Easy To Use Patents Search & Patent Lawyer Directory

At Patents you can conduct a Patent Search, File a Patent Application, find a Patent Attorney, or search available technology through our Patent Exchange. Patents are available using simple keyword or date criteria. If you are looking to hire a patent attorney, you've come to the right place. Protect your idea and hire a patent lawyer.


Search All Patents:



  This Patent May Be For Sale or Lease. Contact Us

  Is This Your Patent? Claim This Patent Now.



Register or Login To Download This Patent As A PDF




United States Patent Application 20170191276
Kind Code A1
Young; Larry P. July 6, 2017

Adjustable Coupling System

Abstract

An adjustable coupling system is provided for efficiently and removably coupling objects such as platforms together in a linear or diagonal orientation. The adjustable coupling system generally includes a second receiver on a first platform and a first connector on a second platform. The first connector is adapted to be removably inserted within the second receiver such that the first connector is prevented from vertical movement with respect to the first platform. A first locking member is positioned near the first receiver on the second platform. The first locking member is adapted to selectively engage with the second connector when the second connector is positioned within the first receiver to pivotally connect the first platform and the second platform. A work platform or catwalk can be formed with linear sections, diagonal sections, and/or a mix thereof for a wide range of uses.


Inventors: Young; Larry P.; (Grand Forks, ND)
Applicant:
Name City State Country Type

Young; Larry P.

Grand Forks

ND

US
Assignee: Telpro Inc.
Grand Forks
ND

Family ID: 1000002021858
Appl. No.: 14/985715
Filed: December 31, 2015


Current U.S. Class: 1/1
Current CPC Class: E04G 7/301 20130101; E04G 7/34 20130101; E04G 1/32 20130101; E04G 1/20 20130101; E04G 5/061 20130101
International Class: E04G 7/30 20060101 E04G007/30; E04G 1/32 20060101 E04G001/32; E04G 1/20 20060101 E04G001/20; E04G 7/34 20060101 E04G007/34; E04G 5/06 20060101 E04G005/06

Claims



1. An adjustable coupling system, comprising: a first receiver on a first object; a first connector on a second object, wherein the first connector is removably inserted within the first receiver; and a first locking member positioned near the first receiver on the first object, wherein the first locking member is adapted to selectively engage with the first connector to pivotally connect the first object to the second object.

2. The adjustable coupling system of claim 1, further comprising a second receiver on the second object and a second connector on the first object, wherein the second connector is removably inserted within the second receiver.

3. The adjustable coupling system of claim 2, further comprising a second locking member positioned near the second receiver on the second object, wherein the second locking member is adapted to selectively engage with the second connector.

4. The adjustable coupling system of claim 1, further comprising a first guide member positioned near the first receiver, wherein the first locking member extends through the first guide member.

5. The adjustable coupling system of claim 4, wherein the first locking member includes a first anchor, wherein the first anchor is selectively engaged with the first guide member to lock the first locking member with the first connector.

6. The adjustable coupling system of claim 5, wherein the first guide member includes a first flange, wherein the first anchor is selectively engaged with the first flange.

7. The adjustable coupling system of claim 1, wherein the first connector comprises a first tubular member.

8. The adjustable coupling system of claim 7, wherein the first connector includes a first channel, wherein the first locking member is removably inserted within the first channel.

9. The adjustable coupling system of claim 8, wherein the first locking member extends no more than a quarter-length into the first channel.

10. An adjustable work platform system, comprising: a first stand having a plurality of vertical support members; a first platform having an upper surface, a first end and a second end, wherein the first platform is adjustably connected to the first stand, and wherein the first stand is adapted to support the first platform above a ground surface at a plurality of different angles; a second stand having a plurality of vertical support members; and a second platform having an upper surface, a first end and a second end, wherein the second platform is adjustably connected to the second stand, and wherein the second stand is adapted to support the second platform above the ground surface at a plurality of different angles; wherein the first end of the first platform is pivotally connected to the second end of the second platform.

11. The adjustable work platform system of claim 10, wherein the first platform includes a first receiver and a first locking member near the first receiver, wherein the second platform includes a first connector, wherein the first locking member is adapted to selectively engage with the first connector.

12. The adjustable work platform system of claim 11, wherein the first platform includes a second connector, wherein the second platform includes a second receiver and a second locking member near the second receiver, wherein the second locking member is adapted to selectively engage with the second connector.

13. The adjustable work platform system of claim 12, wherein the first locking member comprises a first base and a first locking bolt extending from the first base, wherein the second locking member comprises a second base and a second locking bolt extending from the second base.

14. The adjustable work platform system of claim 13, wherein the first platform includes a first guide member, wherein the first locking bolt slidably extends through the first guide member, wherein the second platform includes a second guide member, wherein the second locking bolt slidably extends through the second guide member.

15. The adjustable work platform system of claim 14, wherein the first locking member includes a first anchor, wherein the first guide member includes a first flange, wherein the second locking member includes a second anchor, wherein the second guide member includes a second flange.

16. The adjustable work platform system of claim 15, wherein the first anchor is adapted to selectively engage with the first flange to lock the first locking bolt within the second connector and wherein the second anchor is adapted to selectively engage with the second flange to lock the second locking bolt within the first connector.

17. The adjustable work platform system of claim 15, further comprising a first retention bolt connected between the first flange and the first base and a second retention bolt connected between the second flange and the second base.

18. The adjustable work platform system of claim 10, wherein the angle of the first platform is different from the angle of the second platform.

19. The adjustable work platform system of claim 10, wherein the first end of the first platform is removably connected to the second end of the second platform.

20. A platform coupling system, comprising: a platform comprising a first end, a second end, a first side, and a second side; a first receiver on the first end near the first side of the platform; a second receiver on the second end near the second side of the platform; a first connector on the first end near the second side of the platform; a second connector on the second end near the first side of the platform; a first locking member extending outwardly from the first side of the first end of the platform, wherein the first locking member is adapted to slide into or out of the first receiver; and a second locking member extending outwardly from the second side of the second end of the platform, wherein the second locking member is adapted to slide into or out of the second receiver.
Description



CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001] Not applicable to this application.

STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT

[0002] Not applicable to this application.

BACKGROUND

[0003] Field

[0004] Example embodiments in general relate generally to a coupling system and more specifically it relates to an adjustable coupling system for efficiently and removably coupling objects such as platforms together in a linear or diagonal orientation.

[0005] Description

[0006] Any discussion of the related art throughout the specification should in no way be considered as an admission that such related art is widely known or forms part of common general knowledge in the field.

[0007] In a wide range of industries, it is often desired to couple objects such as platforms together. When coupling such objects together, it is typically required that the objects be linearly coupled to maintain structural integrity and prevent formation of gaps. Previous coupling systems have proven unreliable when attempting to couple two objects together in a diagonal, rather than linear, orientation.

[0008] For example, in construction, it is common to need elevated platforms which are interconnected to form a catwalk. In the past, these catwalks have been limited to linear orientations in order to maintain safety. Thus, platforms have been incapable of forming up and/or down slopes within a continuous catwalk without loss of structural integrity or severe risk of injury.

[0009] Where the platforms have been diagonally coupled to form diagonal catwalks that ramp up, down, or a combination thereof, there are often gaps present which can cause injury to a user. Further, the interconnections between such platforms are often unstable and can result in inadvertent decoupling.

SUMMARY

[0010] An example embodiment of the present invention is directed to a first receiver on a first platform and a first connector on a second platform. The first connector is adapted to be removably inserted within the second receiver such that the first connector is prevented from vertical movement with respect to the first platform. A first locking member is positioned near the first receiver on the second platform. The first locking member is adapted to selectively engage with the second connector when the second connector is positioned within the first receiver to pivotally connect the first platform and the second platform. Using one embodiment of the present invention, a work platform or catwalk can be formed with linear sections, diagonal sections, and/or a mix thereof for a wide range of uses.

[0011] There has thus been outlined, rather broadly, some of the features of the invention in order that the detailed description thereof may be better understood, and in order that the present contribution to the art may be better appreciated. There are additional features of the invention that will be described hereinafter and that will form the subject matter of the claims appended hereto. In this respect, before explaining at least one embodiment of the invention in detail, it is to be understood that the invention is not limited in its application to the details of construction or to the arrangements of the components set forth in the following description or illustrated in the drawings. The invention is capable of other embodiments and of being practiced and carried out in various ways. Also, it is to be understood that the phraseology and terminology employed herein are for the purpose of the description and should not be regarded as limiting.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0012] Example embodiments will become more fully understood from the detailed description given herein below and the accompanying drawings, wherein like elements are represented by like reference characters, which are given by way of illustration only and thus are not limitative of the example embodiments herein.

[0013] FIG. 1 is an upper perspective view of a linear work platform in accordance with an example embodiment.

[0014] FIG. 2 is a frontal view of a linear work platform.

[0015] FIG. 3a is a side sectional view of platforms coupled on a mounting stand.

[0016] FIG. 3b is a side sectional view of platforms de-coupled on a mounting stand.

[0017] FIG. 4 is a side view of platforms aligned for installation and coupling on mounting stands.

[0018] FIG. 5 is a side view of platforms which are coupled both linearly and diagonally to form a work platform.

[0019] FIG. 6 is a side view of platforms which are coupled diagonally to form a work platform.

[0020] FIG. 7 is an upper perspective view of a platform in accordance with an example embodiment.

[0021] FIG. 8 is an upper perspective view of two platforms aligned for coupling.

[0022] FIG. 9 is an upper perspective view of two platforms being coupled together.

[0023] FIG. 10 is an upper perspective view of two platforms being de-coupled from each other linearly.

[0024] FIG. 11 is a top view of two platforms aligned for coupling.

[0025] FIG. 12 is a top view of two platforms positioned next to each other but not coupled.

[0026] FIG. 13 is a top view of two platforms coupled together.

[0027] FIG. 14 is a top view of two platforms being de-coupled by disengaging one locking member.

[0028] FIG. 15 is a top view of two platforms being de-coupled with one disengaged locking member.

[0029] FIG. 16 is a top view of two platforms de-coupled from each other.

[0030] FIG. 17 is an upper perspective view of two platforms de-coupled from each other.

[0031] FIG. 18a is an upper perspective view of a first locking member.

[0032] FIG. 18b is an upper perspective view of a second locking member.

[0033] FIG. 19a is an upper perspective view of a locking member in an unlocked state.

[0034] FIG. 19b is an upper perspective view of a locking member in a locked state.

[0035] FIG. 20a is a side view of two platforms coupled in a first diagonal orientation.

[0036] FIG. 20b is a side view of two platforms coupled in a second diagonal orientation.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

A. Overview.

[0037] Turning now descriptively to the drawings, in which similar reference characters denote similar elements throughout the several views, FIGS. 1 through 20b illustrate an adjustable coupling system 10, which comprises a second receiver 36 on a first platform 20a and a first connector 30 on a second platform 20b. The first connector 30 is adapted to be removably inserted within the second receiver 36 such that the first connector 30 is prevented from vertical movement with respect to the first platform 20a. A first locking member 40 is positioned near the first receiver 32 on the second platform 20b. The first locking member 40 is adapted to selectively engage with the second connector 34 when the second connector 34 is positioned within the first receiver 32 to pivotally connect the first platform 20a and the second platform 20b. A work platform or catwalk can be formed with linear sections, diagonal sections, and/or a mix thereof for a wide range of uses.

B. Platforms.

[0038] As shown in the figures, one embodiment of the present invention is generally utilized to pivotally and adjustably connect two or more platforms 20 together. It should be appreciated, however, that the present invention may be utilized to connect any two objects together. Thus, while the figures and written description illustrate exemplary embodiments of the present invention in use with platforms 20 to form a catwalk or working platform, the present invention should not be construed as limited in that regard.

[0039] The platforms 20 may be self-supporting, such as through the use of legs (not shown). In such a case, the legs will preferably be adjustable vertically to allow for the platforms 20 to ramp up or ramp down if desired by the operator. In a preferred embodiment as shown in FIG. 1, one or more mounting stands 12 may be utilized to support the platforms 20 in various orientations. In the embodiment shown in the figures, the mounting stands 12 are comprised of a vertical support 15 and a horizontal support 16 which is vertically adjustable along the height of the vertical support 15. A winch 13 and cord 14 may be provided to aid with the adjustment of the horizontal support 16, on which one or more platforms 20 may be mounted.

[0040] As shown in FIGS. 1-6, the platforms 20 are supported by the mounting stands 12. Although the figures illustrate that each stand 12 supports a single platform 20, it should be appreciated that in some embodiments a single stand 12 could support multiple platforms 20. While the platforms 20 are pivotally connected to each other, the mounting stands 12 will generally retain the platforms 20 in specific orientations without allowing any pivoting movement while in use, such as when an individual is walking across the platforms 20.

[0041] The platforms 20 of one embodiment of the present invention may be coupled together in various orientations. FIG. 2 illustrates an embodiment in which multiple platforms 20 have been coupled in a linear orientation to form a linear work platform or catwalk. FIG. 5 illustrates an embodiment in which an "up ramp" has been formed between three platforms 20 which are coupled in both linear and diagonal orientations with respect to each other. FIG. 6 illustrates yet another embodiment in which all platforms 20 are diagonally oriented with respect to each other to form a linear surface, a diagonal surface, and another linear surface.

[0042] The figures illustrate the platforms 20 as comprising rectangular- or square-shaped configurations which each include a first end 21, a second end 22, a first side 23, and a second side 24. The positioning of the various components of the present invention may vary in different embodiments. In the preferred embodiment shown in FIG. 7, the first end 21 of the platform 20 includes a first receiver 32 near its first side 23 and a first connector 30 near its second side 24. The second end 22 of the platform 20 includes a second connector 34 near its first side 23 and a second receiver 36 near its second side 24. A first locking member 40 extends outwardly from the first side 23 of the first end 21 of the platform 20. A second locking member 50 extends outwardly from the second side 24 of the second end 22 of the platform 20.

C. Connectors and Receivers.

[0043] One embodiment of the present invention utilizes connectors 30, 34 and receivers 32, 36 to pivotally couple the platforms 20 together as shown in the figures. Generally, each platform 20 includes a first connector 30 and a first receiver 32 on its first end 21 and a second connector 34 and second receiver 36 on its second end 22. The connectors 30, 34 and receivers 32, 36 are each on opposing sides 23, 24 of the platform 20 with respect to each other to allow interconnection with additional platforms 20.

[0044] The figures illustrate the connectors 30, 34 as comprising hollow, elongated members. It should be appreciated that the configuration, structure, shape, orientation, and dimensions of the connectors 30, 34 may vary in different embodiments. In a preferred embodiment as shown in FIG. 7, the connectors 30, 34 each comprise tubular members. Thus, the first connector 30 generally includes a first channel 31 extending therethrough and the second connector 34 generally includes a second channel 35 extending therethrough. While the figures illustrate the connectors 30, 34 as comprising a circular cross-section (which allows for pivoting motion), it should be appreciated that other cross-sections may be utilized in different embodiments.

[0045] The connectors 30, 34 will each generally extend along half the length of the respective ends 21, 22 of the platform 20 as shown in FIG. 8. It should be appreciated, however, that alternative configurations may be utilized in some embodiments. Having the connectors 30, 34 extend across half of the ends 21, 22 of the platform 20 ensures that there is no gap between adjoined platforms 20 when connected as shown in FIG. 9.

[0046] The first receiver 32 generally comprises first ribs 33 while the second receiver 36 will generally comprise second ribs 37 such as shown in FIG. 11. The figures illustrate the first receivers 32 as comprising parallel upper and lower first ribs 33 and the second receivers 36 as comprising parallel upper and lower second ribs 37; which together form bracket structures to retain the connectors 30, 34 therein. The connectors 30, 34 are positioned between the ribs 33, 37 to be retained therein. As shown in FIGS. 9 and 11, the first connector 30 is removably positioned between the second ribs 37 and the second connector 34 is removably positioned between the first ribs 33. When positioned within a receiver 32, 36, the connector 30, 34 is free to pivot, but is not capable of moving vertically due to the ribs 33, 37 preventing vertical movement of the connectors 30, 34.

D. Guide and Locking Members.

[0047] As shown throughout the figures, locking members 40, 50 are provided which selectively and removably engage with the connectors 30, 34 to couple the platforms 20 together. Generally, a first locking member 40 is positioned near the first receiver 32 and a second locking member 50 is positioned near the second receiver 36 such as shown in FIGS. 8 and 11.

[0048] The locking members 40, 50 are each adapted to slide into or out of the receivers 32, 36. The first locking member 40 is positioned near the first receiver 32 and is adapted to slide into and out of the first receiver 32. Similarly, the second locking member 50 is positioned near the second receiver 36 and is adapted to slide into and out of the second receiver 36.

[0049] When a connector 30, 34 is positioned within a receiver 36, 32 respectively, the locking member 40, 50 will slidably engage with the connector 30, 34 within the receiver 32, 36 as shown in FIG. 9. Thus, the locking members 40, 50 will secure the first connector 30 within the second receiver 36 and the second connector 34 within the first receiver 32 to effectuate the coupling of the platforms 20.

[0050] The locking members 40, 50 may comprise various configurations. In a preferred embodiment shown in FIGS. 18a and 18b, the first locking member 40 comprises a first base 41 having a first outer end 42 and a first inner end 43. A first locking bolt 45 extends from the first base 41 such that the first base 41 and first locking bolt 45 move together (i.e., when the first base 41 is pushed inwardly, the first locking bolt 45 moves with the first base 41). First retention bolts 44 extend between the first base 41 and the first guide member 60 to prevent the first locking member 40 from being fully removed from the first guide member 60.

[0051] As shown in FIG. 18a, the first base 41 may include a first handle 46 on its first outer end 42 as shown in the figures. The first handle 46 may be grasped by a user to push in or pull out the first locking bolt 45 with respect to the first receiver 32. The first base 41 may also include a first hinge 47 and a first anchor 48 which is hingedly attached to the first base 41 via the first hinge 47. The first anchor 48 may include a first notch 49 so that the first anchor 48 may selectively engage with a corresponding first flange 64 on the first guide member 60 to lock the first locking bolt 45 in an extended position within the second connector 34 when one embodiment of the present invention is in use.

[0052] In a preferred embodiment shown in the figures, the second locking member 50 comprises a second base 51 having a second outer end 52 and a second inner end 53. A second locking bolt 55 extends from the second base 51 such that the second base 51 and second locking bolt 55 move together (i.e., when the second base 51 is pushed inwardly, the second locking bolt 55 moves with the second base 51). Second retention bolts 54 extend between the second base 51 and the second guide member 70 to prevent the second locking member 50 from being fully removed from the second guide member 70.

[0053] As shown in FIG. 18b, the second base 51 may include a second handle 56 on its second outer end 52 as shown in the figures. The second handle 56 may be grasped by a user to push in or pull out the second locking bolt 55 with respect to the second receiver 36. The second base 51 may also include a second hinge 57 and a second anchor 58 which is hingedly attached to the second base 51 via the second hinge 57. The second anchor 58 may include a second notch 59 so that the second anchor 58 may selectively engage with a corresponding second flange 74 on the second guide member 70 to lock the second locking bolt 55 in an extended position within the first connector 30 when one embodiment of the present invention is in use.

[0054] As best shown in FIG. 13, the first locking member 40 is slidably engaged within the second connector 34, which itself is positioned within the first receiver 32. Similarly, the second locking member 50 is slidably engaged with the first connector 30, which itself is positioned within the second receiver 36. In a preferred embodiment, the first locking bolt 45 extends into the second channel 35 of the second connector 34 and the second locking bolt 55 extends into the first channel 31 of the first connector 30. Preferably, the first locking member 40 extends no more than a quarter-length into the second connector 34 and the second locking member 50 extends no more than a quarter-length into the first connector 30.

[0055] This configuration allows the platforms 20 to be de-coupled by only disengaging one of the locking members 40, 50 as shown in FIGS. 15-17 and discussed below. Such a configuration prevents damage to the locking members 40, 50, as the still-engaged connector 30, 34 will slide harmlessly off the still-engaged locking member 40, 50 without binding or grabbing. Thus, the present invention provides the flexibility of disconnecting with one or both of the locking members 40, 50 disengaged in a manner which will not damage any component of the present invention, even with repeated usage.

[0056] As shown throughout the figures, guide members 60, 70 may be provided to guide the linear movement of the locking members 40, 50. As shown in FIG. 11, the first guide member 60 is positioned near the first receiver 32 and the second guide member 70 is positioned near the second receiver 36. The first locking member 40 slidably extends through the first guide member 60 and the second locking member 50 slidably extends through the second guide member 70.

[0057] As shown in the figures, the first guide member 60 is connected to the first end 21 of the platform 20 by a first bracket 61 and the second guide member 70 is connected to the second end 22 of the platform 20 by a second bracket 71. In some embodiments, the brackets 61, 71 may be omitted, with the guide members 60, 70 being secured to the platform 20 by other means, such as welding.

[0058] The first guide member 60 generally includes a first opening 63 through which the first locking bolt 45 slidably extends and the second guide member 70 generally includes a second opening 73 through which the second locking bolt 55 slidably extends. The first guide member 60 may include a first flange 64, wherein the first anchor 48 of the first locking member 40 may selectively engage with the first flange 64 to lock the first locking member 40 in an engaged position extending through the first guide member 60. The first guide member 60 may include a first tab 67 over which the first notch 49 will be positioned to effectuate the locking mechanism. First retention bolts 44 extending between the first locking member 40 and the first guide member 60 ensure that the first locking member 40 is never fully removed from the first guide member 60.

[0059] Similarly, the second guide member 70 may include a second flange 74, wherein the second anchor 58 of the second locking member 50 may selectively engage with the second flange 74 to lock the second locking member 50 in an engaged position extending through the second guide member 70. The second guide member 70 may include a second tab 77 over which the second notch 59 will be positioned to effectuate the locking mechanism. Second retention bolts 54 extending between the second locking member 50 and the second guide member 70 ensure that the second locking member 50 is never fully removed from the second guide member 70.

E. Operation of Preferred Embodiment.

[0060] In use, the platforms 20 may be easily coupled and/or de-coupled in various orientations, including linear and diagonal. The pivoting movement between adjoined platforms 20 allows for a wide range of uses, including the formation of work platforms that can be flat, ramped up, ramped down, or any combination thereof.

[0061] Generally, mounting stands 12 will first be arranged to support the platforms 20 as shown in FIG. 4. The mounting stands 12 are positioned in the desired path of the platforms 20 and the horizontal supports 16 of each mounting stand 12 are vertically adjusted to the desired levels for the platforms 20. Upon completion of the arrangement of the mounting stands 12, the platforms 20 may be installed.

[0062] As shown in FIG. 5, the platforms 20 are positioned onto the mounting stands 12 and then coupled together using one embodiment of the present invention. FIGS. 3a and 3b illustrate how the platforms 20 are supported by the mounting stands 12. FIG. 2 illustrates a plurality of platforms 20 oriented linearly on a plurality of mounting stands 12. FIG. 5 illustrates a "ramp up" configuration with platforms 20 being both linearly and diagonally interconnected. FIG. 6 illustrates another configuration in which the platforms 20 are each diagonally interconnected with each other. These are merely exemplary illustrations and thus in no way should be construed as limiting on the scope of the present invention.

[0063] FIGS. 8-9 and 11-13 illustrate the coupling of two platforms 20a, 20b together. As shown in FIGS. 8 and 11, the platforms 20a, 20b are first aligned together with both locking members 40, 50 being disengaged. The platforms 20a, 20b may then be pushed together and the locking members 40, 50 engaged as shown in FIGS. 9 and 12 to pivotally couple the platforms 20a, 20b together. FIGS. 20a and 20b illustrate how the coupled platforms 20a, 20b may be pivoted with respect to each other after coupling.

[0064] The first connector 30 is inserted within the second receiver 36 while the second connector 34 is inserted within the first receiver 32 as shown in FIGS. 8, 11, and 13. The ribs 33, 37 of the respective receivers 32, 36 will prevent vertical movement of the connectors 30, 34 when so inserted. With the connectors 30, 34 inserted within the receivers 32, 36, the locking members 40, 50 may be engaged as shown in FIG. 13. The first locking member 40 is pushed forward with its first handle 46 such that the first locking bolt 45 extends into the second channel 35 of the second connector 34. Similarly, the second locking member 50 is pushed forward with its second handle 56 such that the second locking bolt 55 extends into the first channel 31 of the first connector 30.

[0065] With the locking members 40, 50 inserted into their respective corresponding connectors 30, 34, the anchors 48, 58 may be set to ensure that the locking members 40, 50 do not prematurely slide out of the connectors 30, 34 as shown in FIGS. 19a and 19b. The first anchor 48 is pivoted to engage with the first base 41 and the second anchor 58 is pivoted to engage with the second base 51 as shown in FIG. 13. At this point, as shown in FIGS. 9 and 13, the platforms 20a, 20b are coupled together. The platforms 20a, 20b may be pivoted into various orientations before or after being set on mounting stands 12.

[0066] To de-couple the platforms 20a, 20b, one or both of the locking members 40, 50 are disengaged to allow the platforms 20a, 20b to be separated. If both locking members 40, 50 are disengaged, the platforms 20a, 20b may be separated linearly as shown in FIG. 10. FIGS. 14-17 illustrate de-coupling of platforms 20a, 20b by disengaging only one of the locking members 40, 50.

[0067] As shown in FIG. 14, the first anchor 48 is pivoted to disengage with the first base 41. The first locking member 40 may then be pulled outwardly, such as via its first handle 46 to disengage the first locking member 40 from the second connector 34. At this point, the second platform 20b may be pivotably disengaged as shown in FIGS. 15-17. The side with the disengaged first locking member 40 need only be pulled away, while allowing the second locking member 50 to retain engaged, to pivotally de-couple the platforms 20a, 20b from each other. This configuration permits the platforms 20a, 20b to be de-coupled without the requirement that both locking members 40, 50 be disengaged which, in some situations, may be difficult to accomplish.

[0068] Unless otherwise defined, all technical and scientific terms used herein have the same meaning as commonly understood by one of ordinary skill in the art to which this invention belongs. Although methods and materials similar to or equivalent to those described herein can be used in the practice or testing of the present invention, suitable methods and materials are described above. All publications, patent applications, patents, and other references mentioned herein are incorporated by reference in their entirety to the extent allowed by applicable law and regulations. The present invention may be embodied in other specific forms without departing from the spirit or essential attributes thereof, and it is therefore desired that the present embodiment be considered in all respects as illustrative and not restrictive. Any headings utilized within the description are for convenience only and have no legal or limiting effect.

* * * * *

File A Patent Application

  • Protect your idea -- Don't let someone else file first. Learn more.

  • 3 Easy Steps -- Complete Form, application Review, and File. See our process.

  • Attorney Review -- Have your application reviewed by a Patent Attorney. See what's included.