Title:
SUPPORT STRUCTURE FOR USE WITH METAL BEAMS
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A support bar for spanning a pair of metal studs is attached to the studs by gripping fasteners formed at the ends of the support bar or attached to a horizontal support beam by a gripping fastener at one end. The gripping fastener is formed out of the support bar in the form of a first loop that extends from the first end of the bar and lies in a first plane, substantially perpendicular to the rod, with a second loop extending from the first loop lying in a plane substantially perpendicular to the first loop. In a second embodiment, the gripping fastener is formed out of the bar as a series of slots in the bar, perpendicular to the central axis, for a short distance along its length, at the ends. The slots are sized to fit the thickness of the metal stud.



Inventors:
Thompson, William J. (Newport Beach, CA, US)
Application Number:
12/209161
Publication Date:
08/13/2009
Filing Date:
09/11/2008
Assignee:
Tomarco Contractor Specialties, Inc. (La Mirada, CA, US)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E04B1/38
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Primary Examiner:
TRIGGS, ANDREW J
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
SNELL & WILMER LLP (OC) (COSTA MESA, CA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A support structure, comprising: a bar having a first and second end; a first loop formed from the bar at the first end, lying in a plane substantially perpendicular to a central axis of the bar; and a second loop formed from the bar extending from the first loop, lying in a plane substantially perpendicular to the first loop.

2. The support structure of claim 1 wherein the first loop and the second loop share a common leg.

3. The support structure of claim 2 wherein the first loop is an open loop with an opening at a top and the second loop is an opening loop with an opening at a bottom.

4. The support structure of claim 3 wherein the second loop includes a curved portion at its opening that bends towards the common leg.

5. The support structure of claim 4 wherein the bar is made of a corrosion resistant material.

6. The support structure of claim 5 wherein the bar is zinc plated.

7. The support structure of claim 1 further comprising a first containment device slideably connected to the second end of the bar.

8. The support structure of claim 7 further comprising a second containment device slideably connected to the second end of the bar.

9. The support structure of claim 8 wherein the first containment device and the second containment device are washers.

10. The support structure of claim 9 wherein the first containment device and the second containment device are made of a fire resistant material.

11. The support structure of claim 1 further comprising: a hook extending from the second end of the bar in a direction substantially perpendicular to the bar.

12. The support structure of claim 1 further comprising: a third loop extending from the second end of the bar lying in a plane substantially perpendicular to the central axis of the bar; a fourth loop attached to the third loop, lying in a plane substantially perpendicular to the third loop.

13. The support structure of claim 1 further comprising: a connection tube slideably engaged with the second end of the bar; an extension rod slideably engaged with the connection tube; a third loop extending from the extension rod lying in a plane substantially perpendicular to a central axis of the extension rod; a fourth loop attached to the third loop, lying in a plane substantially perpendicular to the third loop.

14. A support structure for spanning metal studs, comprising: a bar having a first and second end; a first loop formed from the bar at the first end, lying in a plane substantially perpendicular to a central axis of the bar, the first loop being an open loop with an opening at a top; and a second loop formed from the bar, extending from the first loop, lying in a plane perpendicular to the first loop, the second loop being an open loop with an opening at a bottom, the first loop and the second loop sharing a common leg.

15. The support structure of claim 14 further comprising: a first washer slideably connected to the second end of the bar; and a second washer slideably connected to the second end of the bar.

16. The support structure of claim 15 wherein the first washer and the second washer are made of a fire resistant material.

17. The support structure of claim 14 further comprising: a hook extending from the second end of the bar in a direction substantially perpendicular to the bar.

18. The support structure of claim 15 further comprising a third loop extending from the second end of the bar and lying in a plane substantially perpendicular to the central axis of the bar; and a fourth loop attached to the third loop, lying in a plane perpendicular to the third loop.

19. The support structure of claim 14 further comprising: a connection tube slideably engaged with the second end of the bar; an extension rod slideably engaged with the connection tube; a third loop extending from the extension rod lying in a plane substantially perpendicular to a central axis of the extension rod; and a fourth loop attached to the third loop, lying in a plane substantially perpendicular to the third loop.

20. A support structure, comprising: a bar having a first and second end; a first loop formed from the bar at the first end, lying in a plane substantially perpendicular to the central axis of the bar, the first loop being an open loop with an opening at a top; and a second loop formed from the bar and extending from the first loop, lying in a plane substantially perpendicular to the first loop, the second loop being an open loop with an opening at a bottom, the first loop and the second loop sharing a common leg, and the second loop including a curved portion at its opening that bends towards the common leg.

21. The support structure of claim 20 further comprising: a first washer slideably connected to the second end of the bar made of a first fire resistant material; and a second washer slideably connected to the second end of the bar made of a second fire resistant material.

22. The support structure of claim 20 further comprising a connection tube slideably engaged with the second end of the bar; an extension rod slideably engaged with the connection tube; a third loop extending from the extension rod lying in a plane substantially perpendicular to a central axis of the extension rod; and a fourth loop attached to the third loop, lying in a plane substantially perpendicular to the third loop.

23. The support structure of claim 20 further comprising: a hook extending from the second end of the bar in a direction substantially perpendicular to the bar.

24. A support structure for spanning metal studs, comprising: a bar having a first and second end, the first end containing a plurality of slots substantially parallel to each other and perpendicular to a central axis of the bar, the slots being sized to snuggly fit over a thickness of the metal studs.

25. The support structure of claim 24 wherein the second end contains a slot substantially parallel to the plurality of slots.

26. The support structure of claim 24 wherein the second end contains a cutout having a height substantially equal to a height of the plurality of slots.

27. The support structure of claim 24 wherein the bar is flat.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims the benefit of provisional application Ser. No. 61/063,817 filed Feb. 7, 2008 for LATERAL RESTRAINT ROD TO SPAN BETWEEN METAL STUDS.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to support structures that attached to metal support beams.

2. Description of Related Art

The construction of a building requires that conduits and cable run between the wall studs. The use of metal studs in place of wood is becoming more prevalent. The cables and conduits that run between the wood studs are supported by an easily attached wood stud brace. This is not possible when metal studs are used. A support structure between the metal studs is required to support the conduits and cable. Attempts to provide a support structure have been unsatisfactory. One approach, tying a metal rod between two metal studs by wire fasteners is unsatisfactory in several respects. It is expensive, time consuming, and not sturdy.

Thus, there is a need for a support structure to span metal studs in a wall which can be quickly placed between studs, while compensating for the uneven spacing between the studs and provide a support structure for conduits and cables. There is also a need for a support structure that can quickly and effectively attach to horizontal steel I-beams to provide a vertical support and for hanging conduit, etc.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention provides a support structure which is quickly and easily attached to metal studs while accommodating the spacing variation inherent in stud placement. The support structure may be a bar of sufficient length to span the spacing between a pair of metal wall studs, with some overhang. The bar is attached to the studs by gripping fasteners attached to the ends of the bar. The bar is preferably inserted into the apertures located periodically along its length. A preferred gripping structure comprises a first loop that extends from an end in the stud wall of the bar and lies in a plane substantially perpendicular to the bar, with a second loop attached to the first loop, and lying in a plane substantially perpendicular to the first loop. This gripping structure also is a high strength attachment to horizontal steel support structures such as I-beams to provide a vertical support rod. An alternate gripping structure for metal studs is a series of slots cut into the bar transverse to its length, along the length of the bar at an end. The slots are sized to fit over the thickness of the material of a metal stud.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The exact nature of this invention, as well as the objects and advantages thereof, will become readily apparent from consideration of the following specification in conjunction with the accompanying drawings in which like reference numerals designate like parts throughout the figures thereof and wherein:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a preferred embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a side view of a preferred embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a preferred embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of a preferred embodiment of the present invention attached to a pair of metal wall studs;

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of an embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of the embodiment of FIG. 5 attached to a pair of metal wall studs;

FIG. 7 is a perspective view of an embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 8 is a perspective view of the embodiment of FIG. 7 attached to a pair of metal wall studs;

FIG. 9 is a perspective view of an alternate embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 10 is a perspective view of the alternate embodiment of FIG. 9 attached to a pair of metal wall studs;

FIG. 11 is a perspective view of yet another alternate embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 12 is a perspective view of the alternate embodiment of FIG. 11 attached to a pair of metal wall studs;

FIG. 13 is a side view of still another alternate embodiment of the present invention in operation;

FIG. 14 is a perspective view of the alternate embodiment of FIG. 13 attached to a pair of wall studs;

FIG. 15 is a side view of yet another alternate embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 16 is a perspective view of the alternate embodiment of FIG. 15 attached to a pair of wall studs.

FIG. 17 is a plan side view of the present invention in an alternate embodiment used in a different environment.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

FIGS. 1 and 3 are perspective views of a preferred embodiment of the present invention. FIG. 2 is a side view of the preferred embodiment shown in FIG. 1. As seen in FIGS. 1, 2, and 3, a support structure 2 is made of a bar 4 which may be in the form of a round rod as shown, or a bar of a different cross-section such as triangle or square, for example. At one end of the bar is a gripping structure formed out of the bar 4 in the form of a first loop 8, and a second loop 12.

The bar 4 has a first end 6 and a second end 50. The first loop 8 extends from the bar 4 at the first end 6 and lies in a plane which is substantially perpendicular to the central axis of the bar 4. The second loop 12 is attached to the first loop 8 and is substantially perpendicular to the plane of the first loop 8. The first loop 8 and the second loop 12 share a common leg 10. Second loop 12 includes a curved portion 14 that bends towards common leg 10 to provide a gripping surface for the metal studs.

Preferably, the bar 4, the first loop 8, the common leg 10, and the second loop 12 are formed from a single rod. The rod is preferably treated to be corrosion resistant. The rod may also be formed from a metal that is zinc plated. The rod can have any suitable diameter, however a diameter of 0.25 inches is preferred.

FIG. 4 is perspective view of the rod of FIGS. 1, 2, and 3 connected to a pair of metal studs 16, 18. As shown in FIG. 4, the support structure 2 spans the first stud 16 and second stud 18. The first stud 16 and the second stud 18 include apertures 20 and 22 respectively. The apertures 20 and 22 have edges 24 and 26 respectively at the bottom of the apertures 20 and 22.

In operation, first loop 8 of bar 4 (shown in FIGS. 1, 3, and 4), and second loop 12 cooperate to engage first stud 16 at edge 24. The curved portion 14 of the second loop 12 engages the first stud 16 in combination with the first loop 8 to secure the bar 4 to first stud 16. Engagement of the first stud 16 in this manner prevents rotation of the bar 4 in two of three orthogonal planes. That is, movement of the bar 4 in an upward direction, downward direction, and in a longitudinal/transversal direction, is prevented.

The second end 50 of the bar 4 rests on the edge 26 of the second aperture 22. The support structure 2 can be quickly placed between the first stud 16 and the second stud 18 by simply clipping it to the stud as explained above.

The spacing between any two pair of studs could vary, due to production tolerances, human error in installation, or unexpected movements of the structure, for example. However, since the second end 50 of the bar 4 is not clamped or otherwise engaged with the second stud 18, the support structure 2 continues to span the distance between the first stud 16 and the second stud 18 even though the spacing between the first studs 16, 18 may vary.

It has been found that even when the second end 50 is not clamped to the second stud 18, the engagement of the first stud 16 between the first loop 8 and the second loop 12 at the other end 6 sufficiently prevents rotation and movement of the bar 4 in two of three orthogonal planes. The bar 4 serves as a support for conduit and cable 28, and similar structure. Conduit and cable 28 can be, for example, EMT, MC/AC, flexible conduits, or any other type of construction conduits that must run in a vertical or substantially vertical direction between wall studs and require support. The conduit and cable 28 are supported by the bar 4 in a substantially vertical position. However, they can also be supported by the bar 4 while leaning in an angled direction to the bar 4.

The conduit and cable are secured to the bar 4 by wire ties 29. The wire ties 29 could be metal wires, plastic wires, paper wires, or wires having similar properties. In place of the wire ties 29 any other securing devices that can sufficiently secure the conduit and cable 28 to the bar 4, such as adhesives tapes and the like, could be used.

Since the support structure 2 can be placed on the edges 24 and 26 of the apertures 20, 22 of the wall studs and engage at least one edge 24 or other edge 26 to arrest movement of the bar 4, it may not be necessary for the end 6 to be attached to the stud. Only one attachment advantageously reduces installation time and cost of installation of the support structure 2. The support structure 2 can be quickly placed between of the first stud 16 and the second stud 18 at the edges 24 and 26 of the apertures 20, 22 in the wall studs.

Hundreds, if not thousands of studs and/or support structures may be used in any one building. Thus, any savings of time, even a few seconds, or a few minutes per installation of support structures, multiplied by a hundred, thousand, or more times, results in huge time savings. Furthermore there is also a savings in cost, not only from a reduction in material required, but also in the time saved resulting from the ease of installation. Any saving in time will reduce cost of labor for installation of the support structure and also reduces the amount of time it takes for the building to be constructed.

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of an embodiment of the present invention. In FIG. 5, the support structure 2 further includes washers 30 located at the second end 50 of the bar 4. Although two washers 30 are depicted, it is contemplated that any number of the washers 30 could be used. The washers 30 are preferably made of a fire resistant material. The washers 30 are made so that they slide along a length of the bar 4 but still provide sufficient damping force to arrest movement of the bar 4 when engaged with edge 26 of the second stud 18.

FIG. 6 shows the embodiment of FIG. 5 in operation. In FIG. 6, one or more of the washers 30 buttress the edge 26 to aid in arresting movement of the bar 4. The washers 30 are preferably located on the second end 50 of the bar 4 and on either side of the edge 26 to sandwich the edge 26 and arrest movement of bar 4. Furthermore since the washers 30 can be slideably adjusted along the second end 50 of the bar 4, the washers 30 can be moved to accommodate the spacing between the first stud 16 and the second stud 18.

FIG. 7 is a perspective view of an embodiment of the present invention. As shown in FIG. 7, support structure 2 includes a hook 32 extending from a second end 50 of bar 4.

FIG. 8 shows the embodiment of FIG. 7 in operation. As shown in FIG. 8, the hook 32 arrests movement of bar 4 in a longitudinal direction. The hook 32 can also arrest movement of the bar 4 in a transverse direction.

FIG. 9 is a perspective view of an alternate embodiment of the present invention. As shown in FIG. 9, the support structure 2 further includes a third loop 34 and a fourth loop 38. The third loop 34 extends from the bar 4 at the second end 50 and lies in a plane which is substantially perpendicular to the central axis of the bar 4. Fourth loop 38 is attached to the third loop 34 and is substantially perpendicular to the plane of the third loop 34. The third loop 34 and the fourth loop 38 share a common leg 36. The fourth loop 38 includes a curved portion 40 that bends towards the common leg 36 to provide for gripping a metal stud.

FIG. 10 shows the alternate embodiment of FIG. 9 in operation. As seen in FIG. 10, the third loop 34, the common leg 36, and the fourth loop 38 (shown in FIG. 9) cooperate to engage the second stud 18 at the edge 26. The curved portion 40 and the third loop 34 act as a clip to secure the bar 4 to the second stud 18. Engagement of the second stud 18 along the third loop 34 and the fourth loop 38 arrests rotation of the bar 4 in two of three orthogonal planes. That is, movement of the bar 4 in an upwards direction, downwards direction, and in a longitudinal/transversal direction, is arrested.

FIG. 11 is a perspective view of an alternate embodiment of the present invention. As seen in FIG. 11, the support structure 2 further includes a connection tube 42 and an extension rod 44. The extension rod 44 includes a first end 46 and a second end 48. The third loop 34 now extends from the second end 48 of the extension rod 44 and lies in a plane which is substantially perpendicular to a central axis of the extension rod 44. The fourth loop 38 is attached to the third loop 38 and is substantially perpendicular to the plane of the third loop 34. The fourth loop 38 shares a common leg 36 with the third loop 34. The fourth loop 38 includes a curved portion 40 that bends towards the common leg 36 to provide for gripping the metal studs. The connection tube 42 is slideably connected to the bar 4 at the second end 50 and the extension rod 44 at the first end 46, which allows the bar 4 and/or the extension rod 44 to slide longitudinally within the connection tube 42.

FIG. 12 shows the alternate embodiment of FIG. 11 in operation. As seen in FIG. 12, engagement of the second stud 18 by the third loop 34 and between the fourth loop 38, arrests rotation of the extension rod 44 and subsequently the connection tube 42 and the bar 4 in two of three orthogonal planes. Since the extension rod 44 and the bar 4 can slide longitudinally within the connection tube 42, the length of the support structure 2 can vary. Thus, the support structure 2 can accommodate a greater variation in spacing between the first stud 16 and the second stud 18.

FIG. 13 is a side view of yet another embodiment of the present invention. As seen in FIG. 13, the support structure 2 includes a flat bar 52 with a first end 54 and a second end 56. At the first end 54, the flat bar 52 contains a plurality of slots 58 substantially parallel to each other and perpendicular to a central axis of the flat bar 52. Each of the plurality of slots 58 are sized to snuggly fit over a thickness of the first metal stud 16. At the second end 56, the flat bar 52 contains a single slot 60 substantially parallel to the plurality of slots 58. Although only a single slot 60 is shown at the second end 56 of the flat bar 52, it is contemplated that any number of slots can be present at the second end 56 of the flat bar 52 or well. Flat bar 52 is preferably made of a fire resistant material.

FIG. 14 shows the embodiment of FIG. 13 in operation. As seen in FIG. 14, the edge 24 is secured to the support structure 2 through one of the plurality of slots 58 while edge 26 is secured to the support structure 2 at the slot 60. The exact slot of the plurality of slots 58 which edge 24 utilizes is dependent on the spacing between the first stud 16 and the second stud 18. Thus, support structure 2 can be utilized even when the spacing between the first stud 16 and the second stud 18 vary.

FIG. 15 is a side view of yet another embodiment of the present invention. As seen in FIG. 15, the support structure 2 includes a flat bar 52 with a first end 54 and a second end 56. At the first end 54, the flat bar 52 includes a plurality of slots 58. At the second end 56 of the flat bar 52, there is a cutout of a portion of the flat bar 52 which forms a support bar 62. The cutout places the support bar 62 at the same height as a height of the plurality of slots 58.

FIG. 16 shows the embodiment of FIG. 15 in operation. In FIG. 15, instead of utilizing the slot 60 to secure the support structure 2 to the edge 26 the support bar 62 simply rests on the edge 26. Since the edge 26 can rest on any portion of the support bar 62, the support structure 2 can span the spacing between the first stud 16 and the second stud 18 even when the spacing between the first stud 16 and the second stud 18 varies in an appreciable amount.

FIG. 17 illustrates the support structure of the present invention attached to a horizontal steel I-beam 17. The bar 4 is suspended from the I-beam so it hangs vertically. The gripping structure at one end of the bar 4 is formed out of the bar in the form of a first loop 8 and a second loop 12 (FIG. 1) joined by a common leg 10. Loop 8 and common leg 10 are located on one side of a flange 13 of the I-beam 17. Loop 12 and the curved portion 14 are located on the other side of the flange 13. The curved portion 14 of loop 12 creates a holding friction with the flange 13. The gripping structure is easily and quickly attached and once attached provides a high strength of the rod 4 to the I-beam 17.

While various exemplary embodiments have been shown and described, it should be apparent to one of ordinary skill in the art that there are other embodiments that are within the scope of the subject invention. Accordingly, the invention is not to be restricted, except in light of the appended claims and their equivalents.





 
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