Title:
Fixture support member assembly
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A fixture support member assembly comprises a downrod configured to support a fixture from an elevated structure, the downrod having a sidewall molded onto an exterior surface thereof.



Inventors:
Brookins, Walter Phelps (Dallas, TX, US)
Application Number:
11/472154
Publication Date:
12/27/2007
Filing Date:
06/21/2006
Assignee:
Craftmade International, Inc. (Coppell, TX, US)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
F04D29/00
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
NGUYEN, NINH H
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MUNSCH, HARDT, KOPF & HARR, P.C.;INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY DOCKET CLERK (3800 LINCOLN PLAZA, 500N AKARD STREET, DALLAS, TX, 75201, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A fixture support member assembly, comprising: a downrod configured to support a fixture from an elevated structure, the downrod having a sidewall molded onto an exterior surface thereof.

2. The support member assembly of claim 1, wherein the sidewall extends at least partially between first and second ends of the downrod.

3. The support member assembly of claim 1, wherein the sidewall extends circumferentially about the downrod.

4. The support member assembly of claim 1, wherein the downrod comprises a cylindrical downrod.

5. The support member assembly of claim 1, wherein the sidewall comprises a mixture of stone powder and a resin.

6. The support member assembly of claim 5, wherein the resin is a polyresin.

7. The support member assembly of claim 1, wherein the downrod is configured having a cylindrical cross section.

8. A method of manufacturing a fixture support member assembly, comprising: disposing a downrod within a mold; and pouring a resin mixture within the mold to form a sidewall on the downrod.

9. The method of claim 8, further comprising disposing the downrod in a silicone mold.

10. The method of claim 8, further comprising applying a hardening agent to the resin mixture.

11. The method of claim 8, further comprising disposing a cylindrical downrod in the mold.

12. The method of claim 8, further comprising forming the sidewall to extend circumferentially about the downrod.

13. The method of claim 8, wherein pouring a mixture within the mold comprises pouring a mixture of stone powder and a polyresin within the mold.

14. A fixture support member assembly, comprising: a downrod coupleable at one end to an elevated structure, the downrod having a sidewall molded to an exterior surface thereof; and a ceiling fan coupleable to a second end of the downrod.

15. The fixture support member assembly of claim 14, wherein the sidewall extends at least partially between the first and second ends of the downrod.

16. The fixture support member assembly of claim 14, wherein the sidewall extends circumferentially about the downrod.

17. The fixture support member assembly of claim 14, wherein the sidewall comprises a resin and stone powder mixture.

18. The fixture support member assembly of claim 17, wherein the resin comprises a polyresin.

19. The fixture support member assembly of claim 14, wherein the downrod comprises a cylindrical downrod.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Downrods are used to support and/or suspend fixtures such as ceiling fans, pendants, chandeliers, or other items from a ceiling or other structure. Such downrods are typically fabricated to engage the fixture on one end and a ceiling/ceiling fixture on the other end. Such downrods are generally a metallic pipe and do not readily enhance the ornamentation or decoration of the attached fixture.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

For a more complete understanding of the present invention, and the objects and advantages thereof, reference is now made to the following descriptions taken in connection with the accompanying drawings in which:

FIG. 1 is a diagram illustrating a perspective view of an embodiment of a fixture support member assembly in accordance with the present invention; and

FIG. 2 is a diagram illustrating a section view of the fixture support member assembly of FIG. 1 taken along the line 2-2 of FIG. 1.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The preferred embodiments of the present invention and the advantages thereof are best understood by referring to FIGS. 1-2 of the drawings, like numerals being used for like and corresponding parts of the various drawings.

FIG. 1 is a diagram illustrating a perspective view of an embodiment of a fixture support member assembly 8 in accordance with the present invention. In the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 1, fixture support member assembly 8 comprises a fixture support member 9 having a first end 14 coupleable to a fixture 16 and a second end 18 coupleable to an elevated structure 17 such as a ceiling fixture 19 or other support structure (e.g., coupleable directly to a ceiling or other elevated structure). In the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 1, fixture 16 comprises a ceiling fan 20; however, it should be understood that fixture support member 9 may be used to support other types of fixtures, such as, but not limited to, a chandelier, pendant or any other type of device mountable from a ceiling or other elevated structure. In the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 1, fixture support member 9 comprises a generally cylindrical cross section and an exterior molded sidewall 12; however, it should be understood that fixture support member 9 may be otherwise configured (e.g., square cross section, oval cross section, rectangular cross section, etc.). Preferably molded sidewall 12 comprises an enhancing exterior surface 34 that enhances the overall appearance of fixture support member 9. In the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 1, enhancing exterior surface 34 comprises a “twisting” or “spiraling” appearance; however, it should be understood that enhancing surface 34 may be otherwise configured to enhance the overall appearance of fixture support member 9.

FIG. 2 is a diagram illustrating a section view of fixture support member 9 of FIG. 1 taken along the line 2-2 of FIG. 1. In the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 2, fixture support member 9 comprises a downrod 10 having molded sidewall 12 molded and/or otherwise permanently attached to an exterior surface 22 thereof to cover at least a portion of exterior surface 22. In some embodiments of the present invention, downrod 10 is fabricated from a metallic material; however, it should be understood that downrod 10 may be fabricated from other materials such as plastic, for example.

In the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 2, downrod 10 comprises a hollow interior 26 to serve as an electrical conduit for the passage of electrical connections to fixture 16 (FIG. 1); however, it should be understood that hollow interior 26 may be omitted from downrod 10 (e.g., a solid downrod 10) when supporting fixtures 16 that do not require electricity or in which it is not necessary to pass electrical or other types of connections through interior 26 to fixture 16. In the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 2, downrod 10 comprises a pair of threaded ends 28 and 30 disposed on first end 14 and second end 18, respectively, for attachment of fixture support member 9 to fixture 16 and ceiling fixture 19 and/or any other elevated support structure. Additionally and/or alternatively, fixture support member 9 may be attached to fixture 16 and/or ceiling fixture 19 via a pin or bolt insertable within or through openings 24 formed and/or otherwise disposed in downrod 10. Sidewall 12 preferably circumferentially about downrod 10 on surface 22 and extends longitudinally at least partially between threaded ends 28 and 30 to overlay and to cover a desired portion of exterior surface 22 of downrod 10; however, it should be understood that sidewall 12 may be configured to extend and overlay the entire surface of downrod 10 such that threaded ends 28 and 30 would be formed in sidewall 12 or otherwise omitted from downrod 10 in their entirety.

In some embodiments of the present invention, fixture support member 9 is fabricated by placing downrod 10 within a mold configured to produce a desired ornamentation of sidewall 12 and enhancing surface 34 (e.g., the “twisting” or “spiraling” appearance illustrated in FIG. 1). In some embodiments of the present invention, the mold is a two-piece silicone mold sized to receive downrod 10. With downrod 10 placed in the mold, the mold is filled with a resin mixture which conforms and bonds directly to surface 22 of downrod 10 to form sidewall 12 and enhancing surface 34. Downrod 10 preferably remains within the mold as the resin mixture hardens/cures and bonds to downrod 10. After the mixture has cured, downrod 10 is removed from the mold for drying and cooling. After sidewall 12 dries and cools, downrod 10 is further processed, such as, for example, by grinding parting lines, removing burrs, cleaning and/or removing residue from enhanced surface 34 by immersing downrod 10 in an alkalain water solution, threading first and/or second ends 14 and 18, patching air holes on enhanced surface 34, and sanding, polishing and painting enhanced surface 34 to obtain the finished fixture support member 9. In the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 1, the resin mixture used to form molded sidewall 12 preferably comprises a stone powder and resin mixture that bonds directly to surface 22 of downrod 10. In some embodiments of the present invention, the resin mixture comprises a polyresin; however, it should be understood that the resin mixture may comprise other types of materials or compounds. In some embodiments of the present invention, a hardening agent may be applied to and/or included in the mixture to strengthen/harden sidewall 12.

Thus, embodiments of the present invention enable a downrod 10 to be fabricated having a decorative molded exterior surface 34.