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Title:
A SUPPORT STRUCTURE, IN PARTICULAR TABLE OR DESK
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2001/052699
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A support structure which comprises a rigid surface, at least two fixing points (27, 28 and 36, 37) directly or indirectly on said rigid surface (4), a wire (29, 47) arranged therebetween and a rigid member (38, 41) and (48, 49) which, in use, is arranged between said wire (29, 47) and said rigid surface. A table provided with the support structure of the present invention. A desk provided with the support structure of the present invention.

Inventors:
Farren-price, Ben (57 Craven Avenue Plymouth Devon PL4 8SW, GB)
Application Number:
PCT/GB2001/000194
Publication Date:
July 26, 2001
Filing Date:
January 19, 2001
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
Farren-price, Ben (57 Craven Avenue Plymouth Devon PL4 8SW, GB)
International Classes:
A47B3/08; A47B3/083; (IPC1-7): A47B3/02; A47B13/00
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Lucas, Brian Ronald (Lucas & Co. 135 Westhall Road Warlingham Surrey CR6 9HJ, GB)
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Claims:
CLAIMS :
1. A support structure which comprises a rigid surface, at least two fixing points (27,28,36,37; 127, 128, 136, 137; 227,228,236,237 ; 327,328,336,337) directly or indirectly on said rigid surface (4; 104; 204; 304), a wire (29,47; 129,147; 229,247; 329) arranged therebetween and a rigid member (38,41,48,49; 138,141,148,149; 238,241,248,249; 338,341) which, in use, is arranged between said wire (29,47; 129,147; 229,247; 329) and said rigid surface.
2. A support structure as claimed in Claim 1, wherein said rigid member (38,41 and 48,49; 138, 141 and 148, 149) and said rigid surface (4; 104) are provided with a hinge (40; 140) therebetween.
3. A support structure as claimed in Claim 2, wherein in use, said member (38,41 and 48,49; 138,141 and 148, 149) extends over the centre of said hinge (40; 140).
4. A support structure as claimed in Claim 1,2 or 3, wherein at least one of said fixing points (27,28 and 36,37) is located on a rotatable element (23,24) which is fixed to said rigid surface (4), such that rotation of said rotatable element (23,24) in one direction tensions said wire (29,47), and rotation in the opposing direction relaxes tension in said wire (29,47).
5. A support structure as claimed in Claim 4, wherein said rotatable element (23,24) forms part of a folding leg (21,22), such that unfolding said folding leg (21, 22) tensions said wire (29,47) and folding said folding leg (21,22) relaxes tension in said wire (29,47).
6. A support structure as claimed in Claim 5, wherein said folding leg (21,22) comprises a Ushaped tube rotatably arranged in at least one bearing (13,14,15, 16) fixed to said rigid surface (3) and at least one lug (25,26) disposed on said tube, said wire (29,47) attached to said lug (27,28).
7. A support structure as claimed in any preceding claim, further comprising ferrules (244a to 244d) arranged on said wires (229,247).
8. A support structure as claimed in any preceding claim, wherein said member (338,341) is arranged at an angle to said wire (329), such that slippage of said member (338,341) along said wire (329) is inhibited.
9. A support as claimed in claim 8, wherein said wire (329) passes over said member (338,341), therebeing a first part (329a) of the wire on one side of said member (338,341) and a second part (329b) on another side of said member (338,341), therebeing an angle B between said first and second parts of said wire (329), said member being at an angle a from said first part being substantially half angle B.
10. A support as clamed in Claim 9, wherein angle a is within 10% of an angle equal to half the angle B.
11. A support structure as claimed in any preceding Claim, further comprising at least one further rigid member (38,41,48,49; 138,141,148,149; 238,241, 248,249; 338,341) spaced from said rigid member (38, 41,48,49; 138,141,148,149; 238,241,248,249,338, 341) along said wire (29,47; 129,147; 229,247; 329).
12. A support structure as claimed in Claim 11, said support structure further comprises a spacer (44,50; 144,150) arranged between said rigid member (38,41,48, 49; 138,141,148,149) and said further rigid member (38,41,48,49; 138,141,148,149).
13. A support structure as claimed in Claim 12, wherein n said spacer (44,50; 144,150) comprises a tube through which said wire (29,47; 129,147) extends.
14. A support structure as claimed in any preceding claim, wherein said rigid surface (202) comprises two sections (202a, 202b; 302a, 302b).
15. A support structure as claimed in Claim 14, wherein said two sections (202a, 202b; 302a, 302b) are joined by a hinge (202c).
16. A support structure as claimed in Claim 15, wherein n said hinge (202c) is located such that the two sections (202a, 202b; 302a, 302b) may be folded away from said member (202,302).
17. A support structure as claimed in any preceding claim, wherein said rigid surface (3; 103) comprises one of the following materials: plywood, polycarbonate material, fibreglass, MDF, chipboard, aluminium, aluminium honeycomb, foamed polypropylene and ribbed ABS.
18. A support structure as claimed in any preceding claim, wherein said rigid surface (2; 102; 202; 302) comprises at least one panel (5 to 8; 105 to 108; 205 to 208; 305, 306) at each of said at least two fixing points (27,28 and 36,37; 127, 128 and 136,137; 227,228 and 236,237; 327,328).
19. A table as claimed in any preceding claim, wherein said rigid surface (2; 102 ; 202; 302) comprises at least one panel (5 to 8 ; 105 to 108 ; 205 to 208; 305, 306) at and extending between each of said at least two fixing points (27,28 and 36,37; 127,128 and 136,137; 227, 228 and 236,237; 327,328).
20. A support structure as claimed in any preceding claim, wherein said rigid surface (2; 102; 202 ; 302) is s provided with at least one panel (9 to 12; 109 to 112; 209 to 212; 309, 310) located at a point at which said rigid member (38,41,48,49; 138,141,148,149; 238, 241, 248, 249; 338, 341) would otherwise meet said rigid surface (2; 102 ; 202 ; 302).
21. A table comprising the support structure as claimed in any preceding claim.
22. A desk comprising the support structure as claimed in any of claims 1 to 20.
Description:
A SUPPORT STRUCTURE, IN PARTICULAR TABLE OR DESK This invention relates to a support structure and more particularly, but not exclusively to a table and a desk.

Furniture such as tables, folding tables, desks, folding desks, beds and shelves may be strengthened by using thicker or more rigid materials. Alternatively, support structures such as cross braces may be used.

These may have the disadvantages of being heavy, expensive or aesthetically displeasing. The present invention attempts to overcome these disadvantages.

According to the present invention there is provided a support structure which comprises a rigid surface, at least two fixing points located directly or indirectly on said rigid surface, a wire arranged therebetween and a rigid member which, in use, is arranged between said wire and said rigid surface to pretension said wire.

Advantageously, the rigid member and the rigid surface are provided with a hinge therebetween. This allows the rigid member to fold relative to the rigid surface, facilitating storage. Preferably, said rigid member extends over the centre of said hinge. The over centre action provides a positive locking position for the rigid member in its operable position.

Advantageously, at least one of the fixing points is located on a rotatable element which is fixed to the rigid surface, such that rotation of said rotatable element in one direction tensions the wire, and rotation in the opposing direction relaxes tension in the wire.

This action pretensions the wire, increasing the support structures rigidity. Preferably, the rotatable element forms part of a folding leg, such that unfolding the folding leg tensions the wire and folding the folding leg relaxes tension in the wire. Folding the table legs relaxes tension on the wire, thereby facilitating folding

of the rigid members, in the embodiments with the hinging feature. Advantageously, the folding leg comprises a U- shaped tube rotatably arranged in at least one bearing fixed to the rigid member and at least one lug disposed on the tubular, the wire attached to the lug.

Preferably, the support structure further comprises ferrules arranged on the wires. The ferrules help keep the wires taught and the rigid member from slipping therealong.

Advantageously, the member is arranged at an angle to the wire, such that slippage of the member along the wire is inhibited. Preferably, the wire passes over the member, therebeing a first part of the wire on one side of the member and a second part on another side of the member, therebeing an angle B between the first and second parts of the wire, the member being at an angle a from the first part of the wire, a being substantially half angle B. Advantageously, the angle a is within 10% of an angle equal to half the angle B.

Advantageously, the support structure comprises at least one further rigid member spaced from the rigid member along the wire.

Preferably, the support structure further comprises a spacer arranged between the rigid member and the further rigid member. Advantageously, the spacer comprises a tube through which the wire is located.

Preferably, the rigid surface comprises at least one panel at each of the at least two fixing points. The rigid surface may comprise at least one panel at and extending between each of the at least two fixing points Advantageously, the rigid surface is provided with at least one panel located at a point at which the rigid member is in line with the rigid surface.

Preferably, the rigid surface comprises a sheet of plywood. Alternatively, the rigid member comprises one of

the following materials: polycarbonate material, fibreglass, MDF, chipboard, aluminium, aluminium honeycomb foamed polypropylene and ribbed ABS. The rigid surface may be provided with a laminate on a top surface thereof to provide an aesthetically pleasing and/or practical finish.

The present invention also provides a table and desk provided with the support structure of the present invention.

For a better understanding of the present invention, reference will now be made, by way of example, to the accompanying drawings, in which: Figure 1 is a perspective view of a table in accordance with the present invention; Figures 2a, 2b and 2c are respectively a side, bottom and end view of the table of Figure 1; Figures 3a, 3b and 3c are respectively a bottom, side and end plan view of a similar table to the table of Figure 1 with legs and the support structure in a folded position; Figure 4 is an enlarge perspective view of part of the table of Figure 1, with a modified part; Figure 5 is an enlarged end view of part of the table of Figure 4 with hidden parts shown in dash lines, showing part of the support structure in a folded position, an extended position and in an intermediate position; Figures 6a, 6b and 6c are respectively a side, bottom and end view of a second embodiment of the invention; Figures 7a and 7b are respectively a side and end views of a third embodiment of the invention ; Figures 7c is an end view of the table of Figure 7a, showing a first stage in a folding operation; Figures 7d and 7e are side views of the table of Figure 7a in a second and third stage in a folding operation; Figures 7f and 7g are respectively a side view and an end view of the table of Figure 7a in a folded position; and Figure 8 is side view of a table of a fourth embodiment of the invention.

Referring to the drawings there is shown a table generally identified by reference numeral 1.

The table 1 comprises a tabletop 2 having a plywood base 3 approximately 220cm long, 110cm wide and 15mm thick. A top surface of the base 3 is provided with a 0.5mm hard wood laminate 4, such as oak, beech or maple.

The tabletop 2, the hard wood laminate 4 and at least part of the underside of the tabletop is coated with at least one layer of lacquer. A chamfer is formed around the perimeter of the tabletop 2.

The underside of the table top 2 is provided with eight panels 5 to 12 which are adhered thereto using a resin based adhesive and screwed. Each panel 5 to 12 is made from a 15mm thick plywood sheet cut to approximately 20cm by 25cm and chamfered around its perimeter.

Four panels 5 to 8 are located near to the four corners of the table top 2 spaced equidistant from their respective sides of the table top 2 and equidistant from their respective ends of the table top 2. Each panel 5 to 8 is provided with a bearing 13 to 16. Each bearing 13 to 16 comprises an upper part 13a, 14a and a lower part 13b, 14b, both made from a rigid plastics material or cast aluminium. The lower part 13a, 14a has a body provided with a semi-cylindrical opening thereacross and two bolt holes arranged in the body each side of the opening. The upper part has a body provided with a corresponding semi- cylindrical opening and corresponding threaded bolt holes. The upper part has two integral leaves extending from the body having holes facilitating a rigid fixing to the panels 5 to 8 using bolts or wood screws. A pipe clamp suitable for 38.1mm diameter pipe may be a suitable type of bearing.

Bearings 13 and 14 are arranged substantially centrally on their respective panels 5 and 6, with the longitudinal axis of cylindrical openings 17 and 18 in longitudinal alignment. Similarly, bearings 15 and 16 are arranged substantially centrally on their respective

panels 7 and 8, with the longitudinal axis of cylindrical openings 19 and 20 in longitudinal alignment.

Two pairs of table legs 21 and 22 are each formed from a single piece of stainless steel tubing 38.1mm in diameter, bent into an inverted U-shape having a substantially straight top 23 and 24. In use, the legs are at a slight angle to the vertical, each leg having a foot which is formed by cutting the base of the leg to be parallel to a flat floor, such that the table maintains a sure footing. The top 23 and 24 of each pair of table legs 21 and 22 is rotatably arranged in the aligned bearings 13,14 and 15,16 respectively. Each top 23 and 24 has a lug stop 25,26 welded thereto, such that in use, the legs can be rotated from a folded position to an extended position. The lug stop 25,26 will inhibit the legs from spreading too far, at which point each meets a stainless steel plate 25a, 26a 6mm thick and approximately 7cm square screwed to the underside of the base 3, or the underside of a panel 5 to 8.

Lugs 27 and 28 are welded to near to one end of the flat top 23 and 24 respectively. A length of twisted steel wire 29 is attached at one end to the lug 27 via a coupling 30 which is crimped to the wire and has two spaced arms 31 and 32 which have holes 33 and 34 for retaining a pin 35. The lug 27 is located between the arms 31 and 32. The pin 35 passes through a hole (not shown) in the lug 27. The other end of the steel wire 29 is similarly attached to lug 28. Two further lugs 36 and 37 are welded near to the other ends of top 23 and 24.

The couplings may be provided with a screw adjustment for adjusting the tension in the wire 29.

The panels 9 to 12 are arranged at the corners of a rectangle arranged about the centre of the table top 2.

The centres of panels 9 and 11 lie outside of a line running between the lugs 27 and 28 by 5mm. Similarly, the

centres of panels 10 and 12 lie outside of a line running between the and lugs 36 and 37.

A member 38, is shown in Figures 1 to 3 as an H- section strut, but is preferably of L-section extruded aluminium, as shown in Figures 4 and 5. The member 38 is located at the centre of the panel 9 on a plate 39. The member 38 has a first end having a planar base angled from the longitudinal axis of member 38 in two planes such that in use, when the base is in contacting relation with plate 39, the member 38 leans towards the line running between the lugs 36 and 37 and away from lug 27.

One leaf of a hinge 40 (Figure 4) is bolted but may be riveted or glued on an outer side of the first end of the member 38 and the other leaf is attached to the plate 39 for facilitating movement of the member 38 from a folded position to an in use position, as can best be seen in Figure 4. The first end of the rigid member 38 is substantially in line with the line running between lugs 27, 28 and a pin 40a of the hinge 40 is located outside of said line by approximately 10mm, a force applied to the second end of the member 38 toward the first end may inhibit the hinge from opening.

Similarly, a member 41 is located slightly offset towards the outside of the centre of the panel 11 on a plate 42. The member 38 has a first end having a planar base angled from the longitudinal axis of member 38 in two planes such that in use, when the base is in contacting relation with plate 42, the member 41 leans towards the line running between the lugs 36 and 37 and away from lug 28. One leaf of a hinge 43 is riveted on an outer side of the first end of the member 41 and the other leaf is attached to the plate 42 for facilitating movement of the member 41 from a folded position to an in use position.

A hollow rigid tube 44 approximately 1. 5cm in

diameter, is located between second ends 45 of members 38 and 41. The steel wire 29 runs through hole 46 and (not shown) in the second ends 45 of the members 38 and 41 and runs through the hollow rigid tube 44.

Similarly, a second length of twisted steel wire 47 is arranged between lugs 36 and 37, over corresponding members 48 and 49 and through a hollow rigid tube 50.

The table 1 may be transported with the pairs of legs 21 and 22 folded and the members 38,41,48 and 49 folded, (similar to the table shown in Figure 3a to 3c).

Folding the pairs of legs 21 and 22 releases tension on the steel wires 29,47. This is accomplished due to the lugs 27,28,36,37 being arranged on the lower part of the top 23,24, such that rotation of each top 23,24 moves the lugs 27,36 towards the opposing lugs 28,37.

The members 38,41 and 48,49 can then easily be folded from an in use position in which the members 38,41 and 48, 49 are held in an over centre position by the tension of the steel wire 29 and 47, to being flat against the underside of the table top 2.

When in use, as load is applied to the table top 2, the table top 2 may have a tendency to flex downwardly on the rigid members 38,41 and 48,49 and the legs. The legs 21,22 may be forced further apart, rotating the top 23, 24 thereof, hence tensioning the wires 29,47.

Downward movement of the rigid members 38,41 and 48,49 with respect to the fixing points 27,28 and 36,37 will tension the wires 29,47. Tensioning of the wires 29,47 may counteract downward flexing of the table top 2 as the load is increased.

Figures 6a, 6b and 6c show a table generally identified by reference numeral 101. Table 101 is generally similar to the table 1 of the first embodiment, like reference numerals are used for like parts in the one hundred series. The ends of the wires 129,147 are

connected directly to the bearings 113,114,115,116 or the plates 105,106,107,108 or other rigid fixing. A coupling, similar to coupling 30 may be provided at each of the end of the wires. The first end of the rigid members 138,141,148,149 are substantially inline with the fixing points 127,128,136,137, and the plates are shifted towards the perimeter of the table 101 as compared with the table of Figure 1.

When in use, as load is applied to the table top 102, the table top 102 may have a tendency to flex downwardly on the rigid members 138,141 and 148,149 and the legs 121, 122. The legs 121,122 may be forced further apart which is counteracted by lugs 125,126 acting on plates 125a, 126a. Downward movement of the rigid members 138,141 and 148,149 with respect to the fixing points 127,128 and 136,137 will tension the wires 129, 147. Tensioning of the wires 129,147 may counteract downward flexing of the tabletop 2 as the load is increased. the members 138,141 and 148,149 could then be moved to a flat position by applying force to the members 138,141 and 148,149, stretching the wire 129, 147 in order to move the members 138,141 and 148,149 about the over centre hinge, or by relaxing tension in the wire by other means, such as a screw thread in line therewith.

When in use, as load is applied to the table top 102, the table top 102 may have a tendency to flex downwardly on the rigid members 138,141 and 148,149 and the legs 121,122. The legs 121,122 may be forced further apart which is counteracted by lugs 125,126 acting on plates 125a, 126a. Downward movement of the rigid members 138,141 and 148,149 with respect to the fixing points 127,128 and 136,137 will tension the wires 129,147. Tensioning of the wires 129,147 may counteract downward flexing of the tabletop 2 as the load

is increased. the members 138,141 and 148,149 could then be moved to a flat position by applying force to the members 138,141 and 148, 149, stretching the wire 129, 147 in order to move the members 138,141 and 148,149 about the over centre hinge, or by relaxing tension in the wire by other means, such as a screw thread in line therewith.

Figures 7a to 7g show a table generally identified by reference numeral 201. Table 201 is generally similar to the table 101 of the second embodiment, like reference numerals are used for like parts in the two hundred series. A tabletop 202 comprises two sections 202a and 202b, of approximately equal dimensions. The two sections 202a and 202b are provided with a hinge 202c therebetween. The hinge 202c comprises two leaves 202d and 202e, which are attached respectively, to the two sections 202a and 202b in rebates 202f and 202g in a base 203a and 203b. A hinge pin 202h is shown proud of the table top, however, the pin may be flush with the top surface 203a and 203b.

The hollow rigid tubes 44,50 and 144,150 of the tables of the first and second embodiments, as shown in detail in Figures 2b and 6b respectively, are absent from this embodiment. Instead, ferrules 244a, 244b and 250a, 250b are arranged on wires 229 and 247. The ferrules 244a and 244b are generally cylindrical elements, which are slid on to the wires 229 and 247. The ferrules 244a, 244b and 250a, 250b are locked in place at predetermined points along the wires 229 and 247, by the use of grub screws (not shown) located in a cylindrical wall of the ferrules 244a, 244b and 250a, 250b. Members 238,241 and 248,249 are provided with slots 246a to 246d cut into an upper end of an inwardly facing side 238a, 241a and 248a, 249a of members 238,241 and 248,249 at an angle of approximately 45° from the inwardly facing side 238a,

241a and 248a, 249a. A semi-circular end is provided at the bottom of each slot 246a to 246d.

In use, the table 201 is folded by first removing wires 229 and 247 from slots 244a to 244d. The wires 229 and 247 may be removed from slots 244a to 244d by pulling on the wires 229 and 247, which may cause the tabletop 202 to flex, providing an extended distance between the wire and the tabletop 202 to allow removal thereof. The wires 229 and 247 are now held loose between fixing points 227, 228,236,237. Members 238,241 and 248,249 are folded toward the centre of the table 201 about and over the centre of hinges 239,243 and 243a, (not shown).

Legs 221 and 222 are folded toward the centre of the table 201 about bearings 213,214 and 215,216, as shown in Figure 7c to 7e. The sections 202a and 202b of the tabletop 202 are folded about hinge 202c, such that the faces 203a and 203b are substantially covering and touching each other.

Figure 8 shows a table generally identified by reference numeral 301. Table 301 is generally similar to the table 201 of the third embodiment, like reference numerals are used for like parts in the three hundred series. Ferrules 244a to 244d are not used in this embodiment. Instead, the members 338,341 and (not shown) are arranged at an angle, such that, in use, the members 338,341 and (not shown) lie at an angle a from a first part 329a of wire 329. Angle a being half angle B. B 3 being the angle between the first apart 329a and a second part 329b of wire 329, at a point at which the wire passes over the member 338,341 and (not shown). In this way, any force exerted through the members 338,341 and (not shown) on to the wires 329 and (not shown), will inhibit the member 338,341 and (not shown) slipping along the wires 329 and (not shown). Angle B is preferably 155° and a is preferably 77.5°.

Ends of the wires 329 and (not shown) are connected directly to plates 305,306, and (not shown) with the use of crimped connectors or grub screw connectors or the like.

It is envisaged that various modifications and/or improvements may be made to the above referenced specific embodiment, in particular : the table top may be made from other materials, such as a polycarbonate material, MDF, chipboard, glass, steel, aluminium honeycomb, compacted paper board foamed polypropylene or ribbed ABS plastic core materials; the legs 21,22; 121,122; 221,222 ; 321,322 may be made from a material such as aluminium or mild steel; the legs 21,22; 121, 122; 221,222 ; 321,322 may be provided with moulded feet inserted into the ends of the legs; and the legs 21,22; 121,122; 221,222 ; 321,322 may be fixed in an in use position, with a rigid fixing point at the top thereof.

The rigid panels 5 to 12; 105 to 112; 205 to 212 ; and 305 to 312 may be incorporated into the tabletop itself. For example, a metal plate may be moulded into a fibreglass tabletop to provide rigid panels for the fixing points for the wires and the rigid members. The rigid panels may extend between each other, and may extend between each other following the line of the wire.

For the avoidance of doubt,'wires'as used herein means any flexible or semi-flexible material, which has a high tensile strength such as metal rope, synthetic rope, ribbons, cords, tape or bands. Although, for aesthetic, cost, availability and practical reasons, metal wire is preferred.