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Title:
COUPLING WITH INTERENGAGEABLE PROFILES FOR COUPLING A BEAM TO A POST
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2007/034192
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A kit of parts for use in timber-framed constructions, comprises a beam (14) in use having attached to an axial end thereof a first coupling part (30), and a post (12) in use having attached to an axial end thereof a second coupling part (50) . The first and second coupling parts (30) (50) have interengageable profiles (32) (54) disposed to couple the first coupling part (30) to one lateral side of the second coupling part (50) for securing the' beam (14) at an angle (e.g. 90°) to the post (12) . One profile comprises a tongue (34) and another profile comprises a groove (56) in which the tongue is a sliding fit. The tongue and groove (34) (56) have corresponding cross- sections, with the tongue having a flared cross-section whose width increases from its root (38) to its free-end (40) .

Inventors:
ABBOTT-WILCOX PHILIPPE ANDRE (CH)
Application Number:
PCT/GB2006/003515
Publication Date:
March 29, 2007
Filing Date:
September 21, 2006
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
TIMBERFIX LTD (CH)
ABBOTT-WILCOX PHILIPPE ANDRE (CH)
International Classes:
E04B1/26; E04B1/19
Domestic Patent References:
WO2004035952A12004-04-29
Foreign References:
GB191502257A1916-02-17
GB779411A1957-07-17
FR2386714A11978-11-03
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
EVENS, Paul, Jonathan (24 East Street St. Ives, Cambridgeshire PE27 5PD, GB)
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Claims:

CLAIMS

1. Apparatus for coupling a beam to a post, comprising: a first coupling part for attachment to an axial end of a beam; and a second coupling part for attachment to an axial end of a post; the first and second coupling parts have interengageable profiles disposed to couple the first coupling part to one lateral side of the second coupling part for securing beam and post axes at an angle, with one profile comprising a tongue and another profile comprising a groove in which the tongue is a sliding fit, wherein the tongue and groove have corresponding cross sections, with the tongue having a flared cross section whose width increases from its root to its free end.

2. Apparatus according to claim 1, in which each of the profiles has both a tongue and a groove, with each tongue having a flared cross section which is configured to be a sliding fit in its respective groove of corresponding cross section when the profiles are interengaged.

3. Apparatus according to claim 1 or claim 2, in which the or each groove is a snug fit in its respective groove.

4. Apparatus according to any one of claims 1 to 3 , in which the or each groove is elongate.

5. Apparatus according to claim 4, in which one lateral end of the groove is blocked to prevent a respective tongue sliding therebeyond when the profiles are interengaged.

6. Apparatus according to claim 4, in which the or each groove extends from one side of its coupling part to an

opposing side, with both lateral ends of the or each groove being open.

7. Apparatus according to any one of the preceding claims, in which the first and second coupling parts have a cross section which is substantially constant along the length of their respective interengageable profile.

8. Apparatus according to any one of the preceding claims, in which the first coupling part has a planar surface for fitting flush against an axial end of a beam. 9. Apparatus according to any one of the preceding claims, in which the first coupling part has predefined locations (e.g. apertures or blind bores) for receiving nails or screws when used to secure the first coupling part to a beam. 10. Apparatus according to claim 9, in which the predefined locations are aligned with a tongue of the interengageable profile of the first coupling part.

11. Apparatus according to claim 9 or claim 10, in which the predefined locations of the first coupling part comprise blind bores for receiving nails or screws, whereby the first coupling part is useable as a blank to conceal at least one profile of the second coupling part when not used for securing a beam thereto.

12. Apparatus according to any preceding claim, in which the second coupling part comprises a body having multiple sides, one of which defines the interengageable profile of the second coupling part.

13. Apparatus according to claim 12, in which at least

one other side of the body defines a profile for engaging with the interengageable profile of the first coupling part .

14. Apparatus according to claim 12 or claim 13, in which the body has a flange extending between an adjacent pair of sides which each define a profile for engaging the profile of the first coupling part.

15. Apparatus according to any one of claims 12 to 14, in which the body is substantially hollow except for a web for cross bracing the body.

16. Apparatus according to claim 15, in which the web defines a bore for receiving a pin to couple the second coupling part to an axial end of a post.

17. Apparatus according to any one of claims 12 to 16, in which the body is configured to support an anchorage member for securing a further post on top of the second coupling post once attached to an axial end of a post therebeneath.

18. Apparatus according to claim 17, in which the anchorage member is elongate, one end of which is configured to engage a corresponding bore in the body or part therein.

19. Apparatus according to any one of claims 12 to 18, further comprising a capping plate for capping the body of the second coupling part.

20. Apparatus according to claim 19, when appendent to claim 18, in which the capping plate has an aperture through which the elongate anchorage member is able to

extend when securing a further post on top of the second coupling part.

21. Apparatus according to claim 18 or claim 19, in which the capping plate has an underside profile which is a snug fit over a corresponding profile formed at least in part by an upper end of the second coupling part.

22. Apparatus according to claim 21, in which the or each first coupling part reinforces the corresponding profile when fully coupled to the second coupling part. 23. Apparatus according to claim 21 or 22, in which the corresponding profile defines a region of reduced cross section around which the capping plate fits without interfering with beam coupled to a post . 24. A kit of parts for use in timber-framed constructions, comprising a beam in use having attached to an axial end thereof a first coupling part; a post in use having attached to an axial end thereof a second coupling part, the first and second coupling parts having interengageable profiles disposed to couple the first coupling part to one lateral side of the second coupling part for securing the beam at an angle to the post, with one profile comprising a tongue and another profile comprising a groove in which the tongue is a sliding fit, wherein the tongue and groove have corresponding cross- sections, with the tongue having a flared cross-section whose width increases from its root to its free-end.

Description:

COUPLING WITH INTERENGAGEABLE PROFILES FOR COUPLING A BEAM TO A POST

DESCRIPTION

TECHNICAL FIELD

The present invention relates to a system for use in framework constructions comprising a beam and a post, particularly but not exclusively timber-framed buildings.

BACKGROUND ART There is considerable interest in traditional-looking timber-framed structures such as pergolas and decking and timber-framed buildings, for use as garages, or more complex garden outbuildings, or even as extensions to existing houses. In recent time, a modular system of construction has been adopted for buildings of this kind in order to introduce cost savings associated with a manufactured item as opposed to a bespoke one . In the modular system the framework components are standardized to

a degree so that they may be put together in different permutations to provide a variety of different building designs. However, a large number of different components are seemingly required to complete even one building, and alternative components need to be provided if a full range of different types of buildings are to be offered.

The present applicant has appreciated that existing modular timber-framed buildings may be simplified to great advantage. In WO 03/069083, the present applicant proposed a modular kit of components for constructing a building, comprising a first coupling part embedded in one end of a beam, and a second coupling part embedded in an axial end of a post, the coupling parts having interconnecting end profiles for rigidly coupling the beam to the post.

In WO 2005/078202, the present applicant proposed an improved modular kit of components for rigidly coupling a beam to a post, which in one form substantially eliminates the need for complex machining of the beam and post . The improved modular kit of components is particularly suitable for DIY applications.

In DE-A-198 59574, a construction system is described which includes a first coupling part for attachment to an axial end of a beam and a second coupling part for attachment to an axial end of a post. The coupling parts have interengageable profiles which slot together, with portions of one profile trapped behind portions of the other. However, in order to achieve a snug fit between

beam and post, the beam coupling part is mounted in a recess formed in the axial end of the beam which adds to fabrication time and costs.

Other documents such as GB 779411 and GB 2106611 disclose arrangements for connecting structural members, but are wholly unsuitable for joining beams to posts, for example in timber-framed constructions. Also, other documents such as GB 2043823 and GB 2147969 disclose joints for furniture applications, but again these are wholly unsuitable for joining beams to posts for building construction and the like.

Whilst the systems proposed in WO 03/069083 and WO 2005/078202 have many advantages over previous construction systems, the present applicant has devised an improved version of the connection system which has the potential to be cost effective without compromising structural integrity. The improved connection system is suitable for a wide variety of framework constructions, including home extensions, outbuildings, decking, fencing, jetties and even scaffolding.

DISCLOSURE OF INVENTION

In accordance with a first aspect of the present invention there is provided apparatus for coupling a beam to a post, comprising: a first coupling part for attachment to an axial end of a beam; and a second coupling part for attachment to an axial end of a post; the first and second coupling parts have interengageable profiles, with one profile comprising a tongue and another

profile comprising a groove in which the tongue is a sliding fit, wherein the tongue and groove have corresponding cross sections, with the tongue having a flared cross section whose width increases from its root to its free end.

The profiles allow the coupling parts to be coupled together by sliding (in a first direction) the tongue into and along the groove from a lateral, open end thereof. Once the profiles are interengaged, the flared or "dove- tail" cross section of the tongue and corresponding shape of the groove are able to interact to resist tensile forces (e.g. up to 40 kN) may be encountered in use and which might otherwise pull the coupling parts away from each other in a direction inclined or even perpendicular to the first direction. The interengageable profiles may be disposed to couple the first coupling part to one lateral side of the second coupling part for securing beam and post axes at an angle up to and including 90°.

Each of the profiles may have both a tongue and a groove, with each tongue having a flared cross section which is configured to be a sliding fit in its respective groove of corresponding cross section when the profiles are interengaged. For example, one profile may have at least two such tongues with a groove therebetween. The groove may be contiguous with the tongues on either side. Such a configuration may produce a more secure coupling between the coupling parts, with contact therebetween spread across one surface of each part rather than

concentrated in one point or line. For example, the profile of the first coupling part may extend substantially across the full height and width of the first coupling part. Likewise, the profile of the second coupling part may extend substantially across one lateral side of the second coupling part.

The or each tongue may be a snug fit in its respective groove. The or each groove may be elongate, and may be configured to be aligned vertically in use. In one form, one lateral end of the groove may be blocked to prevent a respective tongue sliding therebeyond when the profiles are interengaged. Alternatively, the or each groove may extend from one side of its coupling part to an opposing side, with both lateral ends of the or each groove being open. If so, the post itself may be used to prevent a tongue from sliding straight through its respective groove. The first and second coupling parts may each have a cross section which is substantially constant along the length of their respective interengageable profile. As such, the first and second coupling parts may be formed by an extrusion process {e.g. using aluminium or even plastics material) . In this way, the interengageable profiles may extend the full length of their respective coupling parts.

The first coupling part may have a planar surface for fitting flush against an axial end of a beam. The beam may be "square cut" or the axial end of the beam may be inclined {e.g. up to 45°) to the beam axis. The first coupling part may have predefined locations {e.g. apertures

therethrough or at least blind bores) for receiving nails or screws when used to secure the first coupling part to a beam. The predefined locations may extend through a tongue of the interengageable profile of a first coupling part. The predefined locations may be grouped closer to a notional median line aligned parallel to the tongue than to lateral sides of the first coupling part. In this way, the predefined locations may be used when securing the first coupling part to a beam, even when beam width is less than that of the first coupling part. If blind bores are used instead of apertures, the first coupling part may also be used as a blank to conceal at least one profile of the second coupling part when not used for securing a beam thereto . The second coupling part may comprise a body having multiple sides, one of which defines the interengageable profile of the second coupling part . At least one other side of the body may also define a profile for engaging with the interengageable profile of the first coupling part. For example, the body may have four equal sides, each defining a profile for engaging with the interengageable profile of the first coupling part. The body may have a flange extending between an adjacent pair of sides which each define a profile for engaging the profile of the first coupling part. For example, if the body has four equal sides, the flange may extend inline with a notional diagonal line extending from one corner of the body to an opposing corner. The body may be

substantially hollow except for a web for cross bracing the body. The web may define a bore for receiving a pin to couple the second coupling part to an axial end of a post. The body may be open-topped, and may be open-bottomed. The body may define predetermined locations {e.g. with apertures) for receiving nails or screws when used to secure the second coupling part to an axial end of the post .

The body of the second coupling part (or a part thereof such as the web) may also be configured to support an anchorage member for securing a further post on top of the second coupling part once attached to the axial end of the post therebeneath. In this way, it is possible to extend the resulting beam and post structure to additional levels, e.g. for a two storey building. The anchorage member may be elongate . One end of the elongate anchorage member may be configured to engage {e.g. via mating screw threads) a corresponding bore in the body or part therein such as the pin. The other end of the elongate anchorage member may be configured to engage (e.g. with a friction fit) a blind bore in one axial end of the further post. A capping plate for capping the body of the second coupling part may also be provided. The capping plate may have an aperture through which the elongate anchorage member is able to extend when securing a further post on top of the second coupling part. The capping member may have a planar upper face for supporting the further post. The capping plate may have an underside profile which is a snug fit

over a corresponding profile formed at least in part by an upper end of the second coupling part. The or each first coupling part may reinforce or form part of the corresponding profile when fully coupled to the second coupling part. The corresponding profile may define a region of reduced cross-section (e.g. 30° chamfered or rebated) around which the capping member fits without interfering with beams coupled to the post. In this way, the capping member is able to lock together the first and second coupling parts, further reducing racking momentum or horizontal shear forces.

In accordance with a second aspect of the present invention, there is provided a kit of parts for use in timber-framed constructions, comprising: a beam in use having attached to a axial end thereof a first coupling part; a post in use having attached to an axial end thereof a second coupling part; the first and second coupling parts having interengageable profiles disposed to couple the first coupling part to one lateral side of the second coupling part for securing the beam at an angle to the post, with one profile comprising a tongue and another profile comprising a groove in which the tongue is a sliding fit, wherein the tongue and groove have corresponding cross-sections, with the tongue having a flared cross-section whose width increases from its root to its free-end.

The first and second coupling parts may be in accordance with any of the embodiments of the first aspect

of the present invention. In this way, apparatus is provided for attaching a beam to a post which eliminates the need for complex machining of the beam and post. Thus, square cut beams and post may be provided, ready for mounting their respective coupling parts thereto. The present invention is particularly useful in DIY applications. The axial end of the beam may even be inclined (e.g. at an angle of up to 45°) to the beam axis in order to mount the beam at a corresponding angle to the post.

The beam may have a width which is equal to or less than that of the first coupling part. The beam may have a depth which is equal to or greater than that of the first coupling part. If the beam depth is greater than that of the first coupling part, the beam may extend above or below, or even above and below the first coupling part. If extending below the first coupling part, a part of the beam or the post may need to be cut to allow the coupling parts to be coupled together without beam and post fouling each other .

The post may have a cross-section which is equal to or greater (e.gr. by at least 10mm) than that of the second coupling part. If the post cross-section is equal to that of the second coupling part, the weight of the beam will at least in part be supported by the attachment between the beam and the first coupling part. For this reason, the first coupling part may be attached to the beam using mutually inclined multiple fixings [e.g. screws) driven

into the beam at different angles to the beam axis. If the post cross-section is larger than that of the second coupling part, mounting the second coupling part centrally on the axial end of the post defines a peripheral sill for supporting any beam in contact therewith. With such an arrangement, the or each groove may be open at both lateral ends since a tongue will be prevented from sliding completely through its respective groove by the axial end of the post. Advantageously, one set of coupling parts of a given size may be used with beams and posts of a range of different cross-sections.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

An embodiment of the invention will now be described by way of example, with reference to, and as illustrated in, the accompanying drawings, in which:

Figure 1 is an illustration of the framework of a timber-framed building which may utilise the present invention;

Figure 2 is a perspective view of first and second coupling parts for assembling the timber-framed building of Figure 1 according to an embodiment of the present invention;

Figure 3 is an exploded, schematic cross-sectional view of the first and second coupling parts of Figure 2; Figure 4 is a perspective view of first and second coupling parts according to a second embodiment of the present invention; and

Figure 5 is a schematic partial sectional view showing

detail of the second embodiment of Figure 4.

BEST MODES FOR CARRYING OUT THE INVENTION

Figure 1 shows the superstructure of a timber-framed building (10) which comprises a plurality of vertical posts (12) supporting horizontal beams (14) . Braces (16) are fitted between beams (14) and posts (12) primarily to lend architectural interest since their traditional function

(increasing stiffness) may be largely superfluous in the light of the present invention. The posts (12) are fixed to the ground (18) , in some cases using base plates (20) which are bolted to the foundations. The posts (12) and beams (14) are coupled together by first and second coupling parts (30,50) concealed from view by the posts and beams themselves. Other buildings or structures comprising beams and posts may be assembled using the first and second coupling parts (30,50) .

The first coupling part (30) is plate-like and is configured to be attached to the axial end of beam (14) which is square cut. (The beam may have a cross-section in the range 50 x 75 to 200 x 75 mm) . The first coupling part (30) has a profile (32) for interengaging with a corresponding profile (54) of the second coupling part (50) . The profile (32) comprises a primary tongue (34) and a pair of secondary grooves (36) disposed on opposite sides of the primary tongue (34) . The primary tongue (34) has a dove-tail cross-section with its root portion (38) narrower than its free end portion (40) . Both the primary tongue (34) and each secondary groove (36) extend the full length

of the first coupling part (30) , with the secondary grooves (36) being open ended. A plurality of apertures (42) extend through the first coupling part (30) in the vicinity of the primary tongue (34) , adjacent a notional median line MM. The apertures (42) are for receiving nails or screws (not shown) for attaching the first coupling part (30) to the axial end of the beam (14) .

The second coupling part (50) has box-like body (52) which is configured to be attached to the axial end of post (12) which is square cut. (The post may be rounded with a diameter from 125 to 250mm or may be square with a cross- section in the range 90 x 90 to 200 x 200mm) . Each lateral side of the body (52) has a profile (54) for interengaging with profile (32) of the first coupling part (30) . The profile (54) has a primary groove (56) and a pair of secondary tongues (58) disposed on opposite sides of the primary groove (56) . The primary groove (56) has a cross- section which corresponds to the primary tongue (34) of the first coupling part (30) . Each secondary tongue (58) has a dove-tail cross-section, with its root portion (60) narrower than its free end portion (62) . The dove-tail cross-section of each secondary tongue (58) corresponds to that of each secondary groove (36) of the first coupling part (30) . The primary groove (56) and secondary tongues (58) extend axially the full length of the second coupling part, with the primary groove (56) being open at both ends (64,65) .

The body (52) of the second coupling part (50) is

hollow except for cross braces (70) . The braces (70) define an axial bore (72) which is configured to receive an elongate member for pinning the second coupling part (50) to the axial end of post (12) . The bore (72) may also be configured to receive an elongate member for engaging a further post mounted on top of the second coupling part (50) . The body (52) also includes fixings (80) which define apertures (82) for receiving nails or screws for attaching the second coupling part (50) to the post (12) . The fixings (80) are spaced from a central axis of the body (52) , and may be used to secure the second coupling part (50) in a predetermined axial orientation relative to the post (12) . The body (52) also includes flanges (90) disposed between adjacent pairs of profiles (54) . Each flange (90) extends in line with a notional diagonal line extending from one corner of the body to an opposing corner .

The profiles (32) , (54) allow the coupling parts

(30,50) to be coupled together by sliding the primary tongue (34) into and along the primary groove (56) from a position adjacent one of the open ends (64,65) of the primary groove. At the same time, the secondary tongues

(58) will slide into and along the secondary grooves (36) .

In use, once the profiles are interengaged, the first coupling part (30) will be prevented from sliding beyond the second coupling part (50) by the post (12) to which the latter will be attached. Preferably, the cross-section of the second coupling part (50) is smaller than that of the

post (12) to define a peripheral sill (100) upon which a beam (14) may rest. If one side of the body (52) is not to be connected to a beam (14) , the respective profile (54) may be concealed using an end plate (not shown) . The end plate will have on one side a profile identical to profile (32) , and on the other side a decorative finish which is in keeping with the timber-framed building (10) .

Figure 4 shows an enhanced embodiment of the present invention. For convenience, features in common with the arrangement illustrated in Figures 2 and 3 share the same reference numbers. It is to be noted that the first coupling parts 30 with apertures 42 have been replaced by first coupling parts 30' with blind bores. The first coupling parts 30' can also be used as blanks to conceal the profile 54 of the second coupling part 50, when not being used to attach a beam thereto.

The second coupling part 50' has a box-like body 52 which is configured to support an anchorage member 100 for securing a further post (not shown) on top of the second coupling part 50'. The anchorage member 100 is elongate, and one end 102 is configured to engage via mating screw threads a corresponding bore 104 in a pin 106 coupling the body 52 to the axial end of the post 12. The other end 108 of the elongate anchorage member 100 is configured to engage a blind bore in one axial end of the further post (not shown) .

A capping member 110 is provided for capping the second coupling part 50', and has aperture 112 for

receiving the elongate anchorage member 100 therethrough. As best shown in Figure 5, the capping member 110 has a planar upper face 114 and a profiled under side face 116. The profiled underside face 116 is a snug fit over a corresponding profile formed at least in part by an upper end 118 of the second coupling part 50' . The upper end 118 of the second coupling part 50' (with opposing ends of first coupling parts 30') defines a region 120 with a 30° chamfer around which the profiled underside face 116 of the capping 110 is a snug fit. Once in position around the region 120, the capping member 110 helps to lock the first and second coupling parts 30', 50' together.




 
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