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Title:
FLUSH POSITION INDICATOR FOR FASTENER INSTALLATION TOOL FOR ROOF TRUSS FRAMING AND CONSTRUCTION SYSTEM
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2019/023329
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
An installation tool for fastening a top plate to a roof support member and other structural connections is adapted to drive threaded fasteners at a pre-established angle. The tool preferably includes a rotary driver assembly and a telescopic tube assembly. A guide head assembly is mounted adjacent the outer end of the telescopic tube assembly. Locating or reference structures function to properly precisely set the drive angle of the fastener. Various indicators mounted to the guide head indicate the flush position of a locating surface or reference structure. The flush indicators may employ a projection, a flag, an LED or an audio module.

Inventors:
DICAIRE, Mark, A. (2 Country Candle Lane, Northborough, MA, 01532, US)
IRWIN, R., Timothy (44 Tekoa Terrace, Westfield, MA, 01085, US)
GILLIS, Timothy, F. (130 South Main Street, Florence, MA, 01001, US)
GUTHRIE, Mark, J. (105 Hampden Street, West Springfield, MA, 01089, US)
CANUP, Kenneth, D. (3965 Wesley Chapel Road, Matthews, NC, 28104, US)
FITZGERALD, Christopher, F. (19 Dana Hill, Belchertown, MA, 01007, US)
Application Number:
US2018/043660
Publication Date:
January 31, 2019
Filing Date:
July 25, 2018
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
OMG, INC. (153 Bowles Road, Agawam, MA, 01001-0508, US)
International Classes:
B25B23/08; B25B15/00; B25B21/00; B25B23/02; E04D15/00
Foreign References:
US20160354904A12016-12-08
US20170320197A12017-11-09
US20150321325A12015-11-12
US20090194954A12009-08-06
US6481613B12002-11-19
US20130175314A12013-07-11
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
YALE, Guy, D. et al. (Alix, Yale & Ristas LLP,150 Trumbull Street, Sixth Floo, Hartford CT, 06103-2446, US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS:

1 . A guide head assembly mountable to an installation tool with a torque driver having a fastener coupler comprising:

a frame having a locating end and a non-coplanar locating surface and a fastener channel defining an axis disposed at an angle Θ to said locating surface and configured to receive a fastener so that when said locating surface is positioned against the first member, said locating end is positioned adjacent a second member, said fastener is received in said channel and said driver is energized, said fastener coupler engages said fastener and is torqued to drive said fastener through said first member at said angle Θ into said second member; and

an indicator module mounted relative to said frame which indicates that the locating surface is flush against said first member.

2. The guide head assembly of claim 1 wherein said indicator module further comprises a spring loaded pin which projects through said locating surface and is depressible to project a flush indicator.

3. The guide head assembly of claim 1 wherein said indicator module comprises a depressible button which projects from said locating surface and an indicator light responsive to said button.

4. The guide head assembly of claim 3 wherein said light is an LED.

5. The guide head assembly of claim 1 wherein said indicator module comprises a flag which is hinged to said frame and is received in the frame in a first position and at least partially pivots out of the frame when the locating surface is in a vertical position.

6. The guide head assembly of claim 1 wherein said indicator module comprises a depressible button which projects from said locating surface and an audio module responsive to said button to emit a sound.

7. A guide head mountable to a fastener installation tool comprising:

a frame having a locating end and a non-coplanar locating surface and a fastener channel defining an axis disposed at an angle to said locating surface and configured to receive a fastener so that when said locating surface is positioned against a first member, said fastener is drivable through said member at said angle; and

a flush indicator disposed on said frame to indicate that the locating surface is flush against said first member.

8. The guide head of claim 7 wherein said flush indicator further comprises a spring loaded pin which projects through said locating surface and is displaceable to project from a surface opposed to said locating surface.

9. The guide head of claim 7 wherein said flush indicator comprises a displaceable actuator which projects from said locating surface and an indicator light responsive to said actuator.

10. The guide head of claim 9 wherein said light is an LED.

1 1 . The guide head of claim 7 wherein said flush indicator comprises a flag which is hinged to said frame in a first position when the locating surface is non- vertical and pivots to a second position when the locating surface is in a vertical orientation.

12. The guide head of claim 7 wherein said flush indicator comprises a displaceable actuator and an audio module responsive to said actuator to emit a sound.

13. The guide head of claim 7 wherein said flush indicator comprises a spring- loaded actuator which actuates a switch.

14. A head assembly mountable to a fastener installation tool comprising: a frame having a reference structure and a fastener channel defining an axis disposed at an acute angle Θ to said reference structure and configured to receive a fastener so that when said reference structure is positioned flush against a first member, said fastener is to drivable through said first member at said angle Θ; and

an indicator module which indicates from a location remote from said reference structure that the reference structure is flush against said first member.

15. The head assembly of claim 14 wherein said indicator module further comprises a spring loaded pin which projects through said reference structure and is depressible to project an indicator.

16. The head assembly of claim 15 wherein said indicator comprises an opposed end of said pin.

17. The head assembly of claim 14 wherein said indicator module comprises a depressible button which projects from said reference structure and an indicator light responsive to said button.

18. The head assembly of claim 17 wherein said light is an LED.

19. The head assembly of claim 14 wherein said indicator module comprises a flag which is hinged to said frame and is a first position and is pivotal from a second position when the reference structure is in a vertical position.

20. The head assembly of claim 14 wherein said indicator module comprises a spring-loaded depressible member which projects from said reference structure and an audio module responsive to said depressible member to emit a sound.

Description:
FLUSH POSITION INDICATOR FOR

FASTENER INSTALLATION TOOL FOR ROOF TRUSS FRAMING AND CONSTRUCTION SYSTEM

BACKGROUND

[0001] The present disclosure relates to generally fastening systems employed to connect wood structural members to comply with construction codes. The present disclosure relates generally to tools and methods for installing a fastener to secure wood framing components. More particularly, this disclosure relates to tools and techniques to precisely install fasteners to secure the top plate to roof trusses or rafters.

[0002] Local and state building codes, which are typically based on universal codes such as the International Residential Code and the International Building Code, set forth various requirements for securing wooden framing components. Provisions are made in such codes to require that the top plate and the rafters, or roof trusses, must be connected to comply with pre-established connection force standards calculated to resist substantial uplift forces that may be experienced throughout the lifetime of the structure. For locations which are susceptible to high wind uplift and/or seismic activity, typically, a stronger force- resistant connection between the top plate and rafters or trusses is required.

[0003] To satisfy building code requirements, the use of metal brackets and a large number of nails are commonly installed using pneumatic nail guns. Many of the structural locations requiring these robust connections are at the top corners of walls and where walls meet roof trusses and the like. These locations typically require workers to stand on ladders and employ a hammer or pneumatic nail guns to nail brackets to roof rafters, roof trusses and the like. A common complaint is that the ladders are not a stable platform and maneuvering bulky nail guns into cramped locations while standing on a ladder is both difficult and dangerous. [0004] The concept of a continuous load path (CLP) from the peak of the roof to the foundation is one that is gaining some popularity in the construction industry. Various devices of straps, brackets, cables, threaded rods and bolts are currently employed to tie various building components together and create an integrated unit where stress on any one structural component is transferred to other components for additional durability.

[0005] There are a number of techniques, fasteners and hardware items that are conventionally employed to provide the required connection between the top plate and the rafters or roof trusses. Hurricane clips or other forms of metal straps or clips are traditionally used and secured by multiple nails or threaded fasteners. There is commonly a trade-off between connection integrity and construction efficiency. For example, hurricane clips, which are effective and widely used in many locations, may require eight or more nails or threaded fasteners to meet the requisite code connection standard.

[0006] It is possible to employ threaded fasteners such as elongated screws to replace some of the metal brackets and nails currently employed to meet building codes. However, such screws need to be installed at a particular angle and position to ensure penetration through several wood members to engage, for example, a roof truss or rafter. There is a need for a construction system that would facilitate the use of threaded fasteners to connect building components in a manner that meets building codes and allows building inspectors to visually confirm correct installation of such threaded fasteners.

[0007] A highly secure and efficient connection between the top plate and rafters or roof trusses can be implemented by employing multiple specialty six- inch threaded fasteners, such as TimberLOK ® wood screws manufactured and marketed by OMG, Inc., of Agawam, Massachusetts. To secure the framing components with the sufficient retentive force, each threaded fastener is driven through the top plate and into the rafters or roof trusses at a 22.5 ± 5° optimum angle with respect to the vertical. Although securing multiple threaded fasteners is typically more efficient than attaching a hurricane clip or other strap-type connector, it is difficult to consistently implement a 22.5° angle within a reasonable range of precision. The usage of protractors, levels and other similar-type tools to obtain the optimum angle for the threaded fastener has proven to be clumsy, difficult, time consuming and, at best, only marginally advantageous over more conventional securement methods.

[0008] The present disclosure addresses the need for a tool and method to connect the top plate and rafters or roof trusses by efficiently installing multiple threaded fasteners having a consistently precise optimum connection angle.

DEFINITIONS

[0009] As used herein, the term "roof support member" means any framing component that provides structural support to a roof of a building, such as a rafter, a truss or a horizontal ceiling joist.

[0010] As used herein, the term "top plate" means the horizontal framing component (which may include two or more members such as two 2x4-inch members) attached to the topmost portion of the vertical structural members or studs to which the roof support members are mounted and secured.

SUMMARY

[0011] Briefly stated, an installation tool is employed to fasten a first member to a second member. The installation tool comprises a driver assembly having an elongated tube assembly with a proximal end and a distal end. The tube assembly is preferably telescopic. A driver, which generates torque, is mounted adjacent the proximal end. A torque transfer unit is disposed in the tube for transferring torque produced by the driver to a fastener coupler adjacent the distal end. A guide assembly is mounted adjacent the distal end and has an end and a locating surface and a fastener channel defining an axis disposed at an angle Θ to the locating surface. The fastener channel is configured to receive a fastener so that when the locating surface is engaged against the first member and the locating end is positioned adjacent the second member and the fastener is received in the channel and the driver is energized, the fastener coupler engages the fastener and is torqued to drive the fastener through the first member at the angle Θ into the second member. The angle Θ is preferably approximately 22 ½°. A stabilizing piercing edge preferably projects from the locating end. The stabilizing edge is the vertex of a square stabilizer plate.

[0012] A guide head is mountable to an installation tool with a torque driver having a fastener coupler and comprises a frame and an indicator module mounted to the frame. The frame has a locating end and a non-coplanar locating surface and a fastener channel defining an axis disposed at an angle Θ to the locating surface and configured to receive a fastener. The indicator module indicates that the locating surface is flush against the first member. When the locating surface is positioned against the first member and the locating end is positioned adjacent the second member and the fastener is received in the channel and the driver is energized, the fastener coupler engages the fastener and is torqued to drive a fastener through the first member at the angle Θ into the second member.

[0013] In one embodiment, the indicator module further comprises a spring loaded pin which projects through the locating surface and is depressible to project an indicator from a surface opposed to the locating surface.

[0014] In another embodiment, the indicator module comprises a depressible button which projects from the locating surface and an indicator light is responsive to the button. The light is preferably an LED.

[0015] In another embodiment, the indicator module comprises a flag which is hinged to the frame and is received in the frame in a first position and at least partially pivots out of the frame when the locating surface is in a vertical position.

[0016] In another embodiment, the indicator module comprises a depressible button which projects from the locating surface and an audio module is responsive to the button to emit a sound.

[0017] A guide head is mountable to a fastener installation tool and comprises a frame having a locating end and a non-coplanar locating surface. A fastener channel defines an axis disposed at an angle to the locating surface and is configured to receive a fastener. When the locating surface is positioned against the first member, the fastener is driveable through the member at the angle. A flush indicator is disposed on the frame to indicate that the locating surface is flush against the first member.

[0018] The flush indicator further comprises a spring loaded pin which projects through the locating surface and, in one embodiment, is depressible to project from a surface opposed to the locating surface. In an alternate embodiment, the flush indicator comprises a displaceable actuator which projects from the locating surface and an indicator light is responsive to the actuator. The light is preferably an LED.

[0019] In another embodiment, the flush indicator comprises a flag which is hinged to the frame and is received in the frame in a first position and at least partially pivots out of the frame when the locating surface is in a vertical position to indicate the flush position.

[0020] The flush indicator may also comprise an audio module responsive to a depressible actuator to emit a sound which indicates the flush position.

[0021] The guide head is mountable to a fastener installation tool having a torque driver with a fastener coupler. The guide head comprises a frame having a reference structure and a fastener channel defining an axis disposed at an acute angle Θ to the reference structure. An indicator module mounted to the frame indicates that the reference structure is flush against the first member. When the locating surface is positioned flush against the first member, the fastener is received in the channel and the driver is energized, the fastener coupler engages the fastener and is torqued to drive the fastener through the first member at the angle Θ.

[0022] A spring loaded pin which projects through the reference structure is depressible to actuate various indicators such as a projecting member, an LED or an audible signal. In another embodiment, the guide head indicator module comprises a flag which pivots when the locating surface is in a vertical position to indicate the flush position for driving the fastener at the proper angle into the first member. BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0023] Fig. 1 is a side view, partly broken away, of a fastener installation tool for securing a top plate to a roof support member;

[0024] Fig. 2 is a fragmentary top plan view of the installation tool of Fig. 1 ;

[0025] Fig. 3 is a fragmentary partially disassembled side view of the installation tool of Fig. 1 ;

[0026] Fig. 4 is a representative perspective view, partly in schematic, of a structure during its construction phase and illustrating the usage of a fastener to connect a top plate to a roof support member;

[0027] Fig. 4A is a fragmentary side sectional view of the structure of Fig. 4, illustrating a fastener connecting a top plate to a roof support member at a location adjacent a vertical stud;

[0028] Fig. 4B is a fragmentary side sectional view of the structure of Fig. 4, illustrating a fastener connecting a top plate to a roof support member at a location between vertical studs;

[0029] Fig. 5 is a side elevational view, portions broken away to show detail and partly in diagram form, of the installation tool of Fig. 1 ;

[0030] Fig. 6 is a side elevational view, portions broken away to show detail and partly in diagram form, of a modified embodiment of the fastener installation tool of Fig. 1 ;

[0031] Fig. 7 is a perspective view, partly in diagram form, of a guide portion of the installation tool of Fig. 1 ;

[0032] Fig. 8 is a perspective view of the guide portion of Fig. 7, portions being shown in phantom and portions being shown to reveal internal detail;

[0033] Fig. 9 is an annotated composite schematic view illustrating the sequential operation of the installation tool of Fig. 1 ;

[0034] Fig. 10 is a side elevational view, partly broken away, of a second embodiment of a fastener installation tool for connecting a top plate with a roof support member;

[0035] Fig. 1 1 is a fragmentary top plan view of the installation tool of Fig. 10; [0036] Figs. 12A-12C are side elevational views, partly in schematic, illustrating the sequential operation of the installation tool of Fig. 10;

[0037] Fig. 13 is a side elevational view, partly broken away, of a third embodiment of a fastener installation tool for connecting a top plate with a roof support member;

[0038] Fig. 14 is a fragmentary top plan view of the installation tool of Fig. 13;

[0039] Figs. 15A-15D are annotated representative side elevational views, partly in schematic, illustrating the sequential operation of the installation tool of Fig. 13;

[0040] Figs. 16A-16B are schematic diagrams illustrating the usage and versatility of a representative fastener installation tool for different structural heights and wherein the installers have different heights;

[0041] Fig. 17 is a perspective view of a fourth embodiment of an installation tool without the power driver assembly wherein certain external portions are shown as transparent to reveal internal components;

[0042] Fig 18 is an enlarged perspective view of a portion of the installation tool of Fig. 17 wherein certain external components are shown as transparent to reveal internal components;

[0043] Figs. 19A and 19B are top sectional views of portions of the installation tool of Fig. 17;

[0044] Fig. 20 is an enlarged end sectional view of the installation tool of Fig. 17 and further illustrating a fastener received in the installation tool;

[0045] Fig. 21 is an enlarged generally top plan view of the guide head portion of the installation tool of Fig. 17;

[0046] Fig. 22 is an enlarged generally bottom perspective view of a guide head portion of Fig. 21 ;

[0047] Fig. 23 is an enlarged generally opposite side elevational view, portions removed, of a handle assembly for the installation tool of Fig. 17;

[0048] Fig. 24 is an enlarged side elevational view, portions in section and portions removed, of the handle assembly of Fig. 23; [0049] Fig. 25 is an enlarged generally right side view of a portion of the handle portion of Fig. 24, taken from the right thereof and partially broken away to show detail

[0050] Figs. 26A and 26B are annotated side elevational views, partly in phantom, of a guide head for a fastener installation tool with a first indicator illustrating a non-flush and a flush position, respectively;

[0051] Figs. 27A and 27B are annotated side elevational views of a guide head for a fastener installation tool with a second indicator illustrating a non-flush and a flush position, respectively;

[0052] Figs. 28A and 28B are annotated side elevational views, partly in phantom, of a guide head for a fastener installation tool with a third indicator illustrating a non-flush and a flush position, respectively;

[0053] Figs. 29A and 29B are annotated side elevational views of a guide head for a fastener installation tool with a fourth indicator illustrating a non-flush and a flush position, respectively;

[0054] Fig. 30 is a schematic view illustrating a flush position indicator which employs a light indicator as illustrated in Figs. 28A and 28B; and

[0055] Fig. 31 is a schematic view illustrating a flush position indicator which employs an audible indicator as illustrated in Figs. 29A and 29B.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0056] With reference to the drawings wherein like numerals represent like parts throughout the several figures, a fastener installation tool is generally designated by the numeral 10. The fastener installation tool 10 is a heavy-duty hand tool adapted for installing threaded fasteners 12 at a consistent angle of approximately 22 1/2° (to the vertical) into a top plate for connection with a roof support member.

[0057] As best illustrated in Figs. 4, 4A and 4B, for a representative structure 20 for which the installation tool 10 is particularly adapted, a top plate 22, which may include a single 2x4 or a double 2x4, is mounted at the top of spaced vertical studs 24. Roof support members 26 of roof trusses 28 are mounted and supported on the top plate 22. Threaded fasteners 12 are driven into the top plate at a 22 1/2° angle for engagement with the roof support member 26. Multiple spaced threaded fasteners 12 are sequentially driven at pre-established spacings to provide the proper uplift resistance.

[0058] Fig. 4A illustrates the fastener driven at the upper location of the stud 24. Fig. 4B illustrates the fastener as driven at the location along the top plate between the vertical studs 24. The fasteners 12 are each preferably a six- inch fastener having a continuous threaded portion with a pointed tip and a head defining a socket or a six-inch TimberLOK ® fastener manufactured and marketed by OMG, Inc., of Agawam, Massachusetts. The TimberLOK ® fastener 12 has a hex head 14 and a drill tip 16. Alternative configurations for head 14 are also possible.

[0059] As will be further described below, the installation tool 10 is preferably dimensioned, principally by means of the length of a telescopic tube assembly 30, to provide an installation tool which may be effectively used by installers having a wide range of height and reach for a wide range of commonly vertically dimensioned structures. The principal function of the telescopic tube assembly 30 is to exert positive forward or upward pressure against the top plate/roof support interface. [0060] With reference to Figs. 5 and 6, representative tube assembly lengths are designated by L and i and representative fastener lengths are designated by D and d which also represents the travel distance to drive the screws. For one example in Fig. 5, L= 36.14" and D = 8". In Fig. 6, 1 = 27.4" and d = 6". The telescopic tube assembly 30 preferably has a maximum length of between 27.4 inches and 36.14 inches to accommodate the height and reach of the installer. For a six-inch fastener 12, the telescopic assembly 30 must retract 6 inches to drive the fastener, as will be described below.

[0061] The installation tool 10 dimensions allow for the tool to be effectively and efficiently used for connecting the top plates 22 to the roof support members 26 without requiring the use of a ladder, platforms or other means for providing the proper effective height relationship for driving the fasteners 12. Moreover, the proper fastener angle may be sequentially implemented from location to location along the top plate 22 to ensure a proper consistent angle for each of the multiple fasteners and to provide an integrated composite connection having an uplift resistance of high integrity.

[0062] The installation tool 10 preferably comprises a driver assembly 40 which includes a power driver 42. The driver 42 may be a conventional drill gun such as DeWalt™ model or an impact driver. The elongated telescopic tube assembly 30, which may have a rounded, rectangular or other profile, is mounted over and attaches to the forward torque end 44 of the driver 42. The telescopic tube assembly 30 comprises a proximal tube 32 which receives and mounts the driver 42 and a longer tube 34 secured to the tube 32. During fastener driving, tube 32 slides relative to tube 34 which essentially remains stationary in relation to the components to be connected by the fastener. Tube 34 terminates in a distal end 36.

[0063] A fastener guide assembly 50 is mounted at the distal tip 36 of the tube assembly. The guide assembly 50 provides the proper alignment structure for implementing the preferred 22 1/2° entry angle for the fastener. The assembly 50 also engages the support member for stabilizing the installation tool during the driving process. The guide assembly 50 is dimensioned in accordance with the dimensions of a given fastener. The guide assembly has a fastener channel 52 which functions to receive and load the fastener in a muzzle- loading fashion. The fastener drill tip 16 is positioned proximate the channel opening 53. The fastener is inserted head 14 first into the fastener channel 52 of the guide assembly. The fastener head 14 is engaged by a complementary torque coupler 43, such as a socket, for a hex thread fastener or a projecting coupler for a fastening head socket at the applicator end of the torque drive assembly train 45. The drive train 45, which may include multiple components, extends through and is housed within the tube assembly 30 and is driven by the torque driver 42.

[0064] With reference to Figs. 7 and 8, guide assembly 50 is preferably a cast or molded member of a lightweight rigid form which is mounted at the distal end 36 of the tube assembly. The guide assembly 50 has a frame 60 with a planar locating or engagement surface 62 disposed at an acute angle with respect to lower planar mounting surface 64. Mounting surface 64 preferably engages against the end of the tube assembly and transversely extends across the end of the tube 34. A planar end plate 66 is preferably perpendicular to surface 62 and is positioned and configured to closely approach or even contact the underside of the roof support member 26 (as will be explained below). The acute angle is preferably 22 1/2°, although other angles may be provided depending on the intended application of the installation tool 10.

[0065] The fastener channel 52, which may be formed by a cylinder, has a central axis which is perpendicular to the surface 64. The fastener channel axis is disposed at an acute angle of preferably 22 1/2° to the surface 62. Surface 62 defines the channel opening 53. The channel 52 receives the fastener 12 so that the head 14 is proximate and readily engageable with the torque coupler 43.

[0066] A transverse slot 65 receives an alignment bracket 68 having a T- shaped section which protrudes transversely at opposed sides of the engagement surface 62 and also projects outwardly from the surface 62. The alignment bracket 68 is positioned and configured to fit or ride below the 2x4 of the top plate 22 to ensure proper perpendicular alignment with the top plate 22. The alignment bracket 68 may be secured in the frame by a friction or interference fit or may be secured by a fastener (not illustrated) to the frame and can be transversely moved. In one embodiment, the bracket C is located approximately 1 5/8 inches below the end plate 68.

[0067] The upper portion of the frame is traversed by a slot 69 which receives a metal stabilizer plate 70. The stabilizer plate is secured in place by a threaded adjustment knob 72. The knob 72 connects with a threaded rod 74. The rod extends through an opening in the plate 70 and threads into a central threaded opening 75. The stabilizer plate 70 preferably has a square configuration with four vertices which form edges 76. The edges 76 are sharpened. When the plate 70 is mounted in position, one edge 76 or vertex projects upwardly from the end surface 66 of the frame. Openings 78 are provided in the plate to provide a height adjustment for vaulted ceilings and other configurations. Alternatively, the projecting structure is in the form of a barb.

[0068] The function of the stabilizer plate 70 is to provide a stabbing point to engage into the wood proximate the interface of the top plate 22 and the roof support member 26 to thereby stabilize the tool and prevent movement while the fastener is being torqued by the installation tool. The stabilization is especially important at the initial stages of driving the fastener.

[0069] In addition, the stabilizer plate functions to present a stabbing point so that upon inspection, an inspector will readily perceive that the fastener is at the proper angle.

[0070] The guide assembly 50 is positioned by the installer at the intersection of the top plate 22 and the roof support member 26 with the projecting stabilizer plate edge 76 engaging into the wood and the engagement surface 62 engaging in surface-to-surface relationship against the vertical side of the top plate 22. The end surface 66 is typically positioned proximate the underside of the roof support member 26, but is slightly offset due to the less than complete penetration of the stabilizer edge, and the alignment bracket 68 engages the lower edge portion of the top plate 22. [0071] Prior to engagement of the guide assembly with the top plate/roof support structure (as previously described), a fastener 12 is dropped into the fastener channel 52 with the fastener head 14 proximate to or engaging with the complementary coupler 43. A portion of the fastener 12 is typically initially received in a chamber of tube 34 adjacent the distal end 36. The fastener drill tip 16 is proximate the channel opening 53 in the engagement plate 62. It will be appreciated that the guide assembly 50 as properly positioned provides the proper entry point and entry angle for the fastener 12 as the fastener is driven through the top plate 22 into the roof support member 26.

[0072] With reference to Figs. 42 and 43, alternative embodiments of the guide assembly that mount to the end of the telescopic tube assembly of an installation tool are generally designated as guide head 150A and guide head 150B, respectively. These guide heads include additional features both for providing the proper alignment and positioning for the screw and for enhancing the ability of the operator and/or an inspector to verify that a proper connection has been made. Each of the guide heads has a frame 160 with a planar locating surface 162 disposed at an acute angle with respect to a tube assembly. Locating surface 162 defines a channel opening for the fastener channel access of the tube assembly. A planar end plate 166 is configured to engage or closely approach the underside of the roof support member 26.

[0073] An L-shaped bracket preferably extends transversely at opposed sides of the engagement surface and projects outwardly from the surface to provide an alignment bracket 168 to engage the vertical support 24. Bracket 168 may be adjustable. A pair of arms 180 and 182 are pivotally mounted at the top of the frame. One or more of the arms 180 and 182 may be pivoted upwardly to engage a vertical side of member 26 and provide a proper positioning relative to the roof support member 26.

[0074] A stabber point 170 projects through the end plate 166. In addition, the upper portion of the frame mounts a linear ink pad 190. In the embodiment position illustrated in Figs. 42 and 43, the guide heads 160A and 160B have not been positioned against the roof support member 26. Upon proper positioning, the pivotal arms 180 and 182 would engage against the sides of the support member 26, and the ink pad would make a linear mark indicated at 191 on the bottom of the roof support member 26. In addition, the stabber 170 would stab into the wood and leave a mark 171 as indicated. It should be appreciated that either the ink mark 191 or the stab mark 171 could be used to identify both the proper fastener as well as the proper entry angle of the fastener and accordingly indicate that a proper connection has been completed.

[0075] The guide head 150B illustrated in Fig. 43 has a pair of barbs 176 projecting from the end plate 166. When properly engaged under the roof support member 26, the pair of barbs would provide two marks 177 which would again provide a unique marking for indicating the proper connection. Of course, the barbs 176 also enhance the stability of the installation tool and the fastener during the installation process.

[0076] The installation tool preferably includes an auxiliary handle (in addition to the handle on the driver 40) to facilitate two-handed positioning and stability during the driving process. Various auxiliary handle configurations can be employed.

[0077] With reference to Figs. 2 and 9, an auxiliary handle 80 is slidably mounted to the tube and is longitudinally adjustable to provide an auxiliary handle for the installer. The handle 80 includes a rear grip 82 which radially projects radially or quasi-radially relative to the longitudinal axis of the tube assembly. A forward rod 84 extends from the grip generally parallel to the tube assembly. The rod 84 connects to a forward yoke 86 which envelopes the outer surface of the tube assembly and is slidable along the tube assembly. The intermediate portion of the rod is received in a cam lock 88 carried by the fixed proximal tube 32 that mounts to the forward portion of the driver 42. The rod locks in place with the cam lock 88.

[0078] The tube 34 telescopes with the proximal tube 32 and is slidably receivable throughout the driving of the fastener 12 in the installation process as the fastener is driven to complete the connection. The changing dynamic relationships of the fastener 12, the guide assembly 50, the telescopic tube assembly 30 and the handle 80 at the various stages of installation are illustrated in Fig. 9.

[0079] The auxiliary handle 80 is selectively adjustable by the installer to provide maximum stability and comfort to the installer. The handle locks in place with a pin 85. The handle 80 is initially adjustable. A button 87 is pressed to release the telescoping tube 34 from its fixed relationship with the proximal tube 32 and drive the threaded fastener. The handle 80 essentially remains stationary as the driver moves during the installation progress, as best illustrated in Fig. 9. The tube 32 retracts relative to tube 34 to accommodate the progressive expelling of the fastener 12 from the fastener chamber 52. The telescoping tubes 32 and 34 only lock when in the fully driven position, at which point, the fastener 12 is fully driven.

[0080] It should be appreciated that approximately six-inch driving link is required for driving a six-inch fastener.

[0081] With reference to Figs. 10, 1 1 and 12A-C, an automatic locking handle is generally designated by the numeral 90. The handle 90 is generally configured to radially extend from the proximal tube 32 and slide along the tube 32 during the driving process until it automatically locks at the full drive position. The handle has an orthogonally projecting grip 92 which connects with a yoke 94. The yoke 94 wraps around the tube 32 and is exteriorly slidable therealong.

[0082] The automatic locking handle 90 is automatically locked by the use of balls 96 which are entrapped in a bearing 98. The driving rod 49 has a varying diameter along a longitudinal portion. As best illustrated in the sequence of Figs. 12A-C, as the fastener 12 is driven, the geometry of the driving rod has reduced diametric surfaces allowing the balls to slip by and the outer distal tube 34 to fully telescope. The external handle can be placed anywhere along the proximal tube 32. It will be appreciated that as the fastener 12 is driven, the handle is rearwardly displaced toward the driver 42 until a fully locked position is obtained and the telescoping tube 34 is retracted.

[0083] With reference to Figs. 13, 14 and 15A-D, another handle which may be employed for a third embodiment of a fastener installation tool is generally designated by the numeral 1 10. The handle 1 10 includes a circumferential grip 1 12 which extends around the proximal tube 132. The grip 1 12 may be easily moved along the base tube 32 and tightened in position or loosened by means of a twisting motion on the grip about the longitudinal axis of the tube assembly 30.

[0084] A protrusion 1 14 rides within an internal slot 1 16 which is attached in fixed relationship to the driver 42. The proximal tube 132 forms the internal slot 1 16, and the sliding tube 134 includes an external rib 147. The internal slot 1 16 is not aligned with the rib 147 in the dormant/non-drive state (Fig. 15A). As the driver starts to drive, the protrusion 1 14 starts to ride in the internal slot 1 16 until it changes geometry and twists, thereby causing the handle to twist (Figs. 15B-C). The foregoing continues until the second slot is aligned with the external rib, thereby allowing the tube 134 to fully telescope inwardly (Fig. 15D). When the installer feels the handle 1 10 rotate slightly, the installer knows that the fastener 12 has been sufficiently initially driven, and the installer can release the grip 1 12 on the handle and place both hands on the driver 42.

[0085] Naturally, other handles are possible. In some embodiments, an auxiliary handle as such is not required. In such embodiments, the installer merely grips along the tube assembly at a location that appears to be most advantageous.

[0086] The installation tool 10 is preferably battery powered and includes a chargeable battery power pack. However, in some embodiments, the power driver (not illustrated) may be directly electrically powered and include a cord which connects with the power line.

[0087] With reference to Figs. 16A and 16B, two different structural heights of the top plane 22 and two appropriately dimensioned installation tools for relatively tall and short installers (shown in silhouette) are illustrated, it should be appreciated that the dimensioning of the telescopic tube assembly 30, in terms of longitudinal length, is established to accommodate the preferred application in connection with connecting a top plate 22 to a roof support member 26 without the installer needing a ladder or a platform to obtain the correct reach for driving the fastener. In addition, because the height and reach of an installer may significantly vary, the length of the telescopic tube assembly 30 is preferably selected to accommodate a wide range of installers' physical dimensions.

[0088] For applications wherein a fastener greater than 6 inches or even less than 6 inches may be applicable, an alternative guide assembly may be employed. For such a guide assembly, the effective depth of the fastener channel is altered. In addition, the telescopic extremes of the telescopic tubes 32 and 34 are adjusted to accommodate for the driving length for the fastener. Naturally, the coupler of the installation tool is adapted to complement the head of the fastener.

[0089] It should also be appreciated that for applications in which an angle other than 22 1/2° is desired, the guide assembly may also be configured so that the fastener channel is at an acute angle relative to the engagement surface at the prescribed optimum angle. Naturally, the position of the alignment bracket 68 may also be varied in accordance with a specific project. Multiple guide assemblies for various installation angles may be provided and attached to the telescopic tube assembly as desired.

[0090] For some embodiments, the power driver 40 is easily dismounted from the telescopic tube assembly 30. The telescopic tube assembly may employ a receiver configured to receive and functionally attach to a wide range of dismountable drill guns without the torque driver being fully integrated with the telescopic tube assembly.

[0091] With reference to Figs. 17-25, another embodiment of an installation tool (which does not show the power driver assembly) is generally designated by the numeral 200 (Fig. 17). Installation tool 200 includes a receiver 202 for the power driver assembly (not illustrated), a telescopic tube assembly 230 comprising telescopic tubes 232 and 234, and a fastener guide head assembly 250 which is mounted at the end 236 of tube 234.

[0092] A handle assembly 210 is disposed in longitudinally fixed relationship to tube 234 and includes a trigger 212 which is depressible into one of essentially two positions. One partially depressed position of the trigger 212 allows for the handle assembly to be angularly adjusted about the longitudinal axis of the distal tube 234 at a preset defined angular position. The full depressed position of the trigger 212 allows for the proximal tube 232 to be retracted relative to the distal tube 234 when the fastener 12 is driven. The handle assembly 210 also provides for two-handed support of the tool so that the stabilizing edge 276 can be effectively stabbed into the support member. It should be appreciated that the tubes 232 and 234 do not rotate relative to each other with the non-rotatable position being ensured by a longitudinal flat 236 which engages through the handle assembly.

[0093] With reference to Figs. 19A-B and 23-25, the handle 210 has a grip portion 214 which carries the trigger 212. The handle assembly 210 is attached to the distal tube 234 by a yoke 240 which is longitudinally fixed between a pair of collars 241 and 243. The trigger 212 moves a ramp 216 which engages complementary ramp 218 of a plunger 220. The plunger 220 has a radially acting detent 222 which is biased inwardly into the tube 234.

[0094] A plurality of (preferably five) recesses 225 are angularly spaced in fixed relationship to the outer tube 234. The projectable detent 222 is longitudinally aligned with the recesses 225 and receivable in a selected recess for retention under the plunger bias. Upon depressing the trigger 212, the detent 222 is retracted from a recess 225. Angularly rotating the grip 214 relative to the distal tube 234 allows detent 222 to be angularly engageable into a selected recess 225 to fix the angular position of the handle assembly 210 as desired by the installer. That angular position is further secured by a thumb screw 246 at the top which is tightened to secure the desired angular position.

[0095] A pair of internal collar mounts 245 and 247 are respectively fixedly mounted interiorly of the tubes 232 and 234. The mounts allow rotational and axial movement of the drive train. A spring 248 bears against the mounts and essentially biases the tubes 232 and 234 to a maximum extended position which is limited by a stop 249. The spring 248 may be optional. Stop 249 allows for replacement of the driver bit 282 to complement the fastener head. The plunger detent 222 also extends through an opening 223 to prevent movement between the distal tube 234 and the proximal tube 232 and thus fix the effective tool length. When the trigger 212 is fully depressed, the plunger is retracted from the opening 223 to allow the proximal tube to move relative to the distal tube against the bias of the spring 248 until the fastener is fully driven.

[0096] With additional reference to Figs. 5, 17 and 20-22, a dual floating alignment bushing or receiver guide 280 is mounted at the interior of the distal tube 234 and has a central opening which receives the output coupler 284 of the drive train 282. The guide 280 ensures a concentric alignment between the fastener and the driver. The dual receiver guide 280 has a double conical or funnel-like constriction 286 which receives the head 14 of the fastener 12 and centers it for engagement by the coupler 284 as illustrated.

[0097] A fastener guide head assembly 250 is mounted at the distal tip 236 of the tube assembly. The guide head assembly 250 has a generally cylindrical base 251 which is retained to the distal tube 234 by means of one or more set screws 239 (Fig. 17). A sleeve 252 extends through the base 251 to form a channel which receives and guides the fastener 12. Surface 262 defines the sleeve input opening 253 to sleeve 252 for the fastener as correspondingly described with respect to guide assembly 50. The sleeve 252 receives the fastener so that the head 14 is properly positioned to be readily engageable by the torque coupler 282. The major thread diameters of the fastener 12 and the interior diameter of the sleeve 252 are configured so that the interior diameter of the sleeve is only slightly larger than the major thread diameters of the fastener. Preferably, the maximum diameter of the head 14 is approximately equal to the major diameter of the threads. It will be appreciated that as the fastener 12 is loaded into the guide head assembly 250, the head 14 moves through the sleeve or channel 252 and is convergently directed via the funnel-like constriction 286 (Fig. 20) toward engagement with the torque coupler 284 of the drive train. The coupler 284 is also axially centered by the dual receiver guide 280. The dual receiver guide 280 can axially move or float within the tube. The movement is inwardly limited by a dimple 281 . [0098] The guide head assembly 250 is preferably a cast or molded member of lightweight rigid form which includes a frame extending from the base with a planar engagement surface 262 disposed at an acute angle with respect to the lower planar mounting surface 264. Mounting surface 264 preferably engages against the end of the tube assembly and transversely extends across the distal end 236 of the tube 234. A planar end plate 266 is parallel to surface 264 and positioned to engage the underside of the roof support member 26. The acute angle is preferably 22 ½°, although other angles may be provided depending on the intended application of the installation tool. The specific angle can be provided with a guide head assembly having the required angle of the sleeve or guide channel relative to the engagement surface 262.

[0099] A transverse slot 265 receives an L-shaped alignment bracket 268 which protrudes transversely at opposed sides of the engagement surface 262 and also projects outwardly from the surface 262. A set screw 271 secures the bracket 268 and allows the bracket 268 to be adjusted laterally, for example, when required at corners. The alignment bracket 268 is positioned and configured to fit below the 2x4 at the top plate 22 to ensure proper perpendicular alignment with the top plate. For corner configurations, the alignment bracket 268 may be moved to an extreme lateral position, either left or right of the position as shown in Fig. 21 .

[00100] The upper portion of the frame is traversed by a slot 269 which receives a metal stabilizer plate 270. The stabilizer plate is secured by an adjustment knob 272 which connects with a threaded rod 274. The rod extends through an opening in the plate and threads into separate threaded opening 275. The stabilizer plate 270 preferably has a square configuration with four vertices which form edges 276. The edges 276 are sharpened. When the guide head assembly 250 is properly positioned a sharp edge 276 projects upwardly from the edge surface 266 of the frame. The function of the stabilizer plate 270 with edge 276 is to provide a stabbing structure to engage into the wood proximate the interface of the top plate 22 and the roof support member 26 to thereby stabilize the tool 200 and prevent movement or walking while the fastener 12 is being torqued by the installation tool. The stabilization is important at the initial stages of driving the fastener.

[00101] With reference to Figs. 26A-29B, four guide head assemblies 2050, 2150, 2250 and 2350 incorporate indicators for indicating to the installer that a flush position is obtained. It should be appreciated that the guide head assemblies may take numerous other forms consistent with the various guide head assemblies previously described in the specification. It will be appreciated that the significant factor in obtaining the proper entry angle using a telescopic installation tool is ensuring the proper flush position of the locating surface 2062, 2162, 2262 and 2362, respectively, (or reference structure that may be interrupted and not be continuously planar).

[00102] With reference to Figs. 26A and 26B, guide head assembly 2050 incorporates an indicator module 2090. The guide head assembly has a fastener channel 2052 having a channel opening 2053 which is disposed at an angle Θ with respect to the planar locating surface 2062. It will be appreciated that the guide head assembly includes a connecting extension 1070. The extension mounts to a tube assembly 30. The tube assembly has a drive train 45 for a fastener coupler 43 (not shown in these particular drawings). The guide head assembly 2050 also includes an end locating surface 2066 and a stabber/stabilizer 2076 as well as guide means 2080.

[00103] The indicator module 2090 employs a transverse channel 2092 which mounts a spring loaded indicator button 2094. In a non-flush position of Fig. 26A, the button 2094 projects through the locating surface 2062. The indicator module 2090 may be incorporated into the frame or be mounted exteriorly of the side of the guide head 2050. When the locating surface 2062 is flush against another surface, the button 2094 is depressed and forces the opposing end 2096 of the button to project through the opposing surface. The projection of end 2096 thus indicates to the installer that a proper flush position for the fastener installation has been obtained, as best illustrated in Fig. 26B.

[00104] With reference to the guide head assembly 2150 in Figs. 27A and 27B, a flush indicator module 2190 shows the non-flush position of Fig. 27A and the proper flush position of Fig. 27B. An indicator flag 2192 is pivotally mounted to the frame. When the frame is in the proper flush or vertical position, the indicator flag 2192 pivots from the frame, as best illustrated in Fig. 27B to indicate to the installer that the proper flush position has been obtained.

[00105] With reference to Figs. 28A, 28B and 30, guide head assembly 2250 has an indicator module 2290. An actuator in the form of a spring loaded button 2260 projects through the locating surface 2262. The button is pre-loaded to the position illustrated in Fig. 28A. An indicator light module 2296, which preferably employs an LED 2298, is illuminated when the button is sufficiently (wherein the outer end is generally co-planar with the locating surface 2262) depressed, as best illustrated in Fig. 28B. The LED 2298 may be pulsed or in a steady state. The depressed condition activates a switch 2264 which closes a circuit from a battery 2266 to the light module 2296. The illuminated LED locating surface 2262 is flush against the structure at the proper entry angle for driving the fastener at the proper entry angle.

[00106] With reference to Figs. 29A, 29B and 31 , guide head assembly 2350 has an indicator module 2390. An actuator in the form of a spring loaded button 2360 projects through the locating surface 2362. The button 2360 is preloaded to the position indicated in Fig. 29A. When the button 2360 is sufficiently (wherein the outer end is generally co-planar with the locating surface 2362) depressed, as best illustrated in Fig. 29B, an audio module 2396 is activated and emits a sound via speaker 2398. The sound may be steady state or pulsed. The depressed condition activates a switch 2364 which closes a circuit from a battery 2366 to the audio module 2396. The audible signal indicates that the locating surface 2362 is flush against the structure at the proper entry angle for driving a fastener at the proper entry angle.

[00107] It will be appreciated that other flush indicator assemblies may also be provided for the various guide head assemblies.

[00108] While preferred embodiments of the foregoing have been set forth for purposes of describing preferred embodiments, the foregoing descriptions should not be deemed a limitation of the inventions herein. Accordingly, various modifications, adaptations and alternatives may occur to one skilled in the art without departing from the spirit and the scope of the present invention.