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Title:
RAPID INTERIOR WALL LAYOUT COMPONENTS AND METHODS
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2020/214922
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A rapid interior wall layout system can include an anchor and clasp. The anchor can have a lower portion that fits within a drywall track opening, an upper portion having an external notch, and a central opening that extends through the lower and upper portions to receive a fastener that extends through the anchor to hold the anchor in place against an existing building structure. The clasp can include a base, arms pivotally coupled to the base, tabs that extend inward from the arms, and flanges that extend from the base and arms. The clasp tabs can lock onto the external notch during installation to hold the drywall track in place against the anchor. The system can also include the drywall track itself, a second anchor for a second opening in the drywall track and a second clasp to hold the drywall track in place against the second anchor.

Inventors:
SOBEL KENNETH (US)
TAYLOR DAVID (US)
Application Number:
US2020/028702
Publication Date:
October 22, 2020
Filing Date:
April 17, 2020
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
HYPERFRAME INC (US)
International Classes:
F16B21/07; E04B1/24; F16B21/18; H01R13/115; H01R13/627
Foreign References:
US20190078611A12019-03-14
US3349452A1967-10-31
US3561075A1971-02-09
US9050690B22015-06-09
US6205733B12001-03-27
Other References:
APPLICANT'S ADMITTED PRIOR ART
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
DANIELS, Adam et al. (US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
WHAT IS CLAIMED IS:

1. An anchor configured for rapid construction, the anchor comprising:

a lower portion configured to couple with an existing building structure, wherein the lower portion includes a bottom surface to contact the existing building structure and one or more exterior surfaces that fit within an opening in a separate construction component;

an upper portion located proximate the lower portion and having a top surface, wherein the upper portion includes an external notch configured to receive a separate clasp that holds the separate construction component in place against the anchor; and

a central opening that extends through the lower portion and upper portion, wherein the central opening is configured to receive a fastener that extends through the anchor and into the existing building structure to hold the anchor in place against the existing building structure.

2. The anchor of claim 1, wherein the upper portion is integrally formed with the lower portion.

3. The anchor of claim 1, wherein the entire anchor is symmetrical about a longitudinal axis that extends through the length of the central opening.

4. The anchor of claim 1, wherein the separate construction component is a dry wall track, a pipe hanger, a duct hanger, or a cable tray hanger.

5. The anchor of claim 1, wherein the anchor is configured to receive a fastening force from the fastener at the top surface of the upper portion.

6. The anchor of claim 1, wherein the fastener is combined with the anchor to form a single component.

7. The anchor of claim 1, wherein the external notch defines an annular groove that extends around the outer circumference of the upper portion.

8. The anchor of claim 1, wherein at least part of the central opening includes an internal thread configured to mate with the fastener.

9. A system configured for rapid construction, the system comprising:

a construction component having a first opening; and

a first clasp coupled to the construction component and arranged around the first opening, wherein the first clasp is configured to lock onto a first external notch of a first anchor and hold the construction component in place against the first anchor.

10. The system of claim 9, wherein the first clasp includes a base, a first arm pivotally coupled to a first distal end of the base, and a second arm pivotally coupled to a second distal end of the base opposite the first distal end.

11. The system of claim 10, wherein the first arm and second arm are configured to pivot outward when the first clasp is fitted over the top surface of the upper portion of the first anchor and to pivot back inward when the first clasp locks onto the first external notch.

12. The system of claim 11, wherein the first clasp further includes tabs extending inward from both of the first and second arms, and wherein the tabs lock into the first external notch when the first and second arms pivot back inward.

13. The system of claim 11, wherein the first clasp further includes flanges that extend laterally from the base, the first arm, and the second arm, and wherein the flanges include openings configured to receive fastening components that affix the first clasp to the construction component.

14. The system of claim 9, wherein the construction component is a drywall track, a pipe hanger, a duct hanger, or a cable tray hanger.

15. The system of claim 9, wherein the construction component includes a second opening, the system further comprising:

a second clasp coupled to the construction component and arranged around the second opening, wherein the second clasp is configured to lock onto a second external notch of a second anchor and hold the construction component in place against the second anchor.

16. The system of claim 15, further comprising:

the first anchor, wherein the first anchor includes a first lower portion configured to couple with an existing building structure and one or more exterior surfaces that fit within the first opening in the construction component and a first upper portion located proximate the first lower portion and having a first top surface and the first external notch; and

the second anchor, wherein the second anchor includes a second lower portion configured to couple with the existing building structure and one or more exterior surfaces that fit within the second opening in the construction component and a second upper portion located proximate the second lower portion and having a second top surface and the second external notch.

17. A method of attaching a construction component to an existing building structure, the method comprising:

forming a first opening in the construction component; and

coupling a first clasp to the construction component with one or more fastening components such that the first clasp is arranged around the first opening, wherein the first clasp is configured to lock onto a first external notch of a first anchor and hold the construction component in place against the first anchor.

18. The method of claim 17, further comprising the steps of: forming a second opening in the construction component; and

coupling a second clasp to the construction component with one or more fastening components such that the second clasp is arranged around the second opening, wherein the second clasp is configured to lock onto a second external notch of a second anchor and hold the construction component in place against the second anchor.

19. The method of claim 18, further comprising the steps of:

locating a first point along the existing building structure using a robotic total station;

attaching the first anchor to the existing building structure at the first point with a first fastener, wherein the first anchor includes a lower portion configured to couple with the existing building structure and one or more exterior surfaces that fit within the first opening in the construction component, an upper portion located proximate the lower portion and having a top surface and the first external notch, and a central opening that extends through the lower portion and upper portion; locating a second point along the existing building structure using the robotic total station; attaching the second anchor to the existing building structure at the second point with a second fastener, wherein the second anchor fits within the second opening in the construction component and includes the second external notch; and

installing the construction component onto the first anchor and the second anchor by placing the first anchor through the first opening and the second anchor through the second opening, wherein the first clasp locks onto the first external notch to hold the first clasp and construction component in place against the first anchor and the existing building structure and the second clasp locks onto the second external notch to hold the second clasp and construction component in place against the second anchor and the existing building structure.

20. The system of claim 17, wherein the construction component is a dry wall track, a pipe hanger, a duct hanger, or a cable tray hanger.

Description:
RAPID INTERIOR WALL LAYOUT COMPONENTS AND METHODS

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

[0001] This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 62/835,403 filed on April 17, 2019 and entitled“COMPONENTS AND METHODS FOR RAPID LAYOUT OF INTERIOR WALLS,” which application is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety.

TECHNICAL FIELD

[0002] The present disclosure relates generally to building construction, and more particularly to the layout and installation of interior walls during building construction.

BACKGROUND

[0003] Building construction often involves forming interior walls using light gauge steel framing components. Metal frame walls can include“drywall tracks” that rim horizontally along the foot and head of the wall, as well as“studs” that are spaced apart and positioned vertically between the tracks. To prepare for interior partition wall framing, carpenters typically engage in a layout process that requires many steps. For example, a carpenter may iteratively read room dimensions from a floor plan drawing, transfer those measurements to the floor, snap chalk lines on the floor along the edge of each wall according to the floor plan, transfer those chalk lines to structural elements in the ceiling, align top track segments to their intended positions on the ceiling, and secure the top track segments to the structure using powder-actuated fasteners. It is critical to perform this wall layout accurately, as plumbers, electricians, and other construction trades depend on accurately positioned walls, and small deviations from floor plan drawings can cause a series of cascading issues in the construction of the building.

[0004] Some carpenters have recently adopted digital tools that improve the speed and accuracy of wall layout. One such tool is the robotic total station, which uses electronic transit theodolites in conjunction with an electronic distance meter to read a slope distance from the station to a given spot. This allows carpenters to quickly and accurately locate critical wall vertices along a floor, such as at comers and intersections. Many manual tasks remain, however, such as snapping chalk lines between critical vertices, transferring those chalk lines to a ceiling, and aligning top tracks to layout marks for fastening. Removing these tasks from the layout process would bring significant productivity gains.

[0005] Although traditional ways of forming interior walls during building construction have worked well in the past, improvements are always helpful. In particular, what is desired are systems and methods that eliminate steps from the interior wall layout process without losing accuracy in wall placement.

SUMMARY

[0006] It is an advantage of the present disclosure to provide building construction components that reduce time and effort from the interior wall layout process. The disclosed features, apparatuses, systems, and methods provide improved interior wall layout solutions that can eliminate at least the steps of creating measurement lines along a floor, snapping related chalk lines along the edge of a wall, and transferring those chalk lines to structural elements in a ceiling, without losing any accuracy in final wall placement. These advantages can be accomplished at least in part by providing anchors and customized construction components having clasps that lock onto installed anchors.

[0007] In various embodiments of the present disclosure, an anchor configured for rapid construction can include at least a lower portion, an upper portion, and a central opening. The lower portion can be configured to couple with an existing building structure and can include a bottom surface to contact the existing building structure and one or more exterior surfaces that fit within an opening in a separate construction component, such as a drywall track. The construction component can also be a pipe hanger, a duct hanger, a cable tray hanger, or any other construction component suitable for having the various features disclosed herein or extrapolations thereof. The upper portion can be located proximate the lower portion and can include a top surface and an external notch configured to receive a separate clasp that holds the separate construction component in place against the anchor. The central opening can extend through the lower and upper portions and can be configured to receive a fastener that extends through the anchor and into the existing building structure to hold the anchor in place against the existing building structure.

[0008] In various detailed embodiments, the upper portion of the anchor can be integrally formed with the lower portion, and the entire anchor can be symmetrical about a longitudinal axis that extends through the length of the central opening. The central opening can have a first cross-sectional diameter at the lower portion and a second cross-sectional diameter at the upper portion that is larger than the first cross-sectional diameter. In some arrangements, the cross-sectional diameter of the central opening can linearly decrease in size through at least part of the upper portion, and the anchor can be configured to receive a fastening force from the fastener at inner surfaces of the central opening where the cross-sectional diameter of the central opening linearly decreases in size. Alternatively, or in addition, the anchor can be configured to receive a fastening force from the fastener at the top surface of the upper portion. The fastener can be a powder-actuated fastener, among other possible fasteners, and may be combined with the anchor to form a single component. In addition, the external notch can define an annular groove that extends around the outer circumference of the upper portion. In some arrangements, at least part of the central opening can include an internal thread configured to mate with the fastener. This can be particularly useful where the anchor and fastener are combined as a single component prior to installation.

[0009] In various further embodiments of the present disclosure, a system configured for rapid construction can include at least a construction component and a first clasp. The system can also include a second clasp. The construction component can have a first opening, and the first clasp can be coupled to the construction component, arranged around the first opening, and configured to lock onto a first external notch of a first anchor to hold the construction component in place against the first anchor. The construction component can also include a second opening, and the second clasp can similarly be coupled to the construction component, arranged around the second opening, and configured to lock onto a second external notch of a second anchor to hold the construction component in place against the second anchor.

[0010] In various detailed embodiments, the first clasp can include a base, a first arm pivotally coupled to a first distal end of the base, and a second arm pivotally coupled to a second distal end of the base opposite the first distal end. The first arm and second arm can be configured to pivot outward when the first clasp is fitted over the top surface of the upper portion of the first anchor and to pivot back inward when the first clasp locks onto the first external notch. The first clasp can further include tabs extending inward from both of the first and second arms, as well as flanges that extend laterally from the base, the first arm, and the second arm. The tabs can lock into the first external notch when the first and second arms pivot back inward, and the flanges can include openings configured to receive fastening components that affix the first clasp to the construction component. The construction component can be a dry wall track, but could also be a pipe hanger, a duct hanger, or a cable tray hanger. Further system arrangements can include the first and second anchors. [0011] In still further embodiments, various methods of attaching a construction component to an existing building structure are provided. Method steps can include forming a first opening in the construction component and coupling a first clasp to the construction component with one or more fastening components such that the first clasp is arranged around the first opening, wherein the first clasp is configured to lock onto a first external notch of a first anchor and hold the construction component in place against the first anchor. Method steps can also include forming a second opening in the construction component, and coupling a second clasp to the construction component with one or more fastening components such that the second clasp is arranged around the second opening, wherein the second clasp is configured to lock onto a second external notch of a second anchor and hold the construction component in place against the second anchor. Further method steps can include locating a first point along an existing building structure using a robotic total station, attaching the first anchor to the existing building structure at the first point with a first fastener, locating a second point along the existing building structure using the robotic total station, attaching the second anchor to the existing building structure at the second point with a second fastener, and installing the construction component onto the first and second anchors. The anchors can include the same features detailed above, and the installing step can involve the first clasp locking onto the first external notch to hold the first clasp and construction component in place against the first anchor and the existing building structure, and can also involve the second clasp locking onto the second external notch to hold the second clasp and construction component in place against the second anchor and the existing building structure. The fastening components can include rivets that affix the clasps to the construction component, which can be a drywall track, pipe hanger, duct hanger, or cable tray hanger.

[0012] Other apparatuses, methods, features, and advantages of the disclosure will be or will become apparent to one with skill in the art upon examination of the following figures and detailed description. It is intended that all such additional apparatuses, methods, features and advantages be included within this description, be within the scope of the disclosure, and be protected by the accompanying claims. BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0013] The included drawings are for illustrative purposes and serve only to provide examples of possible structures and arrangements for the disclosed apparatuses, systems and methods for the rapid layout of interior walls. These drawings in no way limit any changes in form and detail that may be made to the disclosure by one skilled in the art without departing from the spirit and scope of the disclosure.

[0014] FIG. 1A illustrates in top perspective view exemplary anchor locations along a substrate plane as determined by a robotic total station positioned on a floor according to one embodiment of the present disclosure.

[0015] FIG. IB illustrates in top perspective view an exemplary dry wall track configured to mount to anchors at the anchor locations according to one embodiment of the present disclosure.

[0016] FIG. 2A illustrates in front perspective view an exemplary anchor configured for rapid construction according to one embodiment of the present disclosure.

[0017] FIG. 2B illustrates in side elevation view the anchor of FIG. 2 A according to one embodiment of the present disclosure.

[0018] FIG. 2C illustrates in top plan view the anchor of FIG. 2A according to one embodiment of the present disclosure.

[0019] FIG. 2D illustrates in side cross section view the anchor of FIG. 2A according to one embodiment of the present disclosure.

[0020] FIG. 2E illustrates in side cross section view an exemplary alternative anchor according to one embodiment of the present disclosure.

[0021] FIG. 3A illustrates in front perspective view an exemplary clasp for use with a drywall track according to one embodiment of the present disclosure.

[0022] FIG. 3B illustrates in front elevation view the clasp of FIG. 3A according to one embodiment of the present disclosure.

[0023] FIG. 3C illustrates in top plan view the clasp of FIG. 3 A according to one embodiment of the present disclosure. [0024] FIG. 3D illustrates in side elevation view the clasp of FIG. 3A according to one embodiment of the present disclosure.

[0025] FIG. 4A illustrates in front perspective view an exemplary drywall track.

[0026] FIG. 4B illustrates in top plan view the drywall track of FIG. 4A.

[0027] FIG. 4C illustrates in top plan view an exemplary drywall track modified to have two openings formed therein according to one embodiment of the present disclosure.

[0028] FIG. 5A illustrates in top perspective view an assembled combination including the modified drywall track of FIG. 4C with two clasps attached around the two openings according to one embodiment of the present disclosure.

[0029] FIG. 5B illustrates in top plan view the assembled combination of FIG. 5A according to one embodiment of the present disclosure.

[0030] FIG. 5C illustrates in bottom plan view the assembled combination of FIG. 5 A according to one embodiment of the present disclosure.

[0031] FIG. 6A illustrates in front perspective view an exemplary clasp prior to locking onto an anchor according to one embodiment of the present disclosure.

[0032] FIG. 6B illustrates in front perspective view an exemplary clasp after locking onto an anchor according to one embodiment of the present disclosure.

[0033] FIG. 7 illustrates in top perspective view the modified drywall track of FIG. 5 A after installation onto two anchors according to one embodiment of the present disclosure.

[0034] FIG. 8 illustrates in exploded view an exemplary locator pin assembly according to one embodiment of the present disclosure.

[0035] FIG. 9 illustrates in elevation view the locator pin assembly of FIG. 8 according to one embodiment of the present disclosure.

[0036] FIG. 10A illustrates in elevation view the locator pin assembly of FIG. 8 as an installer prepares to drive it into a substrate according to one embodiment of the present disclosure.

[0037] FIG. 10B illustrates in elevation view the locator pin assembly of FIG. 10A when its bushing top surface impacts a substrate surface according to one embodiment of the present disclosure. [0038] FIG. IOC illustrates in elevation view the locator pin assembly of FIG. 10A when a pin flat head impacts the bushing causing the pin to stop according to one embodiment of the present disclosure.

[0039] FIG. 11 illustrates in exploded view an exemplary metal wall track configured to snap over a pair of locator pin assemblies embedded in a substrate according to one embodiment of the present disclosure.

[0040] FIG. 12 illustrates in cross section view the track of FIG. 11 as an installer presses the metal wall track over the locator pin assemblies according to one embodiment of the present disclosure.

[0041] FIG. 13 illustrates in cross section view the track of FIG. 11 when captive washers snap past the tips of spring tabs according to one embodiment of the present disclosure.

[0042] FIG. 14 illustrates in front perspective view exemplary locator pin assembly locations along a substrate plane as determined by a robotic total station positioned on a floor according to one embodiment of the present disclosure.

[0043] FIG. 15 illustrates a flowchart of an exemplary method of attaching a component to an existing building structure according to one embodiment of the present disclosure.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0044] Exemplary applications of apparatuses, systems, and methods according to the present disclosure are described in this section. These examples are being provided solely to add context and aid in the understanding of the disclosure. It will thus be apparent to one skilled in the art that the present disclosure may be practiced without some or all of these specific details provided herein. In some instances, well known process steps have not been described in detail in order to avoid unnecessarily obscuring the present disclosure. Other applications are possible, such that the following examples should not be taken as limiting. In the following detailed description, references are made to the accompanying drawings, which form a part of the description and in which are shown, by way of illustration, specific embodiments of the present disclosure. Although these embodiments are described in sufficient detail to enable one skilled in the art to practice the disclosure, it is understood that these examples are not limiting, such that other embodiments may be used, and changes may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the disclosure.

[0045] The present disclosure relates in various embodiments to features, apparatuses, systems, and methods for the rapid layout and installation of interior walls during building construction. The disclosed embodiments can be used to speed up the layout process by eliminating some of the steps traditionally used in this process. In particular, the disclosed embodiments can utilize specialized anchors, clasps, modified dry wall tracks, and other components to render as unnecessary at least the traditional steps of creating measurement lines along a floor, snapping related chalk lines along the edge of a wall, and transferring those chalk lines to structural elements in a ceiling.

[0046] Rather than precisely affixing drywall tracks to an existing structural component using previously drawn lines in a traditional manner, the layout process of the present disclosure involves precisely affixing anchors, locator pin assemblies, or other similar anchoring features to the structural component and then coupling the drywall track to the anchors. The precise locating and installing of anchors can be easier that the precise drawing of chalk lines, since only points are needed to be located for the anchors, which can be readily and quickly installed once the points are located. The drywall track can be modified to include clasps or other anchor attachment components affixed to the track around openings therethrough so as to facilitate a quick but firm snap on attachment of the modified drywall track to the already installed anchors. The drywall track can be modified as needed at the construction site or can be modified previously off site, which can provide additional advantages.

[0047] Although various embodiments disclosed herein discuss specific anchors, clasps, and locator pins, it will be readily appreciated that the disclosed features, apparatuses, systems, and methods can similarly be used for any relevant interior wall layout and installation process that uses anchoring components to install drywall tracks to eliminate the need for drawing chalk lines. Also, while the exemplary apparatuses, system, and methods are provided with respect to drywall track layout for the formation of interior walls in building construction, it will be readily appreciated that the provided apparatuses, systems, and methods can also be used with respect to the attachment of studs, pipe hangers, duct hangers, cable tray hangers, wood beams, and other components to ceilings, floors, and any other structural items in the formation of any type of building structure, as well as other alternative embodiments.

OVERALL LAYOUT SYSTEM

[0048] Referring first to LIG. 1 A, exemplary anchor locations along a ceiling as determined by a robotic total station are illustrated in top perspective view. Anchor location point arrangement 1 can involve, for example, anchor points 2 that are located along a ceiling 31 or other structural component where anchors 10 are to be attached. The anchor points 2 can be precisely located using a robotic total station 71, which can be placed on a floor 72 or at any other suitable location. In some arrangements, anchor points 2 can be marked for later attachment of anchors 10. Alternatively, each anchor 10 can be readily and easily installed at each anchor point 2 while the robotic total station 71 is indicating the anchor point locations. Anchors 10 can be installed by way of fasteners 3, which can be powder actuated fasteners, for example, or alternatively nails, screws, or any other suitable fastener. By attaching the anchors 10 to the ceiling 31 with fasteners 3 in this manner, an installer avoids the need to mark floors, ceilings, walls, and/or other structural items with chalk lines.

[0049] Continuing with LIG. IB, an exemplary drywall track configured to mount to anchors at the anchor locations is also shown in top perspective view. Structural arrangement 5 can include the same ceiling 31 or other structural component shown in LIG. 1A, as well as the anchors 10 and fasteners. Although shown as exploded for purposes of illustration, anchors 10 can be installed at ceiling 31 already if such installation occurred when the robotic total station was indicating the anchor point locations. Drywall track 40 can be modified to have openings 41, 42 configured to fit over the installed anchors 10, and lock into place on the anchors, as set forth in greater detail below. Because the drywall track 40 readily and quickly locks onto the installed anchors in a manner that also aligns the track, the installer can also avoid the traditional need to align the track to layout chalk lines or marks by eye.

ANCHOR

[0050] Transitioning now to individual system components, FIG. 2A illustrates in front perspective view an exemplary anchor configured for rapid construction according to one embodiment of the present disclosure. Anchor 10 can include a lower portion 11 configured to couple with an existing building structure, such as a ceiling, floor, or other building component. Lower portion 11 can include a bottom surface 12, which can be substantially flat to lie flush against the existing building structure. Lower portion 11 can also include one or more exterior surfaces, such as a single circular exterior surface as shown, and this exterior surface can fit within an opening in a separate drywall track, as detailed below. Lower portion 11 can also include a tapered region 9, which tapered region 9 helps to align a separate drywall track onto the anchor 10 as the separate drywall track is installed onto the anchor 10.

[0051] Anchor 10 can also include an upper portion 13 located proximate the lower portion 11.

In some arrangements upper portion 13 and lower portion 11 can essentially form the entire anchor 10. Upper portion 13 can have a top surface 14 and an external notch 15 that is configured to receive a separate clasp that holds the separate drywall track in place against the anchor, as detailed below. Upper portion 13 can also include one or more exterior surfaces, such as a single circular surface as shown. Anchor 10 can also include a central opening 16 that extends through the lower portion 11 and upper portion 13. This central opening 16 can be configured to receive a fastener (e.g., a powder- actuated fastener) that extends through the anchor 10 and into the existing building structure to hold the anchor 10 in place against the existing building structure. In some arrangements, the fastener can be combined with the anchor 10 to form a single component. This can involve coupling the fastener to the anchor, such as by way of a threaded mating arrangement, or by creating a singular integrally formed anchor-fastener combination.

[0052] Central opening 16 can include a tapered region 17 through the upper portion 13, as this can facilitate a firm attachment of the anchor 10 to the existing building structure using a fastener that mates well with the geometry of the tapered region 17. In various embodiments, the entire anchor 10 can be symmetrical about a longitudinal axis 18 that that extends through the length of the central opening 17. This symmetry not only facilitates an easier installation of the anchor 10 due to all rotational orientations being identical, but also allows for ease in anchor formation or manufacture. In fact, upper portion 13 can be integrally formed with lower portion 11, such that anchor 10 can be formed by a simple process from a single material. For example, anchor 10 can be formed by cold forming or machining a metal such as steel.

[0053] FIGS. 2B and 2C show anchor 10 in side elevation and top plan views respectively.

These views simply provide different perspectives for the lower portion 11, upper portion 13, central opening 16 and various features thereof. FIG. 2D illustrates anchor 10 in side cross section view. Here, it is easier to see the relative geometries and dimensions of lower portion 11, upper portion 13, external notch 15, and central opening 16. Again, bottom surface 12 can be substantially flat when it is intended to couple with a flat substrate of an existing building structure. Alternatively, bottom surface 12 can have a shape that is specifically designed to couple well with an irregular substrate having a non-flat surface region.

[0054] As shown, central opening 16 can have one cross-sectional diameter at lower portion 11 and another larger cross-sectional diameter at upper portion 13. The cross-sectional diameter of central opening 16 can linearly decrease in size through at least part of upper portion 13, such that anchor 10 can mate well with flat head type fasteners inserted therethrough. As such, anchor 10 can be configured to receive a fastening force from a flat head type fastener at the inner surface of central opening 16 where the cross-sectional diameter of the central opening linearly decreases in size (i.e., at the tapered region of the central opening 16). Alternatively, or in addition, anchor 10 can be configured to receive a fastening force from a fastener at the top surface 14 of upper portion 13. This can depend on the type of fastener used, which can involve a bolt type fastener having a head with an upper flange.

[0055] External notch 15 can define an annular (i.e., ring shaped) groove the extends around the outer circumference of upper portion 13. While external notch 15 is located at upper portion 13 for purposes of illustration, it will be understood that this notch or a similarly functional clasp locking feature can be located elsewhere at anchor 10. For example, external notch 15 can be located at lower portion 11, between the upper and lower portions, or at any other external or internal surface that is designed to interact with a separate clasp or locking component. Again, external notch 15 can be symmetrical, such that it can be locked onto by a separate clasp regardless of the rotational orientation of anchor 10. This can allow for ease in installation since no concern is needed as to the anchor orientation. External notch 15 can be sufficiently deep or sharply defined to as to prevent the separate clasp from slipping off once it has locked onto the notch. Further, top surface 14 can have an outer chamfer or rounded edge to facilitate movement of the clasp arms during clasp installation, as set forth in greater detail below.

[0056] FIG. 2E illustrates in side cross section view an exemplary alternative anchor according to one embodiment of the present disclosure. Anchor 10a can be substantially similar to anchor 10 above, with the exception of the central opening geometry. Rather than have a smooth surfaced central opening, anchor 10a can have a threaded central opening 19. As will be readily appreciated, this threaded central opening 19 can be configured to mate with a threaded fastener, such as a threaded screw, bolt, or the like. Where such a threaded fastener is used with a threaded central opening 19, the load through the fastener can be distributed through the anchor threads as well as the top surface of the anchor upper portion. This alternative anchor 10a can be particularly useful where the anchor and fastener are to be combined as a single component prior to installation.

CEASP

[0057] Continuing with another individual system component, FIG. 3 A illustrates an exemplary clasp for use with a drywall track in front perspective view. Clasp 20 can be a spring clasp that is configured to lock onto the external notch of an anchor and hold a drywall track in place against the anchor. Clasp 20 can be punch formed from sheet metal, for example, and can include a base 21 and arms 22 that are pivotally coupled to distal ends of the base 21. Arms 22 can be configured to pivot outward when the clasp 20 is fitted over the top surface of the upper portion of the anchor, and then pivot back inward when the clasp 20 locks onto the external notch. Tabs 23 that extend inward from both of the arms 22 can lock into the external notch when the arms 22 pivot back inward.

[0058] Clasp 20 can also include flanges 24 that extend laterally from the base 21 and both arms 22. The flanges 24 can all include openings 25, 26 configured to receive fastening components that affix the clasp 20 to a separate dry wall track. Base flange 24 can include a circular opening 25, while the arm flanges 24 can include oval shaped openings 26 that allow the arms 22 to pivot outward and inward. The fastening components that affix the clasp to the drywall track can be rivets, for example. As will be readily appreciated, clasp 20 can be spring biased for the arms to pivot inward, such that the arms 22 readily pivot inward after the clasp has been fitted onto an anchor. FIGS. 3B through 3D show clasp 20 in front elevation, top plan, and side elevation views respectively. These views provide further perspectives for the base 21, arms 22, tabs 23, flanges 24, and openings 25, 26.

MODIFIED DRYWALL TRACK

[0059] FIGS. 4A and 4B illustrate an exemplary drywall track in front perspective and top plan views respectively. Drywall track 40a can be a traditional unmodified drywall track for use in the formation of interior walls. As is generally well known, drywall track 40a can define a base and two sides formed from any suitable material, such as galvanized steel. Although a simple U-shaped drywall track 40a is shown for purposes of illustration, it will be appreciated that virtually any size, shape, type, and material of standard drywall track can be used in conjunction with the various embodiments provided herein. In fact, the actual standard drywall track used merely needs to be compatible for the modifications presented herein. In particular, any standard drywall track that can be modified to form two openings within the base to affix two clasps thereto can be used.

[0060] FIG. 4C illustrates in top plan view an exemplary drywall track modified to have two openings formed therein according to one embodiment of the present disclosure. Oval or slot opening

41 can be formed in the base toward one end of drywall track 40, while circular opening 42 can be formed in the base toward the other end of drywall track 40. The distance between these openings 41,

42 can be specified as desired according to the length of the drywall track 40 and the design of the existing building structure to which the track is to be mounted. Further, the actual length of the drywall track 40 can be cut to a specific length according to the existing building structure design as well. As will be readily appreciated, the use of a slot or oval for slot opening 41 can allow for a slight amount of distance misalignment or tolerance stackup in the distance between the openings 41, 42 and the distance between anchors that are already installed into an existing building structure.

[0061] Continuing with FIG. 5 A, the modified drywall track of FIG. 4C is shown in top perspective view with two clasps attached around the two openings. Assembled combination 50 can include modified drywall track 40 having openings 41, 42, as well as clasps 20 affixed to the drywall track around the openings. Three rivets 27 can be used to affix each clasp 20 to the drywall track 40 using the flanges on the clasps. Each clasp 20 can be affixed to drywall track 40 around its respective opening 41, 42 as shown, such that anchors that are already installed into an existing building structure can fit through the openings 41, 42 and have the clasps 20 lock onto the external notches on the anchors.

[0062] FIGS. 5B and 5C illustrate assembled combination 50 in top plan view and bottom plan view respectively for additional perspectives. As shown for purposes of illustration, rivet 27a can fasten base flange 24a of clasp 20 to the base of drywall track 40, while rivets 27b and 27c can fasten arm flanges 27b and 27c respectively While rivets 27a may tightly fasten clasp 20 to drywall track 40, it can be favorable for rivets 27b and 27c to fasten the clasp 20 to drywall track loosely to allow the arms of clasp 20 to pivot outward and inward freely. Both clasps 20 may be similarly fastened to the drywall track 40. As shown, tabs 23 on each clasp are positioned about openings 41, 42 to facilitate locking onto the external notches of anchors during track installation.

[0063] Turning next to FIG. 6A, an exemplary clasp is shown in front perspective view prior to locking onto an installed anchor. Arrangement 60 depicts a single clasp 20 having tabs 23 that have just started to contact the top surface 14 of anchor 10. As such, clasp arms 22 are starting to pivot outward so that the entire combination of clasp 20 and drywall track 40 can push onto anchor 10. As shown, anchor 10 has already been inserted through opening 42 in drywall track 40, and anchor 10 can already be affixed previously to an existing building structure (not shown) by way of fastener 3. FIG. 6B illustrates the exemplary clasp after locking onto the anchor. In arrangement 61, tabs 23 have slid past the top part of upper portion 13 to lock onto external notch 15 when arms 22 pivot back inward.

[0064] FIG. 7 illustrates in top perspective view the modified drywall track of FIG. 5 A after installation onto two anchors. Arrangement 70 reflects a final installation of drywall track 40 onto an existing building structure (not shown), such as a ceiling, floor, or other structural component. As shown, two clasps 20 have been fastened to the drywall track 40 as detailed above, and the drywall track and clasp combination has been installed onto two anchors 10 that have already been installed into the existing building structure. Alignment of arrangement 70 during installation is aided by the tapered regions of the anchors 10 when the drywall track openings are placed over the anchors 10. When all components are formed and installed in the manner set forth above, the drywall track and clasp combination can quickly and simply snap onto the installed anchors.

ALTERNATIVE LAYOUT SYSTEM

[0065] Although the foregoing system involving anchors, clasps, and modified drywall tracks works well, other ways of using anchoring devices to reduce time and effort in the interior wall layout and installation process are also possible. One such alternative arrangement is provided in FIGS. 8- 14, as detailed below.

[0066] FIG. 8 shows an exploded view of locator pin assembly 100. The assembly consists of a bushing 110, annular spring clip 120, and pin 130. Bushing 110 is made from an impact resistant material such as steel. It features a groove 111 along its perimeter and a hole 112 which rims through the z-axis. Annular spring clip 120 is a flat metal spring with three spring tabs 121 equally spaced in a circular pattern about the z-axis. It is appreciated that in alternate embodiments, annular spring clip 120 can feature more than three spring tabs 121. Annular spring clip 120 wraps around bushing 110 within groove 111. It is appreciated that in alternate embodiments, bushing 110 and annular spring clip 120 can be consolidated into a single part. Pin 130 is an impact-resistant steel pin which features a pointed tip 131 and a flat head 132. The pointed tip 131 aids embedment into a substrate, and the flat head 132 allows the pin to be driven by a nail gun. Pin 130 fits through hole 112 in bushing 110 with a friction fit. [0067] FIG. 9 provides an elevation view of locator pin assembly 100. Bushing 110 grips pin 130 with a friction fit slightly below pointed tip 131. FIG. 10A provides an elevation view of locator pin assembly 100 as an installer prepares to drive it into a substrate 310. In this view, the installer has loaded locator pin assembly 100 into a nail gun 320, such that nozzle 321 of nail gun 320 fits over pin 130 and presses against the bottom of bushing 110. The operator has aligned pointed tip 131 of pin 130 to a predetermined position against substrate 310. Substrate 310 can represent a variety of potential ceiling and floor materials, such as concrete, steel, and wood. FIG. 10B provides an elevation view of locator pin assembly 100 at the moment when the top surface of bushing 110 impacts the surface of substrate 310. By actuating nail gun 320, the operator imparted an axial force onto locator pin assembly 100, causing pointed tip 131 to fully breach the surface of substrate 310. At the instant when bushing 110 impacts substrate 310, bushing 110 comes to rest. At the same time, pin 130 overcomes the force of friction with bushing 110 and continues its path into substrate 310. FIG. IOC provides an elevation view of locator pin assembly 100 at the moment when flat head 132 of pin 130 impacts bushing 110, causing pin 130 to come to a stop. At this time, pin 130 is fully embedded into substrate 310.

[0068] FIG. 11 provides an exploded view of metal wall track 400 which is configured to snap over a pair of locator pin assemblies 100 embedded in substrate 310. Metal wall track 400 has a U- shaped profile, where horizontal section of the profile is called web 410. Web 410 contains two dimples 411, which are positioned at opposing ends of the part. The first dimple 411 contains a round hole 412, and the second dimple 411 contains an obround hole 413. Captive washers 420 fit into round hole 412 and obround hole 413 from below. Retention rings 430 engage captive washers 420 from above and are fastened to captive washers 420 during the manufacturing process using screws, welds, and the like. When each retention ring 430 mates to its corresponding captive washer 420, it sandwiches web 410 against captive washer 420. At round hole 412, captive washer 420 is fixed in a concentric position with respect to round hole 412. At obround hole 413, captive washer 420 is permitted to slide longitudinally within the limits of obround hole 413. To install metal wall track 400 to substrate 310, the installer positions metal wall track 400 under the locator pin assemblies 100 such that captive washers 420 align concentrically with locator pin assemblies 100. The longitudinal freedom of captive washer 420 within obround hole 412 allows the installer to precisely match the spacing of locator pin assemblies 100 in substrate 310, within the tolerance band dictated by the center-to-center dimension of obround hole 412.

[0069] FIG. 12 shows a cross section view of metal wall track 400 as the installer presses metal wall track 400 over locator pin assemblies 100. At this moment, there is a distance d between wall track 400 and substrate 310. As metal wall track 400 travels upward, the inside diameters of captive washers 420 impart radial forces on spring tabs 121, causing them to deflect inward. As spring tabs 121 deflect inward, metal wall track 400 is permitted to continue its travel toward substrate 310. FIG. 13 shows a cross section view of metal wall track 400 at the moment when captive washers 420 snap past the tips of spring tabs 121. At this instant, metal wall track 400 is fully seated against substrate 310. Spring tabs 121 have returned to their original position, now spread against the lower surface of captive washers 420 such that they clamp metal wall track 400 against substrate 310. FIG. 14 demonstrates that the locations of locator pin assemblies 100 along the plane of substrate 310 (i.e. ceiling) can be determined by a robotic total station 710 positioned on a floor 720. By embedding locator pin assemblies 100 in substrate 310 at these locations, the installer has avoided the need to mark wall edges with chalk lines. Furthermore, because metal wall track 400 is manufactured to self- align with locator pin assemblies 100 at these positions, the installer will avoid the traditional process of aligning metal wall track 400 to layout marks by eye.

METHOD

[0070] Lastly, FIG. 15 provides a flowchart of an exemplary method of attaching a component to an existing building structure. The component can be a dry wall track, for example. While method 1000 is specifically directed to a process of using the components set forth in FIGS. 1 through 7B, it will be readily appreciated that many of the provided steps and details here may be similarly applied to the components set forth in FIGS. 8-14. Other steps may be modified or adjusted with respect to these latter components as may be applicable. Although various steps in exemplary method 1000 may be performed manually, it will be understood that some or all of the steps may also be automated in some arrangements. [0071] After a start step 1002, first and second openings in a dry wall track may be formed at process step 1004. This can involve the use of an existing floor plan, such that the length of the dry wall track may be specified and adjusted accordingly. The openings may then be formed at appropriate locations in the drywall track for proper attachment to a desired building structure. As noted above, one of the openings may be circular while the other forms an extended slot to allow for tolerance or slight measurement offset issues. Continued formation of a customized drywall track can then continue at process step 1006, where a first clasp is coupled to the drywall track. The first clasp can be attached around one of the openings by rivets, for example. A second clasp can similarly be coupled to the drywall track at process step 1008, such as around the other opening.

[0072] At process step 1010, a first point on the building structure can be located. This can be done by using a robotic total station as detailed above. At subsequent process step 1012, a first anchor can then be attached to the existing building structure at the first point. A second point on the existing building structure can similarly be located at process step 1014, and a second anchor can be attached to the existing building structure at the second point at subsequent process step 1016. At the following process step 1018, the drywall track can then be installed onto the first and second anchors. The method then ends at end step 1020.

[0073] For the foregoing flowchart, it will be readily appreciated that not every method step provided is always necessary, and that further steps not set forth herein may also be included. For example, added steps can involve specifying a length of the drywall track, cutting the drywall track to the specified length, and/or forming the first and second clasps out of a sheet metal source, among other possible steps. Furthermore, the exact order of steps may be altered as desired, and some steps may be performed simultaneously. For example, steps 1004-1008 may alternatively be performed after step 1016. Also, steps 1010 and 1014 can be performed simultaneously in some embodiments. Not all steps are always necessary either. For example, steps 1004-1008 may not be performed in all embodiments, such as where a separate process provides pre-formed customized drywall tracks which are then later installed by a builder who performs all other steps.

[0074] Although the foregoing disclosure has been described in detail by way of illustration and example for purposes of clarity and understanding, it will be recognized that the above described disclosure may be embodied in numerous other specific variations and embodiments without departing from the spirit or essential characteristics of the disclosure. Certain changes and modifications may be practiced, and it is understood that the disclosure is not to be limited by the foregoing details, but rather is to be defined by the scope of the appended claims.