Shaped Beam Suspended Ceiling

Shaped Beam Suspended Ceiling

Shaped beam suspended ceiling

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The Patent Description & Claims data below is from USPTO Patent Application 20060130418, Shaped beam suspended ceiling.

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001] This utility application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Patent Application 60/575,140 filed May 27, 2004; the contents of which is hereby incorporated by reference.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0002] The present invention is directed to a suspended ceiling system, and more specifically to a support system for a suspended ceiling.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0003] Conventional suspended ceilings typically comprise metal rails and foam tiles, which are often installed in offices. These suspended ceilings carry the load of lightweight materials. Those who want suspended ceilings in their homes, apartments, luxury offices, or other buildings have few options for a «skilled craftsman» ceiling that will conform to the artistic taste or theme of such buildings.

[0004] In one option, wooden runners are suspended by wires from a fixed building structure. Lips of cross members rest in a groove of the wooden runners, such that the cross members are suspended by the lips. In another option, primary wooden rails that are shaped to longitudinally slide into a metal support member. A dove tailed slot of the wooden rails also longitudinally slides onto a dove tail shaped lower edge of a wooden insert that is within the metal support member. Thus, the wooden rails are supported by the wooden insert and the metal support member. A wire is run through a hole in the metal support member and through the wooden insert to suspend the wooden rails from a fixed building structure. Transverse secondary cross rails also comprise wooden rails that are shaped to longitudinally slide into a metal channel. The metal channel has a bent tab at each end, which are inserted into slots cut into the metal support members that support the primary wooden rail. Thus, the secondary cross rails are suspended by the bent tabs interfacing with the primary wooden rails. These options generally limit geometric configurations for the ceilings and are complex to install.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0005] FIG. 1 is an upward view of an exemplary ceiling embodiment;

[0006] FIG. 2 is three dimensional view of a shaped beam interfacing with a connecting block;

[0007] FIG. 3 is a top view of a shaped beam abutting a connecting block;

[0008] FIG. 4 shows a sectional view of a «V» shaped beam against a connecting block;

[0009] FIG. 5A illustrates an exemplary fastener for connecting a shaped beam to a connecting block;

[0010] FIG. 5B illustrates an exemplary cam that can be inserted into an access hole to lock the fastener in place;

[0011] FIG. 6 is a three dimensional view of an alternate shaped beam;

[0012] FIG. 7A is a three dimensional view of an alternate shaped connecting block;

[0013] FIG. 7B shows multiple tile configurations using triangular connecting block;

[0014] FIG. 8 is a three dimensional view of a pentagon connecting block connected to «V» shaped beam; and

[0015] FIG. 9 is a three dimensional view of a hexagon connecting block connected to «V» shaped beam.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0016] The present invention provides flexibility in ceiling design and supports more than lightweight tiles. Tiles comprised of sheet rock, wood, and/or other materials can be used with detailed beams to give a suspended ceiling a «solid» look and feel, yet retain functional access to the space above the ceiling. Shaped beams support the tiles and give more «body» to the framing by protruding from the ceiling.

[0017] FIG. 1 is an upward view of an exemplary ceiling embodiment 5. Shaped beams 10 are interconnected with connecting blocks 20 to create a grid. The grid comprises a set of shaped beams 10 of specified lengths running in a plane substantially parallel to a fixed ceiling (not shown). The shaped beams are connected by connecting blocks 20 at corners of a grid cell that is near the middle of the ceiling. Fewer connecting blocks 20 are needed for grid cells that have shaped beams interfacing with a wall or other edge. The grid can also comprise non-orthogonal configurations, such as triangles, hexagons, and the like, depending on the configuration of connecting blocks 20. Connecting blocks 20 are joined to shaped beams 10, which support loads from tiles 30 that rest on shaped beams 10. Shaped beams 10 can have any cross sectional shape for strength and/or aesthetic design. The shaped beams can be made of any material, including wood, plastic, metal, composites, and the like.

[0018] FIG. 2 is three dimensional view of a shaped beam 10 interfacing with a connecting block 20. Shaped beam 10 includes beam fastener holes, such as beam fastener holes 12a and 12b, which are generally bored through a surface of shaped beam 10 that interfaces with a connecting block, wall, and/or other support structure. Slots or other holes can be used, as alternatives. Fasteners (not shown) are placed within the beam fastener holes to attach shaped beam 10 to the support structures. Each beam fastener hole intersects an access hole, such as access hole 14a, which enables a fastener to be inserted into the corresponding beam fastener hole. The access hole also provides tool access to a head of the fastener. A tool, such as an angled allen wrench (not shown), can be inserted into the access hole to drive the fastener along the beam fastener hole into an abutting support structure.

[0019] Corresponding block fastener holes, such as block fastener holes 22a and 22b are aligned with beam fastener holes, so that a shaped beam can be fastened to connecting block 20. Connecting block 20 can comprise a solid material into which the fasteners are driven. Alternatively, connecting block 20 can comprise a multi-piece structure, such as a rectangular box made of individual side pieces 24a through 24d. Beam interfaces surfaces of connecting block 20, such as beam interface surface 25d, are generally shaped to interface with an end of shaped beam 10.

[0020] Connecting block 20 also includes suspension holes, such as suspension hole 26a, for use in suspending connecting block 20 from a fixed ceiling 15 and/or other building structure. For example, a wire 40 can be run through one or more suspension holes and attached to fixed ceiling 15. Alternatively, or in addition, a hook, a strap, a bracket, a threaded shaft, and/or other suspension supports can be used to couple connecting blocks to building structures. A shaped beam can be used to conceal the support from view below the connecting block. A combination of connecting blocks and shaped beams support tiles that rest on ledges, such as ledge 16.

[0021] FIG. 3 is a top view of a shaped beam 10b abutting connecting block 20. Beam fastener holes 12c and 12d align with block fastener holes 22c and 22d, so that a fastener can attach shaped beam 10b to connecting block 20. Corresponding access holes 14c and 14d show where a tool can access the fasteners. Locations of other block fastener holes, such as block fastener holes 22e and 22f, illustrate where other shaped beams can be attached. Also shown are locations for suspension holes, such as suspension holes 26a and 26b.

[0022] FIG. 4 shows a cross sectional view of a «V» shaped beam 10b against connecting block 20. The sectional view shows placements for fastener holes 12c and 12d relative to a cross section of shaped beam 10b and connecting block 20. The sectional view also shows that access holes 14c and 14d need not go all the way through shaped beam 10b. Instead, access holes 14c and 14d can be recessed so that visible surfaces 18c and 18d remain uniform in appearance. Suspension hole 26b is also hidden from view by shaped beam 10b. Tiles hide other elements by resting on ledges 16c and 16d.

[0023] FIG. 5A illustrates an exemplary fastener for connecting a shaped beam to a connecting block. The example fastener is a minifix connecting bolt 50, part number 262.28.610, produced by Hafele America Co. Minifix connecting bolt 50 includes a head 52 that is engaged with a tool to drive a threaded end 54 into connecting block 20. Many other types of fasteners can be used, such as confirmats, screws, bolts, friction pegs, and the like. FIG. 5B illustrates an exemplary cam that can be inserted into an access hole to lock the fastener in place. The example fastener is a minifix cam 56, part number 262.18.011, produced by Hafele America Co. Minifix cam 56 includes a cam portion 58 that engages the head of the fastener to prevent the fastener from loosening. Many other types of inserts can be used for the access holes, such as plastic caps, wood pegs, and the like.

[0024] FIG. 6 is a three dimensional view of an alternate shaped beam. A «U» shaped beam 60 is shown connected to a rectangular block 28. Many other beams can be used, including, semi-circular shaped beams, «W» shaped beams, or other custom shaped beams. The beams may be constructed with solid cross sections, assembled from multiple parts, and the like. The ends of the beams may also be tapered, curved, or otherwise formed to mate with a correspondingly formed connecting block. For example, the ends of «V» shaped beams may be cut at an angle, or otherwise formed to mate with beam interface surfaces of a connecting block that may be formed in the shape of an inverted pyramid with four beam interface surfaces that meet at a point directed downward toward a floor.

[0025] FIG. 7A is a three dimensional view of an alternate shaped connecting block. A triangular connecting block 70 has a triangular cross section. Triangular connecting block 70 is shown connected to «V» shaped beam 10. Triangular connecting block 70 enables alternate grid configurations of tiles. For example, FIG. 7B shows a hexagon tile configuration 72, a rectangular tile configuration 74, and a triangular tile 76 using triangular connecting block 70. Other grid configurations may be implemented with a single connecting block coupled to a central portion of a fixed ceiling, and coupling shaped beams between the connecting block and surrounding walls. Similarly, one or more connecting blocks can be coupled to a portion of the fixed ceiling, and shaped beams may be coupled between the connecting blocks and only one, or only some of the surrounding walls. In this way a portion of the fixed ceiling remains exposed, or may be covered with a different ceiling, by a light, or used to suspend other objects.

[0026] Some grid configurations are implemented by using beams with angled ends, such that a primary axis of some beams are not perpendicular to a face of the connecting block. Still other grid configurations can be implemented by fastening a connecting block to a longitudinal portion a beam, rather than to an end of the beam.

[0027] FIG. 8 is a three dimensional view of a pentagon connecting block 80 connected to «V» shaped beam 10. Pentagon connecting block 80 enables still other grid configurations, such as alternating triangular grids and rectangular grids. FIG. 9 is a three dimensional view of a hexagon connecting block 90 connected to «V» shaped beam 10. Hexagon connecting block 90 can also be used to create alternating grids, or uniform grids. For example, a grid configuration can alternate between triangles and hexagons. Alternatively, the grid configuration can comprise only hexagon tiles. As indicated above, many other grid configurations can be implemented with still other connecting block shapes, by using angled beam ends, and/or by fastening connecting blocks to longitudinal portions of the connecting blocks. Beams can also be used that are not primarily strait. For example, a curved beam, an «L» shaped beam, and/or other longitudinal shapes can be used in combination with connecting blocks of one or more shape.

[0028] The above specification, examples, and information provide a complete description of the manufacture and use of the composition of the invention. Since many embodiments of the invention can be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention, the invention resides in the claims hereinafter appended.

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Shaped beam suspended ceiling

* PDF temporarily not available. Check back later for PDF.

The Patent Description & Claims data below is from USPTO Patent Application 20060130418, Shaped beam suspended ceiling.

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001] This utility application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Patent Application 60/575,140 filed May 27, 2004; the contents of which is hereby incorporated by reference.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0002] The present invention is directed to a suspended ceiling system, and more specifically to a support system for a suspended ceiling.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0003] Conventional suspended ceilings typically comprise metal rails and foam tiles, which are often installed in offices. These suspended ceilings carry the load of lightweight materials. Those who want suspended ceilings in their homes, apartments, luxury offices, or other buildings have few options for a «skilled craftsman» ceiling that will conform to the artistic taste or theme of such buildings.

[0004] In one option, wooden runners are suspended by wires from a fixed building structure. Lips of cross members rest in a groove of the wooden runners, such that the cross members are suspended by the lips. In another option, primary wooden rails that are shaped to longitudinally slide into a metal support member. A dove tailed slot of the wooden rails also longitudinally slides onto a dove tail shaped lower edge of a wooden insert that is within the metal support member. Thus, the wooden rails are supported by the wooden insert and the metal support member. A wire is run through a hole in the metal support member and through the wooden insert to suspend the wooden rails from a fixed building structure. Transverse secondary cross rails also comprise wooden rails that are shaped to longitudinally slide into a metal channel. The metal channel has a bent tab at each end, which are inserted into slots cut into the metal support members that support the primary wooden rail. Thus, the secondary cross rails are suspended by the bent tabs interfacing with the primary wooden rails. These options generally limit geometric configurations for the ceilings and are complex to install.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0005] FIG. 1 is an upward view of an exemplary ceiling embodiment;

[0006] FIG. 2 is three dimensional view of a shaped beam interfacing with a connecting block;

[0007] FIG. 3 is a top view of a shaped beam abutting a connecting block;

[0008] FIG. 4 shows a sectional view of a «V» shaped beam against a connecting block;

[0009] FIG. 5A illustrates an exemplary fastener for connecting a shaped beam to a connecting block;

[0010] FIG. 5B illustrates an exemplary cam that can be inserted into an access hole to lock the fastener in place;

[0011] FIG. 6 is a three dimensional view of an alternate shaped beam;

[0012] FIG. 7A is a three dimensional view of an alternate shaped connecting block;

[0013] FIG. 7B shows multiple tile configurations using triangular connecting block;

[0014] FIG. 8 is a three dimensional view of a pentagon connecting block connected to «V» shaped beam; and

[0015] FIG. 9 is a three dimensional view of a hexagon connecting block connected to «V» shaped beam.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0016] The present invention provides flexibility in ceiling design and supports more than lightweight tiles. Tiles comprised of sheet rock, wood, and/or other materials can be used with detailed beams to give a suspended ceiling a «solid» look and feel, yet retain functional access to the space above the ceiling. Shaped beams support the tiles and give more «body» to the framing by protruding from the ceiling.

[0017] FIG. 1 is an upward view of an exemplary ceiling embodiment 5. Shaped beams 10 are interconnected with connecting blocks 20 to create a grid. The grid comprises a set of shaped beams 10 of specified lengths running in a plane substantially parallel to a fixed ceiling (not shown). The shaped beams are connected by connecting blocks 20 at corners of a grid cell that is near the middle of the ceiling. Fewer connecting blocks 20 are needed for grid cells that have shaped beams interfacing with a wall or other edge. The grid can also comprise non-orthogonal configurations, such as triangles, hexagons, and the like, depending on the configuration of connecting blocks 20. Connecting blocks 20 are joined to shaped beams 10, which support loads from tiles 30 that rest on shaped beams 10. Shaped beams 10 can have any cross sectional shape for strength and/or aesthetic design. The shaped beams can be made of any material, including wood, plastic, metal, composites, and the like.

[0018] FIG. 2 is three dimensional view of a shaped beam 10 interfacing with a connecting block 20. Shaped beam 10 includes beam fastener holes, such as beam fastener holes 12a and 12b, which are generally bored through a surface of shaped beam 10 that interfaces with a connecting block, wall, and/or other support structure. Slots or other holes can be used, as alternatives. Fasteners (not shown) are placed within the beam fastener holes to attach shaped beam 10 to the support structures. Each beam fastener hole intersects an access hole, such as access hole 14a, which enables a fastener to be inserted into the corresponding beam fastener hole. The access hole also provides tool access to a head of the fastener. A tool, such as an angled allen wrench (not shown), can be inserted into the access hole to drive the fastener along the beam fastener hole into an abutting support structure.

[0019] Corresponding block fastener holes, such as block fastener holes 22a and 22b are aligned with beam fastener holes, so that a shaped beam can be fastened to connecting block 20. Connecting block 20 can comprise a solid material into which the fasteners are driven. Alternatively, connecting block 20 can comprise a multi-piece structure, such as a rectangular box made of individual side pieces 24a through 24d. Beam interfaces surfaces of connecting block 20, such as beam interface surface 25d, are generally shaped to interface with an end of shaped beam 10.

[0020] Connecting block 20 also includes suspension holes, such as suspension hole 26a, for use in suspending connecting block 20 from a fixed ceiling 15 and/or other building structure. For example, a wire 40 can be run through one or more suspension holes and attached to fixed ceiling 15. Alternatively, or in addition, a hook, a strap, a bracket, a threaded shaft, and/or other suspension supports can be used to couple connecting blocks to building structures. A shaped beam can be used to conceal the support from view below the connecting block. A combination of connecting blocks and shaped beams support tiles that rest on ledges, such as ledge 16.

[0021] FIG. 3 is a top view of a shaped beam 10b abutting connecting block 20. Beam fastener holes 12c and 12d align with block fastener holes 22c and 22d, so that a fastener can attach shaped beam 10b to connecting block 20. Corresponding access holes 14c and 14d show where a tool can access the fasteners. Locations of other block fastener holes, such as block fastener holes 22e and 22f, illustrate where other shaped beams can be attached. Also shown are locations for suspension holes, such as suspension holes 26a and 26b.

[0022] FIG. 4 shows a cross sectional view of a «V» shaped beam 10b against connecting block 20. The sectional view shows placements for fastener holes 12c and 12d relative to a cross section of shaped beam 10b and connecting block 20. The sectional view also shows that access holes 14c and 14d need not go all the way through shaped beam 10b. Instead, access holes 14c and 14d can be recessed so that visible surfaces 18c and 18d remain uniform in appearance. Suspension hole 26b is also hidden from view by shaped beam 10b. Tiles hide other elements by resting on ledges 16c and 16d.

[0023] FIG. 5A illustrates an exemplary fastener for connecting a shaped beam to a connecting block. The example fastener is a minifix connecting bolt 50, part number 262.28.610, produced by Hafele America Co. Minifix connecting bolt 50 includes a head 52 that is engaged with a tool to drive a threaded end 54 into connecting block 20. Many other types of fasteners can be used, such as confirmats, screws, bolts, friction pegs, and the like. FIG. 5B illustrates an exemplary cam that can be inserted into an access hole to lock the fastener in place. The example fastener is a minifix cam 56, part number 262.18.011, produced by Hafele America Co. Minifix cam 56 includes a cam portion 58 that engages the head of the fastener to prevent the fastener from loosening. Many other types of inserts can be used for the access holes, such as plastic caps, wood pegs, and the like.

[0024] FIG. 6 is a three dimensional view of an alternate shaped beam. A «U» shaped beam 60 is shown connected to a rectangular block 28. Many other beams can be used, including, semi-circular shaped beams, «W» shaped beams, or other custom shaped beams. The beams may be constructed with solid cross sections, assembled from multiple parts, and the like. The ends of the beams may also be tapered, curved, or otherwise formed to mate with a correspondingly formed connecting block. For example, the ends of «V» shaped beams may be cut at an angle, or otherwise formed to mate with beam interface surfaces of a connecting block that may be formed in the shape of an inverted pyramid with four beam interface surfaces that meet at a point directed downward toward a floor.

[0025] FIG. 7A is a three dimensional view of an alternate shaped connecting block. A triangular connecting block 70 has a triangular cross section. Triangular connecting block 70 is shown connected to «V» shaped beam 10. Triangular connecting block 70 enables alternate grid configurations of tiles. For example, FIG. 7B shows a hexagon tile configuration 72, a rectangular tile configuration 74, and a triangular tile 76 using triangular connecting block 70. Other grid configurations may be implemented with a single connecting block coupled to a central portion of a fixed ceiling, and coupling shaped beams between the connecting block and surrounding walls. Similarly, one or more connecting blocks can be coupled to a portion of the fixed ceiling, and shaped beams may be coupled between the connecting blocks and only one, or only some of the surrounding walls. In this way a portion of the fixed ceiling remains exposed, or may be covered with a different ceiling, by a light, or used to suspend other objects.

[0026] Some grid configurations are implemented by using beams with angled ends, such that a primary axis of some beams are not perpendicular to a face of the connecting block. Still other grid configurations can be implemented by fastening a connecting block to a longitudinal portion a beam, rather than to an end of the beam.

[0027] FIG. 8 is a three dimensional view of a pentagon connecting block 80 connected to «V» shaped beam 10. Pentagon connecting block 80 enables still other grid configurations, such as alternating triangular grids and rectangular grids. FIG. 9 is a three dimensional view of a hexagon connecting block 90 connected to «V» shaped beam 10. Hexagon connecting block 90 can also be used to create alternating grids, or uniform grids. For example, a grid configuration can alternate between triangles and hexagons. Alternatively, the grid configuration can comprise only hexagon tiles. As indicated above, many other grid configurations can be implemented with still other connecting block shapes, by using angled beam ends, and/or by fastening connecting blocks to longitudinal portions of the connecting blocks. Beams can also be used that are not primarily strait. For example, a curved beam, an «L» shaped beam, and/or other longitudinal shapes can be used in combination with connecting blocks of one or more shape.

[0028] The above specification, examples, and information provide a complete description of the manufacture and use of the composition of the invention. Since many embodiments of the invention can be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention, the invention resides in the claims hereinafter appended.

You can also Monitor Keywords and Search for tracking patents relating to this Shaped beam suspended ceiling patent application.

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