Title:
Aluminum universal angle brackets
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A mounting bracket for mounting a rail to a post comprising: a mounting means connectable to the post in a first plane; a bracket for supporting the rail in a second plane; and an angle variation means disposed between the mounting means and the bracket, whereby the angle variation means allows the orientation of the first plane with respect to the second plane to be varied; and whereby the mounting bracket is comprised of aluminum.



Inventors:
Sheppard, Paul (White Rock, CA)
(NON-SIGNING),R. WEST ?amp; ASSOCIATES INC. (SURREY, CA)
Application Number:
10/177638
Publication Date:
12/25/2003
Filing Date:
06/20/2002
Assignee:
SHEPPARD PAUL
(NON-SIGNING) R. WEST ?AMP; ASSOCIATES INC.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E04F11/18; (IPC1-7): E04H17/14
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
MACARTHUR, VICTOR L
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Sheridan Ross PC (Denver, CO, US)
Claims:

We claim:



1. A mounting bracket for mounting a rail to a post comprising: a mounting means connectable to the post in a first plane; a bracket means for supporting the rail in a second plane; and an angle variation means disposed between said mounting means and said bracket means, whereby said angle variation means allows the orientation of the first plane with respect to the second plane to be varied; and whereby said mounting bracket is comprised of aluminum.

2. The mounting bracket of claim 1 wherein said angle variation means comprises an axial connection between said mounting means and said bracket.

3. The mounting bracket of claim 2, wherein said axial connection allows rotation of said bracket in a substantially horizontal plane with respect to said mounting means.

4. The mounting bracket of claim 2, wherein said axial connection allows rotation of said bracket in a substantially vertical plane with respect to said mounting means.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0001] The present invention relates to angled mounting brackets for railings or fences, and more specifically to aluminum mounting brackets for railing.

BACKGROUND TO THE INVENTION

[0002] The present invention relates to brackets to be installed between a post and a rail, and in particular to metal railings. Such railing are well known in the art, and one example of this type of railing is taught by U.S. Pat. No. 3,955,800 to Russo. Russo teaches an extruded aluminum railing in which lower railings are affixed to posts using brackets.

[0003] A difficulty in installing metal railings arises with regard to the shape of the area around which the railings are placed. Areas which need railings, such as raised decks, walkways, etc., are often irregularly shaped. This is sometimes done for aesthetic reasons or to accommodate a building or other obstacles. One challenge in installing railings in these areas is affixing the horizontal rails to a post when there is an irregular angle change at the post.

[0004] Similar problems exist for stairways. Even when complying with building codes, staircases can be more or less steep depending on the height of the risers and depth of the runners. Moreover, building codes have strict requirements about how a railing must be installed on stairways, restricting the flexibility of these installations. The problem for stairways is again how to precisely affix a rail to a post when the angle at which the rail needs to descend can vary.

[0005] The above problems increase when a railing system is sold as a kit for the Do-it-Yourself market. In that case, the installer is not a professional and precise angles may be difficult to attain for the installer.

[0006] One solution to the above problem that is still practiced by the majority of suppliers is to custom weld angle brackets at the place of manufacture to meet a customer's needs. However, this is an expensive remedy, since each bracket is required to be custom made to meet a customer's requirements. Further, the installer will need to measure the angle precisely to ensure a correct fit, which is a problem when dealing with non-professional installers.

[0007] A better solution to the above problem is to create brackets which may be custom configured by the installer. While this is not generally done in the industry, Regal Aluminum Products Ltd. has for several years sold a bracket in which the angle in one plane can be adjusted by an installer. The problem with this bracket is that it is made of a zinc alloy which does not provide sufficient quality nor longevity to meet customer demands. However, because such a bracket must be low in cost yet fairly complex in design, it has heretofore not been considered feasible to fabricate it from other durable materials, and fabrication from plastics has not yielded an acceptable product.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0008] The present invention overcomes the shortcomings of the prior art by providing a rail mounting bracket which allows a user to adjust the angle in one plane to accommodate irregular horizontal comers or varied descents such as with different staircases. The present invention further provides higher quality by redesigning prior art brackets to allow aluminum to be used. Aluminum, the utility of which is unexpected, increases the quality and durability of brackets.

[0009] The present invention therefore provides a mounting bracket for mounting a rail to a post comprising: a mounting means connectable to the post in a first plane; a bracket means for supporting the rail in a second plane; and an angle variation means disposed between said mounting means and said bracket means, whereby said angle variation means allows the orientation of the first plane with respect to the second plane to be varied; and whereby said mounting bracket is comprised of aluminum,

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0010] FIG. 1 is an elevational view of an upper bracket in the preferred embodiment of the present invention;

[0011] FIG. 2 is an elevational view of a lower bracket in the preferred embodiment of the present invention;

[0012] FIG. 3 is a plan view of a railing system of the present invention when used for a vertical descent;

[0013] FIG. 4 is a side perspective view of a portion of the railing system of FIG. 3; and

[0014] FIG. 5 is a front perspective view of the railing system of the present invention when used for a horizontal angle change.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0015] Reference is now made to the drawings. An upper bracket assembly 1 and lower bracket assembly 2 are best seen in FIGS. 1 and 2 respectively. As will be seen in the figures, many of the characteristics of each of bracket assemblies 1 and 2 are identical, and like numerals are used to designate like components.

[0016] Bracket assemblies 1 and 2 are mounted to a post 30 using mounting plate 10. Mounting plate 10 consists of a metal plate with a substantially flat back. Bolt or screw holes are formed in plate 10 to permit the plate 10 to be fastened to a post 30 by suitable bolts or screws 14.

[0017] Mounting plate 10 further includes a first hinge element 16, used to hingedly connect the mounting plate 10 to an upper or lower rail bracket 20 or 22. Hinge element 16 comprises two metal ears which are substantially parallel to one another extending from the face of mounting plate 10. Holes are formed in hinge element 16 transverse to the outer surface thereof to accommodate hinge pins 18.

[0018] Rail brackets 20 and 22 are used to support upper rail 32 and lower rail 34 respectively, and both include a second hinge element 24 consisting of a short stub which fits concisely within first hinge element. Second hinge element 24 has a hole therein aligned with the first hinge element 16 to receive hinge pins 18. Pins 18 are the only connection between brackets 20 and 22 and mounting flanges 16. It will be understood that either one long hinge pin or two short hinge pins 18 (as illustrated) may be used.

[0019] Bracket assemblies 1 and 2 can be used to adjust the vertical angle of a rail, as shown in FIGS. 3 and 4, or the horizontal angle of a rail with respect to a post, as shown in FIG. 5. The use will depend on the way in which mounting plate 10 is affixed to a post 30. If mounting bracket 10 is affixed such that pin 18 is horizontal, bracket assemblies 1 and 2 will be used to adjust the vertical angle. Conversely, if pin 18 is vertical, bracket assemblies I and 2 will be used to adjust the horizontal angle.

[0020] One skilled in the art will realize that if a rail does not have the same diameter or shape vertically as horizontally, brackets 20 and 22 will also need to be adjusted depending on whether the bracket is being used to change the vertical or horizontal angle. This is accomplished through the orientation of the hole in second hinge element 24 for receiving hinge pin 18.

[0021] FIGS. 3 and 4 show the use of bracket assemblies 1 and 2 for staircases. In a preferred embodiment, bracket assemblies 1 and 2 are affixed as follows. First, top and bottom posts 30 are mounted at desired locations on step treads. Next, bracket assemblies 1 and 2 are mounted to posts 30 while maintaining a standard 28⅝″ (approximately 72.7 cm) between respective mounting plates 10. The height the plates are mounted to the posts is determined by the building code of a specific region, but in general the top rail 32 height shall not be less than 34″ or greater than 36″ (approximately 86 to 91 cm) above tread nosing. The location of top and bottom posts 30 on the stair tread will determine overall height of top rail 32.

[0022] FIG. 5 shows the present invention when used to change a horizontal angle. This might be used on a deck where the angle between one side of the deck and another is not, for example, 90 degrees.

[0023] In a preferred embodiment, bracket assemblies 1 and 2 are installed as follows. Lower bracket assembly 2 is attached to post 30 with a space of 1⅝″ (approximately 4.1 cm) from the ground to bottom of its mounting plate 10. Then upper bracket assembly 1 is mounted 35½″ (approximately 90.2 cm) above lower bracket assembly 2. Lower rail 34 and upper rail 32 can then be affixed to lower bracket assembly 2 and upper bracket assembly 1 respectively, as shown in FIG. 5.

[0024] Unlike prior angled mounting brackets, the present bracket is made with aluminum. This presents the significant advantage of increased quality and longevity and the present bracket is therefore superior to prior angled brackets.

[0025] The above-described embodiments of the present invention are meant to be illustrative of preferred embodiments and are not intended to limit the scope of the present invention. It is envisioned, for example, that other uses for the aluminum brackets exist, including using the brackets for aluminum fencing. Also, various modifications, which would be readily apparent to one skilled in the art, are intended to be within the scope of the present invention. The only limitations to the scope of the present invention are set forth in the following claims appended hereto.