Title:
LOFT STORAGE RACK
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A ceiling storage unit including: at least four brackets attachable to a ceiling; at least four support posts, each support post attachable to a bracket; a frame comprising at least two cross-beams attachable at their ends to the support posts; a shelf panel positioned on and supported by the frame; and at least two braces, each brace attachable at its ends to at least two support posts for supporting long items to be stored, wherein the positions of the braces and the frame along the support posts are adjustable.



Inventors:
Eustace, Brian (Sierra Madre, CA, US)
David, Dan (La Canada-Flintridge, CA, US)
Application Number:
12/436770
Publication Date:
11/12/2009
Filing Date:
05/06/2009
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
211/134
International Classes:
A47B96/06; A47F5/08
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
CHAN, KO HUNG
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie LLP (Glendale, CA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A ceiling storage unit comprising: at least four brackets attachable to a ceiling; at least four support posts, each support post attachable to a bracket; a frame comprising at least two cross-beams attachable at their ends to the support posts; a shelf panel positioned on and supported by the frame; and at least two braces, each brace attachable at its ends to at least two support posts for supporting long items to be stored, wherein the positions of the braces and the frame along the support posts are adjustable.

2. The ceiling storage unit of claim 1, wherein the at least two braces are at an elevation below the elevation of the frame and shelf panel.

3. The ceiling storage unit of claim 1, wherein the at least two braces are at an elevation above the elevation of the frame and shelf panel.

4. The ceiling storage unit of claim 1, wherein the support posts comprise an upper support post attachable to the bracket and a lower support post section attachable to the upper support post.

5. The ceiling storage unit of claim 4, wherein the upper support post is adjustably attachable to the lower support post with a fastener.

6. The ceiling storage unit of claim 4, wherein the upper and lower support post sections are L-shaped.

7. The ceiling storage unit of claim 4, wherein the upper and lower support post sections comprise slots along their lengths so that the positions of the lower support post, the frame and the braces are be adjustable.

8. The ceiling storage unit of claim 7, wherein the slots have a double sided keyhole shape with a larger mid-slot opening and smaller end-slot openings.

9. The ceiling storage unit of claim 1, wherein the shelf panel comprises a solid panel.

10. The ceiling storage unit of claim 9, wherein the solid panel comprises sheet metal.

11. The ceiling storage unit of claim 9, wherein the solid panel comprises particle board.

12. The ceiling storage unit of claim 9, wherein the solid panel comprises plastic.

13. The ceiling storage unit of claim 1, wherein the shelf panel comprises a wire shelf panel.

14. The ceiling storage unit of claim 1, wherein the braces have an L-shaped cross-sectional configuration.

15. The ceiling storage unit of claim 1, wherein the cross-beams are boltlessly attachable to the support posts.

16. The ceiling storage unit of claim 1, wherein the braces are boltlessly attachable to the support posts.

17. The ceiling storage unit of claim 1, wherein the braces have a v-shaped section.

18. The ceiling storage unit of claim 1, wherein the braces have a square-shaped section.

19. The ceiling storage unit of claim 1, wherein the braces have a curved section.

20. The ceiling storage unit of claim 1, wherein the ceiling storage unit is attachable to an uneven ceiling.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED PATENT APPLICATION

This application claims priority to and the benefit of U.S. Patent Application No. 61/050,991, filed on May 6, 2008, in the United States Patent and Trademark Office, the entire content of which is incorporated herein by reference.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a loft storage rack. While there are a variety of loft storage racks that have been designed to store various items, they are not easily configurable for storing awkwardly shaped items that may exceed the dimensions of the storage rack, such as skis, in a convenient manner. Further, conventional loft storage racks are not formed of a simple construction and may be expensive to manufacture and difficult to assemble and adjust.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

An embodiment of the present invention provides a ceiling storage unit including: at least four brackets attachable to a ceiling; at least four support posts, each support post attachable to a bracket; a frame comprising at least two cross-beams attachable at their ends to the support posts; a shelf panel positioned on and supported by the frame; and at least two braces, each brace attachable at its ends to at least two support posts for supporting long items to be stored, wherein the positions of the braces and the frame along the support posts are adjustable.

The at least two braces may be at an elevation below the elevation of the frame and shelf panel. The at least two braces may be at an elevation above the elevation of the frame and shelf panel.

The support posts may include an upper support post attachable to the bracket and a lower support post section attachable to the upper support post. The upper support post may be adjustably attachable to the lower support post with a fastener. The upper and lower support post sections may be L-shaped. The upper and lower support post sections may include slots along their lengths so that the positions of the lower support post, the frame and the braces may be adjusted. The slots may have a double sided keyhole shape with a larger mid-slot opening and smaller end-slot openings.

The shelf panel may include a solid panel. The solid panel include sheet metal, particle board, or plastic. The shelf panel may include a wire shelf panel.

The braces may have an L-shaped cross-sectional configuration. The cross-beams may be boltlessly attachable to the support posts. The braces may be boltlessly attachable to the support posts. The braces may have a v-shaped section. The braces may have a square-shaped section. The braces may have a curved section.

The ceiling storage unit may be attachable to an uneven ceiling.

DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The accompanying drawings, together with the specification, illustrate exemplary embodiments of the present invention, and, together with the description, serve to explain the principles of the present invention.

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a ceiling storage system according to an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a ceiling storage system according to another embodiment of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

In the following detailed description, only certain exemplary embodiments of the present invention have been shown and described, simply by way of illustration. As those skilled in the art would realize, the described embodiments may be modified in various different ways, all without departing from the spirit or scope of the present invention. Accordingly, the drawings and description are to be regarded as illustrative in nature and not restrictive. Like reference numerals designate like elements throughout the specification.

As shown in FIG. 1, according to an embodiment of the present invention; a ceiling storage system may be mounted from a ceiling to conveniently store awkwardly shaped objects. The ceiling storage system may include at least one substantially horizontal shelf panel 12 that is supported by a frame 13 which, in turn, is supported by substantially vertical support posts 20, 22. The frame 13 is formed of substantially horizontal cross-beams 15, which are boltlessly attached at their ends to the support posts 20, 22. The shelf panel 12, which may be any suitably rigid material such as particle board, plastic, composite material, sheet metal, a metal mesh, metal wire or the like, may be mounted on or within the frame. A pair of opposing substantially horizontal braces 28 are boltlessly mounted to the support posts 20, 22 at an elevation below the shelf panel.

The cross-sectional configuration of the braces 28 may be any suitable cross-sectional configuration. An example of a suitable cross-sectional configuration is an L-shaped cross-sectional configuration which provides a generally flat horizontal top surface.

The cross-sectional shape of the cross-beams 15 may be any suitable shape, such as an L-shape, that is capable of receiving the shelf panel. Another example of a cross-beam 15 configuration is a “Z-beam” configuration as described in U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/854,500, filed Sep. 12, 2007, the entire content of which is incorporated herein by reference.

Further, the dimensions of the ceiling storage system may be adjusted to suit the needs of the user. For example, the ceiling storage system may be made larger to store larger items. Also, the ceiling storage system may be made smaller so that it may be mounted in rooms with less available space. Further, the ceiling storage system may be made shorter to be mounted in rooms with lower ceilings, or taller to be mounted in rooms with higher ceilings or to accommodate taller items for storage.

According to an embodiment of the present invention, the ceiling storage system may be mounted to the ceiling by attaching L-shaped brackets 14 to a part of the ceiling that is capable of bearing a load, such as a beam 10, by inserting any suitable fastener 16, such as screws or bolts, through holes in the brackets 14 and into the beam 10. Upper support post sections 20, which may have any suitable cross-sectional configuration such as an L-shaped cross-sectional configuration, are attached to the brackets 14 by inserting any suitable fastener 18, such as screws or pins, through holes in the brackets 14 and holes in the upper support posts 20. The lower support post sections 22, which may also have any suitable cross-sectional configuration such as an L-shaped cross-section configuration, may be attached to the upper support post sections by any suitable fastener 24.

For example, the support posts 20, 22 may include multiple double sided keyhole slots 21, 23, respectively, along the length of the support posts 20, 22 having a larger mid-slot opening and smaller end-slot openings. The upper support posts 20 and the lower support posts 22 may be positioned so that they overlap, and a fastener 24, such as a bolt or a pin, may be inserted through the slots 21 on the upper support posts 20 and the slots 23 on the lower support posts 22, and secured with a nut or clip to attach the upper support posts 20 to the lower support posts 22. The fastener 24 may be positioned in the lower end-slot opening of the slot 21 of the upper support post 20 and in the upper end-slot opening of the slot 23 of the lower support post 22. It is understood that the slots may have other shapes, such as wedge, key-hole, diamond, oval or the like.

According to an embodiment of the present invention, the frame 13 that supports the shelf panel 12 may be formed by attaching the cross-beams 15 to the support posts 20, 22 by inserting a slot engaging member, e.g. rivets, at the end of the cross beams into the enlarged portion of the slots and seating the rivets into the lower narrower portion of the slots 21, 23 of the support posts 20, 22. The shelf panel 12 may then be positioned on the frame 13 so that items may be stored on the shelf panel 12.

Due to the slots 21, 23 being positioned along the length of the support beams 20, 22, respectively, the ceiling storage system may be configured and adjusted in various different ways. As a result, the ceiling storage system may be mounted on ceilings that are not level. Further, the shelf panel 12 may be raised or lowered, depending on the items to be stored on the shelf panel 12 and the available space in the location where the ceiling storage system is mounted.

According to an embodiment of the present invention, brace supports 28 may be mounted to the support posts 20, 22 by any suitable means, such as by boltless attachment. For example, the brace supports 28 may include slot engaging rivets at their ends which are inserted through and seated in the lower portions of the slots 21, 23 of the support posts 20, 22.

As shown in FIG. 1, according to an embodiment of the present invention, the braces 28 are mounted to the lower support posts 22 beneath the frame 13. However, as shown in FIG. 2, the braces 28 may be mounted to the lower support posts 22 above the frame 13 if desired. Further, though the braces 28 are shown mounted on opposite sides of the frame 13 from each other, braces 28 may be mounted on adjacent sides of the frame 13 or on all sides of the frame 13.

Awkwardly shaped objects may be conveniently stored on the ceiling storage system by mounting at least two brace supports 28 on the support posts 20, 22 and by positioning the awkwardly shaped objects on the brace supports 28. These awkwardly shaped objects may include long objects, such as skis, lumber, rakes, shovels, hockey sticks, crutches, pipes, surfboard or the like. The position of the braces 28 and frame 13 may be easily adjusted to the most convenient position for the objects to be stored.

It is to be understood that a variety of modifications can be made to the ceiling storage system components without departing from the scope of the invention. For example, the braces 28 may be curved or bowed or have multiple curvatures or angles, e.g. V-shaped or square-shaped sections to accommodate specific objects.

It is further understood that the invention is not limited to any particular style of support post, cross-beam, or brace support, but they may have any suitable cross-sectional shape, such as L-shaped, flat, or rectangular. Further the support posts, cross-beams, and brace supports may be formed of any suitable rigid material, such as metal or plastic.

While the present invention has been described in connection with certain exemplary embodiments, it is to be understood that the invention is not limited to the disclosed embodiments, but, on the contrary, is intended to cover various modifications and equivalent arrangements thereof.