Login| Sign Up| Help| Contact|

Patent Searching and Data


Title:
TUBE CONNECTING APPARATUS
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2012/016297
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
Apparatus for connecting to a tube, the apparatus including an arm pair including spaced apart arms for insertion into the tube, a screw for engaging the arms and a threaded aperture having the screw mounted therein so that rotation of the screw urges the arms apart thereby causing the arms to engage an inner surface of the tube.

Inventors:
JACOBS GIDEON JOHANNES (AU)
Application Number:
AU2011/001000
Publication Date:
February 09, 2012
Filing Date:
August 05, 2011
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
GANADOR HOLDINGS PTY LTD (AU)
JACOBS GIDEON JOHANNES (AU)
International Classes:
F16B7/04; E04B1/58; E04G7/06; F16B2/04; F16B7/18; F16B7/20; F16B9/00; F16B12/40
Foreign References:
US5605410A1997-02-25
FR2478754A11981-09-25
US3014609A1961-12-26
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
DAVIES COLLISON CAVE et al. (301 Coronation DriveMilton, Queensland 4064, AU)
Download PDF:
Claims:
THE CLAIMS DEFINING THE INVENTION ARE AS FOLLOWS:

1) Apparatus for connecting to a tube, the apparatus including:

a) an arm pair including spaced apart arms for insertion into the tube;

b) a screw for engaging the arms; and,

c) a threaded aperture having the screw mounted therein so that rotation of the screw urges the arms apart thereby causing the arms to engage an inner surface of the tube.

2) Apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the tube includes a tube aperture, and wherein in use the tube aperture aligns with the screw to allow for rotation of the screw by a tool.

3) Apparatus according to claim 1 or claim 2, wherein arms positively clamp against the inner surface of the tube.

4) Apparatus according to any one of the claims 1 to 3, wherein one of the arms includes the threaded aperture.

5) Apparatus according to any one of the claims 1 to 3, wherein one of the arms includes an aperture, and wherein the apparatus includes an insert with a threaded aperture for mounting in the aperture, the insert with a threaded aperture defining the threaded aperture.

6) Apparatus according to claim 5, wherein the insert with a threaded aperture includes at least one of a shoulder and a tapered shaft for engaging the at least one arm.

7) Apparatus according to any one of the claims 1 to 6, wherein the shoulder defines a depth to which the threaded insert can be inserted into the aperture, the depth being equal to or less than the thickness of the arm.

8) Apparatus according to any one of the claims 1 to 7, wherein each arm includes a slot and wherein the screw engages the slot to thereby spread the arms and cause the arms to engage an inner surface of the tube.

9) Apparatus according to claim 8, wherein each arm includes a slot aperture for receiving the screw, the slot aperture forming part of the slot.

10) Apparatus according to any one of the claims 1 to 9, wherein the apparatus includes two bodies, each body defining at least one arm.

1 1 ) Apparatus according to claim 10, wherein each body is substantially laminar.

12) Apparatus according to claim 10 or claim 11 , wherein each body defines part of a bracket for coupling the apparatus to an object. 13) Apparatus according to any one of the claims 1 to 12, wherein the apparatus is for connecting first and second tubes, and wherein the apparatus includes:

a) first and second arm pairs, each arm pair including spaced apart arms for insertion into the first and second tubes, respectively; and,

b) first and second screws coupled to at least one of the arms of each of the first and second pairs of arms for urging the respective arms apart to thereby cause the arms to engage an inner surface of each of the first and second tubes.

14) Apparatus according to claim 13, wherein the apparatus includes first and second bodies, each body defining a respective arm of one of the first and second pairs.

15) Apparatus according to any one of the claims 1 to 13, wherein the apparatus is for connecting a plurality of tubes, and wherein the apparatus includes:

a) a plurality of pairs of spaced apart arms for insertion into the plurality of tubes, respectively; and,

b) a plurality of screws coupled to at least one of the arms of each of the plurality of pairs of arms for urging the respective arms apart to thereby cause the arms to engage an inner surface of each of the plurality of tubes.

16) Apparatus according to claim 15, wherein the apparatus includes:

a) a first body defining respective first arms of first and second arm pairs;

b) a second body defining respective second arms of first and second arm pairs; and, c) third and fourth bodies coupled to the first body, the third and fourth bodies defining arms of a third arm pair.

17) Apparatus according to claim 15 or claim 16, wherein the first body includes first and second elongate slots, and wherein the third and fourth bodies include spades for insertion into the first and second slots, thereby coupling the third and fourth arms to the first body.

18) Apparatus according to claim 17, wherein the spades include spade slots, and wherein the apparatus includes:

a) a spade connector body for insertion into the spade slots;

b) a screw for engaging the spade connector body and the first body; and,

c) a threaded aperture for receiving the screw such that upon rotation of the screw, the screw urges the first body and spade connector body apart, thereby causing shoulders of the third and fourth bodies to engage the first body. 1 ) Apparatus according to any one of the claims 1 to 18, wherein arms include at least one of engaging pads and ridges for engaging the inner surface of the tube.

20) Apparatus according to any one of the claims 1 to 19, wherein the arms include a profiled surface having shape complimentary to that of the inner surface of the tube.

21) Apparatus according to any one of the claims 1 to 20, wherein the apparatus includes at least one U-shaped body including first and second arms coupled to a central portion, with the arms extending in parallel, substantially perpendicular to the central portion to define a generally U-shaped configuration.

22) Apparatus according claim 21, wherein the U-shaped body is coupled to at least one other body using a bolt.

Description:
TUBE CONNECTING APPARATUS Background of the Invention

The present invention relates to apparatus for connecting to a tube and in particular to a tube connecting apparatus for allowing a tube to be connected to other objects such as other tubes. Description of the Prior Art

The reference in this specification to any prior publication (or information derived from it), or to any matter which is known, is not, and should not be taken as an acknowledgment or admission or any form of suggestion that the prior publication (or information derived from it) or known matter forms part of the common general knowledge in the field of endeavour to which this specification relates.

In a number of applications, it is desirable to provide a means to join two or more hollow rigid tubes structurally at one point. Existing tube joining devices either press into the tubes or clamp around the tubes to form a joining point or structural connection. Internal press-in joining devices do not positively fasten to the connected tubes, resulting in lesser structural integrity than those using a positive fastening or clamping principle. External clamping devices result in good structural joining but due to an external clamp body are typically obtrusive and unsightly.

Summary of the Present Invention

In a first broad form the present invention provides apparatus for connecting to a tube, the apparatus including:

a) an arm pair including spaced apart arms for insertion into the tube;

b) a screw for engaging the arms; and,

c) a threaded aperture having the screw mounted therein so that rotation of the screw urges the arms apart thereby causing the arms to engage an inner surface of the tube. Typically the tube includes a tube aperture, and wherein in use the tube aperture aligns with the screw to allow for rotation of the screw by a tool. Typically arms positively clamp against the inner surface of the tube. Typically one of the arms includes the threaded aperture.

Typically one of the arms includes an aperture, and wherein the apparatus includes an insert with a threaded aperture for mounting in the aperture, the insert with a threaded aperture defining the threaded aperture.

Typically the insert with a threaded aperture includes at least one of a shoulder and a tapered shaft for engaging the at least one arm.

Typically the shoulder defines a depth to which the threaded insert can be inserted into the aperture, the depth being equal to or less than the thickness of the arm. Typically each arm includes a slot and wherein the screw engages the slot to thereby spread the arms and cause the arms to engage an inner surface of the tube.

Typically each arm includes a slot aperture for receiving the screw, the slot aperture forming part of the slot.

Typically the apparatus includes two bodies, each body defining at least one arm. Typically each body is substantially laminar.

Typically each body defines part of a bracket for coupling the apparatus to an object.

Typically the apparatus is for connecting first and second tubes, and wherein the apparatus includes:

a) first and second arm pairs, each arm pair including spaced apart arms for insertion into the first and second tubes, respectively; and,

b) first and second screws coupled to at least one of the arms of each of the first and second pairs of arms for urging the respective arms apart to thereby cause the arms to engage an inner surface of each of the first and second tubes.

Typically the apparatus includes first and second bodies, each body defining a respective arm of one of the first and second pairs. Typically the apparatus is for connecting a plurality of tubes, and wherein the apparatus includes:

a) a plurality of pairs of spaced apart arms for insertion into the plurality of tubes, respectively; and,

b) a plurality of screws coupled to at least one of the arms of each of the plurality of pairs of arms for urging the respective arms apart to thereby cause the arms to engage an inner surface of each of the plurality of tubes.

Typically the apparatus includes:

a) a first body defining respective first arms of first and second arm pairs;

b) a second body defining respective second arms of first and second arm pairs; and, c) third and fourth bodies coupled to the first body, the third and fourth bodies defining arms of a third arm pair.

Typically the first body includes first and second elongate slots, and wherein the third and fourth bodies include spades for insertion into the first and second slots, thereby coupling the third and fourth arms to the first body.

Typically the spades include spade slots, and wherein the apparatus includes:

a) a spade connector body for insertion into the spade slots;

b) a screw for engaging the spade connector body and the first body; and,

c) a threaded aperture for receiving the screw such that upon rotation of the screw, the screw urges the first body and spade connector body apart, thereby causing shoulders of the third and fourth bodies to engage the first body.

Typically arms include at least one of engaging pads and ridges for engaging the inner surface of the tube.

Typically the arms include a profiled surface having shape complimentary to that of the inner surface of the tube.

The apparatus can include at least one U-shaped body including first and second arms coupled to a central portion, with the arms extending in parallel, substantially perpendicular to the central portion to define a generally U-shaped configuration. Typically the U-shaped body is coupled to at least one other body using a bolt. Brief Description of the Drawings

An example of the present invention will now be described with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which: - Figure 1A is a schematic isometric exploded view of a first example of a tube connecting apparatus for joining two tubes;

Figure IB is a schematic isometric view of the apparatus of Figure 1A with the tubes connected;

Figure 1C is a schematic end view of the apparatus of Figure 1 A with the tubes disconnected; Figure ID is a schematic front view of the apparatus of Figure 1A with the tubes disconnected;

Figure IE is a schematic isometric view of the apparatus of Figure 1A with the tubes disconnected;

Figure 2 is a schematic isometric view of a second example of a tube connecting apparatus for j oining two tubes ;

Figure 3A is a schematic plan view of a third example of a tube connecting apparatus for connecting a tube to an object;

Figure 3B is a schematic cross sectional view of the tube connecting apparatus of Figure 3A, along the line A-A;

Figure 4A is a schematic front view of a fourth example of a tube connecting apparatus for joining three tubes;

Figure 4B is a schematic plan view of the apparatus of Figure 4A with the tubes disconnected;

Figure 4C is a schematic end view of the apparatus of Figure 4A with the tubes disconnected; Figure 4D is a schematic isometric view of the apparatus of Figure 4A with the tubes disconnected;

Figure 5 A is a schematic front view of the third body of Figure 4A;

Figure 5B is a schematic front view of the fourth body of Figure 4A;

Figure 5C is a schematic front view of the spade connector body of Figure 4A;

Figure 5D is a schematic front view of the second body of Figure 4A; Figure 5E is a schematic front view of the first body of Figure 4A;

Figure 5F is a schematic plan and side views of the insert of Figure 4A;

Figure 6A is a schematic isometric exploded view of a fifth example of a tube connecting apparatus for joining three tubes;

Figure 6B is a schematic isometric view of the apparatus of Figure 6A with the tubes disconnected;

Figure 6C is a schematic isometric view of the apparatus of Figure 6A with the tubes connected;

Figure 7A is a schematic front view of the first body of Figure 6A;

Figure 7B is a schematic front view of the second body of Figure 6A;

Figure 7C is a schematic front view of the third body of Figure 6A;

Figure 7D is a schematic front view of the fourth body of Figure 6A;

Figure 7E is a schematic front view of the spade connector body of Figure 6A;

Figure 7F is a schematic plan and side views of the insert of Figure 6A;

Figure 8 A is a schematic isometric exploded view of a sixth example of apparatus for use in a tube connecting apparatus;

Figure 8B is a schematic side view of the apparatus of Figure 8 A;

Figure 8C is a schematic front view of the apparatus of Figure 8A;

Figure 8D is a schematic isometric view of the apparatus of Figure 8A;

Figure 8E is a schematic plan view of the apparatus of Figure 8A;

Figure 9A is a schematic front view of the first body of Figure 8A;

Figure 9B is a schematic front view of the third body of Figure 8A;

Figure 9C is a schematic front view of the second body of Figure 8A;

Figure 9D is a schematic front view of the spade connector body of Figure 8A;

Figure 1 OA is a schematic isometric exploded view of a seventh example of apparatus for use in a tube connecting apparatus;

Figure 1 OB is a schematic isometric view of the apparatus of Figure 10A;

Figure 11A is schematic front view of an eighth example of a tube connecting apparatus for joining four tubes;

Figure 1 IB is a schematic plan view of the apparatus of Figure 11A with the tubes disconnected; Figure 11C is a schematic isometric view of the apparatus of Figure 1 1 A with the two of four tubes connected;

Figure 11D is a schematic isometric view of the apparatus of Figure 1 1A with the tubes disconnected;

Figure 12A is a schematic isometric exploded view of a ninth example of a tube connecting apparatus for joining three tubes;

Figure 12B is a schematic isometric view of the first body of Figure 12 A;

Figure 12C is a schematic isometric view of the apparatus of Figure 12A with the tubes connected;

Figure 12D is a schematic end view of the first body of Figure 12A;

Figure 12E is a schematic rear view of the first body of Figure 12 A;

Figure 12F is a schematic side view of the first body of Figure 12 A;

Figure 12G is a schematic isometric rear view of the first body of Figure 12 A;

Figure 13 A is a schematic perspective view of a tenth example view of a tube connecting apparatus for joining two tubes;

Figure 13B is a schematic perspective exploded view of the tube connecting apparatus of

Figure 3 A;

Figure 14A is a schematic perspective view of an eleventh example of a tube connecting apparatus for joining four tubes;

Figure 14B is a schematic perspective exploded view of the tube connecting apparatus of Figure 14A;

Figure 15A is a schematic perspective view of a twelfth example of tube connecting apparatus for joining three tubes;

Figure 15B is a schematic perspective exploded view of the tube connecting apparatus of Figure 15A;

Figure 16A is a schematic perspective view of a thirteenth example of tube connecting apparatus for joining four tubes;

Figure 16B is a schematic perspective exploded view of the tube connecting apparatus of Figure 16A;

Figure 17A is a schematic perspective view of a fourteenth example view of tube connecting apparatus for joining three tubes; Figure 17B is a schematic side view of the apparatus of Figure 17A;

Figure 17C is a schematic end view of part of the apparatus of Figure 17A;

Figure 17D is a schematic plan view of part of the apparatus of Figure 17A;

Figure 17E is a schematic perspective exploded view of the apparatus of Figure 17A;

Figure 18A is a schematic perspective view of a fifteenth example of tube connecting apparatus for joining three tubes;

Figure 18B is a schematic perspective exploded view of the tube connecting apparatus of Figure 18 A;

Figure 19A is a schematic perspective view of a sixteenth example of tube connecting apparatus for joining four tubes; and,

Figure 19B is a schematic perspective exploded view of the tube connecting apparatus of Figure 19A.

Detailed Description of the Preferred Embodiments

An example of apparatus for connecting to a tube will now be described with reference to Figures 1 A to IE.

In this example, the apparatus 1 is used for connecting to first and second tubes 1.1 , 1.2, thereby allowing the tubes 1.1, 1.2 to be joined together. However, the apparatus can be used in different configurations, for example to allow a tube to be connected to other objects, as will be described in more detail below. The apparatus 1 includes first and second arm pairs, each having respective first and second arms 1.3a, 1.4a, 1.3b, 1.4b for insertion into respective ends of the tubes 1.1, 1.2. The apparatus 1 also includes screws 1.5, 1.6, for engaging the arms 1.3a, 1.4a, 1.3b, 1.4b of each arm pair. Each screw 1.5, 1.6 is mounted in a threaded aperture so that rotation of the screw 1.5, 1.6 urges the arms 1.3a, 1.4a, 1.3b, 1.4b apart thereby causing the arms 1.3a, 1.4a, 1.3b, 1.4b to engage an inner surface of the respective tube 1.1, 1.2. In use, this allows the arms 1.3a, 1.4a, 1.3b, 1.4b to positively clamp the tubes 1.1, 1.2 thereby securing the tubes 1.1 , 1.2 to the apparatus 1 , and in turn joining the tubes 1.1, 1.2. Accordingly, it will be appreciated that this provides an easy mechanism for allowing tubes to be connected to each other.

A number of further features of one example arrangement will now be described.

In this example, the apparatus includes two bodies 1.3, 1 ,4, each body defining respective first and second arms 1.3a, 1.3b, 1.4a, 1.4b of the arm pairs. The bodies 1.3, 1.4 are substantially laminar and can be formed from any suitable material such as metal, plastic, composites, or the like, depending on a preferred application. It will be appreciated from that this allows the bodies 1.3, 1.4, to be easily manufactured, for example by punching out the bodies 1.3, 1.4 from a large sheet of material. Furthermore, the bodies could be a single component of varying thickness and profile or an assembly of two or more components, depending on the preferred implementation.

The arms 1.3a, 1.4a, 1.3b, 1.4b are typically arranged to fit snugly within the tubes 1.1, 1.2, thereby avoiding the tubes 1.1, 1.2 moving relative to the apparatus under load. Additionally, the arms 1.3a, 1.4a, 1.3b, 1.4b may have a profiled surface shaped in a complimentary manner to that of the inner surface of the tube, thereby further enhancing engagement between the arms and the respective tubes 1.1 , 1.2.

In one example, each body 1.3, 1.4 has as a characteristic a slightly protruding ridged surface for all or part of the arm length, allowing the arms 1.3a, 1.3b, 1.4a, 1.4b to positively engage the rigid tube inner wall material as the arms 1.3a, 1.3b, 1.4a, 1.4b are spread apart to positively clamp the tube on the inside.

The arms 1.3a, 1.3b, 1.4a, 1.4b may also include engaging pads (not shown) for engaging the inner surface of the tube 1.1, 1.2. The engaging pads can be made from a material having desired properties, such as resilience, or a high coefficient of friction. The use of a resilient material allows the pad to deform, which can help ensure a high contact surface area between the pad and tube 1.1, 1.2. Additionally, the use of a high friction material can help reduce the chance of the tubes 1.1, 1.2 slipping off the arms 1.3a, 1.3b, 1.4a, 1.4b, for example if the screw has not been adequately tightened. Further, the end of each arm 1.3a, 1.3b, 1.4a, 1.4b can be slotted such that when the screw 1.5, 1.6 is acting on each body to spread the arms 1.3a, 1.3b, 1.4a, 1.4b in order to clamp, the slot expands resulting in a positive clamping action perpendicular to the axis of the tube and the axis of the screw. An example of this will be described in more detail below. In one example, the threaded aperture can be an aperture 1.3c, 1.3d made directly in the arms 1.3a, 1.3b. However, in another example, the arms include apertures 1.3c, 1.3d for receiving inserts 1.7, 1.8, each having a respective threaded aperture 1.7a provided therein. In this example, the apertures 1.3c, 1.3d are both provided on the same body 1.3, although this is not essential as will be described in more detail below. The apertures 1.3c, 1.3d and inserts 1.7, 1.8, may be coupled together using any suitable technique, as will be appreciated by persons skilled in the art.

The tubes 1.1, 1.2 typically include tube apertures 1.1a, 1.2a, which in use align with the apertures 1.3c, 1.3d provided in the arms 1.3a, 1.3b. This allows a tool, such as an Allen key to be inserted through the tube apertures 1.1a, 1.2a, 1.3c, 1.3d and thereby engage a key or flat in or on the head of the screws 1.5, 1.6, which in turn allows the screw 1.5, 1.6 to be rotated using the tool. This enables the arms 1.3a, 1.3b, 1.4a, 1.4b to be urged together or apart, depending on the direction of rotation of the screw 1.5, 1.6 thereby allowing the tubes 1.1, 1.2 to be selectively clamped. This allows the tubes 1.1, 1.2 to be removably mounted to the apparatus 1. Accordingly, the above described apparatus 1 connects two pieces of rigid hollow tubes 1.1 , 1.2 and includes a first body 1.3 with two arms 1.3a, 1.3b, of size such that each arm fits snugly into the corresponding tube 1.1, 1.2 to be connected, and with an aperture 1.3c, 1.3d in from each end of the body 1.3; a second body 1.4 with two arms 1.4a, 1.4b of size such that each arm fits snugly into the corresponding tube 1.1, 1.2 to be connected; and a screw 1.5, 1.6 matching a threaded aperture associated with the apertures 1.3c, 1.3d, the screw having a determined length and length of thread along a shaft of the screw such that it will allow the screw 1.5, 1.6 to part the arms 1.3a, 1.4a, 1.3b, 1.4b to a distance equal to or larger than a required distance to positively clamp the inside of the tubes 1.1 , 1.2 to be connected. Each tube 1.1, 1.2 typically has a tube aperture 1.1a, 1.2a through one side wall at a matching distance and alignment to the apertures 1.3c, 1.3d of the first body 1.3 positioned inside the tube 1.1 , 1.2.

In use, the two bodies 1.3, 1.4 are oppositely positioned inside the corresponding tube 1.1 , 1.2 to be attached, such that the apertures 1.3c, 1.3d in the first body 1.3 align with the tube apertures I . la, 1.2a in the tubes 1.1, 1.2. In the event that the apertures 1.3c, 1.3d are threaded, the corresponding screws 1.5, 1.6 can be inserted through the tube apertures 1.1 , 1.2a and screwed into the apertures 1.3c, 1.3d of the first body 1.3 until the end of the screw pushes against the opposing second body 1.4 positioned inside the tubes 1.1, 1.2. The screws 1.5, 1.6 will force the two opposing bodies 1.3, 1.4 apart inside the tubes 1.1, 1.2, until the bodies have positively clamped the attached tube on the inside of the tube.

To allow larger thread contact between the threaded aperture and the screws 1.5, 1.6 and thus increased spreading force transfer between the screws 1.5, 1.6 and the bodies 1.3, 1.4, a shouldered or tapered aperture insert 1.7, 1.8, can be provided for each aperture 1.3c, 1.3d in the first body 1.3. Typically a shank diameter and length of shank 1.7b are such that each insert can be fitted into each aperture 1.3c, 1.3d in the first body 1.3 to a depth limited by a shoulder 1.7c on the insert 1.7, 1.8, or a taper on an insert shank 1.7b, such that the insert shank 1.7b will not protrude past a face of the first body 1.3 opposite the side of insertion of the insert into the body 1.3. The inserts 1.7, 1.8 can be held in position using any suitable technique, such as a weld, solder, glue, interference fit or other mechanical means. Additionally, the inserts may include ridges that engage to prevent rotation of the inserts 1.7, 1.8, within the apertures 1.3c, 1.3d.

In any event, it will be appreciated that inserts increase the localised thickness of the body in the area of each aperture 1.3c, 1.3d in the first body 1.3, thereby maximising engagement between the screw and the threaded aperture, and hence the force that can be applied to the arms using the screw.

The profile of the bodies 1.3, 1.4 can also vary depending on the preferred implementation. Thus, the bodies 1.3, 1.4 could be such that two or more tubes 1.1, 1.2 are joined together at different angles in relation to one another, in the same plane or different planes, or a specialised end bracket or part, forming part of or attaches to, one or both body arms, where such end bracket or part attaches to a single tube.

It will be appreciated that different profiled bodies and arrangements or assemblies can be used in conjunction with one another in order to form a multiple of joining configurations, with one main commonality which is that each attachment point has two arms, insertable into the end of the hollow rigid tube to be attached. One of the arms has a threaded aperture or a threaded aperture insert through which a screw is driven to force the arms apart inside the tube to be connected. This allows the arms to be inserted from the end of the tube thereby positively clamping the hollow tube internally. A second example of tube connecting apparatus will now be described with reference to Figure 2.

In this example, the only difference compared to the example of Figures 1A to IE, is that the first and second bodies 1.3, 1.4 are replaced with alternative first and second bodies 2.3, 2.4, each having a single aperture 2.3c, 2.4c, provided in one of the arms 2.3a, 2.3b, 2.4a, 2.4b. It will be appreciated that this allows the first and second bodies to have an identical form, which can reduce the complexity of manufacture and hence cost.

It will be noted however that in this example, the apertures 1.1a, 1.2a on the tubes are on opposite sides of the resulting arrangement. As this can detract from the visual appeal of the arrangement, it may be preferred to have the apertures on one side, as in the example of Figures 1A to IE. A third example of tube connecting apparatus is shown in Figures 3A and 3B. In this example, the apparatus 3 is used for connecting a tube 3.1 to an object, such as a wall 3.2.

The apparatus 3 includes first and second bodies 3.3, 3.4 defining an arm pair having respective arms 3.3a, 3.4a, for insertion into the tube 3.1. A screw 3.5 is provided for engaging the arms 3.3a, 3.4a, with the screw 3.5 being mounted in a threaded aperture so that rotation of the screw 3.5 urges the arms 3.3a, 3.4a apart thereby causing the arms 3.3a, 3.4a, to engage an inner surface of the tube 3.1. In use, this allows the arms 3.3a, 3.4a to positively clamp the tube 3.1 thereby securing the tube 3.1 to the apparatus 3. Again the threaded aperture can be an aperture on one of the arms 3.3a, 3.4a, or can be provided using an insert similar to the inserts 1.7, 1.8 described above. It will be appreciated that this therefore operates in a manner similar to the tube connecting apparatus described above.

However, in this example, the bodies 3.3, 3.4 can include second arms 3.3b, 3.4b, which can be used for connecting the apparatus 3 to other objects, such as the wall 3.2. In this example, this is achieved by mounting screws or bolts 3.6a, 3.6b, extending through mounting apertures in the second arms 3.3b, 3.4b, and into the wall 3.2. However, any suitable bracket arrangement could be used.

Accordingly, it will be appreciated that this provides an easy mechanism for allowing tubes to be connected to other objects. A third example tube connecting apparatus will now be described with reference to Figures 4A to 4D, which depict different elevations, partly assembled examples of tube connecting apparatus to allow the joining of three rigid tubes at right angles in relation to one another. Components are described in further detail in Figures 5 A to 5 F.

In this example, the apparatus 4 includes first and second bodies 4.3, 4.4, with two right angle arms 4.3a, 4.3b, 4.4a, 4.4b in relation to one another of size such that each arm 4.3a, 4.3b, 4.4a, 4.4b fits snugly into the corresponding tube 4.1, 4.2 to be connected.

An aperture 4.3c, 4.3d is provided in from each end of the body 4.3, with an insert 4.9, 4.10 being provided therein. The insert 4.9, 4.10 includes a threaded aperture for receiving a respective screw 4.12, 4.13, so that as the screw 4.12, 4.13 is screwed into the insert 4.9, 4.10, the arms 4.3a, 4.4a, 4.3b, 4.4b are urged apart to a distance equal to or larger than a required distance to positively clamp inside the tubes 4.1, 4.2.

It will be appreciated that this part of the apparatus 4 is substantially similar to the apparatus 1 of Figures 1 A to IE, and the operation to this extent will not therefore be described in any further detail. In this example, however, third and fourth bodies 4.7, 4.8 are provided, coupled to the first body 4.3 using a connector body 4.15. The third and fourth bodies 4.7, 4.8 and the connector body 4.15 are shown in more detail in Figures 5A to 5C, respectively. The third body includes an arm 4.7a and a spade 4.7b provided at opposing ends of the body. A first protruding ridge 4.7c is provided on each side of the arm 4.7a, with a second protruding ridge 4.7d being provided adjacent a shoulder 4.7e at a base of the spade 4.7b, each side of the arm. A slot 4.7f extends part way along the arm, with a slot spread aperture 4.7g being provided part way along the slot. An elongated spade aperture 4.7h is provided in the spade.

Similarly, the fourth body includes an arm 4.8a and a spade 4.8b provided at opposing ends of the body. A first protruding ridge 4.8c is provided on each side of the arm 4.8a, with a second protruding ridge 4.8d being provided adjacent a shoulder 4.8e at a base of the spade 4.8b, each side of the arm. A slot 4.8f extends part way along the arm, with a slot spread aperture 4.8g being provided part way along the slot. An elongated spade aperture 4.8h is provided in the spade.

An example of the spade connector body 5.15 is shown in Figure 5C. As shown, this includes two substantially parallel spade locating slots 5.15a, 515b, extending along one side of the spade connector body 5.15.

Examples of the second and first bodies 4.4, 4.3 are shown in more detail in Figures 5D and 5E respectively. In the example of Figure 5D, the second body 4.4 includes a first arm 4.4a, a ridge 4.4c on each side of the arm 4.4a, and a second ridge 4.4d at the base of the arm 4.4a. A slot 4.4e extends part way along the arm, with a slot spread aperture 4.4f being provided part way along the slot. A threaded aperture 4.4g is provided in a corner section 4.4h of the body 4.4. The first body 4.3 includes a ridge 4.3e on each side of the arm 4.3a, and a second ridge 4.3d at the base of the arm 4.3a, each side of the arm. A slot 4.3f extends part way along the arm, with a slot spread aperture 4.3c being provided part way along the slot. A threaded aperture 4.3g is provided in a corner section 4.3h of the body 4.3, together with two elongate apertures 4.3i, 4.3j extending in a direction parallel to the 4.3a.

An example of an insert 4.10 having a threaded aperture is shown in Figure 5F. In this example, the insert includes a threaded aperture a, a shank b and a shoulder c. It will be appreciated that the apparatus of Figures 4A to 4D can be made with the components shown in Figures 5 A to 5E.

In this regard, the third and fourth bodies 4.7, 4.8 are inserted into the apertures 4.3i, 4.3j of the first body 4.3, such that the spades 4.7b, 4.8b, protrude through the apertures 4.3i, 4.3j, with the shoulders 4.7e, 4.8e, in close proximity to, or abutting up against the first body 4.3. The spade connector body 5.15, is inserted into and through the elongated apertures 4.7h, 4.8h, of the third and fourth bodies 4.7, 4.8, such that the ends of the spade connector body 5.15, protrude through the apertures 4.7h, 4.8h with locating slots 5.15a, 5.15b engaging the third and fourth bodies 4.7, 4.8. The screw 4.6 screws into the threaded aperture 4.3g, in the first body, from a side opposite to the side facing the spade connector body 5.15, such that the screw protrudes through the threaded aperture 4.3g until such point as the screw pushes against the spade connector body 5.15, thereby fastening the third and fourth bodies 4.7, 4.8 to the first body 4.3. It will be appreciated however that alternative techniques for connecting the third and fourth bodies may be used, as will be described in more detail below.

Inserts 4.9, 4.10, 4.11 are inserted into the respective apertures 4.3d, 4.3c, 4.8g, of the first and fourth bodies 4.3, 4.8, such that the respective insert shank b, of 4.9, 4.10, 4.1 1 locates into the apertures from such direction that the inserts are located between the first and second bodies 4.3, 4.4 and the third and fourth bodies 4.7, 4.8, respectively. The first and second bodies 4.3, 4.4 are inserted into the tubes 4.1 , 4.2, so that the tube apertures 4.1a, 4.2a, align with the inserts 4.9, 4.10, whilst the third and fourth bodies 4.7, 4.8 are inserted into the tube 4.5, so that the tube aperture 4.5a aligns with the insert 4.11.

By driving screws 4.12, 4.13, 4.14, through the tube apertures 4.1a, 4.2a, 4.5a, and through the inserts 4.9, 4.10, 4.11, each screw 4.12, 4.13, 4.14 pushes up against each respective opposite body inside the tubes and locates at the corresponding slot spread aperture, 4.4f, 4.7g. Simultaneously the screw acts on the insert to expand each slot 4.3f, 4.8f on the first and fourth bodies 4.3, 4.8. This results in the ridges 4.3e, 4.4c, 4.7c, 4.8c, positively clamping the inside of each of the tubes 4.1, 4.2, 4.5 in a direction parallel to the axis of each screw, as well as perpendicular to each screw axis. Accordingly, the above described example shows a typical configuration that allows three tubes to be joined, each at a right angle to one another. In one example, the apparatus includes first and second bodies with two right angle arms in relation to one another of size such that each arms fits snugly into the corresponding tube to be connected, with the first body including either a threaded aperture or insert containing a threaded aperture, as well as two elongated apertures situated apart from one another at a corner end of the body. Third and fourth bodies of size and thickness such that whole or part of a spade on said third and fourth bodies fits into and protrudes through one of the elongated apertures in the corner of the first body allowing the third and fourth bodies to be coupled to the first body using a spade connector body and a screw. The third body also typically includes a threaded aperture, or insert containing a threaded aperture. A screw matching each threaded aperture of determined length and length of thread along a shaft of the screw, such that it will allow the screw to part the arms situated inside each tube, inserted from the tube end, to a distance equal to or larger than a required distance to positively clamp inside the tube to be connected. Again, each tube to be connected has an aperture through one side wall, at a matching distance and alignment to the threaded aperture or insert so that the tube aperture will align with the threaded aperture or insert.

The first, second, third and fourth bodies form three insertable arm pairs, each perpendicular to one another and insertable into the three individual tubes at each individual tube end of the tubes. This allows the tubes to be joined, forming a three way right angled internal tube connecting apparatus.

Figures 6A, 6B and 6C depict different elevations, partly and fully assembled, of a further example tube connecting apparatus for joining three rigid tubes at right angles in relation to one another, as a variation on the apparatus 4 described above. In this example, the apparatus 6 includes three rigid tubes 6.1, 6.2, 6.3, a first, second, third and fourth bodies 6.4, 6.5, 6.6, 6.7, a spade connector body 6.8, inserts 6.9, 6.10, 6.11, 6.12, and screws 6.13, 6.14, 6.15, 6.16.

The component parts are shown in more detail in Figure 7A to 7F. In the example of Figure 7A, the first body 6.4 includes a corner 6.4a, having arms 6.4b extending perpendicularly therefrom. Each arm includes an aperture 6.4c, whilst an aperture 6.4d and two parallel elongate apertures 6.4e, 6.4f are provided on the corner 6.4a.

In the example of Figure 7B, the second body 6.5 includes a corner 6.5a, having arms 6.5b extending perpendicularly therefrom, and an aperture 6.5c.

The third body 6.6, shown in Figure 7C includes a body 6.6b having an elongate aperture 6.6c therein and a spaded arm 6.6a having an aperture 6.6d therein. A shoulder 6.6e is provided between the arm 6.6a and the body 6.6b.

The fourth body 6.7, shown in Figure 7D includes a body 6.7b, having an elongate aperture 6.7c therein and a spaded arm 6.7a. A shoulder 6.7e is provided between the arm 6.7a and the body 6.7b.

The spade connector body 6.8 shown in Figure 7E includes a body 6.8a, having ends 6.8b along opposing edges and an aperture 6.8c. The inserts, such as the insert 6.9 shown in Figure 7F, includes a threaded aperture a, an insert shank b, and an insert shoulder c. It will be appreciated that the apparatus of Figures 6A to 6C can be made with the components shown in Figures 7A to 7F.

In this regard, the third and fourth bodies 6.6, 6.7 are inserted into the elongate apertures 6.4e, 6.4f of the first body 6.4, to a point such that the shoulders 6.6e, 6.7e of the third and fourth bodies 6.6, 6.7 are in close proximity to, or up against the first body 6.4. The spade connector body 6.8 is inserted into and through the elongated spade apertures 6.6c, 6.7c of the third and fourth bodies 6.6, 6.7, such that the ends 6.8b extend through and engage the apertures 6.6c, 6.7c. An insert 6.9 is inserted into the aperture 6.8c, of the spade connector body 6.8, such that the insert shank, b, locates into the aperture 6.8c.

The screw 6.13 is inserted through the aperture 6.4d, into the insert 6.9, engaging the thread of the threaded aperture of the insert 6.9 and thereby fastening the spade connector body, and hence the third and fourth bodies 6.6, 6.7 to the first body 6.4. Inserts 6.10, 6.11, 6.12 are inserted into the apertures 6.4c, 6.6d, of the first and third bodies 6.4, 6.6, such that the respective insert shanks b, of 6.10, 6.1 1 , 6.12 locates into the apertures 6.4c, 6.6d inside the tubes 6.1, 6.2, 6.3.

Each tube 6.1, 6.2, 6.3, is positioned in relation to the apparatus 5 such that the arms of the first and second body 6.4, 6.5 fit inside the tubes 6.1, 6.3, whist the arms of the third and fourth bodies 6.6, 6.7 fit inside the third tube 6.2 with a respective tube aperture in the side of each respective tube wall aligning with the threaded apertures a, of each insert 6.10, 6.11, 6.12. Screws 6.14, 6.15, 6.16 can then be inserted through the apertures in the tubes into and through the threaded apertures a, of each insert 6.10, 6.1 1, 6.12. When the individual screw 6.14, 6.15, 6.16 pushes up against the second and fourth bodies 6.5, 6.7, the screws urge the arms of the first, second, third and fourth bodies apart, thereby clamping the tubes 6.1, 6.2, 6.3.

Figures 8A to 8E show a sixth example of apparatus for use in a tube connecting apparatus. The apparatus is similar to the assembly of the first, third and fourth bodies described above, and can therefore be used in a similar manner.

The components used to construct the apparatus are shown in Figures 9A to 9D. In this example, the first body 8.1 , is coupled to second and third bodies 8.2, 8.3, which extend through apertures in the first body 8.1. The second and third bodies are held in position by the spade connector body 8.4, an insert 8.5 and a screw 8.6. This is constructed in a manner similar to that described above, and will not therefore be described in any further detail.

In this example however, a mounting 8. If is provided on the first body 8.1 to allow an attachment, such as a cover to close off the space between bodies, to be affixed.

Figures 10A and 10B depict a seventh example apparatus, which is again similar to the assembly of the first, third and fourth bodies of the fifth example. However, in this example, a first body 10.1 is coupled to a dual spade connector body 10.2 using a bolt 10.3 and a nut 10.4, thereby simplifying the construction procedure.

Throughout the above examples, the spade connector bodies could be attached to the other bodies by other mechanisms, such as welding or the like. Thus, in the current example in which the dual spade connector body 10.2 is attached to the first body 10.1 by insertion through appropriate apertures as shown, the dual spade connector body 10.2 could alternatively be welded against the first body. Such welding could be performed by inserting the spade connector body 10.2 through the apertures, and then welding instead of bolting the spade connector body in place. Alternatively, however, the flat end opposite the flat end 10.2a of the dual spade connector body 10.2 could alternatively be welded directly against the first body 10.1.

It will be appreciated that similar techniques could also be used with the separate arms, such as the third and fourth bodies 4.7, 4.8 shown in Figures 4A to 4D, allowing these to be welded directly to the first body 4.3, of that example. Thus, the spaded arms can be part of one body or be separate bodies, which are attached to or through a first body by means of a bolt and nut, screw or weld.

Figures 11A to 11D depicts an eighth example tube connecting apparatus with component configuration to allow four rigid hollow tubes to be joined. This example includes a pair of assemblies similar to those outlined above in the sixth and seventh examples, used in a back to back arrangement. In this example, second, third and fourth bodies 11.1 , 11.2, 1 1.3 are connected using a spade connector body 11.4. The spade connector body 11.4 is held in position using a screw 11.5. Otherwise construction is substantially as described above and will not therefore be described in further detail. Figures 12A to 12G depict a ninth example tube connecting apparatus. In this example, the arrangement is similar to that described above with respect to Figures 4A to 4D, albeit with the arms shaped and profiled, as shown at 12. Id such as to fit closely into and positively clamp one or more rigid hollow tubes of circular or oval profile 12.2.

In this example, the arms of the body 12.1b include a ridged surface and or pad 12.1c, to assist with engaging the tubes, and thereby preventing rotation of the tubes, or the tube from slipping on the tube connecting apparatus.

Figures 13A and 13B depict a tenth example of tube connecting apparatus. In this example, the tube connecting apparatus includes first and second bodies 13.1 , 13.2. Each of the bodies 13.1 , 13.2 is generally similar and accordingly features of the first body 13.1 only will be described for ease of reference. In this regard, the body 13.1 includes first and second arms 13.1a, 13.1b each including a respective aperture 13.1c, 13.1c. The first and second arms 13.1a, 13.1b are mounted on a common support member 13.1e, with the first and second arms 13.1a, 13.1b extending in a common direction substantially perpendicularly from opposing edges of the support member 13. le. The arms 13.1a, 13.1b extend from a central portion of the support member 13.1e to opposing ends of the support member 13.1e, as shown.

In addition, the body 13.1 includes flanges 13. If and 13. lg which act to support the arms 13.1 a, 13.1 b relative to the support member 13.1 e . The arms 13.1a, 13.1b include a diagonal- shaped end towards the central portion, with a semi-circular 13. lh, so that when the first and second bodies 13.1, 13.2 are aligned as shown in Figure 13 A, an aperture 13. Oh is defined.

In use, a stopper insert 13.4, 13.7 is positioned in the aperture 13. Id and the corresponding aperture of the second body 13.2 (not shown due to perspective). Threaded inserts 13.5, 13.8 are inserted in the apertures 13.1c, 13.2c, with the inserts being adapted to receive respective screws 13.6, 13.9. Each pair of arms 13.1a, 13.2b; 13.2a, 13.1b from the first and second bodies 13.1, 13.2 are inserted into tube ends in a manner similar to that previously described, with the screws 13.6, 13.9 being used to urge the pairs of arms 13.1a, 13.2b; 13.2a, 13.1b apart, thereby allowing tubes to be engaged as described with respect to previous examples. It will therefore be appreciated that the arrangement of Figures 13A and 13B allows the two tubes to be aligned end to end and coupled together using the tube connecting apparatus.

An eleventh example of tube connecting apparatus will now be described with reference to Figures 14A and 14B. In this example, the tube connecting apparatus includes four bodies 14.1, 14.2, 14.3, 14.4. Each body is generally similar in configuration and the features of the first body 14.1 only will therefore be described for ease of reference.

In this example, the first body 14.1 includes first and second arms 14.1a, 14.1b each having a respective aperture 14.1c, 14. Id. The arms 14.1a, 14.1b are mounted on support members 14. le, 14. If with the arms 14.1a, 14.1b extending perpendicularly from a respective edge of the support members 14. le, 14.1 f, with support being provided by support flanges 14. lg, 14. lh. In this example, the support members 14. le, 14. If are connected perpendicularly at an end of the support members, so that the arms 14.1a, 14.1b lie in a plane and are connected at a common midpoint. The common midpoint includes a shaped diagonal portion 14. li including a semicircular aperture 14.1 j .

In use, the four bodies 14.1, 14.2, 14.3, 14.4 can be interconnected in a cross-configuration. To achieve this, stopper inserts 14.15, 14.16, 14.17, 14.18 are inserted into the apertures of the bodies 14.12, 14.14 as shown, with threaded inserts and screws being used to urge the arms of the bodies 14.1, 14.2, 14.3, 14.4 apart in a manner to that previously described, thereby allowing tubes to be clamped from the inside. Accordingly, it will be appreciated that this allows four tubes to be connected at a common midpoint.

A twelfth example of tube connecting apparatus will now be described with reference to Figures 15A and 15B. In this example, the apparatus includes a single body of the form shown in Figures 13A and 13B, as shown at 13.1, and second and third bodies of the form shown in Figure 14, as shown at 14.2 and 14.3. As these bodies are as described in previous examples, the configuration and features of each body will not be described in further detail. In this arrangement, three stopper inserts 15.4, 15.5, 15.6 can be used, together with associated threaded apertures and screws (not shown for clarity) allowing the three bodies

13.1, 14.2, 14.3 and hence tubes to be connected in a T-configuration as shown in Figure 15 A.

A thirteenth example of tube connecting apparatus will now be described with reference to Figures 16A and 16B. In this example, the apparatus includes first and second bodies 16.1 ,

16.2. Again, as the bodies are similar, features of the first body 16.1 only will be described for ease of reference. In this example, the first body includes four arms 16.1a, 16.1b, 16.1c, 16. Id, with each arm including a respective aperture 16. le, 16. If, 16. lg, 16. lh. The arms 16.1a, 16.1b, 16.1c, 16. Id are coupled to a central body portion 16.1i including an aperture 16.1j. The arms 16.1a, 16.1b, 16.1c, 16.1d also include strengthening edge flanges 16.11, 16.1m, 16. In (16.1k not being shown for clarity) extending along one edge of the arm. In the current example, the second body 16.2 is of generally similar configuration but does not include apertures. It will be appreciated however, that alternatively apertures could be provided and blocked with a stopper insert as used in the examples of Figures 13 to 15.

In any event, in this example, threaded inserts 16.3, 16.4, 16.5, 16.6, 16.7 can be provided in each of the apertures 16. le, 16.1f, 16.1g, 16.1H, as shown at 16.3, 16.4, 16.5, 16.6, 16.7. This allows screws (not shown) to be used to urge apart each of the pairs of arms of the first and second bodies 16.1, 16.2, as well as the central portions. Accordingly, this allows four tubes to be connected in a cross configuration.

Figures 17A to 17E show a fourteenth example of tube connecting apparatus. In this example, the tube connecting apparatus 17 includes first, second and third bodies 17.1, 17.2, 17.3. The first body 17.1, includes two arms 17.1a, 17.1b aligned in a plane and extending in substantially orthogonal directions in a generally L-shaped configuration. Each of the arms 17.1a, 17.1b includes a respective aperture 17.1c, 17. Id, used for urging the arms 17.1a, 17.1b away from arms of the second body 17.2. Additionally, the arms 17.1a, 17.1b include side portions 17. le, 17. If, 17. lg, 17. lh extending perpendicularly from, and in a common direction from, the arms 17.1a, 17.1b.

The second body 17.2 includes first and second arms 17.2a, 17.2b, again arranged in a generally L-shaped configuration. Arms 17.2a, 17.2b further include side portions 17.2e, 17.2f, 17.2g, 17.2h. As shown, the width of the arms 17.2a, 17.2b of the second body 17.2 are smaller than the width of the arms 17.1a, 17.1b of the first body 17.1, so that the side portions 17.2e, 17.2f, 17.2g, 17.2h fit within the side portions of the first body 17.1. The second body 17.2 further includes an aperture 17.2i, allowing the third body 17.3 to be coupled thereto, as will be described in more detail below.

The third body 17.3 includes first and second arms 17.3a, 17.3b coupled to a central portion 17.3c, with the arms extending in parallel, substantially perpendicular to the central portion 17.3c to define a generally U-shaped configuration. The arm 17.3a includes an aperture 17.3d for receiving a screw, whilst the central portion 17.3c includes an aperture 17.3e for receiving a bolt. In use, the first and second bodies are positioned one inside the other to define a generally L- shaped arrangement. The generally L-shaped body then is connected to the third body 17.3 via a bolt 17.8 and a corresponding nut 17.7. Arms of the bodies 17.1, 17.2, 17.3 are then inserted into respective tubes, and then urged apart by respective screws 17.4, 17.5, 17.6. In use, this allows three tubes to be interconnected in substantially orthogonal directions. This can either be through the use of threaded apertures 17. Id, 17.1c or through the use of threaded inserts, as shown for example by the threaded insert 17.9 inserted into the aperture 17.3d.

A fifteenth example of tube connecting apparatus will now be described with reference to Figures 18A and 18B. In this example, first and second bodies 18.1 , 18.2 are provided. The first body 18.1 is a generally laminar body including first and second arms 18.1a, 18.2b provided in a plane and arranged in a generally L-shaped configuration. In this example, the second body 18.2 includes first and second arms 18.2a, 18.2b coupled via a central portion 18.2c to define a generally U-shaped body, similar to the body 17.3 described above. The first arm and central portion include respective apertures 18.2d and 18.2e, as shown.

In this example, the first body includes apertures 18.1c, 18. Id provided on the arms, and it will be appreciated that the first body 18.1 is therefore similar to the body 4.4 in the examples of Figures 4 and 5. It will therefore be appreciated that this component can be used in these examples. The first body 18.1 also includes an aperture 18.1e, allowing a bolt 18.3 to be inserted through the apertures 18.1e 18.2e, and held in place using a corresponding nut 18.4, thereby allowing the first and second bodies 18.1, 18.2 to be interconnected. A rivet or other stopper 18.5 may be inserted through additional apertures 18.2f, 18. If to prevent relative rotation of the first and second bodies 18.1, 18.2. It will be appreciated that the second body 18.2 can be used to allow a tube to be connected orthogonally to tubes supported by the arms 18.1a, 18.1b.

A sixteenth example of tube connecting apparatus will now be described with reference to Figures 19A and 19B. In this example, the apparatus includes first, second and third bodies 19.1, 19.2, 19.3. In this example, the first and second bodies are defined in a generally T- shaped configuration with first, second and third arms 19.1a, 19.1b, 19.1c, 19.2a, 19.2b, 19.2c. The second body includes apertures 19.2d, 19.2e, 19.2f provided in the arms 19.2a, 19.2b, 19.2c and additional apertures 19.2g, 19.2h for receiving screws 19.4, 19.5 thereby connecting the third body 19.3 to the second body 19.2 The third body 19.3 includes arms 19.3a, 19.3b extending from a central portion (not labelled for clarity) to define a generally U-shaped arrangement, with the arms 19.3a, 19.3b extend perpendicularly from the second body 19.2.

Additional screws 19.6, 19.7, 19.8 are used to urge the arms of the first and second bodies apart, whilst a screw 19.9 is used to urge apart the arms 19.3a, 19.3b thereby allowing a tube 19.3 to be connected thereto. This allows four tubes thereby allowing tubes 19.10, 19.11, 19.12, 19.13 to be connected thereto to be connected as shown in Figure 19A.

It will be appreciated from the above that the tube connecting apparatus provide a simple and yet effective technique for connecting tubes to each other, or tubes to other objects.

By providing an internal positively clamping effect through the use of arms that can be urged apart, this ensures the clamping mechanism is substantially hidden within the tubes themselves, thereby providing a pleasing visual appearance as well as a means of joining tubes to one another or to other objects with minimal areas protruding past the perimeter of the tube itself, which could otherwise catch on ropes or objects or injure persons dealing with such assembled joint. Despite this, the clamping force applied can be significant allowing a strong connection to be provided. Selection of an appropriate arm profile allows the tube connecting apparatus to be used with tubes having a range of different cross sectional shapes, making it suitable for a wide variety of applications. In addition, the apparatus can be manufactured easily, for example from substantially laminar metal pieces, thereby allowing the connecting apparatus to be produced cheaply and reliably. The above described benefits allow the tube connecting apparatus to be used in a wide range of different applications, such as to provide brackets for furniture, scaffolding connections, or the like. Persons skilled in the art will appreciate that numerous variations and modifications will become apparent. All such variations and modifications which become apparent to persons skilled in the art, should be considered to fall within the spirit and scope that the invention broadly appearing before described.