Title:
MOLDED SHOWER ASSEMBLY
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An injection molded shower stall assembly or bathtub assembly particularly for use in a recreational vehicle includes an injection molded tub or shower base, which includes an integrally formed drainpipe which is externally threaded and adapted to easily and permanently be connected to plumbing for the recreational vehicle. Injection molded walls are formed to surround either the shower stall or tub. The injection molded walls have lower edges that interfit with edges of the tub or shower stall in a way which prevents water from flowing behind the preformed walls and holds the lower edges of the preformed walls in position, eliminating the need for any type of penetrating fastener along the base of the walls. The walls are formed in multiple sections that fit one on top of the other, with interfitting lower and upper edges, again to reduce the need for penetrating fasteners and to hold the sections in position.



Inventors:
Vagedes, Michael (Florence, KY, US)
Application Number:
14/057049
Publication Date:
04/23/2015
Filing Date:
10/18/2013
Assignee:
Alpha Systems, LLC (Elkhart, IN, US)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
4/613
International Classes:
A47K3/02; A47K3/28
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
CRANE, LAUREN ASHLEY
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
WOOD, HERRON & EVANS, LLP (2700 CAREW TOWER 441 VINE STREET, CINCINNATI, OH, 45202, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A plastic shower assembly comprising: a one piece molded base having a drain; said drain having an integral externally threaded connection molded as part of said base extending downward and adapted to connect to an internally threaded pipe; said base including a continuous upwardly extended peripheral edge extending along at least two sides of said base; said edge including a first rear flange and a first forward flange and a first channel between said first rear flange and said first forward flange; a first wall section adapted to mate with said continuous upwardly extended peripheral edge and having in a second wall section adapted to mate with said first wall section; said first wall section having a rear surface and a forward surface, and having a first lower edge having a second rear flange spaced from said first surface and adapted to fit into said first channel; and a second forward flange adapted to extend over said first forward flange of the peripheral edge of said base, with said first forward flange resting in said second channel of said lower edge; said second wall section having a continuous upper edge having a third rear flange and a third forward flange separated by a third channel.

2. The assembly claimed in claim 1 wherein said first upper edge of said first wall section includes first and second corners, said first and second corners having mounting tabs adapted to rest flush with said rear surface and said second wall section includes a lower edge having first and second corners adapted to cover said first and second mounting tabs.

3. The assembly claimed in claim 2 wherein said assembly further includes a third wall section having integrally formed first and second walls having a lower edge adapted to mate with and extend over an upper edge of said second wall section, said lower edge having a fourth rear flange and fourth inner flange with a fourth channel therebetween, said upper edge of said second panel having a flange adapted to rest within said channel, thereby holding the lower edge of said third section in position; said third section further including mounting holes along an upper edge of said third wall section.

4. A plastic shower assembly comprising: a one piece molded base having a drain; said base including a continuous upwardly extended peripheral edge extending along at least two sides of said base; said edge including a first rear flange and a first forward flange and a first channel between said first rear flange and said first forward flange; a first wall section adapted to mate with said continuous upwardly extended peripheral edge and having in a second wall section adapted to mate with said first wall section; said first wall section having a rear surface and a forward surface, and having a first lower edge having a second rear flange spaced from said first surface and adapted to fit into said first channel; and a second forward flange adapted to extend over said first forward flange of the peripheral edge of said base, with said first forward flange resting in said second channel of said lower edge; said second wall section having a continuous upper edge having a third rear flange and a third forward flange separated by a third channel.

5. A tub assembly comprising a molded tub, said molded tub having four sides, three of said sides including a continuous rear flange extended along said three sides and adapted to rest against three side walls; a second continuous flange forward of said rear flange; a first wall section having three walls, said wall section having a rear flange and a forward flange with a channel therebetween, said lower edge of said wall section adapted to fit onto said tub with said forward flange of said tub resting in said first channel of said wall section, thereby holding said lower edge of said wall section in position, said wall section further including fastener openings along an upper section of said wall section.

6. The tub assembly claimed in claim 5 wherein said wall section includes three separate molded panels, a middle panel and mirror image front and rear panels, said middle panel having first and second vertical flanges along first and second opposed sides, said front and rear panels having a vertical channel adapted to receive said vertical flanges of said middle panel, thereby forming a first continuous three sided wall section.

7. The tub assembly claimed in claim 6 wherein said tub assembly further includes a second continuous wall section having a lower edge adapted to interfit with an upper edge of said first three sided wall sections,

8. The tub assembly claimed in claims 7 wherein said second continuous three sided wall section includes forward and rearward panels and a side panel, wherein said forward and rearward panels snap fit to said side panel.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Showers and bathtubs in recreational vehicles typically include a molded base and some type of water impervious laminate applied to the walls, which direct water to the molded base. Typically the molded base has a drain opening and a drainpipe is fastened to the opening and connected to plumbing.

The laminates used are typically relatively flimsy but they are used because they are lightweight, inexpensive and can withstand the vibrations of a moving vehicle. The drain, however, does present problems because there is generally no access to the drainpipe once the tub or stall is installed. One cannot see if there is any leakage occurring until it works its way through the floor. Also, the vibrations produced by the moving vehicle can easily cause the drainpipe to become loose, making leaks a significant concern.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is premised on the realization that a more effective, aesthetically appealing shower or tub can be formed by molding the tub or the base with an integral threaded drainpipe. The base or tub further includes peripheral flanges which mate with injection molded sidewalls. The sidewalls are formed in sections that allow them to be easily installed within the vehicle in a stacked configuration to give the desired height of the sidewalls. These sidewalls, because they inter-fit, prevent water from leaking. Because they are injection molded, they are much stronger than typical laminates used in these applications. Further, fastening holes can be provided which can be easily covered by an adjacent section which again provides an aesthetically clean appearance. In one embodiment, they can be formed with three integral walls which prevents water from leaking at the corners.

The objects and advantages of the present invention will be further appreciated in light of the following description of the drawings in which:

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective exploded view of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the present invention;

FIG. 3 is an enlarged perspective view of area 3 of FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 is an enlarged perspective exploded view of area 4 of FIG. 1;

FIG. 5 is a cross-sectional view taken at lines 5-5 of FIG. 2;

FIG. 6 is a cross-sectional view taken at lines 6-6 of FIG. 2;

FIG. 7 is a cross-sectional view taken at lines 7-7 of FIG. 2;

FIG. 8 is a bottom side perspective view of the shower base of the present invention;

FIG. 9 is a perspective view, partially exploded, of an alternative embodiment of the present invention utilizing a bathtub;

FIG. 10 is a perspective view showing assembly of the sidewalls of a alternative embodiment of FIG. 9 of the present invention;

FIG. 11 is a perspective view, partially exploded, of the embodiment shown in FIG. 10;

FIG. 12 is a perspective view of the alternative embodiment shown in FIG. 10;

FIG. 13 is an enlarged view of area 13 of FIG. 10;

FIG. 14 is an enlarged view of area 14 of FIG. 11;

FIG. 15 is an enlarged view of area 15 shown in FIG. 11;

FIG. 16 is cross-sectional view taken at lines 16-16 of FIG. 12;

FIG. 17 is a cross-sectional view taken at lines 17-17 of FIG. 2;

FIG. 18 is a cross-sectional view taken at lines 18-18 of FIG. 2;

FIG. 19 is a cross-sectional view taken at lines 19-19 of FIG. 2; and

FIG. 20 is a bottom perspective view of the bathtub shown in FIG. 10.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The present invention can be in the form of a shower stall, as shown in FIGS. 1-8 or a bathtub as shown in FIGS. 9-20.

As shown in FIG. 1, a shower stall assembly 10 includes a base 12, a first wall section 14, a second wall section 16 and a third, upper wall section 18. The base 12 includes a floor 20 and a bottom surface 22 and raised sidewalls 24. The front 26 is open and would typically be enclosed by a glass enclosure or the like.

Base 12 further includes a drain 30 which is molded as part of the base 12 and includes an integral, externally threaded drainpipe 32 extended below floor 20.

As shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, the base 12 rests on its bottom surface 22 mounted directly to the floor or can be raised above the floor of the recreational vehicle. In this latter case, a spacer 34 would be attached to the other edge of the base 12 as a trim piece.

The base further includes a raised peripheral edge 38, which runs continuously on first side 40 and second side 42 and (optional) rear corner side 44. Peripheral edge 38 includes a first continuous rear flange 46 and a first continuous forward flange 50, separated by a first channel 48. As described hereinafter, this allows the first wall section 14 to be mounted on the base 12, forming a connection that prevents water from flowing to the backside of the shower stall.

The first wall section 14 includes a first wall 54, a second wall 56 and a corner section 58. The corner sections are optional as first wall 54 can be connected to second wall 56 as long as it conforms to peripheral edges 38. The front surface 60 and wall section 14 is designed to direct water into the base 12 and the rear surface 62 is intended to be mounted against a wall of the recreational vehicle. First wall section 14 includes a bottom edge 64 and a top edge 66. The bottom edge includes a second rear flange 68 and a second forward flange 70, with a second channel 72 therebetween.

The top edge includes an upwardly extending flange 74, Also on either side of top edge 66 are first and second corners 76, 78, respectively. Each corner 76, 78 includes first and second attachment tabs 80, 82, which are designed to lie flush against the wall of the recreational vehicle, Top edge 66 further includes a first ledge 84 adjacent upper flange 74.

The second wall section 16 likewise has a bottom edge 88 and a top edge 90. Bottom edge 88 includes a continuous third rear flange 92 and a forward edge 93. As shown in FIG. 7, the upper flange 74 of the lower wall section fits between the third rear flange 92 of the bottom edge 88 and the forward edge 93. The upper edge 90 of the second wall section 16 is identical to the upper edge 66 of the first wall section 14 and, likewise, the bottom edge 94 of third wall section 18 is identical to the bottom edge 88 of the second wall section 16 and therefore not described further in detail. As shown, the third wall section 18 includes one or more soap dishes 98 and the upper edge 96 is held in position by barbed plugs 97, which extend through though top edge 96 into the walls of the recreational vehicle. However, any suitable fastener can be used.

To install the shower stall of the present invention, the base is positioned as desired on the floor (not shown) of a recreational vehicle. In certain recreational vehicles, there is an area under the floor that allows for plumbing. In this case, the base 12 would be positioned on the floor (not shown) with drainpipe 32 extended through a hole (not shown) in the floor. If there is no area for plumbing under the floor, the base would be supported with wood framing (not shown) above the floor (not shown) and spacer 34 would be fixed to the base 12, with the upper edge 102 resting in the lower edge 104 of the base, as shown in FIG. 5. An internally threaded fitting (not shown) would then be screwed onto the drainpipe 32 to form a permanent connection and the base 12 and the drain lines.

The first wall section 14 is placed over the back edge of the shower base 12, as shown in FIGS. 3 and 6 and against two walls of the recreational vehicle (only wall 106 is shown in FIGS. 4 and 7). The upper edge of the first wall section 14 is attached to the back wall 106 of the recreational vehicle using fastener 100 as shown in FIGS. 4 and 7. Wall section 16 is positioned on top of wall section 14, with the lower edge of wall section 16 interfitting with the upper edge of first wall section 14 as shown in FIGS. 4 and 7. The upper edge 90 of wall section 16 is attached to the recreational vehicle's wall surfaces in the same manner as lower section 14 using attachment tabs 80, 82. Finally the third wall section 18 is positioned on top of the second wall section 16 in the same manner and the top edge fastened to the recreational vehicle wall surface using barbed plugs that extend through the upper edge 96 of section 18 into the recreational vehicle walls holding section 18 in position.

The individual sections are formed by injection molding. A wide variety of different polymers can be used, such as polyethylene, polypropylene, polyvinyl chloride and the like. Since the wall sections are formed as one piece, with additional sections stacked on top, the possibility of water leakage is minimized. Caulking is not required and due to the flexibility of the polymers, the installed shower stall can withstand the vibrations typically encountered with a recreational vehicle. Also, due to the interfitting construction, the shower stall can be installed very quickly and easily.

As shown in FIGS. 9-20, features of the present invention can also be incorporated into a bathtub 110 used in a recreational vehicle. The tub 110 includes a floor or base 112, sidewalls 114 and a peripheral ledge 116. The base 112 incorporates an integral drainpipe 120, which includes external threading 122. The bottom surface of tub 110 includes ribbing 124 to provide further support.

The tub 110 further includes a side edge lip 126, shown more particularly in FIGS. 13 and 16, and a side panel or skirt 128, which has an upper edge 130 that fits within a lower channel 132 of edge 126.

The tub 110 includes a first outer flange 134 that runs continuously along two sides and the back of the tub, and a continuous first inner flange 136 which runs parallel to continuous flange 134. In this instance, outer refers to away from the center of the tub and inner refers to nearer the center of the tub. These are adapted to receive three sidewall panels 138, 140 and 142. Second side panel, or rear side panel 140 includes first and second vertical side edges 144, 146. As shown in FIG. 19, each of these side edges includes a vertical flange 148, which includes a plurality of inwardly extended barbs 150. Sidewalls 138 and 142 each have vertical inner edges 152 adapted to mate with the vertical flanges 148 of wall 140. Each vertical edge 152 includes a channel 154 and a plurality of slots 156 adapted to receive the barbs 150. Panels 138 and 142 also include outer vertical side edges 162. Each side edge 162 includes a channel 164 adapted to receive a barbed flange 167 of a trim piece 168, as shown in FIG. 19.

The tub enclosure also includes three upper walls 170, 172 and 174. These are identical to walls 138, 140 and 142. As shown in FIG. 15, the bottom edge 200 of top panel 170 has a channel which receives an upper portion 184 of panel 138 with a back edge of panel 170 resting on ledge 186 of lower panel 138.

The tub enclosure of the present invention is installed by positioning the tub in a desired location surrounded by three adjoining walls of the recreational vehicle (not shown). A drainpipe is connected to the preformed threaded drain 120 and connected to the drainage system for the recreational vehicle. The three panel walls 138, 140 and 142 are then snapped together, as shown in FIGS. 10 and 19. The walls are then positioned in place over the tub (FIG. 11), with the lower edges of the walls 188, 190, 192 that fit over continuous flanges 134, 136 of tub 110 in position as shown in FIG. 14. The panels are held to the wall by adhesive or barbed fasteners. This is then repeated with upper walls 170, 172 and 174, with the lower edges 200, 202, 204 of the walls 170, 172 and 174 resting on the upper edges 194, 196, 198 of the walls 138, 140, 142. Finally, trim pieces 168 are positioned along the side edges of panels 138, 170, 142 and 174 to finish the side edges.

The panels themselves are all formed from injection molded plastic, as is the tub itself, with the integral externally threaded drainpipe. Thus, it is much less likely that the drainpipe will become loose and leak because it is molded in place and threaded onto the drain system of the recreational vehicle. Further, the injection molded plastic walls provide a continuous water barrier around three walls of the tub, preventing water from getting behind the panels to the walls of the recreational vehicle. Also, since the upper and lower walls are identical to each other, fewer molds are required and the individual molds themselves are smaller, further reducing costs. This also facilitates the easy installation of the tub enclosure with minimal labor.

This has been a description of the present invention, along with the preferred method of practicing the present invention, however, the invention itself should only be defined by the appended claims wherein I CLAIM: