Title:
Joint structure for collapsible play yard
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A joint structure for a collapsible play yard suitable for infants or pets, which is pivotally connected between a pair of upper rails of a foldable fame. The pair of tipper rails can either be locked precisely in alignment or be released and folded in a parallel arrangement. Therefore, the foldable frame can either be fixed in a deployed state or converted into a collapsed state. When the foldable frame is fixed in the deployed state, the upper rails are locked by a pair of pins, whereby the pins are supported by a pair of slots of the housing of the joint structure. A release button is equipped on the outside of the housing of the joint structure for pushing by a user, so as release the pins from the upper rails, thereby permitting the upper rails to be unlocked, rotated and folded in a parallel arrangement.



Inventors:
Cheng, Huang-yi (Chai County, TW)
Lin, Chi-yung (Kaohsiung City, TW)
Application Number:
11/365880
Publication Date:
07/19/2007
Filing Date:
03/02/2006
Assignee:
Link Treasure Limited
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47D13/06; A47D7/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
LIU, JONATHAN
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Joe McKinney Muncy (Fairfax, VA, US)
Claims:
1. A joint structure for a collapsible play yard, comprising: a joint used in a foldable frame for controlling the frame to be in either a deployed state or a collapsed state, said joint having: a pair of upper rails, each rail having a locking portion at one end; a housing having two side plates, each side plate further having a pair of slots and a through hole, wherein the housing is pivotally connected between the pair of upper rails; a pair of pins arranged to move only linearly along the slots, wherein the pins can be fixedly engaged at the locking portion to stop the rotation of the pair of upper rails, so as to secure the frame in the deployed state; a pair of arms, each arm having one end pivotally connected between the two side plates of the housing and another end which reciprocally drives one of the pair of pins along the corresponding slot; an elastic member arranged to bias the pair of arms; and a release button movably equipped on the outside of the housing, wherein said release button is used to drive the pair of arms to carry the pair of pins so as to engage and release the pair of pins from the locking portion.

2. The joint structure of claim 1, wherein the locking potion of the upper rails is an indent or a groove.

3. The joint structure of claim 1, wherein the housing is integrally formed with the side plates, each side plate having a plurality of pivoting orifices for pivotally connecting the pair of arms thereon.

4. The joint structure of claim 1, wherein the pair of pins are moved to one end of the pair of slots to engage at the locking portion, and wherein the pair of pins are carried by the pair of arms to another end of the pair of slots to release from the locking portion.

5. The joint structure of claim 1, wherein said release button further comprises a press member and an actuator, wherein said press member is equipped on the outside of the housing for pushing by an user, and said actuator extends from the back side of the press member and passes through the through hole of the housing to drive the pair of arms to indirectly move the pair of pins.

6. The joint structure of claim 5, wherein the actuator of the release button has a pair of opposite slopes which are slidably contacted with the pair of arms.

7. The joint structure of claim 6, wherein the pair of opposite slopes are slidably contacted with the outside of the pair of arms.

8. The joint structure of the claim 1, wherein the elastic member is a torsion spring for biasing the pair of arms respectively in opposite directions.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a joint structure of a collapsible play yard and more particularly, to a joint structure which can keep a foldable frame of the play yard in a deployed status precisely and steadily.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Generally, a play yard for keeping and caring for infants or pets indoors is designed for easy transport and storage, such as the play yard in U.S. Pat. No. 4,811,437 issued to Dillner, which discloses a play yard with a structure having a bed frame covered by fabrics and a space formed for accommodating infants or pets.

For more convenient carrying and storage of the play yard, it is generally designed to be deployable and collapsible. The foldable play yard is provided with a joint for stable deploying of the frame and convenient collapsing thereof. For instance, U.S. Pat. No. 6,250,837 to Mariol discloses a play yard having a structure which uses the ends of a pair of arms to engage with the locking members, which is connected to the ends of upper rails of both sides. Therefore, the upper rails are fixed and the frame is in a stable deployed state. Whenever a user intends to fold the frame, a rotational member is used to drive the pair of arms to disengage the end of the arms from the locking members, for further rotating of the upper rails to convert the frame into in a folded state.

Since the locking member of the joint structure of the prior art is troublesomely connected to the ends of the upper rails, a gap is created which results in wobbling of the joint structure. Therefore, unsuccessful locking may be caused as a result of this gap. Moreover, such an unsuccessful locking may be also caused by weakness of the arms of the locking member, which are supported merely by ends of the arms.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In order to obviate the drawbacks as stated as the above, the present invention provides a joint structure pivotally connected between a pair of upper rails of a foldable frame. The pair of upper rails can either be locked precisely in alignment, or released so as to be folded in a parallel arrangement. Therefore, the foldable frame can either be in a deployed state or in a collapsed state. Whenever the foldable frame is fixed in the deployed state, the upper rails are locked by a pair of pins automatically, wherein the pins are supported by a pair of slots of the housing of the joint structure. A release button is equipped on the outside of the housing for pushing by a user, to release the pins from the upper rails. The upper rails can therefore be unlocked so as to be rotatable and folded in a parallel arrangement.

Further scope of the applicability of the present invention will become apparent from the detailed description given hereinafter. However, it should be understood that the detailed description and specific examples, while indicating preferred embodiments of the invention, are given by way of illustration only, since various changes and modifications within the spirit and scope of the invention will become apparent to those skilled in the art from this detailed description

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The present invention will become more fully understood from the detailed description given hereinbelow and the accompanying drawings which are given by way of illustration only, and thus are not limitative of the present invention, and wherein:

The accompanying drawings, which are incorporated in and constitute a part of this specification, illustrate several embodiments of the invention and, together with the description, serve to explain the principles of the invention.

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an deployed embodiment of a collapsible play yard in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a schematic view illustrating an embodiment of the play yard of FIG. 1 in a collapsed status.

FIG. 3 is an exploded perspective view of a joint structure of the collapsible play yard of FIGS. 1 and 2.

FIG. 4 is a schematic side view illustrating the joint structure of FIG. 3.

FIG. 5 is a schematic view showing the joint structure of FIG. 4 while the collapsible play yard is fixed in deployed status.

FIG. 6 is a schematic view showing the joint structure of FIG. 4 while the collapsible play yard is in collapsed status.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Referring to FIGS. 1 and 2, a preferred embodiment of a collapsible play yard according to the present invention is set forth, having a foldable frame 10 which can either be folded into a deployed state or a collapsed state, as required by the user. The foldable frame 10 comprises a pair of upper rails 11, wherein the upper rails 11 have a locking portion 12 formed at the ends thereof. Preferably, the locking portion 12 can be an indent or groove formed at the end portions of upper rails 11.

The foldable frame 10 has a joint structure 2 which is pivotally connected between the pair of upper rails 11. The pair of upper rails 11 can either be locked in alignment or released so as to be folded in a parallel arrangement. Therefore, the foldable frame 10 can be either in a fixed deployed state or in a released collapsed state.

The joint structure 2 comprises a housing 3 having two parallel side plates 31. Preferably, the side plates 31 are integrally formed with one piece of metal, such as iron or steel. The upper rails 11 are pivotally connected with the side plates 31. The side plates 31 of the housing 3 have a pair of slots 33, a through hole 34 and a pair of pivoting orifices 35, such as will be explained as below.

A pair of pins 4 are arranged to move reciprocally along the slots 33 to engage at the locking portion 12. As shown in FIG. 5, while the pair of upper rails 11 are rotated in approximate alignment, the pair of pins 4 shall be engaged with the locking portion and the rotation of the upper rails 11 are stopped by the pair of pins 4. Therefore, the foldable frame is fixed in a deployed state.

The housing 3 comprises an inner accommodation 32 between the side plates 31 for receiving the pair of arms 5 which pivotally connect therein. The arms have one end pivotally connected at the pivoting orifices 35 between the side plates 31 and are rotatable around the pivoting orifice 35. The other ends of the arms 5 connected with the pair of pins 4 is used to function as driver 51 for carrying the pair of pins 4 to move reciprocally along the slots 33.

The pair of arms 5 are equipped with an elastic member 6 to bias the arms 5 to open in opposite directions. In the preferred embodiment of the present invention, the elastic member 6 may be a torsion spring. The elastic member 6 functions to keep biasing on the pair of arms 5, so as to shift the pins 4 along the slots 33 to engage with the locking portion 12. While the pins 4 are engaged with the locking portion 12, the rotation of the upper rails 11 shall be inhibited. Therefore, the deployed status of foldable frame 11 shall be kept until the pins 4 are released from the locking portions 12.

A release button 7 is equipped on the side plates 31 of the housing 3 to release the locking of the pair of upper rails 11. The release button 7 includes a press member 71 and a actuator 72. The actuator 72 extends from the back side of the press member 71 and passes through a through hole 34 on the side plates 31, to drive the pair of arms 5 to move the pair of pins 4 away from the locking portions 12. The actuator 72 may be formed with a pair of opposite slopes 721, both of which are used to contact the pair of arms 5 respectively. When the release button 7 is pushed by a user, the pair of arms 5 are forced to slide on the opposite slopes 721, thereby moving transversely to carry the pair of pins 4 away from the locking portions 12 to the other end of slots 33. The locking of the pair of upper rails 11 is then released.

While the foldable frame l0 is in the deployed state as shown partially in FIG. 5, the pair of upper rails 11 are rotated in alignment to each other, and the pair of pins 4 shall be driven by the pair of arms 5 to the locking portion 12. Preferable, the joint structure may use an elastic member 6 for biasing the pair of arms 5 to carry the pair of pins 4 into the locking portions 12, so as to inhibit the rotation of the upper rails 11 and keep the foldable frame 10 continually fixed in the deployed state.

When the release button 7 is pushed down, the opposite slopes 721 drive the pair of arms 5 to rotate and carry the pair of pins 4 away from the locking portions 12. Referring to FIG. 6, while it is needed to collapse the foldable frame 10, the release button 7 can be pushed down when a user grips the housing 3, and then moves the housing 3 downwardly to force the pair of upper rails 11 to rotate simultaneously. The pair of upper rails 11 would then be moved so as to be parallel to each other, and the foldable frame 10 would then be collapsed.

The invention being thus described, it will be obvious that the same may be varied in many ways. Such variations are not to be regarded as a departure from the spirit and scope of the invention, and all such modifications as would be obvious to one skilled in the art are intended to be included within the scope of the following claims.