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United States Patent Application 20160214024
Kind Code A1
KILEY; JOHN J. July 28, 2016

INTERCONNECTING RIGID BUILDING COMPONENTS

Abstract

Building constructs for constructing a play structure, a useful construction construct, or the like. In one embodiment, the building constructs are extruded cuboids having notches or other interlocking features. In another embodiment, the building constructs are encased within a polymer shell for enhanced durability or other desirable property. A play structure comprises a plurality of the building elements connected to one another. In one embodiment, the play structure comprises a cabin. Walls of the cabin are constructed by interlocking elongate wall elements. The cabin includes a roof constructed from interlocked flat panels or slats. A roof support elevates the roof over the walls and connects the roof to the walls. A method of constructing a play structure comprises assembling a plurality of the building elements.


Inventors: KILEY; JOHN J.; (Marion, IN)
Applicant:
Name City State Country Type

KILEY; JOHN J.

Marion

IN

US
Family ID: 1000001517046
Appl. No.: 14/605323
Filed: January 26, 2015


Current U.S. Class: 1/1
Current CPC Class: A63H 33/04 20130101; A63H 33/14 20130101; A63H 33/048 20130101
International Class: A63H 33/04 20060101 A63H033/04; A63H 33/14 20060101 A63H033/14

Claims



1. A building kit for making various structures, comprising: a. a set of mid-sections comprising foam hyperrectangles of predetermined dimensions such that length of a mid-section is greater than both width and depth of the mid-section, each said raid-section having a uniform hollowed out cylindrical portion spanning the length of the mid-section; b. a set of cylindrical shaped pegs of a radius such that each peg can be inserted into the hollowed out cylindrical portion of a mid-section and said insertion results in a friction fit relationship; c. a set of interlock-sections comprising foam hyperrectangles having a width and a depth equal to that of a mid-section, each interlock-section shaped on two opposing sides to perpendicularly mate with other interlock-sections, and each interlock-section also having a uniform hollowed out cylindrical portion of a radius such that insertion of a peg into the hollowed out cylindrical portion of an interlock-section results in a friction fit relationship.

2. A building kit as claimed in claim 1, in which the foam is extruded polystyrene foam.

3. A building kit as claimed in claim 1, in which the foam is encased within a shell of high molecular weight polyethylene.

4. A building kit as claimed in claim 1, further comprising: d. A set of interlock blocks, each interlock block sized to fit snugly into an interlock-section such that two interlock-sections can attach to the interlock-block.

5. A building kit as claimed in claim 1, wherein each peg is coated with a pressure sensitive adhesive.

6. A building kit as claimed in claim 4, wherein each interlock block is coated with a pressure sensitive adhesive.

7. A building kit as claimed in claim 1, wherein each mid-section's sides are coated with a pressure sensitive adhesive.

8. A building kit as claimed in claim 1, further comprising: d. a set of adhesive backed pads covered by hooks of a hook and loop type fastener; e. a set of adhesive backed pads covered by loops of a hook and loop type fastener.
Description



BACKGROUND

[0001] The present invention generally relates to foam structural building components. It relates more particularly to light weight, substantially rigid, inter-locking, foam structural units, suitable, though not exclusively, for the creation of toy structures.

[0002] There are a plethora of toy construction sets on the market. Many of these construction sets utilize building components composed of dense and hard materials, and as such, do not readily lend themselves to creating resilient structures. Such rigidity can limit the toy-play experience by the users as well as limit the type of structures able to be built during the toy-play time. For example, a child creating and using a child sized raft will likely lead to one or more of the toys building components breaking, possibly because of point load failures occurring at the point of connection between the building components.

[0003] Further, dense, hard, and rigid building components of such toy construction sets are often the cause of injury to children. For example, a child falling onto such a building component can cause the child to receive a painful bruise, cut, or worse. Thus, there is a need for an improved building component. The present invention addresses this need.

SUMMARY

[0004] This specification describes technologies relating to a building construct, often, though not exclusively, implemented as a toy building construct often as part of a many building construct building kit. Accordingly, this invention provides a building construct, often, though not exclusively, implemented as a toy building construct. The building construct is unlikely to cause injury when a child falls on, chews on, or throws a building construct. In some implementations, the building construct primarily has a cuboid shape with a longitudinal axis of 25 inches and the two other axes being of an equal length of 2.75 inches, Said implementations also have four cuboid sections removed from the building construct. The four cuboid sections are removed from the building construct such that each end of the building construct has two cuboid sections removed with the two removed cuboid sections opposing each other. The effect is such that to allow two building constructs to interlock with each other at a right angle. The depth and width of the removed sections is such that as to allow three building constructs to join at a right angle, two building constructs being parallel to each other, the third building construct perpendicular to the first two, with the two parallel building constructs forming a tight seam along their common longitudinal axis.

[0005] In some implementations, the building constructs are composed of a light weight and durable material such as a foam material. Examples of such foam material include but are not limited to expanded polystyrene, extruded polystyrene foam, or polyethylene foam. Additionally, in some implementations the building constructs are enclosed within a covering or shell that imparts a desired characteristic. For example, building constructs can be enclosed within a shell of a high molecular weight polyethylene (HDPE) providing impact resistance, preventing the enclosed material from being exposed to water and thus prohibiting growth of organisms, shielding the enclosed material from ultraviolent radiation, enhanced wear and friction resistance, and protection from solvents and fuels. For example, a hollow shell of a building construct can be composed from HDPE and subsequently filled with extruded polystyrene.

[0006] As another example, various water-based adhesives, various phenolics, epoxies, resorcinols, and ureas can be used to coat and encase the building constructions based upon the desired characteristics exhibited by said coatings. Other coatings and shells are discussed elsewhere within this document. Some shells, coatings, and even uncovered or uncoated building constructs can also have a portion of the exterior coated with various adhesives. For example, such treated building constructs can be used to create structures of greater resilience than those composed from untreated building constructs. Further, such treated building constructs can enable the resulting structures to be weather and/or water resistant due to the seams between parallel building constructs being sealed as a result of the adhesive. As a non-limiting example, ethylene acrylic materials or ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) can be used as a temporary adhesive.

[0007] The details of one or more embodiments of the subject matter described in this specification are set forth in the accompanying drawings and the description below. Other features, aspects, and advantages of the subject matter will become apparent from the description, the drawings, and the claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0008] Various other objects, features and attendant advantages of the present invention will become fully appreciated as the same becomes better understood when considered in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which like reference characters designate the same or similar parts through the several views, and wherein:

[0009] FIG. 1 is rendering depicting a three-dimensional side perspective of an implementation of a base building construct.

[0010] FIG. 2 is a rendering depicting a top view perspective of an implementation of a base building construct.

[0011] FIG. 3 is a rendering depicting a side perspective of a building construct having adaptations allowing the building construct to have a variable length.

[0012] FIG. 4 is a rendering of an implementation of a building construct allowing the joining of two parallel building constructs.

[0013] Like reference numbers and designations in the various drawings indicate like elements.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0014] Before the present implementations and systems are disclosed and described, it is to be understood that this invention is not limited to specific implementations, or to particular compositions, and as such may, of course, vary. It is also to be understood that the terminology used herein is for the purpose of describing particular implementations only and is not intended to be limiting.

[0015] As used in the specification and the claims, the singular forms "a," "an" and "the" include plural referents unless the context clearly dictates otherwise. Ranges may be expressed in ways including from "about" one particular value, and/or to "about" another particular value. When such a range is expressed, another implementation may include from the one particular value and/or to the other particular value. Similarly, when values are expressed as approximations, for example by use of the antecedent "about," it will be understood that the particular value forms another implementation. It will be further understood that the endpoints of each of the ranges are significant both in relation to the other endpoint, and independently of the other endpoint.

[0016] "Optional" or "optionally" means that the subsequently described event or circumstance may or may not occur, and that the description includes instances where said event or circumstance occurs and instances where it does not. Similarly, "typical" or "typically" means that the subsequently described event or circumstance often though may not occur, and that the description includes instances where said event or circumstance occurs and instances where it does not.

[0017] FIG. 1 is rendering 100 depicting a three-dimensional side perspective of an implementation of a building construct 110. In some implementations, the building construct 110 has a longitudinal axis of a length significantly greater than the other two axes. For example, some implementations have a longitudinal axis of 25 inches with the other axes being equal and of length 2.75 inches. However, it is to be understood that the dimensions of a building construct 110 can vary. The depicted implementation primarily has a hyperrectangle (a rectangular cuboid or 3-orthotope) shape.

[0018] The implementation can be thought of as consisting of three different sections. The three different sections are, the end sections 120, the interlock sections 130, and the mid-section 140. The end sections 120 can be of varying sizes so long as the end sections 120 do not prevent the mid-sections 140 of parallel building constructs 110, one set on top of the other, from forming a tight seem. For example, in some implementations, the end sections 120 are of the same two minor dimensions as the mid-section 140. In some implementations, the end sections 120 and the cut out sections 130 or apertures 130 are sized such that two parallel and adjacent building constructs 110, interlocked with a third building construct 110, will form a continuous and tight seam along the seam common to the respective mid-sections 140 of the adjacent and parallel building constructs 110. That is, two building constructs 110 can be joined by interlinking an aperture 130 from each building construct 110 with said interlink joint having a friction fit. In some implementations, the sides of each building construct are coated with a pressure sensitive adhesive, allowing the tight seam to be temporarily glued together.

[0019] FIG. 2 is a rendering depicting a top view perspective of an implementation of a base building construct 110. In this depicted implementation, the cut out sections 130 are shown to be sized such that two building constructs 110 can snugly interlink. That is, a cut out section 130 is sized to tightly engage with a second cut out section 130.

[0020] In some implementations, the interlinking of two or more building constructs 110 is enhanced through the use of additional fasteners or adhesives. For example, a hook and loop type fastener comprising a first portion having the loops and attached to an adhesive pad and a second portion having the hooks and attached to a second adhesive pad can be used to more securely interlink two building constructions 110. That is, the first potion would be attached to the cut out section 130 of the first building construct 110. The second portion would be attached to a second building construct 110. The interlinking of the two building constructs 110 would also allow the hook and loop fasteners to fasten. Alternatively, a contact pressure-sensitive adhesive ("PSA") can be distributed into the cut out sections 130 to enable more permanent joining of two or more building constructs 110.

[0021] Similarly, the mid-sections 140 can also be coated with a PSA. This enables the tight common seam of two parallel building constructs 110 to adhere to each other. Such bounded building constructs 110 can enable strong and substantially fluid tight constructions to be created. For example, temporary concreate formation and curing guides can be constructed from such building constructs 110.

[0022] Examples of suitable PSAs include, but are not limited to, silicone based PSAs, including those of a MQ resin nature, acrylic, rubber, epoxy based PSAs, and the like. PSA technologies are well understood within the art and will not be further discussed within this application.

[0023] In some implementations, the building construct 110 is composed of a foamed polyurethane. For example, in some of such implementations, one or more building constructs 110 are formed from machining or cutting a large foam block of polyurethane. Of course, other methods of creation are possible. For example, a polyurethane based building construct 110 can also be created through the hold or cold molding of the polyurethane. Of course other forms of polymers, including polymer foams can be used to from which to create a building construct 110. For example, expanded polystyrene foam and extruded polystyrene foam are also used in other implementations.

[0024] As another example, some implementations are composed from polypropylene. Most often the implementations are hollow although other implementations utilize a polypropylene shell to enclose a polystyrene foam. For example, such implementations can exhibit resistance to heat, corrosion, chemical leaching and be resilient against physical damage. Additionally, as polypropylene is resistant to fatigue, such polypropylene implementations or incased implementations also can include a hollowed out area covered by a hinged cover. Typically, the hinged cover is implemented as a living hinge, a hinge implemented via a thinner portion of the plastic such as might be implemented in a flip-top bottle lid. Such hollowed out areas can allow the deposit of small items, such as sensors, within the building construct 110.

[0025] It will be understood by those skilled the art that other polymers, such as high-density polyethylene (HDPE), cross-linked polyethylene (PEX), flexible polyvinyl chloride (PVC), nnplasticized polyvinyl chloride (uPVC), and the like can also be used to encase a foamed polymer used to create a building construct 110. The choice of which polymer to use can be made based upon the desired properties of the finished building construct 110.

[0026] If composed from a polymer foam, it is to be understood that the type of cell structure in a polymer foam used to create a building construct 110 will influence its mechanical resilience and flexibility. For example, a building construct 110 formed utilizing an open-cell structure foam will likely exhibit less resilience than that of a close-cell structure foam of the same polymer. However, the same open-cell structure foam will likely exhibit greater sound absorption.

[0027] FIG. 3 is a rendering depicting a side perspective of a building construct 110 having adaptations allowing the building construct to have a variable length. As shown, in this implementation, the building construct 110 comprises five sub components; two interlocking sections 130, a mid-section 140, two attachment pegs 210. In the depicted implementation, the attachment peg 210 is four inches long with a radius of 1 inch, though it should be understood that other dimensions or even shapes are possible. For example, the attachment pegs 210 could be cuboid in shape. It should be understood that while the depicted implementation utilizes attachment pegs 210, other means of physical attachment can be used in place of the attachment pegs 210. For example, a compressionable protrusion could extend from an interlocking section 130 with the corresponding receptacle of the protrusion being part of the mid-section 140. In this way, the exemplary interlocking section 130 and mid-section 140 can be attached through simply snapping the protrusion into the receptacle.

[0028] In this implementation, the mid-section 140 has a cylindrical hollowed out portion 220 of approximately the same radius of that of the attachment pegs 210. Similarly, the interlocking sections 130 also have a hollowed out portion, approximately of the same radius but half of the length of the attachment pegs 210. Some implementations also include a PSA on the attachment pegs 210, allowing for a permanent fixing of an interlocking section 130 to either a mid-section 140 or another interlocking section 130 by permanently securing the attachment peg into the hollowed out portion 220 and/or interlocking section 130.

[0029] It should be understood that building constructs 110 of varying lengths can be created by shortening a mid-section 140, or by joining two or more mid-sections 140 together. In this way, building constructs 110 of virtually any length can be created.

[0030] FIG. 4 is a rendering of an implementation 310 of a building construct allowing the joining of two parallel building constructs 110. In this implementation, two parallel building constructs 110 can be joined together through the use of an interlock block 350. The interlock blocks 350 are sized such that approximately half of the interlock block 350 fits snugly into an interlock section 130. In some implementations, the interlock block 350 can be treated with a PSA, and in other implementations, the building constructs 110 are also such treated as previously noted, allowing the building constructs 110 to be securely fashioned.

[0031] The methods of construction of the building constructs will vary based upon the chosen material or combination of materials from which the building constructs are made. For example, building constructs can be formed from polystyrene through injection molding, from expanded polystyrene through utilizing pre-expanded stabilized polystyrene beads and reheating with steam in a mold and, from extruded polystyrene foam by milling or machining.

[0032] While primarily discussed as being implemented in one or more polymers, embodiments of the subject matter and the operations described in this specification can be implemented from any suitable material, including the substances disclosed in this specification and their structural equivalents, or in combinations of one or more of them. For example, the depicted invention could composed from an engineered wood product such as those incorporating sawdust or sawmill shavings and a synthetic resin.

[0033] The building constructs are easily assembled or connected. The building constructs are easily connected by interlocking mating notched portions. Alternatively, parallel building constructs can be assembled through the use of an interlock block or the like, such as described in FIG. 3. More permanent and resilient assemblies can be achieved through the use of a PSA on at least some portion of the building constructs or the interlock blocks, such as the case may be. The manner of connection or assembly requires no tools.

[0034] It will be understood that the above described arrangements of apparatus and the method therefrom are merely illustrative of applications of the principles of this invention and many other embodiments and modifications may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as defined in the claims.

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