Title:
Cart for plumbing supplies
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A cart to transport and store tubular parts used in plumbing and electrical installation includes an array of upright rods extending from a base. The array of rods partially forms an enclosure in which crates for tools and supplies may be contained. A cover pivots on the enclosure which when closed overlies the upper ends of the rods and closes the top of the enclosure formed by the rods. A pair of wheels is mounted to a lower corner of the frame and a handle facilitates handling of the cart. Tubular parts may be stored on the cart by placing them around the rods so that the tubular parts can be easily counted. Crates bearing non-tubular parts and tools can be stacked within the enclosure.



Inventors:
Mysak, Ricky L. (Anamosa, IA, US)
Application Number:
11/702920
Publication Date:
08/16/2007
Filing Date:
02/06/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65D6/08
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
VANAMAN, FRANK BENNETT
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
SHUTTLEWORTH & INGERSOLL, P.L.C. (CEDAR RAPIDS, IA, US)
Claims:
Having described the invention, I claim:

1. Storage apparatus comprising a base frame, one or more rods upstanding on the base frame, each of the one or more rods having a free upper end, each of the one or more rods sized to receive tubular elements therearound, the tubular elements of the group comprising plumbing drain fittings and electrical conduit elements.

2. The storage apparatus of claim 1 wherein a handle is joined to the base frame, a cover hinged to the handle, the cover having an open position and a closed position, the cover overlying the upper ends of the one or more rods when the cover is in the closed position, the cover selectively retainable to a retaining element.

3. The storage apparatus of claim 1 wherein the base frame includes a first end, the first end of the base frame supported on wheels.

4. The storage apparatus of claim 1 wherein a side frame is joined to the base frame, the side frame comprising a handle and a pair of wheels supporting a lower end of the side frame.

5. The storage apparatus of claim 1 wherein two or more spaced apart rods upstand on the base frame, each of the two or more spaced apart rods spaced apart sufficiently from adjacent rods to permit each rod to receive tubular elements thereon.

6. The storage apparatus of claim 5 wherein a cover selectively overlies the upper ends of the two or more rods.

7. The storage apparatus of claim 5 wherein a side frame is joined to the base frame, a cover hinged to the side frame, the cover having an open position and a closed position, the cover overlying upper ends of the two or more rods when in the closed position, whereby tubular elements are prevented from placement about any one of the rods when the cover is in the closed position.

8. The storage apparatus of claim 7 wherein the two or more rods and the side frame define a perimeter, a compartment disposed within the perimeter, the compartment including an open top, the base frame defining a floor of the compartment, the compartment sized to receive at least a first container, the cover overlying the open top of the compartment when the cover is in its closed position.

9. The storage apparatus of claim 8 wherein an elongate securing bar upstands from the base frame, a free end of the securing bar extending above the free ends of the two or more rods, the cover having an opening in registry with the free end of the securing bar, the free end of the securing bar passing through the opening in the cover when the cover is in the closed position, a lock element selectively retaining the free end of the securing bar to the cover.

10. The storage apparatus of claim 9 wherein the securing bar includes a bent segment therealong, the free end of the securing bar disposed within the periphery formed by the two or more rods and the side frame.

11. Apparatus to transport and store tubular elements used in plumbing, comprising a base frame, a multiplicity of spaced apart upstanding elongate bars mounted to the base frame, each of the elongate bars having a free upper end, each of the elongate bars sufficiently slender to receive tubular plumbing elements thereabout.

12. The apparatus of claim 11 wherein a retention element is selectively disposed adjacent upper ends of the bars to prevent removal of tubular elements placed around the bars.

13. The apparatus of claim 11 wherein the multiplicity of bars define a sidewall of an enclosure, at least one container selectively receivable in the enclosure, the retention element comprises a cover selectively movable between a closed position and at least another position, the cover overlying the upper ends of the bars when in the closed position, the cover overlying a top opening of the enclosure when the cover is in the closed position.

14. The apparatus of claim 11 wherein the base frame comprises a rectilinear periphery, a side frame mounted to a first side of the base frame and extending upwardly therefrom, the multiplicity of bars upstanding from second, third and fourth sides of the base frame, the base frame comprising spaced apart transverse bars joining side members thereof, the transverse bars defining a floor of the enclosure, the multiplicity of bars, the case frame, and the side frame defining an open topped enclosure, at least one open topped crate selectively receivable within the enclosure, a second open topped crate selectively receivable within the enclosure and disposed atop the at least one open topped crate, a pair of wheels mounted to the first side of the base frame, the side frame further comprising a handle, a cover hinged to the side frame and moveable from a closed position to at least an open position, the cover overlying the upper ends of the elongate bars when the cover is in the closed position, at least one of the multiplicity of bars being a taller bar, the taller bar having the free end thereof in registry with an opening in the cover, the free end of the taller bar received in the opening in the cover when the cover is placed in the closed position, the cover overlying the open top of the enclosure when the cover is in placed in the closed position.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

This application claims priority from provisional patent application entitled “Cart for Plumbing Supplies,” Ser. No. 60/772,411 filed Feb. 10, 2006. The disclosure of provisional patent application Ser. No. 60/772,411 is hereby incorporated in its entirety.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The present invention pertains to carrying devices for plumbing and electrical supplies. In the practice of trades in which tubular parts are used to assemble duct work and conduits such as plumbing drains and electrical conduits, the tradesperson must have a supply of fittings and couplers for interconnecting straight lengths of pipes. In the case of plumbers, the installation of new drain lines includes the assembly of lengths of straight tubular pipes joined by T sections, Y sections and by elbows of differing angles. Customarily the T's, Y's and elbows are carried in boxes or bins, typically thirty gallon trash cans, and are jumbled together such that a reasonably precise inventory is difficult to assess. The box, trash can or bin filled with fitting parts is carried to the job site and the plumber hunts through the parts to find the needed elbow or T or Y section as the plumbing lines are installed. If a necessary part is not found in the supply, a trip to the supply warehouse must be made, cutting into efficiency in the installation of the work. In addition, a great deal of time is spent hunting for the necessary parts and when a routine trip to the supply warehouse is made, a good idea of the number of fittings needed is not readily available.

In addition, because the supply of parts in the box, bin or trash can is usually transported in the open bed of the plumber's pickup truck, rain or snow will infiltrate the container with the parts and must be drained or emptied. In the case of rain, holes can be placed in the bottom of the supply container but in the case of snow and ice, difficulties in finding the correct fitting part are magnified. What is needed is a carrying device which will allow the various fittings to be kept in an organized fashion and which will eliminate the underestimating of the supply of fitting parts on hand. Furthermore, a desirable carrying device will prevent rain or snow from collecting in the parts container.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

An improved carrying device for tubular parts used in construction of drain pipes and electrical conduits and other tubular ducting is provided. This invention includes multiple upstanding rods mounted to a base frame. The frame is equipped with a handle and a hinged lid which overlies the upper ends of the rods when the lid is in place during movement of the device. The lid is hinged on the handle such that it may be rotated away from the tops of the rods so that plumbing T's, elbows, or Y's can be placed on or removed from the rods. The rods are arranged to create an enclosure on the base frame to house milk crates holding tools, miscellaneous plumbing supplies, fittings which are not tubular, and elbows which do not permit passage of a rigid rod fully through them. The enclosure is also topped by the lid when the lid is lowered to its closed position. The carrying device may be equipped with a pair of wheels at one bottom corner of the device. The handle may extend above the height of the rods and the enclosure.

A primary object of the invention is to provide a cart for transport of plumbing fittings onto a job site while providing a visual inventory of the fittings on hand and which keeps the fittings organized into groups. Another object of the invention is to provide a container which can transport tubular fittings in an orderly fashion. A further object of the invention is to provide a cart for tubular fittings or connectors which reduces the potential for a user to arrive at a work site without a suitable supply of needed fittings. Yet another object of the invention is to provide a cart which can be replenished with a supply of fittings when the user is present at the supply warehouse without purchasing parts or fittings for which an adequate supply already exists.

These and other desirable objects will become apparent from examination of the detailed description which follows.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWING(S)

FIG. 1 is a front right perspective view of the preferred embodiment of the invention shown with assorted plumbing fittings carried thereon.

FIG. 2 is a front elevation of the invention as shown in FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is a front left perspective of the preferred embodiment with its lid raised and with crates omitted.

FIG. 4 is a side plan view of the invention as shown in FIG. 3.

FIG. 5 is a top plan view of the invention as shown in FIG. 3 with the lid thereof shown in phantom to facilitate observation of the bottom structure of the invention.

FIG. 6 is a rear elevation of the invention as shown in FIG. 3.

FIG. 7 is a left front perspective view of an alternative embodiment of the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Referring to FIGS. 1 through 5 and initially to FIGS. 1 and 2, the invention cart 2 is shown in a typical in-use condition with cover 22 secured to upright frame 4 overlying crates 52 which are removingly situated within the volume defined by upright frame 4, base 6 and cover 22.

Upright frame 4 is mounted to and supported upon base 6. Ground engaging wheels 8 are journaled on axle extensions 42 of rear lower cross bar 10. Upright frame 4 comprises plural spaced apart slender bars or rods 12 which upstand upon side rails 14, 16 and front rail 18 of base 6 with each rod 12 having an enlarged base 28. Rods 12 are preferably substantially perpendicular to the rails 14, 16 and 18.

Plumbing fittings, namely plumbing T's 5, plumbing elbows 7 and plumbing Y's 9 may be carried along selected ones of rods 12. Rods 12 are spaced apart adequately to permit plumbing fittings 5,7 and 9 to be carried on adjacent rods 12. Preferably, rods 12 are spaced apart approximately three inches. Each rod 12 may be approximately one-quarter inch to approximately one-half inch in diameter, and are at least slender enough to allow plumbing fittings 5, 7 and 9 to slide easily therealong.

Securing rod 38 upstands upon the front rail 18 generally at the midpoint thereof and comprises a bent segment 56 therealong which displaces top section 58 thereof toward handle 36. Top section 58 is generally parallel to rods 12.

U-shaped handle 36 joins rear rail 10 of base 6 adjacent wheels 8. Grip section 60 of handle 36 is bent rearward from upright frame 4 approximately two and a half inches.

Cover 22 is selectively retained to securing rod 38 at free end 40 thereof by locking pin 34. When pin 34 is removed from free end 40, cover 22 may pivot about hinge 24 thereby uncovering crates 52.

Crates 52 are preferably rectilinear containers having sides and bottoms of gridwork construction, such crates being commonly known as milk crates. The open gridwork construction of crates 52 prevents collection of water therein when cart 2 is exposed to rain or snow. Crates 52 are provided to carry plumbing parts or supplies which are not tubular or which will not fit on rods 12, e.g. 90° elbows, as well as tools and other equipment.

In the preferred embodiment of FIG. 1-5, upright frame 4 is approximately forty inches in height which will accommodate stacking three standard milk crates 52 within cart 2, with cover 22 closely overlying the open top of the topmost crate 52 to prevent its contents from spilling out when cart 2 is rolled over irregular ground surfaces or is tipped onto one of its sides.

Referring now to FIGS. 3 through 6, the invention cart 2 is illustrated with crates omitted in order to facilitate understanding of the structure thereof. Upright frame 4 comprises rods 12 which upstand on side rails 14, 16 and front rail 18 of base frame 6. Rods 12 comprise more slender rods 12b and less slender rods 12a. More slender rods 12b may be disposed flanking securing rod 38 or elsewhere along rails 14, 16 and 18. More slender rods 12b accommodate tubular parts of small diameter, such as one inch inner diameter water pipe fittings and other small diameter tubular connectors which may be carried on cart 2. Less slender rods 12a may carry plumbing fittings such as elbows 7, T's 5 or Y's 9 (see FIG. 1) or other tubular connecting parts. In the preferred embodiment, less slender rods 12a may be approximately three-eighths inch to one-half inch in diameter while more slender rods 12b may be as thin as one-quarter inch in diameter. The diameter of the more slender rods 12b is limited by their being sufficiently stiff so that they remain substantially linear. The location of more slender rods 12b along rails 14, 16 and 18 may vary, and less slender rods 12b may be substituted with more slender rods 12a without departing from the objective of cart 2. It is preferable to enlarge the bases 28 of each rod 12 to strengthen the welds of rods 12 to rails 14, 16 and 18.

Upright frame 4 comprises rear frame 54 which includes upper transverse bar 70 which joins opposing sides 72 and 74 of handle 36 and provides a mounting for the upper ends of vertical bars 80, 82 which are fixed at their lower ends to rear lower cross bar 10. Rear frame 54 constitutes a restraint to retain crates 52 within compartment 20 while permitting rain water and snow to escape from the compartment 20.

Base frame 6 further comprises first transverse bar 62 and second transverse bar 64 which join side rails 14, 16 and which define a bottom of compartment 20. A short stub 66 upstands from first transverse bar 62 at its approximate midpoint. When a milk crate 52 is seated in compartment 20 upon transverse bars 62, 64, stub 66 will enter a void in the bottom gridwork of crate 52 to prevent excessive sideways movement of the crate 52 while in place in compartment 20.

A top rail 68 is secured to top section 58 of securing rod 38 and to rear upper transverse bar 70 which is joined to opposing sides 72, 74 of handle 36. Upper transverse bar 70 and top rail 68 define opening 50 of compartment 20. Top rail 68 is provided to limit impalement injury if a user falls onto the free ends 32 of rods 12. Preferably top rail 68 is disposed a short distance laterally from free ends 32 of rods 12 so that placement of tubular fittings 5, 7 and 9 onto rods 12 is not obstructed. Top rail 68 is disposed slightly below the free ends 32 of rods 12 so that cover 22 may closely overlie or touch free ends 32 without interference from top rail 68. As best seen if FIG. 3, cover 22 is provided with aperture 26 therethrough which becomes in registry with free end 40 of securing rod 38 when cover 22 is lowered to the closed position overlying compartment opening 50 and free ends 32 of rods 12. Free end 40 may protrude slightly through aperture 26 when cover 22 is in its closed position such that a securing element such as lock pin 34 may pass through cross bore 44 of the top section 58 to prevent cover 22 from rotating away from free ends 32 of rods 12.

FIG. 7 discloses a slightly modified alternative embodiment of plumbing parts cart 102. Elements of cart 102 which are identical to the preferred embodiment of FIGS. 1-6 are numbered identically throughout this specification. Rods 12 upstand on side rails 14, 16 and front rail 18 of base 6 and with rear frame 54 define a volume into which milk crates may be placed when cover 22 is disconnected from securing rod 38.

Bracket elements 104, 106 upstand on first transverse bar 62 of base 6, being spaced apart at least the width of a standard milk crate. Bracket elements 104, 106 limit sidewise movement of the lowermost milk crate resting on first transverse bar 62 and second transverse bar 64. The structure of standard milk crates limits sidewise movement of one crate atop another identical crate.

In operation cart 2 may be carried into a supply warehouse and tubular plumbing fittings may be placed upon rods 12 such that each plumbing fitting surrounds a rod 12. Once a supply of plumbing fittings has been stored on cart 2, a count thereof is easily taken. Nontubular parts, or supplies, tools, and fittings which are not susceptible of being placed about rods may be placed in one of the milk crates provided with cart 2. The milk crates 52 are stacked within compartment 20 and cover 22 is lowered to its closed position with free end 40 of securing rod 38 penetrating aperture 26. A lock pin 34 is placed in cross bore 44 to prevent cover 22 from moving out of its closed position. The cart 2 may be then carried in a pickup bed or other conveyance and it need not be maintained in an upright orientation because fittings cannot escape from rods 12 with cover 22 closed and the contents of crates 52 are restrained from escaping crates 52 because of insufficient clearance of the top one of the crates 52 from cover 22.

Once the cart is transported to the worksite, cart 2 may be rolled upon wheels 8 over the ground surface and into the structure where work is to be performed. The lock pin 34 may be removed, cover 22 raised, and the crates 52 removed and fittings 5, 7 and 9 removed from rods 12 as needed.

The foregoing description of the invention has been presented for purposes of illustration and description and is not intended to be exhaustive or to limit the invention to the precise form disclosed. Modifications and variations of the embodiments are possible in light of the above disclosure or such may be acquired through practice of the invention. The embodiments illustrated were chosen in order to explain the principles of the invention and its practical application to enable one skilled in the art to utilize the invention in various embodiments and with various modifications as are suited to the particular use contemplated. It is intended that the scope of the invention be defined by the claims appended hereto, and by their equivalents.