Title:
Interconnectable studs and tracks for a building system
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Studs and tracks that easily and quickly interconnect to form structural panels or frames for a building system are provided. Studs have an extension extending from each end of the stud, and tracks have slot-like structures that are shaped and dimensioned to receive the stud extensions. Upon simply sliding stud extensions into respective slot-like structures of upper and lower tracks, various types of structural panels and frames can be easily and quickly formed.



Inventors:
Sucre, Alfredo F. J. (El Hatillo, VE)
Application Number:
09/851406
Publication Date:
02/21/2002
Filing Date:
05/08/2001
Assignee:
SUCRE F. ALFREDO J.
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
52/481.1
International Classes:
E04B1/24; E04C2/34; E04C3/02; E04C3/07; E04C3/11; E04C3/30; E04C3/04; (IPC1-7): E04C2/34; E04C3/30
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
GREEN, CHRISTY MARIE
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
ROPES & GRAY LLP (BOSTON, MA, US)
Claims:

I claim:



1. A stud that provides vertical support in a building structure, said stud comprising: first and second parallel sides spaced a distance apart, each parallel side having a first end and a second end; a pair of end segments perpendicularly joined to said first ends of said first and second parallel sides and located within the space created between said first and second parallel sides; a third side connecting said second ends of said first and second parallel sides; and an extension extending from said third side in a direction substantially parallel in plan view to said first and second sides.

2. The stud of claim 1 wherein said extension extends within a perimeter formed by said first, second, and third sides.

3. The stud of claim 1 wherein said extension extends outside a perimeter formed by said first, second, and third sides.

4. The stud of claim 1 wherein said extension extends from said third side at a longitudinal end of said stud.

5. The stud of claim 1 further comprising a second extension extending from said third side.

6. The stud of claim 5 wherein said first extension extends from said third side at one longitudinal end of said stud, and said second extension extends from said third side at the other longitudinal end of said stud.

7. The stud of claim 1 wherein said extension has a thickness and is substantially flat.

8. The stud of claim 1 wherein said extension has an incline.

9. The stud of claim 1 wherein said extension extends from said third side at substantially about 90°.

10. The stud of claim 1 wherein said extension has a notch for receiving a correspondingly dimensioned tab.

11. The stud of claim 1 wherein said extension has a hook-like structure.

12. The stud of claim 1 further comprising a slot-like structure on said third side, said slot-like structure shaped and dimensioned to receive an extension of another stud.

13. A stud for non-vertical assembly in a building structure, said stud comprising: first and second parallel sides spaced a distance apart, each said parallel side having a first end and a second end; a third side connecting said first ends of said first and second parallel sides; and a slot-like structure on said third side.

14. The stud of claim 13 wherein said slot-like structure comprises a narrow enclosure having an opening.

15. The stud of claim 13 wherein said slot-like structure comprises a slot punched through said third side.

16. The stud of claim 13 wherein said slot-like structure comprises two spaced-apart substantially parallel sides, each said side having a ledge extending substantially perpendicularly from the top of said side towards the other said ledge, said sides and said ledges running substantially parallel to said first and second sides of said stud.

17. The stud of claim 13 further comprising a plurality of said slot-like structures.

18. The stud of claim 17 wherein each of said slot-like structures is spaced at regular intervals along said third side.

19. The stud of claim 13 wherein said slot-like structure comprises a tab, said tab dimensioned to be received in a correspondingly dimensioned notch.

20. The stud of claim 13 further comprising an extension extending from said third side, said extension shaped and dimensioned to be received in a slot-like structure of another stud.

21. A structural panel for use in a building system comprising: a vertical stud having first and second parallel sides and a third side connecting said first and second parallel sides, said vertical stud having at least one extension extending from said third side; and a second stud having first and second parallel sides and a third side connecting said first and second parallel sides, said second stud having a slot-like structure dimensioned and shaped to receive said extension; wherein: said extension of said stud is inserted in said slot-like structure of said second stud, said second stud forming a non-vertical member of said panel.

22. The panel of claim 21 further comprising a third stud having first and second parallel sides and a third side connecting said first and second parallel sides, said third stud having a slot-like structure dimensioned and shaped to receive said extension; wherein: said vertical stud has a second extension; and said second extension is inserted in said slot-like structure of said third stud, said third stud forming a second non-vertical member of said panel.

23. The panel of claim 22 wherein: said extensions of said vertical stud are at respective longitudinal ends of said vertical stud; said second stud forms a substantially horizontal upper track; and said third stud forms a substantially horizontal lower track.

24. The panel of claim 21 wherein said second stud forms a substantially horizontal track.

25. The panel of claim 21 wherein said slot-like structure comprises a narrow enclosure having an opening, and said extension has a thickness and is substantially flat.

26. The panel of claim 21 wherein said slot-like structure comprises two spaced-apart substantially parallel sides, each said side having a ledge extending substantially perpendicularly from the top of said side towards the other said ledge, said sides and said ledges running substantially parallel to said first and second sides of said second stud; wherein the dimensions of an area formed between said sides and said ledges substantially equals the corresponding dimensions of said extension of said vertical stud.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

[0001] This claims the benefit of United States Provisional Application No. 60/203,272, filed May 8, 2000.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] This invention relates to construction of buildings. More particularly, this invention relates to a building system having studs and tracks that easily and quickly interconnect with one another.

[0003] The construction industry has long attempted to provide simple economical building systems that can be used to construct stable habitable structures in the shortest possible time. Many known systems, including traditional is stick-built (i.e., on-site construction with generally few or no pre-assembled components), modular, and prefabricated building systems, use vertical studs joined to non-vertical (e.g., horizontal) studs or tracks to form structural frames or panels. Each frame or prefabricated panel usually has an upper stud and a lower stud joined by at least one vertical stud. The upper and lower studs may be horizontally positioned to form square or rectangular sections or panels, or one or both may be angled to form sections or panels of different shapes.

[0004] A disadvantage of such construction is that the vertical and upper and lower studs are usually separate members that must be fastened together. Many fastening methods are known. For example, if the studs are wood, they can be nailed or screwed together. Metal connectors also can be used to fasten together two adjoining wood studs such as commonly seen on roof trusses. In metal frame construction, studs and tracks can be fastened together with male and female connection elements, which may also include a pin, screw, or other element to further secure the connection. Metallic studs and tracks also can be fastened together with third-piece connection elements. Each of these methods requires either additional materials, construction time, or both to fasten studs and tracks together to form structural panels or frames.

[0005] In view of the foregoing, it would be desirable to be able to provide studs and tracks that easily and quickly interconnect with one another to form sound structural panels or frames.

[0006] It would also be desirable to be able to provide studs and tracks that easily and quickly interconnect with one another without requiring additional fastening elements or time-consuming fastening procedures.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0007] It is an object of this invention to provide studs and tracks that easily and quickly interconnect with one another to form sound structural panels or frames.

[0008] It is also an object of this invention to provide studs and tracks that easily and quickly interconnect with one another without requiring additional fastening elements or time-consuming fastening procedures.

[0009] In accordance with this invention, interconnectable studs and tracks are provided that can be used for structural framing in many building systems, including stick-built, modular, and prefabricated building systems. Studs are provided that have an extension, or “tongue,” extending from a side of the stud. Tracks are provided that have a corresponding slot-like structure designed to receive the extension. The stud and track are easily and quickly interconnected by sliding the extension into the slot-like structure to form a portion of a panel or frame in which the stud is substantially vertically positioned and securely engaged within the non-vertical (typically horizontal) track. Other tracks and studs of the invention can then be similarly interconnected to complete the assembly of the panel or frame.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0010] The above and other objects and advantages of the invention will be apparent upon consideration of the following detailed description, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which like reference characters refer to like parts throughout, and in which:

[0011] FIG. 1 is a sectional perspective view of an embodiment of a stud and upper and lower tracks in accordance with the invention;

[0012] FIG. 2 is a cross-sectional plan view of an embodiment of a track and stud in accordance with the invention, the stud having an extension within the stud perimeter;

[0013] FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional elevational view of the track and stud of FIG. 2 taken along line 3-3;

[0014] FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional plan view of another embodiment of a track and stud in accordance with the invention, the stud having an extension outside the stud perimeter;

[0015] FIG. 5 is a cross-sectional elevational view of the track and stud of FIG. 4 taken along line 5-5;

[0016] FIG. 6 is a cross-sectional plan view of another embodiment of a stud in accordance with the invention;

[0017] FIG. 7 is a cross-sectional plan view of the stud of FIG. 6 and adjoining tracks in accordance with the invention;

[0018] FIG. 8 is a perspective view of another embodiment of a stud in accordance with the invention;

[0019] FIG. 9 is an elevational view of a structural frame having a non-horizontal track constructed in accordance with the invention;

[0020] FIG. 10 is a cross-sectional elevational view of a stud and upper track used to construct the frame of FIG. 9 in accordance with the invention;

[0021] FIG. 11 is a cross-sectional elevational view of another embodiment of a stud and tracks in accordance with the invention;

[0022] FIGS. 12 and 13 are cross-sectional plan views of other embodiments of studs and tracks in accordance with the invention;

[0023] FIGS. 14 and 15 are cross-sectional elevational views of still other embodiments of studs and tracks in accordance with the invention;

[0024] FIG. 16 is a plan view of another embodiment of a track in accordance with the invention;

[0025] FIG. 17 is a cross-sectional elevational view of the track of FIG. 16 taken along line 17-17;

[0026] FIG. 18 is a cross-sectional elevational view of another embodiment of a stud in accordance with the invention; and

[0027] FIG. 19 is a cross-sectional elevational view of still another embodiment of a stud in accordance with the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0028] The present invention provides interconnectable studs and tracks that are easily and quickly assembled to form structural panels or frames for use in industrial, commercial, or residential building systems, including stick-built, modular, and prefabricated building systems. A structural panel, which can be used, for example, to construct a wall, has at least one vertical stud joining an upper stud or track and a lower stud or track. (As used herein, a “track” is a structural member designed primarily for non-vertical use or a stud used in a non-vertical position.)

[0029] FIG. 1 shows an embodiment of a stud 102, an upper track 104, and a lower track 106 according to the invention. Stud 102 has two substantially parallel sides 108,109 spaced a distance apart. Preferably, a pair of end segments 110,111 is perpendicularly joined to sides 108,109 and located within the space created between sides 108,109. A third side 112 connects sides 108,109. Extensions 114a,b extend from third side 112 at preferably the longitudinal ends of stud 102 in a direction preferably substantially parallel (in plan view) to sides 108,109. Preferably, extensions 114a,b and stud 102 are formed as a single unit from a continuous piece of source material. Alternatively, any suitable method can be used to form extensions 114a,b on stud 102.

[0030] Upper track 104 also has two substantially parallel sides 116,117 and a top side 118 connecting sides 116,117 as shown. Formed on top side 118 is slot-like structure 120a. Slot-like structure 120a is preferably a narrow enclosure having an opening on the underside of top side 118 that is shaped and dimensioned to receive extension 114a. Slot-like structure 120a alternatively can be a slot through side 118, properly dimensioned to receive extension 114a. Slot-like structure 120a can be formed, for example, by stamping or punching a portion of side 118 through to the underside of side 118 (i.e., into the space surrounded by sides 116, 117, and 118). Alternatively, any suitable method can be used to form slot-like structure 120a on track 104.

[0031] Similarly, lower track 106 (which is structurally identical to upper track 104) has two substantially parallel sides 122,123 and a bottom side 124 connecting sides 122,123 as shown. Formed on bottom side 124 is slot-like structure 120b, which can be the same as, or similar to, slot-like structure 120a. Slot-like structure 120b is shaped and dimensioned to receive extension 114b.

[0032] Stud 102 and tracks 104 and 106 can be easily and quickly assembled to form a “c” shaped structure by simply sliding extensions 114a,b into respective slot-like structures 120a,b. Preferably, upper and lower tracks 104 and 106 each have a plurality of slot-like structures 120a,b located along their length at preferably regularly-spaced intervals, such as, for example, every 8″, 10″, 12″, or 16″. This allows additional vertical studs 102 to be assembled into the structure as needed, depending on that structure's intended location and function.

[0033] Extensions can extend from stud 102 in a number of ways. For example, as shown in FIGS. 2 and 3, extension 214 can extend from side 212 within the perimeter of stud 202, which is formed by sides 208, 209, and 212. Alternatively, extension 214 can continue to extend beyond the perimeter of stud 202 (not shown). In another embodiment according to the invention, an extension 414 as shown in FIGS. 4 and 5 extends from side 412 from outside the perimeter of stud 402, which is formed by sides 408, 409, and 412. To further improve positioning versatility of a stud within a track of the present invention, stud 602 is fabricated with both an inside extension 614i and an outside extension 614ii according to the invention, as shown in FIG. 6. Stud 602 can be advantageously positioned with side 612 facing either way within a track. Also, stud 602 can be advantageously used at a joint between two adjoining upper or lower tracks having appropriately dimensioned and spaced slot-like openings, as shown in FIG. 7. Assembly 700 includes stud 602 interconnected with two adjoining tracks 706i,706ii. Extension 614i is inserted into slot-like structure 720i of track 706i and extension 614ii is inserted into slot-like structure 720ii of track 706ii.

[0034] Studs of the present invention can have a different type of extension at each longitudinal end. For example, one embodiment has extension 214 at one end of the stud and extension 414 at the other end. Similarly, another embodiment has extensions 614i and 614ii at one end and extension 214 at the other end. Yet another embodiment has extensions 614i and 614ii at one end and extension 414 at the other end. (None of these embodiments are shown.)

[0035] Stud 102 and tracks 104 and 106 are preferably made of galvanized metal or stainless steel. However, other materials can be used. For example, solid wood, solid reinforced PVC, solid special plastics, waste-plastic composites, cellular fiber plastics, extruded structural components and derivatives, or any other solid materials, solid reinforced materials or hollow materials with the structural capacity and strength required for the construction of a habitable structure can be used.

[0036] In another embodiment of the present invention, vertical studs of other than metallic materials are used. This can be advantageous when, for example, material costs or shortages favor the use of appropriate non-metallic materials such as, for example, wood or suitable types of plastic. These non-metallic vertical studs can be used instead of or in addition to vertical metallic studs for interconnecting upper and lower tracks. Such non-metallic studs 802 can be fabricated with an appropriately shaped and dimensioned extension 814 fastened to one or preferably both of its ends as shown in FIG. 8. Extension 814 can be fastened to non-metallic stud 802 with either screws 826, nails, adhesives, or any other suitable fastener or fastening method. Extension 814 is preferably a galvanized metal or stainless steel, but other suitable materials can used.

[0037] As shown so far, stud extensions extend from the stud at substantially 90° (as measured from a stud's third side) to form panels or frames with substantially horizontal upper and lower tracks. In another embodiment of the invention, either or both the upper and lower tracks need not be horizontally positioned, as shown, for example, in FIGS. 9 and 10. Frame 900 includes a plurality of studs 902, non-horizontal upper track 904, and lower track 906. As shown in FIG. 10, extension 1014 extends from the longitudinal end of the stud preferably at substantially the same angle θ as the angle between non-horizontal track 904 and horizontal plane 1027, and accordingly, can be inserted into the slot-like structures 1020 of non-horizontal track 904.

[0038] In still another embodiment of the invention, studs and tracks include both extensions and slot-like structures to facilitate construction of different types of panels and frames. For example, FIG. 11 shows stud 1102 having extensions 1114a,b and slot-like structures 1120a,b. Extensions 1114a,b can be inserted into respective slot-like structures 1120c,d of respective upper and lower tracks 1104 and 1106, while slot-like structures 1120a,b can have corresponding respective extensions 1114c,d of respective tracks 1128 and 1130 inserted therein. Such studs and tracks can be used, for example, to frame a window within a wall structure.

[0039] Stud 1102 can have alternatively or additionally to slot-like structures 1120 additional extensions along its length. However, without additional support or reinforcement, the structural integrity of any interconnection of such additional extensions with appropriately dimensioned tracks may be limited.

[0040] The shapes of extensions and slot-like structures can be other than those shown in FIGS. 1-11 provided that the interconnectability between extensions and slot-like structures is maintained. For example, rather than have a “tongue-like” shape, extensions and slot-like structures can have shapes as shown in FIGS. 12 and 13.

[0041] In another embodiment of the present invention, extensions and slot-like structures can be fabricated with tabs and notches as shown in FIGS. 14 and 15. Thus, upon an appropriate amount of insertion into slot-like structure 1420 of track 1406, extension 1414 of stud 1402 is locked in place with tab 1432 seated in notch 1434. Similarly, stud 1502 is locked in place with tab 1532 seated in notch 1534 upon an appropriate amount of insertion of inclined extension 1514 into slot-like structure 1520 of track 1506. Preferably, the slot-like structure has a screw hole (or other suitable structure) to allow the slot-like structure to be pried upward such that the extension can be “unlocked,” that is, released and removed from the slot-like structure.

[0042] Although shown in FIGS. 1-15 as a generally narrow enclosure having an opening for receiving a stud extension, slot-like structures of the present invention can be alternatively of other designs. For example, FIGS. 16 and 17 show slot-like structure 1620 having two spaced-apart substantially parallel sides 1636,1637. Sides 1636,1637 have respective ledges 1738,1739 extending substantially perpendicularly toward each other from the top of sides 1636,1637. Sides 1636,1637 and ledges 1738,1739 run substantially parallel to the sides of track 1606 as shown in FIG. 16. The area 1740 formed between sides 1636,1637 and ledges 1738,1739 is dimensioned to receive correspondingly dimensioned stud extensions of the present invention. Alternatively, other suitable designs for slot-like structures can be used to receive stud extensions in accordance with the invention.

[0043] In yet other embodiments of the present invention, stud extensions have hook-like shapes such as those shown in FIGS. 18 and 19. Stud 1802 has hook-like extension 1814, which extends outside the perimeter of stud 1802, while stud 1902 has hook-like extension 1914, which extends within the perimeter of stud 1902. Extensions 1814 and 1914 advantageously can be “locked” in place upon insertion into a slot-like structure.

[0044] In sum, extensions and slot-like structures can be of correspondingly different lengths, shapes, dimensions, and designs, provided that the associated studs and tracks can be easily and quickly interconnected. Moreover, studs of the present invention can have various combinations of different extensions, and various combinations of extensions and slot-like structures. Similarly, tracks of the present invention can have various combinations of different slot-like structures, and various combinations of slot-like structures and extensions.

[0045] Lastly, studs and tracks of the present invention can have cross-sectional shapes other than those shown in FIGS. 1-19 provided that they can be fabricated with interconnectable extensions and slot-like structures as described and illustrated herein.

[0046] Thus it is seen that interconnectable studs and tracks for building systems are provided. One skilled in the art will appreciate that the present invention can be practiced by other than the described embodiments, which are presented for purposes of illustration and not of limitation, and the present invention is limited only by the claims which follow.