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Title:
SUSPENDABLE PLATFORM
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2005/117655
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A platform (10) for cantilevered mounting at a support (W) comprises a flexible surface (12) for erection from a collapsed into a generally flat in-use position, and a framework (14) for suspending the surface in the in-use position in a cantilevered mounting at the support. The platform finds particular though not exclusive application with watercraft, such as boats.

Inventors:
SCHREIBER ADAM (AU)
Application Number:
PCT/AU2005/000809
Publication Date:
December 15, 2005
Filing Date:
June 06, 2005
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
LATERAL BOATING PTY LTD (AU)
SCHREIBER ADAM (AU)
International Classes:
A47C9/10; A47C17/84; A47C17/86; B63B29/04; B63B29/06; F16M13/00; F16M13/02; (IPC1-7): A47C17/84; A47C17/86; F16M13/00; F16M13/02
Foreign References:
FR2422549A11979-11-09
AU1921683A1985-03-28
Other References:
DATABASE WPI Week 200067, Derwent World Patents Index; AN 2000-685682
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Griffith, Hack (Sydney, New South Wales 2001, AU)
Download PDF:
Claims:
Claims 1. A platform for cantilevered mounting at a support comprising: - a flexible surface for erection from a collapsed into a generally flat in-use position; and - a framework for suspending the surface in the in-use position in a cantilevered mounting at the support. 2. A platform as claimed in claim 1 wherein the framework comprises two supporting frames to which the surface is mounted at respective opposite ends of the surface, with each frame being adapted for projecting laterally from the support in use. 3. A platform as claimed in claim 2 wherein each frame comprises a bracket, and each bracket comprises a leg that extends from the bracket, the leg having a distal end that ,is adapted for resting at the support. 4. A platform as claimed in claim 3 wherein each frame has one or more ties connected thereto, the ties being fastenable to the support to mount the bracket at the support. 5. A platform as claimed in claim 4 comprising two ties for each frame, a first tie being connected at its remote end to a proximal end of the bracket, and a second tie being connected at its remote end to a distal end of the bracket, with the ends of each of the ties that are opposite to the tie remote ends being positionable together and being adapted for fastening to the support. 6. A platform as claimed in any one of claims 2 to 5 wherein the framework further comprises opposing elongate members to which can be connected opposing respective sides of the surface, with each member being mountable to a respective frame so as to extend between and be supported on the frames in the in-use cantilevered position. 7. A platform as claimed in claim 6 wherein each member is an elongate tube, a first tube being releasably mountable at opposite ends thereof at respective fittings of the brackets to be located adjacent to the support in the in-use cantilevered position, and a second tube being releasably mountable at opposite ends thereof at respective fittings of the brackets to be spaced from the support in the in-use cantilevered position. 8. A platform as claimed in claim 7 wherein the two tubes are connected intermediate their ends via a collapsible brace extending between the tubes. 9. A platform as claimed in claim 7 or 8 wherein the fittings for the first tube on each frame are each located at the distal end of an arm that is pivotally coupled at its distal end to a remainder of the frame. 10. A platform as claimed in claim 9 wherein the pivotal coupling is configured to enable each arm to pivot between a collapsed position in which the arm lies adjacent the frame remainder, and an in-use position in which the arm generally extends away from the frame remainder. 11. A platform as claimed in any one of the preceding claims wherein the support is a wal
1. l. 12. A platform as claimed in claim 11 wherein the wall comprises a side or end wall of a vehicle. 13. A platform as claimed in claim 12 wherein the vehicle is a watercraft such as a boat or pontoon. 14. A watercraft platform for cantilevered mounting at a support of the watercraft to project over water in use, the platform comprising a surface, and a framework for mounting to the support and the surface to maintain the surface in a cantilevered position over the water in use. 15. A watercraft platform as claimed in claim 14 that is otherwise as defined in any one of claims 1 to 13. AMENDED CLAIMS [received by the International Bureau on 29 August 2005 (29.08.05); original claims 14 amended; remaining claims unchanged; (2 pages)] supported on the frames in the inuse cantilevered position. 7. A platform as claimed in claim 6 wherein each member is an elongate tube, a first tube being releasably mountable at opposite ends thereof at respective fittings of the brackets to be located adjacent to the support in the inuse cantilevered position, and a second tube being releasably mountable at opposite ends thereof at respective fittings of the brackets to be spaced from the support in the inuse cantilevered position. 8. A platform as claimed in claim 7 wherein the two tubes are connected intermediate their ends via a collapsible brace extending between the tubes. 9. A platform as claimed in claim 7 or S wherein the fittings for the first tube on each frame are each located at the distal end of an arm that is pivotally coupled at its distal end to a remainder of the frame. 10. A platform as claimed in claim 9 wherein the pivotal coupling is configured to enable each arm to pivot between a collapsed position in which the arm lies adjacent the frame remainder, and an inuse position in which the arm generally extends away from the frame remainder. 11. A platform as claimed in any one of the preceding claims wherein the support is a wall. 12. A platform as claimed in claim 11 wherein the wall comprises a side or end wall of a vehicle. 13. A platform as claimed in claim 12 wherein the vehicle is a watercraft such as a boat or pontoon. 14. A collapsible watercraft platform for cantilevered mounting at a support of the watercraft to project over water in use, the platform comprising a surface/ and a framework for mounting to the support and the surface to maintain the surface in a cantilevered position over the Λ IIII^KIΓX^Γ* PI IΓΓT ιnπ^ιr*ι r Λ r\\ 17 water in use, the frame work and the surface being configured to enable the platform to be collapsed into a compact storage configuration. 15. A watercraft platform as claimed in claim 14 that is otherwise as defined in any one of claims 1 to 13.
Description:
SUSPENDABLE PLATFORM

Technical Field A suspendable platform is disclosed, for example, a platform that can be cantilevered from the side of a boat.

Background Art Vehicles such as boats may have insufficient space for the incorporation of a bed, bench or the like. Alternatively, it may be desirable to support a bed, bench or the like externally of a vehicle (eg. over the water) to provide ventilation and/or a cooler environment (eg. for sleeping on) or a surface locatable in sunlight, or extra seating for users etc.

Summary Firstly there is provided a platform for cantilevered mounting at a support comprising: - a flexible surface for erection from a collapsed into a generally flat in-use position; and - a framework for suspending the surface in the in-use position in a cantilevered mounting at the support. Secondly, there is provided a watercraft platform for cantilevered mounting at a support of the watercraft to project over water in use, the platform comprising a surface, and a framework for mounting to the support and the surface to maintain the surface in a cantilevered position over the water in use. The term "platform" is to be interpreted broadly herein to include an arrangement that can provide a bed, seat, bench, step, etc, and that may be sufficiently flexible to be collapsed into a compact storage configuration. The platform can also provide a portable bed, bench or the like externally of a vehicle (eg. it can be mounted to a boat to project over water) . It can provide a ventilated and/or a cooler environment (eg. for sleeping on) , or provide a surface to lie, sit or stand on that is located in sunlight, or provide extra user seating etc. Where a flexible surface is employed, the platform can be collapsed into a close-packed configuration when not in use (eg. for storage and transportation) . In an embodiment the framework comprises two supporting frames to which the surface is mounted at respective opposite ends of the surface, with each frame being adapted for projecting laterally from the support in use. Each frame can comprise a bracket, and each bracket can comprise a leg that extends from the bracket. The leg can have a distal end that is adapted for resting at the support. For example, an adjustable leg extension can extend from the leg distal end, and a distal end of the leg extension can be provided with a polymeric (eg. elastomeric or rubber) pad that abuts the support, and that is deformable to resist slipping and to prevent support damage. Each frame can also be provided with one or more ties connected thereto. The ties may be fastenable to the support to mount the bracket at the support. For example, two ties can be provided for each frame, with a first tie being connected at its remote end to a proximal end of the bracket, and a second tie being connected at its remote end to a distal end of the bracket. The ends of each of the ties that are opposite to the tie remote ends may then be positionable together (eg. by fastening) and may be further adapted for fastening to the support. For example, a single loop (or respective loops) can extend from each of the tie opposing ends and can be looped over an appropriate (typically the same) fixture at the support (eg. a cleat on top of a boat side wall) . The framework can further comprise opposing elongate members to which can be connected opposing respective sides of the surface. Each member may be mounted to a respective frame so as to extend between and be supported on the frames in the in-use cantilevered position. These members can help make the surface more taut in use and be better supported along its length. Each member can be provided in the form of an elongate tube. A first of the tubes can be releasably mountable at opposite ends thereof at respective fittings of the brackets to be located adjacent to the support in the in-use cantilevered position. A second of the tubes can be releasably mountable at opposite ends thereof at respective fittings of the brackets to be spaced from the support in the in-use cantilevered position. The two tubes can be connected intermediate their ends via a collapsible brace extending between the tubes, the brace helping to support the surface along its length. The fittings for the first tube on each frame can also each be located at the distal end of an arm that is pivotally coupled at its distal end to a remainder of the frame. Such a pivotal coupling can therefore be configured to enable each arm to pivot between a collapsed position in which the arm lies adjacent the frame remainder, and an in-use position in which the arm generally extends away from the frame remainder. This collapsing arrangement can further enhance the close-packed configuration of the platform for storage. In an alternative arrangement, each frame can comprise a hook portion at a proximal end thereof that is adapted for being hooked onto the support. The hook portion can also be adapted for receipt in a recess defined in the support to enable the cantilever mounting of the frame thereto. In a usual application the support is a wall. For example, the wall can comprise a side or end wall of a vehicle or building etc. The vehicle may be a watercraft such as a boat or pontoon, but can also be a car, truck, bus, trailer, caravan etc.

Brief Description of the Drawings Notwithstanding other embodiments which may incorporate some or all of the platform features as outlined in the Summary, a number of specific suspendable platform embodiments will now be described, by way of example only, with reference to the accompanying drawings in which: Figure 1 shows a perspective view of a first suspendable platform embodiment; Figure 2 shows a perspective view of some components of the first suspendable platform embodiment of Figure 1; Figure 3 shows a side view of one of the components of Figure 2; Figures 4A-4C respectively show side, and two side sectional details, of the first suspendable platform embodiment of Figure 1; Figures 5A-5D respectively show end, end sectional (section A-A) , end sectional (section B-B) , and a side sectional detail of the bracket component of Figure 4A; Figure 6 shows a plan, view of the first suspendable platform embodiment of Figure 1 but with the ties removed; and Figure 7 shows a side view of a second suspendable platform embodiment; Figure 8 shows a plan detail of a part of the second suspendable platform embodiment of Figure 7; Figure 9 shows a plan detail of another part of the second suspendable platform embodiment of Figure 7; Figure 10 shows a side section through the part of Figure 9; and Figures 1IA-IID respectively show three plan details, and one side detail, of a component of the first and second suspendable platform embodiments of Figures 1 and 7, the component in Figures HA to HD being, in sequence, erected, partly collapsed and collapsed.

Detailed Description of Specific Embodiments Referring firstly to Figures 1 to 6, a suspendable platform in the form of a boat bed 10 is shown cantilever mounted to the side wall of a boat B. Hereafter, whilst the bed 10 will be described primarily with reference to its use on watercraft such as boats, pontoons, yachts etc. it should be appreciated that the bed can be employed on many fixed and moveable structures including other vehicles such as cars, trucks, buses; caravans; trailers; building walls, verandas; pool side walls etc. The bed 10 comprises a flexible support surface 12, typically formed from a woven porous material, or a continuous perforated material, to provide for ventilation therethrough. The surface may be formed from a synthetic material such as a polymeric fibre, from a moulded (eg. extruded) flexible material, or from a natural material such as canvas, cotton etc. The flexible support surface 12 is mounted to a framework in the form of opposing brackets 14 (located at opposite ends of surface 12) and opposing elongate tubes 16 (around which the sides of surface 12 are looped and fastened for the length thereof, as shown in Figure 4C) . As best shown in Figures 4A, 5B and 5C, the brackets 14 can be formed from a hollowed truss structure to minimise the bracket weight without compromising bracket strength. The end of each tube 16 is mounted to a respective bracket 14 by fittings in the form of saddle arrangements 18,20 located on opposite (proximal and distal) sides of each bracket 14. In this regard, proximal saddle arrangement 18 comprises a single part-cylindrical clip 22, and distal saddle arrangement 20 comprises two adjacent part-cylindrical clips 24. Typically the bracket (or at least the clips) are formed from a resilient (eg. polymeric) material such that respective tube ends can be snap-fitted into respective clip(s) to releasably fasten tube 16 to bracket 14 and to define a supporting framework for surface 12. Each bracket 14 can comprise a projecting leg 26, and leg 26 in turn comprises an internally threaded sleeve 28 and an externally threaded extension shank 30. In addition, at a distal end of extension shank 30, a foot pad 32 is mounted, with each pad 32 comprising (or being coated or having adhesively fastened thereto) a polymeric material (typically of elastomer or rubber) to enable it to abut a supporting surface (eg. a side wall W of the boat B) in a non-slip and non-damaging manner. The effective combined length of leg 26 and shank 30 can be adjusted by screwing or unscrewing extension shank 30 in sleeve 28. This enables different mounting surface geometries and configurations to be accommodated (eg. for different boat types) . Instead of a screw thread adjustment, telescopic, locking pins or other length adjustable arrangements may be employed. To support the brackets on a structure (eg. boat side wall W) ties in the form of upper and lower straps 34,36 are attached to each bracket 14. Each strap is typically of flexible woven synthetic material and has an adjustable length as facilitated by buckle or clasp 38, with the doubling back of the strap defining a looped end 39 in upper strap 34 and a looped end 40 in lower strap 36. The looped end 39 is attached to an in-use distal end of bracket 14 by positioning it between clips 24 and inserting an end of in-use outer tube 16 therethrough and then fastening that end in clips 24 (see also Figure 4B) . To further secure the strap 34 to the outer tube 16 a fastener 42 can be screwed, riveted or pinned to the tube end, and the strap can then be inserted between the fastener and the tube end (to be located between the screws or rivets on either side thereof) as best shown in Figure 1. The lower strap 36 is connected to an in-use proximal end of bracket 14, in this case to a projecting boss 44 formed integrally with leg sleeve 28. In this regard, a ring element 46 (eg. shackle) is located on looped end 40 of strap 36, and a connecting pin of the ring,is inserted through a passage in the boss 44 to attach the ring and thus the lower strap to the bracket. The opposite end of each strap can be fastened to the other at 47 (Figure 1) or can be positioned adjacent to each other (Figure 2) . Extending from the opposite strap ends is a single (Figure 1) or two respective (Figure 2) _ O _ connecting loops 48 which can be looped over an appropriate fixture of the support to which the framework is to be mounted. For example, where the bed is to be mounted on a boat, the connecting loops 48 can be looped over spaced-apart cleats C (Figure 1) with the weight of the boat bed then urging the straps into the taut configuration as shown (Figure 1) . To maintain intermediate spacing of the tubes 16, a detachable bracing member 50 can be mounted to extend between the tubes, the bracing member 50 being releasably attachable to the tubes via respective opposing fasteners 52. The bracing member may also be collapsible (eg. foldable in half) . Referring now to Figures 7 to 11, where like reference numerals will be used to denote similar or like parts, a modified embodiment of a suspendable platform will now be described. Only those general points of difference to the embodiment of Figures 1 to 6 will be described, as the operation of the modified embodiment is otherwise similar to that described for Figures 1 to 6. Figure 7 shows a modified boat bed 60, the view being not dissimilar to that of Figure 4A. However, it will be seen that the rigid bracket 14 has been replaced with a collapsible bracket mechanism 62. More specifically, the hollowed truss structure of bracket 14 is replaced with a mechanism that comprises: - an elongate tubular arm 64, kinked at 65 to better orient foot pad 32 with respect to the supporting surface; - a mounting flange 66 extending up from the arm 64 as shown; and - a pivotal surface support arm 68, pivotally connected via pin 70 to the flange 66 and adapted at its distal end for connecting to the innermost tube 16. The pivotal support arm 68 enables the bracket mechanism 62 to be collapsed, with the arm moving in the direction of arrow P during collapse so that the innermost tube 16 eventually lies adjacent to the outermost tube 16. This collapsibility enables the modified boat bed to assume a very close-packed storage configuration, occupying minimal storage space. When in the position of Figure 7 the pivotal support arm 68 can be locked against pivoting via a pin 72 that is loaded by a spring 74. Figure 8 shows that this pin extends in to a hole 75 in the flange 66 and can slide back out of the hole and within a spring housing 76, by manual engagement of ring pull 78. Pulling of the ring pull frees the arm 68 for pivoting, until the pin aligns with hole 80 in flange 66, and is advanced thereinto by the spring 74 to lock the arm in the collapsed configuration. In Figures 9 and 10 it will also be seen that the means for mounting the tubes 16 to the bracket mechanism 62, and for attaching the strap 34, are different to that employed in the boat bed of Figures 1 to 6. In this regard, each tube 16 has a slot through which a plate 82 extends laterally into the tube, and against which plate the tube is fastened. The tube is fastened against the plate via an end-inserted lock bolt 83, the bolt extending through a tube end cap 84. Each plate is in turn fastened to the end of each of the pivotal support arm 68 or tubular arm 64 respectively via a pin 86 which extends through a fork-ended arm plug 88. Each arm plug is fastened in the end of the arms 68 and 64 via locking pins 90. The outermost end cap 84 also comprises an extension region in which holes 92 are defined. An openable ring 94 can be located in one of those holes, and the distal end of strap 34 can extend through this ring to fasten the strap to the distal end of the bracket mechanism 62. Referring now to Figure 11, a mechanism for enabling collapsing of each of the tubes 16 is shown, so that the modified boat bed can assume an even closer-packed storage configuration. In this regard, tube halves 16A and 16B are connected pivotally together via a connector 96. Connector 96 is pivotally mounted at each of its ends to a respective mounting boss 98 at a respective tube halve via mounting pins 100. Each mounting boss is defined as part of a mounting plug 102 inserted into a respective tube halve end. Each pin 100 is retained in place via a respective circlip 104 (Figures 11C&D) . The tubes 16 are maintained in their in-use straightened configuration via a slidable sleeve 106 positioned to extend around and between the tube halves (Figure HA) but slidable away therefrom (Figures 11B&C) to free the halves for pivoting. Suspendable platform arrangements may be proposed that omit the tubes 16. In addition, each bracket and strap configuration of Figures 1 to 11 can be replaced with a single cantilever support frame member. Such a member can comprise an elongate laterally projecting portion to which one respective end of the surface 12 can be fastened. A hook portion can then extend from this laterally projecting portion that enables the platform to be hooked onto a support structure. For example, when the support structure comprises a boat, each hook portion can hook over a side wall W of the boat. Alternatively, each hook portion can have a remote end that is adapted for positioning in a recess (or socket) formed in an upper face of the side wall of the boat. Whilst typically the surface 12 is formed of a flexible material, it may also be formed of a rigid material and a mattress or other cushioning surface can then be positioned thereon. The boat bed arrangements described in Figures 1 to 11 have an advantage that they can be positioned in use to be spaced away from a side wall of the surface to which they are mounted, and only contact this surface at the fixture (eg. at cleats C) and at the foot pad 32. This prevents damage to the sidewall. For example, without such arrangements, fibreglass or painted boats may be otherwise scratched, dented or damaged when a user' s weight is received on the boat bed. The arrangements described above are rapid to assemble and are also rapid to deconstruct. By employing a flexible support surface, and optionally the other collapsing mechanisms described, the beds can be collapsed and stored in a small storage space (eg. in a thin elongate storage bag) . The tubes 16 may also collapse telescopically or be separable into sections. Hence, when not in use, the beds can occupy very little space in the vehicle or in the particular application in which they are employed. This collapsibility also provides for ease of transportation. The platforms can be formed from lightweight yet high strength materials, and typically many of the components are formed from aluminium and structural polymeric material to minimise weight and also to enable ease of manufacture (eg. via extrusion, moulding, and machine weaving) . The suspendable platform embodiments described herein can be embodied in many other forms.




 
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