Title:
Captive fastener
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A fastener for a floor panel adapted to be secured to pedestal means wherein said fastener is operable to move to a position to fasten said floor panel to said pedestal means, and a position to permit withdrawal of said floor panel from said pedestal means while being captured by said floor panel.



Inventors:
Mead, Bruce (Mississauga, CA)
Application Number:
10/996358
Publication Date:
06/09/2005
Filing Date:
11/26/2004
Assignee:
MEAD BRUCE
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E04F15/024; F16B5/02; (IPC1-7): E04C5/00
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
CAJILIG, CHRISTINE T
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
JACOBSON HOLMAN PLLC (Washington, DC, US)
Claims:
1. A fastener for a floor panel adapted to be secured to pedestal means wherein said fastener is operable to move to: (a) a position to fasten said floor panel to said pedestal means, and (b) a position to permit withdrawal of said floor panel from said pedestal means while being captured by said floor panel.

2. A fastener as claimed in claim 1 wherein said fastener includes a head at one end thereof and a threaded end at another end thereof adapted to be disposed through said floor panel for securement to said pedestal means.

3. A fastener as claimed in claim 2 wherein said floor panel presents means to restrain said threaded end from being removed from said floor panel when said floor panel is withdrawn from said pedestal means.

4. A fastener as claimed in claim 4 wherein said floor panel includes a hole adapted to receive said means to restrain said threaded end from being removed from said floor panel when said floor panel is withdrawn from said pedestal means.

5. A fastener as claimed in claim 5 wherein said means to restrain said threaded end from being removed from said floor panel when said floor panel is withdrawn from said pedestal means comprises a sleeve adapted to be disposed in said hole, said sleeve including means from inhibiting said threaded end from being removed from said sleeve.

6. A fastening system adapted to be disposed in a hole of a floor panel for securing said floor panel to a pedestal comprising: (a) a sleeve having an axial length and adapted to be retained in said hole; (b) a fastener co axially disposed in said sleeve and axially displaceable relative said sleeve between a first and second position, said fastener including a head at one end and a threaded end axially displaced from said head for threaded engagement with said pedestal when securing said floor panel to said pedestal in said first position; (c) said sleeve including means from inhibiting said fastener from being removed from said sleeve when said panel is removed from said pedestal means in said second position.

7. A fastening system as claimed in claim 6 wherein said inhibiting means comprises spring means extending into said sleeve, said spring means: (a) displaceable radially outwardly to permit passage of said threaded end past said spring means into said sleeve, and (b) inhibiting removal of said fastener from said sleeve and floor panel by presenting a barrier to said threaded end, in said second position.

8. A fastening system as claimed in claim 7 wherein said fastener includes a shank portion intermediate said head and threaded portion, said shank portion having a diameter less than said threaded end, said shank portion axially displaceable in said sleeve without contacting said spring means between said first and second positions.

9. A fastening system as claimed in claim 8 wherein said sleeve presents an inner cylindrical surface and said spring means comprise a plurality of fingers protruding from said surface towards said axis, said fingers permitting axial movement of said shank, but presenting a barrier to said threaded end in said second position.

10. A fastening system as claimed in claim 9 wherein said diameter of said shank is less than said threaded end.

11. A fastening system as claimed in claim 10 wherein floor panel presents a top and bottom surface having said hole through said top and bottom surface and said sleeve presents a first end adjacent said top surface and a second end adjacent said bottom surface, said plurality of fingers disposed in said sleeve adjacent said top surface.

12. A fastening system as claimed in claim 11 wherein said shank portion has an axial length to permit said head to engage said top surface of said floor panel in said secured position.

13. A fastening system as claimed in claim 12 wherein said threaded portion has an axial length less than the axial length between said second end of said sleeve and said plurality of fingers so as to permit said threaded end to be received in said sleeve.

14. A fastening system as claimed in claim 6 wherein said inhibiting means comprises a female threaded portion: (a) permitting rotational passage of said threaded end through said female threaded portion; (b) inhibiting axial removal of said fastener in said second position.

15. A fastener system as claimed in claim 6 wherein said inhibiting means comprises a protrusion disposed interiorally of said sleeve to: (a) permit forced passage of said threaded end past said protrusion into said sleeve in said first position; (b) inhibit removal of said fastener from said sleeve and said floor panel by presenting a barrier to said threaded end in said second position.

16. A fastener system as claimed in claim 6 wherein: (a) said fastener includes a shank portion intermediate said head and threaded end, said shank portion having: (i) a diameter less than said threaded portion; (ii) a shoulder presented by said shank; (iii) a ring axially displaceable relative to said shank between said shoulder and said threaded end; (b) said sleeve including means for catching said ring so as to permit said fastener to move between said first and second positions.

17. A fastening system as claimed in claim 16 wherein said catching means comprises two spaced concentric annular protrusions adapted to catch said ring there between.

18. A fastening system as claimed in claim 17 wherein said sleeve is plastic.

Description:

FIELD OF INVENTION

This invention relates to a fastener for a floor panel adapted to be secured to a pedestal wherein the fastener is held captive in said floor panel.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Elevated floor structures have gained much prominence with the advent of computer systems. Such elevated floor structure can consist of access floor panels elevated from the floor wherein the floor panels are in adjacent side-by-side relation in a rectangular array. Generally speaking, the panels are supported at their corners by spaced pedestals which in turn are supported on a sub-floor. Space between the sub-floor and floor panel is available for utility lines, air ducts, computer wire or the like. Generally speaking, the access floor panels are secured to the pedestal in a manner well known to those persons skilled in the art. The floor panels may be removed from the pedestals by unthreading the fasteners from the pedestals. However quite often when the access floor panels are removed the fasteners are lost, particularly when the panels are removed and turned upside down.

A variety of fastening means have heretofore been designed including those disclosed in U.S. Pat. Nos. 6,256,952, 5,862,643, and 5,749,616.

Moreover U.S. Pat. No. 5,546,717 teaches a self-threading pedestal screw which passes through a plastic insulator, then penetrating a pedestal screw passage. Finally U.S. Pat. No. 5,509,242 teaches fasteners to extend through the panel exterior and interior surfaces as disclosed.

It is an object of this invention to provide an improved fastener for floor panel to be secured to a pedestal whereby the fastener is held captive in the floor panel.

It is an aspect of this invention to provide a fastener for a floor panel adapted to be secured to a pedestal wherein the fastener is operable to move to a position to fasten the floor panel to the pedestal and a position to permit withdrawal of the floor panel from the pedestal while being captured by the floor panel.

It is another aspect of this invention to provide a fastening system adapted to be disposed in a hole of a floor panel for securing the floor panel to a pedestal comprising a sleeve having an axial length and adapted to be retained in the hole; a fastener co axially disposed in the sleeve and axially displaceable relative said sleeve between a first and second position, the fastener including a head at one end and a threaded end axially displaced from the head for threaded engagement with the pedestal when securing the floor panel to the pedestal in a first position; the sleeve including structure for inhibiting the fastener from being removed from the sleeve when the panel is removed from the pedestal in a second position.

These and other objects and features shall now be described in relation to the following drawings:

DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a cross-sectional view through a corner of an access floor panel showing the fastening system.

FIG. 2 is a top plain view of the sleeve of FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is a partially enlarged view of a finger shown in FIG. 1.

FIG. 4 is a side elevational view of the fastener.

FIG. 5 is a view of another embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 6 illustrates a third embodiment of the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Like parts have been numbered with like numbers throughout the figures.

FIG. 1 illustrates generally a floor panel 2 having a top surface 4 and a bottom surface 6 spaced from the top surface 4. A fastener 10 is shown. The fastener 10 has a head 12 at one end and a threaded end 14 axially displaced from the head 12 for threaded engagement with a pedestal (not shown) in a manner well known to those persons well skilled in the art. The threaded end 14 has an exterior male thread 16 adapted to be received by a female interior thread presented by a pedestal (not shown). The fastener 10 also includes a shank portion 18 which has a diameter less than the threaded end 14. The threaded end 14 may be bevelled to assist in aligning the fastener.

The fastener 10 is adapted to be secured to the pedestal (not shown) wherein the fastener 10 is operable to move to a first or secured position to fasten the floor panel 2 to the pedestal and a second or withdrawn position to permit withdrawal of the floor panel 2 from the pedestal (not shown) while being captured by the floor panel. In other words, when the fastener 10 is unthreaded from the pedestal (not shown) the floor panel 2 can be removed.

The floor panel 2 presents means 30 to restrain the threaded end 14 from being removed from the floor panel when the floor panel 2 is withdrawn from the pedestal. The restraining means 30 comprises in one embodiment a sleeve 40 adapted to be disposed in a hole 42 presented in the floor panel 2. In particular the hole 42 extends from the top surface 4 to the bottom surface 6. The hole 42 frictionally receives the sleeve 30. Furthermore the hole 42 may include a chamfered portion 44 to accommodate the bevelled edge 20 of the fastener 10.

In one embodiment the retaining means 30 comprises sleeve 40 which includes means for inhibiting 50 the threaded end 14 from being removed from the sleeve when the floor panel 2 is removed from the pedestal even if the floor panel is moved upside down.

The sleeve 40 has an axial length and is adapted to be retained in the hole 42. The fastener 10 is co-axially disposed in the sleeve 10 and axially displaceable relative the sleeve 40 between said first position and said second position.

The fastener 10 is captive in the sleeve 40. The fastener 10 can be installed into the sleeve 40 by pressing the fastener 10 past the inhibiting means 50. In particular, in one embodiment shown in FIGS. 1, 2 and 3, the inhibiting means 50 comprise a spring or fingers extending into the sleeve where the fingers 52 are:

    • (a) displaceable radially outwardly to permit passage of the threaded end 14 past the fingers 52; and
    • (b) inhibit removal of the fastener 10 from the sleeve 40 by presenting a barrier to the threaded end 14 in a second position.

The shank portion 18 is axially displaceable in the sleeve 40 without contacting the fingers 52 when the fastener 10 is moved between the first position or when the threaded end 14 is secured to the pedestal and a second position when the floor panel is removed from the pedestals, and the fastener 10 moves to a position where the threaded end 14 is blocked by the fingers 52.

More specifically the sleeve 40 presents an inner cylindrical surface 33 which presents a plurality of fingers 52 protruding from the surface towards the axis A. In the embodiment shown in FIG. 2 four fingers 52 are present. However any number of fingers can be used within the spirit of this invention. The fingers 52 permit axial movement of the shank between the first and second positions, but present a barrier to the treaded end in the second position.

Furthermore the sleeve 40 presents a first end 35 adjacent to top surface 4 and a second end 37 adjacent the bottom surface 6. The shank portion 18 has an axial length to permit the head 12 to engage the top surface of the floor panel in the second secured position whereby the bevelled edge 10 contacts the chamfered portion 44 where the top of the head 10 is flush with the top surface 4. Furthermore the threaded portion 16 has an axial length less than the axial length between the second end 37 of the sleeve 30 and the plurality of fingers 52 so as to permit a threaded end 14 to be received in the sleeve 30.

In this fashion the fastener 10 floats freely in a vertical motion or in other words is axially displaceable between the first and second positions so as to allow the panel to be laid flat on a surface. When the floor panel 2 is laid flat the fastener 10 protracts upwardly. Furthermore when the panel 10 is lifted to be put back into the floor the fasteners 10 will drop down by gravity. Moreover the captive fastener 10 and in particular the head 12 does not drop below the top surface 4 or into the hole 42 of the panel and thus can not get caught inside the panel 2.

The fastener 10 may be of a self-threading type in a manner well known to those persons skilled in the art. Moreover the fastener 10 has a threaded portion 14 which is long enough to engage the female threaded portion of the pedestal as previously described. Furthermore the length of the shank 18 extending between the threaded portion 14 and at 16 may have a dimension less than the distance between the second end 37 of the sleeve and the fingers 52 as represented by the letter “H”. Furthermore the diameter of the head 12 is greater than the diameter of the hole 42.

In one embodiment the sleeve is comprised of plastic. The sleeve 40 can be pressed into the access floor panel 2. The plastic sleeve 40 has an inside diameter greater than the outside diameter of the threaded portion 14 of the fastener 10.

The inside of the sleeve can present the four fingers 52 shown or alternatively protrusions or bumps which have an opening between them of less than the outside diameter of the threaded portion 16 of the fastener 10 but less than the outside diameter of the shank portion 18.

The springs or bumps 50 in one embodiment are located at a distance from the bottom 37 of the sleeve 40 greater than the length of the threaded portion 14 of the fastener 10.

The sleeve can comprise a variety of materials including nylon, plastic or metal. Furthermore the sleeve 40 may act as a plug to prevent leakage from within the cavity 16 of the access floor panel 2 to prevent leakage when the panel is filled with cement, foam or other material.

FIG. 5 illustrates another embodiment of the invention whereby the fastener 10 is captive within the sleeve 40. In particular the sleeve 40 includes a plastic cylinder 70 which has internal threads 72. The outside diameter of the plastic cylinder 70 has a press fit or frictioned fit with the inside surface 33 of the cylinder 30. Alternatively the cylinder 70 can be glued or integrally formed.

Accordingly the inhibiting means shown in FIG. 5 consists of female threaded portion 72 which permits rotational passage of the threaded end of the fastener 10 through the female threaded portion 72 but inhibits axial removal of the fastener 10 in a second position, i.e., when the access floor panel 2 is removed from the pedestal. It should be noted that the plastic cylinder can be comprised of a variety of materials other than a plastic, such as nylon, metal, or the like.

In another arrangement as shown in FIG. 6 the fastening system has an inhibiting means which comprises protrusions 86 disposed interiorally of the sleeve 40 to:

    • (a) permit forced passage of the threaded end 14 past the protrusions 86 into the sleeve so as to permit the fastener 10 to be secured into the pedestal, and
    • (b) inhibit removal of the fastener 10 from the sleeve 40 and the access floor panel 2 by presenting a barrier to the threaded end 14 in a second or removed position.

In particular the fastener system illustrated in FIG. 6 illustrates a fastener 10 which includes a shank portion 18 intermediate to head 12 and threaded portion 14 where the shank portion 18, has a diameter less than the threaded portion 14, a shoulder 82 presented by the shank 18 and a ring 84 which is axially displaceable relative to shank 18 between the shoulder 82 and the threaded end 14.

The sleeve 40 includes means 86 for catching the ring 84 so as to allow the fastener 12 to move between the first and second positions. The catching means 86 comprises of two spaced, centric, annular protrusions adapted to catch the ring 84 there between. Moreover the two protrusions 86 define a groove 87 therebetween.

The fingers 52 illustrated in FIG. 3 may be substituted with protrusions 86 which are dimensioned so as to permit the fastener 12 to be pushed past the protrusions when moving the fastener 12 to the first secured position but which present a barrier when the access floor panel is removed therefrom, to prevent the fastener from being easily removed from the sleeve 40.

Although the preferred embodiment as well as the operation in use have been specifically described in relation to the drawings, it should be understood the variations in the preferred embodiment could be achieved by a person skilled in the trade without departing from the spirit of the invention as claimed herein.





 
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