US20070166101A1 - Vehicle Shield - Google Patents

Vehicle Shield Download PDF

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Publication number
US20070166101A1
US20070166101A1 US11624570 US62457007A US2007166101A1 US 20070166101 A1 US20070166101 A1 US 20070166101A1 US 11624570 US11624570 US 11624570 US 62457007 A US62457007 A US 62457007A US 2007166101 A1 US2007166101 A1 US 2007166101A1
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US
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Application
Patent type
Prior art keywords
shield
vehicle
barrier
fig
tab
Prior art date
Legal status (The legal status is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the status listed.)
Abandoned
Application number
US11624570
Inventor
Michael Scheu
Original Assignee
Michael Scheu
Priority date (The priority date is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the date listed.)
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    • EFIXED CONSTRUCTIONS
    • E04BUILDING
    • E04HBUILDINGS OR LIKE STRUCTURES FOR PARTICULAR PURPOSES; SWIMMING OR SPLASH BATHS OR POOLS; MASTS; FENCING; TENTS OR CANOPIES, IN GENERAL
    • E04H6/00Buildings for parking cars, rolling stock, aircraft, vessels or like vehicles, e.g. garages
    • E04H6/02Small garages, e.g. for one or two cars
    • E04H6/04Small garages, e.g. for one or two cars wheeled, hinged, foldable, telescopic, swinging or otherwise movable
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B60VEHICLES IN GENERAL
    • B60JWINDOWS, WINDSCREENS, NON-FIXED ROOFS, DOORS, OR SIMILAR DEVICES FOR VEHICLES; REMOVABLE EXTERNAL PROTECTIVE COVERINGS SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR VEHICLES
    • B60J11/00Removable external protective coverings specially adapted for vehicles or parts of vehicles, e.g. parking covers
    • EFIXED CONSTRUCTIONS
    • E04BUILDING
    • E04HBUILDINGS OR LIKE STRUCTURES FOR PARTICULAR PURPOSES; SWIMMING OR SPLASH BATHS OR POOLS; MASTS; FENCING; TENTS OR CANOPIES, IN GENERAL
    • E04H6/00Buildings for parking cars, rolling stock, aircraft, vessels or like vehicles, e.g. garages
    • E04H6/005Garages for vehicles on two wheels

Abstract

A protective shield or barrier for use with a motorcycle, automobile or other vehicle temporarily, e.g., seasonally, stored in a garage or other storage area is disclosed. In one embodiment, the vehicle shield is comprised of a plurality of panels formed from a semi-rigid material hingedly connected to form a foldable, stowable and protective barrier. The vehicle shield may be joined with one or more additional shields via a tab and slots to extend the length of the barrier. Stabilizer feet are provided to increase the stability of the free-standing barrier. The vehicle shield is a cost-effective barrier protection against dents, scratches and the like.

Description

    RELATED APPLICATION
  • [0001]
    This application claims priority to U.S. Provisional Application Ser. No. 60/759,872, filed on Jan. 18, 2006, the entirety of which is incorporated herein.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • [0002]
    1. Field of the Invention
  • [0003]
    The present invention relates to a vehicle protection device, and more specifically to a foldable protective shield for a temporarily, e.g., seasonally, stored automobile, motorcycle or similar vehicle.
  • [0004]
    2. Discussion of the Related Art
  • [0005]
    In temporarily storing a motorcycle, automobile or other vehicle, it is desirable to provide a means of protection from inadvertent scratches, scrapes and dents to the vehicle body and other exterior components. This type of damage is most likely to occur in an area that is regularly utilized for other purposes, such as a garage or storage space. Items such as bicycles, tractors, lawn mowers, snow blowers, or garbage cans may be frequently moved and stored in close proximity to a stored vehicle creating the potential for inadvertent contact. Furthermore, a door from an adjacent vehicle may make contact with the stored vehicle and cause small dents or scratches.
  • [0006]
    The automobile industry has responded by developing a number of shields, covers and other barrier-type protectors. While these devices may be suitable for their intended purposes, each has drawbacks associated with its use or effectiveness. For example, some vehicle protection devices protect against dents and scrapes but must be attached directly to the side of the vehicle. Other devices create a protective barrier but are suspended from an overhead support structure. Another type of vehicle protection device known as a “dust cover” blankets a vehicle with a flexible material, similar to a tarpaulin (“tarp”), but that only provides protection against dust, water and the sun.
  • [0007]
    Due to the inadequacies of existing protection devices, it is desirable to have a freestanding means of protecting a stored motorcycle or automobile by providing sufficient protection from dents, scratches and the like. It is even more desirable to have a vehicle protection device that is simple to use, sturdy, inexpensive and foldable for storage when not in use. Finally, it is also desirable to be able to use this vehicle protection device in conjunction with an inexpensive cover such as a “dust cover”, blanket, tarp or plastic sheeting for maximum protection.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • [0008]
    Therefore, in one aspect of the present invention, a vehicle shield is provided formed from a plurality of rectangular panels flexibly connected together. The vehicle shield is easily folded for storage or for retail point of sale. To use the vehicle shield, it is unfolded and set in place to provide a protective barrier against scratches and dents. The vehicle shield can be made from any number of suitable rigid materials such as corrugated plastic, corrugated cardboard, pliable foam rubber and the like. The term “cardboard” as used herein is intended to include within its scope all available grades and thicknesses that are suitable for the purpose, including sheet material composed partially of corrugated layers of paper or the like. The term also includes other inexpensive materials available in sheet form, bendable and connected in the manner hereinafter described.
  • [0009]
    Each vehicle shield has a joining tab located on an end of the shield with a plurality of slots spaced apart over the rest of the shield. The joining tab can be inserted into any of the slots to provide an interlocking connection. A single vehicle shield can provide an effective barrier for a smaller sized item by inserting the tab into an appropriate slot to create a completely encircled protected area. A single vehicle shield also protects one side of a motorcycle by utilizing stabilizer feet to permit the shield to be free standing. This is advantageous if the motorcycle is stored next to a wall and only one or two sides need to be protected. To protect larger items such as an automobile multiple shields can be connected together and positioned as desired.
  • [0010]
    It is another aspect of the present invention to provide a vehicle shield formed of an impact-absorbing or resistant material having one layer of corrugations attached to one sidewall layer. The vehicle shield can be easily and quickly wrapped around a vehicle. When not in use, the vehicle shield can be compactly rolled up for storage.
  • [0011]
    Numerous other aspects and features of the present invention will be apparent from the following detailed description taken together with the drawing figures.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • [0012]
    The drawings illustrate the preferred embodiment currently contemplated for carrying out the present invention.
  • [0013]
    In the drawings:
  • [0014]
    FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a vehicle shield constructed in accordance with a first preferred embodiment of the present invention;
  • [0015]
    FIG. 2 is a top view of the vehicle shield of FIG. 1 connected to a second vehicle shield forming a protective barrier around a motorcycle;
  • [0016]
    FIG. 3 is a top view of the vehicle shield of FIG. 1 connected to two a second and third vehicle shield forming a partial protective barrier adjacent to an automobile; side view showing a vehicle shield folded into a stack;
  • [0017]
    FIG. 4 is a partially cut-away perspective view showing the vehicle shield of FIG. 1 connected to a second vehicle shield;
  • [0018]
    FIG. 5A is a partially cut-away side view showing the vehicle shield of FIG. 1 in the process of being connected to a second vehicle shield;
  • [0019]
    FIG. 5B is a partially cut-away side view showing the two vehicle shields of FIG. 5A in an interlocking connection according to the preferred embodiment of the present invention;
  • [0020]
    FIG. 6 is a perspective view of the vehicle shield of FIG. 1 in a folded position;
  • [0021]
    FIG. 7 is a top view of a vehicle shield constructed in accordance with a second preferred embodiment of the present invention; and
  • [0022]
    FIG. 8 is an enlarged perspective view of a portion of the vehicle shield of FIG. 7.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS
  • [0023]
    A vehicle shield constructed in accordance with the present invention may be used to protect a number of immobile objects. It is particularly well-suited for use with a stored vehicle in a garage, storage space or similar type environment. Hence while a preferred vehicle shield will now be described in conjunction with a motorcycle and automobile, it is to be understood that the invention is in no way so limited.
  • [0024]
    Referring now to FIG. 1, a foldable, stowable protective barrier, i.e., vehicle shield 10, constructed according to the first embodiment of the present invention is shown. The vehicle shield 10 is constructed from a single sheet of a lightweight yet slightly rigid material. The shield includes a number of flexible connections, i.e., hinges, 12 created during the manufacture of the shield 10 by any number of well known methods. The hinges 12 serve to subdivide the shield 10 into a number of individual panels 14. The panels 14 can be angled with respect to one another so that the shield 10 can be erected in a variety of configurations. One such configuration is shown in FIG. 1 but it can be appreciated that many other configurations are possible.
  • [0025]
    In a preferred embodiment, the shield 10 is constructed of a unitary piece of corrugated cardboard measuring eight feet in length and thirty inches in height. The shield 10 is subdivided by fifteen hinges 12 into sixteen panels 14 of equal size each measuring approximately six inches wide and thirty inches high. In another preferred embodiment, the shield 10 measures twelve feet in length and thirty-six inches in height. The shield is subdivided by seventeen hinges 12 into eighteen panels 14 of equal size each measuring approximately eight inches wide and thirty-six inches high. It will be appreciated that the number and size of the individual panels 14 can be modified as required by the intended application.
  • [0026]
    In the first embodiment, the flexible connection 12 is a living hinge. As utilized herein, the term “living hinge” is meant to define a hinge formed in and integral with, a relatively resilient material by rendering a portion of the material more flexible as for example by perforations, tempering, embossing or forming a thinner region therein. Hinges of this type are well known to those of skill in the art and are utilized in a variety of applications. A living hinge may be bent multiple times without breakage or fracture of the hinge material.
  • [0027]
    The vehicle shield 10 is formed with two side edges 16, a top edge 18 and a bottom edge 20. The shield 10 preferably includes at least one, but preferably four, stabilizer foot 22 integrally formed within the panels 14. Each stabilizer foot 22 has a first side 24 hingedly connected to the surrounding panel 14, a top side 26 and second side 28 releasably attached to the surrounding panel 14, by scoring, cutting, forming perforations 30 or similar means, and a bottom side 32 that is also part of the bottom edge 20 of the vehicle shield 10. In alternate embodiment, stabilizer feet can be formed as separate pieces and affixed to the bottom 20 of the shield 10 as needed.
  • [0028]
    A joining tab 34 is provided to connect the shield 10 to an additional shield 10, as shown in FIG. 4. Apertures, or slots, 36 are formed in the upper portion of a number of the panels 14. The number of slots 36 depends on the number of panels 14 though preferably one slot 36 is provided on every other panel 14. The slots 36 are located at approximately the same height as the tab 34 to facilitate joining shields 10 together as explained in further detail below and shown in FIGS. 5A and 5B. Alternatively, other joining techniques, such as clamping or an adhesive, could be used to join a shield 10 to itself or to another shield 10.
  • [0029]
    The vehicle shield 10 of the first embodiment can be made from any number of materials that are durable enough to last yet will also prevent an adjacent car door or similar impacting object from scratching or denting the protected vehicle. Examples of suitable materials include foam board, double walled plastic, corrugated thermoplastic, corrugated cardboard and cardboard panels. The choice of materials will affect various characteristics of the shield 10 including weight, durability, effectiveness and price. For example, a low-priced, low-quality material, such as corrugated cardboard, could be used to make an inexpensive and temporary shield while a material such as foam board could be used to make a more permanent and durable shield. Alternatively, a thicker shield of any material would provide better protection but weigh more than a thinner shield constructed of the same material.
  • [0030]
    In operation, the shield 10 prevents dents, scratches and other marks to stored motorcycles, automobiles and other vehicles. The shield 10 can be positioned to stand alone, as shown in FIG. 1, with the aid of stabilizer feet 22. Alternatively, as shown in FIG. 2, the shield 10 can be connected to additional shields 10 via the joining tab 34 and a slot 36 to completely surround a vehicle such as a motorcycle 38. For example, in FIG. 3, three shields 10 are joined together to form a protective barrier 40 placed adjacent to a car 42. Depending on the length of the car 42, the length of the barrier 40 can be adjusted by increasing or decreasing the number of overlapping panels 14 between shields 10. In that case, the tabs 34 are inserted into any of the different slot 36 to shorten or lengthen the barrier 40. The stabilizer feet 22 may not always be needed but do provide greater stability. For example, in FIG. 3, the stabilizer feet 22 are not necessarily needed to keep the shield 10 standing upright, but when used will ensure that the shield 10 does not tip over in the direction away from the car 42.
  • [0031]
    FIGS. 5A-B details the process for linking a shield 10 to itself or to another shield 10. The tab 34 is first pulled slightly away from the panel 14. One of the shields 10 is then moved closer to the other shield 10 until the leading edge 44 of tab 34 is brought into contact with the slot 36. Because the tab 34 is formed from the panel 14, it can be pushed outwards in either direction from the shield 10. The panel 14 with the tab 34 must be lifted up slightly to permit the tab 34 to be fully inserted through the slot 36. After insertion, the panel 14 and tab 34 move downward, either by gravity or an applied force. The two shields 10 are locked together as the trailing edge 46 of tab 34 is no longer adjacent to the slot 36 and therefore cannot be pulled back through the slot 36. The tab 34 can be disengaged from the joined shield 10 by lifting upwards on the panel 14 containing the tab 34 and pulling the entire assembly away from the slot 36.
  • [0032]
    FIG. 6 shows a folded vehicle shield 10. It can be folded up when not in use or when on display in a retail setting. Prior to folding the shield 10, the tab 34 and stabilizer feet 22 can be placed back into their respective panels 14 and held there with a fiction fit. A Velcro® strap could be provided to ensure that the shield 10 remains folded when not in use. Additionally, corporate branding, e.g., trademarks of motorcycle manufacturers, can be printed or otherwise affixed on the shield 10.
  • [0033]
    Turning now to FIGS. 7-8, the motorcycle of FIG. 1 is shown in conjunction with an alternative vehicle shield 110. The vehicle shield 110 of this embodiment is preferably constructed from an inexpensive and flexible material. The shield 110 shown in FIG. 7 is constructed from corrugated cardboard or plastic having corrugations 112 bonded to a single side wall 114. Similar impact-absorbing material is sold in rolls and used as protective packaging material in mailing and shipping applications. In a preferred embodiment, the shield 110 has a thickness of five millimeters (5 mm) or greater. Alternatively, the shield 110 may be constructed from any suitable foamed or padded material flexible enough to completely surround a vehicle without forming permanent kinks or bends.
  • [0034]
    In operation, the shield 110 is wrapped completely around a vehicle, e.g., motorcycle 38, to protect against impacts from all horizontal directions. A first end 116 is overlapped by a second end 118 to form an overlapping portion 120. The two ends 116, 118 can be joined in any number of well known methods for joining two similar materials together. This includes, but is not limited to, tape, pressure-sensitive adhesives, clamps, and the like. A joining means may not be needed if the overlapping portion 120 is sufficiently large. When not in use, the shield 110 can be easily rolled up into a compact roll for storage. When protection is needed, the shield 110 is quickly and easily wrapped around the motorcycle 38.
  • [0035]
    As one skilled in the art will fully appreciate, the heretofore description of a vehicle shield has applications beyond the disclosed applications. It is appreciated that the present invention is equivalently applicable with any device providing inexpensive protection for stored items. Description of a vehicle shield just illustrates the preferred embodiment in which the present invention may be implemented. The present invention has been described in terms of the preferred embodiment, and it is recognized that equivalents, alternatives, and modifications, aside from those expressly stated, are possible and within the scope of the appending claims. Various other embodiments including variations in size, materials, shape, form, function and manner of operation are considered to be within the scope of the present invention.

Claims (20)

  1. 1. A protective barrier for a vehicle, the barrier comprising:
    a plurality of panels; wherein said panels are flexibly connected together to form said barrier; and wherein said barrier is free standing.
  2. 2. The barrier of claim 1, wherein said panels are constructed from at least one of the following materials: foam board; double walled plastic; corrugated thermoplastic; corrugated cardboard; and cardboard panels.
  3. 3. The barrier of claim 1, wherein each of the plurality of panels are connected to an adjacent panel by a living hinge.
  4. 4. The barrier of claim 3, wherein said living hinge is formed through the process of at least one of: forming perforations, tempering, embossing or forming a thinner region in said barrier.
  5. 5. The barrier of claim 1 further comprising:
    at least one stabilizer foot, wherein said at least one stabilizer foot provides stability to help maintain said barrier in an upright position when said barrier is placed in a substantially planar orientation.
  6. 6. The barrier of claim 5, wherein said at least one stabilizer foot is integrally formed from at least one of the plurality of panels.
  7. 7. The barrier of claim 6, wherein said at least one stabilizer foot is defined by a first side flexibly connected to a portion of the panel, wherein a top and second side formed from perforations through the panel, and a bottom side generally aligned with a bottom edge of said barrier.
  8. 8. The barrier of claim 7, wherein said first side of said stabilizer foot is a living hinge having an axis of rotation perpendicular to the bottom edge of the barrier.
  9. 9. The barrier of claim 7, wherein said at least one stabilizer foot can be manipulated to a position in a plane other than the plane of the barrier.
  10. 10. The barrier of claim 5, further comprising:
    a tab; and
    a plurality of slots dispersed over the length of the barrier, wherein said slots are designed to receive a tab; and
    wherein said barrier may be connected to a second barrier by inserting the tab of said first barrier into a slot of said second barrier.
  11. 11. The barrier of claim 10 wherein the joined barrier encircles a motorcycle.
  12. 12. A foldable protector for protecting at least one side of a vehicle against impact wherein said protector comprises:
    a) a plurality of panels formed from a single sheet and flexibly connected together; and
    b) a plurality of supporting members formed into said panels; wherein said supporting members are manipulated in a direction away from said panels to enable said protector to be free-standing when the plurality of panels are aligned in substantially the same plane.
  13. 13. The protector of claim 12, further comprising:
    c) a joining tab; and
    d) at least one aperture for receiving a joining tab.
  14. 14. The protector of claim 13, wherein said joining tab may be inserted into one of the at least one apertures of said protector, thereby forming a substantially circular enclosure.
  15. 15. The protector of claim 13, wherein said joining tab may be inserted into an aperture of a second protector; thereby joining two protectors together.
  16. 16. A protective barrier for a vehicle, said barrier comprising a length of impact-absorbing protective material; wherein said barrier completely surrounds the vehicle.
  17. 17. The protective barrier of claim 16, wherein said barrier is constructed from a corrugated material having a single sidewall.
  18. 18. The protective barrier of claim 17, wherein said material is plastic.
  19. 19. The protective barrier of claim 18, wherein said material is cardboard.
  20. 20. The barrier of claim 7, wherein said barrier is constructed of a corrugated material.
US11624570 2006-01-18 2007-01-18 Vehicle Shield Abandoned US20070166101A1 (en)

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US75987206 true 2006-01-18 2006-01-18
US11624570 US20070166101A1 (en) 2006-01-18 2007-01-18 Vehicle Shield

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Cited By (2)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US8465053B2 (en) 2011-03-02 2013-06-18 Grady King, IV Protective shield
US9499112B1 (en) 2013-02-06 2016-11-22 Anthony M Straw Protective panels for a vehicle and method of manufacture

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Cited By (2)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US8465053B2 (en) 2011-03-02 2013-06-18 Grady King, IV Protective shield
US9499112B1 (en) 2013-02-06 2016-11-22 Anthony M Straw Protective panels for a vehicle and method of manufacture

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