Title:
Magnetically Attached Floor Covering for a Boat
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A magnetically attached carpeting or other covering for a floor of a boat includes a set of magnetic elements connected to the floor and another set of magnetic elements connected to the carpeting. Wherein, the location of the magnetic elements of the floor and carpeting generally match each other. When the carpeting is installed on the floor, the magnetic elements of the floor and carpeting attract each other thereby promoting attachment of the carpeting to the floor. The carpeting can be removed from the floor by overcoming the magnetic attraction between the matching magnetic elements. Effectiveness of the attachment is not diminished by repeated installation and removal of the carpet from the boat floor.



Inventors:
Sahr, Ronald Clifford (Little Falls, MN, US)
Application Number:
12/425134
Publication Date:
10/22/2009
Filing Date:
04/16/2009
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B63B3/48
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
OLSON, LARS A
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MERCHANT & GOULD P.C. (MINNEAPOLIS, MN, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A magnetically attached floor covering system for covering a floor of a boat, the magnetically attached floor covering system comprising: a set of magnetic floor elements including a plurality of magnetic floor elements, the set of magnetic floor elements connected to and positioned on the floor of the boat according to a first layout; and a removable floor covering including a tread surface and a set of magnetic floor covering elements, the set of magnetic floor covering elements including a plurality of magnetic floor covering elements; wherein the magnetic floor covering elements are connected to and positioned below the tread surface according to a second layout; wherein the first layout and the second layout generally position the magnetic floor elements and the magnetic floor covering elements at matching locations when the removable floor covering is installed over the floor; and wherein the set of magnetic floor elements and the set of magnetic floor covering elements magnetically attract each other thereby promoting the attachment of the removable floor covering to the floor of the boat.

2. The magnetically attached floor covering system of claim 1, wherein the plurality of magnetic floor elements are magnets.

3. The magnetically attached floor covering system of claim 1, wherein the plurality of magnetic floor covering elements are magnets.

4. The magnetically attached floor covering system of claim 3, wherein the plurality of magnetic floor elements are additional magnets.

5. The magnetically attached floor covering system of claim 2, wherein the magnets include magnetic segments arranged in a Halbach array.

6. The magnetically attached floor covering system of claim 3, wherein the magnets include magnetic segments arranged in a Halbach array.

7. The magnetically attached floor covering system of claim 4, wherein the magnets and the additional magnets include magnetic segments arranged in a Halbach array.

8. The magnetically attached floor covering system of claim 1, wherein the set of magnetic floor elements is attached to the floor of the boat by adhesively bonding the magnetic floor elements to the floor of the boat.

9. The magnetically attached floor covering system of claim 1, wherein the set of magnetic floor elements is attached to the floor of the boat by molding the magnetic floor elements to the floor of the boat during the manufacture of the floor.

10. The magnetically attached floor covering system of claim 9, wherein uncured resin of the floor wets the magnetic floor elements and bonds the magnetic floor elements to the floor during the manufacture of the floor.

11. The magnetically attached floor covering system of claim 1, wherein tops of the magnetic floor elements are recessed below a top surface of the floor.

12. The magnetically attached floor covering system of claim 1, wherein tops of the magnetic floor elements are substantially flush with a top surface of the floor.

13. The magnetically attached floor covering system of claim 1, wherein the magnetic floor elements are positioned within pockets of the floor.

14. The magnetically attached floor covering system of claim 13, wherein tops of the magnetic floor elements are recessed below a top surface of the floor.

15. The magnetically attached floor covering system of claim 13, wherein tops of the magnetic floor elements are substantially flush with a top surface of the floor.

16. The magnetically attached floor covering system of claim 14, wherein the magnetic floor covering elements of the removable floor covering extend below a bottom surface of the removable floor covering and are positioned within the pockets of the floor when the removable floor covering is installed over the floor of the boat.

17. The magnetically attached floor covering system of claim 15, wherein the magnetic floor covering elements of the removable floor covering are substantially flush with a bottom surface of the removable floor covering.

18. The magnetically attached floor covering system of claim 1, wherein the removable floor covering can be uninstalled from the floor of the boat by peeling.

19. The magnetically attached floor covering system of claim 1, wherein the removable floor covering includes a high friction bottom surface that grips the floor of the boat when the removable floor covering is installed over the floor of the boat.

20. The magnetically attached floor covering system of claim 1, wherein the removable floor covering is bounded by a perimeter matching at least a portion of a perimeter of the floor of the boat when the removable floor covering is installed over the floor of the boat, and wherein the matching perimeters cooperate with the set of magnetic floor elements and the set of magnetic floor covering elements in promoting the attachment of the removable floor covering to the floor of the boat.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

The present application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 61/045,843, filed Apr. 17, 2008, which is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety.

TECHNICAL FIELD

The present disclosure relates to floor and deck covering, such as carpet, for watercraft and boats.

BACKGROUND

Boats have been developed with a variety of floor and deck coverings to serve a variety of purposes. Boat floors may be fully or partially covered with such coverings. For example, carpeting has been used to provide a soft tread surface comfortable for bare feet. Carpeting also provides thermal protection, reducing or eliminating discomfort to bare feet caused by sun heated floors. In addition, carpeting can provide a slip resistant tread surface on the floor of the boat.

It is often desired to employ easily removable floor and deck covering in boats. When soiled, a removable floor covering allows cleaning the floor covering away from the boat. If soil has reached underneath the floor covering, this soil can be more easily and thoroughly cleaned after the floor covering has been removed.

Snap fasteners are commonly used for attaching removable floor coverings to boat floors. Snap fasteners are typically made of metal that is prone to corrode and/or rust. The rust and/or corrosion can stain and discolor the boat and detract from its appearance.

FIG. 2 illustrates a boat floor 104s covered by a removable covering 200. The removable covering 200 is bounded by a perimeter 202 generally matching the perimeter of the boat floor 104s and includes other features such as a seat post hole 220. The removable covering 200 is attached to the boat floor 104s by snap fasteners. Snap fasteners typically have a metal cap protruding above a tread surface 204 of the floor covering 200. This metal snap cap can cause discomfort if stepped on with bare feet, especially if heated by the sun. The snap cap is typically joined through the floor covering 200 to a female snap socket 214 on the underside of the floor covering 200. A plurality of male snap studs 212 are typically fastened to the floor 104s in a predetermined pattern matching a pattern of snap caps and sockets 214 joined through the floor covering 200. Typically, the snap studs 212 are connected to threaded posts that are threaded into the boat floor 104s. The floor covering 200 may be removably connected to the floor 104s by locating the conjoined snap cap and socket 214 over the fastened snap stud 212 and pressing together until engaged. The components of the snap fastener (the snap cap, snap socket 214, and snap stud 212) each add a layer of thickness resulting in a significant lump above the boat floor 104s.

Threaded fasteners, either used to directly fasten a floor covering to the floor or to fasten the snap stud 212 to the floor 104s can result in stress concentrations in the floor that cause cracking in a gel-coat or other surface layer of the boat floor. In cored floors, such surface cracking can allow water into the core and damage the floor. Furthermore, when the floor covering 200 is removed from the floor 104s of the boat, the snap studs 212 can cause discomfort if stepped on with bare feet.

There is a need for an easily removable boat flooring system that does not use threaded fasteners or snap fasteners. The present disclosure fulfills this and other needs.

SUMMARY

One aspect of the present disclosure relates to a magnetically attached floor covering system for covering a floor of a boat. The magnetically attached floor covering system includes a set of magnetic floor elements connected to and laid out on the floor. The magnetically attached floor covering system also includes a removable floor covering, including a tread surface and a set of magnetic floor covering elements, which is installed over the floor. The set of magnetic floor covering elements are connected to and positioned below the tread surface of the removable floor covering such that they generally match the layout of the set of magnetic floor elements. The set of magnetic floor elements and the set of magnetic floor covering elements magnetically attract each other thereby attaching the removable floor covering to the floor of the boat.

In one embodiment, the floor is a molded floor (e.g., a fiberglass floor, a rotomolded floor, an injection molded floor, or other type of molded floor), and the set of magnetic floor elements is embedded and molded into the floor. In another embodiment, the set of magnetic floor elements is attached on top of a floor surface (e.g., by adhesive). In the case of a fiberglass boat, in certain embodiments, the magnetic floor elements may be attached (e.g., bonded) to a gel-coat layer of the floor. Also in certain embodiments, the set of magnetic floor covering elements is attached to the removable floor covering by a technique such as bonding, sewing, or other technique.

In a preferred embodiment, the sets of magnetic elements include rubberized, rust resistant magnets. To increase the holding force of the rubberized magnets and to reduce their thickness, the rubberized magnets can employ a Halbach array.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a plan view of a boat illustrating a floor of a passenger area covered by a carpet, the carpet shown as a broken-out portion;

FIG. 2 is an isometric view of a broken-out portion of a prior art boat floor carpet connected to a boat floor by a set of snap fasteners;

FIG. 3 is an isometric view of the broken-out portion of the boat floor carpet of FIG. 1 connected to the boat floor of FIG. 1 by a set of magnetic elements;

FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional elevation schematic view of a boat carpet, including at least one magnetic element flush with a backing of the boat carpet, magnetically attached to a boat floor, including at least one magnetic element flush with the boat floor;

FIG. 5 is a cross-sectional elevation schematic view of another boat carpet, including at least one magnetic element mounted on a backing of the boat carpet, magnetically attached to another boat floor, including at least one magnetic element within a pocket of the boat floor;

FIG. 6 is a cross-sectional elevation schematic view of the boat carpet and boat floor of FIG. 4, the boat carpet separated from the boat floor;

FIG. 7 is a cross-sectional elevation schematic view of the boat carpet and boat floor of FIG. 5, the boat carpet separated from the boat floor;

FIG. 8 is an isometric view of a magnet employing magnetic segments arranged in a Halbach array;

FIG. 9 is an elevation view of the magnet of FIG. 8 further illustrating an augmented magnetic field on the magnet's bottom and a diminished magnetic field on the magnet's top; and

FIG. 10 is a cross-sectional elevation schematic view of still another boat carpet, including at least one magnetic element mounted on a backing of the boat carpet, magnetically attached to still another boat floor, including at least one magnetic element mounted on a surface of the boat floor.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

The present disclosure relates to a magnetically attached floor covering system for covering a floor of a boat. As illustrated at FIG. 1, an example boat 50 includes a passenger area 101 with a floor 104. The floor 104 is bounded by a perimeter 102. A magnetically attached floor covering system 300 covers the floor 104 of the boat 50 and is bounded by a perimeter 302 (see FIG. 3) generally matching the perimeter 102 of the floor 104. The floor covering system 300 can further include other features such as a seat post hole 320.

As shown at FIG. 3, the magnetically attached floor covering system 300 includes a set of magnetic floor elements 312 connected to and laid out on the floor 104 of the boat 50. The floor covering system 300 also includes a removable floor covering 304, including a tread surface 305 and a set of magnetic floor covering elements 314, which is installed over the floor 104. The set of magnetic floor covering elements 314 are connected to and positioned below the tread surface 305 of the removable floor covering 304 such that they generally match the layout of the set of magnetic floor elements 312. The set of magnetic floor elements 312 and the set of magnetic floor covering elements 314 magnetically attract each other thereby attaching the removable floor covering 304 to the floor 104 of the boat 50.

In a preferred embodiment, the set of magnetic floor elements 312 and the set of magnetic floor covering elements 314 both include permanent magnets, each of the magnets having opposite north and south magnetic poles. Upon installing the removable floor covering 304 over the floor 104, individual magnets of the set of magnetic floor covering elements 314 are positioned adjacent to individual magnets of the set of magnetic floor elements 312. Thus each of the individual magnets connected to the tread surface 305 is paired with and adjacent to one of the individual magnets connected to the floor 104. The adjacent pairs of magnets are oriented such that the adjacent magnetic poles are opposite each other and thus attract each other.

In another embodiment, the set of magnetic floor elements 312 includes permanent magnets and the set of magnetic floor covering elements 314 includes non-permanent magnetic elements. Upon installing the removable floor covering 304 over the floor 104, the non-permanent magnetic elements of the set of magnetic floor covering elements 314 are positioned adjacent to individual permanent magnets of the set of magnetic floor elements 312. Thus each of the non-permanent magnetic elements connected to the tread surface 305 is paired with, adjacent to, and attracted to one of the individual permanent magnets connected to the floor 104.

In still another embodiment, the set of magnetic floor elements 312 includes non-permanent magnetic elements and the set of magnetic floor covering elements 314 includes permanent magnets. Upon installing the removable floor covering 304 over the floor 104, the individual permanent magnets of the set of magnetic floor covering elements 314 are positioned adjacent to non-permanent magnetic elements of the set of magnetic floor elements 312. Thus each of the individual permanent magnets connected to the tread surface 305 is paired with, adjacent to, and attracted to one of the non-permanent magnetic elements connected to the floor 104.

The set of magnetic floor elements 312 can be attached to the floor 104 by means such as adhesive bonding. In one embodiment, the floor 104 is a fiberglass floor and the set of magnetic floor elements 312 are embedded and molded into the floor 104 during the manufacture of the floor 104. By this method of manufacturing the floor, uncured fiberglass resin wets the set of magnetic floor elements 312 and securely bonds them to the fiberglass material of the floor 104 when cured. As illustrated at FIGS. 4 and 6 at a single location, the set of magnetic floor elements 312 is embedded into the floor 104 such that the elements 312 are flush with a top surface 108 of the floor 104. Alternatively, as illustrated at FIGS. 5 and 7 at a single location, the set of magnetic floor elements 312 is embedded into an alternate floor 104′ such that the elements 312 are below a top surface 108′ of the floor 104′ and within a pocket 110 formed into fiberglass material of the floor 104′. In still another embodiment, as illustrated at FIG. 10, the set of magnetic floor elements 312 are mounted (e.g., with adhesive) above a top surface 108″ of still another floor 104″.

In the magnetically attached floor covering systems 300 (FIGS. 1, 3, 4, and 6), 300′ (FIGS. 5 and 7), and 300″ (FIG. 10) no holes need be made in the floor 104, 104′, and 104″ for the purpose of attaching the floor covering 304 and 304′. Thus the aforementioned problems of floor cracking, gel-coat cracking, core damage, leaking, etc. are avoided.

The set of magnetic floor covering elements 314 can be attached to the tread surface 305 by means such as adhesive bonding thereby forming the removable floor covering 304. The removable floor covering 304 may further include a backing 306. In one embodiment, the set of magnetic floor covering elements 314 is sewn into the tread surface 305 and/or the backing 306. In certain embodiments, the set of magnetic floor covering elements 314 are fastened to the tread surface 305 and/or the backing 306. As illustrated at FIGS. 4 and 6 at a single location, the set of magnetic floor covering elements 314 is attached to the tread surface 305 and/or the backing 306 such that the set of elements 314 are flush with a bottom surface 307 of the removable floor covering 304. Alternatively, as illustrated at FIGS. 5, 7, and 10 at a single location, the set of magnetic floor covering elements 314 is attached to the tread surface 305 such that the set of elements 314 extend past a bottom surface 307′ of an alternate removable floor covering 304′.

FIGS. 4 through 7 and 10 are not necessarily to scale but illustrate various schematic layouts of the removable floor covering 304, 304′, including the set of magnetic floor covering elements 314; the floor 104, 104′, 104″; and the set of magnetic floor elements 312. In the schematic layout of FIGS. 5 and 7, the thickness of the magnetic elements 312 and 314 can be accommodated within the depth of the pocket 110 of the floor 104′ and thereby result in the tread surface 305 having a smooth contour. In the schematic layout of FIGS. 4 and 6, the thickness of the magnetic floor element 312 can be accommodated by inlaying it within the floor 104 and the thickness of the magnetic floor covering element 314 can be accommodated by inlaying it within the removable floor covering 304. Thus the schematic layouts of FIGS. 4 and 6 also result in the tread surface 305 having a smooth contour. In the schematic layout of FIG. 10, the magnetic floor element 312 is surface mounted to the floor 104″ and the magnetic floor covering element 314 is surface mounted to the removable floor covering 304′. Other combinations of surface mounting and recess mounting the magnetic elements 312, 314 are possible. For example, the removable floor covering 304′, including the surface mounted magnetic floor covering element 314, can be used with the floor 104, including the recess mounted magnetic floor element 312.

In embodiments, such as shown at FIG. 10, where the magnetic floor element 312 and/or the magnetic floor covering element 314 are surface mounted without an accommodating pocket (such as the pocket 110 of FIG. 7), minimizing thickness of the magnetic elements 312 and/or 314 is preferred. By minimizing the thickness of the magnetic elements 312 and/or 314, a local protuberance of the tread surface 305 (see FIG. 10) caused by the magnetic elements 312 and/or 314 is also minimized. In certain embodiments of the present disclosure, the magnetic elements 312 and/or 314 can be made from commercially available permanent magnets less than about 1/16 inch thick. In other embodiments, the magnetic elements 312 and/or 314 can be made from commercially available permanent magnets less than about ⅛ inch thick. Non-permanent magnetic elements are also commercially available in thicknesses less than about 1/16″ thick and in thicknesses less than about ⅛″ thick. As mentioned above, the magnetic elements 312 and 314 can include non-permanent magnetic elements. By using suitably thin permanent magnets and/or suitably thin non-permanent magnetic elements as the magnetic elements 312 and/or 314, the protuberance of the tread surface 305 can be reduced to an acceptable or even negligible size.

The floor covering system 300 facilitates installing the removable floor covering 304 on the floor 104 of the boat 50. As described above and illustrated at FIGS. 4 and 6, the removable floor covering 304 is aligned and positioned above the floor 104 (FIG. 6), the aligned sets of magnetic elements 312, 314 attached to the floor 104 and tread surface 305 attract each other and thereby secure the removable floor covering 304 to the floor 104 (FIG. 4). The floor covering system 300 also facilitates removing the removable floor covering 304 from the floor 104 of the boat 50. The removal can be accomplished by lifting the removable floor covering 304, preferably along the perimeter 302 (see FIG. 3), with sufficient force to overcome the attraction between the sets of magnetic elements 312, 314. By peeling the removable floor covering 304 from the floor 104 starting at the perimeter 302, the attraction between the sets of magnetic elements 312, 314 can be overcome one magnetic element pair at a time, thereby reducing the force required.

In addition to the attractive forces between the sets of magnetic elements 312, 314, certain embodiments of the floor covering system 300 further hold and secure the installed floor covering 304 to the floor 104 by supplementary means. These supplementary means include a close fit between the perimeter 302 of the installed floor covering 304 and the perimeter 102 of the floor 104 (see FIGS. 1 and 3). Additionally, a high friction surface, such as rubber, may be employed at the bottom surface 307 of the removable floor covering 304 and/or the top surface 108 of the floor 104. The close fit and the high friction surface(s), used separately or together, aid in keeping the installed floor covering 304 from sliding on the floor 104 of the boat 50. An alternate magnetically attached floor covering system 300′, illustrated at FIGS. 5 and 7, further includes a close fit between the pockets 110, formed into the fiberglass material of the floor 104′, and the set of magnetic floor covering elements 314, attached to the tread surface 305. The close fit between the pockets 110 and the set of magnetic elements 314 further holds and secures the installed floor covering 304′ to the floor 104′ of the boat 50.

In a preferred embodiment, the sets of magnetic elements 312, 314 include rubberized, rust resistant magnets. Additionally, the rubberized magnets can be colored to match the floor 104, 104′ of the boat 50. To increase the holding force of the rubberized magnets and to reduce their thickness, a plurality of rubberized magnets 400 employing a Halbach array can be included in the sets of magnetic elements 312, 314. As illustrated and idealized at FIGS. 8 and 9, the example magnet 400, employing the Halbach array, includes various magnetic segments with various magnetic field vectors 418 oriented in various directions. In particular, an up-facing segment 406, a down-facing segment 408, a right-facing segment 410, and a left-facing segment 412 are arranged as shown. This arrangement results in a magnetically augmented side 402 of the magnet 400 and a magnetically diminished side 404 of the magnet 400. The magnetically augmented side 402 has magnetic fields that combine to form a reinforced magnetic field 420 while the magnetically diminished side 404 has magnetic fields that cancel each other. The magnetically augmented side 402 of the magnet 400 is positioned to face toward the floor 104 when mounted on the tread surface 305. Likewise, the magnetically augmented side 402 of the magnet 400 is positioned to face toward the tread surface 305 when mounted on the floor 104. When magnets 400 employing the Halbach array are used at both positions of an adjacent pair of magnetic elements, the magnets 400 are relatively positioned to each other such that the magnetic fields 420 interact with each other to create a strong magnetic force between the pair of magnets 400.

The above specification provides examples of how certain inventive aspects may be put into practice. It will be appreciated that the inventive aspects can be practiced in other ways than those specifically shown and described herein without departing from the spirit and scope of the inventive aspects of the present disclosure.