Title:
Bracket
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Brackets and systems thereof are provided. Brackets include a web, a first flange, and a second flange. The first flange extends from the web and has an end portion from which a resilient arm extends inwardly towards the web at an incline. The second flange extends from the web opposed and generally parallel to the first flange, and includes a first end, a first extension extending from the first end outwardly from the web and generally parallel to the second flange, the first extension having a second end, and a second extension extending from the second end generally parallel to the first extension. The first extension and the second extension define a guideway for slidably receiving an object. Systems include brackets of the present invention coupling an object to a stud.



Inventors:
Loehlein, Brian Matthew (Pittsburgh, PA, US)
Application Number:
12/029250
Publication Date:
08/13/2009
Filing Date:
02/11/2008
Assignee:
Cooper Technologies Company (Houston, TX, US)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
52/741.1
International Classes:
E04B1/38
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
MCDUFFIE, MICHAEL D
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
King & Spalding, LLP (Houston) (Houston, TX, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A bracket comprising: a web; a first flange extending from the web, the first flange having an end portion and a resilient arm extending from the end portion inwardly toward the web at an incline; and a second flange extending from the web opposed and generally parallel to the first flange, the second flange having a first end and a first extension extending from the first end outwardly from the web and generally parallel to the second flange, the first extension having a second end and a second extension extending from the second end generally parallel to the first extension, wherein the first extension and the second extension define a guideway for slidably receiving an object.

2. The bracket of claim 1, wherein the resilient arm further comprises gripping means.

3. The bracket of claim 2, wherein the gripping means are spaced apart transversely on the resilient arm.

4. The bracket of claim 2, wherein the gripping means are spaced apart longitudinally on the resilient arm.

5. The bracket of claim 1, wherein the second flange further comprises gripping means.

6. The bracket of claim 1, wherein the second extension further comprises gripping means.

7. The bracket of claim 1, wherein the resilient arm is inwardly inclined with respect to said first flange at an included angle of about 15-25 degrees.

8. The bracket of claim 1, wherein the web further comprises an aperture.

9. The bracket of claim 1, wherein the first flange and second flange are generally equal in height.

10. The bracket of claim 1, wherein the first flange and second flange are generally equal in length.

11. The bracket of claim 1, further comprising a step at the intersection of the web and the first flange.

12. A bracket comprising: a web; a first flange extending from the web, the first flange having an end portion and a resilient arm extending from the end portion inwardly toward the web at an incline, the resilient arm comprising gripping means; and a second flange extending from the web opposed and generally parallel to the first flange, the second flange comprising gripping means, the second flange having a first end and a first extension extending from the first end outwardly from the web and generally parallel to the second flange, the first extension having a second end and a second extension extending from the second end generally parallel to the first extension, the second extension having gripping mean, wherein the first extension and second extension define a guideway for slidably receiving an object.

13. The bracket of claim 12, wherein the resilient arm is inwardly inclined with respect to said first flange at an included angle of about 15-25 degrees.

14. The bracket of claim 12, wherein the web further comprises an aperture.

15. The bracket of claim 12, wherein the first flange and second flange are generally equal in height.

16. The bracket of claim 12, wherein the first flange and second flange are generally equal in length.

17. The bracket of claim 12, further comprising a step at the intersection of the web and the first flange.

18. A system comprising: an object; a stud; and a bracket comprising a web; a first flange extending from the web, the first flange having an end portion and a resilient arm extending from the end portion inwardly toward the web at an incline, the resilient arm comprising gripping means; and a second flange extending from the web opposed and generally parallel to the first flange, the second flange comprising gripping means, the second flange having a first end and a first extension extending from the first end outwardly from the web and generally parallel to the second flange, the first extension having a second end and a second extension extending from the second end generally parallel to the first extension, the second extension having gripping mean, wherein the first extension and second extension define a guideway for slidably receiving the object, and wherein the stud is received in an area defined by the web, the resilient arm, and the second flange.

19. The system of claim 18, wherein the first flange and second flange are generally equal in height.

20. The bracket of claim 1, wherein the first flange and second flange are generally equal in length.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The present application relates to brackets. More particularly, the present application relates to support brackets for mounting electrical boxes and other objects on wall studs.

A number of disadvantages are associated with various prior art mounting brackets. For example, wall stud dimensions are not standardized and therefore typically require mounting brackets of different sizes to accommodate the corresponding different wall stud sizes. Some conventional mounting brackets are also difficult to install and require a hole to be drilled in the wall stud and the use of a screw to lock the bracket in place on the stud. Additionally, the size of certain prior art mounting brackets may result in sheetrock bulge after installation.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention satisfies the above-described need by providing brackets for mounting objects on wall studs. Brackets of the present invention generally include a web, a first flange, and a second flange. The first flange extends from the web and has an end portion with a resilient arm extending therefrom inwardly toward the web at an incline. The second flange extends from the web and is opposed and generally parallel to the first flange, and includes a first end with a first extension extending therefrom outwardly from the web and generally parallel to the second flange. The first extension includes a second end and a second extension extending therefrom generally parallel to the first extension. The first extension and second extension define a guideway for slidably receiving an object such as an electrical box. In some embodiments, the resilient arm further includes gripping means that may be spaced apart transversely or longitudinally on the resilient arm. In some embodiments, the second flange further includes gripping means. In some embodiments, the second extension further includes gripping means. The resilient arm may be inwardly inclined with respect to said first flange at an included angle of about 15-25 degrees. In some embodiments, the web may further include an aperture. Typically, the first flange and second flange are generally equal in height, length, or both. In some embodiments, the bracket may further include a step or recess at the intersection of the web and the first flange.

Systems of the present invention are also provided, wherein a bracket of the present invention is slidably coupled to an object such as an electrical box and securely attached to a wall stud in the area defined by the web, resilient arm, and second flange.

The features of the present invention will be readily apparent to those skilled in the art upon a reading of the description of the preferred embodiments that follows.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The present invention may be better understood by reading the following description of non-limitative embodiments with reference to the attached drawings wherein like parts of each of the several figures are identified by the same referenced characters, and which are briefly described as follows.

FIG. 1A is a perspective view of an bracket, in accordance with certain exemplary embodiments of the present invention.

FIG. 1B is a side view of the bracket of FIG. 1A.

FIG. 1C is a top view of the bracket of FIG. 1A.

FIG. 2A is a perspective view of bracket, according to certain alternative embodiments of the present invention.

FIG. 2B is a side view of the bracket of FIG. 2A.

FIG. 2C is a top view of the bracket of FIG. 2A.

FIG. 3A is a side view of the bracket of FIG. 1A indicating exemplary dimensions of the bracket.

FIG. 3B is a top view of the bracket of FIG. 1A indicating exemplary dimensions of the bracket.

FIG. 3C is a front view of the bracket of FIG. 1A indicating exemplary dimensions of the bracket.

FIG. 3D is a view of section C-C of the bracket of FIG. 1A indicating exemplary dimensions of the bracket.

FIG. 3E is a view of section D-D of the bracket of FIG. 1A indicating exemplary dimensions of the bracket.

FIG. 4A is a perspective view of a system of the present invention showing the bracket of FIG. 1A coupled to an electrical box and a wood stud.

FIG. 4B is a side view of the system of FIG. 4A.

FIG. 4C is a top view of the system of FIG. 4A.

FIG. 5A is a perspective view of a system of the present invention showing the bracket of FIG. 2A coupled to an electrical box and a metal stud.

FIG. 5B is a side view of the system of FIG. 5A.

FIG. 5C is a top view of the system of FIG. 5A.

It is to be noted, however, that the appended drawings illustrate only typical embodiments of this invention and are therefore not to be considered limiting of its scope, as the invention may admit to other equally effective embodiments.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The brackets of the present invention have improved stability, yet are simple to install. Generally, the brackets of the present invention include a web, a first flange having a resilient arm, and a second flange adapted for slidably receiving an object such as an electrical box. Generally, systems of the present invention include a bracket, an object such as an electrical box coupled to the bracket, and a stud coupled to the bracket.

Referring to FIGS. 1A-1C, an exemplary embodiment of a bracket 100 of the present invention includes a web 102, a first flange 104, and a second flange 106. The intersection of web 102 and first flange 104 may be stepped or recessed for added strength and rigidity. The first flange 104 includes an end portion 108 with a resilient arm 110 extending inwardly towards the web at an incline of about 15 degrees with respect to the first flange 104. The second flange 106 includes a first end 112 from which a first extension 114 extends generally parallel to the second flange 106. The first extension 114 includes a second end 116 from which a second extension 118 extends generally parallel to the first extension 114. The second flange 106 includes gripping means 120 angled at about 14.4 degrees from the second flange 106 towards the web 102. The resilient arm 110 includes a first gripping means 122 angled generally perpendicularly to the resilient arm 110, and a second gripping means 124 angled at about 39.4 degrees from the resilient arm 110 towards the web 102. The gripping means 120, 122, and 124 are present for securing a stud in the area defined by web 102, the second flange 106, and the resilient arm 110. The second extension 118 includes gripping means 126 angled at about 14.4 degrees from the second extension 118 towards the first extension 114 for gripping an object such as a electrical box. The web further includes an aperture 128 through which a fastener, such as a screw or nail, may be placed to attach the bracket to a stud for additional securement.

Referring to FIGS. 2A-2C, an exemplary embodiment of a bracket 200 is similar to bracket 100, but without aperture 128 in the web 102, and without the stepped or recessed intersection of the web and the first flange. Bracket 200 includes a web 102, a first flange 104, and a second flange 106. The first flange 104 includes an end portion 108 with a resilient arm 110 extending inwardly towards the web at an incline of about 15 degrees with respect to the first flange 104. The second flange 106 includes a first end 112 from which a first extension 114 extends generally parallel to the second flange 106. The first extension 114 includes a second end 116 from which a second extension 118 extends generally parallel to the first extension 114. The second flange 106 includes gripping means 120 angled at about 14.4 degrees from the second flange 106 towards the web 102. The resilient arm 110 includes a first gripping means 122 angled generally perpendicularly to the resilient arm 110, and a second gripping means 124 angled at about 39.4 degrees from the resilient arm 110 towards the web 102. The gripping means 120, 122, and 124 are present for securing a stud in the area defined by web 102, the second flange 106, and the resilient arm 110. The second extension 118 includes gripping means 126 angled at about 14.4 degrees from the second extension 118 towards the first extension 114 for gripping an object such as a electrical box.

The materials of construction for the brackets 100 and 200 of the present invention include any materials comprising steel. Suitable examples of materials of construction for the brackets include, but are not limited to, spring metal, carbon steel, and stainless steel. In some embodiments, brackets 100 and 200 may be coated with corrosion-resistant finish, such as a zinc phosphate finish or zinc chromate finish. The first flange 104 and second flange 106 are generally of equal length and width and are generally parallel to each other. In some embodiments, for economical manufacture, the first flange 104 and the second flange 106 may be stamped individually from flat sheet metal blank, then formed as required and assembled. The intersection of the web 102 and the first flange 104 may be stepped or recessed, however in some embodiments, this feature may not be present. The first flange 104 includes an end portion 108 with a resilient arm 110 extending inwardly towards the web 102 at an incline of about 15-25 degrees with respect to the first flange 104. The resiliency of the resilient arm 110 allows the bracket to automatically adjust to a wide range of stud widths placed in the area defined by the web 102, resilient arm 110, and second flange 106. The resilient arm 110 is integral to the first flange 104 and may be formed by bending inwardly an extension of the first flange 104 at the end portion 108. The resilient arm 110 may have a width about equal to the width of the first flange 104. The second flange 106 includes a first end 112 from which a first extension 114 extends generally parallel to the second flange 106. The first extension 114 includes a second end 116 from which a second extension 118 extends generally parallel to the first extension 114. Ultimately, the first extension 114 and second extension 118 define a guideway for slidably receiving an object such as an electrical box. The guideway may be formed by bending outwardly an extension of the second flange 106 at the first end 112 to form the first extension 114, and then bending outwardly an extension of the first extension 114 at the second end 116 to form the second extension 118.

Gripping means may be included in the brackets of the present invention, and are positioned so as to improve securement capabilities of the bracket to an object or a stud. In some embodiments, the second flange 106 and the resilient arm 110 include gripping means that function to secure a stud that is received in the area defined by the web 102, the second flange 106, and the resilient arm 110. In some embodiments, the resilient arm 110 may include a plurality of gripping means 124 at the terminal portion of the resilient arm 110, as well as a second set of gripping means 122 spaced apart from the terminal portion. The gripping means 124 at the terminal portion of the resilient arm may be angled about 30-45 degrees, and more preferably about 39 degrees, towards the web 102 with respect to the resilient arm 110, or about 40-60 degrees, and more preferably about 52 degrees, with respect to the first flange 104. The second set of gripping means 122 on the resilient arm 110 may be generally perpendicular to the resilient arm 110. The resilient arm 110 and the gripping means 122, 124 thereon function to provide resilient and biting action to securely hold the bracket in place on a wall stud. The gripping means 120 of second flange 106 may be angled at about 40-50 degrees, and more preferably about 45 degrees, towards the web 102 with respect to the second flange 106, and provides additional biting action to securely hold the bracket in place. The location of the gripping means on the resilient arm 110 and second flange 106 allow the bracket to accommodate different stud sizes, and to mount the bracket to either an open or closed side of a wall stud. In some embodiments, the second extension 118 may also include gripping means 126 for securing an object, such as an electrical box, to the bracket. The gripping means 126 of second extension 118 may be angled at about 55-65 degrees, and more preferably about 60 degrees, towards the first extension 114 with respect to the second extension 118.

The gripping means of the present invention may be prongs, or barbs, that extend inwardly and generally parallel to the web 102 and terminate at pointed tips. The gripping means are adapted to lock the bracket to the object or stud. Thus, the presence of the gripping means may eliminate the need for an additional fastener, such as a nail or a screw, to secure the bracket to a stud. In some embodiments, the gripping means may not be included. In some embodiments, the web 102 may further include an aperture or hole 128 through which a fastener, such as a screw or nail, may be placed to attach the bracket to a stud for additional securement. In other embodiments, the gripping means may be included in alternate portions of the bracket. When gripping means are included, the position of the gripping means will be such so as to grip and secure an element to the bracket.

The brackets of the present invention are smaller in size relative to conventional brackets, and as a result, the potential for sheetrock bulge after installation is eliminated. FIGS. 3A-3E provide dimensions of exemplary bracket 100 of the present invention. The length of the web 102, i.e. the distance from the first flange 104 to the second flange 106, may range from about 1.6 to about 1.7 inches, and more preferably be about 1.65 inches. The width of the web 102 may range from about 1.24 to about 1.26 inches, and more preferably be about 1.25 inches. The intersection of the web 102 and the first flange 104 may be stepped or recessed downward from about 0.25 to about 0.35 inches, and over from about 0.2 to about 0.3 inches. More preferably, the intersection of the web 102 and the first flange 104 may be stepped downward about 0.3 inches, and over about 0.25 inches.

The height of the first flange 104 may range from about 0.6 to about 0.7 inches, and more preferably be about 0.64 inches, or about 0.94 inches including the recess. The height of the resilient arm 110 may range from about 0.9 to about 1.1 inches, and more preferably be about 1.0 inches. A first set of gripping means 124, each gripping means being about 0.11 inches wide, may be located at the terminal end of the resilient arm 110 and spaced about 0.18 inches apart. A second set of gripping means 122, each gripping means being about 0.25 inches wide, may be located at about 1.0 inch away from the end portion 108 along the resilient arm 110 and spaced about 0.25 inches apart. The height of the second flange 106 may range from about 1.2 to about 1.4 inches, and more preferably be about 1.3 inches.

Gripping means 120 may be included on the second flange 106, and may be located at about 0.18 inches away from the web 102. The gripping means 120 on the second flange 106 may be about 0.25 inches wide and be spaced apart about 0.63 inches. The height of the first extension 114 should be less than the height of the second flange 106, and more preferably be about 0.19 inches. The height of the second extension 118 should be less than the height of the first extension 114, and more preferably be about 0.52 inches.

Gripping means 126 may be included on the second extension 118, and may be located at about 0.24 inches from the terminal portion of the second extension 118. The gripping means 126 on the second extension 118 may be about 0.25 inches wide and be spaced apart about 0.63 inches. The total length of blank steel for constructing brackets of the present invention may range from about 6.5 to about 6.9 inches, and more preferably be about 6.725 inches.

Referring to FIGS. 4A-4C, an exemplary embodiment of a system 400 of the present invention includes a bracket 100 slidably receiving an electrical box 402 and secured to a wood stud 404. The bracket 100 has an improved grip from a smaller footprint over conventional brackets, thus potentially eliminating the need for additional securement, such as a nail or screw, for attaching the bracket 100 to the wood stud 404, and thus resulting in simpler installation measures. However, the bracket 100 is shown further secured to the wood stud 404 with the use of a fastener 406. It is understood that the bracket 100 may also be adapted to be used in conjunction with studs other than a wood stud, such as a conventional metal stud with an open or closed side.

Referring to FIGS. 5A-5C, an exemplary embodiment of a system 500 of the present invention includes a bracket 200 slidably receiving an electrical box 502 and secured to a metal stud 504. The bracket 200 has an improved grip from a smaller footprint over conventional brackets, thus potentially eliminating the need for additional securement, such as a nail or screw, for attaching the bracket to the stud, and thus resulting in simpler installation measures. It is understood that the bracket is also adapted to be used in conjunction with studs other than a metal stud, such as conventional wood studs of rectangular cross section.

Therefore, the present invention is well adapted to attain the ends and advantages mentioned as well as those that are inherent therein. The particular embodiments disclosed above are illustrative only, as the present invention may be modified and practiced in different but equivalent manners apparent to those skilled in the art having the benefit of the teachings herein. While numerous changes may be made by those skilled in the art, such changes are encompassed within the spirit of this invention as defined by the appended claims. Furthermore, no limitations are intended to the details of construction or design herein shown, other than as described in the claims below. It is therefore evident that the particular illustrative embodiments disclosed above may be altered or modified and all such variations are considered within the scope and spirit of the present invention. The terms in the claims have their plain, ordinary meaning unless otherwise explicitly and clearly defined by the patentee.