Title:
Lavatory sink setter
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A device for the undercounter installation of a lavatory sink. The device includes a crossbrace piece having a coupling member and a hanger arm having a securement member. The crossbrace piece and the hanger arm interengage to form a cruciform structure, such that the coupling member and the securement member are retractable with respect to one another. A method of using the device is also disclosed.



Inventors:
Feilmoser, Michael (Pleasant Hill, CA, US)
Fahy, David (Foster City, CA, US)
Application Number:
10/171420
Publication Date:
01/23/2003
Filing Date:
06/06/2002
Assignee:
FEILMOSER MICHAEL
FAHY DAVID
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47B77/06; A47K1/05; B25B13/48; E03C1/33; (IPC1-7): A47K1/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
NGUYEN, TUAN N
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
DORSEY & WHITNEY (San Francisco, CA, US)
Claims:

I claim:



1. A device for the undercounter installation of a lavatory sink comprising: a) a crossbrace piece comprising a coupling member; and b) a hanger arm comprising a securement member; wherein said crossbrace piece and said hanger arm interengage to form a cruciform structure, such that said coupling member and said securement member are retractable with respect to one another.

2. A device according to claim 1 wherein said hanger arm fits into said crossbrace piece for storage.

3. A device according to claim 1 wherein said crossbrace piece further comprises padding at each end.

4. A device according to claim 1 wherein said crossbrace piece comprises a hole into which the hanger arm will fit.

5. A device according to claim 4 wherein said hanger arm is threaded for threadingly engaging said hanger arm.

6. A device according to claim 5 wherein said coupling member comprises a nut for threadingly engaging said hanger arm.

7. A device according to claim 6 wherein said nut comprises at least one toggle.

8. A device according to claim 1 wherein said securement member comprises a wingnut for threadingly engaging said hanger arm.

9. A method of installing an undercounter lavatory sink comprising: a) placing a crossbrace piece comprising a coupling member on a counter; b) affixing a hanger arm comprising a securement member to said crossbrace piece, to form a cruciform structure; c) engaging an undercounter lavatory sink and said hanger arm with said securement member; d) drawing said securement member and said coupling member toward each other to form a tight fit between said counter and said lavatory sink; and e) securing said lavatory sink to said counter.

10. A method according to claim 9 further comprising adding caulking to seal said sink and counter.

Description:

[0001] This application claims priority to U.S. Ser. No. 60/296,556 filed Jun. 6, 2001.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0002] The invention is generally directed to an apparatus and methods for facile and rapid undercounter installation of lavatory sinks in countertops.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0003] The combination of design, fragility and weight of articles such as porcelain basins, lavatories or sinks result in certain installation problems. In general, the undercounter installation of lavatory sinks requires two people. One person supports the fixture from above, generally by inserting their fingers into the drain hole, and the second person lies on their back, underneath the countertop, and attaches the support clips to hold the sink in place. The drain apparatus is then installed, which can result in further movement of the of the fixture, and the adhesive caulking is added. Any movement during the set up of the caulking can require additional work by adding more caulking to perfect the seal of the caulking.

[0004] Accordingly, it is an object of the present invention to provide methods and compositions for the facile and rapid undercounter installation of lavatory sinks into countertops.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0005] FIGS. 1A, 1B and 1C depict components of the “two component” system. FIG. 1A depicts the crossbrace 10 with optional padding 15 and a component of the coupling member, in this case hole 20. FIG. 1 B depicts the hanger arm 30 with coupling member component 25 and securement member 40. In this case, the hanger arm is threaded and the coupling member screws down to tighten. FIG. 1C depicts a different hanger arm 30 that has a stationary coupling member 26 that is used to hold the crossbrace 10 in position. In FIG. 1C, the tightening occurs through the use of a mobile securement member 45.

[0006] FIG. 2 depicts the two component system in place at an undercounter sink. The countertop 55 with underhung sink 50 serves as the support form the assembled two component device.

[0007] FIG. 3 depicts a “one component” system comprising a crossbrace 10, optional padding 15, hanging arm 30, coupling member 25 and securement member 40. Preferably, either the coupling member 25 or the securement member 40 is mobile to allow tightening of the system.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0008] The present invention is directed to compositions for the undercounter installation of lavatory sinks. In general, a two person installation of a lavatory sink takes roughly at least 5 minutes, and frequently requires additional adjustments if there is any movement of the sink during installation. In addition, the sink must be precisely centered. In contrast, the devices of the present invention allow a single person to install a sink in roughly 2 minutes, resulting in a labor savings of at least 80%.

[0009] Accordingly, the present invention provides devices for the undercounter installation of lavatory sinks comprising a crossbrace piece comprising a coupling member and a hanger arm comprising a securement member. The crossbrace and the hanger arm are affixed together to form a cruciform structure, perpendicular to each other, to hold the sink up against the underside of the counter. Thus, the crossbrace and the hanger arm are configured to allow the installation of a sink. The coupling member is used to form the cruciform structure, and optionally to adjust the height of the hanger arm to allow a snug fit of the sink against the underside of the counter. The hanger arm is inserted through the drain hole in the sink, and the securement member is used to hold the sink on the hanger arm. Optionally, the securement member is adjustable, to allow the sink to form a tight contact with the underside of the counter. Thus, the coupling member and the securement member are retractable with respect to each other; that is, they can be drawn toward each other to allow the sink to be held firmly in place.

[0010] Accordingly, the devices of the invention comprise a crossbrace piece comprising a coupling member. The crossbrace piece rests on the top of the counter, and is generally a rod, and preferably a hollow rod or pipe, particularly when the device is to be taken apart and fitted together for storage, as outlined below. The crossbrace piece can be made of a variety of materials, including metals, plastics and other polymers, including polycarbonate, polyvinylchloride (PVC), etc. Preferred embodiments include, but are not limited to, steel, brass or copper pipes or rods, including galvanized or black steel. The crossbrace and hanger arm can be made of round, square or other shaped pieces.

[0011] The diameter of the of rod will vary depending on the strength of the material used, as it should be sufficiently strong to hold the weight of the sink and hanger arm. Rods or pipes having outside diameters ranging from approximately 0.5 inch to 3 inches or more can be used, with from about 0.75 to about 1.00 inch being preferred.

[0012] The length of the crossbrace piece will vary with the size of the sinks to be installed. In general, the length ranges from about 18 inches to about 36 inches, with about 24 inches being preferred.

[0013] The crossbrace piece comprises a coupling member, which is used to affix the hanger arm, either temporarily (e.g. when the device is to be taken apart for storage) or permanently. In a preferred embodiment, the coupling member comprises two components: a hole in the crossbrace piece and a rod coupling device. The hole in the crossbrace is placed perpendicularly to the crossbrace, to allow the hanger arm to be inserted through the crossbrace for holding the sink in place. The coupling member also comprises a rod coupling device, which can take on a variety of forms, as will be appreciated by those in the art. For example, it may comprise standard rod couplings, threaded nuts, wing nuts, heavy hex nuts, split nuts, spring type threaded toggles, etc. In general, the coupling member allows the coupling of the hanger arm, perpendicular to the crossbrace, with a way to adjust and tighten the hanger arm within the crossbrace. However, in some embodiments, adjustment of the hanger arm within or next to the crossbrace need not be required; for example, if the crossbrace and hanger arm fit snuggly and immovably together, tightening adjustments may be made from the securement member at the bottom of the hanger arm. Similarly, as outlined below, the securement member may not be adjustable, requiring that the coupling member be adjustable: the invention requires a method of providing a close fit between the sink and the underside of the counter for installation.

[0014] In other embodiments, the crossbrace piece can comprise other means for attaching the hanger arm. For example, the coupling member may comprise an additional piece affixed (e.g. welded) to one side of the crossbrace, that can be used to attach the hanger arm, again either temporarily or permanently. For example, the hanger arm may have an extension or protrusion that fits into a fitting on the crossbrace (e.g. male-female fittings, etc.).

[0015] In a preferred embodiment, the crossbrace further comprises padding at one or both ends. This can serve a variety of purposes, including decreasing slippage and protecting the countertop surface. Any number of suitable materials can be used, including, but not limited to, bike handlebar grips, plastics and other polymers, rubbers, silicones, carpet, vinyl, insulation materials, etc. In the case where the device is to be stored, care should be taken that the padding does not cover the ends of the crossbrace to allow the insertion of the hanger arm.

[0016] The device further comprises a hanger arm comprising a securement member. As for the crossbrace piece, the hanger arm can be made of a variety of materials, including metals, plastics and other polymers, including polycarbonate, polyvinylchloride (PVC), etc. Preferred embodiments include, but are not limited to, steel or copper pipe, including galvanized or black steel.

[0017] The diameter of the of rod will vary depending on the strength of the material used and the size of the crossbrace piece, as it should be sufficiently strong to hold the weight of the sink. In addition, if the hanger arm is to be inserted into a hole in the crossbrace, it should be of a diameter small enough to be inserted to the crossbrace. Accordingly, hanger arms generally range in diameter from approximately 0.25 inch to 1 inch or more can be used, with from about 0.5 to about 0.75 inch being preferred.

[0018] The length of the hanger arm will vary with the size of the sinks to be installed. In general, the length ranges from about 18 inches to about 36 inches, with about 28 inches being preferred.

[0019] The hanger arm comprises a securement member that is used to hold the sink on the device. As will be appreciated by those in the art, the securement member can comprise a number of different structures depending on a variety of factors. In a preferred embodiment, the hanger arm is threaded, and thus the securement member includes rod coupling, nuts, hex nuts, wing nuts, split nuts, etc. If the hanger arm is not threaded, other types of securememtn members can be used, including clamping members, flanged systems, etc.

[0020] The invention further provides methods of installing an undercounter lavatory sink. The method comprises placing the crossbrace piece on the counter, over the hole for the sink. Preferably, the crossbrace already has the hanger arm attached, forming a cruciform structure. The sink is then placed on the hanger arm from below, and either or both of the coupling or securement members are tightened, e.g. drawn towards one another, to bring the sink flush with the underside of the counter. The support clips are then attached. The device can then be removed, or it can be left in place while the optional caulking is done.

[0021] As will be appreciated by those in the art, some of these steps can be done in different orders. For example, the sink may first be placed on the hanger arm, the crossbrace put in place, and then the hanger arm attached to the crossbrace using the coupling member.

[0022] The following examples serve to more fully describe the manner of using the above-described invention, as well as to set forth the best modes contemplated for carrying out various aspects of the invention. It is understood that these examples in no way serve to limit the true scope of this invention, but rather are presented for illustrative purposes. All references cited herein are incorporated by reference.

EXAMPLES

[0023] A 24 inch piece of ¾ schedule 40 steel pipe (galvanized or black) was drilled at its center with a {fraction (9/16)} inch diameter hole perpendicular through the pipe (e.g. the crossbrace piece). Cushioned bike grips were installed over the ends (with the ends cut off to expose the hollowness of the pipe length). A 28 inch piece of ½ incch threaded rod (the hanger arm) was machined at one end. One side was ground down {fraction (3/16)} by ⅕ inches long and the opposite was ground down to to {fraction (1/16)} by ⅕ inch long. This allowed a piece of ⅛ inch thick steel, ¼ inch wide by 2 inches long to be attached to the macined end using a rivet through a drilled hole, thus creating a swivel/toggle effect.

[0024] The other end of the hanger arm rod was fitted with a standard rod coupling, which had a ¼ inche round by 2 inch long piece of round stock welded to each side to create a substantial wing nut effect for ease of adjustment. The hanger arm rod was then inserted through the hole in the crossbrace, and used to install a sink.

[0025] Once the work was complete, the hanger arm was inserted longitudinally through the crossbrace, the toggle flipped and the adjustment nut secured to keep the tool streamlined for storage or dormant use.