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United States Patent Application 20170150836
Kind Code A1
Rivard; Scott A. June 1, 2017

STORAGE SYSTEMS, APPARATUS AND METHODS

Abstract

Illustrative embodiments of a storage apparatus may be incorporated into a support structure, such as a table. The table may include a table top supported by a support post. The support post having a first end portion and a second end portion, the support post coupled to the table top. The storage apparatus may be spaced apart from the table top along the support post and may include an attachment aperture extending through the storage apparatus. The storage apparatus may have one or more storage receptacles arranged around the attachment aperture for storing small items such as cups and cell phones, etc. In the illustrative embodiment, the support post may extend through the attachment aperture of the storage apparatus to couple the storage apparatus to the support post at a location along the longitudinal axis of the support post that is spaced apart from the table top.


Inventors: Rivard; Scott A.; (Minneapolis, MN)
Applicant:
Name City State Country Type

Rivard; Scott A.

Minneapolis

MN

US
Family ID: 1000002328837
Appl. No.: 15/361443
Filed: November 27, 2016


Related U.S. Patent Documents

Application NumberFiling DatePatent Number
62260591Nov 29, 2015

Current U.S. Class: 1/1
Current CPC Class: A47G 23/0208 20130101; A47B 13/16 20130101; B63B 2029/046 20130101; A47B 2200/0084 20130101; B63B 29/04 20130101
International Class: A47G 23/02 20060101 A47G023/02; B63B 29/04 20060101 B63B029/04; A47B 13/16 20060101 A47B013/16

Claims



1. A storage apparatus for attachment to a support post of a support structure of a boat, the storage apparatus comprising: a first storage surface and a second storage surface opposite the first storage surface; an attachment aperture extending through the storage apparatus from the first storage surface to the second storage surface, the attachment aperture configured to be coupled to a support post of the support structure via one or more fixation devices; one or more storage receptacles arranged around the attachment aperture, the storage receptacles are configured to restrain drinks while the boat is in motion.

2. The storage apparatus of claim 1, wherein the attachment aperture is substantially centrally located on the storage apparatus and the storage receptacles are arranged radially around the attachment aperture.

3. The storage apparatus of claim 1, wherein the support structure that the storage apparatus is configured to be coupled to is a table.

4. The storage apparatus of claim 1, wherein the storage apparatus further comprises a flexible sleeve, wherein the flexible sleeve is sized and shaped to extend through the attachment aperture and configured to provide dampening of vibrations to the storage apparatus, when the storage apparatus is coupled to a support post that extends through the attachment aperture, further wherein the one or more fixation devices are sized and shaped to couple the flexible sleeve to the support post.

5. The storage apparatus of claim 1, wherein the diameter of the support post is between 1.5-2.5 inches.

6. The storage apparatus of claim 1, wherein when the storage apparatus is sized and shaped to store at least one of a 12 ounce can or a 20 ounce bottle of soda without tipping over when the storage apparatus is accelerated on a boat in a linear motion in the plane of the storage apparatus from zero to 15 miles per hour in 20 seconds, the plane of the storage apparatus at an angle of 15 degrees from ground.

7. The storage apparatus of claim 1, wherein the diameter or width of the storage apparatus is between 8-16 inches.

8. The storage apparatus of claim 1, wherein the storage apparatus comprises one or more receptacle apertures configured to support at least one of the one or more storage receptacles, and wherein at least one of the storage receptacles comprises a 3.0 inch or 3.75 inch universal drop in cup holder insert.

9. The storage apparatus of claim 8, wherein at least one of the one or more receptacle apertures is between about 2.75 inches and 4.0 inches.

10. A method of assembling a storage apparatus to a support structure of a boat, the method comprising: receiving: a support structure comprising a table top having a first table surface and a second table surface opposite the first table surface; a support post extending along a longitudinal axis from a first end portion to a second end portion, wherein the table top and the support post are couplable at a table top connection point, and wherein the support post is configured for coupling to a floor at a first end portion; a storage apparatus comprising: a first storage apparatus surface and a second storage apparatus surface opposite the first storage apparatus surface; an attachment aperture extending through the storage apparatus from the first storage apparatus surface to the second storage apparatus surface; one or more storage receptacles arranged around the attachment aperture, inserting the support post of the table through the attachment aperture of the storage apparatus; coupling the storage apparatus to the support post at a location along the longitudinal axis of the support post that is spaced apart from the table top; and coupling the table top to the support post at the table top connection located along the support post distal from the first end portion.

11. The method of claim 10, further comprising removing the table top from the support post before the step of inserting the post through the attachment aperture of the storage apparatus.

12. The method of claim 10, further comprising coupling a first fixation device to the support post between the storage apparatus and the first end portion of the support post.

13. The method of claim 10, further comprising coupling a second fixation device to the support post between the storage apparatus and the second end portion of the support post.

14. The method of claim 10, further comprising placing a flexible sleeve around the post before the step of inserting the support post through the attachment aperture of the storage apparatus.

15. The method of claim 14, wherein placing the flexible sleeve around the support post comprises sliding a sleeve over the support post starting at the second end portion and sliding the sleeve to the location intermediate the first end portion and second end portion.

16. The method of claim 15, further comprising: providing a flexible sleeve configured to reduce transmission of vibrations between the storage apparatus and the support post; removing the table top from the support post before the step of inserting the post through the attachment aperture of the storage apparatus; placing the flexible sleeve around the support post by sliding a sleeve over the support post starting at the second end portion and sliding the sleeve to the location intermediate the first end portion and the second end portion; coupling a first fixation device to at least one or both of the support post and the storage apparatus; coupling the table top to the second end portion of the support post.

17. The method of claim 10, wherein the one or more storage receptacles are sized and shaped to store a 12 ounce can or 20 ounce bottle of soda upright in at least one of the one or more storage receptacles without tipping over when the storage apparatus is accelerated in a linear motion in the plane of the storage apparatus from zero to 15 miles per hour in 20 seconds.

18. A support structure for a boat, the support structure having a storage capabilities, the support structure comprising: a table top having a first table surface opposite a second table surface, the table top extending along a table top plane; a support post extending along a longitudinal axis substantially parallel to the table top plane, the support post having a first end portion and a second end portion, the support post coupled to the table top; a storage apparatus comprising: a first storage surface and a second storage surface opposite the first storage surface; an attachment aperture extending through the storage apparatus from the first storage surface to the second storage surface; one or more storage receptacles arranged around the attachment aperture, wherein the support post extends through the attachment aperture and the storage apparatus is coupled to the support post at a location along the longitudinal axis of the support post that is spaced apart from the table top.

19. The support structure of claim 18, wherein the support structure is a table having a table mounting mechanism configured to fixedly mount the table to a floor of a boat.

20. The support structure of claim 18, wherein the support surface provides shade to the majority of the storage apparatus when a light source located above the first support surface and facing toward the first support surface intersects the support surface at an angle of 70 degrees with respect to the support surface plane.
Description



PRIORITY

[0001] The present application claims priority to Provisional Patent Application No. 62/260,591 filed on Nov. 29, 2015, and is herein incorporated by reference.

TECHNICAL FIELD

[0002] This disclosure relates in general to storage systems, apparatus, support structures and methods of assembling such structures. The storage systems and apparatus may be used for supporting items such as drinks, containers, mobile devices, and other items. The storage apparatus may be particularly well suited to being incorporated into another support structure such as a table to provide a storage system. The storage system may be incorporated as a table or other support structure on a boat and other transportable structure.

BACKGROUND

[0003] Storage apparatus such as cup holders are very useful and are designed into many products to make life more comfortable and organized. Boats are one type of product where organization is imperative because space is at a premium. The mobile aspect of boats requires that storage apparatus on boats not just hold items, but also restrain items in place while moving. Movement related to the boat's velocity, waves and wind can cause items to shift out of place.

[0004] To address the problem of holding and restraining drinks on tables on boats, cup holders are often incorporated into the surface of the table. To secure the table, a post supporting the table top may be rigidly mounted to the floor of the boat.

SUMMARY

[0005] In general, this disclosure is directed to a system, an apparatus, support structure, method of storage and method of assembly. In some embodiments, the storage system may be used to store small items on a boat. The items may include, but are not limited to, drinks, cell phones, and other items.

[0006] Support structures such as tables often have cup holders incorporated into the surface of a table top. However, the present disclosure provides the benefit that that even though cup holders may be incorporated into the surface of the table top, the present disclosure increases the number of cup holders a given table can provide by utilizing space under the table surface. Unlike cup holders incorporated into the surface of the table, the storage system of the present disclosure also provides shade from the sun to the items being stored. The shade keeps drinks and items like cell phones or other temperature sensitive items, cool.

[0007] Support structures such as tables for supporting weighted objects on a boat and other small spaces are generally restricted in size due to the limited space available for egress and ingress around the table. Such support structures are also commonly supported by a single post to minimize space consumption and provide extra egress and ingress room for people and their cargo (e.g., coolers, bags, bins, etc.). The present storage system utilizes the space below the support structure or table, but above the floor, normally reserved for a person's knees and feet to provide extra cup holders. In some embodiments, the added storage is provided without impinging on the space required for sliding a cooler underneath the support structure (in the case of a table). The features described herein provide additional storage space to a support structure while maintaining the necessary egress and ingress space.

[0008] An illustrative embodiment of a storage apparatus incorporated into support structure such as a table may include a table top extending along a table top plane the table top having a first table surface opposite a second table surface. The table may be supported by a support post extending along a longitudinal axis substantially perpendicular to the table top plane. The support post extending from a first end portion at a first end, to a second end portion at a second end. The support post coupled to the table to at an end portion, although in some embodiments the table top may be coupled to the support post at other locations along the support post.

[0009] The table may further include the storage apparatus formed by a first storage surface and a second storage surface opposite the first storage surface. An attachment aperture may extend through the storage apparatus from the first storage surface to the second storage surface. The table top may have one or more storage receptacles arranged around the attachment aperture for storing small items such as cups and cell phones, etc. In the illustrative embodiment, the support post may extend through the attachment aperture of the storage apparatus to couple the storage apparatus to the support post at a location along the longitudinal axis of the support post that is spaced apart from the table top. The attachment aperture may not be present in some embodiments.

[0010] The details of one or more examples are set forth in the accompanying drawings and the description below. Other features, objects, and advantages will be apparent from the description and drawings, and from the claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

[0011] FIG. 1a is a side view of an illustrative embodiment of a table (e.g., a support structure) including a storage apparatus attached to a support post of the table.

[0012] FIG. 1b is a side view drawing of the illustrative embodiment of the table including the storage apparatus of FIG. 1a.

[0013] FIG. 1c is a side perspective view of the table of FIG. 1a.

[0014] FIG. 1d is a top perspective view of the table of FIG. 1a.

[0015] FIG. 1e is close up top perspective view of the storage apparatus and portions of the table of FIG. 1a.

[0016] FIG. 1f is a close up lower perspective view of the underside of the storage apparatus coupled to the support post by a fixation device of the table of FIG. 1a.

[0017] FIG. 2a is a side perspective view of another illustrative embodiment of a table including the storage apparatus.

[0018] FIG. 2b is a side view of the table of FIG. 2a.

[0019] FIG. 2c is a top perspective view of the table of FIG. 2a.

[0020] FIG. 3a-3e are top views of other embodiments of a storage apparatus.

[0021] FIG. 4 depicts an embodiment of the table of FIG. 1 including additional storage features.

[0022] FIG. 5 is an illustrative method of assembling the table and the storage apparatus of FIGS. 1 and 2.

[0023] FIGS. 6a-6b depict top views of an alternate embodiment of a storage apparatus.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0024] In the following detailed description of illustrative embodiments, reference is made to the accompanying figures of the drawings which form a part thereof, and in which are shown, by way of illustration, specific embodiments which may be practiced. It is to be understood that other embodiments may be utilized and structural changes may be made without departing from (e.g., still falling within) the scope of the disclosure presented hereby.

[0025] Exemplary embodiments shall be described with reference to FIGS. 1a-1e, 2a-2c, 3a-3e, 4, 5 and 6a-6b. It will be apparent to one skilled in the art that elements (e.g., apparatus, structures, parts, portions, regions, configurations, functionalities, method steps, materials, etc.) from one embodiment may be used in combination with elements of the other embodiments, and that the possible embodiments of such apparatus, system and methods using combinations of features set forth herein is not limited to the specific embodiments shown in the figures and/or described herein. Further, it will be recognized that the embodiments described herein may include many elements that are necessarily shown to scale. Still further it will be recognized that the size and shape of various elements herein may be modified but still fall within the scope of the present disclosure, although certain one or more shapes and/or sizes or types of elements, may be advantageous over others. The use of directional descriptions such as upwards and downwards is in relation to the system as one of ordinary skill in the art would commonly use a table or other support structure. For convenience, axes will be described in the drawings. The y-axis reflecting a vertical direction. The x-axis reflecting a horizontal direction (e.g., across the width of a table or transversely across the width of a boat). The z-direction reflection a horizontal direction (e.g., across the width of a table perpendicular to the x-axis (e.g., across the width of a table or along the longitudinal fore-aft direction of a boat).

[0026] Exemplary storage systems, apparatus and methods related to storing small items will be described herein. The storage system may be especially useful when incorporated into a boat. The items the storage apparatus is configured to hold may include, but are not limited to, drinks, cell phones, foods such as snacks and other similarly sized items.

[0027] As shown in the illustrative embodiment of FIGS. 1a-1e, and most completely in FIG. 1b, the storage system 100 includes a support surface 110 (such as a table top), a support post 120, and a storage apparatus 200 configured to be coupled to the support post 120. In the illustrative embodiment the support post 120 is mountable, or couplable to a floor (e.g., fixed to the floor). The floor may be the floor of a boat (e.g., FIG. 1a), but may also be the floor of a static structure or an RV.

[0028] The illustrative support surface 110 is configured to support weight and has a first support surface 112 and a second support surface 114 opposite the first support surface 112, the support surface 110 lying in a support surface plane 116. In the illustrative embodiment where the support structure is a table 100, the support surface 110 may also be called a table top 110, the first support surface 112 may be called a first table surface 112 and the second support surface 114 may be called a second table surface 114. Although used interchangeably herein, a support surface can take on other support forms other than a table.

[0029] The support surface and or the support structure as whole may be configured to support weights of at least 20 lbs, but in some embodiments, the support surface may be configured to support 100 lbs or more, or may be configured to support 200 lbs or more.

[0030] The illustrative storage apparatus 200 includes a first storage surface 212 and a second storage surface 214 opposite the first storage surface 212. The storage apparatus 200 is adapted to be coupled to the support post 120 (e.g., a support post 120 of a table 100 or other structure that provides support). As shown in the embodiment of FIGS. 1a-1f, an attachment aperture 230 extends through the storage apparatus 200 from the first storage surface 212 to the second storage surface 214 creating an opening or aperture extending through the storage apparatus 200. In some embodiments the attachment is centrally located (e.g. substantially centrally located or located at or near a geometric center, or at or near a center of mass of the storage apparatus 200). However, in some alternate embodiments, the attachment apparatus may be offset from the center of the storage apparatus 200. The storage apparatus may be offset, particularly in embodiments where the support post 120 is also offset from the center of the support surface 110, but is not limited to such embodiments.

[0031] The attachment aperture 230 may be configured such that the support post 120 may extend through the attachment aperture 230 (e.g., opening). In the illustrative embodiment, the support post 120 extends from a first end portion 122 to a second end portion 124. The first end portion 122 (e.g., lower end portion) may be mounted to a floor. In some embodiments the first end portion 122 is configured for stable support by a floor, or by a physical, fixed connection to a floor. The second end portion 124 (e.g. upper end portion) may be configured to be coupled to a support surface 110 such as a table 100 or other surface for supporting weight. The support post 120 may be coupled to the storage apparatus 200 at or near the attachment aperture 230. In some embodiment the second end portion 124 may terminate at the table top 110. In a preferred embodiment, the second end portion 124 terminates at or near the second surface of the table 100. In some embodiments, the support post may extend through the table top.

[0032] The illustrative embodiment depicts a support post 120 extending through the storage apparatus 200. However, in some embodiments the support post 120 may not extend through the storage apparatus 200. For example, in some embodiments the storage apparatus 200 may not have an attachment aperture 230. The support post 120 may be divided into two pieces that do not extend through an attachment aperture 230. Portions as described herein may describe discrete pieces, or portions of one continuous member.

[0033] In some embodiments, and as labeled in FIG. 1b, the support post 120 may have a first support post portion 120a and a second support post portion 120b (either one continuous post, or two or more individual pieces coupled together).

[0034] The first support post portion 120a may be coupled to the storage apparatus 200 (e.g., at or near the second storage surface 214). The first support post portion 120a may extend away from the storage apparatus 200 towards the first end portion 122 along the longitudinal axis of the support post 126. The first support post portion 120a may be configured to be rigidly connected to a floor (e.g., in a quick connect, no fasteners manner, or any other suitable arrangement) at a location along the longitudinal axis of the support post 126 that is spaced apart from the storage apparatus 200.

[0035] The storage apparatus 200 may be spaced apart from the floor when assembled and installed a distance equal to or substantially equal to a length L1 of the first support post portion 120a, or a first spacing S1. In some embodiments the length L1 of the first support post portion 120a is between about 12-18 inches. In some embodiments the first spacing S1 is between about 12-18 inches, or between about 13-17 inches. In a preferred embodiment, S1 is between 15-17 inches. In a most preferred embodiment, the first spacing is between about 15.5-16.5 inches.

[0036] In an alternate embodiment where foot clearance is not required, the first spacing S1 may be less than 12 inches.

[0037] The second support post portion 120b may extend away from the second support surface 110 along the longitudinal axis of the support post 126. The second support post portion 120b may be coupled to the support surface 110 (e.g., at or near the second support surface 110). The longitudinal axis of the support post 126 may be substantially perpendicular to the support surface plane 116. The second support post portion 120b may be coupled to the storage apparatus 200 (e.g., at or near the first storage surface 212).

[0038] The storage apparatus 200 may be spaced apart from the support surface 110 along the support post 120 a distance equal to or substantially equal to a second length L2 of the second support post portion 120, or a second spacing S2. In some embodiments the second length L2 of the second support post portion 120b is between about 4-12 inches, or the spacing S2 is between about 4-12 inches. In a preferred embodiment, S2 is between 6-10 inches. In a most preferred embodiment, S2 may be between about 7-9 inches, and more preferably about 8 inches.

[0039] The benefit of the spacing of the first support post portion 120a and the second support post portion 120b as described herein allows clearance for large coolers to be slid around the storage apparatus 200 on most pontoon boats, while still allowing items being stored to be inserted and removed from the storage receptacle 240 without being hindered by the support surface 110 (e.g., table top). In some embodiments, the position and size of the storage apparatus 200 prevents a user from sitting close to the table 100 with the user's knees at a 90 degree bend under the table top 110. Close to the table may be described as the user's abdomen or chest within 1 to 8 inches of the table top 110. Herein a user may be described as a 50% male user, such as the size of a 50% male crash test dummy, or a 5% female of the same.

[0040] The storage apparatus 200 defines a storage apparatus dimension 250, such as a diameter, width or an area in the plane of the storage apparatus 200. Likewise, the support surface 110 defines a support surface dimension 150, such as a diameter, width, or an area in the plane of the support surface 110. In the illustrative embodiment, and as shown in FIGS. 1a-1e, the storage apparatus dimension 250 (e.g., diameter, width or area) is less than a support surface dimension 150 (e.g., diameter, width or area). In some embodiments, including the case of non-uniform shapes, the maximum storage apparatus dimension 250 in the plane of the storage apparatus 216 may be less than the maximum support surface 110 dimension in the plane of the support surface 116. In some embodiments, the storage apparatus dimension 250 may be 10-60% less than the support surface dimension 150. In more preferred embodiments, the storage apparatus dimension 250 may be 20-50% less than the support surface dimension 150. For example, the storage apparatus dimension 250 may be about 30% less than the support surface dimension 150. In a most preferred embodiment, the diameter or width across the storage apparatus may be between 8-16 inches and the diameter or width across the support surface may be between 18-20 inches.

[0041] The benefit of the storage apparatus 200 being smaller than the support surface 110 is three-fold. For example, the support surface 110 provides shade to the majority of the storage apparatus 200 when a light source located above the first support surface 112, and facing the first support surface 112, is directed along the longitudinal axis of the support post 126 in a direction facing the plane of the support surface 116. Second, it accomplishes this while allowing some level of room for the knees of a user sitting at or near the table 100 to extend under the table top 110, if desired. Third, the design maintains space for cargo loading (e.g., onto a pontoon boat).

[0042] The support surface 110 provides shade to varying degrees based on the angle of the light source (e.g., the sun). The support surface 110 provides shade to the majority of the storage apparatus 200 when a light source located above the first support surface 112 and facing the first support surface 112 intersects the support surface 110 at an angle of 70 degrees. The support surface 110 provides shade to all of the storage apparatus 200 from a light source (e.g., the sun) located directly above the first support surface 112 and facing the first support surface 112.

[0043] In some embodiments, the storage apparatus 200 is configured to be coupled to a support post 120 that has a cross-sectional diameter or width across (e.g., widest cross section) in the range of about 1-4 inches. In a preferred embodiment, the support post 120 has a cross-sectional diameter or width in the range of about 1.5-2.5 inches, and in a more preferred embodiment the support post 120 diameter is about 1.75-2.25 inches. Herein about may be interpreted as plus or minus 10%.

[0044] The illustrative storage apparatus 200 includes one or more storage receptacles arranged around the attachment aperture 230. In the illustrative embodiment, the storage receptacles may be arranged radially around the attachment aperture 230. In some embodiments the storage receptacles may be formed as circular cylindrical or other shaped recesses having a depth of between about 2-4 inches, and preferably about 3 or 3.25 inches.

[0045] With regard to the incorporation of embodiments of the storage apparatus 200. In some embodiments, the storage apparatus 200 may be provided with integrally molded or incorporated storage receptacles 140 (e.g., 240). In some embodiments, the storage receptacles 140 may be provided as separate pieces that can be inserted into the storage apparatus. For example, in some embodiments, at least one of the one or more storage receptacles 140 includes a standard sized drop in cup holder insert that is insertable into a receptacle aperture in the storage apparatus 200. In some embodiments, the receptacle aperture may be about 3.75 inches, such as between about 3.5 inches and 4.0 inches. In some embodiments, the receptacle aperture may be about 3 inches, such as between about 23/4'' and 31/4'' in diameter.

[0046] In some embodiments, the storage receptacle is a universal cup holder insert, such as a universal 3.75 inch cup holder insert available from Amarine-Made that includes about the following dimensions: a height overall including a drain fitting of 4 inches, a height overall excluding drain fitting of 3.25 inches, a diameter overall lip outside of 4.25'', a diameter inside (large) of 3.625 inches, a diameter inside (small) of 2.625 inches.

[0047] In some embodiments, the storage receptacle 140 is a universal cup holder insert, available from Shoreline Marine, such as the 3.25''.times.4'' cup holder insert, or a cup holder insert available from Brybelly that includes about the following dimensions: 3 3/16 inches in diameter and is 2 5/16 inches tall. Other cup holder, including universal drop in cup holder inserts may be used. Other manufacturers and brands may also be used.

[0048] In some embodiments the storage apparatus 200 is provided without the storage receptacles themselves but may be provided as receptacle apertures in the storage apparatus into which storage receptacles 140 (e.g. drop in cup holder inserts) may be inserted.

[0049] Storage receptacle 140 recesses may take on the form of other shapes such as rectangular cuboid recesses may also be provided.

[0050] In some embodiments, the storage apparatus 200 is sized and shaped to store at least one of a 12 ounce can or a 20 ounce bottle of soda upright without tipping over when the storage apparatus 200 is accelerated in a linear motion in the plane of the storage apparatus 216 from zero to 15 miles per hour in 20 seconds (e.g., linearly or over still water). In some embodiments, the storage apparatus 200 may have greater or lesser capabilities for restraining items while under motion. In some embodiments, the storage apparatus is capable of storing the 20 ounce bottle of soda without tipping over during motion when the storage apparatus 200 is coupled to a table on a 2006 Sun Tracker Party Barge Pontoon. The soda may be restrained under linear motion that is consistent or accelerating as described, and/or over 1-2 ft waves and/or at an angle of 10-20 degrees from ground (e.g., 15 degrees, or any combination thereof within these ranges).

[0051] To facilitate attachment and to reduce vibration transmission and rattling noises, the illustrative storage system 100 may include a sleeve 300 (e.g., a flexible sleeve 300, dampening layer, flexible layer), and one or more fixation devices. The sleeve 300 may be located around at least a portion of the support post 120 and sized and shaped to extend through the attachment aperture 230. When assembled, the sleeve 300 may be located between the attachment aperture 230 of the storage apparatus 200 and the support post 120 to which the storage apparatus 200 is mounted. The sleeve 300 may be configured to provide dampening of vibrations to the storage apparatus 200 when the storage apparatus 200 is coupled to the support post 120 extending through the attachment aperture 230.

[0052] The sleeve 300 may be of generally cylindrical shape, however, in some embodiments it could be a sheet or layer of material that can be rolled into a cylindrical shape without being a continuous cylinder. In the illustrative embodiment, the sleeve 300 is a cylinder of neoprene material. The thickness of the sleeve 300 may be about 0.5 mm-10 mm thickness. The length of the sleeve 300 along the longitudinal axis of the support post 126 is between about 3-10 inches, and more preferably between about 5-7 inches. The sleeve 300 may be coupled to the support post 120 by one or more fixation devices that are sized and shaped to couple the flexible sleeve 300 to the support post 120.

[0053] As perhaps best shown in FIG. 1b, the first fixation device 310 may be coupled to the support post 120 between the storage apparatus 200 and the first end portion 122 of the support post 120. The second fixation device 320 is hidden from view in FIG. 1a due to the storage receptacles. It is shown in FIGS. 1b and 1e and may be similarly coupled to the support post 120 between the storage apparatus 200 and the second end portion 124 of the support post 120. In other words, the first fixation device 310 may be coupled to the support post 120 at a location closer to the first end portion 122 of the support post 120 than the location of the storage apparatus 200 to the first end portion 122; the second fixation device 320 may be coupled to the support post 120 at a location closer to the second end portion 124 of the support post 120 than the location of the storage apparatus 200 from the second end portion 124.

[0054] In some embodiments, and as shown in the illustrative embodiment, at least one of the first fixation device 310 or the second fixation device 320 may be a clamping device configured to exert a compressive force on the support post 120, and the sleeve 300 and/or the support post 120. Examples of fixation devices that provide a clamping force include hose clamps (e.g., with or without the split bushing depicted in FIG. 1e), and tie straps. Any suitable fixation device may be used, compressive or otherwise.

[0055] Both the first fixation device 310 and the second fixation device 320 are not required in all embodiments. In some embodiments the fixation device may couple the storage apparatus 200 to the support post 120 through the storage apparatus 200 (e.g. a coupling via a screw through a hole in the storage apparatus 200 and the support post 120).

[0056] In some embodiments, including the illustrative embodiment of FIGS. 1a-1f, the location that the storage apparatus 200 is coupled to along the support post 120 is infinitely adjustable without modifying, adjusting or manipulating features on the support post 120. Infinitely adjustable means that the storage apparatus 200 is not limited to predetermined, incremental and set attachment locations along the post, rather it can be slid along the support post 120 and be coupled without requiring corresponding features between the storage apparatus 200 and the support post 120 to be aligned. In other embodiments, the storage apparatus 200 may not be infinitely adjustable, but rather may be adjusted incrementally. For example a hole in both the storage apparatus 200 and the support post 120 may need to be lined up and fastened together with a fastening element such as a screw or pin.

[0057] As shown in the illustrative embodiment, the support structure may be a table 100, and the support surface 110 thus may be a table top, as would be commonly understood to one of ordinary skill in the art.

[0058] Embodiments of a storage apparatus 200 having a variety of shapes and storage receptacles are considered. FIGS. 3a-3e depict just a few of such examples.

[0059] FIG. 4 depicts an example of a storage apparatus 200 including an auxiliary storage element 400 that may be incorporated into either or both of the storage apparatus 200 or the table top 110. The auxiliary storage element 400 may be a flexible, concavely arranged material (e.g., net). The auxiliary storage element 400 may be coupled to the storage apparatus 200 or the table top 110 with detached portions 410 that allow items like sunscreen, goggles and hair brushes to be inserted. The auxiliary storage element 400 may be configured to store and restrain these items under movement as previously described with respect to the storage receptacles 140 and 240.

[0060] An illustrative method of assembling the previously described support structure such as a table 100 will now be described with reference to the previously described system, apparatus and structure. Although the method will be described specifically with respect to a table 100, the method could be applied to another support structure supported by a support post 120. The use of the term support structure may apply to tables and other support structures and is not limited to tables.

[0061] As shown in FIG. 5, the illustrative method 500 may include providing a table 100. The table 100 of step 510 may include the previously described table 100 having the table top 110, the support post 120 and the storage apparatus 200. The table top 110 may be described as having the first table surface 112 and the second table surface 114 opposite the first table surface 112. The table top 110 may include the table top connection point configured to couple the table top 110 to the support post 120. The provided support post 120 may extend along the longitudinal axis 126 from the first end portion 122 to the second end portion 124.

[0062] Step 520 of the method may further include providing the storage apparatus 200 having a first storage apparatus surface 212 and a second storage apparatus surface 214 opposite the first storage apparatus surface 212. The storage apparatus 200 may include the attachment aperture 230 extending through the storage apparatus 200 from the first storage apparatus surface 212 to the second storage apparatus surface 214. The storage apparatus 200 having the one or more storage receptacles 240 arranged around the attachment aperture 230.

[0063] In the illustrative method, the table 100 includes the support post 120 that may extend through the attachment aperture 230. The storage apparatus 200 may be couplable to the support post 120 at a location along the longitudinal axis of the support post 126 that is spaced apart from the table top 110 and the first end portion 122 of the support post 120.

[0064] In an embodiment where the table 100 is already assembled, and the storage apparatus 200 is an aftermarket item that is added to the table 100, the method may include removing the table top 110 from the second end portion 124 of the support post 120 before the coupling the storage apparatus 200 to the table 100 (step 530). Step 530 can also be completed by removing a quick-connect feature at the first end portion 122 of the support post 120. The purpose of removing the table top 110 or the quick-connect feature is to allow access for the storage apparatus 200 to slide over the support post 120 in later steps of the method.

[0065] In some embodiments, step 540 includes providing a flexible sleeve 300 and/or one or more fixation devices (e.g., first fixation device 310, second fixation device 320 etc.). The sleeve 300 configured to reduce transmission of vibrations, squeaks, rattles etc. between the storage apparatus 200 and the support post 120. In some embodiments, step 545 includes placing the flexible sleeve 300 around the support post 120 by sliding a sleeve 300 over the support post 120. The sliding step 545 may include starting at the second end portion 124 and sliding the sleeve 300 to the location intermediate the first end portion 122 and the second end portion 124 (or vice-versa). The step 545 of placing the flexible sleeve 300 around the support post 120 may be performed before inserting the support post 120 through the attachment aperture 230, which may occur in step 550. In other embodiments, step 545 of placing the flexible sleeve 300 around the support post 120 may be by wrapping the sleeve 300 around the support post 120.

[0066] Step 550 includes inserting the support post 120 through the attachment aperture 230 of the storage apparatus 200. In some embodiments, the sleeve 300 of the support post 120 is located between the support post 120 and the storage apparatus 200 when the storage apparatus 200 is properly located on the support post 120, as assembled. In various embodiments, the storage apparatus 200 may be slid over the support post 120 starting at the first end portion 122 or the second end portion 124.

[0067] Step 560 may include coupling the storage apparatus 200 to the support post 120. The step 560 of coupling the storage apparatus 200 to the support post 120 may be broken down into steps 560a and 560b. For example, step 560a may include coupling a first fixation device 310 to the support post 120 between the first end portion 122 and the second end portion 124, wherein the first fixation device 310 is coupled to the support post 120 closer to the first end portion 122 than the storage apparatus 200 is coupled to the first end portion 122. Step 560b may include coupling a second fixation device 320 to the support post 120 between the first end portion 122 and the second end portion 124, wherein the second fixation device 320 is coupled to the support post 120 closer to the second end portion 124 than the storage apparatus 200 is coupled to the second end portion 124.

[0068] In other words, step 560a and 560b may include coupling the first fixation device 310 to the support post 120 between the storage apparatus 200 and the first end portion 122 (e.g., floor end) of the support post 120 (step 560a). Step 560b may include coupling a second fixation device 320 to the support post 120 between the storage apparatus 200 and the second end portion 124 (e.g., table top end) of the support post 120. In some embodiments at least one or both of the first fixation device 310 or the second fixation device 320 is a clamping device configured to exert a compressive force on the support post 120.

[0069] Steps 560a and 560b may occur in variety of orders. For example, step 560a may occur followed by step 560b. This order is not required but may be preferred for ease of assembly. In some embodiments, step 560 can be a single step, or the coupling can be made at the storage apparatus 200 coupling to the support post 120.

[0070] Step 570 may include coupling the table top 110 to the support post 120 at a table top 110 connection located along the support post 120 distal from the first end portion 122, or coupling the table top 110 to the second end portion 124 of the support post 120.

[0071] Other methods of assembling a storage apparatus 200 to a support post 120 have been considered. As shown in FIG. 6, the storage apparatus 200 may be a multipart design including a first storage part 600a that slides around a support post 120 (as previously described with reference to the embodiments of 1a-e and 2a-2c, 3a-3e and 4), and a second storage part 600b that interconnects with first storage part 600a. The embodiment of FIG. 6 may be used with one or more fixation devices, but is not required.

[0072] Various examples have been described. These and other examples are within the scope of the following claims.

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