Title:
Stud attachment clip
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A stud attachment clip for attaching a metal stud to a metal track includes a mounting portion configured for mounting on the metal track and an attaching portion connected to the mounting portion and configured to hold the stud in place.



Inventors:
Gosis, Anatoly (Palatine, IL, US)
Kobetsky, Robert G. (Chicago, IL, US)
Shkolnikov, Yury (Glenview, IL, US)
Velan, George M. (Mount Prospect, IL, US)
Bauer, Mark (Mount Prospect, IL, US)
Davis, Matthew (Stone Mountain, GA, US)
Caringella, Anthony (Norridge, IL, US)
Application Number:
11/803084
Publication Date:
11/13/2008
Filing Date:
05/11/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E04B1/38
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
CANFIELD, ROBERT
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
GREER, BURNS & CRAIN, LTD. (CHICAGO, IL, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A stud attachment clip for attaching a metal stud to a metal track, the attachment clip comprising: a mounting portion configured for mounting on the metal track; and, an attaching portion connected to said mounting portion and configured to hold the stud in place.

2. A stud attachment clip as defined by claim 1 wherein the track has a major axis and wherein the stud is attached to the track in a direction generally normal to the track major axis, wherein said attaching portion rises at an angle of about 90° from said mounting portion, and wherein said attaching portion is configured to restrain the stud from movement along the track major axis and to allow for movement of the stud in the direction normal to the major axis.

3. A stud attachment clip as defined by claim 1 wherein said attaching portion includes a plurality of locking fingers configured to engage the stud and hold it in place.

4. A stud attachment clip as defined by claim 3 wherein the metal track has a major axis, wherein said locking fingers prevent movement of the stud in the direction of said major axis, and wherein said locking fingers are configured to allow movement of the stud in a direction normal to said major axis.

5. A stud attachment clip as defined by claim 3 wherein the metal track has a major axis, and wherein at least a first portion of said plurality of locking fingers are offset from a second portion of said plurality of locking fingers in a direction along said track major axis to define a slot between said first and second portions of locking fingers.

6. A stud attachment clip as defined by claim 5 wherein the width of said slot in the direction of said track is no greater than about 0.05″.

7. A stud attachment clip as defined by claim 3 wherein the track defines a track major axis, and wherein said plurality of fingers comprise at least three fingers, the center of said three fingers offset by some distance in the direction of said track major axis from the first and third of said fingers to create a slot between said center finger and said first and third of said fingers, said slot dimensioned to receive the stud.

8. A stud attachment clip as defined by claim 3 wherein said mounting portion defines a plane and wherein said plurality of locking fingers are at an angle of about 90° from said mounting portion plane and have a height of at least about 0.25″ in a direction normal to said mounting portion plane, and wherein said locking fingers have differing heights.

9. A stud attachment clip as defined by claim 3 wherein each of said plurality of locking fingers has a first end closest to said mounting portion and a distal second end, and wherein at least a portion of said plurality of locking fingers includes a bent receiving lip on said second end to facilitate receiving the stud.

10. A stud attachment clip as defined by claim 3 wherein said plurality of locking fingers have a finger major axis, wherein the metal track has a track major axis in a direction normal to said finger major axis, and wherein said plurality of locking fingers allow some sliding of the stud along said finger major axis while preventing said stud from movement along said track major axis.

11. A stud attachment clip as defined by claim 1 wherein said mounting portion comprises a flat mounting plate that is generally coplanar with a base region of the metal track to which said mounting plate is attached.

12. A stud attachment clip as defined by claim 1 wherein said mounting portion comprises a planar mounting plate having a passage for receiving a fastener.

13. A stud attachment clip as defined by claim 12 wherein the stud attachment clip further comprises said fastener, said fastener configured for use with a combustion driving tool and including a head configured to be received in a barrel of the combustion driving tool, a shaft connected to said head, a positioning flute on said shaft for positioning said pin in the tool barrel, a cap on a shaft end distal from said head, and wherein said mounting plate further comprises a crush dimple surrounding said passage.

14. A stud attachment clip as defined by claim 1 wherein the metal track has a general U shape defined by a lowermost base portion coplanar with an underlying substrate and two opposing sidewalls rising from and substantially normal to said base portion, the lowermost base portion having a width between the two opposing sidewalls; and wherein said mounting portion comprises a mounting plate coplanar and substantially coextensive with the track base portion width, said mounting plate having two opposing side edges and at least one attachment arm rising at a normal from at least one of said side edges and configured to engage the track sidewalls.

15. A stud attachment clip as defined by claim 14 wherein the track sidewall each have a top edge, and wherein said at least one attachment arm has a lower end attached to said mounting plate side edge and has an overlapping tang at an opposing upper end configured to extend over the track sidewall top edge and to hold the stud attachment clip in place on the track.

16. A stud attachment clip as defined by claim 14 wherein said at least one attachment arm comprises a pair of attachment arms, one each of said attachment arms attached to each of said mounting plate side edges.

17. A stud attachment clip as defined by claim 1 wherein the attachment clip has a general L shape, wherein said mounting portion comprises a flat mounting plate and said attaching portion comprises a planar attaching plate connected to said mounting plate at an angle of about 90°, adhesive on an underside of said attaching plate for attaching said attaching plate to the stud.

18. A stud attachment clip as defined by claim 1 wherein said mounting portion comprises a mounting plate, and further comprising attachment means on an underside of said mounting plate to attach the clip to the metal track.

19. An L-shaped stud attachment clip for attaching a metal stud to a metal track, the track having a major axis, the clip for attaching the stud to the track in a generally normal direction to the major axis, the metal track having a base portion attached to an underlying substrate, the attachment clip comprising: a planar mounting plate for mounting on the track and having an edge; and a plurality of locking fingers connected to said mounting plate edge at an angle of about 90° from said mounting plate, said fingers having different heights in a direction normal to the track major axis, said plurality of fingers offset from one another in the direction of the track major axis to define a slot for receiving the stud.

20. A stud attachment clip for attaching a metal stud to a metal track as defined by claim 19 wherein the metal track has a general U-shape having a channel defined by two opposing sidewalls rising from and substantially normal to a lowermost planar base portion, the base portion having a width between the two sidewalls, wherein said mounting plate edge is a first edge; and wherein said mounting plate has a width coextensive with the track base portion width and opposing second and third edges, an engaging arm rising from at least one of said second and third edges, a locking tang on said engaging arm for engaging one of the track sidewalls; and wherein said plurality of fingers comprises at least three fingers, a central of said three fingers offset from a first and third of said fingers in the direction of the track major axis.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

A field of the invention is attachment clips. An additional field of the invention is attachment clips for attaching a stud to a track.

BACKGROUND

Metal framing is steadily increasing in popularity in the construction industry. Metal framing (typically steel) offers advantages compared to wood when used as framing materials related to strength, cost, resistance to shrinkage and warping, resistance to insect damage, resistance to combustion, and others. With reference to FIG. 1, typical steel framing applications often include generally U-shaped metal tracks 2 running in the horizontal direction and attached to underlying and overhead substrates which, in some cases are concrete floors and ceilings. Vertical studs 4 then connect the upper and lower track members to provide a framing skeleton. Construction panels such as wallboard, paneling or other planar facing material are then attached to this framing structure.

Despite its many advantages, there are opportunities for improving metal framing systems and methods. As an example, the vertical stud 4 is typically attached to the horizontal track 2 using a fastener 6 such as a screw, bolt and nut, rivet, nail, or the like. Typically, the fastener 6 is inserted through a sidewall of the track to join it to a sidewall of the vertical stud. Although such practices and systems are effective, opportunities for improvement exist. For example, inserting the fastener 6 through the layers of the track and the stud can be difficult due to the limited thickness of the layers. Further, this practice often results in a head of the fastener 6 being exposed on the metal track 2 sidewall surface. In many applications, this is the surface to which wallboard or other facing material is attached. The protruding fastener head can complicate such attachment. In some cases, an uneven facing material attachment and/or warping of the facing material can result.

Additionally, in many applications, the distance between the overhead and lower track changes somewhat during construction. The ceiling and/or floor may sag, for example, as construction loads are placed on them. To accommodate such changes, one or the other end of a stud may be initially attached with a temporary fastener. After a construction event has shifted the ceiling and/or floor, the temporary fastener is removed and replaced with a permanent fastener with the stud now in a deflected position as compared to its original position.

SUMMARY

The above-identified deficiencies of the prior art are addressed by the present stud attachment clip for attaching a metal stud to a metal track. The present attachment clip includes a mounting portion configured for to mounting on the metal track and an attaching portion connected to the mounting portion and configured to hold the stud in place. The mounting portion preferably includes a flat mounting plate, and the attaching portion preferably includes a plurality of locking fingers that rise from the mounting plate for engaging the stud.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a framing skeleton using a fastener of the prior art;

FIG. 2 is a top perspective view of a stud and a track attached together using the present attachment clip;

FIG. 3 is an enlarged bottom perspective view of the attachment clip of FIG. 2;

FIG. 4 is a top perspective view showing an example attachment clip of FIGS. 2 and 3;

FIG. 5 is an overhead plan view of the attachment clip of FIGS. 2-4;

FIG. 6 is a side elevation of the attachment clip of line 6-6 FIGS. 2-5 viewed from the line 6-6 of FIG. 5 and in the direction generally indicated;

FIG. 7 illustrates an alternate embodiment of the present attachment clip;

FIG. 8 illustrates a second alternate embodiment of the present attachment clip;

FIG. 9 illustrates a third alternate embodiment of the present attachment clip;

FIG. 10 is a side elevation of the attachment clip of FIG. 9 viewed from the line 10-10 of FIG. 9 and in the direction generally indicated;

FIG. 11 illustrates a fourth alternate embodiment of the present attachment clip;

FIG. 12 illustrates a fifth alternate embodiment of the present attachment clip;

FIG. 13 illustrates a sixth alternate embodiment of the present attachment clip;

FIG. 14 depicts the clip of FIG. 12 installed in a track;

FIG. 15 is a cross-section taken along the line 15-15 of FIG. 14 and in the direction generally indicated;

FIG. 16 is a top perspective view of a seventh alternate embodiment of the present attachment clip;

FIG. 17 is an elevational view of the clip of FIG. 16 viewed from the line 17-17 of FIG. 16 and in the direction generally indicated;

FIG. 18 is an elevational view illustrating the clip of FIGS. 16-17 installed on a track; and

FIG. 19 illustrates an eighth alternate embodiment of the present attachment clip.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Referring now to FIG. 2, an aspect of the present invention is directed to attachment clips for attaching a metal stud to a track. A stud 52 is attached to a first metal track 54 and a second metal track 56 using attachment clips 58. Both the metal stud 52 and metal tracks 54 and 56 are generally U-shaped, with a planar base portion 60 and two opposing sidewalls 62 and 64 that extend normally from the base portion 60. Those knowledgeable in the art will appreciate that the stud 52 and tracks 54, 56 may have other shapes, with examples including (but not limited to) a stud having a rectangular or “capital I” profile. The present clip is not limited to use with studs and tracks of any particular shape. The example tracks 54 and 56 define a track major axis along their length, illustrated by the line TMA in FIG. 2.

The base portion 60 of the lower track 54 is suitable for mounting on an underlying substrate, which may be a concrete, metal or wood floor, for instance. Likewise, the flat base portion 60 of the overhead track 56 is suitable for mounting on an overhead substrate, which may be, for example, a concrete, metal or wood ceiling. As shown in FIGS. 2 and 3, the stud 52 is dimensioned to fit within the U-shaped tracks 54 and 56. The studs and tracks 52-56 are typically made of a thin sheet metal. Other materials are also contemplated, including polymer, paperboard, and the like. The present invention is not limited to use with studs and tracks made of any particular material.

FIGS. 4-6 illustrate the example attachment clip 58 of FIGS. 2-3 in greater detail. The clip 58 is L-shaped and includes a mounting portion or plate 80 that is generally flat and coplanar with the track base portion 60 (FIGS. 2, 3) for mounting thereon. The plate 80 is generally square shaped, although many other shapes could be used, with examples including a rectangular shaped. The plate 80 may be dimensioned as desired. It should be sufficiently large to provide positive engagement with the base portion 60 (FIGS. 2, 3). In many applications, the plate 80 is dimensioned to have an area in the general range of 0.5-0.75 in2. This range offers useful area for engaging the track base portion 60 and for resisting rotation or other movement. Other sizes are contemplated.

A passage 82 extends through the plate 80. A fastener 84, preferably a nail or pin, is held in the passage 82. The nail 84 includes a head 86 and a cap 88 over a tip, which is sharp and pointed to facilitate insertion into a substrate. A positioning flute 90 is optionally included on the shaft of the nail 84 for positioning the nail in the barrel of a driving tool such as a combustion or pneumatic driver gun (not illustrated). The flute 90 is a collar made of flexible plastic with fins extending outward to engage the driver gun barrel. Other fasteners in addition to the nail 84 may be used, with examples including screws, bolts, adhesives and the like.

A crush dimple or boss 92 surrounds the passage 82. The boss 92 is configured as a circular ridge or dimple that is useful to prevent the nail head 86 from penetrating through the plate 80 when driven with a large force as is common in installation tools of the type discussed above. The crush dimple flattens when the nail head 86 impacts it, thereby absorbing some force from the nail insertion. The crush dimple 92 may also provide some rigidity and resistance to bending of the plate 80.

Use of a fastener such as the nail 84 is believed to provide useful advantages and benefits in some example applications. As an example, the nail 84 can be used to attach the attaching clip 58 to the tracks 54 and 56 (FIGS. 2, 3) and to the underlying substrate (e.g., concrete floor, ceiling). Further, the nail 84 may also be effective to hold the track 54, 56 in place on the substrate. Put another way and with reference to FIG. 2, attaching the clip 58 to the track 54 may also be effective for fixing the clip 58 on the track 54 and fixing the track 54 onto the underlying substrate. Labor efficiency is thereby gained in that only one nail 84 need be used to accomplish two tasks.

Further, including the nail 84 held in the passage 82 and together with the positioning flute 90 is useful to accommodate one handed operation. An operator can load the nail 84 in a driving tool barrel where it will be held through operation of the positioning flute 90. One hand is then used to operate the driving tool and position the clip 58 for attachment to the track 54, 56 in a desired position. This is particularly beneficial for overhead attachment.

Referring once again to FIG. 4, the example clip 58 includes a pair of locking fingers 100 and 102 that rise at an angle of about 90° from the mounting plate 80. The fingers 100 and 102 are configured to engage the stud 52 (FIGS. 2, 3) and hold it in place. The fingers 100 and 102 may engage opposing sides of the stud base portion 60 to thereby hold it between them and restrain it from movement in the direction of the track major axis TMA (FIG. 2). Although the example clip 58 includes a pair of locking fingers, other numbers of fingers may be provided, with three, or four being contemplated. More fingers generally enhance holding power, but too great a number of fingers may result in cumbersome engagement with the stud 52. Two to three fingers are believed to be most useful for typical applications, although other numbers may be useful for other applications.

The fingers 100 and 102 are spaced apart from one another by some distance in a direction that lies along the axis labeled as Y in the overhead view of FIG. 5. This separation defines a first slot 104 between the fingers 100 and 102. The slot 104 in the example clip 58 extends for some distance onto the mounting plate 80. It should be understood that the slot 104 need not extend onto the mounting plate 80, but may be coextensive with the height of the fingers 100 and 102 (along the Z axis of FIG. 6) or may extend for only a portion of the height of the fingers 100 and 102. It is also contemplated to omit the slot 104, with the fingers 100 and 102 instead directly adjacent to one another.

As best shown by the overhead plan view of FIG. 5 and the elevational view of FIG. 6, the two fingers 100 and 102 are also separated from one another by some distance in the direction along the axis labeled as X in FIG. 6, which is coincident with the track major axis TMA of FIG. 2. This separation defines a second slot 106 visible in the elevational view of FIG. 6. This slot 106 is configured to facilitate engagement with the stud 54 (FIGS. 2, 3). It may be dimensioned, for example, to provide positive engagement with the stud base portion 60. In some applications, for example, known commercial tracks and studs are made of metal having a thickness of between about 0.017″ and 0.022″. Providing a slot 106 with a width along the X axis of FIG. 6 of about this distance will be useful to accommodate frictional engagement with studs having this wall thickness. Some tolerance may also be provided. Slots having a width of no greater than about 0.05″ are believed useful to accommodate the most popular studs and to allow a useful amount of tolerance.

Also, variations of the present attachment clips of the invention include a plurality of locking fingers that are not offset from one another in the X direction of FIG. 6. That is, on some example clips, no slot 106 is defined. FIG. 7 illustrates one such attaching clip 120 which includes a mounting plate 122 and a pair of locking fingers 124 rising therefrom at an angle of about 90°. The locking fingers 124 have top ends 126 that are spread apart or splayed from one another in the direction of the X/track major axis to form a V shape that facilitates engagement with the stud.

The clip 120 provides advantages of low cost of manufacture and easy, nested stackable shipment and storage. The locking fingers 124 are optionally coplanar and/or joined when the clip 120 is manufactured and shipped. A user could then bend the fingers 124 apart from one another into the V shape to receive the stud 52. The locking fingers 124 can then be bent back towards one another to more firmly hold the stud 52 in place.

FIG. 8 illustrates one such example clip 130 which includes two locking fingers 132 joined to one another. A separation or perforation line 134 lies between the two locking fingers 132. The perforation line 134 may be a complete or partial cut. In either case, the perforation line 134 allows for ease of separation and bending apart of the locking fingers 132 by a user in the field. The locking fingers 132 also include bent engagement lips 136 for facilitating engagement with the stud 52. Although only two locking fingers 124 and 132 are illustrated in FIGS. 7 and 8 respectively, other example clips in these general configurations may include other numbers, with an example being three.

Referring once again to FIGS. 5 and 6 and the clip 58, the fingers 100 and 102 have different heights along the Z axis (which is normal to the track major axis TMA) of FIG. 6 as needed for particular applications. Different heights for the fingers 100 and 102 are useful to ease engagement with the stud 52. The stud 52 may be placed in contact with the longer locking finger 100 which may then be deflected somewhat to allow for easy sliding downward (toward the mounting plate 80) into the slot 106 and engagement with the shorter locking finger 102. The difference in height between the locking fingers 100 and 102 may be set as desirable. In many applications, a difference in height of at least about 0.125″ is useful to allow for easy engagement with the stud 52. Other height differentials may also be useful, with a second example being at least about 0.25″. Other alternate embodiments for the present clips 58, however, include locking fingers having the same height.

In some example applications, both locking fingers have a height of at least about 0.25″. The height should be sufficiently large to allow some movement of the stud 52 along the height of the locking finger 100, 102 (i.e., in the Z direction of FIG. 6). It has been discovered that locking fingers 100 and 102 that are configured to hold the stud 52 (FIGS. 2, 3) in place but allow for some vertical movement (i.e., in the Z direction of FIG. 6) offer useful benefits and advantages. For example, in methods and systems of the prior art, a stud was often initially attached to an overhead track using a temporary fastener. Installation of a ceiling or other construction events often caused the stud to deflect some amount relative to the overhead track. In such cases, the temporary fastener was removed and a second permanent fastener attached with the stud in its new, deflected position. This resulted in two fastener installations and one removal, which entails additional labor and other costs.

The present clip 58 as well as many depicted alternatives are useful for reducing or eliminating these duplicative labor and other costs. Some of the present attachment clips are configured to hold the stud 52 in place but to allow some movement in the vertical direction (i.e., the direction normal to the track major axis and along the Z axis of FIG. 6). This allows for the stud 52 to be initially attached using a clip 58, 120, 130, etc. to an overhead track without the need for subsequent replacement or adjustment when a ceiling is installed or some other construction event occurs and results in some deflection of the stud. Substantial savings are thereby realized.

Different amounts of movement may be allowed in this Z direction depending on the configuration of the locking fingers 100 and 102. They may be configured, for example, to allow for limited movement in the Z direction of no more than about 1/16″, no more than about ⅛″, no more than about ¼″, no more than about ½″, or other limited amounts of movement as may be desirable for a particular application.

Referring once again to the clip 58 shown in FIGS. 4-6, configuring the locking fingers 100 and 102 to allow for some vertical movement of the stud 52 (i.e., movement along the axis Z of FIG. 6) include, for example, providing them in sufficient height along the Z axis of FIG. 6. The height should not be so large, on the other hand, that installation of the stud 52 is cumbersome or difficult. Heights of between about 0.375″ and about 0.625″ are believed to be useful in many applications. Also, the locking fingers 100 and 102 should have a width (i.e., along the Y axis of FIG. 5) sufficient to provide positive engagement with the stud 52 and to resist stud rotation. Widths of each finger 100 and 102 of about 0.25″ or more are useful in many applications. Other sizes will be useful in other applications, including lesser widths.

Also, it is believed that installation of the stud 52 using the clip 58 on one cross sectional side of the stud, and attaching the other end of the stud using another clip at the opposite cross sectional side of the stud is useful for resisting rotation of the stud along its major axis. Or, a pair of clips 58 can be used on one or both ends of the stud. This provides multiple attachment points to result in a high resistance to axial rotation of the stud.

The present attachment clips 58, 120, 130 may be made of any suitable material which can be selected based on considerations of strength, ease of use, ease of manufacture, cost, resistance to corrosion, and the like. Some applications may call for more strength than others. For example, some applications may include placing the vertical stud 52 under higher loads in the direction of a track major axis than others. In many applications, the load on the studs in this direction is not high. In such applications relatively thin and lightweight clips may be used. Metals such as a tin, rolled steel, alloys, and polymers are example suitable materials. The clips as shown in FIGS. 2-8 offer some advantages related to their manufacture since they can generally be fabricated from die cutting or stamping of a single rectangular piece of metal. The locking fingers 100, 102 can be bent into desired position using a tool or the like.

If made of a polymer, a suitably strong and rigid polymer will be useful, with examples being nitrites, styrenes (including polystyrene), and acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS). The example attachment clip 58 is made of thin rolled steel having a thickness of about 0.010″, and may be made in a single piece and then formed through die cutting and bending. Other thicknesses of steel may also be used. This has been found to provide cost and strength advantages that are useful in many applications. Manufacture in a polymer process through the use of molds may also be useful.

The attachment clips 58, 120 and 130 represent only a few example embodiments of the present attachment clip. Many other example configurations are contemplated. FIGS. 9-10, for example, illustrate an additional example attachment clip 150 of the invention. The clip 150 is similar in many respects to the clip 58 (FIGS. 2-6). It includes a mounting portion in the form of a flat mounting plate 152 and an attaching portion in the form of three locking fingers 154, 156 and 158.

As best illustrated by FIG. 9, the three locking fingers 154, 156 and 158 are offset from one another in the direction illustrated as the X axis in FIG. 10, which is coincident with the track major axis TMA of FIG. 2. In particular, the center locking finger 156 is offset from the first and third locking fingers 154 and 158 to define a slot 160 therebetween. As with the slot 106 of FIG. 6, the slot 160 is configured to engage a portion of the stud 52 (FIGS. 2-3). This may include, for example, dimensioning the width of the slot 160 along the X direction to be about the same or slightly larger than the wall thickness of a stud.

Examples include widths of the slot 160 that accommodate one or both of 20 or 25 gage steel (i.e., slot 160 width of from about 0.017″-0.022″), with some additional width provided (e.g., about 0.05″) to allow some tolerance. The width of the slot 160 may be set slightly larger than the wall thickness of the stud 52 for ease of insertion into the attachment clip. Or, in other example clips, the width of the slot 160 may be very close to or even slightly less than the stud wall thickness for a tighter engagement. Configuring the locking fingers 154, 156 and 158 to result in a width of the slot 160 that is smaller than the stud wall thickness may cause the locking fingers 154, 156, 158 to exert a spring gripping force on the stud. While this may be desirable in some applications, in other applications a looser fit may be preferred to facilitate, for example, allowing for vertical movement of the stud 52 (i.e., in the direction of the Y axis of FIG. 6).

Referring again to the clip 150 of FIGS. 9-10, the locking fingers 154 and 158 include upper ends that are defined by an engagement lip 162. The engagement lip 162 bends outward in a direction away from the second or center locking finger 156 to facilitate insertion of the stud into the slot 160. Put another way, the engagement lips 162 result in the slot 160 having an enlarged upper entrance and narrowing towards the mounting plate 152. As best illustrated by FIG. 10, the engagement lip 62 generally comprises an upper portion of the locking fingers 154 and 158 bent in a direction away from the center finger 156.

Other engagement lips are contemplated and will be apparent to those knowledgeable in the art, including the lips 136 of FIG. 8. Unlike the example clip 58 of FIGS. 4-6, the locking fingers 154, 156 and 158 of the clip 150 have substantially equal heights along the Z direction of FIG. 10. Although locking fingers 154, 156 and 158 of differing heights could alternatively be used, the use of the engaging lips 162 eases entry of the stud into the slot 160.

The clip 150 of FIGS. 9-10 also includes a generally square and planar mounting plate 152. Unlike the mounting plate 80 of the clip 58 of FIGS. 5-6, no passage is provided. Although an alternate configuration of the clip 150 may include a passage for receiving a nail, screw or other fastener, the configuration as shown is also useful. Also, the clips 58, 120, 130 and others, may be provided with mounting plates without a passage. Such a configuration can be used, for example, in applications where attachment of the clip 150 to a track (such as the track 54 or 56 of FIG. 2) is accomplished using an adhesive or other mechanism that does not include a penetrating fastener.

An adhesive may be applied, for example, to a bottom surface 164 of the mounting plate 152 and/or the track base portion 60 (FIGS. 2, 3) to hold the attaching clip 150 in place. This may be advantageous, for example, in applications where use of a nail, screw, or other penetrating fastener is not desirable. Suitable adhesives include glues, caulks, and the like. One example clip 150 is provided with an adhesive layer on the mounting plate bottom surface 164 underlying a removable protective strip. At time of use, the protective strip can be removed and the clip attached. Other examples include the use of mating mechanical fasteners, such as mating hook and loop materials including the commercial VELCRO® product. A strip of such material can be attached to the track, and a corresponding mating patch of material attached to the plate underside 164. This can be useful, for example, to allow for adjustable placement of the clip 150 on the track 54, 56.

The attachment clip 150 may also be used with a nail, screw or other penetrating fastener. The fastener may be driven through the mounting plate 152. A nail gun may be used, for example, to drive a nail through the mounting plate 152 to hold the clip 150 in place on a track and/or an underlying substrate. Or, a passage can be provided to ease attachment.

FIG. 11 illustrates still an additional example attachment clip 190 of the invention. The clip 190 is consistent in many respects the clips 58, 120, 130, 150. It includes a mounting plate 192 with a passage 194, and three locking fingers 196, 198, and 200. Unlike the clips discussed above, the clip 190 has its locking fingers 194, 196 and 198 rising from the mounting plate 192 at an angle Θ of other than 90°. Θ may be, for example, 45°, 60°, 90°, 120°, 135°, 150° or other angle. Accordingly, the clip 190 may be useful for attaching studs 52 to tracks at angles other than 90°, including angles greater than or less than 90°.

FIG. 12 illustrates an additional example attachment clip 220 which includes a mounting plate 222 that is not square, but instead also includes extensions 224 for added stability and holding power. A pair of locking fingers 226 and 228 extend upward at an angle of about 90° from the mounting plate 222. A slot 230 is defined by the fingers 226 and 228 which are offset from one another along the direction of the track major axis TMA. A pair of passages 232 is provided to accommodate two fasteners (such as the nail 84 of FIGS. 4-6). This may be useful to resist rotation, to provide enhanced stability and holding power, and for other reasons. The mounting plate 222 as shown offers advantages in that the locking fingers may be die cut or stamped from a single rectangular piece of metal and then bent into their upward shape. Other configurations are possible, however, including a square, rectangular or other shaped mounting plate with locking fingers extending upward from a center or other interior portion of the surface of the mounting plate.

FIGS. 13-15 illustrate an additional example fastener clip 250 which includes a planar mounting plate 252 and a pair of locking fingers 254 rising from an edge thereof. An engaging arm 256 is attached to a side edge of the mounting plate 252. As best illustrated by FIGS. 14 and 15, the mounting plate 252 is substantially coextensive with the width of the base portion 60 of a U-shaped track 54/56 (FIGS. 2-3). The engaging arm 256 engages the sidewall 62 of the track 258. The clip 250 may be held in place by use of an adhesive, VELCRO® brand hook and loop fastener material, or one or more fasteners applied to one or both of the mounting plate 252 or engaging arm 256. Or, the engaging arm 256 may be provided with an outward bend (i.e., towards track sidewall 62) to providing springing engagement therewith. The clip 250 offers advantages in some applications of being resistive to rotation, or offering enhanced holding power, and the like. The engaging arm 256 is particularly useful in resisting rotation and enhancing holding power.

Although the clip 250 has been illustrated with only one engaging arm 256, other example clips may include a pair of opposing engaging arms—one at each side edge of the mounting plate 252 to engage both track sidewalls 62 and 64. Such a configuration may provide even greater holding power and resistance to rotation. Also, the engaging arm 256 has been illustrated as extending only part of the height of the track sidewall 62. Other example clips may include engaging arms that extend for greater portions of the sidewall 262.

FIGS. 16-18 illustrate still another example attaching clip 300 which includes a planar mounting plate 302 for attachment to the base 60 of a track 54/56 (FIGS. 2, 3). The clip 300 also includes a plurality of locking fingers 304 that rise at an angle of about 90° from the mounting plate 302. The locking fingers 304 are configured for engaging the stud 52, and may be consistent with, for example, any of the locking fingers 100, 102 (FIGS. 4, 5, 6); locking fingers 154, 156 and 158 (FIGS. 9, 10) or the like. Like the attachment clip 250 of FIGS. 13-15, the clip 300 is configured to be held in the channel defined by the interior of the U-shaped track 54 or 56 (FIGS. 2, 3) by engaging the track sidewalls 62 and 64.

As best illustrated by the cross sectional elevational view of FIG. 18 (which illustrates the clip 300 nested in the channel of a U-shaped track such as the track 52/54 of FIGS. 2, 3), the clip 300 includes two opposing engagement arms 306. The engagement arms 306 rise up from the mounting plate 302 in the same direction as the locking fingers 304. Each engagement arm 306 has an upper end including a locking tang 308 useful to springingly engage the track sidewalls 62 and 64. As illustrated, the tang 308 has a general hairpin shape that wraps around a top of the sidewall 62/64 and includes a spring arm 310 that springingly engages the track sidewall 62/64. The clip 300 thereby offers advantages in that no additional fastener is required—the tangs 308 springingly attach the clip 300 to the track 54/56. The tangs 308 also result in some elements being on the outside of the track sidewalls 62 and 64, however.

In some applications this may not be desirable due to potential interference with subsequent installation of wall board or other planar facing materials. Interference may be mitigated to an extent by providing only a single engaging arm 306 and/or only a single locking tang 308. That is, although two engagement arms 306 have been illustrated, other embodiments may include only a single engagement arm 306. This could be useful, for example, to lock the clip 300 in place by engaging the tang 308 of a single engaging arm 306 on the back sidewall 64 of the track 54, 56, leaving the front sidewall 62 free from encumbrances for ease of installation of wall board or other planar facing materials.

FIG. 19 illustrates still an additional attachment clip 350 which includes a mounting plate 352 and an attachment portion in the form of an attachment plate 354. The plate 354 is an alternative to locking fingers of other embodiments. The clip 350 may be used to hold a stud in place by applying adhesive (shown hidden) to a surface 358 of the attachment plate 354 that will contact the stud 52. The mounting plate 356 can be attached to the track base portion 60 using adhesive, a fastener, or the like.

The above discussion and figures have illustrated some example embodiments of the present attachment clips. These embodiments are illustrative only, however. Many other embodiments will be possible within the scope of the attached claims. Further, many equivalent and alternative structures will be apparent to those knowledgeable in the art. For example, it will be appreciated that elements of one example clip illustrated herein may find utility when used with a different embodiment.