Title:
SHIM HAVING A PLURALITY OF SNAP LINES
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A shim is described that includes a plurality of snap lines extending along a length and/or width of the shim.



Inventors:
Scherer, Charles (Cohasset, MN, US)
Application Number:
12/414938
Publication Date:
02/04/2010
Filing Date:
03/31/2009
Assignee:
AIRMARK, INC. (Long Lake, MN, US)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
52/741.1
International Classes:
E04C2/00; E04B1/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
FIGUEROA, LUZ ADRIANA
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
DICKE, BILLIG & CZAJA (FIFTH STREET TOWERS, 100 SOUTH FIFTH STREET, SUITE 2250, MINNEAPOLIS, MN, 55402, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A shim, comprising: an elongated body having a first major surface, a second major surface opposite from the first major surface, a width, a length and a thickness; and a plurality of snap lines positioned on the first major surface and extending along the length of the elongated body so as to allow manual adjustment of the width of the elongated body at one of said plurality of snap lines.

2. The shim of claim 1 and further comprising a second plurality of snap lines positioned on the second major surface and extending along the width of the elongated body.

3. The shim of claim 2, wherein each of the first-mentioned plurality of snap lines and the second plurality of snap lines include a plurality of holes.

4. The shim of claim 3, wherein the first-mentioned plurality of snap lines and the second plurality of snap lines both include lateral snap lines, extending along a width of the shim, and longitudinal snap lines, extending along a length of the shim.

5. The shim of claim 4, wherein the lateral snap lines are spaced apart a distance approximately in a range of approximately 0.0625 inch to 0.5 inch.

6. The shim of claim 5, wherein the lateral snap lines extend along a portion of the width of the shim, the portion being approximately 60-90% of the width of the shim.

7. The shim of claim 4, wherein the longitudinal snap lines are spaced apart a distance in a range of approximately 0.0625 inch to 0.5 inch.

8. The shim of claim 7, wherein the longitudinal snap lines are extend along a portion of the length of the shim, the portion being approximately 60-90% of the length of the shim.

9. The shim of claim 4, wherein the lateral snap lines include more than twenty lateral snap lines and wherein the longitudinal snap lines include more than five longitudinal snap lines.

10. The shim of claim 4, wherein the lateral snap lines are substantially perpendicular to the longitudinal snap lines.

11. A method of installing a shim, comprising: positioning the shim between two objects, the shim including a plurality of lateral snap lines extending along a width of the shim and a plurality of longitudinal snap lines extending along a length of the shim; and manually adjusting at least one of the length of the shim and the width of the shim along one of the plurality of lateral snap lines and the plurality of longitudinal snap lines.

12. The method of claim 11, wherein a number of lateral snap lines in the plurality of lateral snap lines is greater than twenty.

13. The method of claim 11, wherein a number of longitudinal snap lines in the plurality of longitudinal snap lines is greater than five.

14. The method of claim 11, wherein the plurality of lateral snap lines are substantially perpendicular to the plurality of longitudinal snap lines.

15. A method of forming a shim, comprising: providing a shim blank having a length and a width; forming a plurality of lateral snap lines extending along the width of the shim blank; and forming a plurality of longitudinal snap lines extending along the length of the shim blank.

16. The method of claim 15 wherein forming comprises one of rolling, pressing and cutting.

17. The method of claim 15 and further comprising: cutting the shim blank along a cut line two form two shims.

18. The method of claim 15, wherein a number of lateral snap lines in the plurality of lateral snap lines is greater than twenty.

19. The method of claim 15, wherein a number of longitudinal snap lines in the plurality of longitudinal snap lines is greater than five.

20. The method of claim 15, wherein the plurality of lateral snap lines are substantially perpendicular to the plurality of longitudinal snap lines.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This patent application claims priority under 35 U.S.C. §119(e) to U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 61/085,571 entitled “SHIM HAVING A PLURALITY OF SNAP LINES,” having a filing date of Aug. 1, 2008, and which is incorporated herein by reference.

BACKGROUND

Shims are thin pieces of material used in different construction related activities to fill small gaps or spaces between objects (e.g., between a door jam and a door opening, between a window frame and a window opening). For example, shims can be used for support and/or adjustment of the objects. During use, a shim is positioned between the objects and, depending on the length needed for a particular shim, the shim may need to be cut to a desired length. Current shims require a person to score the shims with a utility knife or other suitable tool at a desired location. After scoring the shim, the person can break (or “snap”) the shim at the desired location such that the shim is of desired length.

SUMMARY

Concepts presented herein related to a shim that includes a plurality of snap lines extending along a length and/or width of the shim. These snap lines provide a predetermined location for which to adjust a length and/or width of the shim after the shim has been installed.

In one aspect of the concepts presented herein, the shim includes an elongated body having a first major surface, a second major surface opposite from the first major surface, a width, a length, and a thickness. A plurality of snap lines are positioned on at least the first major surface and extend along the length of the elongated body so as to allow manual adjustment of the width of the elongated body at one of said plurality of snap lines. In another embodiment, the plurality of snap lines are also provided on the second major surface.

In another aspect, a method of installing a shim is provided. The method includes providing a shim having a body defining first and second ends and first and second sides positioned between the first and second ends. The method further includes providing a first plurality of snap lines on the body extending in a first direction and providing a second plurality of snap lines extending in a second direction that is substantially perpendicular to the first direction.

In yet a further aspect, a method of forming a shim is provided. The method includes providing a shim blank having a length and a width. In addition, a plurality of snap lines are formed on the snap blank that extend parallel to the length and the width of the shim blank.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The accompanying drawings are included to provide a further understanding of the concepts presented herein and are incorporated in and constitute a part of this specification. The drawings illustrate embodiments of the concepts and together with the description serve to explain principles of the concepts. Other embodiments and many of the intended advantages of embodiments will be readily appreciated as they become better understood by reference to the following detailed description. The elements of the drawings are not necessarily to scale relative to each other. Like reference numerals designate corresponding similar parts.

FIG. 1 is an isometric view of a shim.

FIG. 2 is a side view of the shim of FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is a top view of the shim of FIG. 1.

FIG. 4 is a sectional view of the shim of FIG. 1 taken along the line 4-4.

FIG. 5 is a side view of a shim blank.

FIG. 6 is a schematic view of a roller assembly for forming a plurality of snap lines.

FIG. 7 is a schematic view of a press assembly for forming a plurality of snap lines.

FIG. 8 is a schematic view of a hinge press assembly for forming a plurality of snap lines.

FIG. 9 is a schematic view of a lateral cutting assembly for forming a plurality of snap lines.

FIG. 10 is a schematic view of an edge cutting assembly for forming a plurality of snap lines.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

In the following Detailed Description, reference is made to the accompanying drawings, which form a part hereof, and in which is shown by way of illustration specific embodiments in which the invention may be practiced. In this regard, directional terminology, such as “top,” “bottom,” “front,” “back,” “leading,” “trailing,” etc., is used with reference to the orientation of the Figure(s) being described. Because components of embodiments can be positioned in a number of different orientations, the directional terminology is used for purposes of illustration and is in no way limiting. It is to be understood that other embodiments may be utilized and structural or logical changes may be made without departing from the scope of the present invention. The following detailed description, therefore, is not to be taken in a limiting sense, and the scope of the present invention is defined by the appended claims.

FIGS. 1-4 illustrate different views of a shim 10. Shim 10 can be formed of various configurations (e.g., tapered, flat) and from various materials (e.g., wood, composite). In the embodiment illustrated, shim 10 includes a plurality of snap lines 11a and 11b to facilitate manual adjustment of a length and/or width of the shim. In particular, the snap lines 11a, 11b form a weakened portion of the shim for which a person can easily snap or break the shim along a desired snap line (e.g., along a length and/or width of the shim).

Shim 10 is formed of an elongated body having an upper surface 12, an opposed lower surface 14, a first end 16, a second end 18, a first side 20 and a second side 22. At first end 16 of shim 10, a thickness of the shim 10 (as measured between surfaces 12 and 14) is less than a thickness at second end 18 of the shim 10. The thickness of shim 10 gradually increases from first end 16 to second end 18 to form a wedge shape. In one embodiment, first end 16 is inserted between objects until surfaces 12 and 14 are positioned between the objects to provide a desired level of adjustment and/or support. Once positioned, the shim 10 can be manually snapped (i.e., broken) along a particular snap line at a desired length.

It is worth noting that shim 10 can include varying degrees of tapering from first end 16 to second end 18. For example, in one embodiment, a thickness of shim 10 is substantially consistent from first end 16 to second end 18 of shim 10. In another embodiment, thickness at first end 16 and/or second and 18 is adjusted to provide a greater degree of tapering or a lesser degree of tapering, as desired.

With particular reference to major surface 12, the plurality of snap lines 11a include lateral snap lines 24, extending along an entire width of shim 10, as measured between sides 20 and 22, in a direction normal to a length of shim 10, as measured from first end 16 to second end 18. The plurality of snap lines 11a also include longitudinal snap lines 26, extending substantially along the entire length of shim 10, from first end 16 to second end 18, in a direction normal to the width of shim 10, as measured from first side 20 to second side 22. In the embodiment illustrated, the lateral snap lines 24 are substantially perpendicular to the longitudinal snap lines 26.

By way of example, lateral snap line 44 and lateral snap line 46 are adjacent one another and separated by a spacing 48. Spacing 48 can be any distance, as desired. In one embodiment, spacing 48 is in a range of 0.0625 inch to 0.5 inch. In another embodiment, spacing 48 is approximately 0.1875 inch. Snap lines 44 and 46 include a plurality of holes positioned from side 20 to side 22. These holes can be spaced apart as desired in order to facilitate snapping of shim 10 along snap line 44 or 46 so as to adjust the length of shim 10.

By way of further example, longitudinal snap line 50 and longitudinal snap line 52 are adjacent one another and separated by a spacing 54. Spacing 54 can be any distance, as desired. In one embodiment, spacing 54 is in a range of 0.0625 inch to 0.5 inch. In a further embodiment, spacing 54 is approximately 0.1875 inch. Snap lines 50, 52 include a plurality of holes spaced apart from end 16 to end 18. The holes form a weakened portion of shim 10 so as to facilitate snapping of shim 10 along snap line 50 or 52 to adjust a width of shim 10.

In the embodiment illustrated, the plurality of holes forming the snap lines 11a, 11b are shown as being rectangular in shape. Other shapes for the plurality of holes can also be used. For example, the shapes can include, without limitation, squares, circles, ovals, star-shapes, irregular shapes, oblong shapes, etc.

Various configurations of the plurality of snap lines 11a, 11b can be used. For example, a length of the plurality of lateral snap lines 24 (i.e., from side 20 to side 22) can extend along substantially the entire width and/or portions thereof such as less than or equal to 60%, 70%, 80%, 90% of the width of shim 10 or more. Furthermore, a number of the plurality of lateral snap lines 24 can be adjusted to be approximately in a range of 5 snap lines to more than 40 snap lines, the number of snap lines extending along the entire length of shim 10 and/or portions thereof such as less than or equal to 60%, 70%, 80%, 90% of the length of shim 10 or more.

Additionally, a length of the plurality of longitudinal snap lines 26 can extend along an entire length and/or portions thereof such as less than or equal to 60%, 70%, 80%, 90% of the length of shim 10 or more. Moreover, a number of the plurality of longitudinal snap lines 26 can be adjusted to be approximately in a range of 2 snap lines to more than 10 snap lines, the number extending along the entire width of shim 10 and/or portions thereof such as less than or equal to 60%, 70%, 80%, 90% of the width of shim 10 or more. To this end, the plurality of snap lines 11a, 11b can be selectively applied to only a middle portion of shim 10, if desired.

The plurality of snap lines 11a, 11b can be formed from a variety of different methods as desired and discussed below. For example, the plurality of snap lines 11a, 11b may be perforated, drilled, pressed and/or otherwise applied to shim 10 to provide a predetermined pattern on shim 10. In the embodiment illustrated in FIGS. 1-4, the plurality of snap lines 11a, 11b include holes arranged in a plurality of columns (extending from end 16 to end 18) and rows (extending from side 20 to side 22).

With particular reference to FIG. 4, a cross-section of shim 10 is illustrated having a lateral snap line 60 applied to surface 12 and a lateral snap line 62 applied to surface 14. Snap line 60 includes a plurality of holes 64 extending between sides 20 and 22. Likewise, snap line 62 includes a plurality of holes 66 extending between sides 20 and 22. Both the plurality of holes 64 and the plurality of holes 66 extend through only a portion of shim 10 to form a weakened portion of shim 10 that can be manually snapped off during installation of shim 10. In a further embodiment, the plurality of holes 64 and the plurality of holes 66 extend through the entire thickness of shim 10. In any event, it will be appreciated that the major surface 14 that is opposite major surface 12 includes the plurality of snap lines 11b arranged in the same or similar pattern to the plurality of snap lines 11a positioned on surface 12.

During use, shim 10 can be positioned between two objects. Once shim 10 is positioned as desired, a person can apply force (with the person's hand or other suitable tool) to the shim 10 to snap or break off in a position identified by one of the plurality of snap lines 11a, 11b. In this manner, a knife or other cutting mechanism is not required to adjust a length and/or width of shim 10. Adjustment of the length and/or width can be made by a person applying force so as to break the shim 10 along a snap line (e.g. one of snap lines 42, 44, 50, 52, 60, 62) extending along the width or length of shim 10, without the need for a knife or other cutting mechanism. As a result, adjustment of the length and/or width of shim 10 can be performed in a more time efficient manner.

For example, to adjust the length of shim 10, one end (e.g., first and 16) is positioned between two objects. Once positioned as desired, force is applied to shim 10 (e.g., at second end 18) to snap shim 10 along one of the lateral snap lines 24 (e.g., snap line 44 or 46). To adjust the width of shim 10, one side (e.g., side 20) is positioned between two objects. Once positioned as desired, force is applied to shim 10 (e.g., at second side 22) to snap shim 10 along one of the longitudinal snap lines 26 (e.g., snap line 50 or 52).

In one embodiment, shim 10 is formed of a shim blank, one example of which is illustrated in FIG. 5. Shim blank 80 includes an upper surface 82, an opposed lower surface 84, first end 86 and second end 88. A cut line 90 represents where shim blank 80 is cut to form multiple shims (i.e., an upper shim formed above cut line 90 and a lower shim formed below cut line 90). An angle of cut line 90, with respect to surfaces 82, 84 is selected to form a desired taper for the shims formed from shim blank 80. In one embodiment, cut line 90 can be parallel to surfaces 82, 84 so as to form shims of substantially constant thickness. A plurality of snap lines can be formed on blank 80 as discussed below, either prior to cutting blank 80 along cut line 90, or after blank 80 has been cut into upper and lower shims.

FIG. 6 is a schematic view of a roller assembly 100 configured to apply a plurality of snap lines to shim blank 80. Roller assembly 100 includes a first roller 102 and a second roller 104. Roller 102 includes a plurality of projections 106 and roller 104 includes a plurality of projections 108. To apply snap lines to shim blank 80, shim blank 80 is positioned between rollers 102 and 104. Projections 106 and 108 project into shim blank 80 in order to form the plurality of snap lines. To this end, the projections 106 and 108 extend laterally (i.e., into and out of the page) so as to form lateral snap lines, whereas movement of the rollers 102, 104 form longitudinal snap lines along a length of the blank 80. Roller assembly 100 can also be used to form a plurality of snap lines on shims individually, for example after shim blank 80 has been cut along cut line 90.

FIG. 7 is a schematic view of a press assembly 120 configured to apply a plurality of snap lines to shim blank 80. Press assembly 120 includes a first press plate 122 and a second press plate 124. Press plate 122 includes a plurality of projections 126 and press plate 124 includes a plurality of projections 128. To apply snap lines to shim blank 80, shim blank 80 is positioned between press plate 122 and 124. Press plates 122 and 124 are then brought together such that projections 126 and 128 project into shim blank 80 to form the plurality of snap lines. To this end, the projections 126 and 128 extend laterally (i.e., into and out of the page) so as to form lateral snap lines in addition to extending longitudinally to form longitudinal snap lines along a length of the blank 80. Press assembly 120 can also be used to form a plurality of snap lines on shims individually, for example, after shim blank 80 has been cut along cut line 90.

FIG. 8 is a schematic view of a hinge press assembly 140 configured to apply a plurality of snap lines to shim blank 80. Hinge press assembly 140 includes a first press plate 142 and a second press plate 144 coupled together about a hinge 146. Press plate 142 includes a plurality of projections 148 and press plate 144 includes a plurality of projections 150. To apply snap lines to shim blank 80, shim blank 80 is positioned between press plates 142 and 144. Press plate 142 pivots about hinge 146 and is brought into contact with shim blank 80 such that protections 148 and 150 form the plurality of snap lines in shim blank 80. To this end, the projections 148 and 150 extend laterally (i.e., into and out of the page) so as to form lateral snap lines in addition to longitudinal snap lines. Hinge press assembly 140 can also be used to form a plurality of snap lines on shims individually, for example, after shim blank 80 has been cut along cut line 90.

FIG. 9 is a schematic view of a cutting assembly 160 configured to apply a plurality of snap lines to shim blank 80. Cutting assembly 160 includes a cutting unit 162 housing a plurality of cutting implements 164. Cutting implements 164 can be various mechanisms to form the plurality of snap lines in shim blank 80. For example, cutting implements 164 can be drill bits or lasers. Cutting implements 164 further extend laterally (i.e., into and out of the page) in order to form a plurality of lateral snap lines on shim blank 80. If desired, a further cutting unit can be used to apply a plurality of snap lines to shim blank 80 on surface 84 simultaneously while providing the plurality of snap lines on surface 82.

In addition to cutting assembly 160, an edge cutting assembly 180 as illustrated schematically in FIG. 10 can be used to apply a plurality of snap lines to shim blank 80. Edge cutting assembly 180 includes an edge cutting unit 182 and a plurality of edge cutting implements 184 housed by edge cutting unit 182. For example, edge cutting implements 184 can be drill bits or lasers that provide a plurality of snap lines to shim blank 80. Edge cutting assembly 180 can also be used to form a plurality of snap lines on shims individually, for example, after shim blank has been cut along cut line 90. Edge cutting assembly 180 can further be combined with a lateral cutting assembly, such as assembly 160, to provide longitudinal snap lines.

Although specific embodiments have been illustrated and described herein, it will be appreciated by those of ordinary skill in the art that a variety of alternate and/or equivalent implementations may be substituted for the specific embodiments shown and described without departing from the scope of the present invention. This application is intended to cover any adaptations or variations of the specific embodiments discussed herein. Therefore, it is intended that this invention be limited only by the claims and the equivalents thereof.