Title:
Drawer guidance mechanism
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A guide mechanism for use in cabinet like structures includes a pair of scissor arms connected to one another at a point which corresponds substantially with the medial or central point along a length of each arm. The opposing ends of each arm are pivotally secured to a respective guide which is oriented generally perpendicular to the direction of travel of a door connected to the scissor arms. One end of each arm is mounted within a slot defined in its guide which permits the end of the arm to travel longitudinally along a length of the arm. A power cylinder is pivotally connected to the arms at their central connection point. The opposing end of the power cylinder is pivotally connected to the body of the cabinet.



Inventors:
Gianelo, Angelo (Salt Lake City, UT, US)
Application Number:
11/983560
Publication Date:
09/11/2008
Filing Date:
11/09/2007
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
312/322, 312/350
International Classes:
A47B88/60
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
ROHRHOFF, DANIEL J
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
TRASKBRITT, P.C. (SALT LAKE CITY, UT, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. A storage structure comprising: a retaining structure; a closure structure; a guidance device communicating said retaining structure and said closure structure, said guidance device including a scissors-type linkage having a first arm and a second arm pivotally connected to one another at a pivot connection; and a force applying device movably coupled to said retaining structure and pivotally coupled to said pivot connection; wherein said force applying device is operable to displace said closure structure between a first closed position and a second open position.

2. The storage structure of claim 1, wherein said guidance device further includes two guides, a first guide coupled to said retaining structure and a second guide coupled to said closure structure.

3. The storage structure of claim 2, wherein an end of said first arm is pivotally connected to said first guide.

4. The storage structure of claim 3, wherein an end of said second arm is pivotally connected to said second guide.

5. The storage structure of claim 4, wherein said first guide defines a first slot therein and an end of said second arm is slidably disposed in said first slot for movement along said first slot.

6. The storage structure of claim 5, wherein said second guide defines a second slot therein and an end of said first arm is slidably disposed in said second slot for movement along said second slot.

7. The storage structure of claim 6, wherein said retaining structure includes a door.

8. The storage structure of claim 7, wherein said door is pivotally mounted.

9. The storage structure of claim 1, wherein said force applying device is a pneumatic cylinder.

10. The storage structure of claim 1, wherein said force applying device is a hydraulic cylinder.

11. The storage structure of claim 1, wherein said guidance device is coupled to said retaining structure and said closure structure.

12. The storage structure of claim 1, wherein said guidance device is disposed intermediate said retaining structure and said closure structure.

13. The storage structure of claim 1, wherein said force applying device is pivotally connected to said retaining structure.

14. The storage structure of claim 1, wherein said pivoted connection of said arms defines a pivot first axis, said pivoted coupling of said force applying device with said pivot connection being rotatable about said first axis.

15. A storage structure comprising: a retaining structure; a closure structure; a guidance device communicating said retaining structure and said closure structure, said guidance device including a scissors-type linkage having a first arm and a second arm pivotally connected to one another at a pivot connection, said guidance device further including two guides, a first guide coupled to said retaining structure and a second guide coupled to said closure structure, an end of said first arm being pivotally connected to said first guide and a second arm being pivotally connected to said second guide; said first guide defining a first slot therein and an end of said second arm being slidably disposed within said first slot for displacement along said first slot and said second guide defining a second slot therein and an end of said first arm being slidably disposed within said second slot for displacement along said second slot; and a force applying device pivotally coupled to said retaining structure and pivotally coupled to said pivot connection; wherein said force applying device is operable to displace said closure structure between a first closed position and a second open position.

16. The storage structure of claim 15, wherein said force applying device is a pressurized cylinder.

17. The storage structure of claim 16, wherein said force applying device is a pneumatic cylinder.

18. The storage structure of claim 16, wherein said force applying device is a hydraulic cylinder.

19. The storage structure of claim 15, wherein said pivoted connection of said arms defines a pivot first axis, said pivoted coupling of said force applying device with said pivot connection being rotatable about said first axis.

20. The storage structure of claim 15, wherein said closure structure includes a door which is pivotally mounted.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application claims the benefit of the filing date of U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/859,276, filed Nov. 15, 2006, for “A DRAWER GUIDANCE MECHANISM.”

TECHNICAL FIELD

The present invention relates to drawers, especially of the type conventionally contained within a retaining or cabinet structure. The invention is particularly directed to a structure for guiding the travel path of a drawer within a retaining or cabinet structure.

BACKGROUND

A drawer of conventional construction typically includes a structure for retaining articles to be stored and a mechanism for translating that structure to a location which is generally secluded. Generally, the mechanism is operated by the user by simply applying an outwardly directed force to the drawer structure which results in the drawer structure being displaced to an orientation wherein the structure is rendered accessible to the user.

Scissors-type linkages have been historically used in a number of devices to provide movable characteristics. Such linkages facilitate a construction for displacing a structure between a closed, retracted position and an open, extended position. Scissors-type linkages permit a user to displace such a structure between the two positions in a controlled and predictable manner while avoiding deviations from a preselected path of travel.

A device which utilizes a scissors-type linkage is disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 6,672,430. In the aforesaid patent a method for adjusting a first force applied to a movable element in a first position of the movable element by a force applying device is described. A second force may also be applied to the movable element in a second position of the movable element by the force applying device. Notably, the force applying device applies both the first and the second force through means of a scissors-type linkage assembly at a location on that assembly which is spacedly removed from the pivoted connection of the two scissor arms which constitute the structure of the scissor-arm assembly. Furthermore, the opposing end of the force applying device is movably disposed whereby the opposing end is free to move relative to the linkage during the displacement of the linkage.

Another device which utilizes a scissors-type linkage is disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 5,632,209. In this construction a lift table includes a base which is interconnected to a table surface by means of a scissors-type linkage linkage. The table surface is elevated by the use of a compression spring which is secured to a first end of one of the scissors-type links. The opposing end of the compression spring is secured to a screw slider which is slidably secured to the other link of the linkage. Similar to the device disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 6,672,430 one end of the force applying device, i.e. the compression spring, is attached to the linkage at a location on the linkage which is spacedly removed from the pivoted connection of the links which form the linkage. Moreover, in the U.S. Pat. No. 5,632,209 construction, the opposing end of the force applying device is secured to the linkage itself as opposed to being secured to a structure apart from the linkage.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The instant invention includes a retaining structure in association with a closure structure, which controls access to the retaining structure. A guidance device operably interconnects the retaining structure and the closure structure, for guiding the closure structure between a first closed position and a second open position. The retaining structure is accessible when the closure structure is disposed in the second open position. The invention further includes a force applying device movably coupled to the retaining structure and movably coupled to the guidance device. The force applying device is operable to displace the closure structure between the first closed position and the second open position.

The retaining structure is formed to define one or more storage areas which are configured to receive and retain an article or articles to be stored. The closure structure is configured to cover the retaining structure or otherwise preclude access to the interior of the retaining structure.

The guidance device may be coupled to the retaining structure. This coupling functions to anchor the guidance device in place relative to the retaining structure. The guidance device may also be coupled to the closure structure. The guidance device may include a scissors-type linkage having at least two arms, namely a first arm and a second arm, which are pivotally connected to one another about a pivoted connection. The guidance device may also include two guides, namely a first guide and a second guide. The first arm is pivotally connected to the first guide, preferably at one end of the first arm. The first guide defines a first slot therein in which the second arm is movably disposed for movement along a length of the first slot. The second guide is pivoted coupled to the second arm, preferably at an end of the second arm. The second guide defines a second slot therein in which is movably disposed the first arm for movement along a length of the second slot.

The force applying device may be any type of device capable of applying a linearly directed force. Preferably, the force applying device is a pressurized cylinder, e.g. a pneumatic or hydraulic cylinder. The force applying device may be pivotally coupled to the guidance device on a first end thereof and may be pivotally coupled to the retaining structure on its opposing end.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is an elevated perspective view of a storage structure of the instant invention illustrating the guidance device and force applying device in phantom;

FIG. 2 is a top plan view of the guidance device and force applying device in a closed condition;

FIG. 3 is a top plan view of the guidance device and force applying device in an open condition;

FIG. 4 is a side sectional view of the storage structure of FIG. 1 with the closure structure shown in an open condition; and

FIG. 5 is a side sectional view of the storage structure of FIG. 1 with the closure structure shown in a closed condition.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

As illustrated in FIG. 1 a storage structure of the instant invention includes a retaining structure 10 in association with a closure structure 12, a guidance device 14 and a force applying device 16.

Retaining Structure

The retaining structure 10 may include any type of structure which is configured to retain one or more articles intended to be stored. In the illustrated embodiment, the retaining structure is a boxlike structure having a planar top element 22, a planar bottom element 24 interconnected by a planar back element 26. The top element 22, the bottom element 24 and the back element 26 are all shown as being rectangularly configured panels having linear side edges. A pair of side elements 28 and 30 are positioned intermediate the top element 22 and the bottom element 24. The top element is coupled with each of the side elements 28 and 30 along the respective upper edge of each side element. Furthermore, the bottom element 24 is likewise coupled with the side elements 28 and 30 along the respective bottom edge of each side element. The side elements 28 and 30 are also coupled with the back element 26 along the upright side edge of each side element. The conjunction of the top, bottom, back and side elements forms a rectangularly configured boxlike structure which defines an access opening 31 between the unattached upright edges of the side elements 28 and 30.

The access opening 31 is framed by a plurality of generally co-planar panels which extend from the free edges of the side elements 28 and 30, the top element 22 and the bottom element 24. A first upright framing panel 32 extends from the free upright edge of side element 28. The plane of panel 32 is oriented perpendicularly to the plane of side panel 28. Frame panel 32 extends generally along the height of the free upright edge of side element 28. Similarly, the frame panel 36, disposed opposite from the frame panel 32 is also disposed along the upright free edge of the side element 30 and the plane of the frame panel 36 is oriented perpendicularly to the plane of the side element 30. Frame panel 34 extends laterally along the free edge of the top element 22. The plane of the frame element 34 is oriented perpendicularly to the plane of the top element 22. Similarly, the frame panel 38 extends laterally along the free edge of the bottom element 24. The plane of the frame panel 38 is oriented perpendicularly to the plane of the bottom element 24. The frame panel 38 is fitted on its upper edge with a horizontally extending shelf like element 40 which extends into the interior of the retaining structure. Similarly, the edge of the shelf like element 40 is fitted with an upstanding panel 42. The top edge of the panel 42 is fitted with a stop structure 44 which is adapted to preclude the further inward movement of the closure structure 12 into the interior of the retaining structure 10. The stop structure 44 may be configured to engage and intercooperate with a counterpart stop structure 45 which is secured to the inside face of the closure structure 12.

The frame panel 34 may also be configured to define an abutment surface for the closure structure 12. As shown to advantage in FIGS. 4 and 5, the panel 34 is coupled on its lowermost edge with a horizontally extending panel 46 which extends inwardly into the interior of the retaining structure. Coupled to the inwardly most edge of the panel 46 is a panel 48 which extends upwardly at an acute angle to the plane of the panel 46. As shown by the phantom representation in FIG. 5, the panel 48 forms an abutment surface for the closure element 12 when that element is positioned in its closed orientation.

The Guidance Device

The guidance device 14 is shown as including a scissors-like linkage, formed of two arms 50 and 52, in association with two guides 64 and 66. As shown to advantage in FIGS. 2 and 3, the linkage is formed of two elongate arms 50 and 52 which are pivotally joined to one another proximate their respective midpoints by a pivot connection 54. Each of the arms 50 and 52 is formed of an elongate, planar element having a substantially rectangular configuration. Each arm 50 and 52 defines a hole therein which passes through the entire thickness of the arm proximate the midpoint of the length of the arm to form the connection point 54. As shown in FIG. 5, the pivot connection 54 may be formed of a bolt-like structure 56 which passes through an aperture defined within each of the respective arms. A spacer 58 is disposed intermediate the two arms 50 and 52 to retain the arms spacedly apart from one another and facilitate the free movement of the two arms relative to one another. A nut-like member 60 is threadedly secured to a male threaded end of the bolt-like member 56 in order to retain the bolt-like structure in place. A spacer 57 may also be positioned on the bolt-like structure 56 in order to properly space the uppermost arm from the force applying device 16 which is also mounted on the bolt-like structure 56.

The scissor arm linkage is pivotally secured to two guides 62 and 64. As shown each of the guides includes a planar base panel 68, 86 which is coupled on one of its longitudinal edges to an upstanding panel 69, 84. As shown in FIG. 4, the combination of the base panel and the upstanding panel produces a generally ‘L’ shaped member. Each of the guides defines an aperture there through disposed proximate one end of the guide to form a mounting situs for a respective end of one of the arms 50, 52. Each arm 50, 52 is secured to a respective guide by means of an attachment assembly. A typical attachment arrangement is illustrated by bolt-like element 72A which extends through an aperture in the respective arm 52 and thereafter through a spacing washer 75. The bolt-like element 72A then extends through the aperture defined within the respective guide 62. Thereafter, the bolt-like element 72A extends through a second spacer washer 73. The bolt-like element 72A is then threadedly connected to a nut 74. A similar connection of arm 50 to guide 64 utilizes a bolt-like element 90A. As illustrated in FIG. 5, the bolt-like element 90A passes through a spacer washer 93 and thereafter through an aperture defined in the guide 64. Subsequently the element 90A passes through a second spacer washer 94 and thereafter through an aperture in arm 50. The element 90A is then threadedly secured to a nut 92. The connection of the arms 50, 52 to the guides 62, 64 is constructed to permit the arms to pivot about the vertical axis defined by the bolt-like elements 72A, 72B, 90A and 90B, as shown in FIGS. 2 and 3. The connection of arm 52 to guide 64 includes a similar arrangement of a bolt like element 90B, spacer washers and a nut as illustrated for the connection of arm 52 to guide 62 by means of bolt-like element 72A. Likewise, the connection of arm 50 to guide 62 adopts a similar arrangement of a bolt-like element 70B in association with spacer washers and a nut.

Each of the guides 62 and 64 defines a respective slot 82, 98 therein. The slots 82 and 98 are elongate in configuration and extend longitudinally along each guide over a length which is determined by the desired extension length 99 of the guide assembly. The bolt-like element 72B passes through the slot 82 while the bolt-like element 90B extends through the slot 98. A washer element 75B is positioned intermediate the arm 50 and the bracket 62. The bolt like element 72B extends through the washer 75B and thereafter through an aperture in the arm 50. The bolt like element 72B then extends through another washer 76B and then through a threaded nut which secures the bolt like element 75B in position. It follows that in each connection of a bolt like element to a respective scissor arm 50 and 52 to a guide 62 and 64, a washer is positioned immediately above the guide and immediately below the guide to facilitate pivotal movement of the scissor arms 50 and 52 about the guide. Each of these two bolt-like elements 72B and 90B are adapted to be displaceable along the lengths of their respective slots 82 and 98 responsive to the pivoting motion of the arms 50,52 about the pivot point 54 defined by the axis 116 which passes through the bolt like element 56.

A power drive mechanism such as a gas or hydraulic cylinder is connected to the arms 50 and 52 through its connection to the bolt-like element 56. As shown in FIGS. 2-5, the end 116 of power drive 110 defines an aperture through which the bolt-like element 56 passes thereby connecting the arm 111 of the cylinder 110 to the arms 50,52. The end of the arm 111 is pivotally secured to the arms 50, 52 by the association of the element 56 and the end of arm 111 The opposing end 118 of the drive cylinder 110 is pivotally secured to the frame of the cabinet by a pivot pin which passes through an aperture defined in end 120 of the drive cylinder.

An “L” shaped channel member 106 is secured to the guide 64 along its upstanding leg as shown in FIG. 2. The laterally extending leg of the channel member 106 is secured to a hinge 130 at its end. The hinge 130 may extend along the longitudinal length of the end of the laterally extending leg. The hinge 130 is also secured to a bracket 128. The bracket 128 is pivotally rotatable about the axis of the hinge 130 as shown by FIGS. 4 and 5 and more specifically as shown by the arrow 128 in FIG. 5. A cabinet door 122 is secured to the bracket 128 to be rotatable therewith about the pivot axis of the hinge 130 as shown to advantage in FIGS. 4 and 5. A handle 124 extends outward from the surface of the door 122. The handle functions not only as a means for the user to displace the door 122 from a closed to an open position, but furthermore, the handle 124 functions as a stop element to preclude the displacement of the door too far into the interior of the cabinet. As shown in FIG. 4, the handle 124, during the course of the door's rotation about the pivot axis of the hinge 130 and its concomitant displacement into the interior of the cabinet as shown in FIG. 4, is brought into abutment against a facing panel 34 of the frame of the cabinet. The abutment of the handle 124 against the facing panel 34 functions to preclude any further lateral displacement of the door 122 into the interior of the cabinet. Furthermore, the abutment functions to position the handle 124 at the fully open position of the door 1229 in a location which permits the user to easily grasp the handle 124 and displace the door 122 into a closed position as shown in phantom lines in FIG. 5.

Operation

FIG. 5 illustrates in phantom lines the positioning of the door 122 in its closed position. As shown in this position the door 122 is substantially in a vertical position with the lower flange edge 127 of the door 122 in abutment against a stop structure 45. The stop structure 45 may be either secured to the structure 44 or alternatively to the flange 127 of the door 122. Furthermore, the top of the door 122 is also in abutment against the top frame structure 46 of the cabinet 22. As shown to advantage in FIG. 5 the top of the door 122 may be angled away from the planar surface of the door 122 to form a second planar surface which mirrors the surface of the frame 46 whereby when the two structures are brought into abutment they form parallel extending planar surfaces. In this closed condition the interior 136 the cabinet 20 is substantially sealed from the environment, In order to access the interior of the cabinet 20, the user grasps the handle 124 and displaces it upwards generally in the direction of arrow 130. As the user pulls the handle 124 upwardly the door 122 pivots about the hinge 130 as indicated by the upwardly pointing portion of directional arrow 128. In essence the mounting bracket 129 pivots about the hinge 130. In the closed condition, the guide mechanism is substantially in the orientation shown in FIG. 2. Once the door has been rotated about the hinge 130 until it is in a substantially horizontal orientation, as shown in FIG. 4, the door 122 is then pushed into the cabinet along the direction of arrow 144 as shown in FIG. 4. As the door is pushed into the interior 136 of the cabinet 22, the guide mechanism 14 is displaced into the orientation shown in FIG. 3 by the action of the power cylinder 110 together with the pushing action of the user. The central connection point 54 of the two scissor arms is displaced along the arcuate path 146 shown in FIG. 2. The power cylinder 110 retains the door 122 in the open position shown in FIG. 4 until the user, intending to close the door of the cabinet, pulls on the handle 124 in a direction 180 degrees from the direction indicated by arrow 144 thereby compressing the power cylinder and pulling the door outwardly from the interior 136 of the cabinet.

Once the door 122 has been displaced outwardly substantially to the position shown in FIG. 5, the door 122 is then rotated downwardly, in a direction essentially opposite to that indicated by arrow 130 into the closed position shown by the phantom line representation of FIG. 5. Notably the power cylinder 110 is oriented such that the direction of the displacement of the arm 111 of the cylinder is substantially collinear with the direction of travel 146 of the central connection point 45 of the scissor arms as that connection point travels between the positions that the connection point occupies at the open and closed conditions of the cabinet door. As noted above the end 120 of the cylinder is pivotally secured to the body of the cabinet to permit the cylinder to swivel about its mounting to the cabinet. In this way the force applied by the cylinder to the connection point 54 operates to pivot the connection point effectively about the connection 74A while minimizing any force applications to the connection point in directions which would tend to cause the scissor linkage to bind up about the connection 74A.

It should be appreciated that although specific embodiments of the invention have been disclosed herein, the instant invention is subject to many changes, variations and modifications which do not depart from the spirit of the invention as disclosed. Accordingly, the scope of the invention is limited only by the following claims.