Title:
APPARATUS AND METHOD FOR ALIGNING PERPENDICULAR MEMBERS
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Construction devices and methods are employed for the proper spacing and alignment of structural members or other objects to be affixed. The device and method may be employed to align and fasten together a support beam and a truss.



Inventors:
Hudson, Jimmy (Russell Springs, KY, US)
Application Number:
12/098759
Publication Date:
06/04/2009
Filing Date:
04/07/2008
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
52/698
International Classes:
E04G21/18
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
WENDELL, MARK R
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP - West Coast (Atlanta, GA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A device for aligning perpendicular members comprising: at least one cross-member having a plane configured to rest on a first structural member; at least one side-member connected to said at least one cross-member, wherein said at least one side-member has at least one perpendicular aperture passing there through at an angle perpendicular to said cross-member plane, and wherein said at least one side-member has at least one tangential aperture passing there through at an angle tangential to both said cross-member plane and the perpendicular aperture in the side-member; and wherein said at least one cross-member and side-member are configured to support at least two sides of a second structural beam.

2. The device of claim 1, further comprising at least one fastener guide in substantial registration with the at least one tangential aperture, wherein said at least one fastener guide is stably connected to said at least one side-member.

3. The device of claim 2, wherein said at least one fastener guide and the at least one tangential aperture are dimensioned and configured to guide a fastener in a direction through both the second structural beam and the first structural beam.

4. The device of claim 1, wherein the at least one perpendicular aperture is configured to guide a fastener in a direction perpendicular through the first structural beam.

5. The device of claim 1, wherein said at least one side-member is two opposing side-members separated by said at least one cross-member.

6. The device of claim 1, wherein the device is a molded plastic material.

7. The device of claim 1, further comprising fasteners.

8. A device for aligning perpendicular members comprising: at least one cross-member having a plane configured to rest on a first structural member; a first side-member connected to said cross-member; a second side-member connected to said cross-member, wherein said first and second side-members oppose each other and are separated by said cross-member plane, wherein each opposing side-member has at least one perpendicular aperture passing there through at an angle perpendicular to the cross-member plane, and wherein each opposing side-member has at least one tangential aperture passing there through at an angle tangential to said cross-member plane and each side-member; and wherein said cross-member and said two side-members are configured to support three sides of a second structural beam.

9. The device of claim 8, further comprising at least one fastener guide stably connected to said opposing side-members, wherein the at least one fastener guide is in substantial registration with the at least one tangential aperture.

10. The device of claim 9, wherein said at least one fastener guide and the at least one tangential aperture are configured to guide a fastener in a direction through both the second structural beam and the first structural beam.

11. The device of claim 8, wherein said first and second side-members are rotational mirror images around a point on said cross-member plane, wherein the point is equidistant from each of said side-members.

12. The device of claim 8, wherein the at least one perpendicular aperture is configured to guide a fastener in a direction perpendicular through the first structural beam.

13. The device of claim 8, wherein the device is a molded plastic material.

14. The device of claim 8, further comprising fasteners.

15. A method of aligning perpendicular members comprising the steps of: placing a truss nailing guide on a first structural member; urging fasteners through apertures in at least one side-member of the truss nailing guide into the first structural member in a perpendicular direction; placing a second structural member in a gap in the truss nailing guide, wherein the gap is created by a cross-member and at least one side-member connected to the cross-member; and urging fasteners through apertures in the at least one side-member of the truss nailing guide through the second structural member and into the first structural member in a direction tangential to both the first and second structural members.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCES TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims priority, under 35 U.S.C. § 119 (c), to U.S. Provisional Application Ser. No. 60/992,110, filed Apr. 6, 2007, the disclosure of which is herein expressly incorporated in its entirety.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to construction, and more particularly to a device for assisting a construction worker in properly spacing and aligning a member or other object to be nailed.

2. Related Art

Recent developments in construction have enabled workers to reduce the time necessary for performing certain specific repetitive acts. The area of nailing trusses, joists, and other vertical members into a horizontal surface still has room for time-reduction. For example, in typical roof construction, trusses are secured to supporting members by toe nailing.

Toe nailing is a construction method involving driving a nail, at an angle, through the end of a board to anchor it to a second supporting board. At present, it is necessary for a carpenter to sight-align the truss during the location process. This process requires acquired skill and can be difficult for inexperienced workers, such as home-owners working on simple do-it-yourself projects.

Improper sight-alignment can result in misalignment of the member to be nailed. During the nailing process, the worker can also misguide the nails that are meant to help seat the vertical member. These structural errors can decrease the amount of load the truss can carry and result in an unstable and dangerous end product.

There have been several attempts to make improvements in the area of truss attachment. For example, various brackets and fasteners have been developed. U.S. Pat. No. 4,932,173 to Commins discloses a metal device for attaching trusses to supporting members in building structures. The device is a single metal piece that fits over a horizontal supporting member and provides a “sail plate” that is perpendicular to the supporting member. The device is first attached to the horizontal support member, and then the truss is attached to the device by nails driven through openings in the sail plate. Although this device allows for the truss to be attached to the supporting member, it does not allow for a direct connection between the truss and the supporting member. Rather, the truss is attached to the device, and the device is then attached to the support member. Furthermore, due to the design requirement that the device fit over the width of the support member, the device can only be used with support members having specific widths.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,295,781 to Thompson also discloses a metal device for attaching trusses to support members. The Thompson device is similar to the Commins' device, except that it adds an attachment from the support member to the wall stud. This configuration does not allow for a single nail to connect the truss to the support member. Further, it narrows the use of the device to situations where the truss, supporting member, and wall stud can be tied together. Additionally, this device is one-sided and thus, does not prevent the truss from being attached to the support member in an angled position.

Neither of the above inventions allow for proper alignment and spacing, for a direct connection, or for flexibility of use. Thus, it is undesirable and impractical for nonprofessional workers to use these devices for smaller scale building projects and simple home improvements. Consequently, there is a need for an improved method of aligning and nailing vertical members.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The invention provides a construction apparatus that can reduce the time necessary for performing various construction processes. The invention may also provide a durable, shatter-proof mechanism that can withstand a variety of physical shocks and temperatures. These and other features and advantages of the invention will become readily apparent as the following description is read in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.

According to one aspect of the invention, a device for aligning perpendicular members has at least one cross-member, with a plane, that is configured to rest on a first structural member. The device has at least one side-member connected to the at least one cross-member, wherein the at least one side-member has at least one perpendicular aperture passing there through at a perpendicular angle to the at least one cross-member. The side-member also has at least one tangential aperture passing through it at an angle tangential to the cross-member plane and the perpendicular angle in the side-member. The cross-member and the side-member are configured to support at least two sides of a second structural beam.

The device may further include at least one fastener guide stably connected to the at least one side-member, in substantial registration with the at least one tangential aperture. The fastener guide and the tangential aperture are configured to guide a fastener through both the second structural beam and the first structural beam. The perpendicular aperture is also configured to guide a fastener in a direction perpendicular through the first structural beam.

The device may also include two opposing side members separated by the at least one cross-member. The device may be made of injection molded plastic material and may include fasteners.

According to another aspect of the invention, a device for aligning perpendicular members has at least one cross-member, with a plane, that is configured to rest on a first structural member. The device has a first side-member connected to the cross-member and a second side-member connected to the cross-member. The first and second side-members oppose each other and are separated by the cross-member plane. Each side-member has at least one perpendicular aperture passing through it, at an angle perpendicular to the cross-member plane. Each opposing side-member also has at least one tangential aperture passing through it, at an angle tangential to the cross-member plane and tangential to each side-member. The cross-member and the side-members are configured to support at least three sides of a second structural beam.

The device may further include at least one fastener guide stably connected to each opposing side-members, in substantial registration with the at least one tangential aperture. The fastener guide and the tangential aperture are configured to guide a fastener through both the second structural beam and the first structural beam. The perpendicular aperture is also configured to guide a fastener in a direction perpendicular through the first structural beam. The first and second side-members are rotational mirror images of each other, around a point on the cross-member plane. The point is equidistant from each of the side-members. The device may be made of injection molded plastic material and may include fasteners.

According to another aspect of the invention, a method of aligning perpendicular members having the steps of placing a truss nailing guide on a first structural member, urging fasteners through apertures in at least one side-member into the first structural member in a perpendicular direction, placing a second structural member in a gap in the truss nailing guide, created by a cross-member and at least one side-member connected to the cross-member, and urging fasteners through apertures in the at least one side-member of the truss nailing guide through the second structural member and into the first structural member. The fasteners are urged in a direction tangential to both the first and the second structural members.

Additional features, advantages, and embodiments of the invention may be set forth or apparent from consideration of the following detailed description, drawings, and claims. Moreover, it is to be understood that both the foregoing summary of the invention and the following detailed description are exemplary and intended to provide further explanation without limiting the scope of the invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The accompanying drawings, which are included to provide a further understanding of the invention, are incorporated in and constitute a part of this specification, illustrate embodiments of the invention and together with the detailed description serve to explain the principles of the invention. No attempt is made to show structural details of the invention in more detail than may be necessary for a fundamental understanding of the invention and the various ways in which it may be practiced.

FIG. 1 is a perspective schematic view illustrating one embodiment of a device for spacing and aligning a first member and securing the first member to a second member, constructed according to the principles of the invention, which may be employed as a truss setting device.

FIG. 2 is a side plan schematic view of the device of FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is a front plan schematic view illustrating one embodiment of the device of FIG. 1 installed within a construction environment, including the placement of fasteners through the device and into a vertical member (e.g. truss) and a horizontal member (e.g. roof beam).

FIG. 4 is a side plan schematic view illustrating one embodiment of the device of FIG. 1 populated with nails.

FIG. 5 is a perspective schematic view illustrating an embodiment of the device, as in FIG. 1, populated with nails.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

The embodiments of the invention and the various features and advantageous details thereof are explained more fully with reference to the non-limiting embodiments and examples that are described and/or illustrated in the accompanying drawings and detailed in the following description. It should be noted that the features illustrated in the drawings are not necessarily drawn to scale, and features of one embodiment may be employed with other embodiments as the skilled artisan would recognize, even if not explicitly stated herein. Descriptions of well-known components and processing techniques may be omitted so as to not unnecessarily obscure the embodiments of the invention.

The examples used herein are intended merely to facilitate an understanding of ways in which the invention may be practiced and to further enable those of skill in the art to practice the embodiments of the invention. Accordingly, the examples and embodiments herein should not be construed as limiting the scope of the invention, which is defined solely by the appended claims and applicable law. Moreover, it is noted that like reference numerals represent similar parts throughout the several views of the drawings. Also, the terminology used herein is for the purpose of description and not of limitation.

The term “toe nailing” as used herein generally refers to the construction method involving starting a nail at an angle or slant in a first member and driving it through into a second, usually perpendicular, member. The nails inserted at an angle are sufficient to keep the board in place.

The term “truss” as used herein refers to a structure comprising one or more triangular units constructed with straight members whose ends are connected at joints.

The term “tangential” as used herein means at an angle neither perpendicular nor parallel.

The drawings illustrate various embodiments of a device for the proper spacing and aligning of one member to be fastened to a second member. The device of the invention may include a system for aligning a first member in any number of sizes and in any number of positions to a second member thereby providing flexibility of use. In an embodiment, the first member is a horizontal member and the second member is a vertical member. In an embodiment, the device may be used in roof construction. In an embodiment, the device may be used in aligning and securing trusses to a roof beam. In roof construction, trusses may be secured to supporting members by toe nailing. The device of the invention may include a system for providing the correct angle for the toe nailing process, thereby increasing the amount of load that the truss may carry and increasing the probability of properly connecting the truss to the frame to provide maximum, effective attachment resulting in a more stable, quality end product.

The devices disclosed in the accompanying Figures also may be used in the construction of small projects or various do-it-yourself projects that require the setting of wood framing that require toe nailing. For example, the devices may be used in the construction of sheds, decks, garages, gazebos, dog houses, tree houses, playhouses, among other projects.

Referring to FIG. 1, a perspective schematic view of the truss setting device 100 is illustrated. The device 100 may be employed for the spacing and alignment of a fastener that is suitable for securing a first member (e.g. truss) to a second member (e.g. roof beam). The device 100 may be made of any rigid and durable material. In an embodiment, the device 100 may be made of a medium-rigidity, high-durability plastic. The specific composition of the plastic is not meant to be limiting, but may be anything rigid and durable. The truss setting device 100 may have two parallel sidewalls (e.g. side guides) 188 which are separated by a perpendicular cross-member 124. The sidewalls 188 are opposing rotational mirror-images of each other, around a point on the cross-member 124. The length of the cross-member 124 determines the distance between the sidewalls 188 and creates a gap for admitting a member (or truss). In an embodiment, the distance between sidewalls 188 may be adjusted by changing the length of the perpendicular cross-member 124, thereby allowing the truss setting device 100 to accommodate a first member of varying size to be attached to a second member.

A circular aperture (or hole) 108 extends through the sidewall 188, perpendicular to the cross-member 124. A fastener may pass through the hole 108. A ring guide 104 surrounds and reinforces the hole 108 so as to withstand the torsional forces that may be exerted on the device 100. For example, torsional forces may be exerted on the device 100 by a lack of care and/or rushed professional, such as a construction worker, or a non-professional, such as a do-it-yourself homeowner, using the truss setting device 100. As a result of these torsional forces, a misaligned fastening device may be forced into the hole 108 in an improper alignment. The reinforcing ring guide 104 may withstand these torsional forces and ensure that the fastener, which passes through the hole 108, is properly guided and seated to remain substantially perpendicular to cross-member 124. Additionally, the sidewalls 188 may have an outer angled surface 112, which may have a hole 116 passing there through. The hole 116 is tangentially-oriented to both the sidewalls 188 and cross-member 124. The sidewalls 188 may also contain a fastener guide 120, in registration with the tangential hole 116. The device 100 provides the substantially correct angle for the toe nailing process by inserting a fastener through the tangential hole 116 and fastener guide 120.

Referring to FIG. 2, a side plan schematic view of a first embodiment of the truss setting device 100 is illustrated. As in FIG. 1, the sidewall 188 may have a tangential hole 116 passing through an outer angled surface 112.

Referring to FIG. 3, a schematic illustrating an embodiment of the truss setting device 100 in which a total of fasteners 128, 132 may be placed in the truss setting device 100 during its use. The fasteners may be, but are not limited to, any devices that can be substantially secured to a first member and a second member. In an embodiment, where the supports are wooden, the fasteners 128, 132 may be nails or screws. Nails 132 may pass through the tangential hole 116 and fastener guide 120 for the purpose of making contact at an angle with a first member (as shown in FIG. 3). Meanwhile, nails 128 may pass through the circular hole 108 and make perpendicular contact with a second member. The ring guide 104 holds the nails 128 substantially perpendicular to a second member thereby increasing the probability of nails 132 being effectively seated into the second member at an angle. In a preferred embodiment, the first member is a truss and the second member is a roof beam. The device 100 may vary in size appropriate to the size of the cross-member 124 and sidewalls 188. In a preferred embodiment, the nails 128 may be smaller relative to the nails 132. Subsequently, in the preferred embodiment, the device 100 may be proportioned to accept nails of various sizes, such as, from 2 d (2 penny) to 60 d (60 penny).

Referring to FIG. 3, a front plan schematic view of an embodiment of the truss setting device 100 is illustrated, in which after the nails 128 are installed, the nails 132 are then installed by driving the nails 132 through the tangential hole 116 and fastener guide 120 present in the sidewall 188. The nails 132 penetrate through the first member and into the second member and secure the first member to the second member. In a preferred embodiment, the nails 132 may penetrate through the truss and secure that truss to a roof beam. In a preferred embodiment, the nails 132 which secure the truss to the roof beam are larger nails.

Referring to FIG. 4, a side plan schematic view of how the truss setting device 100 may be used during an installation process is illustrated. Referring to FIG. 4, a schematic of an alternate view of an embodiment of the truss setting device 100 with four nails inserted into the device. Nails 128 are inserted through holes 108, and nails 132 may be inserted through the tangential holes 116 and fastener guides 120 present in the sidewalls 188. In a preferred embodiment, the nail 128 is inserted through the hole 108 in the sidewall 188, and secured by the ring guide 104 such that the nails 128 are positioned to substantially perpendicularly penetrate a roof beam. In a preferred embodiment, nails 128 are driven before nails 132 are driven. In this position, the nail 132 may penetrate the first member (not shown) at an angle to most accurately connect the first member to the second member and carry the maximum load. Fasteners 132 pass through the device 100 at an angle to increase the strength of attachment and limit the effects of torsion on the device and between the first member and the second member.

Referring to FIG. 5, a perspective schematic view of an embodiment of the truss setting device 100 is illustrated, in which four nails are inserted into the device 100 to secure the truss (not shown) to the roof beam (not shown). Nails 128 may be inserted through hole 108, and nails 132 may be inserted through the tangential hole 116 and fastener guide 120 present in the sidewalls 188. In a preferred embodiment, the nail 128 is inserted through the hole 108 in the sidewall 188, and secured by the ring guide 104 such that the nails 128 are positioned to substantially perpendicularly penetrate a roof beam. In a preferred embodiment, nails 128 are driven before nails 132 are driven. In this position, the nail 132 may penetrate the first member (not shown) at an angle to most accurately connect the first member to the second member and carry the maximum load.

FIGS. 4 and 5 illustrate how the truss setting device 100 may be used during an installation process. However, it is to be noted that the embodiments illustrated in FIGS. 4 and 5 are but for exemplary purposes only, so that the present invention should not be considered as limited exclusively thereto. Other possible embodiments are also contemplated within the spirit and scope of the present invention. For example, the fasteners 132 and 128 may be a brad, tack, pin, cotter pin, rivet, screw or other fastener in addition to being a nail.

In an embodiment, the truss setting device 100 may be left in place following the insertion of nails 128 into the roof beam and nails 132 into the truss.

In a specific embodiment, the plastic composition may include polyethylene, polypropylene, polystyrene, polyvinyl chloride, polytetrafluoroethylene, polyvinylidene fluoride, perfluoro alkoxy alkaline, polyaryletherketone, perfluoro ethylene-propylene, ethylene-tetraflurorethylene, ultra high molecular weight polyethylene, other polyolefin fiber or thermoplastic polymer. In an embodiment, the truss setting device 100 may be manufactured using an injection molding process in which a mold may be employed. In an embodiment, the truss setting device 100 may be made of a metal composition. In a specific embodiment, the device 100 may be made of carbon fiber. In an embodiment, the truss setting device 100 may be made of composite fibers such as fiber reinforced polymers or metal matrix composites.

In an embodiment, as illustrated in FIG. 3, the nails 128, 132 may be any type of nail, such as, but not limited to, a brass tack, bullethead nail, carpet tack, casing, clout, coffin nail, corrugated, D-head nails, double-ended, fiber cement, finish, horseshoe, HurriQuake, lost-head, masonry, oval brad, floor brad, panel pin, plastic strip, gutter spikes, roofing tack, shake, square, T, Teco, veneer pin, wire, wire-weld collated or other type of nail.

The description and examples given above are merely illustrative and are not meant to be an exhaustive list of all possible designs, implementations, modifications, and uses of the invention. Moreover, features described in connections with one embodiment of the invention may be used in conjunction with other embodiments, even if not explicitly stated above.

While the invention has been described in terms of exemplary embodiments, those skilled in the art will recognize that the invention can be practiced with modifications in the spirit and scope of the appended claims. These examples given above are merely illustrative and are not meant to be an exhaustive list of all possible designs, embodiments, applications or modifications of the invention.





 
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