Title:
Fence
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A method for building a fence includes forming footings, the footings including a post therein which extends upwardly above a top of the footings. Front and back forms are positioned adjacent to the posts and extending between the posts, defining a void between the front and back forms. At least a portion of the void is filled with a setting material. The forms are removed after the setting material is substantially set, leaving a panel extending between the posts formed from the substantially set setting material.



Inventors:
Salisbury, Rick (Springville, UT, US)
Application Number:
13/588829
Publication Date:
08/22/2013
Filing Date:
08/17/2012
Assignee:
SALISBURY RICK
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
52/742.14, 249/34
International Classes:
E04H17/14; E04H17/26
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20080006807Anchored safety barrierJanuary, 2008Coffey
20100038613Fence EZ hardwareFebruary, 2010Scruggs
20070164144Brake device of webbing or belt cartridges of line organization polesJuly, 2007De Lorenzo
20060001015Method of forming a barrierJanuary, 2006Forbis et al.
20050242336COMPOSITE FENCING COMPONENTSNovember, 2005Giacchino
20030201432Modular railing and related methodsOctober, 2003Norman
20040164285Inflatable barricade and snow collection methodAugust, 2004Bernasconi
20060076545RAILING ASSEMBLIES AND RELATED METHODS AND APPARATUSESApril, 2006Reynders et al.
20090095945Method and Use of High Tension Cable Barrier ClampApril, 2009Trevino Sr.
20070057244Fence mount wire holderMarch, 2007Lemke
20070080331Wire rope anchor, in particular for rockfall or avalanche protection systemsApril, 2007Roth



Primary Examiner:
GITLIN, MATTHEW J
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
THORPE NORTH & WESTERN, LLP. (P.O. Box 1219 SANDY UT 84091-1219)
Claims:
1. A method for building a fence, comprising: forming a plurality of footings, the footings including a post therein; positioning front and back forms adjacent to the posts, the forms extending between the posts, and defining a void between the front and back forms; filling at least a portion of the void with a setting material; and removing the forms after the setting material is substantially set, leaving a panel extending between the posts formed from the substantially set setting material.

2. A method as in claim 1, wherein the footings comprise cement footings, and wherein securing the front and back forms comprises resting a portion of a base of the front and back forms on the cement footings, staking ground adjacent to the base of the front and back forms to hold the base of the front and back forms in a desired position, and securing the front form to the back form at a position above the base of the front and back forms.

3. A method as in claim 1, wherein the posts are metal posts.

4. A method as in claim 1, further comprising securing one or more reinforcement rods about the posts prior to filling the void with the setting material.

5. A method as in claim 1, further comprising forming a hole in the posts, inserting a first end of a rod into the hole of a first of the posts, and inserting a second end of the rod into the hole of a second of the posts prior to filling the void with the setting material.

6. A method as in claim 1, further comprising inserting a wire mesh into the void prior to filling the void with the cement.

7. A method as in claim 1, wherein the posts are square posts having outward post sides and inward post sides, at least one of the inward post sides facing the void and the outward post sides facing orthogonally to the inward post sides, and the front and back forms have outward form sides and inward form sides, the inward form sides facing the void and the outward form sides facing away from the void, and wherein positioning the front and back forms comprises placing inward form side ends adjacent to outward post sides.

8. A method as in claim 1, wherein positioning the front and back forms comprises securing the front and back forms together using an attachment device.

9. A method as in claim 8, wherein the front and back forms comprise corresponding attachment holes, and wherein the method further comprises removing the attachment device after the setting material is set, leaving an opening in the panel.

10. A method as in claim 1, further comprising attaching a decorative element to the panel.

11. A method as in claim 9, further comprising plugging the opening in the panel.

12. A method as in claim 1, further comprising placing fill material on ground between the footings prior to filling the void with the setting material.

13. A method as in claim 1, further comprising positioning a plate about the posts that extends outwardly from the posts, wherein forming the plurality of footings further comprises: placing a beam between the footings such that the beam rests on the footings and is adjacent to the posts; inserting the posts into the footings to a depth determined by a position of the plate on the posts; and resting the plate on the beam to maintain an orientation of the post while the footings set.

14. A method as in claim 1, wherein at least one of the front and back forms comprises a protruding portion, the method further comprising forming a recess on at least one side of the panel using the protruding portion of the at least one of the front and back forms.

15. A method as in claim 14, further comprising securing a decorative insert in the recess.

16. A fence, comprising: a plurality of footings; a plurality of posts, each supported by an individual of the footings, the posts extending into and upwardly above a top of the footings; a rod extending between the plurality of posts and being supported by the plurality of posts; a panel extending between the plurality of posts, the panel being formed around the rod and supported by the rod and the footings.

17. A fence as in claim 16, further comprising a decorative element attachable to the panel.

18. A fence as in claim 16, wherein the panel comprises an inset portion on at least one side of the panel.

19. A fence, comprising: a plurality of footings; a plurality of posts, each supported by an individual of the footings, the posts extending into and upwardly above a top of the footings; a panel extending between the plurality of posts; an opening in the panel; and an ornament attached to the panel using the opening in the panel.

20. A system for constructing a fence, comprising: a plurality of footings; a plurality of posts supported by the footings, the posts configured to extend upwardly above a top of the footings; front and back forms sized and shaped to extend between the posts to define a void between the front and back forms; a setting material for filling the void between the front and back forms, and to form a panel upon setting; and an attachment device for holding the front and back forms together against the plurality of posts.

21. A system as in claim 20, wherein the attachment device comprises a plurality of stakes for insertion into ground adjacent to a base of the front and back forms to hold the base of the front and back forms in a desired position.

22. A system as in claim 20, further comprising a hole in the posts and a rod configured to have a first end inserted into the hole of a first of the posts and to have a second end inserted into the hole of a second of the posts.

23. A system as in claim 20, further comprising a wire mesh configured for insertion into the void prior to filling the void with the setting material.

24. A system as in claim 21, wherein the front and back forms comprise corresponding attachment holes, the attachment device comprising an elongate member configured to extend through the attachment holes and between the front and back forms to hold the front and back forms together against the plurality of posts.

25. A system as in claim 20, further comprising an ornament configured for attachment to the panel.

26. A system as in claim 20, further comprising a fill material for placement on ground between the footings.

27. A system as in claim 20, wherein the posts comprise a plate extending outwardly from the posts, a position of which on the posts for determining a depth for insertion into each of the cement footings, the plate being configured to maintain an orientation of the post when the cement footings set.

28. A system as in claim 20, wherein at least one of the front and back forms comprises a protruding portion for forming a recess portion on at least one side of the panel.

29. A system as in claim 20, further comprising a quick release system for securing the front and back forms together and against the posts.

Description:

RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 61/524,701, filed Aug. 17, 2011, and entitled, “Fence,” which is incorporated by reference herein in its entirety.

BACKGROUND

Fences, walls and similar structures are typically freestanding structures which provide a variety of functions depending on how constructed, including restricting or preventing movement across a boundary, provide at least partial visual obstruction, etc. Fences and walls are available in a wide variety of sizes, shapes, styles, and materials. Chain link or wooden fences are often lighter weight, but may lack structural stability or strength. Other types of fences which typically demonstrate greater stability and strength include wall-like fences constructed from brick or concrete.

Concrete fences or walls are often used as barriers, such as to prevent physical or visual access to private property or to reduce sound and risk of injury near houses adjacent to highways. Some concrete fences include interlocking concrete panels that are secured to a footing or foundation. Other concrete fences include concrete posts formed at the fence set and having grooves or slots therein to receive a preformed concrete panel.

SUMMARY

Disclosed herein are fences and systems and methods for building fences in accordance with various examples.

In one embodiment, a method for building a fence includes forming footings, the footings including a post therein which extends upwardly above a top of the footings. Front and back forms are positioned adjacent to the posts and extending between the posts, defining a void between the front and back forms. At least a portion of the void is filled with a setting material. The forms are removed after the setting material is substantially set, leaving a panel extending between the posts formed from the substantially set setting material.

A fence in accordance with an embodiment includes cement footings and posts, each supported by an individual of the cement footings, the posts extending into and upwardly above a top of the cement footings. The fence includes a rod extending between the plurality of posts and supported by the plurality of posts. A cement panel extends between the plurality of posts, the cement panel being formed around the rod and supported by the rod and the cement footings.

A fence in accordance with another embodiment of the technology includes cement footings and posts, each supported by an individual of the cement footings, the posts extending into and upwardly above a top of the cement footings. A cement panel extends between the plurality of posts and has an opening therein. An ornament is attached to the cement panel using the opening in the cement panel.

A system for constructing a fence, in accordance with an example of the technology, includes a first cement for forming a plurality of cement footings. The system includes a plurality of posts to be set in the first cement, the posts configured to extend upwardly above a top of the cement footings. The system includes front and back forms sized and shaped to extend between the posts in the cement footings to define a void between the front and back forms. A second cement is for filling the void between the front and back forms to form a panel. A securing device holds the front and back forms together against the plurality of posts while resting on the top of the cement footings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

For a fuller understanding of the nature and advantage of the present invention, reference is being made to the following detailed description of embodiments and in connection with the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIGS. 1a-1c are front, side, and perspective views of a form for use in building a fence in accordance with an embodiment of the present technology;

FIGS. 2a-2c are front and top views of formation of footings with posts therein in accordance with embodiments of the present technology;

FIG. 3a-3b are front and top views of set footings with posts therein in accordance with an embodiment of the present technology;

FIGS. 4a-4e are front, side, and top views of fence posts with devices for securing a fence panel in accordance with embodiments of the present technology;

FIGS. 5a-5b are front and top views of a fence assembly with front and back forms secured together against fence posts in accordance with embodiments of the present technology;

FIGS. 5c-5d are cross-sectional side views of a fence assembly using securing devices in accordance with embodiments of the present technology;

FIGS. 6a-6b are front and top views of a fence assembly with a setting material between front and back forms in accordance with an embodiment of the present technology;

FIGS. 7a-7b are front views of set fence panels in accordance with embodiments of the present technology;

FIGS. 8a-8d are front views of fence panels with and without ornamentation in accordance with embodiments of the present technology;

FIGS. 9a-9b are front views of fences with caps in accordance with embodiments of the present technology;

FIGS. 10a-10b are front views of fence assemblies with varying support rod and footing configurations in accordance with embodiments of the present technology;

FIGS. 11a-11b are side views of a fence and fence assembly with a cap and base in accordance with an embodiment of the present technology;

FIG. 12 is a flow diagram of a method for building a fence in accordance with an embodiment of the present technology.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Before the present disclosure is described herein, it is to be understood that this disclosure is not limited to the particular structures, process steps, or materials disclosed herein, but is extended to equivalents thereof as would be recognized by those ordinarily skilled in the relevant arts. It should also be understood that terminology employed herein is used for the purpose of describing particular embodiments only and is not intended to be limiting.

Definitions

The following terminology will be used in accordance with the definitions set forth below.

It should be noted that, as used in this specification and the appended claims, the singular forms “a,” and, “the” include plural referents unless the context clearly dictates otherwise. Thus, for example, reference to “an ornament” includes one or more of such ornaments and reference to “the rod” includes reference to one or more of such rods.

As used herein, the term “setting material” can refer to any of a wide variety of materials having a non-rigid form which can then be rigidized or set. Non-limiting examples of setting materials include a liquid adhesive material which dries and hardens, a molten metal which cools and solidifies, wet concrete which solidifies and hardens, and any of a variety of other materials and combinations of materials which either have both solid and non-solid states or which solidify as a result of drying, application of heat, chemical reaction, a combination of these, and so forth.

As used herein, the term “cement” refers to a substance that sets and hardens independently, and can bind other materials together. “Cement” can be a subset of a “setting material”. For example, cement can be any of various soft, sticky substances that dry hard or stone-like and/or cause things to adhere together. As a more specific example, cement can include any of various mixtures to form concrete, such as clay and limestone, combined with an aggregate. As used herein, the terms “cement” and “concrete” can broadly designate both wet and dry, or non-solidified and solidified, states of cement and concrete. Although the following description may refer to the term “cement” or the more narrow term “concrete”, such reference is for purposes of explanation and the “cement” or “concrete” referred to may broadly be interchanged with any of a variety of other setting materials.

As used herein, the term “substantially” refers to the complete or nearly complete extent or degree of an action, characteristic, property, state, structure, item, or result. For example, an object that is “substantially” enclosed would mean that the object is either completely enclosed or nearly completely enclosed. The exact allowable degree of deviation from absolute completeness may in some cases depend on the specific context. However, generally speaking the nearness of completion will be so as to have the same overall result as if absolute and total completion were obtained. The use of “substantially” is equally applicable when used in a negative connotation to refer to the complete or near complete lack of an action, characteristic, property, state, structure, item, or result. For example, a setting material that is “substantially set” would be either completely set, or so nearly set that the setting material is able to maintain a shape and/or position independently of any forms.

As used herein, the term “about” is used to provide flexibility to a numerical range endpoint by providing that a given value may be “a little above” or “a little below” the endpoint.

As used herein, a plurality of items, structural elements, compositional elements, and/or materials may be presented in a common list for convenience. However, these lists should be construed as though each member of the list is individually identified as a separate and unique member. Thus, no individual member of such list should be construed as a de facto equivalent of any other member of the same list solely based on their presentation in a common group without indications to the contrary.

Sizes, ratios, amounts, and other numerical data may be expressed or presented herein in a range format. It is to be understood that such a range format is used merely for convenience and brevity and thus should be interpreted flexibly to include not only the numerical values explicitly recited as the limits of the range, but also to include all the individual numerical values or sub-ranges encompassed within that range as if each numerical value and sub-range is explicitly recited. As an illustration, a numerical range of “about 1 to about 5” should be interpreted to include not only the explicitly recited values of about 1 to about 5, but also include individual values and sub-ranges within the indicated range. Thus, included in this numerical range are individual values such as 2, 3, and 4 and sub-ranges such as from 1-3, from 2-4, and from 3-5, etc., as well as 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5, individually.

This same principle applies to ranges reciting only one numerical value as a minimum or a maximum. Furthermore, such an interpretation should apply regardless of the breadth of the range or the characteristics being described.

The Disclosure

Reference will now be made to the exemplary embodiments illustrated, and specific language will be used herein to describe the same. It will nevertheless be understood that no limitation of the scope of the technology is thereby intended. Additional features and advantages of the technology will be apparent from the detailed description which follows, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, which together illustrate, by way of example, features of the technology.

The following disclosure relates to fences and systems and methods for building fences. More specifically, the present disclosure relates to fences, systems, and methods, which enable in situ or on-site formation of panels between support posts. For example, a method for building a fence, in accordance with an embodiment, includes forming footings, the footings including a post therein which extends upwardly above a top of the footings. Front and back forms are positioned adjacent the posts and extend between the posts, defining a void between the front and back forms. At least a portion of the void is filled with a setting material. The forms are removed after the setting material is substantially set, leaving a panel extending between the posts formed from the setting material.

Referring to FIGS. 1a-1c, a form 110 is shown in accordance with an embodiment of the present technology for use in building a fence. The form shown is one half of a set of two forms used in defining boundaries in which a setting material, such as cement or concrete, will be poured or otherwise placed or disposed, and caused to set. In building a fence, forms may be provided, preferably in sets of two, in any desirable number to build any desired number of fence panels between any number of posts at a given time. Provision of multiple sets of forms, including front and back forms, can provide greater efficiency and time savings as compared with building a fence panel with a single set of forms, particularly if the fence to be built is to include a substantial number of panels.

The form 110 can be made from any of a variety of materials, such as metal, wood, plastic, composite, concrete, or any of a variety of other types of materials or combinations thereof The material can be selected such that the front and back forms, when positioned adjacent to fence posts, are sufficiently rigid and sturdy to withstand pressure and forces of a setting material being deposited therebetween to set. For example, the form can be made from steel and can either be a solid steel form or can be welded together from sheets of steel with a hollow portion being left in the center thereof to reduce weight.

As a result of the material chosen to build the form 110, the form can have a reasonably substantial weight. Even despite the weight, to facilitate transportation or movement and general handling of the form, handles can optionally be attached to one or more sides or surfaces of the form. As shown, the form 110 comprises handles in the form of rings 115 located on the upper part of the form. For example, a wire or cable may be attached to the rings to suspend and move the form using a crane, front-loader, or other lift device. In another example, the rings can be squared or otherwise sized/shaped to receive forks on a forklift to facilitate movement via the forklift.

One or more forms 110 in a set of forms can include one or more protrusions 120 that extends from the surface of the form. When a fence panel is formed using one or more forms with one or more protrusions, a corresponding recess will be formed in the resultant fence panel. As will be described in further detail below, the recess can provide a shape or design in the panel to provide a desired aesthetic look or to provide additional functionality for ornamentation. While the protrusions shown in FIGS. 1a-1c are quadrilaterally shaped, the protrusions may be formed in any of a variety of shapes, sizes, patterns, etc. and can include beveling, contouring, etc. as desired. Furthermore, as will be appreciated by those skilled in the art, while the figures and description herein primarily relate to protrusions in the forms, the forms may alternately include recesses, or a combination of protrusions and recesses, to form corresponding protrusions or a combination of recesses and protrusions in a resultant fence panel.

One or more of the forms 110 in a set of forms can include one or more attachment holes 125. As will be described in further detail below, the attachment holes can facilitate the securing of two or more forms together, such as front and back forms in a set together. For example, a quick release device/system can be provided which can utilize the attachment holes, such as where it can be inserted from an outer side of the front form through the attachment hole in the front form and extend through the attachment hole in the back form to an outer side of the back form. The quick release device can quickly and securely attach the front and back forms together or release the front and back forms apart. Other devices, such as bolts and nuts, clamps, wedges or stakes, support frames, etc. can also or alternately be used to hold the forms in position for forming the fence panel, with or without the use of attachment holes. While the number and positioning of attachment holes may vary according to a specific application and desired appearance, positioning of the attachment hole near a corner of a form protrusion 120 can minimize noticeability of where the quick release device, bolt, etc. passed (or passes) through the resultant fence panel.

Referring now to FIGS. 2a-2c, front and top views of the formation of footings 135 with posts 140 therein are shown in accordance with embodiments of the present technology. Spacing between the footings will vary according to the application, but in many instances will be in intervals of 8, 10, or 12 feet. Likewise, size and shape of the footings and posts, as well as the materials from which the footings and posts are formed may vary from fence to fence depending on the application. For example, the posts may be formed from metal, composite, concrete, plastic, wood, etc. In a specific example, the posts may be approximately 9 feet long, and may comprise square-shaped tubular metal posts having a width and depth of 4 inches by 4 inches, with a thickness of the metal being approximately ⅛ inch.

The footings 135 can be prepared by drilling or digging a hole in the ground 130. Concrete or another setting material can be directly inserted into the hole in the ground to fill the hole and form a footing. Alternately, a footing form (not shown) can be placed in the hole in the ground to define a size and shape of the footing to be formed by the concrete. In one specific example, the footing may be formed in a round 24 inch diameter, 36 inch deep drilled hole. In another specific example, the footing may be formed in an approximately 24 inch square by 32 inch deep form located or positioned in a hole in the ground.

A depth of the footing 135 can be determined, such that it is sufficient to provide strength and support to the posts 140. A post can be inserted into the hole in the ground and the footing can be formed around the post, or concrete can be poured to form the footing and the post inserted into the footing before it is set. If the post is inserted before the concrete is poured to form the footing, the post may generally extend substantially to a bottom of the footing, although the post could be at least partially raised out of the footing after pouring to a desired height. Whether the post is positioned before or after the concrete is used to form the footing, the post can optionally be configured to extend into less than a full depth of the footing, or to be positioned at any desirable depth FIG. 2a shows a portion 145 of the post 140 extending to less than the full depth of the footing. In a specific example, the footing is approximately 3 feet deep and the post extends substantially to the full depth of the footing while also extending above the footing approximately 6 feet.

Depending on the setting material used to form the footing 135, the post 140 may not stand perfectly erect or otherwise maintain a desired position within the footing without bracing or securing the post. In this case, temporary measures can be taken to secure the posts. For example, one or more beams 155 can be placed between the footings or footing forms such that the beam rests on the footings or footing forms and is adjacent to the posts. One example type of beam is a 2″×4″ board, although other types of beams are also considered. Stakes can be driven into the ground to hold the beam against the posts. A connector beam 160 can be attached to two of the longer beams 155, such as with nails, clamps, screws, and the like, to attach the longer beams together. The beams 155, 165 can be placed along two opposite sides of the posts substantially parallel to one another and to a line in which the fence is to be constructed. In the example shown, longer beams 155 are used on a first side of the posts and shorter beams 165 are used on a second side of the post, although the longer beams could be used on both sides of the post. The longer beams 155 and shorter beams 165 can optionally be attached to one another by means of a bolt 170, clamp, or the like.

The posts 140 can optionally include a plate 150 extending outwardly from the posts.

For example, the plate can be square shaped and have an outer perimeter which is larger than an outer perimeter of the post. The plate can extend outward orthogonally to a length direction of the post. In one example, the plate can have a void in the center thereof slightly larger than the outer dimensions of the post and have a substantially similar shape to that of the outer side of the post. The plate can be slid over the top of the post down to a resting position on the beam(s) 155, 165 and can be used to provide an indication of whether the post is level, or otherwise oriented as desired with respect the footings 135 or footing forms. In another aspect, the plate can be attached to the post, such as by welding. In this example, the plate can rest on the beam(s) and provide an indication of whether the post is level, or otherwise oriented as desired with respect the footings or footing forms, and can also hold the post in a desired position with respect to a depth of the footing or footing form. Thus, the plate can assist positioning of the post at a depth of less than the full depth of the footing and can affirmatively assist in maintaining a (vertical) orientation of the post with respect to the footing.

Those skilled in the art will recognize that the footings and posts may be formed and readied in a variety of different ways using a variety of different approaches or methods. As such, those specifically discussed herein and shown in the drawings are not meant to be limiting in any way.

Referring to FIGS. 3a-3b, top and side views of a fence assembly is shown in which the footings 135 have set, with the posts 140 set therein in accordance with an embodiment of the present technology. With the footings set, the posts are secured in position. Any beams 155, 160, 160, clamps 170, stakes, plates 150, etc. used for positioning the beam in the footing or footing form, as described above with respect to FIGS. 2a-2c, have been removed. Dirt, gravel, sand, compacted road base, concrete, or other filler can be used to fill in as desired around the footings or footing forms. Similarly, filler can be used to fill the ground between the footings as desired, and as will be described further below.

Where the plates are welded, bolted, or otherwise attached to the posts, the plates can be removed by a suitable method, such as by cutting, unscrewing, etc. In examples where the plates are attached to the posts, the plates can optionally be attached on sides of the posts facing other posts and not on outward facing sides of the posts. With such a configuration, use of the plates or removal of the plates will not leave any visible marking on the posts when the panel is completed between the posts.

Referring now to FIGS. 4a-4e, front, side, and top views of fence posts with devices for securing a fence panel are shown in accordance with embodiments of the present technology.

With previous fence building methods, fence panels are not necessarily attached to the posts. For example, concrete fence posts are formed with grooves or slots for receiving a side of a prefabricated fence panel. The prefabricated fence panel can then slide into the grooves which will maintain a vertical position of the panel and prevent the panel from falling over. The weight and size of the panel prevent the panel from easily coming up out of the grooves. Thus, the panel is substantially secure.

However, the present technology enables fence building entirely on-site without the need for separate facilities and resources to build, store, and transport prefabricated fence panels. More specifically, the present technology enables building of a fence panel in position in a fence without subsequent movement, transportation, etc. This can provide significant savings in costs and time, as well as virtually eliminate potential damage to the fence panel as a result of moving or otherwise transporting the panel as in previous methods.

While a fence panel formed from cement in accordance with the present invention will have a degree of adhesion to the fence posts, it may be desirable to more affirmatively secure the resulting fence panel to the posts to enhance performance. Doing so may improve the overall strength and performance of the resulting fence/wall in the case of wind sheer, snow drifts, effects of expansion/contraction, and other forces which may act on the fence and posts/panels. Therefore, the present invention contemplates utilizing one or more reinforcing members. In one embodiment, one or more holes can be formed in each of the posts 140 to receive one or more rods or support rods 175, 180. A first end of the rod can be inserted into the hole of a first of the metal posts, and a second end of the rod can be inserted into the hole of a second of the metal posts. In one aspect, each post can include at least two holes corresponding to two holes in another post to enable use of a plurality of support rods. For example, FIGS. 4a, 4b and 4d illustrate a support rod inserted into the posts near an upper end of the posts and a support rod inserted into the posts near the footings.

The support rod(s) 175, 180 can be a rebar rod or any other suitable type of rod. The support rods can be inserted into the posts 140 either before or after the posts are set in the footings 135. The support rods 175 can be straight, as in FIG. 4a, or alternately the support rods 180 can have a bent or hooked end 182, as in FIG. 4b. In one example, the support rod with hooked ends can be inserted into fence posts before the fence posts are positioned in the footings or footing forms to facilitate ease of insertion with a relatively small hole 185. In another example, the support rods, with or without hooked ends, can be bent to facilitate insertion after the fence posts are set in the footings. In another example, the rod can be sufficiently flexible to be bent as an end of the rod is forced through the hole into the post. In yet another example, an inner facing side of the fence post (i.e., the side shown with the holes in FIG. 4c) can be cut 187 to allow hook installation into the fence post. When the fence is completed, the cut will not be visible. For example, the cut may be up to ¾ inch wide and 8 inches long to facilitate hook installation for a specific application. In this example, the hook at the hooked end will preferably be 8 inches long or shorter. The cut may extend in any desired direction. For example, the cut may extend vertically along and substantially parallel to a length of the post. In another example, the cut may extend orthogonally to a length of the post or at any other desired angle. The support rod can be inserted such that the hook extends upward or downward. As shown in FIG. 4b, hooks on the top support rod can extend in one direction and hooks on the bottom support rod can extend in an opposite direction. The top and bottom hooks can face toward or away from one another. In one aspect, the hooks on an individual rod can face in different directions.

When the fence is completed, the fence panel will be largely supported by the support rods 180 and the footings 135. Two #4 (or other size) rebar rods, one near an upper portion of the panel and one near a lower portion of the panel, may generally be sufficient to support an 8 foot panel. However, for fences with longer panels, such as 10 or 12 foot panels, the rebar rods can be doubled up to provide greater support and strength to the wall. More specifically, two #4 rebar rods can be included near the upper portion of the panel and two rebar rods can be included near the lower portion of the panel. The multiple rods at the top or the bottom can pass through a same hole 185 or cut 187, or can go through different holes or cuts.

Referring specifically to FIG. 4d, a wire mesh 190 can optionally be attached to the support rods 180. For example, the wire mesh may be a 6×6×9 gage welded wire fabric. The wire mesh can be attached at the top and/or bottom to the support rods, such as with a wire 195, by welding, bolting, or any other suitable attachment means. Although not shown, the wire mesh can also optionally be attached at the sides to the fence posts. The wire mesh can provide additional strength to the fence panel and can prevent or minimize cracking in the panel. When the panel is completed, the wire mesh and support rods will preferably be entirely encased within the panel.

FIGS. 5a-5b are respectively front and top views of a fence assembly with front and back forms secured together against fence posts in accordance with embodiments of the present technology.

After desired support rods and/or mesh have been installed between the fence posts 140, a set of forms 200, including a front 200a and a back 200b form, such as those described above with regards to FIGS. 1a-1c, can be positioned adjacent to the posts and extending between the posts, defining a void 220 between the front and back forms. The forms may be secured into place about the posts such that a proper void is maintained, as well as a proper orientation and position with respect to the posts is maintained during the fence forming process. Furthermore, the forms may be secured to themselves and/or the posts so that they do not move or shift as the setting material is deposited into the void to form the panels.

In one embodiment, the forms may further comprise a deformable material, such as silicone, attached to or otherwise operable or located about their inner or inward side surfaces configured to engage and press against the surface of the posts. The deformable material may be sized and configured to substantially seal the forms to the posts, and to facilitate a clean, finished edge at or adjacent the posts.

In a more specific example, although not to be limiting in any way, the posts may be square posts having outward post sides and inward post sides. At least one of the inward post sides faces the void and the outward post sides face substantially orthogonal to the inward post sides. The front and back forms have outward form sides and inward form sides, the inward form sides facing the void and the outward form sides facing away from the void. The positioning of the front and back forms can be such that the inward form side ends are adjacent to outward post sides. In other words, the forms can be configured to be longer than the distance between posts, such that the forms can be placed against the outward post sides, on opposite sides of the posts, such that the void has substantially a same depth as the size of the posts, such as 4 inches for example, and a length substantially the same as a distance between the posts, such as 8 feet for example. As described above, the forms can include protrusions 120 used in forming recesses or other patterns, shapes, designs, etc. in a resulting panel, or other surface variations for forming different looks in the resulting panels. In a specific example, the protrusions protrude approximately 1 inch into the void. Where both front and back forms include opposing protrusions, the resulting recesses will result in a panel thickness between the recesses being less than other areas. In the example where the created void is 4 inches in depth and the protrusions are 1 inch, the depth at or in the recesses would be approximately 2 inches.

A portion of a base of the front and back forms 200a, 200b can rest on the cement footings 135. The front and/or back forms may also at least partially rest on ground 130 between the footings, depending on a level of fill material between the footings. Ground adjacent to the base of the front and back forms can be staked with stakes 210 to hold the base of the front and back forms in a desired position. The number of stakes used may depend on a distance between footings.

A position of the front form with respect to the back form, and about the posts, can be secured by any of a variety of devices, such as a quick release system or device, bolts and nuts, clamps, wedges or stakes, support frames, etc., with or without the use of attachment holes 205. In some embodiments it may be desirable to secure opposing or facing forms together prior to depositing the setting material. In other embodiments, opposing forms may not necessarily be secured to one another. In the example shown, the front form can be secured to the back form at a position above the base of the front and back forms using nuts and bolts or a quick release attachment device, such as those described herein. In one aspect, the front and back forms can include corresponding attachment holes 205 and can be secured together by inserting an attachment device 215 through the attachment holes. The attachment device can include a first end 215a configured to extend to an outer side of the front form 200a, a middle portion 215b configured to extend through the void 220, and a second end 215c configured to extend to an outer side of the back form 200b. The attachment device can be sized and shaped to extend through the attachment holes, as well as the previously described wire mesh.

The attachment device 215 can have releasable or removable portions at one or both of the ends 215a, 215c. For example, the middle portion 215b of the attachment device may be a bolt or other elongate member which can be secured at the ends by a nut, pin, clamp, or other device. The bolt can be inserted through the attachment holes and the nut/pin/etc. can be attached to one or more of the ends of the bolt. After the fence panel is set, the nut/pin/etc. can be removed from the one or more ends of the bolt and one or more of the front and back forms 200a, 200b can be removed. As necessary, the bolt can be pushed, pulled, or pounded through the resulting panel to remove the bolt from the panel. Alternately, ends of the bolt can be cut off substantially flush with a face of the panel and the middle portion 215b can be left inside the panel. In another aspect, a conduit or sheath may be used to facilitate removal.

The sheath may comprise a hollow, tubular member made of any suitable material(s), such as plastic, metal, wood, rubber, PVC, and the like. When the bolt is removed, an opening will be left behind in the panel, which will be described in further detail below.

Referring to FIG. 5c, a side view of a fence assembly is shown which includes a quick release system in the form of a nut and bolt type attachment device 215a-d for holding front and back forms 200a-b together against the fence posts 140 at a position above the ground 130, and which further includes stakes 210 in the ground for holding a base of the front and back forms together. The attachment assembly includes the end and middle portions 215a-c as have been described above, and further includes a conduit or sheath 215 for the rod to pass through, and to facilitate easy removal of the quick release system (in this case the bolt). After one or more of the front and back forms have been removed, the middle portion 215c of the attachment device (i.e., the bolt, in this example) can be easily removed from the resulting panel, leaving the sheath within the panel. In some aspects, the sheath can include a threaded or threadable interior which may or may not be used by the attachment device, and which can be used to attach ornaments and the like to the panel, as will be described in further detail below.

FIG. 5d is a side view of a fence assembly and quick release system in accordance with another example, wherein the quick release system includes multiple different types of attachment devices, including a clamp 216, a form support rod 217, an adjustment member (e.g., an adjustable turn buckle) 218, stakes 210, and ground supports (e.g., angle iron) 219.

These various attachment devices can be used in any desired combination to implement a quick release system, including combinations with the attachment device of FIG. 5c and other attachment devices. The number of attachment devices and the combinations in which they are used may vary between applications. For example, one or more clamps can be used to hold the front and back forms 200a-b together. The form support rods can be rigid members or rods made of wood, metal, etc., and can extend between the ground 130 and the forms at an angle. A stake or other device can be used to provide a stop and to maintain a position of one end of the form support rods. The other end of the form support rods can contact and exert a force against the forms, which may include an indentation for receiving the end of the form support rods, or they can attach to the forms. The form support rods can optionally include an adjustment member for adjusting the amount of force applied to the forms, for sizing to a particular application, etc. In one aspect, the adjustment member can comprise an adjustable turn buckle for adjusting a length of the form support rods. One or more ground supports, such as the angle iron shown in the figures, can be positioned against a base of the front and back forms to maintain a desired position and to function as a stop that prevents movement or shifting of the forms. A stake can be driven into the ground or the footings 135 either adjacent to the angle iron or the through the angle iron (such as through a hole in the angle iron). In another aspect, the angle iron can be bolted to the footings. One or more angle iron members can extend partially or fully along a length of the forms and/or a length between the footings.

Referring to FIGS. 6a-6b, front and top views are respectively shown of a fence assembly with a setting material being deposited between front and back forms in accordance with an embodiment of the present technology. After forms are secured in position using stakes, bolts, and/or any other attachment or securement devices, a setting material 225 such as cement, for example concrete, can be deposited or inserted into the void between the forms. The concrete can also be inserted into the interior of the tubular posts 140. Inserting the concrete into the posts can fixate the ends of the securing rods within the posts and provide greater strength and stability to the posts. Over time, the concrete will set around the securing rods, mesh, and attachment devices in the void to form a fence panel. FIG. 6b illustrates a filled post 142 as well as a filled void (i.e., the panel) 230.

As shown in FIG. 6a, fill material 132 can be used to level and fill the ground around and between the footings. The fill material can provide a base for the concrete in the void. The fill material can be removed, if desired, after the fence panel is set to provide a desired aesthetic effect. In another aspect, a base form can be inserted beneath the forms to provide a base for the concrete. In another aspect, one or more of the front and back forms can include a base portion to provide the base for the concrete. In another aspect, the concrete can poured from the top into the void can fill a gap between a base of the forms and the ground and provide a base for concrete within the void.

Referring to FIGS. 7a-7b, front views of formed and set fence panels are shown in accordance with embodiments of the present technology. As has been described, the forms can be removed after the concrete in the void is set, forming the fence panel 230. The panels are supported at the sides by the support bars extending between the filled posts 142 and at the base by the footings 135. The panels may be also partially supported at the sides by adhesion of the concrete to the posts.

FIG. 7a illustrates an example panel with a plurality of recesses 235 and openings 240 in the panel from the attachment device. The number, size, shape, and configuration of the recesses can be varied based on a desired appearance of the finished fence panel. In FIG. 7a, fill material has been removed from the ground 130 underneath the panel. In FIG. 7b, a single recess is formed in the panel and fill material 132 has been provided around and between the footings, substantially obscuring the footings from view, at least from the side.

FIGS. 8a-8d are front views of fence panels in accordance with embodiments of the present technology. In FIG. 8a, a plug material 245 has been used to fill/plug and hide holes in the panel 232 left by the attachment device(s). The plug material can be a same setting material as used to form the panel or may comprise a different material, which may produce a desired aesthetic appearance. In FIG. 8b, an ornament 250 or decoration has been secured to the panel 230 using the holes in the panel left by the attachment devices. Ornaments or other decorative elements can be attached to the panel using the holes by any of a variety of mechanisms, such as screwing, bolting, wedging, adhering, etc. In FIG. 8c, a decorative insert 255 has been attached in a recess in the panel using the attachment device holes. In this example, the decorative insert includes an artistic design. The decorative insert can be sized, shaped, and colored to represent any decoration or ornamentation. One example of an alternative decorative insert is an insert that presents the appearance of rocks or stones on or in the fence panel. Those skilled in the art will recognize that decorative elements can be secured to the panels using a variety of devices or systems or methods, which may or may not involve use of the holes. In other words, securing one or more decorative elements to the panels does not necessarily require using the holes to do so.

In addition, various additives can be added to the setting material, such as colorants, to provide a more aesthetically pleasing finished appearance to the panels.

The decorative insert 255 can have a substantially same width and height as the recess to be able to fit within the recess. The decorative insert can also have a smaller width and height than the recess. A thickness of the decorative insert can be greater, less, or substantially the same as a thickness of the recess. In one aspect, a portion of the decorative insert extending outwardly from a face of the panel greater than a thickness of the recess can extend further in a width or height direction than the width or height of the recess. In FIG. 8d, a company logo 260 for “ABC Company” is attached within a recess or to a protrusion 262 using the attachment device holes. Virtually any size, shape, style, configuration, or combination of logo, image, design, ornamentation, lettering, numbering, etc. can be implemented with or secured to the panel with or without a recess or protrusion.

FIGS. 9a-9b are front views of fences with caps in accordance with embodiments of the present technology. For example, FIG. 9a illustrates an embodiment where a height of the panels 230 is less than a height of the posts 142. A post cap 265 has been attached to the tops of the posts. The post cap can be attached by any of a variety of methods as will be recognized by one having skill in the art. FIG. 9b illustrates an embodiment where the height of the panels is substantially the same as the height of the posts. In this example, a fence cap 270 is provided which extends along a top of the posts and panels providing a continuous uniform appearance.

Referring to FIGS. 10a-10b, front views of fence assemblies with varying support rod and footing configurations are shown in accordance with embodiments of the present technology. FIG. 10a illustrates potential positioning of support rods 180 for building a fence on a sloping ground surface, where the ground 130 at one portion of the fence is at a different elevation than ground 134 at a different portion of the fence. As shown at 275, ends of the support rods can be offset from one another to allow for differences in height of the posts due to the sloping ground surface. Depending on a degree of the slope the positioning of the support rods can be configured to accommodate the footings 135, or the footings 137 can have notched, sloped, or otherwise shaped portions 139 to accommodate the support rods and to provide a desired finished appearance.

FIG. 10b illustrates further examples of support rod positioning and configurations where support rods 180 enter the post 140 at a substantially same height on the fence post and have hooks extending in a substantially similar direction, as shown at 280. Also shown at 285 are support rods entering the post at different heights on the post and with hooks extending in substantially opposite directions.

Reference will now be made to FIGS. 11a-11b. The appearance of the finished fence can be modified in a number of ways. Post and fence caps as described above are one option for affecting the appearance of the finished fence. Another option is to include post sections 290, 295 at the top and bottom of the fence panels 230. Post section 290 can be inserted between the posts 140. For example, post section 290 can be put into position before concrete is poured into the void to form the fence panel and can provide a base for the concrete. The post section 290 can have a substantially similar width, depth, and appearance as the posts but may have a different length to fit the distance between posts. Optionally, the post section 290 can be filled with concrete before positioning between the posts to better support the fence panel. Post section 295 can be substantially the same size, shape, and appearance as post section 290. Post section 295 can be positioned between a top of the fence posts after the void has been filled with concrete, and can be positioned before or after the concrete sets. Preferably post section 295 is set before the concrete sets to obtain the same look and effect of adhesion between the panel and post section 295 as will be between the posts 140 and post section 295. Post section 295 may or may not be filled with concrete as post section 290. In one aspect not shown, use of the top and bottom post sections does not preclude configuring the posts to extend above the top post section.

FIG. 12 is a flow diagram of a method 300 for building a fence in accordance with an embodiment of the present technology. The method includes forming 310 footings, the footings including a post therein which extends upwardly above a top of the footings. Front and back forms are positioned 320 adjacent to the posts and extending between the posts, defining a void between the front and back forms. At least a portion of the void is filled 330 with a setting material. The forms are removed 340 after the setting material is substantially set, leaving a panel extending between the posts formed from the substantially set setting material.

In one aspect of the method, the footings are cement footings, and securing the front and back forms includes: resting a portion of a base of the front and back forms on the cement footings or ground, staking the ground adjacent to the base of the front and back forms to hold the base of the front and back forms in a desired position, and attaching the front form to the back form at a position above the base of the front and back forms.

The posts used in the method can be metal posts. The method can include forming a hole in the metal posts, inserting a first end of a reinforcement rod into the hole of a first of the metal posts, and inserting a second end of the rod into the hole of a second of the metal posts prior to filling the void with cement.

The setting material used in the method can be a cement or concrete material and the method can further include inserting a wire mesh into the void prior to filling the void with the cement.

In one aspect of the method, the posts are square posts having outward post sides and inward post sides, at least one of the inward post sides facing the void and the outward post sides facing orthogonally to the inward post sides; the front and back forms have outward form sides and inward form sides, the inward form sides facing the void and the outward form sides facing away from the void; and positioning the front and back forms includes placing inward form side ends adjacent to outward post sides.

The front and back forms used in the method can include corresponding attachment holes and positioning the front and back forms can include securing the front and back forms together by inserting an attachment device through the attachment holes. The method can further include removing the attachment device after the setting material is set, leaving an opening in the panel. Alternative methods include securing the forms together without the use of holes formed in the forms. The method can further include attaching an ornament or decorative member to the panel using the opening in the panel, or can alternately include plugging the opening in the panel. In one aspect of the method, at least one of the front and back forms includes a protruding portion and the method includes forming a recess on at least one side of the panel using the protruding portion of the at least one of the front and back forms. The method can further include securing a decorative insert in the recess.

The method can include placing fill material on ground between the footings prior to filling the void. In one aspect, the posts have a plate extending outwardly from the posts. The step of forming the plurality of footings in this aspect further includes: placing a beam between the footings such that the beam rests on the footings and is adjacent to the posts; inserting the posts into the footings to a depth determined by a position of the plate on the posts; and resting the plate on the beam to maintain an orientation of the post when the footings set.

Using the systems and methods described herein, fences can be constructed entirely on site and without moving or transporting fence panels into position. The fences can be concrete fences that are relatively thin, yet sturdy enough to withstand wind sheer, snow drifts, and other forces on the fences. The fences can be designed to have various different appearances and structures which are unavailable in fences formed in accordance with other related methods. In one aspect, the fences can include ornamentation which is attachable to the fence panels. The ornamentation can be removable and interchangeable with other ornamentation to coincide with changes in season, change of ownership of a business, holidays, and so forth.

While the forgoing examples are illustrative of the principles of the present technology in one or more particular applications, it will be apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art that numerous modifications in form, usage and details of implementation can be made without the exercise of inventive faculty, and without departing from the principles and concepts of the technology. Accordingly, it is not intended that the technology be limited, except as by the claims set forth below.