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Title:
Intercoupled piping assembly
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
An intercoupled piping assembly comprising a first elongated pipe; a second elongated pipe; a coupler for coupling the first elongated pipe to the second elongated pipe and a securing assembly comprising an elongated member that extends through an aperture in the first elongated pipe, through an aperture in the coupler and through an aperture in the second elongated pipe and a securing member for ensuring the first elongated pipe, the second elongated pipe and the coupler remain coupled together by at least in part the elongated member, whereby the first and second elongated pipes are intercoupleable via the coupler and are resisted from shifting from their orthogonal alignment due to their respective coupling to the coupler.


Inventors:
Milano, Arthur J. (Burlington, CT, US)
Grevas, James (Oakville, CT, US)
Application Number:
11/710757
Publication Date:
08/28/2008
Filing Date:
02/26/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E04H15/34
View Patent Images:
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Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Arthur G. Schaier;Carmody & Torrance LLP (50 Leavenworth Street, P.O. Box 1110, Waterbury, CT, 06721-1110, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. An intercoupled piping assembly comprising: a first elongated pipe having an aperture extending therethrough from a first side surface to an opposite side surface in a direction orthogonal to its direction of elongation; a second elongated pipe having an aperture extending therethrough from a first side surface to an opposite side surface in a direction orthogonal to its direction of elongation; a coupler for coupling the first elongated pipe to the second elongated pipe, wherein the coupler comprises: a first recess for receiving a portion of the first elongated pipe, a second recess orthogonally oriented relative to the first recess for receiving a portion of the second elongated pipe, wherein when the first elongated pipe is positioned in the first recess and the second elongated pipe is positioned in the second recess, the first elongated pipe is orthogonally positioned relative to the second elongated pipe, and an aperture that extends through a rear surface of the first recess to a rear surface of the second recess; and a securing assembly comprising: an elongated member that extends through the aperture in the first elongated pipe, through the aperture in the coupler and through the aperture in the second elongated pipe; and a securing member for ensuring the first elongated pipe, the second elongated pipe and the coupler remain coupled together by at least in part the elongated member; whereby the first and second elongated pipes are intercoupleable via the coupler and are resisted from shifting from their orthogonal alignment due to their respective coupling to the coupler.

2. The intercoupled piping assembly as claimed in claim 1, wherein the elongated member of the securing assembly extends (i) from the first side surface and out the opposite side surface of the first elongated pipe, (ii) through the aperture that extends through the rear surface of the first recess and out the rear surface of the second recess of the coupler and (iii) through the first side surface and is accessible through the aperture at the opposite side surface of the second elongated pipe; and wherein the securing member is lockable to the accessible end of the elongated member at the opposite side surface of the second elongated pipe.

3. The intercoupled piping assembly as claimed in claim 2, wherein the securing member is releasably lockable to the accessible end of the elongated member at the opposite side surface of the second elongated pipe.

4. The intercoupled piping assembly as claimed in claim 2, wherein the elongated member has a head at the end opposite to the accessible end thereof, and wherein the head remains outside of the aperture in the first elongated pipe when the securing member is locked to the accessible end of the elongated member.

5. The intercoupled piping assembly as claimed in claim 1, wherein the elongated member of the securing assembly extends (i) from the first side surface and out the opposite side surface of the first elongated pipe, (ii) through the aperture that extends through the rear surface of the first recess and out the rear surface of the second recess of the coupler and (iii) through the first side surface and out the opposite side surface of the second elongated pipe; and wherein the securing member is lockable to the end of the elongated member that extends out the opposite side surface of the second elongated pipe.

6. The intercoupled piping assembly as claimed in claim 5, wherein the securing member is releasably lockable to the end of the elongated member that extends out the opposite side surface of the second elongated pipe.

7. A tubular building structure comprising: a plurality of elongated pipes coupled together to form a coverable structure; wherein at least two of the elongated pipes form part of an intercoupled piping assembly as claimed in claim 1.

8. A method of constructing an intercoupled piping assembly, wherein the assembly comprises a first elongated pipe having an aperture extending therethrough from a first side surface to an opposite side surface in a direction orthogonal to its direction of elongation, a second elongated pipe having an aperture extending therethrough from a first side surface to an opposite side surface in a direction orthogonal to its direction of elongation, a coupler for coupling the first elongated pipe to the second elongated pipe, wherein the coupler comprises a first recess for receiving a portion of the first elongated pipe, a second recess orthogonally oriented relative to the first recess for receiving a portion of the second elongated pipe, and an aperture that extends through a rear surface of the first recess to a rear surface of the second recess; and a securing assembly comprising an elongated member and a securing member for ensuring the first elongated pipe, the second elongated pipe and the coupler remain coupled together by at least in part the elongated member, wherein the method comprises the steps of: positioning a portion of the first elongated pipe in the first recess and positioning a portion of the second elongated pipe in the second recess such that the first elongated pipe is orthogonally positioned relative to the second elongated pipe; extending the elongated member through the aperture in the first elongated pipe, through the aperture in the coupler and through the aperture in the second elongated pipe; and securing the securing member to an end of the elongated member to couple together the first elongated pipe, the second elongated pipe and the coupler; whereby the first and second elongated pipes are intercoupleable via the coupler and are resisted from shifting from their orthogonal alignment due to their respective coupling to the coupler.

9. The method of constructing an intercoupled piping assembly as claimed in claim 8, including the steps of extending the elongated member of the securing assembly (i) from the first side surface and out the opposite side surface of the first elongated pipe, (ii) through the aperture that extends through the rear surface of the first recess and out the rear surface of the second recess of the coupler and (iii) through the first side surface and is accessible through the aperture at the opposite side surface of the second elongated pipe; and securing the securing member to the accessible end of the elongated member at the opposite side surface of the second elongated pipe.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates generally to piping assemblies, and in particular, to an improved intercoupling piping assembly for use in a tubular building constructions that reduces “racking,” which may occur under certain conditions, such as but not limited to, during high wind conditions. In a particular embodiment, although not limited thereto, the present invention is highly advantageous in tubular building constructions that are fabric covered, where lightweight design and the elements, such as wind conditions, must be factored into the construction and projected durability of the final structure.

Recently, single pipe metal tubular building with fabric covering have become very desirable both here in the U.S. and abroad. However, one of the problems encountered by these structures is their tendency to “rack,” whereby the tubes to move out of their 90° orientation with each other, causing the tendency of the structure to lean. High winds are one of the most common causes of this “racking” problem.

Specifically, and as illustrated in FIG. 1, an exemplary conventional single pipe tubular building/structure generally comprises round tubular piping held together with nuts and bolts, with many of the piping pairs (e.g. crossing pipes) being at a 90° angle relative to each other. However, due to among other things, the lack of surface area between the two pieces of pipe, the piping (or more particularly, the relative angles of the piping with respect to each other) can easily be twisted out of place.

As alluded to above, this problem occurs most frequently due to wind conditions that act upon the constructed structure. Surely other conditions may also play apart in causing this “racking” problem, such as the sheer weight of the structure, but the problems that cause this “racking” are not material to the present invention. What is material to the present invention is a construction, arrangement and method to reduce and/or eliminate the “racking.”

Thus, it is believed that further advances in the art are desirable. For example, it would be desirable and advantageous to design a device and provide an arrangement (and method of construction) that reduces and/or eliminates the aforementioned “racking.” In addition, it would be desirable and advantageous to provide a tubular structure that provides for an increased snow load. And, it is believed that the present invention overcomes the aforementioned deficiencies and achieves the aforementioned and below mentioned objectives.

SUMMARY AND OBJECTIVES OF THE PRESENT INVENTION

It is thus an objective of the present invention to overcome the perceived deficiencies in the prior art.

For example, it is an objective of the present invention to provide an improved intercoupled piping assembly that reduces and/or eliminates “racking.”

In one particular objective, it is desirable to provide an intercoupled piping assembly that reduces and/or eliminates “racking” during wind conditions. It is another objective to provide such an intercoupled piping assembly for use in a tubular building structure that is fabric covered, although this is by example and not limitation as those skilled in the art would appreciate that the present invention is not limited thereto.

It is yet another objective of the present invention to provide a tubular structure that provides for an increased snow load.

It is yet another objective to provide a method of constructing a tubular structure that utilizes the intercoupling piping assembly disclosed herein.

It is yet another objective of the present invention to provide an improved intercoupled piping assembly that allows for relatively quick assembly and disassembly, while at the same time, achieving the other objectives set forth herein.

Yet another objective of the present invention is to provide an improved intercoupled piping assembly that is both easy to utilize and manufacture and also that achieves all of the advantages and objectives set forth herein.

Further objects and advantages of this invention will become more apparent from a consideration of the drawings and ensuing description.

The invention accordingly comprises the features of construction, combination of elements, arrangement of parts and sequence of steps which will be exemplified in the construction, illustration and description hereinafter set forth, and the scope of the invention will be indicated in the claims.

To overcome the perceived deficiencies in the prior art and to achieve the objects and advantages set forth above and below, the present invention is, generally speaking, directed to an intercoupled piping assembly. In a preferred embodiment, the assembly preferably comprises a first elongated pipe having an aperture extending therethrough from a first side surface to an opposite side surface in a direction orthogonal to its direction of elongation; a second elongated pipe having an aperture extending therethrough from a first side surface to an opposite side surface in a direction orthogonal to its direction of elongation; a coupler for coupling the first elongated pipe to the second elongated pipe, wherein the coupler comprises a first recess for receiving a portion of the first elongated pipe, a second recess orthogonally oriented relative to the first recess for receiving a portion of the second elongated pipe, wherein when the first elongated pipe is positioned in the first recess and the second elongated pipe is positioned in the second recess, the first elongated pipe is orthogonally positioned relative to the second elongated pipe, and an aperture that extends through a rear surface of the first recess to a rear surface of the second recess; and a securing assembly comprising an elongated member that extends through the aperture in the first elongated pipe, through the aperture in the coupler and through the aperture in the second elongated pipe; and a securing member for ensuring the first elongated pipe, the second elongated pipe and the coupler remain coupled together by at least in part the elongated member; whereby the first and second elongated pipes are intercoupleable via the coupler and are resisted from shifting from their orthogonal alignment due to their respective coupling to the coupler.

Also provided herein is a preferred tubular building structure comprising a plurality of elongated pipes coupled together to form a coverable structure; wherein at least two of the elongated pipes form part of an intercoupled piping assembly as set forth above.

Still further, a preferred method of constructing an intercoupled piping assembly is provided. In such a preferred embodiment, the method comprises the steps of positioning a portion of the first elongated pipe in the first recess and positioning a portion of the

second elongated pipe in the second recess such that the first elongated pipe is orthogonally positioned relative to the second elongated pipe; extending the elongated member through the aperture in the first elongated pipe, through the aperture in the coupler and through the aperture in the second elongated pipe; and securing the securing member to an end of the elongated member to couple together the first elongated pipe, the second elongated pipe and the coupler; whereby the first and second elongated pipes are intercoupleable via the coupler and are resisted from shifting from their orthogonal alignment due to their respective coupling to the coupler.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The above set forth and other features of the invention are made more apparent in the ensuing Description of the Preferred Embodiments when read in conjunction with the attached Drawings, wherein:

FIG. 1 is an simplified cross-sectional view of an intercoupled piping assembly constructed in accordance with the prior art;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of an intercoupled piping assembly constructed in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional view of the intercoupled piping assembly of FIG. 2;

FIGS. 4 and 5 are perspective views of a coupler, constructed in accordance with the present invention, for use in the intercoupled piping assembly of the present invention; and

FIG. 6 is an exemplary tubular structure that utilizes one or more of the intercoupled piping assemblies constructed in accordance with the present invention;

Identical reference numerals in the figures are intended to indicate like parts, although not every feature in every figure may be called out with a reference numeral.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Reference is made to FIG. 1, which shows an intercoupled piping assembly constructed in accordance with the prior art. As illustrated therein, a typical single pipe tubular building/structure constructed in accordance with the prior art generally comprises a first (e.g. horizontally oriented) pipe 110 in contact with a second (e.g. vertically oriented) pipe 120, both of which are held together with, for example, a bolt 130 and nut 140. An aligned aperture extends through the pipes 110, 120. In their initial constructed alignment, each pipe is optimally at a 90° angle relative to each other. However, as indicated above, due to, as but one reason, the lack of surface area between the contacting surfaces of the respective pipe sections, pipes 110, 120 tend to twist of their optimal 90° alignment, resulting in a reduction in the integrity and strength (along with the shape itself) of the structure. The present invention thus reduces and/or eliminates this deficiency.

Reference is thus made first and generally to FIGS. 2 and 3, which are respective perspective and cross-sectional views of an intercoupled piping assembly, generally indicated at 10, constructed in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention.

In accordance with a first preferred embodiment of the invention, intercoupled piping assembly (“assembly”) 10 comprises a first elongated pipe 20 having an aperture 22 extending therethrough from a first side surface 24 to an opposite side surface 26 in a direction (“v”) orthogonal to its direction of elongation (“w”) and a second elongated pipe 30 having an aperture 32 extending therethrough from a first side surface 34 to an opposite side surface 36 in a direction (“x”) orthogonal to its direction of elongation (“y”). By “direction orthogonal to its direction of elongation, it is intended only to explain descriptively that the aperture through the diameter of the pipes and not along the entire elongated length of the pipes.

Continuing, assembly 10 also comprises a coupler, generally indicated at 50 and more specifically illustrated in FIGS. 4 and 5, for coupling first elongated pipe 20 to second elongated pipe 30. In a preferred embodiment, coupler 50 comprises a first recess 52 for receiving a portion (p1) of first elongated pipe 20, a second recess 54 orthogonally oriented relative to first recess 52 for receiving a portion (p2) of second elongated pipe 30, wherein when first elongated pipe 20 is positioned in first recess 52 and second elongated pipe 30 is positioned in second recess 54, first elongated pipe 20 is orthogonally positioned relative to second elongated pipe 30 as shown in FIGS. 2 and 3. Coupler 50 also comprises an aperture 56 that extends through a rear surface 53 of first recess 52 to a rear surface 55 of second recess 54.

Lastly, intercoupled piping assembly 10 comprises a securing assembly, generally indicated at 70. In a preferred embodiment, securing assembly 70 comprises an elongated member 75 that extends through aperture 22 in first elongated pipe 20, through aperture 56 in coupler 50 and through aperture 32 in second elongated pipe 30, and a securing member 80 for ensuring first elongated pipe 20, second elongated pipe 30 and coupler 50 remain coupled together by at least in part elongated member 75. By “at least in part” it is understood that other securing or adhering means, such as adhesive or the like, may additionally be used in conjunction with elongated member 75. In this way, first and second elongated pipes 20, 30 are intercoupleable via coupler 50 and are resisted from shifting from their orthogonal alignment due to their respective coupling to coupler 50.

In a specific embodiment, elongated member 75 is a bolt with a head 76 and securing member 75 is a nut that may be threadably coupled to the accessible end 77 of elongated member 75 at side 36 of second elongated pipe 30. Securing assembly may also include washers as would be appreciated by those skilled in the art.

To ensure clarity of the preferred construction of assembly 10, it should be clear that in a preferred embodiment, elongated member 75 extends (i) from first side surface 24 and out the opposite side surface 26 of first elongated pipe 20, (ii) through aperture 56 that extends through rear surface 53 of first recess 52 and out rear surface 55 of second recess 54 of coupler 50 and (iii) through the first side surface 34 and is accessible through the aperture 32 at the opposite side surface 36 of the second elongated pipe 30, wherein securing member (e.g. nut) 80 is lockable to accessible end 77 of the elongated member 75 at the opposite side surface 36 of the second elongated pipe 30. In a preferred embodiment of the invention, securing member 80 is releasably lockable to the accessible end 77. In this way, assembly 10 and thus the entire tubular structure can be disassembled if desired or necessary.

As a minor point, it should be recognized that elongated member 75 may have a head at one end (e.g. head 76), as in a more conventional bolt, or may if desired or necessary, have for example two (2) threaded ends for some sort of securing member (e.g. another nut, etc.). In this way, with elongated member 75 having a head at the end opposite to the accessible end thereof, the head would preferably remain outside of the aperture in the first elongated pipe when the securing member is locked to the accessible end of the elongated member. In yet another alternative also covered hereby, accessible end 77 may in fact and preferably extend out the opposite side surface 36 of second elongated pipe 30. A sufficiently long elongated member 75 would facilitate the securing of (e.g.) a nut to end 77. Again, while the securing member is deemed to be lockable to end 77 of elongated member 75, it can be releasably lockable thereto to permit disassembly of assembly 10.

Reference is now made to FIGS. 4 and 5 to illustrate coupler 50 in greater detail. As can be seen, first recess 52 and second recess 54 are orthogonally aligned and positioned “back to back” to each other. FIGS. 4 and 5 also clearly illustrate the aforementioned rear surfaces 53, 55 against which the respective pipe sections p1 and p2 are positioned when assembly 10 is constructed.

Reference is now made to FIG. 6, which shows an exemplary tubular structure, generally indicated at 200, which utilizes one or more of the intercoupled piping assemblies 10. Structure 200 is preferably comprised of tubular piping, similar in type to pipes 20 and 30. The general construction and design of structure 200 is known in the art. Improving among other things, the strength and integrity of structure 200, are one or more intercoupled piping assemblies 10. Fabric is then preferably used to cover structure 200. The manner in which the fabric is used and provided on structure 200 is known to those skilled in the art.

As would be known in the art and to the extent not dictated by function but rather by design constraints, combinations of metal and plastic pieces may be used for the components disclosed herein. Preferably, coupler 50 is made from plastic or die cast material. Also, while the dimensions of coupler may ultimately be dictated by design characteristics of the structure 200, preferably the radius (r) of each recess 52, 54 is ½ the distance of the diameter of the pipe 20, 30.

It can thus be seen that the present invention is advantageous and overcomes the perceived deficiencies in the prior art. For example, the present invention provides an improved intercoupled piping assembly that reduces and/or eliminates “racking,” for example, and not limitation, due to higher than desirable wind for use in a tubular building structure that is fabric covered. Additionally, the present invention provides a tubular structure that provides for an increased snow load. Moreover, in view of the preferred components and construction, it can be seen that the present invention allows for relatively quick assembly and disassembly, while at the same time, achieving the other objectives set forth herein.

To this end, it can be seen that a method of constructing an intercoupled piping assembly is provided. In a preferred embodiment, the method comprises the steps of positioning a portion of the first elongated pipe in the first recess and positioning a portion of the second elongated pipe in the second recess such that the first elongated pipe is orthogonally positioned relative to the second elongated pipe; extending the elongated member through the aperture in the first elongated pipe, through the aperture in the coupler and through the aperture in the second elongated pipe; and securing the securing member to an end of the elongated member to couple together the first elongated pipe, the second elongated pipe and the coupler; whereby the first and second elongated pipes are intercoupleable via the coupler and are resisted from shifting from their orthogonal alignment due to their respective coupling to the coupler.

It will thus be seen that the objects set forth above, among those made apparent from the preceding description, are efficiently attained and, since certain changes may be made in the above constructions without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention, it is intended that all matter contained in the above description or shown in the accompanying drawings shall be interpreted as illustrative and not in a limiting sense.

It should also be understood that the following claims are intended to cover all of the generic and specific features of the invention described herein and all statements of the scope of the invention that as a matter of language might fall there between.