FIELD OF THE INVENTION
The present invention relates to document protection cases. More particularly, the present invention relates to document protection cases for blueprints and similar documents.
- SUMMARY AND ADVANTAGES
Cases for blueprints have been used for almost as long as blueprints. However, these cases typically do not allow a user to view the blueprints while in the case. What is needed is a case that protects blueprints from the elements while allowing the user to easily view them.
Embodiments of the invention taught herein describe a document case with a table and a cover. The table has a table top, a table side and table lip, with the table lip lower than the table top. The cover has a cover top, a cover side and a cover lip, with the cover lip lower than the cover top. The cover is coupled to the table such that when the cover is in a closed position, the cover lip contacts the table lip and such that when the cover is in the open position, blueprints can be placed on or removed from the table top. A user simply raises the cover to place the blueprints beneath the transparent cover to protect them from the elements. The document protection case may be attached to a tripod or set on a bench or other horizontal surface for use.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
With the tripod, a user can use the document protection case as a podium. The present invention could be used for weddings, trade shows, fairs, exhibits, anywhere one wants to show something without exposing that thing to adverse weather, thieves and small children.
The present invention will be described by way of exemplary embodiments, but not limitations, illustrated in the accompanying drawings in which like references denote similar elements, and in which:
The accompanying drawings, which are incorporated into and constitute a part of this specification, illustrate one or more embodiments of the invention and, together with the detailed description, serve to explain the principles and implementations of the invention.
FIG. 1 is a view of a document protection case with its cover in a closed position.
FIG. 2 is a view of the document protection case with its cover in an open position.
FIG. 3 is a view of the document protection case from below.
FIG. 4 shows a user interacting with the document protection case that has been attached to a tripod.
Before beginning a detailed description of the subject invention, mention of the following is in order. When appropriate, like reference materials and characters are used to designate identical, corresponding, or similar components in different figures. The figures associated with this disclosure typically are not drawn with dimensional accuracy to scale, i.e., such drawings have been drafted with a focus on clarity of viewing and understanding rather than dimensional accuracy.
In the interest of clarity, not all of the routine features of the implementations described herein are shown and described. It will, of course, be appreciated that in the development of any such actual implementation, numerous implementation-specific decisions must be made in order to achieve the developer's specific goals, such as compliance with application and business related constraints, and that these specific goals will vary from one implementation to another and from one developer to another. Moreover, it will be appreciated that such a development effort might be complex and time-consuming, but would nevertheless be a routine undertaking of engineering for those of ordinary skill in the art having the benefit of this disclosure.
Use of directional terms such as “upper,” “lower,” “above,” “below”, “in front of,” “behind,” etc. are intended to describe the positions and/or orientations of various components of the invention relative to one another as shown in the various Figures and are not intended to impose limitations on any position and/or orientation of any embodiment of the invention relative to any reference point external to the reference.
FIGS. 1-3 show an embodiment of a document protection case 100 that functions as a weatherproof display table for blueprints of standard size as well as functioning as a carrying case for said blueprints. The document protection case 100 has a table 104, a cover 102, and a hinge 106. The hinge 106 is coupled to the table 104 and the cover 102. The hinge 106 is configured to allow the cover 102 to change from a closed position (FIG. 1) to an open position (FIG. 2).
The table 104 has a table top 124, a table side 126, a table lip 128, and a table edge 130. The table top 124 is a flat surface, as are the table side 126 and table lip 128. The table top 124 makes a transition to the table side 126, defining the table edge 130 at the transition. Similarly, the table side 126 transitions to the table lip 128. In the preferred embodiment, these transitions are sharp transitions of ninety degrees, but in other embodiments may be smooth and/or have measurements different than 90 degrees. The table side 126 encompasses the table top 124 and the table lip 128 encompasses the table side 126. The table lip 128 is lower than the table top 124. The table 104 is configured with a size and shape sufficient for holding a blueprint 120 of standard size and shape flat on the table top 124 without the blueprint 120 extending beyond the table edge. In the preferred embodiment, the table 104 is rectangular in shape, measuring 25 inches by 37 inches, which is sufficiently large enough to accommodate architectural blueprints of standard 24 inch by 36 inch size.
Depending on the shape of the table top 124, the table side 126 may comprise one or more flat surfaces, with angular transitions between them. For example, in the preferred embodiment, the shape of the table top 124 is rectangular and the table side 126 has four flat surfaces with ninety degree transitions between them. Alternatively, the table side 126 may comprise one or more curved surfaces. For example, in an alternative embodiment, the shape of the table top 124 could be an oval and the table side 126 comprising a single curved surface. In yet another alternative, the table side 126 may comprise a combination of flat and curved surfaces. For example, the shape of the table top 124 could be rectangular with rounded corners, with the table side 126 having four flat surfaces with curved surface transitions between them.
The cover 102 and table 104 are preferably made of molded plastic, but may be made of other suitable materials.
The cover 102 has a cover top 132, a cover side 134, and a cover lip 136. The cover top 132 makes a transition to the cover side 134. Similarly, the cover side 134 transitions to the cover lip 136. In the preferred embodiment, these transitions are sharp transitions of ninety degrees, but in other embodiments may be smooth and/or have measurements different than 90 degrees. The cover side 134 encompasses the cover top 132 and the cover lip 136 encompasses the cover side 134. The cover lip 136 is lower than the cover top 132. The cover 102 is configured to fit over the table 104 with the cover lip 136 contacting the table lip 128. In some embodiments, a portion of the table side 126 contacts the cover side 134, causing the table 104 to nest snugly within the cover 102. In some embodiments, the table 104 will nest more snugly at lower portions of the table side 126 than at upper portions due to a slight slant of the table side 126 towards the table top 124 from the lower portions of the table side 126 to the upper portions. This facilitates easy opening and closing of the cover 102. In some embodiments, the table side 126 is in contact or near contact with the cover side 134 for a height of at least 1 inch all around the table top 124. In the preferred embodiment the cover 102 is rectangular, 26 inches wide by 38 inches long by 2 inches high.
In the preferred embodiment, the cover 102 is transparent. In alternative embodiments, at least the cover top 132 is transparent, while the cover side 134 and the cover lip 136 are not. In yet other alternative embodiments, a portion of the cover top 132 is transparent while the rest of the cover 102 is not, with the portion that is transparent of size and shape sufficient to allow viewing of the blueprint 120 when the cover 102 is in the closed position.
The hinge 106 couples the cover 102 and table 104 in such a manner such that when the cover 102 is in the closed position, the cover lip 136 contacts the table lip 128 and such that when the cover 102 is in the open position, the blueprint 120 can be placed on or removed from the table top 124. In the preferred embodiment, the hinge 106 is a continuous hinge along substantially all of a back side of the document protection case 100, but in other embodiments, may be two or more discrete hinges spaced along the back side of the document protection case 100. The hinge 106 may be made of metal, plastic or other suitable material. In some embodiments, the hinge 106 may comprise tabs which can be affixed to slots on the table 104 such that a user can detachably couple the cover 102 to the table 104.
The configuration of the document protection case 100 described provides a weatherproof enclosure for the blueprint 120. When the document protection case 100 is oriented with the cover 102 on top and the table 104 on bottom, the cover lip 136 contacting the table lip 128, precipitation and wind are kept away from the geometry of the cover 102 and table 104. It is difficult for precipitation, even wind driven precipitation, to work its way through any gap between the table lip 128 and the cover lip 136, then up against gravity and friction through any gap between the table side 126 and the cover side 134. This is especially true if the transitions between table side 126 and table lip 128 are sharp or nearly so and 90 degrees or nearly so. Smooth transitions with less angle will be less effective as less friction is imparted to wind and rain. The table side 126 is of sufficient height to provide sufficient friction.
The cover side 134 and the cover lip 136 are flat surfaces, matching those of the table side 126 and table lip 128 respectively. In the preferred embodiment, the cover top 132, is also a flat surface, but alternative embodiments may have a curved surface, giving the cover top 132 a dome shape to help shed precipitation. However, the dome shape is not preferred, as it makes the document protection case 100 less convenient to carry from place to place.
The document protection case 100 has a braking arm 114 coupled to the cover 102 and table 104. The braking arm 114 is configured to hold the cover in the open position. In the preferred embodiment, the braking arm 114 has a friction joint. The friction joint enables the braking arm 114 to hold the cover 102 in an intermediate position between the open and closed position.
In the preferred embodiment, the document protection case 100 has a base 108 coupled to the underside of the table 104. The base 108 is configured to couple to a tripod 118 or other suitable stand for the document protection case 100. However, other embodiments may not have the base 108 and may be used by setting the document protection case 100 on a bench or other existing flat surface. However, the base 108 makes the document protection case 100 more convenient, as a useable flat surface may not exist where one is wanted. The base 108 has a base attachment point 110 for connecting with the tripod 118. In the preferred embodiment, the base attachment point 110 is a threaded nut, but in other embodiments may be some other suitable attachment mechanism. In the preferred embodiment, the base 108 is a 7 inch by 7 inch metal plate cut, with a ⅝ inch coarse thread nut welded to the center of the metal plate.
In some embodiments, the document protection case 100 has a latch 116 to detachably secure the cover 102 to the table 104 when in the closed position. In the preferred embodiment, the latch 116 comprises Velcro coupled to the cover lip 136 and the table lip 128.
In some embodiments, the document protection case 100 has one or more handles 112 to facilitate transporting the document protection case 100 from place to place.
FIG. 4 shows a user 122 interacting with the document protection case 100 that has been attached to a tripod 118. The user 122 simply lifts the cover 102 to place the blueprints 120 beneath the cover 102, then lowers the cover 102 to protect the blueprints 120 from the elements.
Those skilled in the art will recognize that numerous modifications and changes may be made to the preferred embodiment without departing from the scope of the claimed invention. It will, of course, be understood that modifications of the invention, in its various aspects, will be apparent to those skilled in the art, some being apparent only after study, others being matters of routine mechanical, chemical and electronic design. No single feature, function or property of the preferred embodiment is essential. Other embodiments are possible, their specific designs depending upon the particular application. As such, the scope of the invention should not be limited by the particular embodiments herein described but should be defined only by the appended claims and equivalents thereof.