Title:
Modular truss
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A number of generally tri-lateral truss components or modules are interconnected with truss fasteners to construct a modular truss. Each tri-lateral member has three elongated chords, which may include first and second side chords and a base chord. Each chord has two opposing ends. A first end of the first chord is connected with a second end of the second chord, while a first end of the second chord is connected with a second end of the third chord, and a first end of the third chord is connected with a second end of the first chord. The three chords thereby define a generally tri-lateral member. A parallel chord truss may be built up of tri-lateral truss components by arranging a series of truss components in alternating upright and upside down orientations with adjacent side chords abutting one another. That is, a first truss component may be oriented in a first, upright position, while adjacent truss components are placed in an inverted, second, or upside down orientation. A built up truss is constructed by continuing this sequence of adding truss components. Alternatively, a triangular truss may be built up of the tri-lateral truss modules by orienting the truss components generally uniformly and stacking them upon one another in a pyramid.



Inventors:
Carr, Michael J. (Comstock Park, MI, US)
Application Number:
09/827438
Publication Date:
09/13/2001
Filing Date:
04/06/2001
Assignee:
CARR MICHAEL J.
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
52/574, 52/639, 52/693, 52/223.9
International Classes:
E04C3/08; E04C3/09; E04C3/11; E04C3/16; E04C3/17; E04C3/20; E04C3/28; E04C3/04; (IPC1-7): E04H12/00
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Primary Examiner:
GREEN, CHRISTY MARIE
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
James E. Bartek (Grandville, MI, US)
Claims:

I claim:



1. A modular truss system comprising: a number of sticks, each stick having a length, the length extending between a stick first end and an opposing stick second end; a first grouping of three sticks, a first stick of the first grouping of three sticks having a first predetermined length, a second stick of the first grouping of three sticks also having the first predetermined length, a third stick of the first grouping of three sticks having a second predetermined length, the first stick second end being connected with the second stick first end, the second stick second end being connected with the third stick first end, and the third stick second end being connected with the first stick first end, whereby the first stick, the second stick and the third stick are combined and configure a first three sided polygon; a second grouping of three sticks, a first stick of the second grouping of three sticks also having the first predetermined length, a second stick of the second grouping of three sticks also having the first predetermined length, a third stick of the second grouping of three sticks also having the second predetermined length, the first stick second end being connected with the second stick first end, the second stick second end being connected with the third stick first end, and the third stick second end being connected with the first stick first end, whereby the first stick, the second stick and the third stick are combined and configure a second three sided polygon; and at least one fastener, the fastener interconnecting the first and the second three sided polygons, whereby the first and the second three sided polygons define at least a portion of a structural truss.

2. The modular truss system defined in claim 1 wherein each stick has a width, the width extending between a stick first side and an opposing stick second side, the width also extending in a direction that is perpendicular to the length, wherein each stick has a depth, the depth extending between a stick top and an opposing stick bottom, the depth also extending in a direction that is perpendicular to the length and perpendicular to the width, and wherein each of the width and the depth are negligible in comparison to the length, the width and the depth existing only as required by a predetermined section modulus, the section modulus being defined according to a preselected structural loading of each stick.

3. A modular truss system comprising: a number of truss components, each truss component being a generally planar tri-lateral member that has first and second side chords and a base chord, each of the three chords having two opposing ends, a second end of the first side chord being connected with a first end of the second side chord, a second end of the second side chord being connected with a first end of the base chord, a second end of the base chord being connected with a first end of the first side chord; and a number of fasteners at least one of the fasteners interconnecting a first and a second of the number of truss components, whereby the first and the second truss components define at least a portion of a structural truss

4. The modular truss system defined in claim 3 wherein a plurality of the truss components are interconnected with fasteners and form a structural truss, and wherein each truss component is oriented substantially the same with the connection between the first side chord and the second side chord extending in a given direction relative to the base chord.

5. The modular truss system defined in claim 4 wherein the base chords are generally parallel with one another.

6. The modular truss system defined in claim 3 wherein a plurality of the truss components are interconnected with fasteners and form a structural truss; wherein a first set of the truss components are arranged with the base chords aligned generally collinearly and the connection between the first side chord and the second side chord of each truss component extends in a first direction, the first direction being generally perpendicular to the base chords; and wherein a second set of the truss components are arranged with the base chords aligned generally collinearly and the connection between the first side chord and the second side chord of each truss component extends in a second direction, the second direction being generally opposite to the first direction.

7. The modular truss system defined in claim 6 wherein each of the first and the second sets of the truss components defines a series of peaks and valleys, and wherein the first and second sets of the truss components are alternatingly interposed between each other with the peaks of one set of the truss components nesting in the valleys of the other set of the truss components.

8. The modular truss system defined in claim 7 wherein the base chords of the first set of the truss components and the base chords of the second set of the truss components are generally parallel with one another.

9. The modular truss system defined in claim 6 wherein the base chords of the first set of the truss components and the base chords of the second set of the truss components are generally parallel with one another.

10. A structural truss comprising a number of structural truss modules and a plurality of fasteners, the fasteners interconnecting the number of structural truss modules, each structural truss module having first, second, and third chords, each of the three chords having first and second opposing ends, the first chord second end being connected with the second chord first end, the second chord second end being connected with the third chord first end, the third chord second end being connected with the first chord first end.

11. The structural truss defined in claim 10 wherein each truss module is oriented substantially the same, with the connection between the first chord and the second chord extending in a given direction relative to the third chord.

12. The structural truss defined in claim 11 wherein the third chords are generally parallel with one another.

13. The structural truss defined in claim 10 wherein a first set of the truss modules are arranged with the base chords aligned generally collinearly and the connection between the first side chord and the second side chord of each truss module extends in a first direction, the first direction being generally perpendicular the base chords; wherein a second set of the truss modules are arranged with the base chords aligned generally collinearly and the connection between the first side chord and the second side chord of each truss module extends in a second direction, the second direction being generally opposite to the first direction.

14. The structural truss defined in claim 13 wherein each of the first and second sets of the truss modules defines a series of peaks and valleys, and wherein the first and second sets of the truss modules are alternatingly interposed between each other with the peaks of one set of the truss modules nesting in the valleys of the other set of the truss modules.

15. The structural truss defined in claim 14 wherein the base chords of the first set of the truss modules and the base chords of the second set of the truss modules are generally parallel with one another.

16. The structural truss defined in claim 13 wherein the base chords of the first set of the truss modules and the base chords of the second set of the truss modules are generally parallel with one another.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCES TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001] This is a continuing non-provisional application of co-pending U.S. Non-provisional patent application Ser. No. 09/256,670, entitled MODULAR TRUSS and filed on Feb. 2, 1999 by Michael J. Carr, now abandoned, the disclosure of which is incorporated here by reference.

STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT

[0002] Not Applicable.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0003] The invention relates to structural trusses, and more particularly to modular trusses that are constructed of uniform, generally trilateral component members, to a pre-selected configuration.

[0004] Structural trusses are commonly used in buildings of all types and sizes. Commercial buildings commonly use structural trusses to support roofs and floors. Structural trusses are also commonly used for the roof support of a home. Parallel cord trusses are used in some homes as floor joists, which support floors. In either use, the trusses are typically large built up beam elements that are frequently considered over-size when loaded upon a truck and transported from a manufacturer or fabricator to a construction site. Thus, the common structural truss can present a transportation and delivery problem. Further, when considering commercial construction projects, the size of structural trusses used can easily exceed those used in residential construction projects. One may, then, readily see that a modular approach to the use of structural trusses may provide transportation and handling advantages over conventional structural trusses.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0005] A modular truss of the invention comprises a number of generally tri-lateral truss components that are interconnected with common construction fasteners. Each tri-lateral member has first and second elongated side chords and an elongated base chord. Each chord has two opposing ends. A first end of the first side chord is connected with a second end of the second side chord, while a first end of the second side chord is connected with a second end of the base chord, and a first end of the base chord is connected with a second end of the first chord. The three chords thereby define a generally tri-lateral member.

[0006] In one aspect of the invention a parallel chord truss may be built up of generally tri-lateral truss components. This is accomplished by arranging a series of truss components in alternating upright and upside down orientations with adjacent side chords abutting one another. That is, a first truss component may be oriented in a first, upright position. A second truss component is placed adjacent the first and in an inverted, second, or upside down orientation. Thus, a side chord on each of the first and second truss components will abut the side chord on the other of the first and second truss components. A third truss component is then positioned in an upright orientation adjacent the second, inverted truss component, and the built up truss is constructed by continuing this sequence of adding truss components.

[0007] In another aspect of the invention, a triangular truss may be built up of the generally trilateral truss components. To construct a triangular truss, the truss components are oriented uniformly and stacked upon one another in a pyramid.

[0008] These and other features, objects, and benefits of the invention will be recognized by one having ordinary skill in the art and by those who practice the invention, from this disclosure.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWING

[0009] FIG. 1 is an exploded perspective view, showing a number of truss components according to the invention;

[0010] FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a triangular chord truss that is built up of three truss components according to the invention;

[0011] FIG. 3 is a fragmentary side elevational view of a parallel chord truss that is built up of a series of truss components in alternating orientation according to the invention; and

[0012] FIG. 4 is a fragmentary side elevational view of a parallel chord truss that is built up of an alternative assembly of a series of truss components in alternating orientation according to the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0013] A preferred embodiment of a modular truss system according to the invention is generally shown in the drawing figures and discussed below. The system of the invention comprises a number of truss components or modules 10 and a number of fasteners that interconnect the truss components. More specifically, each truss component 10 may be a triangular or tri-lateral member having first and second elongated side chord 12 and 14, respectively, and an elongated base or third chord 16. Each of the chords 12, 14, and 16 may alternatively be referred to as a member, an element, or a stick, for example. They are perhaps most accurately considered chords, however. One having ordinary skill in the art understands that the term “chord” is a fundamental term of the structural art. Most commonly, a chord is a slender structural member that extends along a line between two terminal points. As such, while a chord will have a given section modulus, a chord is substantially a one dimensional element, namely, an element of length.

[0014] One having ordinary skill in the art also understands that building construction presently draws substantially from three distinct approaches or genre, including block construction, stick built construction, and stress skin construction. Block construction was used extensively in early history as is demonstrated in the pyramids of Egypt and central America, the castles of Europe, and in various structure of the Greek and the Roman empires, for example. Contemporary block construction is substantially practiced by masons in the forms of poured in place concrete and pre-cast concrete, including concrete and cinder block walls, for example. In a very elementary imagery, Lego™ and Duplo™ building blocks and Lincoln Log™ are block-type construction toys.

[0015] Stick built construction is equally old and is presently the most popular method of construction in the United States. Stick built construction is evident in commercial construction in which steel posts and beams define a skeletal frame on which an exterior decorative weather barrier or sheathing is hung, which supports floor structures, and which supports interior stud framed partitions or walls. While residential building construction may imitate the commercial building and will commonly use wood in place of steel, the clearly dominate home construction remains stick built frame construction. Frame construction uses dimensional lumber sticks, including two by fours, two by sixes, two by eights, and so on, that are skillfully combined into a structure. Most commonly, two by four or two by six sticks are framed as studs in a so called stud wall. Substantially non-structural sheathing, including foam board, is commonly used as an exterior thermal barrier on the stud walls. Another substantially non-structural sheathing, typically dry wall board, is commonly used to cover or close interior partition walls. Thus, the essential structural elements in stick built construction are the sticks, the posts, the beams, the studs, and ergo the name stick built. The sheathing is substantially non-structural and provides other purposes, including thermal, sound, and visual barriers, for example. An elementary imagery of stick construction may be had with Tinker Toy™ and K'nex™ stick and fastener building sets.

[0016] Stress skin construction essentially uses structural panels that are interconnected. Stress skin panels integrate structure and sheathing in one module. Stress skin construction may be considered a generally more sophisticated construction approach. An advantage of stress skin construction is an efficiency of materials in that the materials more equally serve multiple uses, structural and thermal, for example, not primarily just one task. On the other hand, while block and stick constructions naturally lend themselves to “one off” or custom building, stress skin construction may be best effected with an accumulation of resources and a mass production of building. Alternatively, efficient stress skin construction may impose a conformity of building to a standardized stress skin module. An elementary imagery of stress skin construction is a house of playing cards, although this belies the structural integrity of stress skin construction unless the cards are securely interconnected.

[0017] One having ordinary skill in the art understands the inherent differences and the interactions and interrelations of these fundamentally different building methods. Thus, while one or another method may be effectively substituted regarding a given structural task, and the methods may be combined to accomplish a desired structure, these building methods are fundamentally different.

[0018] Each of the side 12, 14 and the base 16 chords has two opposing ends and are interconnected at the ends. A first end of the first side chord 12 is connected with a second end of the second side chord 14, while a first end of the second side chord is connected with a second end of the base chord 16, and a first end of the base chord is connected with a second end of the first side chord. Thus, the chords or elements 12, 14, and 16 are interconnected and inherently define a generally planar, that is substantially two-dimensional, triangular truss module 10.

[0019] One having ordinary skill in the art will appreciate that each of the chords 12, 14, and 16 inherently has two opposing ends and has a length that extends between the two opposing ends, and that the length extends along a line. Further, each chord 12, 14, and 16 has a width that extends perpendicular to the length and has a depth that extends perpendicular to the length and to the width. And further, the width and the depth are negligible and essentially exist only as required by a predetermined section modulus that is defined according to a preselected structural loading of each stick 12, 14, and 16. It also noted that the truss module 10 has a length that generally coincides with the length of the base chord 16.

[0020] While the ends of the various chords may be connected in a sharply pointed apex configuration, they are more preferably connected to define a flat surface apex, as is generally shown in the drawing figures. More specifically, flat surfaces 22 and 24 are defined at opposing ends of base chord 16. The surfaces 22 and 24 are also oriented generally perpendicular to the line of the base chord 16. The side chords 12 and 14 are connected to define a flat surface 26 that is generally parallel with the base chord 16.

[0021] Each truss component 10 may be constructed of any suitable structural material by any method that is appropriate to the material chosen. In one form, the chords 12, 14 and 16 may be rolled or extruded channel metal or plastic members that are riveted, glued, or welded together, for example. The chords 12, 14 and 16 may also be tubular members that are interconnected according to their fabrication material, as will be understood by one having ordinary skill in the art. In another form, the chords 12, 14 and 16 may be lengths of dimensional lumber that are interconnected with nailing plates as is commonly known for conventional, open web trusses, or are interconnected with adhesives is commonly known for engineered wood elements, for example. One configuration of a fabricated wood element may include without limitation a triangular web port, which may be cut from a sheet of plywood, and a perimeter flange. In yet another form, the tri-lateral truss component 10 may be a one piece molded member. Of course, one having ordinary skill in the art will appreciate that these examples are not limiting and that a truss component 10 may be constructed in many other ways and of many other structural materials.

[0022] In use, any number of truss components may be interconnected to build up a larger structural truss member. For example, a small triangular truss (FIG. 2) may be built up of three truss components 10 that are uniformly oriented, with a length of each module 10 aligned and each module extending in the same general direction. Put another way, the base chords 16 are generally parallel and the truss modules 10 extend in the same general direction from their respective base chord element 16. The surfaces 22 and 24 of adjacent truss components 10 are abutted together, as shown in the lower or first tier of trilateral members 10 in drawing FIG. 2. The base chords 16 of the upper or second tier of tri-lateral members 10 rests upon and abuts the surfaces 26 of the lower or first tier truss components 10. The resulting built up triangular truss has a length or span that extends at least between a pair of supports as is schematically shown by reaction forces R1 and R2 (FIG. 2). One having ordinary skill in the art will understand that a larger triangular truss may be built up with the use of more truss components 10 that are also uniformly oriented and connected together.

[0023] The generally tri-lateral truss component members 10 are interconnected with fasteners that are suitable to the construction of the truss components used. Welding or riveting would be appropriate for truss components that are constructed of extruded or rolled channel, for example. Alternatively, nailing or gluing may be appropriate for wood or plastic truss components 10, for example. Thus, specific fasteners are not shown. Rather, the likely areas where commonly known and suitable fasteners are expected to be used to interconnect the several component members or modules 10 are generally indicated in the drawing figures with the reference number 30.

[0024] In an alternative arrangement, a parallel chord truss may be constructed of the generally trilateral truss component members 10 (FIG. 3). By arranging a number of the truss components 10 in an alternating orientation sequence, the base chords 16 of adjacent truss components define the opposing parallel chords of a parallel chord open web truss. More specifically, about half of the truss modules 10 are uniformly oriented with their respective base chords 16 laying coaxially and extending along a first common reference line. This first about half of the truss components 10 have the surface 26 extending in a first given direction relative to the third or base chords 16. The remaining or second about half of the truss modules 10 are uniformly oriented with their respective base chords 16 laying coaxially and extending along a second common reference line. The first and second reference lines are generally parallel with one another. The second half of the truss components 10 have the surface 26 extending in a second direction that is generally opposite to the first direction. A deeper parallel cord truss may be constructed by squeezing the truss components 10 together lengthwise, to abut the end surfaces 22 and 24 of adjacent and like oriented truss members 10 (FIG. 4).

[0025] In a second alternative arrangement, a parallel chord truss may also be constructed of the generally tri-lateral truss component members 10 by the arrangement of the modular truss members 10 as discussed above regarding the first arrangement for a triangular truss. That is, a number of truss components 10 may be uniformly oriented, with the connection between the first end of the first side chord and the second end of the second side chord extending in a given direction relative to the third or base chord, and interconnected to define a first tier. The surfaces 22 and 24 of adjacent truss components 10 are abutted together, as shown in the lower or first tier of tri-lateral members 10 in drawing FIG. 2.

[0026] A second tier, substantially the same as the first tier, may be fabricated and connected to the first tier, with the base chords 16 of the upper or second tier of tri-lateral members 10 resting upon and abutting the surfaces 26 of the lower or first tier truss components 10. Thus, all of the modular truss components 10 are uniformly oriented, with the connection between the first end of the first side chord and the second end of the second side chord extending in a given direction relative to the third or base chord. To complete the built up truss, an elongated chord is connected to the second tier, with the elongated chord abutting the surfaces 26 of the second truss components 10.

[0027] One having ordinary skill in the art and those who practice the invention will understand from this disclosure that various modifications and improvements may be made without departing from the spirit of the disclosed inventive concept. One will also understand that various relational terms, including left, right, front, back, top, and bottom, for example, are used in the detailed description of the invention and in the claims only to convey relative positioning of various elements of the claimed invention. The scope of protection afforded is to be determined by the claims and by the breadth of interpretation allowed by law.