US20070131840A1 - Integral form panel for concrete form system - Google Patents

Integral form panel for concrete form system Download PDF

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Publication number
US20070131840A1
US20070131840A1 US11/639,403 US63940306A US2007131840A1 US 20070131840 A1 US20070131840 A1 US 20070131840A1 US 63940306 A US63940306 A US 63940306A US 2007131840 A1 US2007131840 A1 US 2007131840A1
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Prior art keywords
panel
integral
concrete
tie
bracket
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Abandoned
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US11/639,403
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Kurtis Jones
Derrel Spencer
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Jones Kurtis D
Spencer Derrel L
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Priority to US75733706P priority
Application filed by Jones Kurtis D, Spencer Derrel L filed Critical Jones Kurtis D
Priority to US11/639,403 priority patent/US20070131840A1/en
Publication of US20070131840A1 publication Critical patent/US20070131840A1/en
Abandoned legal-status Critical Current

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    • EFIXED CONSTRUCTIONS
    • E04BUILDING
    • E04GSCAFFOLDING; FORMS; SHUTTERING; BUILDING IMPLEMENTS OR AIDS, OR THEIR USE; HANDLING BUILDING MATERIALS ON THE SITE; REPAIRING, BREAKING-UP OR OTHER WORK ON EXISTING BUILDINGS
    • E04G17/00Connecting or other auxiliary members for forms, falsework structures, or shutterings
    • E04G17/14Bracing or strutting arrangements for formwalls; Devices for aligning forms
    • EFIXED CONSTRUCTIONS
    • E04BUILDING
    • E04GSCAFFOLDING; FORMS; SHUTTERING; BUILDING IMPLEMENTS OR AIDS, OR THEIR USE; HANDLING BUILDING MATERIALS ON THE SITE; REPAIRING, BREAKING-UP OR OTHER WORK ON EXISTING BUILDINGS
    • E04G13/00Falsework, forms, or shutterings for particular parts of buildings, e.g. stairs, steps, cornices, balconies foundations, sills
    • EFIXED CONSTRUCTIONS
    • E04BUILDING
    • E04GSCAFFOLDING; FORMS; SHUTTERING; BUILDING IMPLEMENTS OR AIDS, OR THEIR USE; HANDLING BUILDING MATERIALS ON THE SITE; REPAIRING, BREAKING-UP OR OTHER WORK ON EXISTING BUILDINGS
    • E04G17/00Connecting or other auxiliary members for forms, falsework structures, or shutterings
    • E04G17/001Corner fastening or connecting means for forming or stiffening elements
    • EFIXED CONSTRUCTIONS
    • E04BUILDING
    • E04GSCAFFOLDING; FORMS; SHUTTERING; BUILDING IMPLEMENTS OR AIDS, OR THEIR USE; HANDLING BUILDING MATERIALS ON THE SITE; REPAIRING, BREAKING-UP OR OTHER WORK ON EXISTING BUILDINGS
    • E04G17/00Connecting or other auxiliary members for forms, falsework structures, or shutterings
    • E04G17/02Connecting or fastening means for non-metallic forming or stiffening elements
    • EFIXED CONSTRUCTIONS
    • E04BUILDING
    • E04GSCAFFOLDING; FORMS; SHUTTERING; BUILDING IMPLEMENTS OR AIDS, OR THEIR USE; HANDLING BUILDING MATERIALS ON THE SITE; REPAIRING, BREAKING-UP OR OTHER WORK ON EXISTING BUILDINGS
    • E04G17/00Connecting or other auxiliary members for forms, falsework structures, or shutterings
    • E04G17/04Connecting or fastening means for metallic forming or stiffening elements, e.g. for connecting metallic elements to non-metallic elements
    • EFIXED CONSTRUCTIONS
    • E04BUILDING
    • E04GSCAFFOLDING; FORMS; SHUTTERING; BUILDING IMPLEMENTS OR AIDS, OR THEIR USE; HANDLING BUILDING MATERIALS ON THE SITE; REPAIRING, BREAKING-UP OR OTHER WORK ON EXISTING BUILDINGS
    • E04G17/00Connecting or other auxiliary members for forms, falsework structures, or shutterings
    • E04G17/06Tying means; Spacers ; Devices for extracting or inserting wall ties
    • EFIXED CONSTRUCTIONS
    • E04BUILDING
    • E04GSCAFFOLDING; FORMS; SHUTTERING; BUILDING IMPLEMENTS OR AIDS, OR THEIR USE; HANDLING BUILDING MATERIALS ON THE SITE; REPAIRING, BREAKING-UP OR OTHER WORK ON EXISTING BUILDINGS
    • E04G17/00Connecting or other auxiliary members for forms, falsework structures, or shutterings
    • E04G17/06Tying means; Spacers ; Devices for extracting or inserting wall ties
    • E04G17/12Tying means; Spacers ; Devices for extracting or inserting wall ties with arms engaging the forms
    • EFIXED CONSTRUCTIONS
    • E04BUILDING
    • E04GSCAFFOLDING; FORMS; SHUTTERING; BUILDING IMPLEMENTS OR AIDS, OR THEIR USE; HANDLING BUILDING MATERIALS ON THE SITE; REPAIRING, BREAKING-UP OR OTHER WORK ON EXISTING BUILDINGS
    • E04G9/00Forming or shuttering elements for general use
    • E04G9/02Forming boards or similar elements
    • EFIXED CONSTRUCTIONS
    • E04BUILDING
    • E04GSCAFFOLDING; FORMS; SHUTTERING; BUILDING IMPLEMENTS OR AIDS, OR THEIR USE; HANDLING BUILDING MATERIALS ON THE SITE; REPAIRING, BREAKING-UP OR OTHER WORK ON EXISTING BUILDINGS
    • E04G17/00Connecting or other auxiliary members for forms, falsework structures, or shutterings
    • E04G17/06Tying means; Spacers ; Devices for extracting or inserting wall ties
    • E04G2017/0646Tying means; Spacers ; Devices for extracting or inserting wall ties made of a flat strip, e.g. of metal
    • EFIXED CONSTRUCTIONS
    • E04BUILDING
    • E04GSCAFFOLDING; FORMS; SHUTTERING; BUILDING IMPLEMENTS OR AIDS, OR THEIR USE; HANDLING BUILDING MATERIALS ON THE SITE; REPAIRING, BREAKING-UP OR OTHER WORK ON EXISTING BUILDINGS
    • E04G17/00Connecting or other auxiliary members for forms, falsework structures, or shutterings
    • E04G17/06Tying means; Spacers ; Devices for extracting or inserting wall ties
    • E04G2017/0646Tying means; Spacers ; Devices for extracting or inserting wall ties made of a flat strip, e.g. of metal
    • E04G2017/0648The strip being twisted

Abstract

The invention is an integral form panel for use in concrete form systems. Embodiments of an integral form panel may include a flat panel portion including a plurality of grade slots configured for receiving a grade clip and a plurality of tie slots configured for receiving a tie therein. The integral form panel may further include a top lip adjacent to an upper edge of the flat panel portion, the top lip including a plurality of holes configured for receiving a stake therein. Embodiments of a concrete form system including the integral form panel and methods of using same to form concrete footings are also disclosed.

Description

    CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
  • This nonprovisional patent application claims benefit and priority under 35 U.S.C. §119(e) of the filing of U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/749,967 filed on Dec. 13, 2005, titled “INTEGRAL FORM PANEL FOR CONCRETE FORM SYSTEM” and U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/757,337 filed on Jan. 9, 2006, titled “INTEGRAL FORM PANEL FOR CONCRETE FORM SYSTEM,” the contents of both of which are incorporated herein by reference for all purposes.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • 1. Field of the Invention
  • The present invention generally relates to concrete form systems, and more specifically to concrete form systems with modular components that can be used to construct various types, sites, and shapes of concrete structures, such as concrete footings. In particular, a simplified form panel for use in modular concrete form systems is disclosed.
  • 2. Description of Related Technology
  • Concrete footings are routinely poured all over the world. These footings provide a solid, secure base on which to build walls or other structures. In the United States, concrete footings are poured for nearly every new home or office building at points where the weight of the building rests. For new homes, footings are generally poured around the perimeter of the building to provide support for the foundation walls, as well as inside the perimeter to support structural columns or posts.
  • In the past, conventional concrete footings were often constructed by nailing together plywood or other materials into a form with a desired shape and then pouring the concrete into the space created by the plywood. After the concrete is cured, the plywood is separated from the concrete, typically using a hammer. This often results in cracking and splintering of the plywood, thus making the plywood unusable for creating new footings. This not only wastes material, but can be a safety hazard because splintered wood can cause injury.
  • Some existing systems have attempted to overcome these drawbacks. For example, one system can include numerous panels with complex grooves or channels connected to the ends of each panel. The channels are designed to allow adjacent panels to interlock, which allows a form to be constructed. This known system requires that complex shaped inserts be placed within the channels to connect the panels. In particular, a first insert could be used to fix adjacent panels into a generally parallel configuration. Another type of insert may be used to fix adjacent panels into a perpendicular configuration.
  • Unfortunately, this known system also has several drawbacks. For example, the channels are difficult to manufacture because they have a complex structure. In addition, due to the complex structure of the channels, mud or other debris can easily clog the channel, which makes it difficult or impossible to use the inserts. Further, if channels in adjacent forms are not precisely aligned, the inserts can be difficult or impossible to use.
  • Additionally, because the panels have a predetermined length, it is difficult to design a footing system with the exact dimensions that a user would want. Accordingly, it may be necessary to modify one or more panels to create a form with the desired size and configuration. This undesirably increases the time and cost required to construct the footing.
  • Finally, this conventional system requires the use of multiple different inserts to enable a user to place the panels at different angular orientations. Thus, it is necessary to identify the inserts needed prior to creating the form. Additionally, any changes in the design of the form require additional time while more panels and/or inserts are obtained, which also increases the costs.
  • BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • A need therefore exists for a concrete system that eliminates the above-mentioned disadvantages and problems. The present invention is generally directed towards a system that allows concrete structures, such as a concrete footing, to be constructed. Advantageously, the system may facilitate quick and easy assembly of one or more forms to define a space that receives concrete or another material to create the desired structure. The system may be designed so that two or more forms may be easily joined together using simple components that allow the relative position of adjacent forms to be quickly and easily changed using the same components.
  • One aspect is a system that may include a number of different forms having a two piece construction, with each form having a channel that extends at least partially along the longitudinal length of the form. This channel accommodates a tie that may extend between spaced-apart forms. The ties maintain a uniform distance between the spaced-apart forms so that concrete or other material poured between the forms has at least one uniform dimension along the form's length.
  • Another aspect is a system that may include a number of different types of forms, with each form including a bracket and/or an end cap attached to each of the opposing ends of the form. The brackets desirably enable the relative position of adjacent forms to be fixed in a desired position.
  • Yet another aspect is a system that may include a number of forms of varying lengths. In particular, the forms may have different lengths and include one of two types of bracket attached to opposing ends of the form. One form can include a bulkhead bracket and can be a bulkhead form. This bulkhead form can be attached to another form at a suitable location, such as the brackets attached to the ends of the form, or at any desired location along a length of the form. This allows the length of a form to be easily and simply changed to accommodate for different footing or structure configurations.
  • Still another aspect is a system that may use a skin panel to bridge a gap between forms. Advantageously, this allows the length or size of the concrete structure to be expanded and/or extended. In addition, when brackets of adjacent forms do not align, the skin panel may bridge the gap between the separated forms. Using the skin panel, footings or structures of any length can be laid out, even when using forms of fixed length. Desirably, the skin panel fits over the top of the adjacent forms. The skin panel may also have holes in the top to accommodate one or more stakes, which can be inserted through the skin panel and the holes in the brackets attached to the ends of the form.
  • Yet another aspect is a system that allows the forms to be reused. Advantageously, this eliminates much of the waste associated with conventional forms and systems.
  • Advantageously, the system may include various types of forms that link together in an easily modifiable manner to accommodate for changes in the layout of a footing or other structure. In particular, the system may simply and easily define a space that receives concrete or other material. This allows structures, such as footings or other structures, to be quickly and efficiently created.
  • In one embodiment, the system can include one or more forms. Each form includes a panel with end brackets and/or end caps mounted or attached to opposing ends of the panel. One panel can have a two-piece construction, with the panel having an upper member and a lower member. These members are separated to create a channel extending at least partially along the longitudinal length of the panel. This channel receives one or more ties that separate spaced-apart forms in a uniform manner. Another panel can have a single member, with the optional ties attached to an upper portion thereof.
  • Each end bracket enables adjacent forms to be mounted together at numerous angular orientations. The end bracket includes a protrusion that may be disposed within a lumen of the panel, such as either the upper member or the lower member. Alternatively, the form includes an end bracket mounted within a lumen of each of the upper member and the lower member.
  • In still another configuration, the form includes an end bracket having two sub-brackets, one mountable in one lumen of the upper member and one mountable in one lumen of the lower member. The opposite end of the end bracket includes a hole that can receive a stake or other structure that limits movement of one form relative to an adjacent form when disposed in the holes of adjacent forms. By selectively placing one form with an end bracket in the upper member, and an adjacent form with an end bracket in a lower member, the forms can be joined together by inserting a stake through the two aligned holes in the end brackets. This enables a user to join the forms at almost any angle, since each form can rotate about an axis defined by the holes in the tubular portions receiving the stake.
  • While the end brackets of adjacent forms facilitate attachment of the forms, the end cap prevents debris from entering into the interior of either the upper member or the lower member. This end cap can include a generally planar member and a protrusion extending from the planar member. The planar member also provides a surface upon which, in some embodiments, a portion of the end bracket of an adjacent form may move.
  • In another embodiment, the system can include a form that includes a panel with one or more bulkhead brackets mounted or attached to the ends of the panel. The bulkhead bracket can include two end caps, each having a protrusion that may be disposed within an interior lumen of the panel. The bulkhead brackets can include two flanges that extend from a top and bottom of the panel sufficiently to allow the flanges to protrude over the top and under the bottom of the panel of another form. The bulkhead form can be located at any position along the length of other forms that use the end caps and flanges, which allows a length of a footing or other structure to be changed by simply moving the location of the bulkhead form. Thus, the length of the footing or other structure is not limited by the length of the forms. In addition, the flanges may also have holes to accommodate stakes to allow the bulkhead form to be secured in a desired location. The bulkhead bracket can also be configured to mount to a panel having a single member, such that a single end cap mounts to one end of the panel.
  • In another embodiment, the system can include one or more forms. Each form includes a panel with end brackets mounted or attached to opposing ends of the panel. The panel can have a unitary construction and be substantially tubular. Each end bracket has a protrusion that extends out from the end of the panel. The protrusions can have a height that is slightly less than half the height of the panel. In exemplary embodiments, the protrusions are joined in an opposing configuration to opposite ends of the panel, such that one protrusion is located towards a top of the panel, while the opposite protrusion is located towards the bottom. This allows adjacent panels to be easily joined together to form a system of any desired configuration. This system is especially useful in facilitating the pouring of large, flat areas of concrete, such as a patio or sidewalk. The configurations of bulkhead forms and associated end brackets can be modified accordingly to cooperate with these panels.
  • The exemplary systems may also allow concrete or other material to be poured on an inclined surface. In particular, the concrete or other material can be poured on an upwardly or downwardly sloping surface. For example, the system may include a pair of vertical forms to aid with accomplishing this task. The pair of vertical forms can be fixed on a top surface of the forms and joined together to hold the poured concrete against the inclined surface. The vertical forms may each have two sides that are joined at approximately 90-degree angles. One of the two sides of each of the pair of the vertical forms may be desirably connected together to form a channel with the inclined surface forming the fourth side. This allows for the pouring of concrete footers and other structures at varying angles and inclined surfaces.
  • In yet another embodiment, an integral form panel is employed in the system. The integral form includes a top lip having a plurality of holes for receiving stakes to secure the form in place. A bottom lip is also provided to stabilize the form against the stake. A first plurality of slots is included in the form to enable the placement therethrough of grade clips for indicating a desired level of concrete to be poured in the form defined by a plurality of form panels. A second plurality of slots is also included in the form to receive ties therethrough. The ties are employed to support and space a pair of form panels apart from one another, while also holding rebar pieces in place before encasement by the concrete that is poured into the form.
  • An embodiment of an integral form panel for defining a space for receiving a building material is disclosed. The integral form panel may include a flat panel portion including a plurality of grade slots configured for receiving a grade clip and a plurality of tie slots configured for receiving a tie therein. The integral form panel may further include a top lip adjacent to an upper edge of the flat panel portion, the top lip including a plurality of holes configured for receiving a stake therein.
  • An embodiment of a concrete form system is disclosed. The concrete form system may include at least two integral form panels, each integral form panel comprising a flat panel portion including a plurality of grade slots configured for receiving a grade clip and a plurality of tie slots configured for receiving a tie therein and a top lip adjacent to an upper edge of the flat panel portion. The top lip may further include a plurality of holes configured for receiving a stake therein. The at least two integral form panels may be configured to be placed in a spaced-apart relationship to define a volume for receiving building materials. The at least two integral form panels may also be configured to be held in place by a plurality of stakes.
  • An embodiment of a method of forming a concrete footing is disclosed. The embodiment of a method may include providing a concrete form system. The concrete form system provided may include at least two integral form panels, each integral form panel including a flat panel portion, including a plurality of grade slots configured for receiving a grade clip, a plurality of tie slots configured for receiving a tie therein, and a top lip adjacent to an upper edge of the flat panel portion, the top lip including a plurality of holes configured for receiving a stake therein. The concrete form system may further include a plurality of stakes and pourable concrete. The embodiment of a method of forming a concrete footing may further include arranging the at least two integral form panels in a spaced-apart relationship to define a volume for receiving the pourable concrete that further defines boundaries of the concrete footing. The method of forming a concrete footing may further include inserting the plurality of stakes through the holes configured for receiving a stake in the at least two integral form panels and pouring the pourable concrete into the volume.
  • These and other aspects and features of the present invention will become more fully apparent from the following description and appended claims, or may be learned by the practice of the invention as set forth hereinafter.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • To further clarify the above and other advantages and features of the present invention, a more particular description of the invention will be rendered by reference to specific embodiments thereof, which are illustrated in the appended drawings. It is appreciated that these drawings depict only typical embodiments of the invention and are therefore not to be considered limiting of its scope. The invention will be described and explained with additional specificity and detail through the use of the accompanying drawings in which:
  • FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an exemplary embodiment of a system used to construct a footing;
  • FIG. 2A is a perspective view of a portion of the system shown in FIG. 1, illustrating an end bracket and an end cap;
  • FIG. 2B is a perspective view of a portion of the system shown in FIG. 1, illustrating an alternate configuration of an end bracket and an end cap;
  • FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a portion of the system shown in FIG. 1, illustrating a bulkhead form;
  • FIG. 4 is perspective view of portion of the system shown in FIG. 3 in one exemplary operational position;
  • FIG. 5 is a perspective view of a portion of the system shown in FIG. 1, illustrating a skin panel;
  • FIG. 6 is a perspective view of the skin panel of FIG. 5 in one exemplary operational position;
  • FIG. 7 is a perspective view of a portion of the system shown in FIG. 1, illustrating a whaler bracket;
  • FIG. 8 is a perspective view of a portion of the system shown in FIG. 1, illustrating a vertical form;
  • FIG. 9A is a perspective view of a tie of the present invention;
  • FIG. 9B is a perspective view of an alternate tie of the present invention;
  • FIG. 9C is a perspective view of another alternate tie of the present invention;
  • FIG. 10 is a cross-sectional side view of the tie mounted to a form of the system of FIG. 1;
  • FIG. 11 is a perspective view of a portion of an alternate system, illustrating a panel and an end bracket;
  • FIG. 12 is a perspective view of an integral form panel employed in accordance with another embodiment of the form system;
  • FIG. 13 is a perspective view of the integral form panel of FIG. 12;
  • FIG. 14 is a cross sectional view of two integral form panels employed in a form system application;
  • FIGS. 15 and 16 are perspective and side views of a tie employed with the integral form panel of FIG. 12;
  • FIGS. 17A and 17B are perspective views of a joint bracket employed in connecting integral form panels to one another, according to one embodiment;
  • FIG. 18 is a perspective view of two integral form panels joined together using the joint bracket of FIGS. 17A and 17B; and
  • FIG. 19 is a flowchart of an embodiment of a method of forming a concrete footing according to the present invention.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE EXEMPLARY EMBODIMENTS
  • The present invention is a system used to create concrete footings or other structures. One exemplary embodiment of an exemplary system is shown in FIG. 1, and is designated generally as reference numeral 100. This system 100 enables forms for footings or other structures to be positioned in a simple and efficient manner, and to any desired dimensions, while limiting waste of wood or other materials. The system 100 can include various forms, brackets, and panels that are used together to accommodate variations in layout and configuration.
  • The system 100 generally can include a number of forms, shown generally as reference numerals 102 and 104. As mentioned above, a form is a structure that aids with defining a space within which concrete or other material is to be received. One or more forms are used to create a structured layout of the space to receive the concrete or other material. In the exemplary system 100, various types or kinds of forms are provided, each of which performs different functions and connects to other forms in a different manner. The system 100 facilitates simple joining of forms using simple components that allow the relative position of adjacent forms to be quickly and easily changed.
  • With reference to FIG. 1, system 100 can include a form 102 and a form 104. Each form 102, 104 may include a panel 120 (not shown in FIG. 1, but see FIGS. 2A-B and related discussion below) with one or more brackets and/or end caps attached to each opposing end of the panel 120. The brackets and end caps can be selected based upon the function to be performed by the form. A general purpose form, such as form 102, can include an end bracket 140 and an end cap 141. In contrast, a bulkhead form 104 may include bulkhead brackets 150. The bulkhead form 104 can be used to ensure that the space defined by system 100 has a uniform width, while creating a layout termination surface. The system 100 may optionally include a whaler bracket 108 that acts as a brace between two spaced-apart forms 102, while maintaining a desired separation between the forms 102. The system may also include one or more ties 109 a and/or 109 b that extend between spaced-apart forms.
  • When using the system 100 to create a space to receive concrete or other material, a lengthwise gap 161 may be left between two adjacent forms 102. This may occur when the end brackets 140 of two adjacent forms 102 do not align. To bridge this gap 161, the system 100 can include a skin panel 106. The skin panel 106 can accommodate various lengths of gap 161. Therefore, using skin panel 106, footings or structures of any length can be laid out, even when using forms of fixed length.
  • The exemplary embodiments will be described in the context of using the system 100 for creating a concrete footing for a building structure. It will be understood, however, that the exemplary embodiments can be used with other structures. Generally, the system is modular and can include a variety of forms, panels, brackets, and end caps that can cooperate to define a desired space that receives concrete or other material.
  • With reference to FIG. 2A, the form 102 may include the panel 120 with one or more end brackets 140 attached to opposing ends of the form 102. FIG. 2A illustrates a single end bracket 140. In other configurations, the form 102 can include multiple end brackets 140. The panel 120 may be generally planar and have sufficient rigidity to hold concrete or other materials in place before it cures or sets. In the illustrated configuration, the panel 120 has a proximal end 122 and a distal end 124 (not shown in FIG. 2A, but see FIG. 1), each of which can receive the end bracket 140. As shown, the panel 120 includes an upper member 120 a and a lower member 120 b that are separated to form a channel 123. The upper member 120 a and the lower member 120 b can be tubular members or, alternatively, can be substantially solid members that have a recess or cavity at one or more of the ends thereof. The upper and lower members 120 a and 120 b are joined together at periodic or sporadic locations along their longitudinal lengths. For instance, the members 120 a and 120 b can be welded together so that welds 125 both join the members 120 a and 120 b and separate the members 120 a and 120 b. Other mechanical fasteners or structures can be used to join and separate members 120 a and 120 b.
  • The channel 123 formed between members 120 a and 120 b may optionally extend along the entire or substantially the entire length of the upper member 120 a and the lower member 120 b. This channel 123 can receive one or more ties 109 (see 109 a and 109 b in FIG. 1) as will be described in more detail hereinafter.
  • Extending between the proximal end 122 and the distal end 124 (not shown in FIG. 2A) of the panel 120 is a top surface 126 associated with the upper member 120 a, a bottom surface 128 (not visible in FIG. 2A) associated with the lower member 120 b, an inside surface 130 defined by the inside surfaces of both the upper member 120 a and the lower member 120 b, and an outside surface 132 defined by the outside surfaces of both the upper member 120 a and the lower member 120 b. These terms are specific to the orientation of form 102 illustrated in FIGS. 2A-2C. It will be understood that if form 102 is inverted, top surface 126 may not be the “top surface”, bottom surface 128 may not be the “bottom surface”, inside surface 130 may not be the “inside surface”, and outside surface 132 may not be the “outside surface”. The exemplary embodiments disclosed herein should not be considered limited by the use of these relative terms.
  • In one exemplary embodiment, each of the upper member 120 a and the lower member 120 b of the panel 120 is an aluminum tubular member. Disposed at at least one of the ends 122 and 124 of each member 120 a and 120 b are one or more holes 129. These holes 129 aid in attaching the end bracket 140 to the upper member 120 a, or the end cap 141 to the lower member 120 b, or vice versa.
  • Although reference is made to the upper member 120 a and the lower member 120 b being aluminum tubular members, each of the upper member 120 a and the lower member 120 b can be a wooden board, although other materials are possible, such as plywood, plastic, pressboard, metal, alloy, high density overlaid (HDO) wood, composites, or any other material having the desired rigidity and strength, whether or not such materials are used to form a tubular structure. When the upper member 120 a and the lower member 120 b are not tubular members, they may include a recess or cavity that cooperates with the end bracket 140.
  • Additionally, each panel 120 can be fabricated from one or more sections that connect together to create the desired structure of panel 120. The panels 120 can have various cross-sectional areas or dimensions. In one configuration, the panel 120 has cross-sectional dimensions of about two inches by about twelve inches. In another configuration, the panel 120 can have cross-sectional dimensions of one and one eighth inches by eleven and one eighth inches, one and one quarter inches by eleven and seven eighth inches, or other cross-sectional dimensions, depending on the type of material used to make panels 120. Similarly, each panel 120 can have various lengths, such as but not limited to from about one foot to about twelve feet in length. It will be understood that lengths lesser than one foot and greater than twelve feet are also possible.
  • As shown in FIG. 2A, the end bracket 140 may mount to the end 122 and be received within an interior lumen 127 a of the upper member 120 a. Alternatively, the end bracket 140 can be disposed within a lumen 127 b of the lower member 120 b. In still another configuration, the end bracket 140 can be disposed in both lumens 127 a and 127 b. In still another configuration, the end bracket 140 can include a flange (not shown) that mounts to one or more of the top surface 126 associated with the upper member 120 a, the bottom surface 128 associated with the lower member 120 b, the inside surface 130 defined by the inside surfaces of both the upper member 120 a and the lower member 120 b, and/or the outside surface 132 defined by the outside surfaces of both the upper member 120 a and the lower member 120 b.
  • As shown in FIG. 2A, the end bracket 140 includes an upper portion 142 a and a lower portion 142 b, each having an opening 144 extending therethrough. A protrusion 146 extends from the tubular portions 142 a and 142 b. This protrusion 146 cooperates with the inner lumen 127 a of the upper member 120 a. Passing through this protrusion 146 are one or more apertures 148. Each of the apertures 148 can receive a fastener 149, such as a rod or bolt, that passes through one of the holes 129 in the upper member 120 a and an aperture 148 in the protrusion 146 when the protrusion is disposed within the inner lumen 127 a. This fastener 149 may have an interference fit with one or both of the upper member 120 a and the protrusion 146 of the end bracket 140. By doing so, the fastener 149 securely retains the end bracket 140 to the upper member 120 a.
  • Although reference is made to the fasteners 149 interference fitting with one or both of the upper member 120 a and the protrusion 146 of the end bracket 140, one skilled in the art will understand that various other techniques may be used to attach the end bracket 140 to the panel 120. For instance, in another configuration, fastener 149 can thermally bond to one or both of the upper member 120 a and the protrusion 146 of the end bracket 140.
  • Various other manners are known to attach the end bracket 140 to the panel 120. With reference to FIG. 2B, an another alternate configuration of the end bracket, identified by reference numeral 140 b, is illustrated. The discussion of the end bracket 140 also applies to the end bracket 140 b. Consequently, like structures are identified with like reference numerals.
  • As shown in FIG. 2B, the upper portion 142 a and the lower portion 142 b of the end bracket 140 b have an opening 144 extending through both the portions 142 a and 142 b. A protrusion 146 b extends from the tubular portions 142 a and 142 b. This protrusion 146 b cooperates with the inner lumen 127 a of the upper member 120 a. Extending from this protrusion 146 b are one or more securing structures 148 b. Each of the securing structures 148 b can mate with a respective hole 129 b in the upper member 120 a when the protrusion 146 b is disposed within the inner lumen 127 a. These securing structures 148 b interference fit with one or both of the upper member 120 a and the hole 129 b. By doing so, securing structures 148 b securely retain the end bracket 140 to the upper member 120 a. These securing structures 148 b can optionally be biased so that they extend outwardly from protrusion 146 b.
  • In addition to securing structures 148 b, the end bracket 140 b includes two sealing structures 150 b. Although two sealing structures 150 b are illustrated, one skilled in the art will appreciate that each end bracket 140 b can include one or more sealing structures 150 b. The sealing structures 150 b extend around the protrusion 146 b. Upon positioning the protrusion 146 b within the inner lumen 127 a, the sealing structures 150 b contact the interior surface of the panel 120 and seal the inner lumen 127 a from the exterior of the panel 120. In this manner, sealing structures 150 b prevent debris and water from entering into the interior lumen 127 a. In the illustrated configuration, the sealing structures 150 b are integrally formed with the protrusion 146 b and are flexible, or may at least partially deform upon disposing the protrusion 146 b within the inner lumen 127 a. This partial deformation creates the seal between the protrusion 146 b and the inner lumen 127 a. In another configuration, each sealing structure 150 b is a separate seal that mounts to the protrusion 146 b, such as upon an exterior surface of the protrusion 146 b or within a channel or groove formed in the protrusion 146 b. In such a case, each sealing structure 150 b can be, but is not limited to, an O-ring, a U-cup, a static seal, a radial squeeze seal, gaskets, or other seals capable of preventing fluid or debris from entering into inner lumen 127 a.
  • Still other configurations of the end bracket 140 and 140 b are possible. In still another configuration, a plurality of structures (not shown) extends from the protrusion 146 or 146 b, such structures being sufficiently flexible to bend or deform upon placing the protrusion 146 within the inner lumen 127 a. The interference fit between these structures and the interior surface of the inner lumen 127 a prevents movement of the end bracket 140 or 140 b relative to the upper member 120 a. In still another configuration, the protrusion 146 or 146 b can include a biased structure (not shown) that cooperates with a hole formed in the panel 120 such that placing the protrusion 146 or 146 b within the inner lumen 127 a of the upper member 120 a causes mating engagement of the structure and the hole. In this configuration, such a biased structure (not shown) may eliminate the need for fasteners 149 and their respective holes 129. This engagement prevents movement of the end bracket 140 or 140 b relative to the panel 120 until the biasing force is released, such as by pressing upon the structure through the hole. In still another configuration, the fastener is removable so that each panel 120, and more specifically each upper 120 a or lower member 120 b, may receive either an end bracket 140, 140 b or end cap 141, 141 b, as desired. By using various types of structures or fasteners to aid in positioning the end bracket 140, 140 b or end cap 141, 141 b, in cooperation with the panel 120, the end caps 141, 141 b, and end brackets 140, 140 b can be replaced when they become damaged or when a particular panel 120 requires a different combination of end caps 141, 141 b, or end brackets 140, 140 b.
  • In still another configuration, any type of mechanical fastener, such as but not limited to nails, screws, bolts, rivets, etc., can attach the end bracket 140 or 140 b to the panel 120. Alternately, or in addition to mechanical fasteners, various types of adhesives or epoxies can be used to attach the end bracket 140 or 140 b to the panel 120 of the form 102, according to further embodiments of the present invention.
  • Although the following discussion will be directed toward the end bracket 140, one skilled in the art will understand that the discussion also applies to the end bracket 140 b. The above discussion has focused upon the end bracket 140 attaching to the upper member 120 a. It will be understood, however, that the end bracket 140 can attach to the lower member 120 b in a similar fashion. Additionally, the end bracket 140 can attach to both the upper member 120 a and the lower member 120 b, such as when the end bracket 140 has an upper bracket and a lower bracket, with both of these brackets having generally the same configuration as that discussed with respect to the end bracket 140.
  • To aid with connecting adjacent forms 102, the end bracket 140 mounted to the distal end 124 (FIG. 1) of the panel 120 is mounted to the lower member 120 b. The end bracket 140 at the distal end 124 (FIG. 1) then can have a similar configuration to the end bracket 140 mounted to the proximal end 122. This allows for easy, quick joining of multiple forms in multiple angular orientations. In another configuration, the system 100 can include one or more forms 102 that include the panel 120 having both end brackets 140 fitted onto the ends 122, 124 in the same orientation. For instance, in one configuration, both end brackets 140 are in an upward position, while in another configuration both end brackets 140 are in a downward position.
  • As mentioned above, an opening 144 passes through the upper portion 142 a and the lower portion 142 b of the end bracket 140. These openings 144 receive the stakes 170 (FIG. 1). This stake 170 may pass through the openings 144 in adjacent forms when the form 102 having the end bracket 140 attached to the lower member 120 b is placed end to end with another form 102 that has the end bracket 140 on the upper member 120 a, as shown in FIG. 1. The stake 170 can also be driven into the ground to hold the forms 102 in alignment while the concrete or other material is deposited in the space defined by the system 100. The stake 170 may have a circular cross-section as suggested in FIG. 1. According to other embodiments, stakes 170 may be triangular, square or polygonal in cross-section. Other structures having sufficient strength and rigidity to prevent one form from moving away from another adjacent form with the structure disposed with the opening 144 of adjacent forms are possible.
  • The opening 144 can have various configurations so long as it can cooperate with stake 170 or other structure that can be disposed therein. In combination with the gap 147 (FIG. 2A) formed between the upper portion 142 a and the lower portion 142 b, opening 144 and gap 147 provide a path for debris to exit from the end bracket 140. By doing so, debris will not prevent adjacent forms from being connected together through use of the stake 170 (FIG. 1) or other structure disposed through opening 144 and/or gap 147.
  • Returning to FIG. 2A, the end brackets 140 allow adjacent forms to be easily joined together and the relative position of adjacent forms to be quickly and easily changed. The end brackets 140 can be made from a wide range of materials, including but not limited to various metals or metal alloys, plastics, polymers, composites, fiberglass, synthetic materials, natural materials, manufactured materials, composite materials, or other materials having the desired strength and rigidity. In one exemplary embodiment of the system 100, the end brackets 140 are metal, sized and configured to slip easily inside or over the end 122, 124 of the panel 120.
  • In addition to allowing debris to exit from opening 144, gap 147 provides a space through which a fastener (not shown in FIG. 2A), such as but not limited to a nail, screw, or the like, may pass to engage with the stake 170 (FIG. 1). This allows the user to position the form 102 at varying heights upon the stake 170 (FIG. 1) and to level the form 102. Further, the fastener can extend into the space defined by the multiple forms of the system 100 (FIG. 1) to provide a guide or marker indicating the grade of the concrete or material that is poured into the space. The user can use the fastener to level or grade the concrete or material. Alternatively, the user can use the top of the forms of the system 100 (FIG. 1) to level or grade the concrete or material poured into the space defined by the system 100 (FIG. 1).
  • Various other configurations of the end bracket 140 are possible. For instance, in another configuration, each end bracket 140 can have a first portion having a first outside diameter (not shown) and a second portion having a second outside diameter (not shown) lesser than the first diameter. The first portion may have an inside diameter that is complementary to the second portion, so that a first portion of the end bracket on one form can receive the second portion of the end bracket on an adjacent form. In this manner, adjacent forms interference fit together. Optionally, the stake 170 can pass through the openings 144 of the upper 142 a and lower 142 b portions as adjacent forms interference fit together.
  • In still another configuration, upper and/or lower portions 142 a, 142 b may include one or more grooves that engage with complementary protrusions fashioned in the upper and/or lower portions 142 a, 142 b of the end bracket 140 of an adjacent panel 120. The grooves and protrusions (not shown) engage to lock the orientation of one form 102 relative to another form 102. Depending upon the number of grooves and protrusions, one form can be locked relative to another form at any angular orientation. In some configurations, each tubular portion can include a locking screw that passes through one or both of the tubular portions to prevent movement of the forms.
  • In still another configuration, each opening 144 can have walls that taper from one end to the other or can have walls that are generally parallel from one end to the other. In still another configuration, each end bracket 140 includes only one of either upper portion 142 a or lower portion 142 b, as illustrated in FIG. 2A. In this manner, each upper member 120 a and lower member 120 b, includes an end bracket 140 having one of upper portion 142 a or lower portion 142 b. One form having two end brackets 140 at one end that have upper portions 142 a can mate or mesh with another form having two end brackets 140 that have lower portions 142 b. Although reference is made to one end having two end brackets having the same upper and lower portion, one skilled in the art will understand that each end of the form can have one end bracket having an upper portion and one end bracket having a lower portion.
  • In still another configuration, the one or more apertures 148 receive a threaded member that receives one or more threaded fasteners. For instance, the threaded member can have a threaded portion to enable the threaded member to threadably engage with the protrusion 146. An internal threaded portion of the threaded member can receive either a single threaded fastener that passes through one of surfaces 130 and 132 or two threaded fasteners, one passing through surface 130 to threadably engage with the internal threaded portion, and one passing through surface 132 to threadably engage with the internal threaded portion. In still another configuration, the threaded member is mounted to the protrusion 146 during manufacture of the end bracket 140, such as when the end bracket 140 is molded.
  • Returning to FIG. 2A, to protect a portion of the proximal end 122 of the panel 120, an end cap 141 cooperates with the lower member 120 b. Similarly, to protect a portion of the distal end 124 (FIG. 1) of the panel 120, the end cap 141 cooperates with the upper member 120 a. These end caps 141 prevent debris from entering into respective interior lumens 127 a and 127 b of upper member 120 a and lower member 120 b. Further, the end caps 141 provide a generally planar surface upon which a portion of the end bracket 140 can optionally slide when positioning adjacent forms. The end cap 141, as shown in FIG. 2A, has a planar member 143 with a protrusion 145 extending therefrom. The protrusion 145 has a similar configuration to the protrusion 146 of the end bracket 140 and may be attached to the form 102 (FIG. 1) in a similar manner. Similarly, end cap 141 b of FIG. 2B can have a protrusion similar to protrusion 146 b of bracket 140 b. The planar member 143 of either end cap 141 or 141 b is configured to abut the end of respective upper member 120 a and/or lower member 120 b and prevent debris from entering into an interior of the upper member 120 a and the lower member 120 b.
  • The end cap 141 or 141 b can be made from a wide range of materials, including but not limited to various metals or metal alloys, plastics, polymers, composites, fiberglass, synthetic materials, natural materials, manufactured materials, composite materials, or other materials having the desired strength and rigidity. In one exemplary embodiment of the system 100, the end cap 141 or 141 b is metal, sized and configured to slip easily inside the interior lumen 127 a, 127 b of the panel 120. The end cap 141 or 141 b can optionally have a completely or partially closed end section to fit flush with the ends 122, 124 of the panel 120, according to another embodiment of the present invention.
  • Generally, the forms of the present invention can use a variety of different combinations of end cap 141 and 141 b and end bracket 140 and 140 b, depending upon the particular desires of the user of the system 100. As shown in FIGS. 1, 2A-B, 3, 4, and 6, an end 122, 124 of each panel 120 can include two end caps 141, 141 b two end brackets 140, 140 b or a combination of one end cap 141, 141 b and one end bracket 140, 140 b. Each end 122, 124 of the panel 120 can include the same combination of end caps 141, 141 b and end brackets 140, 140 b or different combinations thereof.
  • FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a portion of the system 100 shown in FIG. 1, illustrating a bulkhead form 104. As discussed above, the bulkhead form 104 can cooperate with the general purpose forms 102. With continued reference to FIG. 3, the form 104 may include a panel 120, with the upper member 120 a and the lower member 120 b, having a bulkhead bracket 150 mounted to either end 122, 124 of the panel 120. The bulkhead form 104 can be disposed between two spaced-apart general purpose forms 102 to define the end limit of the space that receives the concrete or other material. In the exemplary configuration, bulkhead form 104 defines the end of a concrete footing.
  • Generally, bulkhead form 104 can be located at any position along the length of general purpose forms 102 to enable the length of a footing or other structure to be changed by simply moving the location of the bulkhead form 104. Thus, the length of the footing or other structure is not limited by the length of the forms 102. Hence, the bulkhead form 104 in combination with general purpose forms 102 can define any sized space that receives concrete or other materials. Thus, changes in length of the footing, for example, resulting from placing the bulkhead form 104 relative to general purpose forms 102 are possible without physically changing the length of each general purpose form 102.
  • The following discussion is directed to the bulkhead bracket 150 mounted to end 122 shown in FIG. 3. It is understood that a similar discussion can be provided for the bulkhead bracket 150 mounted to the end 124. As shown in FIG. 3, the bulkhead bracket 150 can have two flange members 154, one mounted to the top surface 126 and one mounted to the bottom surface 128 of the panel 120. The flange members 154 can either be directly attached to the top surface 126 and the bottom surface 128 by way of one or more fasteners (not shown) passing through one or more fastener holes 156, such mechanical fasteners including but not limited to nails, screws, bolts, rivets, etc. Alternately, or in addition to mechanical fasteners, various types of adhesives or epoxies can be used to attach the flange members 154 to the panel 120. Further, each flange member 154 can include one or more protruding structures that attach to the panel 120 as the end bracket 150 is attached to the panel 120. Alternatively, the flange members 154 can be welded, brazed or otherwise attached to the panel 120.
  • Optionally forming part of the bulkhead bracket 150, are one or more end caps 141. These end caps 141 have the same structure and perform the same function as the end caps described with respect to form 102, such as the end caps 141 or 141 b. The end caps 141, therefore, aid in preventing debris from entering into the interior of the upper member 120 a and the lower member 120 b. Additionally, the planar portion 143 provides a uniform surface to contact the forms 102 during use of the bulkhead form 104.
  • As mentioned above, the flange members 154 may protrude from the panel 120. In one configuration, the flange members 154 are symmetrical, so that the panel 120 with the bulkhead bracket 150 has no top or bottom, although those skilled in the art will realize that this need not be the case. Each flange member 154 may contain at least one hole 158 that receives the stake 170, as shown in FIG. 4. By placing the holes 158 in the flange members 154 so that the panel 120 can be disposed between a portion of the holes 158 and the end of the panel 120 and the optional one or more end caps 141, the form 104 can be disposed between two forms 102. The stakes 170 prevent movement of the bulkhead form 104 longitudinally along the forms 102, while also limiting lateral movement.
  • When assembling the system 100, a lengthwise gap 161 may be created between adjacent forms 102, as shown in FIG. 1. This occurs because the openings 144 (FIG. 2) in the end brackets 140 do not vertically align. Advantageously, the system 100 can include the skin panel 106, as illustrated in FIGS. 1, 5 and 6, to bridge this lengthwise gap 161 between the forms 102.
  • With reference to FIG. 5, the skin panel 106 may have a first portion 160 and a second portion 164 that is separated from the first portion 160 by an intermediate portion 162. The separation between the first portion 160 and the second portion 164 provided by the intermediate portion 162 defines a channel 168. This channel 168 may be sufficient to enable placement of the skin panel 106 over at least a portion of two adjacent forms 102. More specifically, the panel 120 can be located within the channel 168 of the skin panel 106.
  • Generally, the skin panel 106 may be fabricated from a unitary piece of metal or metal alloy. Those skilled in the art will realize that other materials can also be used to form the skin panel 106, such as but not limited to plastics, wood and/or wood products, composites, combinations thereof, or other materials having the desired strength and rigidity. Although reference is made to the skin panel 106 being fabricated from a unitary piece of a material, alternate configurations of the present invention can utilize a modular construction where the first portion 160, the second portion 164, and/or the intermediate portion 162 interference fit together through complementary structures in the first portion 160, the second portion 164, and/or the intermediate portion 162. Alternately, the second portion 164, and/or the intermediate portion 162 can fit together, whether alone or through the use of mechanical fasteners, welds, adhesives, or other techniques for joining two or more members.
  • With reference to FIG. 6, the first portion 160 of the skin panel 106 may be placed adjacent the inside surface 130 (not visible in FIG. 6, but see FIGS. 2A-B) of the panel 120 of the form 102. The channel 168 may receive the panel 120 so that the top surface 126 may contact or be close to the intermediate portion 162. One or more holes 166 in the intermediate portion 162 can receive one or more stakes 170. These stakes 170 pass through the holes 166 and the openings 144 (FIGS. 2A-B) when they align. If desired, the stakes 170 can be driven into the ground to secure the forms 102 in place and to provide structural support when concrete or other material is poured into the space defined by the system 100.
  • In one configuration, the skin panel 106 can be twenty-four inches long. Those skilled in the art will realize that other shorter and longer lengths are possible. Such shorter and longer lengths fall within the scope of the exemplary configuration of the system 100.
  • With reference to FIG. 1, as the system 100 is assembled, a whaler bracket 108 may be used to brace spaced-apart forms 102 to ensure a uniform separation between general purpose forms 102. Uniform separation of the forms 102 results in the width of the concrete or material deposited between the forms 102 and 104 being uniform. In one configuration, the whaler bracket 108 is made from angle iron, or other metals or metal alloys. Those skilled in the art will realize that other materials can be used, including plastics, polymers, synthetic materials, natural materials, manufactured materials, composites, etc., all of which are within the scope of the present invention.
  • With reference to FIG. 7, the whaler bracket 108 can have a generally L-shaped configuration, with a first portion 171 and a second portion 172 that can be generally perpendicular to the first portion 171. Although reference is made to the first portion 171 and the second portion 172 being generally perpendicular to one another, one skilled in the art will understand that other angular orientations of first portion 171 to second portion 172 are possible. Similarly, even though reference is made to the whaler bracket 108 being generally L-shaped, one skilled in the art will understand that other configurations of the whaler bracket 108 are possible. For instance, the whaler bracket 108 can be J-shaped, planar, curved, polygonal, or any other shape.
  • Disposed in the first portion 171 of the whaler bracket 108 are fastener holes 174 that can accommodate any type of mechanical fastener, such as but not limited to nails, screws, bolts, rivets, etc. Extending from the second portion 172, in the same direction as the first portion 171, is an optional blocking pin 176. This blocking pin 176 contacts the inside surface 130 (FIG. 2) of the panel 120 to assist in fixing the whaler bracket 108 in place. It is understood, however, that other configurations of the whaler bracket 108 need not include the blocking pin 176.
  • In another configuration, the functionality provided by the blocking pin 176 can be provided through punching a tab or other structure from the second portion 172. In still another configuration, a portion of the second portion 172 can be stamped to create a dimple or portion protruding from the second portion 172, this protruding portion functioning to assist in fixing the whaler bracket 108 in place. Various other ways are known to those skilled in the art to perform this function and are also contemplated to be within the scope of the present invention.
  • In addition to the exemplary configuration of the whaler bracket 108 including the blocking pin 176 on the second portion 172, one or more stake holes 178 can be located through the second portion 172. Multiple stake holes 178 allow the whaler bracket 108 to be placed at various positions to ensure uniform spacing of spaced-apart forms 102.
  • It is occasionally desired to pour vertical or angled concrete structures, such as footings, as well as horizontal footings or structures. Such a need arises, for example, when the footings need to conform to ground that is uneven. The system 100 may accommodate this need with a vertical panel 110, shown in FIG. 8. In one configuration, the vertical panel 110 is fabricated from metal or metal alloys. Those skilled in the art will realize that other materials are also possible, including but not limited to polymers, synthetic materials, natural materials, manufactured materials, composite materials, or other materials having the desired strength and rigidity.
  • With reference to FIG. 8, a single vertical panel 110 is shown. However, with reference to FIG. 1, the vertical panel 110 can be used as a pair of panels that form three or four closed sides, with a fifth side being the uneven ground discussed above and the sixth side being open to receive the concrete or other material poured into the space defined by the two vertical panels 110. The vertical panel 110 can include a first panel member 180 and a second panel member 182. The panel members 180 and 182 are disposed generally perpendicular to one another. Although reference is made to the first panel member 180 and the second panel member 182 being generally perpendicular to one another, one skilled in the art will understand that other angular orientations of the first panel member 180 to the second panel member 182 are possible and contemplated to be within the scope of the present invention.
  • Disposed in the first panel member 180 and the second panel member 182 are a plurality of fastener holes 184. The fastener holes 184 can accommodate any type of mechanical fastener, such as but not limited to nails, screws, bolts, rivets, etc. The fastener holes 184 allow additional structural reinforcements (not shown in FIG. 8) to be attached to the vertical panel 110, such as when the vertical panel 110 is used to abut uneven ground at an angle. These additional reinforcements can be attached on either an inside or an outside surface of the vertical panel 110 and can be fabricated from wood, plastic, metal, composites, or any other suitable material that provides the desired reinforcement properties or characteristics.
  • In the exemplary configuration of the vertical panel 110 shown in FIG. 8, the panel 110 can include a mounting member 186 attached to the second panel member 182. However, the mounting member 186 can optionally be attached to the first panel member 180. This mounting member 186 can include a stop 188 and a positioning member 190. The stop 188 can include a plurality of holes 192 that can receive the stakes 170 (FIG. 1). The stop 188 of one of the vertical panels illustrated in FIG. 1 contacts a portion of the form 102 to both support the vertical panel 110 and prevent the vertical panel 110 from moving toward the bottom surface of the form 102. Another one of the vertical panels illustrated in FIG. 1 contacts a portion of another one of the forms 102. In both cases, the stop 188 can rest upon the top surface 126 (FIG. 1) of the panel 120.
  • Similarly, the positioning member 190 of each vertical panel 110 abuts one of the vertical surfaces of the form 102 or 104, and more specifically the panel 120, to prevent the vertical panel 110 from shifting when the concrete or other material is deposited into the space defined by the forms and panels. To aid with preventing movement of the vertical panel 110, the stakes 170 pass through the holes 192 and through holes formed in optional tie 194 (FIG. 1), which extends adjacent to the two vertical panels 110, to be driven into the ground or surface upon which the system 100 is disposed. This tie 194 also partially extends along a surface of vertical panels 110 to prevent movement of the vertical panels 110 during pouring or depositing of the concrete or other material deposited into the space defined by the vertical panels 110 and other forms or panels of the system 100.
  • Generally, the vertical panel 110, with the panel members 180, 182 and the mounting member 186, can be fabricated from a unitary piece of material, or from multiple pieces attached or joined together. Attaching or joining multiple pieces of material can occur through use of mechanical fasteners, welds, adhesives, or other techniques for joining two or more members together. In this configuration, the vertical panel 110 is made from metal; however, the vertical panel 110 can be fabricated from wood, plastic, metal, alloy, composites, or any other suitable material that provides the desired strength and rigidity.
  • In addition to the use of the whaler bracket 108 to separate adjacent forms, the system 100 can utilize one or more ties 109 a, 109 b, and 109 c, exemplary configurations of which are illustrated in FIGS. 9A-9C. The following discussion will be directed to the tie 109 a, illustrated in FIG. 9A. However, the general discussion also applies to ties 109 b and 109 c, illustrated in FIGS. 9B and 9C, respectively. The tie 109 a has a proximal end 200 separated from a distal end 202 by an intermediate portion 204. Each end 200 and 202 is configured to enable the tie 109 a to at least partially pass through channel 123 (FIG. 1) and lock to the panel 120. Alternatively, the tie 109 a can mount to a top or bottom surface of two adjacent forms, rather than being disposed in channel 123. As the ends 200 and 202 are generally symmetrical, proximal end 200 will be explained and the discussion applies equally to distal end 202. Each end 200 and 202 has a generally planar portion 210 with, in this exemplary configuration, two protrusions 212 extending from the planar portion 210. It will be understood that in other configurations, each planar portion 210 can include one or more protrusions 212.
  • The planar portion 210 is configured to be disposed within the channel 123. The protrusions 212 are biased so that positioning the planar portion 210 within channel 123 moves an end 214 of the protrusion 212 toward the planar portion 210. A gap 216 formed between the ends 214 of the protrusions 212 is sufficiently large to receive a portion of either the upper member 120 a or the lower member 120 b. By doing so, as the planar portion 210 advances through the channel 123, the biasing action of the protrusions 212 results in the ends 214 returning to substantially the same starting position with either the upper member 120 a or the lower member 120 b disposed therebetween, as shown in FIG. 10.
  • Although discussion has been made to the use of the protrusion 212 to help maintain the tie 109 a within the channel 123, other structures may be used. For instance, in another configuration a hole can be substituted for the protrusion. With the tie 109 a being sufficiently long that the hole of the tie 109 a is external to the space defined by the forms of the system 100 (FIG. 1), the stake 170 (FIG. 1) can pass through the hole and be driven into the ground to prevent unwanted movement of the tie 109 a. Various other configurations are also possible.
  • Returning to FIG. 9A, the intermediate portion 204 provides strength and stability to the tie 109 a. A first surface 220 of the intermediate portion 204 is generally perpendicular to a first surface 218 of the planar portion 210. In this configuration, the intermediate portion 204 flexes less than would occur if the first surface 220 was parallel to the first surface 218 of the planar portion 210. The tie 109 a, therefore, has sufficient rigidity to maintain the separation of adjacent forms when the first end 200 attaches to a first form 102 and the second end 202 attaches to a second form 102 spaced apart from the first form 102. The intermediate portion 204 includes a plurality of recesses 222 c that are configured to receive rebar or other components that are used to provide strength to the concrete structure. More generally, the plurality of recesses 222 c can support any other component or structure that is to be embedded in the completed concrete structure. Although the recesses 222 c are illustrated as being uniform, one skilled in the art can appreciate that a variety of differently sized and spaced recesses 222 c can be incorporated in each tie 109 a to accommodate variously sized structural components.
  • The intermediate portion 204 can have various other configurations to perform the identified function. For instance, the first surface 220 can be parallel to the first surface 218 of the planar portion 210, with additional webs, support structures, or strengthening structures (none shown) that reduce the flexing of the intermediate portion 204 of the tie 109 a. Alternatively, the first surface 220 can be parallel to the first surface 218 of the planar portion 210, as is illustrated with respect to tie 109 b of FIG. 9B, with the first surface 220 b being parallel to the first surface 218 b of the planar portion 210 b.
  • Another configuration of the tie is illustrated in FIG. 9C, and identified by reference numeral 109 c. Tie 109 c includes a proximal end 200 c separated from a distal end 202 c by an intermediate portion 204 c. End 200 c and 202 c are similar in appearance and structure to ends 200 and 202 discussed above. Each end 200 c and 202 c is configured to enable the tie 109 c to at least partially pass through channel 123 (FIG. 1) and lock to the panel 120. Alternatively, the tie 109 c can mount to a top or bottom surface of two adjacent forms, rather than being disposed in channel 123 (FIG. 1).
  • As shown, tie 109 c includes a first member 201 c, a second member 203 c, and an intermediate member 205 c. Members 201 c and 203 c have generally the same configuration and mate with the intermediate member 205 c, as will be discussed hereinafter. Discussion herein will be directed to member 203 c. However, a similar discussion can be provided for the member 201 c. The member 203 c includes a first end 207 c and a second end 209 c. Extending from the first end 207 c to the second end 209 c is a generally planar portion 210 c with two protrusions 212 c extending from a first surface 218 c of the planar portion 210 c. The protrusions 212 c are biased so that positioning the planar portion 210 c within channel 123 (FIG. 1) moves an end of the protrusion 212 c toward the planar portion 210 c. A gap 216 c formed between the ends of the protrusions 212 c is sufficiently large to receive a portion of either the upper member 120 a (FIG. 2) or the lower member 120 b (FIG. 2). Although the protrusions 212 c are illustrated as extending downward, it will be understood that, in other configurations, the protrusions 212 c may extend upwardly.
  • Disposed at second end 209 c are extensions 236 c that form a slot 238 c that extends from proximal end 200 c. While extensions 236 c are shown as having a generally triangular shape, other shapes, including but not limited to square, polygonal, rectangular, and the like, are also contemplated to fall within the scope of the exemplary embodiments. Similarly, while extensions 236 c are shown as being substantially symmetrical, this need not be the case.
  • This slot 238 c is adapted to cooperate with the intermediate member 205 c. More specifically, the intermediate member 205 c includes a first end 215 c and a second end 217 c. Each end 215 c and 217 c includes extensions 232 c that form a slot 234 c, the slot 234 c being complementary with the slot 238 c in the respective member 201 c or 203 c. The slots 234 c and 238 c engage, as shown at the distal end 200 c. The combination of the slots 234 c and 238 c is a joint of the tie 109 c.
  • While extensions 232 c are shown as having a triangular shape, other shapes, including but not limited to square, polygonal, rectangular, and the like, are also contemplated to fall within the scope of the exemplary embodiments. Similarly, while extensions 232 c are shown as being substantially symmetrical, this need not be the case. The extensions can have different shapes and still fall within the scope of the exemplary embodiments.
  • In this exemplary embodiment, slots 234 c and 238 c perpendicularly interlock, such that extensions 232 c are positioned adjacent protrusion 212 c, and extensions 236 c are positioned adjacent surfaces 220 c when the second member 203 c and intermediate member 205 c fit together. While the slots 234 c, 238 c are shown as being substantially perpendicular, this need not be the case. Any angle for joining the first member 201 c and the second member 203 c with the intermediate member 205 c can be used, and is contemplated to fall within the scope of the exemplary embodiments.
  • In one exemplary embodiment, ends 200 c, 202 c and intermediate portion 204 c are made from metal. The joint formed between the first member 201 c, the second member 203 c, and the intermediate member 205 c can be a welded joint. However, other methods of connecting the members 201 c, 203 c, and 205 c, including but not limited to the use of chemical and mechanical fasteners, are also contemplated and fall within the scope of the exemplary embodiments. Additionally, while this exemplary embodiment shows two slots 234 c and 238 c, various other numbers of slots, including one slot on the first member 201 c, the second member 203 c, and/or the intermediate member 205 c are also contemplated to fall within the scope of the exemplary embodiments.
  • The ties 109 a, 109 b, and 109 c can be made from a wide range of materials. For instance, the ties 109 a, 109 b, and 109 c can be fabricated from, but not limited to, various metals or metal alloys, plastics, polymers, composites, fiberglass, synthetic materials, natural materials, manufactured materials, composite materials, or other materials having the desired strength and rigidity.
  • Further, the ties 109 a-c can use a unitary configuration or a multiple configuration. Therefore, ties 109 a-c can be from a single piece or from multiple pieces, no matter the exemplary configuration depicted in FIGS. 9A-9C. For instance, the tie 109 a can be fabricated from multiple pieces, and the tie 109 c can be fabricated from a unitary piece.
  • Returning to FIG. 1, in an exemplary configuration, the stakes 170 can be made from metal, and be about 0.75 inches in diameter. The stakes 170 can be of a sufficient length to be easily driven into the ground through holes in the various components discussed above. This provides for additional support when the concrete is poured into the forms. Those skilled in the art will realize that other materials, diameters, and varying lengths for the stake 170 are also possible. For example, the stake 170 can be made from plastic, wood, composites, or other suitable materials.
  • Turning now to FIG. 11, illustrated is another configuration of the present invention. The exemplary embodiment of the present invention illustrated in FIG. 11 is part of a system 300 (not illustrated in FIG. 11) that can be used to create concrete flatwork, such as sidewalks, driveways, or other generally horizontal structures. This system 300 enables generally horizontal structures to be positioned in a simple and efficient manner, and to any desired dimensions, while limiting waste of wood or other materials. The system 300 can include various forms, brackets, and panels that are used together to accommodate variations in the flatwork layout and configuration, such as those form brackets described here.
  • The system 300 generally can include a form 302 that can be modified to different lengths based upon the configuration of the flatwork. As mentioned above, a form is a structure that defines a space within which concrete or other material is to be received. One or more forms 302 are used to create a structured layout of the space to receive the concrete or other material. The system 300 facilitates simple joining of forms using simple components that allow the relative position of adjacent forms to be quickly and easily changed.
  • Generally, system 300 has the same configuration as system 100, except that instead of utilizing a panel with an upper member and a lower member, the panel is a single tubular member, as will be described more in detail hereinafter. One skilled in the art can appreciate that the bulkhead forms, end brackets, etc., previously described can also be used with the form 302 with limited changes to the structure thereof. Hence, the description and discussion related to system 100 applies to system 300. For instance, system 300 can optionally include whaler bracket 108 (FIG. 1) that acts as a brace between two spaced-apart forms 302, while maintaining a desired separation between the forms 302. The system 300 may also include one or more ties 109 a, 109 b, and/or 109 c (FIGS. 1 and 9A-9C) that extend between spaced-apart forms 302. Further, the system 300 can include the skin panel 106 (FIG. 1) when gaps form between adjacent forms 302.
  • The exemplary embodiments will be described in the context of using the system 300 for creating a concrete sidewalk, patio, or other flat structure. It will be understood, however, that the exemplary embodiments can be used with other concrete structures. Generally, the system 300 is modular and can include a variety of forms, panels, brackets, and end caps that can cooperate to define a desired space that receives concrete or other material.
  • With reference to FIG. 11, the form 302 may include the panel 320 with one or more end brackets 340 attached to opposing ends of the panel 320. FIG. 11 illustrates two end brackets 340, attached to either end of panel 320. In other configurations, the form 302 can include a single end bracket 340. The panel 320 may be generally planar and have sufficient rigidity to hold concrete or other materials in place before it cures or sets. In the illustrated configuration, the panel 320 has a proximal end 322 and a distal end 324, each of which can receive the end bracket 340. As shown, the panel 320 includes a single member, which can be tubular. Alternatively, panel 320 can be substantially solid and have a recess or cavity at one or more of the ends thereof.
  • Extending between the proximal end 322 and the distal end 324 of the panel 320 is a top surface 326, a bottom surface 328, an inside surface 330, and an outside surface 332 (Not shown on FIG. 11). These terms are specific to the orientation of form 302 illustrated in FIG. 11. It will be understood that if the form 302 is inverted, top surface 326 may not be the “top surface”, bottom surface 328 may not be the “bottom surface”, inside surface 330 may be not the “inside surface”, and outside surface 332 may not be the “outside surface”. The exemplary embodiments should not be considered limited by the use of these relative terms.
  • In one exemplary embodiment, each panel 320 is an aluminum tubular member with one or more holes 329, optionally counter sunk, disposed in at least one of the ends 322 and 324. Although reference is made to the panel 320 being aluminum tubular members, the panel 320 can be a wooden board. Other materials are also possible, such as plywood, plastic, pressboard, metal, alloy, high density overlaid (HDO) wood, composites, or any other material having the desired rigidity and strength, whether or not such materials are used to form a tubular structure. When the panel 320 is not a tubular member, it may include a recess or cavity in the ends 322 and 324 that cooperates with the end bracket 340.
  • Each panel 320 can be fabricated from one or more sections that connect together to create the desired structure of panel 320. The panels 320 can have various cross-sectional areas or dimensions. In one configuration, the panel 320 has cross-sectional dimensions of about two inches by about twelve inches. In another configuration, the panel 320 can have cross-sectional dimensions of one and one eighth inches by eleven and one eighth inches, one and one quarter inches by eleven and seven eighth inches, or other cross-sectional dimensions, depending on the type of material used to make panels 320. Similarly, each panel 320 can have various lengths, such as but not limited to from about one foot to about twelve feet in length. It will be understood that lengths lesser than one foot and greater than twelve feet are also possible.
  • As shown in FIG. 11, the end bracket 340 can mount to the proximal end 322 and be received within an interior lumen 327 a of panel 320. The end bracket 340 can include a first portion 342 that extends the length of, and substantially fills the interior lumen 327 a, and a second portion 346 that can extend beyond the end 322 of panel 320. In one exemplary configuration, second portion 346 can extend from the bottom surface 328 of the panel 320 toward the top surface 326 a distance that is about half the height of panel 320. In other configurations, the second portion 346 can extend towards the top surface 326 less or more than about half the height of the panel 320. To aid with connecting adjacent forms 302, the end bracket 340 mounted to the distal end 324 of the panel 320 is inverted. The end bracket 340 at the distal end 324 then can include the second portion 346 extending from the top surface 326 toward the bottom surface 328. This allows for easy, quick joining of multiple forms in multiple angular orientations.
  • In still another configuration, the end bracket 340 can include a flange (not shown) that mounts to one or more of the top surface 326, the bottom surface 328, the inside surface 330, and/or the outside surface 332. In yet another configuration, the system 300 can include one or more forms 302 that include the panel 320 having both end brackets 340 fitted onto the ends 322 and 324 in the same orientation. For instance, in one configuration, both end brackets 340 are in an upward position, while in another configuration both end brackets 340 are in a downward position.
  • With continued reference to FIG. 11, the first portion 342 of the end bracket 340 attaches to the proximal end 322. To aid with attaching the first portion 342 to the panel 320, the first portion 342 can include a fastening hole 348 within which is disposed a bushing 349. The bushing 349 includes a threaded hole 351 that cooperates with one or two fasteners 353. The end bracket 340 attaches to the end 322 of the panel 320 by inserting first portion 342 into interior lumen 327 a until the threaded hole 351 aligns with holes 329. Each threaded hole 351 can receive two fasteners 353, such as bolts, that pass through the holes 329 in the panel 320 and threadably engage with the threaded hole 351 in the first portion 342 when the first portion 342 is disposed within the inner lumen 327 a. This fastener 353 secures the end bracket 340 to the panel 320.
  • Although reference is made to the fasteners 353 threadably engaging with the threaded hole 351, one skilled in the art will understand that various other techniques may be used to attach the end bracket 340 to the panel 320. For instance, in another configuration, the fastener 353 can thermally bond panel 320 and the first portion 342 of the end bracket 340. It will be understood that the first portion 342 can have similar configurations to protrusions 145 b, 146, and 146 b described herein with reference to FIGS. 2A-B. Therefore, the first portion 342 can have similar configurations to those protrusions and others described herein. In another configuration, a rod similar to that described with respect to FIGS. 2A and 2B can be used. More generally, any of the methods or techniques described herein to join the end bracket 340 to the panel 320 may be used.
  • The second portion 346 may have a hole 344 that receives the stake 170 (FIG. 1). This stake 170 may pass through the holes 344 in adjacent forms when the form 302 having the second portion 346 on the bottom is placed end to end with another form 302 that has the second portion 346 on top. The stake 170 can also be driven into the ground to hold the forms 302 in alignment while the concrete or other material is deposited in the space defined by the system 300. The end of the second portion 346 can be generally planar to aid with aligning an adjacent form 302. As the second portion 346 contacts the first portion 342, the longitudinal axes of both adjacent forms 302 are aligned. This helps maintain the alignment of a number of forms 302 over a long distance. In an alternate configuration, the end of second portion 346 can be curved, beveled, or have some other non-planar shape.
  • As with the brackets illustrated in FIGS. 2A and 2B, the bracket 340 can include a gap 347 that functions in a similar manner to the gap 147 described herein. For instance, the gap 347 can receive a fastener (not shown in FIG. 11), such as but not limited to a nail, screw, etc., that engages with a hole in the stake 170 (FIG. 1).
  • With continued reference to FIG. 11, the end brackets 340 allow adjacent forms to be easily joined together and the relative position of adjacent forms to be quickly and easily changed. The end brackets 340 can be made from a wide range of materials, including but not limited to various metals or metal alloys, plastics, composites, fiberglass, or other materials having the desired strength and rigidity. In one exemplary embodiment of the system 300, the end brackets 340 are metal, sized and configured to slip easily into the interior lumen 327 a of the panel 320.
  • Various other configurations of the end bracket 340 are possible. For instance, in another configuration, each second portion 346 can have a first part having a first outside diameter and a second part having a second outside diameter lesser than the first diameter. The first part may have an inside diameter that is complementary to the second part so that a first part of the end bracket 340 on one form 302 can receive the second part of the end bracket 340 on an adjacent form 302. In this manner, adjacent forms 302 interference fit together. Optionally, the stake 170 can pass through the holes 344 of the second portions as adjacent forms 302 interference fit together.
  • The systems 100 and 300 described herein provide many advantages over the prior art. The systems 100 and 300 eliminate the old way of nailing boards together, which causes weak corners, extreme wear, and splintering of the lumber. Both the end brackets 140, 340 and the bulkhead brackets 150 fit at least partially over the exposed ends of the panels 120, 320 of the forms 102, 302, thus eliminating the cracking, splitting, and splintering caused by nailing, while increasing the life of the forms by many times that of conventional lumber forms. The systems 100 and 300 also eliminate the wasting of expensive nails and lumber, since the forms 102, 302 can be reused.
  • The systems 100, 300 allow the connection of two forms 102, 302 with a steel pin or stake 170. Once pinned together, the systems 100, 300 allow forms 102, 302 to be connected together in a straight line, 90-degree inside and outside corners, and any corner or angle in between. This is a great improvement over prior art systems that use channels and inserts, since these prior art systems can only be joined at angles of about 0 or 90 degrees.
  • Using the skin panel 106, the systems can define a space to receive concrete or other materials of any desired dimension, regardless of the specific length of the individual forms 102, 302. Any gaps between the forms 102, 302 may be bridged with the skin panel 106. Finally, the systems 100 using the form 104 allow the end of the space that receives the concrete or other material to be placed anywhere inside the spaced-apart forms 102. This allows for a system 100 that can include a fixed number of forms each having a fixed length, yet still accommodates a space of any required dimension.
  • Reference is now made to FIGS. 12-14 in depicting various details regarding yet another embodiment of the present invention. In particular, FIGS. 12-14 show an integral form panel, generally designated at 1102, that can be employed as a component of a form system similar to those described above in connection with previous embodiments. Indeed, the form panel 1102 is analogous in its use and intended purpose to the form panel 102, specifically, the form panels 120 a and 120 b that are exemplarily shown in FIGS. 1, 2A, and 2B. In contrast to the panels 120 a and 120 b, however, the form panel 1102 is integral, and as such is not composed of multiple panel components. Further, no channel 123 (FIGS. 2A-B) is defined in the form panel 1102, and so the ties that are employed with the present form panel are configured differently from those embodiments discussed above, as will be shown.
  • The form panel 1102 shown in FIGS. 12-14 generally includes a proximal end 1122, a distal end 1124, and a flat panel portion 1125 extending between each end. The form panel 1102 can be manufactured to have any suitable length and height, according to need and the proposed application. The form panel 1102 further defines an inside surface 1130 against which concrete or other suitable material will rest during form pouring, and an outside surface 1132 (not shown in FIGS. 12-14) on the side opposing inside surface 1130. Though FIGS. 12-14 depict only a single integral form panel 1102, it is to be appreciated that the integral form panels 1102 described herein are configured for use in conjunction with other identical integral form panels 1102 to define a form that is suitable for receiving poured concrete or other suitable material therein. In addition, in other embodiments, the form panel 1102 can be employed with components of other systems, such as those described in previous embodiments herein.
  • A top lip 1140 is included on a top portion of the form panel 1102 that extends the length thereof. Similarly, a bottom lip 1142 is included on a bottom portion and extends the length of the form panel 1102. The top lip 1140 extends outward from the form panel outside surface 1132 and defines an angle of approximately 90 degrees relative to the flat panel portion 1125 of the integral form panel 1102, and includes a plurality of holes 1144 that are positioned and arranged to receive one of the stakes 170 for securing the form panel 1102 to the ground or other surface on which the form panel 1102 is placed. The bottom lip 1142 is slanted outward with respect to the form panel outside surface 1132 such that a portion thereof can contact the stake 170 when the stake 170 is placed through one of the holes 1144 of the top lip 1140 and driven into the ground. This arrangement assists in properly positioning both the form panel 1102 and the stake 170 when constructing the form. In other embodiments, the bottom lip 1142 can be omitted from the design.
  • As best shown in FIGS. 12 and 13, the form panel 1102 includes one or more grade slots 1146 that are each employed to receive a grade clip or other suitable marker (none shown in FIGS. 12-13) to identify a desired concrete pouring level within the form. The grade slots 1146 are defined vertically along the flat panel portion 1125 of the form panel 1102 and extend from the inside surface 1130 to the outside surface 1132. Each grade slot 1146 is spaced apart from other grade slots 1146 along the length of the form panel 1102 at approximately equal increments, though other spacing and positional relationships could also be used consistent with other embodiments of the present invention.
  • Referring to FIGS. 12 and 13, a particular embodiment of an integral form panel 1102 for defining a space for receiving a building material is shown. The integral form panel 1102 may include a flat panel portion 1125 including a plurality of grade slots 1146 configured for receiving a grade clip 1148 and a plurality of tie slots 1150 configured for receiving a tie therein. The integral form panel 1102 may further include a top lip 1140 adjacent to an upper edge 1141 of the flat panel portion 1125, the top lip 1140 including a plurality of holes 1144 configured for receiving a stake 170 therein.
  • According to another embodiment, integral form panel 1102 may further include a bottom lip 1142 defined on a lower edge 1143 of the flat panel portion 1125, the bottom lip 1142 being angled (FIG. 14) with respect to the flat panel portion 1125. According to yet another embodiment, integral form panel 1102 may include a bottom lip 1142 having a distal edge 1145 configured for resting against the stake 170 (FIG. 14). According to still another embodiment, the integral form panel 1102 may include an interface between the bottom lip 1142 and the lower edge 1143 of the flat panel portion 1125, wherein the interface comprises a bend 1147 (FIG. 14) in the integral form panel 1102. According to another embodiment, integral form panel 1102 may include grade slots 1146 oriented perpendicular to the top lip 1142 (FIG. 14). According to yet another embodiment, integral form panel 1102 may include tie slots 1150 oriented perpendicular (FIG. 13) to the top lip 1142. According to still another embodiment, integral form panel 1102 may include tie slots 1150 oriented parallel (FIG. 12) to the top lip 1142. According to a further embodiment, integral form panel 1102 may include a plurality of tie slots 1150 comprising two rows of tie slots 1150 oriented parallel (FIG. 12) to the top lip 1142. In still another embodiment, integral form panel 1102 may include a top lip 1142 oriented perpendicular (FIG. 14) to the flat panel portion 1125. In yet another embodiment, integral form panel 1102 may be formed of a sheet of metal.
  • FIG. 14 depicts use of the grade slots 1146 in setting a preferred height for poured concrete, indicated at 1160, within a pair of form panels 1102 that define a portion of a form system. As shown, grade clips 1148 extend from the form panel outside surface 1132, through the respective grade slot 1146 and past the inside surface 1130 to extend into the form-defined volume. In the illustrated embodiment, the grade clips 1148 may be plastic and are held in place in the present embodiment by frictional engagement with the sides of the grade slot 1146, though other grade clip configurations and engagement schemes can be alternatively employed. The level of the grade clips can be set by snapping a level line on the inside surface 1130 of each form panel 1102. The concrete 1160 can then be poured up to the level 1162 defined by the grade clips 1148. The grade clips 1148 can then be removed or remain in place, as desired.
  • FIGS. 12 and 13 further depict the form panel 1102 as including a plurality of tie slots 1150 that are each configured to receive a tie as described below. As shown in FIG. 13, the tie slots 1150 in one embodiment are defined vertically in two rows along the flat panel portion 1125 of the form panel and extend from the inside surface 1130 to the outside surface 1132 (FIG. 14). In an alternative embodiment, the tie slots 1150 are arranged in two rows in a horizontal configuration, as shown in FIG. 12. In yet another embodiment, more or less than two rows of tie slots 1150 can be defined on the form panel 1102. Each tie slot 1150 is spaced apart from other tie slots 1150 along the length of the form panel 1102 at equal increments, though other spacing and positional relationships could also be used. Like the grade slots 1146, the tie slots 1150 are sized in one embodiment so as to prevent significant passage of concrete therethrough when concrete is poured into the form panel-defined form system.
  • FIG. 14 further depicts use of the tie slots 1150 in connection with a tie, generally designated at 1152, in supporting two form panels 1102 that define part of a form system in a predetermined position with respect to one another, and also in supporting rebar to be encased by the concrete. As shown in FIG. 14, the tie 1152 extends through tie slots 1150 in both spaced-apart integral form panels 1102 and passes through the form-defined volume. Before the concrete 1160 is poured, the form panels are placed in the desired position and spacing with respect to one another. Often, a first form panel 1102 is positioned and secured through placement of the stakes 170. Then the second form panel 1102 is positioned in a spaced-apart relationship from the first panel. The tie 1152 can then be inserted through corresponding tie slots 1150 to establish the proper spacing between the two form panels 1102. The second form panel 1102 can then be secured in position by the stakes 170. The tie includes teeth 1180 (see also FIGS. 15 and 16) to secure the tie to the corresponding form panel 1102.
  • In the illustrated embodiment shown in FIG. 12, the tie slots 1150 are arranged into two parallel horizontal rows to enable placement of the tie 1152 at one of two vertical levels with respect to the ground. The vertical levels of the tie slots can be adjusted during form panel manufacture according to the proposed use of the form panel. The tie 1150 shown in FIG. 14 is preferably placed in conjunction with other ties that are in turn placed at the same level along the length of the form panels 1102. So positioned, the ties 1150 can cooperate to support lengths of rebar, shown at 1154, at a desired level above the ground. When the concrete 1160 is later poured and cured, the rebar 1154 provides reinforcement for the footing or other concrete structure so formed.
  • Referring to FIG. 14, a portion of an embodiment of a concrete form system 1400 is shown. The concrete form system 1400 may include at least two integral form panels 1102. Each integral form panel 1102 may include a flat panel portion 1125 including a first plurality of grade slots 1146 (not shown in FIG. 14, but see FIGS. 12-13) configured for receiving a grade clip 1148 and a second plurality of tie slots 1150 configured for receiving a tie 1152 therein. The integral form panels 1102 may further include a top lip 1140 adjacent to an upper edge 1141 (FIGS.12-13) of the flat panel portion 1125. The top lip 1140 may include a plurality of holes 1144 configured for receiving a stake 170 therein. The at least two integral form panels 1102 may be configured to be placed in spaced-apart relationship as shown in FIG. 14 to define a volume for receiving building materials, such as concrete 1160 and/or rebar 1154. The at least two integral form panels 1102 may also be configured to be held in place by a plurality of stakes 170.
  • According to another embodiment, concrete form system 1400, may further include at least one tie 1152 configured for spanning the volume between the at least two integral form panels 1102 in spaced-apart relationship and engaging the tie slots 1150 in each spaced-apart integral form panel 1102. According to another embodiment, concrete form system 1400 may further include at least one grade clip 1148 in at least one of the plurality of grade slots 1146 in at least one of the integral form panels 1102.
  • Reference is now made to FIGS. 15-16, which show further details of the ties 1152. As depicted, the tie 1152 includes teeth 1180 defined on each end 1182A and 1182B for engaging a corresponding surface of the form panel 1102 that defines the tie slot 1150 in which the tie 1152 is positioned. Multiple teeth 1180 are formed on each end 1182A and 1182B for providing varying widths between two oppositely disposed form panels.
  • The tie 1152 further includes concavities 1184 defined along a top edge 1186 that are sized to receive a portion of the rebar 1154 such that the tie 1152 supports the rebar 1154 within the volume partially defined by the form panels 1102, as described above. The tie 1152 in one embodiment is composed of plastic, though various other suitable materials can alternatively be used. Correspondingly, the integral form panels 1102 in one embodiment are composed of aluminum, another metal or metal alloy, or other suitable material.
  • It is appreciated that, while they can be oppositely disposed to one another as shown in FIG. 14, the form panels can be positioned in other configurations so as to provide a variety of form shaping options. One possible configuration includes abutting the end of one form panel to a middle portion (i.e., “T”-shaped) or an end portion of another form panel to define a corner of the form. To enable such abutting, a joint bracket, generally designated at 1190, is used, according to one embodiment and as shown in FIGS. 17A and 17B. The joint bracket 1190 includes a channel 1193 including a channel hole 1194, and a tongue 1196 included with the channel 1193 that defines a tongue hole 1198. As shown in FIG. 18, the joint bracket 1190 is placed over portions of two abutting form panels 1102 before stakes 170 (not shown in FIG. 18) are received through the channel hole 1194, tongue hole 1198, and into the holes 1144 of the respective integral form panels 1102 to secure the panels 1102 to not only the ground but to each other as well. It is appreciated that the joint bracket 1190 can be configured in other ways to provide the same functionality as described herein.
  • The present integral form panels 1102 as described above benefit from their reusable and stackable nature, thereby reducing required storage space when not in use. The integral form panels 1102 are cost effective to produce, and are quickly set up and broken down on a job.
  • FIG. 19 is a flowchart of an embodiment of a method 1900 of forming a concrete footing. Method 1900 may include providing 1902 a concrete form system such as 100, 300 and 1400 described herein. The concrete form system 100, 300 and 1400 may include at least two integral form panels 1102, each integral form panel 1102 including a flat panel portion 1125 including a plurality of grade slots 1146 each configured for receiving a grade clip 1148. The at least two integral form panels may further include a plurality of tie slots 1150 configured for receiving a tie 1152 therein and a top lip 1140 adjacent to an upper edge 1141 of the flat panel portion 1125. The top lip 1140 may further include a plurality of holes 1144 configured for receiving a stake 170 therein. The concrete form system 100, 300 and 1400 may further include a plurality of stakes 170 and pourable concrete 1160. Method 1900 may further include arranging 1904 the at least two integral form panels 1102 in a spaced-apart relationship to define a volume for receiving the pourable concrete 1160 that further defines boundaries of the concrete footing. Method 1900 may further include inserting 1906 the plurality of stakes 170 through the holes 1144 configured for receiving a stake 170 in the at least two integral form panels 1102 and pouring 1908 the pourable concrete 1160 into the volume. Method 1900 may further include curing 1910 the concrete 1160. Method 1900 may further include removing 1912 the concrete form system 100, 300 and 1400 from around the cured concrete 1160 to obtain the concrete footing. Method 1900 may further include repackaging 1914 the concrete form system 100, 300 and 1400 for reuse. According to one embodiment, repackaging 1914 may include placing (not shown in FIG. 19) the at least two integral form panels 1102 and the plurality of stakes 170 in a vehicle (not shown) for transportation. According to still another embodiment, the vehicle may be a trailer.
  • The present invention may be embodied in other specific forms without departing from its spirit or essential characteristics. The described embodiments are to be considered in all respects only as illustrative and not restrictive. The scope of the invention is, therefore, indicated by the appended claims rather than by the foregoing description. All changes which come within the meaning and range of equivalency of the claims are to be embraced within their scope.

Claims (21)

1. An integral form panel for defining a space for receiving a building material, comprising:
a flat panel portion including a plurality of grade slots configured for receiving a grade clip and a plurality of tie slots configured for receiving a tie therein; and
a top lip adjacent to an upper edge of the flat panel portion, the top lip including a plurality of holes configured for receiving a stake therein.
2. The integral form panel according to claim 1, further comprising a bottom lip defined on a lower edge of the flat panel portion, the bottom lip being angled with respect to the flat panel portion.
3. The integral form panel according to claim 2, wherein the bottom lip comprises a distal edge configured for resting against the stake.
4. The integral form panel according to claim 2, wherein an interface between the bottom lip and the lower edge of the flat panel portion comprises a bend in the integral form panel.
5. The integral form panel according to claim 1, wherein the plurality of grade slots is oriented perpendicular to the top lip.
6. The integral form panel according to claim 1, wherein the plurality of tie slots is oriented perpendicular to the top lip.
7. The integral form panel according to claim 1, wherein the plurality of tie slots is oriented parallel to the top lip.
8. The integral form panel according to claim 1, wherein the plurality of tie slots comprises two rows of tie slots oriented parallel to the top lip.
9. The integral form panel according to claim 1, wherein the top lip is disposed perpendicular to the flat panel portion.
10. The integral form panel according to claim 1, wherein the integral form panel comprises a sheet of metal.
11. A concrete form system, comprising:
at least two integral form panels, each integral form panel comprising:
a flat panel portion including a plurality of grade slots configured for receiving a grade clip and a plurality of tie slots configured for receiving a tie therein; and
a top lip adjacent to an upper edge of the flat panel portion, the top lip including a plurality of holes configured for receiving a stake therein;
wherein the at least two integral form panels are configured to be placed in spaced-apart relationship to define a volume for receiving building materials; and
wherein the at least two integral form panels are configured to be held in place by a plurality of stakes placed through the holes.
12. The concrete form system according to claim 11, further comprising at least one tie configured for spanning the volume between the at least two integral form panels in a spaced-apart relationship and engaging the plurality of tie slots in each spaced-apart integral form panel.
13. The concrete form system according to claim 11, further comprising at least one grade clip in at least one of the plurality of grade slots in at least one of the integral form panels.
14. The concrete form system according to claim 11, wherein the building materials comprise concrete.
15. The concrete form system according to claim 11, wherein the building materials comprise rebar.
16. A method of forming a concrete footing, comprising:
providing a concrete form system, comprising:
at least two integral form panels, each integral form panel comprising:
a flat panel portion including a first plurality of slots configured for receiving a grade clip and a second plurality of slots configured for receiving a tie therein; and
a top lip adjacent to an upper edge of the flat panel portion, the top lip including a plurality of holes configured for receiving a stake therein;
a plurality of stakes; and
pourable concrete;
arranging the at least two integral form panels in a spaced-apart relationship to define a volume for receiving the pourable concrete that further defines boundaries of the concrete footing;
inserting the plurality of stakes through the holes configured for receiving a stake in the at least two integral form panels; and
pouring the pourable concrete into the volume.
17. The method according to claim 16, further comprising curing the concrete.
18. The method according to claim 17, further comprising removing the concrete form system from around the cured concrete to obtain the concrete footing.
19. The method according to claim 16, further comprising repackaging the concrete form system for reuse.
20. The method according to claim 19, wherein repackaging the concrete form system comprises placing the at least two integral form panels and the plurality of stakes in a vehicle for transportation.
21. The method according to claim 20, wherein the vehicle comprises a trailer.
US11/639,403 2005-12-13 2006-12-13 Integral form panel for concrete form system Abandoned US20070131840A1 (en)

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US20120168263A1 (en) * 2011-01-05 2012-07-05 Alois Dominick J Elevator liner apparatus and utilization method thereof
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US8919726B2 (en) 2009-03-19 2014-12-30 Dinesol Plastic, Inc. Flexible, multi-piece, multi-configuration concrete form system
US9470004B2 (en) 2009-03-19 2016-10-18 Dinesol Plastics, Inc. Flexible, multi-configuration concrete form system
US10145131B2 (en) 2009-03-19 2018-12-04 Dinesol Plastics Inc. Flexible, multi-configuration concrete form system
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WO2007070636A9 (en) 2009-01-22
WO2007070636A3 (en) 2008-11-20
CA2633198A1 (en) 2007-06-21

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