Title:
Length adjustable composite stud and method of assembly thereof
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A length adjustable composite stud combining the advantages associated with metal studs with the advantages associated with conventional wood studs. The composite stud also allows for customized adjustments of its length using a set of simple and ergonomic steps. The composite stud includes a generally elongated frame member defining a generally open base channel. The composite stud also includes a core component configured and sized for allowing insertion thereof in the base channel. A longitudinal movement limiting structure formed by a frictional force between the core component and the frame member releasably retains the core component within the base channel in a core first position wherein a core longitudinal end is generally in register with a frame longitudinal end. The longitudinal movement limiting structure selectively allows longitudinal movement of the core component. A method for assembling the composite stud is also disclosed.



Inventors:
Belanger, Ghislain (Lasalle, CA)
Application Number:
11/180660
Publication Date:
11/24/2005
Filing Date:
07/14/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E04B2/74; E04B2/76; E04C3/00; E04C3/30; (IPC1-7): E04C3/30
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20080236063Ashtray, Smoking Room Provided with an AshtrayOctober, 2008Verhagen
20040123545Laminate shingle having a thick butt edgeJuly, 2004Phillips
20100089899HEATABLE COVERING SYSTEMApril, 2010Döhring et al.
20060026911Footer track with moisture ventFebruary, 2006Sutton
20030177710Flashing between foundation interface and stucco treatmentSeptember, 2003Gatherum
20100083592PROFILED COVER STRIP SYSTEM WITH A FACING DEVICE FOR A STAIR STEP WHICH IS OPEN ON AT LEAST ONE FRONT SIDEApril, 2010Muehlebach
20090255195Drive-thru system and methodOctober, 2009Bridgman et al.
20080115446Preformed Niche AssemblyMay, 2008Brinkley
20070028541Prefabricated shell concrete structural componentsFebruary, 2007Pasek
20090007361Spatula Device for Spreading Grout and Other Filler Material Over Curved SurfacesJanuary, 2009Gonzalez
20070245636Snow guard for roofsOctober, 2007Ayer et al.



Primary Examiner:
A, PHI DIEU TRAN
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Franz BONSANG, Patent Agent (St-Laurent, Quebec, CA)
Claims:
1. A length adjustable composite stud comprising: a generally elongated frame member, said frame member defining a frame longitudinal axis, a frame first longitudinal end and a generally opposed frame second longitudinal end; said frame member defining a generally open base channel, said base channel having a longitudinal channel opening; a core component, said core component defining a core longitudinal axis, a core first longitudinal end and an opposed core second longitudinal end; said core component being at least partially insertable in said base channel with said core longitudinal axis in a generally parallel relationship relative to said frame longitudinal axis to form said composite stud therewith, said core component being axially and slidably movable relative to said frame member when at least partially inserted within said base channel; longitudinal movement limiting means positioned between said frame member and said core component for releasably retaining said core component within said base channel in a core first position wherein said core first longitudinal end is generally in register with said frame first longitudinal end, said longitudinal movement limiting means selectively allowing longitudinal movement of said core component in a core first direction towards a core second position upon a moving force being applied on said core component, wherein when said core component is in said core second position, said core first longitudinal end protrudes from said frame first longitudinal end so as to adjust a length of said composite stud, said longitudinal movement limiting means being a frictional force occurring between frame member and said core component.

2. The composite stud of claim 1 further including transversal movement limiting means positioned between said frame member and said core component for preventing relative movement between said core component and said frame member in a direction other then said frame longitudinal axis when said core component is at least partially inserted within said base channel.

3. The composite stud of claim 2 wherein said frame member has a generally U-shaped cross-sectional configuration defining a frame base wall and a pair of frame side walls, at least one of said frame side walls being incurved inwardly adjacent said frame first longitudinal end so as to locally deform said U-shaped cross-sectional configuration, said incurved frame side wall being biased outwardly away by said core component when in said core first position to resiliently induce said frictional force between frame member and said core component.

4. The composite stud of claim 3 wherein said at least one of said frame side walls is plastically deformed inwardly adjacent said frame first longitudinal end so as to locally deform said U-shaped cross-sectional configuration, said deformed frame side wall being biased outwardly away by said core component when in said core first position to resiliently induce said frictional force between frame member and said core component.

5. The composite stud of claim 3 wherein: said frame member has a generally U-shaped cross-sectional configuration defining a frame base wall and a pair of frame side walls; said frame base wall defining a base wall inner surface, a base wall outer surface and a pair of opposed base wall main peripheral edges; each of said frame side walls defining a corresponding side wall inner surface, a side wall outer surface, a side wall first main edge and a generally opposed side wall second main edge; each of said side wall first main edges being attached to a corresponding one of said base wall main peripheral edges; said frame side walls extending from said frame base wall so that said side wall inner surfaces are in a generally facing relationship relative to each other, said frame base wall and said frame side walls together forming said base channel; each of said frame side walls including a retaining flange extending inwardly from said side wall inner surface adjacent said side wall second main edge; said core component having a generally rectangular cross-sectional configuration defining a core first main wall, a core second main wall, a core first auxiliary wall and a core second auxiliary wall; said core component being configured and sized so as to be insertable into said base channel with said core first main wall positioned generally adjacent said base wall inner surface and said core first and second auxiliary walls positioned generally adjacent a corresponding one of said side wall inner surface; said core first auxiliary wall being provided with a first retaining slot extending longitudinally at least partially therealong, said first retaining slot being configured and sized for receiving at least a section of one of said retaining flanges when said core component is inserted into said base channel; said core second auxiliary wall being provided with a second retaining slot extending longitudinally at least partially therealong, said second retaining slot being configured and sized for receiving at least a section of the other one of said retaining flanges when said core component is inserted into said base channel; each said retaining flanges acting as a guiding rail for corresponding said first and second retaining slots when said core component is being axially and slidably moved relative to said frame member.

6. The composite stud of claim 2 wherein said transversal movement limiting means includes at least one retaining flange extending from said frame member, said retaining flange being configured and sized for abutting against a section of said core component when said core component is inserted in said base channel.

7. The composite stud of claim 6 wherein said at least one retaining flange further includes an in-turned lip substantially extending toward said base channel so as to facilitate insertion of said core component into said frame member from an insertion direction generally perpendicular relative to said frame longitudinal axis in a snap-like manner.

8. The composite stud of claim 7 wherein said longitudinal movement limiting means releasably retains said core component within said base channel when in said core second position.

9. The composite stud of claim 1 wherein said longitudinal movement limiting means releasably retains said core component within said base channel when in said core second position.

10. A method for assembling a length-adjustable composite stud, said composite stud including a generally elongated frame member and a core component, said frame member defining a frame longitudinal axis, a frame first longitudinal end and a generally opposed frame second longitudinal end; said frame member having a generally U-shaped cross-sectional configuration defining a frame base wall and a pair of frame side walls and defining a generally open base channel, said base channel having a longitudinal channel opening, said core component defining a core longitudinal axis, a core first longitudinal end and an opposed core second longitudinal end; said core component being at least partially insertable in said base channel with said core longitudinal axis in a generally parallel relationship relative to said frame longitudinal axis to form said composite stud therewith, said core component being axially and slidably movable relative to said frame member when at least partially inserted within said base channel, said method comprising the steps of: a) incurving inwardly at least one of said frame side walls adjacent said frame first longitudinal end so as to locally deform said U-shaped cross-sectional configuration, thereby forming a longitudinal movement limiting means being a frictional force occurring between frame member and said core component; and b) at least partially inserting said core component in said base channel with said core longitudinal axis in a generally parallel relationship relative to said frame longitudinal axis to bias said incurved frame side wall outwardly away when in said core first position to resiliently induce said frictional force between frame member and said core component and form said composite stud therewith; thereby forming a longitudinal movement limiting means positioned between said frame member and said core component for releasably retaining said core component within said base channel in a core first position wherein said core first longitudinal end is generally in register with said frame first longitudinal end, said longitudinal movement limiting means selectively allowing longitudinal movement of said core component in a core first direction towards a core second position upon a moving force being applied on said core component, wherein when said core component is in said core second position, said core first longitudinal end protrudes from said frame first longitudinal end so as to adjust a length of said composite stud, whereby said longitudinal movement limiting means being a frictional force occurring between frame member and said core component.

11. The method of claim 10, wherein step b) includes: b1) at least partially inserting said core component in said base channel with said core longitudinal axis in a generally parallel relationship relative to said frame longitudinal axis; and b2) axially sliding said at least partially inserted core component into said base channel toward said frame first longitudinal end to bias said incurved frame side wall outwardly away when in said core first position to resiliently induce said frictional force between frame member and said core component and form said composite stud therewith.

12. The method of claim 11, wherein step a) includes: a) plastically deforming inwardly said at least one of said frame side walls adjacent said frame first longitudinal end so as to locally deform said U-shaped cross-sectional configuration, whereby said deformed frame side wall is biased outwardly away by said core component when in said core first position to resiliently induce said frictional force between frame member and said core component.

13. The method of claim 12, wherein step b2) includes: b2) axially sliding said at least partially inserted core component into said base channel toward said frame first longitudinal end to bias said deformed frame side wall outwardly away when in said core first position to resiliently induce said frictional force between frame member and said core component and form said composite stud therewith.

14. The method of claim 11, wherein step b1) includes: b1) axially and slidably inserting at least a section of said core component in said base channel from one of said frame first and second longitudinal ends with said core longitudinal axis in a generally parallel relationship relative to said frame longitudinal axis.

15. The method of claim 14, wherein step b1) occurs before step a).

16. The method of claim 11, wherein step b1) includes: b1) inserting at least a portion of said core component in said base channel from an insertion direction generally perpendicular relative to said frame longitudinal axis in a snap-like manner with said core longitudinal axis in a generally parallel relationship relative to said frame longitudinal axis.

17. A method for assembling a length-adjustable composite stud, said composite stud including a generally elongated frame member and a core component, said frame member defining a frame longitudinal axis, a frame first longitudinal end and a generally opposed frame second longitudinal end; said frame member having a frame peripheral wall defining a generally U-shaped cross-sectional configuration defining a generally open base channel, said core component defining a core longitudinal axis, a core first longitudinal end and an opposed core second longitudinal end; said core component being at least partially insertable in said base channel with said core longitudinal axis in a generally parallel relationship relative to said frame longitudinal axis to form said composite stud therewith, said core component being axially and slidably movable relative to said frame member when at least partially inserted within said base channel, said method comprising the steps of: a) incurving inwardly at least a portion of said frame peripheral wall adjacent said frame first longitudinal end so as to locally deform said U-shaped cross-sectional configuration, thereby forming a longitudinal movement limiting means being a frictional force occurring between frame member and said core component; and b) at least partially inserting said core component in said base channel with said core longitudinal axis in a generally parallel relationship relative to said frame longitudinal axis to bias said incurved frame peripheral wall outwardly away when in said core first position to resiliently induce said frictional force between frame member and said core component and form said composite stud therewith; thereby forming a longitudinal movement limiting means positioned between said frame member and said core component for releasably retaining said core component within said base channel in a core first position wherein said core first longitudinal end is generally in register with said frame first longitudinal end, whereby said longitudinal movement limiting means being a frictional force occurring between frame member and said core component.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

The present application is a Continuation-In-Part (C.I.P.) application of patent application Ser. No. 10/438,025 filed on May 15, 2003, now allowed and itself a Continuation-In-Part (C.I.P.) application of patent application Ser. No. 10/145,789 filed on May 16, 2002, now abandoned.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to the general field of construction components and is particularly concerned with a length adjustable composite stud.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Construction beams are used extensively in the construction field especially for the construction of partition walls. Indeed, partition walls typically include a framework made out of a plurality of vertical beams referred to as studs assembled together with generally horizontal beams often referred to as plates. Sheets of wall board are typically secured to both sides of the framework to produce wall surfaces.

Typically, the studs are fastened to the plates by driving nails through the outwardly facing surfaces of the plates and into the top and bottom end of each stud. This method, often referred to as “toe nailing”, allows for quick and easy fastening of a stud to top and bottom plates.

Wood studs have traditionally been favored for use in construction studs for their structural characteristics as well as the ease with which they can be assembled to plates using the “toe nailing” approach. However, with time, disadvantages associated with wood studs are becoming more apparent, particularly in view of the unavailability of suitable wood materials caused the depletion of forest resources. Also, wood stud are prone to cracking and warping. They are further susceptible to termite infestation, rotting and mildew.

Accordingly, metal frames are becoming increasingly popular. Conventional metal frames are typically made out of extruded strips. When properly constructed and at appropriate thickness, conventional frames are relatively rigid, strong and structurally stable. In addition, metal frame are generally impervious to weather conditions. In facts, metal frames alleviate most of the disadvantages associated with wood studs.

One of the major disadvantages associated with the use of metal studs is the extra effort required for connecting the metal studs to the plates as compared with the relative ease with which the “toe nailing” approach can be performed with wood studs. Hence, it would be highly desirable to combine the advantages associated with metal studs with the ease of assembly afforded by the use of wood studs.

The attractiveness of combining characteristics from metal and wood studs has been recognized in the prior art. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 5,452,556 naming Jimmy R. TAYLOR as inventor and issued Sep. 26, 1995 discloses a fabricated combination of an elongated metal channel and at least two short lengths or end portions of a wooden beam. The combination forms a standard length stud having a metal central portion and exposed wooden portions.

Although somewhat useful, the structure disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 5,452,556 nevertheless suffers from at least one major drawback. Indeed, during the construction of wall skeletal frameworks, there exists a plurality of situations wherein it is desirable to adjust the length of the wood studs. For example, the wall being erected may extend between floor and/or ceiling that are either warped or angled relative to each other. The structure disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 5,452,556 does not allow for easy, quick and ergonomic adjustment of the length of the composite metal-wood studs. Accordingly, there exists a need for an improved length adjustable composite stud.

Accordingly, there is a need for an improved length adjustable composite stud.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It is an object of the present invention to provide an improved construction stud and a method of assembly thereof.

Advantages of the present invention include that the proposed composite wood-metal stud combines the advantages associated with metal studs such as improved structural stability and decreased susceptibility to termite infestation, mildew and the like with the advantages associated with conventional wood studs such as the ability to join the studs to structural plates through the use of the conventional “toe nailing” approach.

The proposed length adjustable composite stud allows for customized adjustments of the length of the stud. The length of the proposed composite stud can be assembled, and later adjusted on-site, using a set of simple and ergonomic steps without requiring special tooling or manual dexterity. No additional securing pieces or even cutout pieces required for the assembly of the composite stud.

Furthermore, the proposed length adjustable composite stud is designed so as to be manufacturable using conventional forms of manufacturing so as to provide a stud that is economical, long lasting and relatively trouble free in operation.

Another advantage of the present invention is that the core component may readily be inserted into the frame member, typically conventional frame, and assembled thereto in a snap-like manner without requiring that the core component be slidably inserted in an end section of the longitudinal member.

According to an aspect of the present invention, there is provided a length adjustable composite stud comprising: a generally elongated frame member, said frame member defining a frame longitudinal axis, a frame first longitudinal end and a generally opposed frame second longitudinal end; said frame member defining a generally open base channel, said base channel having a longitudinal channel opening; a core component, said core component defining a core longitudinal axis, a core first longitudinal end and an opposed core second longitudinal end; said core component being at least partially insertable in said base channel with said core longitudinal axis in a generally parallel relationship relative to said frame longitudinal axis to form said composite stud therewith, said core component being axially and slidably movable relative to said frame member when at least partially inserted within said base channel; and longitudinal movement limiting means positioned between said frame member and said core component for releasably retaining said core component within said base channel in a core first position wherein said core first longitudinal end is generally in register with said frame first longitudinal end, said longitudinal movement limiting means selectively allowing longitudinal movement of said core component in a core first direction towards a core second position upon a moving force being applied on said core component, wherein when said core component is in said core second position, said core first longitudinal end protrudes from said frame first longitudinal end so as to adjust a length of said composite stud, said longitudinal movement limiting means being a frictional force occurring between frame member and said core component.

In one embodiment, the composite stud further includes transversal movement limiting means positioned between said frame member and said core component for preventing relative movement between said core component and said frame member in a direction other then said frame longitudinal axis when said core component is at least partially inserted within said base channel.

Typically, the frame member has a generally U-shaped cross-sectional configuration defining a frame base wall and a pair of frame side walls, at least one of said frame side walls being incurved inwardly adjacent said frame first longitudinal end so as to locally deform said U-shaped cross-sectional configuration, said incurved frame side wall being biased outwardly away by said core component when in said core first position to resiliently induce said frictional force between frame member and said core component.

Conveniently, the at least one of said frame side walls is plastically deformed inwardly adjacent said frame first longitudinal end so as to locally deform said U-shaped cross-sectional configuration, said deformed frame side wall being biased outwardly away by said core component when in said core first position to resiliently induce said frictional force between frame member and said core component.

In one embodiment, the frame member has a generally U-shaped cross-sectional configuration defining a frame base wall and a pair of frame side walls; said frame base wall defining a base wall inner surface, a base wall outer surface and a pair of opposed base wall main peripheral edges; each of said frame side walls defining a corresponding side wall inner surface, a side wall outer surface, a side wall first main edge and a generally opposed side wall second main edge; each of said side wall first main edges being attached to a corresponding one of said base wall main peripheral edges; said frame side walls extending from said frame base wall so that said side wall inner surfaces are in a generally facing relationship relative to each other, said frame base wall and said frame side walls together forming said base channel; each of said frame side walls including a retaining flange extending inwardly from said side wall inner surface adjacent said side wall second main edge; said core component having a generally rectangular cross-sectional configuration defining a core first main wall, a core second main wall, a core first auxiliary wall and a core second auxiliary wall; said core component being configured and sized so as to be insertable into said base channel with said core first main wall positioned generally adjacent said base wall inner surface and said core first and second auxiliary walls positioned generally adjacent a corresponding one of said side wall inner surface; said core first auxiliary wall being provided with a first retaining slot extending longitudinally at least partially therealong, said first retaining slot being configured and sized for receiving at least a section of one of said retaining flanges when said core component is inserted into said base channel; said core second auxiliary wall being provided with a second retaining slot extending longitudinally at least partially therealong, said second retaining slot being configured and sized for receiving at least a section of the other one of said retaining flanges when said core component is inserted into said base channel; and each said retaining flanges acting as a guiding rail for corresponding said first and second retaining slots when said core component is being axially and slidably moved relative to said frame member.

In one embodiment, the transversal movement limiting means includes at least one retaining flange extending from said frame member, said retaining flange being configured and sized for abutting against a section of said core component when said core component is inserted in said base channel.

Typically, the at least one retaining flange further includes an in-turned lip substantially extending toward said base channel so as to facilitate insertion of said core component into said frame member from an insertion direction generally perpendicular relative to said frame longitudinal axis in a snap-like manner.

Conveniently, the longitudinal movement limiting means releasably retains said core component within said base channel when in said core second position.

According to another aspect of the present invention, there is provided a method for assembling a length-adjustable composite stud, said composite stud including a generally elongated frame member and a core component, said frame member defining a frame longitudinal axis, a frame first longitudinal end and a generally opposed frame second longitudinal end; said frame member having a generally U-shaped cross-sectional configuration defining a frame base wall and a pair of frame side walls and defining a generally open base channel, said base channel having a longitudinal channel opening, said core component defining a core longitudinal axis, a core first longitudinal end and an opposed core second longitudinal end; said core component being at least partially insertable in said base channel with said core longitudinal axis in a generally parallel relationship relative to said frame longitudinal axis to form said composite stud therewith, said core component being axially and slidably movable relative to said frame member when at least partially inserted within said base channel, said method comprises the steps of:

    • a) incurving inwardly at least one of said frame side walls adjacent said frame first longitudinal end so as to locally deform said U-shaped cross-sectional configuration, thereby forming a longitudinal movement limiting means being a frictional force occurring between frame member and said core component; and
    • b) at least partially inserting said core component in said base channel with said core longitudinal axis in a generally parallel relationship relative to said frame longitudinal axis to bias said incurved frame side wall outwardly away when in said core first position to resiliently induce said frictional force between frame member and said core component and form said composite stud therewith; thereby forming a longitudinal movement limiting means positioned between said frame member and said core component for releasably retaining said core component within said base channel in a core first position wherein said core first longitudinal end is generally in register with said frame first longitudinal end, said longitudinal movement limiting means selectively allowing longitudinal movement of said core component in a core first direction towards a core second position upon a moving force being applied on said core component, wherein when said core component is in said core second position, said core first longitudinal end protrudes from said frame first longitudinal end so as to adjust a length of said composite stud, whereby said longitudinal movement limiting means being a frictional force occurring between frame member and said core component.

In one embodiment, step b) includes:

    • b1) at least partially inserting said core component in said base channel with said core longitudinal axis in a generally parallel relationship relative to said frame longitudinal axis; and
    • b2) axially sliding said at least partially inserted core component into said base channel toward said frame first longitudinal end to bias said incurved frame side wall outwardly away when in said core first position to resiliently induce said frictional force between frame member and said core component and form said composite stud therewith.

Typically, step a) includes:

    • a) plastically deforming inwardly said at least one of said frame side walls adjacent said frame first longitudinal end so as to locally deform said U-shaped cross-sectional configuration, whereby said deformed frame side wall is biased outwardly away by said core component when in said core first position to resiliently induce said frictional force between frame member and said core component.

Conveniently, step b2) includes:

    • b2) axially sliding said at least partially inserted core component into said base channel toward said frame first longitudinal end to bias said deformed frame side wall outwardly away when in said core first position to resiliently induce said frictional force between frame member and said core component and form said composite stud therewith.

Alternatively, step b1) includes:

    • b1) axially and slidably inserting at least a section of said core component in said base channel from one of said frame first and second longitudinal ends with said core longitudinal axis in a generally parallel relationship relative to said frame longitudinal axis.

This last step b1) could occur before or after step a).

Alternatively, step b1) includes:

    • b1) inserting at least a portion of said core component in said base channel from an insertion direction generally perpendicular relative to said frame longitudinal axis in a snap-like manner with said core longitudinal axis in a generally parallel relationship relative to said frame longitudinal axis.

According to a further aspect of the present invention, there is provided a method for assembling a length-adjustable composite stud, said composite stud including a generally elongated frame member and a core component, said frame member defining a frame longitudinal axis, a frame first longitudinal end and a generally opposed frame second longitudinal end; said frame member having a frame peripheral wall defining a generally U-shaped cross-sectional configuration defining a generally open base channel, said core component defining a core longitudinal axis, a core first longitudinal end and an opposed core second longitudinal end; said core component being at least partially insertable in said base channel with said core longitudinal axis in a generally parallel relationship relative to said frame longitudinal axis to form said composite stud therewith, said core component being axially and slidably movable relative to said frame member when at least partially inserted within said base channel, said method comprising the steps of:

    • a) incurving inwardly at least a portion of said frame peripheral wall adjacent said frame first longitudinal end so as to locally deform said U-shaped cross-sectional configuration, thereby forming a longitudinal movement limiting means being a frictional force occurring between frame member and said core component; and
    • b) at least partially inserting said core component in said base channel with said core longitudinal axis in a generally parallel relationship relative to said frame longitudinal axis to bias said incurved frame peripheral wall outwardly away when in said core first position to resiliently induce said frictional force between frame member and said core component and form said composite stud therewith; thereby forming a longitudinal movement limiting means positioned between said frame member and said core component for releasably retaining said core component within said base channel in a core first position wherein said core first longitudinal end is generally in register with said frame first longitudinal end, whereby said longitudinal movement limiting means being a frictional force occurring between frame member and said core component.

Other objects and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from a careful reading of the detailed description provided herein, with appropriate reference to the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Further aspects and advantages of the present invention will become better understood with reference to the description in association with the following Figures, in which similar references used in different Figures denote similar components, wherein:

FIG. 1, in a perspective view, illustrates a length adjustable composite stud in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention, the length adjustable composite stud being shown used with similar length adjustable composite studs and with horizontal plate components attached thereto for forming a skeleton frame structure part of a conventional partition wall;

FIG. 2, in a partial perspective view, illustrates a length adjustable composite stud in accordance with a first embodiment of the present invention, the length adjustable composite stud being shown with its core component in a first position;

FIG. 3, in a partial perspective view, illustrates the length adjustable composite stud shown in FIG. 2 with its core component being moved towards a core second position;

FIG. 4, in a partial perspective view taken along line 4 of FIG. 1, illustrates the length adjustable composite stud shown in FIGS. 2 and 3 with its core component in a core second position and a with a section of a plate component attached thereto;

FIG. 5, in a partial perspective view, illustrates a length adjustable composite stud in accordance with a second embodiment of the present invention, the length adjustable composite stud being shown with its core component in a core second position;

FIG. 6, in a partial perspective view, illustrates a length adjustable composite stud in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention, the length adjustable composite stud being shown with its core component in a core second position wherein it protrudes from the end section of the frame member;

FIG. 7, in a partial elevational view taken along line 7-7 of FIG. 6 with sections taken out, illustrates a length adjustable composite stud in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention, with its core component being moved in a core first direction towards a core second position wherein it protrudes from the end section of the frame member;

FIG. 8, in a view similar to FIG. 7, illustrates a length adjustable composite stud in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention, the length adjustable composite stud being shown with its core component being moved in a core second direction;

FIG. 8a, in an enlarged partial elevational view taken along line 8a of FIG. 8 with sections taken out, illustrates details of a gripping tab of the embodiment of FIG. 8;

FIG. 9, in a partial elevational view taken along line 9 of FIG. 1 with sections taken out, illustrates a length adjustable composite stud in accordance with yet another embodiment of the present invention, the length adjustable composite stud being shown with its core component in a core first position wherein it is generally in register with the frame member;

FIG. 10, in a partial elevational view with sections taken out, illustrates a length adjustable composite stud in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention with its core component being moved towards a core second position wherein it protrudes from the frame member;

FIG. 11, in a partial elevational view with sections taken out, illustrates a length adjustable composite stud in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention with its core component fixed in a core second position wherein it protrudes from the frame member;

FIG. 12, in a partial elevational view with sections taken out, illustrates a length adjustable composite stud in accordance with yet another embodiment of the present invention, the length adjustable composite stud being shown with its core component in a core first position wherein it is generally in register with the frame member;

FIG. 13, in a partial elevational view with sections taken out, illustrates a length adjustable composite stud with its core component being moved towards a core second position wherein it protrudes from the frame member;

FIG. 14, in a partial perspective view, illustrates a length adjustable composite stud in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention, the length adjustable composite stud being shown with its core component being inserted into the frame member, and the two longitudinal ends of the two frame side walls being plastically deformed inwardly to locally partially close the channel opening;

FIG. 15, in a view similar to FIG. 14, illustrates the embodiment of FIG. 14, the length adjustable composite stud being shown with its core component being inserted into the frame member and held in the core first position by a frictional force between the core component and the two frame side walls that are resiliently pushed apart from one another by the core component; and

FIG. 16, in an enlarged section view taken along line 16-16 of FIG. 14, illustrating the core component being inserted into the frame member in a snap-like manner, with details of the frame member.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

With reference to the annexed drawings the preferred embodiments of the present invention will be herein described for indicative purpose and by no means as of limitation.

Referring to FIG. 1, there is shown a length adjustable composite stud 10 in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention. The length adjustable composite stud 10 is shown being used with other composite studs 10′ for supporting conventional horizontal end plates 12. The length adjustable composite studs 10, 10′ and the end plates 12 are shown assembled together for forming the skeleton frame of a conventional wall.

The length adjustable composite stud 10 includes a generally elongated frame member 14. The frame member 14 defines a frame longitudinal axis 16, a frame first longitudinal end 18 and a generally opposed frame second longitudinal end 20. The frame member 14 defines a generally open base channel 22 having a channel opening 24.

Typically, the frame member 14 has a frame peripheral wall defining a generally U-shaped cross-sectional configuration with a frame base wall 26 and a pair of frame side walls 28. As shown more specifically in FIGS. 2 through 6, the frame base wall 26 defines a base wall inner surface 30, a base wall outer surface 32 and a pair of opposed base wall main peripheral edges.

Each of the frame side walls 28 defines a corresponding side wall inner surface 34, a side wall outer surface 36, a side wall first main edge 38 and a generally opposed side wall second main edge 40. Each of the sidewall first main edges 38 is attached to a corresponding one of the base wall main peripheral edges.

The frame side walls 28 extend from the frame base wall 26 so that the side wall inner surfaces 34 are in a generally facing relationship relative to each other. The frame base wall 26 and the frame side walls 28 thus together form the base channel 22. It should be understood that although the frame member 14 is shown throughout the figures as having a generally U-shaped cross-sectional configuration, the frame member 14 could have other cross-sectional configurations without departing from the scope of the present invention.

The composite stud 10 also includes a core component 42. The core component 42 defines a core longitudinal axis 44, a core first longitudinal end 46 and an opposed core second longitudinal end 48. The core component 42 is configured and sized for allowing the core component 42 to be at least partially inserted in the base channel 22 with the core longitudinal axis 44 in a generally parallel relationship relative to the frame longitudinal axis 16.

The composite stud 10 further includes a transversal movement limiting means positioned between the frame member 14 and the core component 42 for preventing relative movement between the core component 42 and the frame member 14 in a direction other than the frame longitudinal axis 16. Typically, the transversal movement limiting means includes one and preferably two keepers or retaining flanges 50 extending from the frame member 14. Typically, each retaining flange 50 extends inwardly from one of the side wall inner surfaces 34 adjacent a side wall second main edge 40. The retaining flanges 50 are configured and sized for abutting against a section of the core component 42 when the latter is inserted in the base channel 22.

Typically, each core component 42 has a generally rectangular cross-sectional configuration defining a core first main wall 52, a core second main wall 54, a core first auxiliary wall 56 and a core second auxiliary wall 58. The core component 42 is typically configured and sized so as to be insertable into the base channel 22 with the core first main wall 52 positioned generally adjacent the base wall inner surface 30 and the core first and second auxiliary walls 56, 58 positioned generally adjacent a corresponding one of the side wall inner surfaces 34.

The core first and second auxiliary walls 56, 58 are typically provided respectively with a first and a second retaining slot 60, 62 extending longitudinally at least partially therealong. The first and second retaining slots 60, 62 are configured and sized for receiving at least a section of a corresponding one of the retaining flanges 50 when the core component 42 is inserted into the base channel 22.

It should be understood that although component 42 is shown as having a generally rectangular cross-sectional configuration, the core component 42 could have other configurations without departing from the scope of the present invention. Also, although the transversal movement limiting means is shown as including retaining flanges 50, it should be understood that the transversal movement retaining means could include other components also without departing from the scope of the present invention.

The composite stud 10 still further includes longitudinal movement limiting means for releasably retaining the core component 42 within the base channel 22 in a core first position illustrated in FIG. 2 wherein the core first longitudinal end 46 is generally in register with the channel first longitudinal end 18. The longitudinal movement limiting means is positioned between the frame member 14 and the core component 42.

The core component 42 defines an anchoring surface 64 about the core first longitudinal end 46. The core anchoring surface 64 typically has a generally flat configuration.

The frame member 14 defines a frame first longitudinal edge 66 about the frame first longitudinal end 18. When the core component 42 is in the core first position, the core anchoring surface 64 and the frame first peripheral edge 66 typically extend in a generally common geometrical plane.

The longitudinal movement limiting means selectively allows longitudinal movement of the core component 42 in a core first direction indicated by arrow 68 towards a core second position upon a moving force 70 being applied on the core component 42. The core component 42 moving in the core first direction eventually reaches a core second position illustrated in FIGS. 3 through 6, wherein the core first longitudinal end 46 protrudes from the frame first longitudinal end 18. In other words, in the core second position, the core anchoring surface 64 is spaced outwardly in the direction of the core longitudinal axis 44 relative to the frame first peripheral edge 66.

In at least one embodiment of the invention, the longitudinal movement limiting means only allows longitudinal movement of the core component 42 in the core first direction 68 upon the moving force 70 reaching a predetermined value. In an embodiment of the invention shown in FIGS. 2 through 4, the longitudinal movement limiting means includes a retaining strip 72. The retaining strip 72 is secured to both the core component 42 and the frame member 14 for releasably preventing longitudinal movement therebetween.

In one embodiment of the invention, the retaining strip 72 is releasably secured to the core component 42 and/or to the frame member 14 so as to selectively allow longitudinal movement therebetween when the retaining strip 72 is removed from either or both the core component 42 and the frame member 14. For example, the retaining strip 72 could be releasable adhesively secured to the core component 42 and/or the frame member 14.

In another embodiment of the invention, the retaining strip 72 is made out of a tearable material. Typically, the tearable material is capable of being torn upon the moving force 70 reaching a predetermined value, or simply by using a knife or the like prior to applying the force 70.

Typically, the core component 42 defines a core first cross-sectional area 74 and a core second cross-sectional area 76. The core first cross-sectional area 74 is insertable into the base channel 22 while the core second cross-sectional area 76 protrudes from the channel opening 24 when the core first cross-sectional area 74 is inserted into the base channel 22.

Typically, the first and second retaining slots 60, 62 extend generally transversely towards each other in a generally transversal slot plane. The slot plane, in turn, extends generally between the core first and second cross-sectional areas 74, 76. The retaining strip 72 is typically adhesively secured to the core second cross-sectional area 76 and to the side wall outer surface 36 of at least one, and preferably both frame side walls 28.

The embodiment shown in FIGS. 2 through 4 is typically sold or otherwise provided with the core component 42 positioned in the core first position such as illustrated in FIG. 2. The core component 42 is prevented from longitudinal movement in the direction of the frame longitudinal axis 44 by the retaining strip 72 adhesively secured to both the frame member 14 and the core component 42.

If the length of the length adjustable stud 10 needs to be adjusted, the intended user merely needs to exert a moving force 70 in the direction of the core first direction. Upon the moving force 70 reaching a predetermined value, the retaining strip 72 will be torn allowing relative movement between the core component 42 and the frame member 14 as illustrated in FIG. 3.

Once the length of the length adjustable stud 10 has been adjusted, the core component 42 may be secured in the core second position using conventional fastening means such as a fastening nail 78 or the like inserted through both the frame member 14 and the core component 42. The anchoring surface 64 can then be used for securing a plate 12 using an anchoring screw 80 or other suitable means.

The retaining strip 72 is typically made out of a self-adhesive strip of paper, polymeric resin or the like being tearable upon a predetermined tearing force being applied thereon. Optionally, the retaining strip 72 is provided with indicia 82 printed or otherwise marked thereon. The indicia 82 may include identifying information and/or instructions relating to a method for using the length adjustable composite stud 10.

In another embodiment of the invention shown more specifically in FIG. 5, the longitudinal movement limiting means includes an abutment tab 84 extending inwardly into the base channel 22. The abutment tab 84 is configured, sized and positioned so as to abuttingly contact the core second longitudinal end 48 when the core component 42 is in the core first position.

Typically, the abutment tab 84 extends inwardly from the frame base wall 26. Alternatively, the abutment tab 84 could extend from the side walls 28, the retaining flanges 50 or any other suitable location. Typically, the abutment tab 84 has a generally half-disk shaped configuration. The abutment tab 84 could also have other configurations without departing from the scope of the present invention. Typically, the abutment tab 84 is punched-in during the manufacturing process, hence creating a corresponding adjacent cut-out 86.

In use, the core component 42 is allowed to be pushed towards the core second position by a moving force 70 exerted in the core first direction 68. Upon the core component 42 reaching the core second position, the core component 42 is again secured to the frame member 14 using suitable securing means such as the securing nail 78. An end plate 12 can then be secured to the anchoring surface 64 using an anchoring screw 80.

Referring now more specifically to FIGS. 6 through 8, there is shown a length adjustable composite stud 10 in accordance with yet another embodiment of the invention. The composite stud 10 includes at least one gripping tab 88 extending from the frame member 14 into the base channel 22.

Preferably, the longitudinal movement limiting means includes a set of gripping tabs 88 longitudinally aligned in spaced apart relationship relative to each other and extending from both the frame side walls 28. Each gripping tab 88 is configured and sized so as to allow movement of the core component 42 in the core first direction 68 while preventing movement of the core component 42 in the opposite core second direction 68′.

Typically, as illustrated in FIG. 8a, each gripping tab 88 defines a tab contacting segment 90 for contacting the core component 42 and a tab spacing segment 92 extending between the frame member 14 and the tab contacting segment 90 for inwardly spacing the tab contacting segment 90 from the frame member 14. The tab contacting segment 90 defines a tab gripping end 94 for gripping into the core component 42 when the core component 42 is moved in the core second direction 68′.

As illustrated more specifically in FIG. 7, each gripping tab 88 is typically movable between a tab first position shown in the lower end of FIG. 7 wherein the tab gripping end 94 is spaced by a first tab-to-frame distance 96 from the frame member 14 and a tab second position shown in the upper end of FIG. 7 wherein the tab gripping end 94 is spaced by a second tab-to-frame distance 98 from the frame member 14. The first tab-to-frame distance 96 being greater then the second tab-to-frame distance 98.

Typically, the composite stud 10 also includes a tab biasing means positioned between the frame member 14 and the gripping tab 88 for biasing the gripping tab 88 towards the tab first position. Typically, the tab biasing means includes the gripping tab 88 being made out of a generally resilient deformable material such as a suitable metallic alloy.

Typically, each gripping tab 88 is punched out of one and preferably both the frame side walls 28. Also, typically, each gripping tab 88 has a generally triangular shaped configuration with the tip pointed towards the closest frame longitudinal end 16, 18. It should however be understood that the gripping tabs 88 could have other configurations without departing from the scope of the present invention.

In use, the longitudinal movement limiting means shown in FIGS. 6 to 8 only allows longitudinal movement of the core component 42 in the core first direction 68. The longitudinal movement limiting means prevents the core component 42 from moving in a core second direction 68′ oriented opposite the core first direction 68.

As shown in FIG. 7, the core component 42 is allowed to slide in the core first direction 68 while abuttingly contacting the gripping tabs 88. The latter are biased towards the tab second position by the core second first and second auxiliary surfaces 56, 58. When the core component 42 is moved back in from the core second position, the tab gripping end 94 penetrates into the first and second core auxiliary surfaces 56, 58 for preventing further movement of the core component 42 in the core second direction 68′.

Referring now more specifically to FIGS. 9 through 11, there is shown the steps of using a length adjustable composite stud 10 in accordance with still another embodiment of the present invention. In the embodiment shown in FIGS. 9 through. 11, the longitudinal movement limiting means includes a retaining aperture 100 extending through the frame member 14 and a generally elongated retaining component 102. The retaining aperture 100 is configured, sized and positioned so that the retaining component 102 is insertable into both the retaining aperture 100 and the core component 42 when the core component 42 is in the core first position.

Once the end plate 12 is secured against the anchoring surface 64 of the core component 42 via the anchoring screw 80, the retaining component 102 is removed from the core component 42 and the retaining aperture 100, as shown by arrow 104 of FIG. 9. Then the length of the composite stud 10 is adjusted by longitudinally sliding the core component 42 along with the end plate 12 outwardly from the frame member 14 in a core second position, as shown by arrow 106 of FIG. 10. Finally, once in proper length, the retaining component 102 is re-inserted through the retaining aperture 100 into the core component 42 to secure the latter to the frame member 14, as shown by arrow 108 of FIG. 11.

In another embodiment of the invention shown more specifically in FIGS. 12 and 13, the longitudinal movement limiting means includes an elongate guide channel 110 and a stud projection 112. The elongate guide channel 110 is located in the frame base wall 26, although the guide channel 110 may be located in the side walls 28. The stud projection 112 is secured in the core main first main wall 52 and is slidably mounted in the engage the guide channel 110. The guide channel 110 is configured so that the stud projection 112 abuttingly engages the ends of the guide channel 110 when the core component is moved between the core first position and the core second position, as shown in FIGS. 12 and 13 respectively. Once located in the second core position, the fastener 78 can be used to secure the core component 42 to the frame member 14.

Typically, the retaining component 102 has a generally elongated and pointed configuration. By way of example, the retaining component can take the form of a conventional retaining screw or the like.

In another embodiment of the invention shown more specifically in FIGS. 14 to 16, the longitudinal movement limiting means is a frictional force occurring between frame member 14 and the core component 42.

More specifically, at least one, preferably both of the frame side walls 28 are incurved or bent inwardly, preferably plastically or permanently (as opposed to elastically and resiliently) deformed, adjacent a corresponding frame longitudinal end 18, 20 to locally deform the U-shaped cross-sectional configuration by partially closing the channel opening 24, as in the direction of arrows 116 of FIG. 14. The deformed frame side walls 28 are at least partially elastically biased outwardly away by the core component 42 when in the core first position (as shown in FIG. 15) to resiliently induce the frictional force between frame member 14 and the core component 42 caused by the resiliency of the side walls 28 acting in abutment against the respective core auxiliary wall 56, 58, as represented by the arrows 118 in FIG. 15.

As shown more specifically in FIGS. 14 and 16, the core component 42 is alternatively at least partially inserted into the frame member 14 from an insertion direction generally perpendicular relative to the frame longitudinal axis 16 in a snap-like manner by first inserting one of the core first auxiliary wall 56 into the base channel 22 through the channel opening 24 with the corresponding retaining flange 50 engaging the first retaining slot 60, as in the position shown in FIG. 14, and second rotating the core component 42 into the channel 22 with the second auxiliary wall 58 toward the other frame side wall 28, as in the direction shown by arrow 120 in FIG. 14. The first main wall 52 of the core component generally facing the frame base wall 26 includes an insertion recess section 122 forming a fifth wall of the core component 42 and extending generally at an angle between the core first main wall 52 and the core second auxiliary wall 58 to allow insertion of the core component 42 by resiliently forcing the corresponding frame side wall 28 to elastically bent outwardly. The insertion of the core component 42 into the base channel 22 in a snap-like manner is further detailed in co-pending U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/438,006 in the name of the present inventor.

In order to facilitate the sliding insertion of the core component 42 into the base channel 22 of the frame member 14, the free edge of each retaining flange 50 includes an in-turned lip 124 substantially extending toward, typically perpendicularly to, the frame base wall into the base channel 22, as shown in FIG. 16. It is to be noted that the in-turned lips 124 further help to increase the overall rigidity of the frame member 14, as well as to improve safety by removing sharp edges that could cause injuries to the workers handling and assembling the composite studs 10.

Referring more specifically to the above latest embodiment, the present invention further relates to a method for assembling the length adjustable composite stud 10.

The method typically comprises the steps of:

    • a) incurving inwardly at least one of the frame side walls 28, or at least a portion of the frame peripheral wall, adjacent a frame longitudinal end 18, 20 to locally deform the U-shaped cross-sectional configuration of the frame member 14 (as illustrated by arrows 116 of FIG. 14); and
    • b) at least partially inserting the core component 42 in the base channel 22 with the core longitudinal axis 44 in a generally parallel relationship relative to the frame longitudinal axis 16 to elastically bias the incurved frame side wall(s) 28 outwardly away when the core component 42 is in the core first position shown in FIG. 15 to resiliently induce the frictional force between the frame member 14 and the core component 42 (as illustrated by arrows 118 of FIG. 15) and form the composite stud 10 therewith.

Typically, the step b) includes:

    • b1) at least partially inserting the core component 42 in the base channel 22 with the core longitudinal axis 44 in a generally parallel relationship relative to the frame longitudinal axis 16; and
    • b2) axially and longitudinally sliding the, at least partially inserted, core component 42 into the base channel 22 toward the corresponding frame longitudinal end 18, 20, as shown by the direction of arrow 126 of FIG. 14, to bias the incurved frame side wall(s) 28 outwardly away when in the core first position. In this step, the retaining flanges 50, when present, act as guiding rails for the core component 42, especially with the presence of corresponding first 60 and second 62 retaining slots.

Alternatively, step a) could include plastically deforming inwardly at least one of the frame side walls 28 adjacent a frame first longitudinal end 18, 20 so as to locally deform the U-shaped cross-sectional configuration. In that case, step b2) would include axially sliding the, at least partially inserted, core component 42 into the base channel 22 toward the corresponding frame longitudinal end 18, 20 to bias the deformed frame side wall(s) 28 outwardly away when in the core first position.

In one embodiment, step b1) includes inserting at least a portion of the core component 42 in the base channel 22 from an insertion direction generally perpendicular relative to the frame longitudinal axis 16 in a snap-like manner with the core longitudinal axis 44 in a generally parallel relationship relative to the frame longitudinal axis 16, as explained hereinabove and shown in FIGS. 14 and 16.

Alternatively, as it would be simply performed in most cases described hereinabove, step b1) would include axially and slidably inserting at least a section of the core component 42 in the base channel 22 from one of the frame first 18 and second 20 longitudinal ends with the core longitudinal axis 44 in a generally parallel relationship relative to the frame longitudinal axis 16.

This last option could obviously be performed either before or after locally deforming the frame side wall(s) 28.

Although the present length adjustable composite stud has been described with a certain degree of particularity, it is to be understood that the disclosure has been made by way of example only and that the present invention is not limited to the features of the embodiments described and illustrated herein, but includes all variations and modifications within the scope and spirit of the invention as hereinafter claimed.