that the base 12 is provided with an attachment portion which is configured like the male portion 25 and is able to couple with the female portion of any of the vertical structures 11. Alternatively a specially configured vertical structure 11 may be provided with a stronger coupling between its lowermost end and the base 12.

It should be clear from the above description that an item such as a CD case may be stored by locating one end of the CD case within the gap 17 between adjacent shelves 13. If the CD case is particularly thick then a lower part of its lower surface would be supported by the tip 16 of one of the shelves 13. Its upper inner edge would then be supported by the lower inner surface of a shelf 13 immediately above. In this way the CD case is held securely by the cantilever action provided by the bottom of the shelf 13 providing a downward force on the CD case which has a natural tendency to move upwardly at its inner end due to the weight of the overhanging outer end which extends over the fulcrum created by the tip 16 of the shelf 13.

If a smaller sized item is to be stored in the gap 17 its upper inner edge is inserted into the gap 17 so that it abuts with one of the upper surfaces 19, 20, 21 which when combined with the tip 16 allows the gap 17 to accommodate the item's vertical width.

Depending on the desired angle for supporting an item the upper surfaces may be angled differently as may the upper surface of the tip 16. The shape of the shelves 13 may also be varied and may be replaced by semi-continuous or discontinuous lateral protrusions.

In addition the curved shape may be replaced by more angular geometrical configurations.

Items may be stored in a similar fashion to that described above in the embodiment of the invention shown in FIG. 6. In this figure two items 40 and 41 are shown each having different vertical widths. Item 41 has a smaller vertical width than item 40. As shown item 41 has its top inner end resting against the upper surface 31 of ledge 30 whereas the larger item 40 has its upper inner edge supported by the bottom surface of shelf 32.

It is also noted as shown in FIG. 7 that a ledge 30 is provided just below the wedge-shaped male member 25 located at the top of the vertical structure 11.

Although the embodiments described above show a generally planar vertical structure the invention includes other shaped vertical or inclined structures and structures which are not continuously vertical when in use.

It is to be understood that, if any prior art publication is referred to herein, such reference does not constitute an admission that the publication forms a part of the common general knowledge in the art, in Australia or in any other country.

In the claims which follow and in the preceding description of the invention, except where the context requires otherwise due to express language or necessary implication, the word “comprise” or variations such as “comprises” or “comprising” is used in an inclusive sense, i.e. to specify the presence of the stated features but not to preclude the presence or addition of further features in various embodiments of the invention.