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AUTOMATED PANEL PRESSING CONSTRUCTION SYSTEM

Imported: 10 Mar '17 | Published: 27 Nov '08

Ben A. BERTRAND

USPTO - Utility Patents

Abstract

An automated method of building construction utilizes a horizontal force to extrude a structural member formed from a plurality of elongate joists, upper panels, and lower panels. A framing machine includes an upper panel bay and feeder, a joist array and feeder, and a lower panel bay and feeder. The machine installs a plurality of pegs into each joist and positions each joist into a forward installation position and a rear installation position. Panel press means press the upper and lower panels onto the pegs of each joist. Joist positioning means move successive joists into the installation positions, and push the structural member being formed outwards. Additional means for insulating the structural member, installing pipes and wires, and an exterior finish may also be provided.

Description

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a method and apparatus for constructing a building, which is automated to a large degree.

BACKGROUND

Conventional frame building construction relies on labour intensive manual work. Once an appropriate foundation is laid, workmen install joists and flooring, erect wall frames, add wall sheathing on both the exterior and interior surfaces, add roof trusses and roof sheathing, all as is well-known in the art. Furthermore, plumbing and wiring require drilling holes in framing members and joists to route the wires and pipes to appropriate locations. A large crew of skilled tradesmen are required for such assembly.

There is a need in the art for automated methods of construction, which employ an apparatus for such automated methods of construction.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In one aspect, the invention may comprise a method of constructing a building, comprising the steps of:

    • (a) providing a plurality of vertical joists, arrayed horizontally, each joist having an upper edge and a lower edge, a plurality of horizontal upper panels, vertically stacked, above the arrayed joists, and a plurality of horizontal lower panels, vertically stacked, below the arrayed joists, wherein each of the upper and lower panels has a leading edge and a trailing edge;
    • (b) installing a plurality of pegs into the upper edge and the lower edge of the joists;
    • (c) positioning the first joist in the joist array in a forward installation position and a second joist in a rear installation position;
    • (d) positioning a first upper panel and a first lower panel such that their leading edges aligns with the first joist in the forward installation position, and their trailing edges align with the second joist in the rear installation position;
    • (e) pressing the first upper panel onto the pegs of the upper edge of the first and second joists, and pressing the first lower panel to the pegs of the lower edge of the first and second joists;
    • (f) applying a horizontal force to the assembly created in steps (a) through (e) until the second joist is positioned in the forward installation position;
    • (g) positioning a third joist into the rear installation position;
    • (h) pressing another upper panel and another lower panel to the pegs of the second and third joists;
    • (i) pressing successive upper panels and successive lower panels to successive joists to create a structural member.

In one embodiment, the peg is a double-ended nail, with a collar placed between two shanks. In one embodiment, the pegs are pre-installed into the joists, or alternatively may be installed during the assembly of the structural member from a peg fastener array. Preferably, the peg fastener array is positioned on the rear of the upper and lower panel bays.

In another aspect, the invention may comprise a method of constructing a structural member for use in the construction of a building, comprising the steps of:

    • (a) providing a plurality of vertical joists, arrayed horizontally, each joist having an upper edge and a lower edge, an upper rolled sheathing material, and a lower rolled sheathing material;
    • (b) installing a plurality of pegs into the upper edge and the lower edge of the joists;
    • (c) positioning the first joist in the joist array in a forward installation;
    • (d) pressing the upper rolled sheathing material to the upper edge of the joist and the lower rolled sheathing material to the lower edge of the joist in the forward installation position;
    • (e) pulling or pushing the first joist outwards and positioning a second joist into the forward installation position;
    • (f) pressing the upper rolled material to the upper edge of the second joist, and the lower rolled sheathing material to the lower edge of the second joist;
    • (g) repeating steps (b) through (f), to create a structural member.

In another aspect, the invention may comprise a method of constructing a structural member for use in the construction of a building, comprising the steps of:

    • (a) providing a plurality of vertical joists, arrayed horizontally, each joist having an upper edge and a lower edge, a plurality of upper panels, and a plurality of lower panels, wherein each of the upper and lower panels has a leading edge and a trailing edge;
    • (b) positioning the first joist in the joist array in a forward installation position and a second joist in a rear installation position;
    • (c) positioning a first upper panel and a first lower panel such that their leading edges aligns with the first joist in the forward installation position, and their trailing edges align with the second joist in the rear installation position;
    • (d) fastening the first upper panel onto the upper edge of the first and second joists, and fastening the first lower panel to the lower edge of the first and second joists;
    • (e) applying a horizontal force to the assembly created in steps (a) through (d) until the second joist is positioned in the forward installation position;
    • (f) positioning a third joist into the rear installation position;
    • (g) positioning and fastening the next upper panel and the next lower panel against the second and third joists; and
    • (h) repeating steps (e) to (g) to produce a structural member.

In another aspect, the invention comprises an apparatus for automating building construction comprising:

    • (a) a joist feeder including a joist bay for holding a plurality of vertical joists, horizontally arrayed;
    • (b) an upper panel feeder, positioned above the joist feeder, comprising a panel bay for holding a plurality of horizontal panels, vertically arrayed;
    • (c) a lower panel feeder, positioned below the joist feeder, comprising a panel bay for holding a plurality of horizontal panels, vertically arrayed;
    • (d) fastening means for installing a plurality of pegs into upper and lower edges of the joists,
    • (e) panel press means for pressing the panels onto the pegs of the joists; and
    • (f) Joist positioning means for positioning each successive joist in alignment with the panel press means.

In another aspect, the invention comprises an apparatus for automating building construction comprising:

    • (a) a joist feeder including a joist bay for holding a plurality of vertical joists, horizontally arrayed;
    • (b) an upper panel bay for holding a plurality of horizontal panels,
    • (c) a lower panel bay for holding a plurality of horizontal panels,
    • (d) joist positioning means for moving successive joists into a forward and a rear installation position;
    • (e) upper panel actuating means comprising panel grasping means for grasping and moving an upper panel from the upper panel bay to a position aligned with the forward and rear installation positions;
    • (f) lower panel actuating means comprising panel grasping means for grasping and moving a lower panel from the lower panel bay to a position aligned with the forward and rear installation positions;
    • (g) fastening means for connecting upper panels to the upper edges of the joists; and
    • (h) fastening means for connecting lower panels to the lower edges of the joists.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

The present invention provides for an automated method of construction, and an apparatus for implementing such methods. When describing the present invention, all terms not defined herein have their common art-recognized meanings. To the extent that the following description is of a specific embodiment or a particular use of the invention, it is intended to be illustrative only, and not limiting of the claimed invention. The following description is intended to cover all alternatives, modifications and equivalents that are included in the spirit and scope of the invention, as defined in the appended claims.

In the following description, the terms horizontal and vertical are used with their normal meanings. However, one skilled in the art will recognize that embodiments of the invention may vary in this regard. What is important is the relative orientation of the various components and forces described below. The term front shall refer to the elongate side of the framing machine (1) from which the structural member (10) being assembled is produced. The rear side is opposite the front side.

In one embodiment, the automated construction method of the present invention and the framing machine (1) produces a planar structural member (10) in a process analogous to an extrusion of building material. A horizontal force is applied to elements used to assemble the structural member, as it is being assembled. In one embodiment, a pull force is used to elongate the structural member, rather than a push force. In another embodiment, a push force may be used. The produced structural member (10) may be used in an exterior wall, interior wall, a floor, an upper floor or a roof.

The framing machine (1) may be suspended from construction cranes, or otherwise positioned with suitable means. In one embodiment, the framing machine may be trailer mounted. The trailer (not shown) may have levelling means and be self powered, so as to be manoeuvrable. Each wheel at each corner may be powered and pivotable so that the trailer and framing machine may be precisely positioned as required. Preferably, each wheel has a height adjustment capability which permits precise levelling of the entire framing machine (1).

The planar structural member (10) comprises a plurality of vertical joists or trusses (12), which separate and support planar sheathing on at least one of, and preferably both top (14) and bottom (16) as may be generally seen in FIG. 1. The framing machine (1) which produces the structural member (10) includes a joist feeder (22) including a joist bay (24) for holding a plurality of horizontally arrayed vertical joists (12). Support rails (25) support the arrayed joists. In one embodiment, the joist feeder comprises an extendible arm (22) with means (23) for engaging a single joist. The joist engagement means (23) may comprise brackets (23) which are rotatable into and out of engagement with the joists. The feeder arms (22) may then push the joist forwards for installation and assembly.

The joists and joist bay (24) are a length which preferably is a multiple of a board or panel length. If standard 48 panels are used, the joists may be 8, 16 or 24 feet. Longer joists are of course possible and result in structural members (10) extending beyond the boards such that a portion of the joist is uncovered by boards.

As shown in FIG. 2, above the joist feeder (22) is an upper panel feeder (30) comprising a panel bay (32) for holding a plurality of vertically stacked horizontal panels, which form the upper sheathing (14). Each upper panel and each lower panel has a leading edge which faces the front of the framing machine, and a trailing edge which faces the rear of the framing machine. The upper panel feeder (30) comprises panel bay actuators (34) and panel press means (35) shown in FIG. 6C which imparts a downward force onto the lowermost panel, or the entire stack of panels. In one embodiment, the upper panel press means (35) may comprise a number of rams, as shown in FIG. 6C. In one embodiment, the upper panel bay also includes means to prevent the panels from falling out of the bottom of the bay prematurely. Such means may comprise rams that push against the side edges or bottom of the panels, release after the lowest panel is installed, and then press on the panels above the one just installed. Accordingly, if the rams push against bottom of the arrayed panels, the rams must be connected to members instead through precut holes in the arrayed joist and collapse enough to allow next joists to be advanced into position. The means for preventing premature falling of the panels may alternatively comprise members (46) that support the panels from their underside; these members are preferably connected to the upper panel bay from the rear. In this embodiment, spaces (48) must be cut into the upper edge of the joists allowing the upper panel bay to descend and there must be sufficient space between the upper edge of these members and the lower edge of the upper panel bay to allow only the lowest panel to be advanced out of the bay.

Below the joist feeder (22) is a lower panel feeder (40), comprising a panel bay (42) for holding a plurality of vertically stacked horizontal panels (16). The lower panel feeder also includes panel bay actuators (44) and panel press means (45) shown in FIG. 6D for imparting a vertical force to the uppermost panel, or the entire stack of panels. In one embodiment, the lower panel press means (45) comprises a number of hydraulic rams.

In one embodiment, the upper panel feeder comprises a number of panel support guides (46) which function, amongst other functions, to guide incoming joists. The guides (46) fit into slots (48) cut transversely into the upper edge of the joists.

As used herein, a joist shall mean any elongate secondary structural member such as a beam, stud, joist, truss, or an engineered wood member. The panels may be conventional construction boards such as plywood, oriented strand board or other panels.

The joist feeder (22), upper panel feeder (30) and the lower panel feeder (40) may be formed by frame members (28) of adequate structural strength to provide the rigidity the apparatus needs to support its contents and be transported. In one embodiment, the frame members may comprise metal beams.

The structural member (10) is formed by sequentially attaching upper and lower panels to the joists in appropriate distance intervals. The forward edge (11) of the structural member (10) is defined by the first joist. The first joist is pushed out by the joist feeder into a peg installation position, on the rear side of the upper panel bay. Here, a plurality of pegs (P) are installed into both the upper and lower edges of the joist. The pegs may be installed using a plurality of fastener guns (50). Optionally, an adhesive material may also be applied to the upper and lower edges of the joist, using a glue applicator (51).

In one embodiment, each peg is a double-shanked nail, as is shown in FIG. 1A. Alternatively, a peg may have 3 or more shanks (52), attached to a bridge member (54), as shown in FIG. 4. In this embodiment, the multiple shanks (52) facilitate overlap of two adjacent panels onto the joist (12), while fastening both panels to the joist (12). One skilled in the art may easily conceive of variations of the peg fasteners which may be used in the present invention.

In one embodiment, a combination of dual shanked pegs, and the triple shanked pegs are used. Preferably, the outermost pegs of each joist are triple shanked pegs and are preinstalled into the joists before the joists are arrayed in the joist bay, while the dual shanked pegs (P) are installed during assembly in a pattern shown in FIG. 5.

From the peg installation position, the first joist is then pushed outward, or otherwise positioned, until it is aligned with the forward installation position (F) which is aligned with the forward edge of both the upper and lower panel bays, as shown in FIGS. 6A and 6B. The second joist is then pushed outward, or otherwise positioned, into a rear installation position (R) aligned with the rearward edge of the upper and lower panel bays. An upper and lower panel are then pressed onto the joist pegs (P) with the panel press rams (35, 45). Once the panels have been pressed onto the joists, the joist in the rear installation position (R) is then moved forwards into the forward installation position (F), and the next joist is then moved into the rear installation position, and assembly continues.

As will be appreciated by those skilled in the art, once the joist in the rear installation position (R) is moved to the forward installation position (F), the resulting structural member (10) is pushed or extruded outward. After the structural member is extruded from the machine it is possible to apply additional fasteners such as screws or nails from a fastener array which may be positioned on the front of the upper and lower panel bays.

In one embodiment, the joist bay is moveable vertically, and other building materials (110) to be incorporated into the structural member may be provided. As shown in FIG. 6E, the joist bay may be mounted on hydraulic cylinders (115) to move the joist bay vertically. When retracted, the joist bay is moved out of position, and additional materials (110) may be positioned for manipulation by the joist feeder arms (22).

If the joists are short, then the joist feeder arms (22) at each end of the joist bay may be sufficient for positioning the joists and moving the assembled joists forwards. However, if the joists are longer, applying force only to their outward edges may cause the joists to bend during assembly. In one embodiment, shown in FIG. 7, one or more internal joist arms (122) with joist engagement means (123) may be provided along the length of the joist. The joist engagement means may comprise a bracket (123) which may be rotated in and out of engagement with the joist.

The assembly process is preferably automated by means of a microprocessor operating a suitable algorithm or reading a software file that dictates the exact spacing of the joists in the structural member. The control system (100) shown in FIG. 8 comprises a plurality of sensors, which may be optical sensors, which sense and determine the position and movement of the upper and lower panels, the joists, and the assembled structural member, as required for the control algorithm. Therefore, in one embodiment, a processor (102) runs an appropriate control algorithm, and is operatively connected to the joist feeder actuators (104), peg installation actuators (106), upper panel press actuators (35), lower panel press actuators (45), adhesive applicators (110), and the pull force actuator (112) which may be a winch. Control of the actuators may be manually operated by a remote operator, or may be controlled by sensors which detect the positioning of various components of the system. For example, an optical sensor positioned to sense movement of one of the upper or lower panels as it is being extruded, will measure the distance traveled by the panels as they are being extruded. The sensor will activate the fasteners when the intended joist installation location passes between the fasteners (26) the algorithm will automatically replenish the installation position after each joist connection action by moving the next joist to the installation position.

In an alternative embodiment, rolled sheathing may be used in place of panels. As shown in FIG. 9, upper rolled material (200) and lower rolled material (202) may be provided. In this embodiment, sheathing press means (204) presses the rolled material on the joists (12). The joist feeder (22) delivers joists to the press position and the structural member is extruded in like fashion. The sheathing material may be any flexible sheet material, such as a metal, a plastic or a composite material. The sheet material should be flexible enough to be rolled, but rigid enough to impart sufficient strength to the assembled structural member. In this embodiment, cross members running transverse to the joists would be installed during or after production to strengthen the sheeting material.

In one embodiment, shown in FIG. 10, the framing machine (1) includes a system for inserting mechanical pipes and wires in the structural member (10) as it is being assembled. The lines and wires may include plumbing, HVAC ducts, electrical wires or any other duct, tube or wire-like material that is normally placed within walls or floors of a conventional building. In one embodiment, the wires and pipes (60) are coiled on spools (62) or in boxes at the rear of the apparatus and each is fed through holes or openings in the arrayed joists and connected to the first joist. Thus, as the first joist is pulled in the assembly process, the wires and pipes will be pulled along and threaded through all of the joists in the structural member. In an alternative embodiment, the line materials are placed on the structural member largely in front of the first joist, threaded through the arrayed joists and connected to the last joist, or an anchor point on or near the apparatus. The line materials are then moved along with the first joist as it is pulled, thus accomplishing the same result. In an alternative embodiment, the line materials are placed on the front side of the framing machine, threaded through the arrayed joists and connected to the last joist, or an anchor point on the apparatus thus accomplishing the same result. In another alternative embodiment the line materials are placed on the rear of the machine and threaded through the arrayed joists but not connected to the structural member, the line materials are laid in the structural member as it is being produced by an active mechanism such as opposed wheels. In another alternative embodiment the line materials are placed on the rear of the machine and brought to the front of the machine above or below the arrayed joists and are installed into the structural member between the sheeting and the joists, thus avoiding the cutting of holes in the joists when sheeting with corrugation transverse to the joists is used.

In one embodiment, illustrated in FIGS. 11A-11C, means for insulating the structural member is provided. As the structural member is being produced, a flexible tube (70) is inserted through precut holes in the joists (12), or through openings in trusses. The flexible tube (70) may be attached to the first joist and pulled through the arrayed joists in like manner to the wires and pipes referred to above. When the structural member is complete insulation material may be blown into the structural member through the flexible tube (70). The tube (70) may be withdrawn from each successive joist to fill each space created between adjacent joists with insulation. In one embodiment, the tube may be a compressible corrugated tube, which is actuated by an opposed pair of sprockets (72) having teeth matching the corrugations. Rotation of the sprockets will then cause retraction of the tube. In an alternative embodiment the insulation means is a stationary tube that is installed through the arrayed joists or between the joists and the boarding and sprays insulation into the cavities of the structural member as the structural member is being extruded out of the machine.

In one embodiment, shown in FIGS. 12A and 12B, a finish application or vapour barrier system may be included. A finish material (80) such as linoleum, or other sheet material may be applied at the same time the structural member (10) is assembled. The sheet material may provide a vapour barrier, sound deadening, fire resistance, aesthetic appeal, or other desirable properties to the structural member. In one embodiment, the finish material is provided on a roll (82) above the upper panels, or below the lower panels. The finish material passes between the panel and an applicator blade (84), which presses the material against the panel. A glue applicator such as an elongate porous roller (86) is positioned directly above and in contact with the roll of material and is thus supported by the roll while it applies adhesive material to the finish material before it comes off the roll, or the glue applicator is positioned in front of the fasteners and applies glue to the surface of the boards.

Alternatively, rolled barrier material may be provided at the rear of the framing machine and placed between the joists and the lower panels or the upper panels. The barrier material is then fastened to the joists and the panels as the structural member is assembled and moved out of the machine.

In an alternative embodiment, upper panels or both upper and lower panels may be taken from a panel reservoir containing stacked panels and positioned against the joists in the installation positions. In one embodiment, as shown in FIGS. 13-16, an actuator (300) which slides along the frame members, and has a grasping mechanism (302) on its end is lowered to the top panel (304) in the upper panel reservoir where it will grasp that panel and position it in alignment with the joists (12) which have been positioned in the installation position by the joist positioning arms (22). If pegs have been installed on the joists, then the actuator (300) will press that panel against the joists. If no pegs have been installed on the joists, a fastening means, such as an array of nailing guns (306) connected to the actuator will be brought into alignment with each joist and fasten the panel to the joists.

In one embodiment, the lower panel array comprises a plurality of vertical panels as shown in FIGS. 13-16. A lower panel actuator (310) with a grasping mechanism (312) on its end is abutted to the front panel (314) in the lower panel bay where it will grasp that panel and position it in alignment with the joists (12) positioned in the installation position. The lower panel actuator (310) and grasping mechanism (312) with be connected to a rotatable arm (316) that allows the actuator and grasping mechanism to rotate 90 degrees thus changing the orientation of the panel from vertical to horizontal. If pegs have been installed on the joists then the actuator will press the panel against the joists thus connecting it. If no pegs have been installed on the joists, fastening means such as a nailing gun array (318) connected to the actuator will be brought into alignment with each joist and fasten the panel to the joists. Because the lower panel actuator (310) does not move laterally in this embodiment, unlike the upper panel actuator (300) a forward and rear array of nailing guns are provided.

The grasping means (302, 312) may comprise suction cups or other means of engaging a panel.

In an alternative embodiment, upper panels may be dropped from an upper panel bay positioned above the joist installation positions. In one embodiment, this upper panel bay uses two sets of actuators to drop only one panel at a time, the first set of actuators hold the lowest panel next be dropped by inserting under the lowest panel, and the second set would hold all panels above the lowest panel by pressing against the sides of the panels above the lowest panel. To drop the lowest panel the first set of actuators retract. They will then be reinserted and the second set of actuators will be retracted allowing the upper panels to fall against the first set of actuators. Then the second set of actuator will be reactivated and the process repeats. After the lowest panel has been dropped at least two positioning actuators will press against the panel to ensure it is correctly positioned. Once the panel is correctly positioned, a fastener array is brought into alignment with the joist installation positions and connects the panel to the joists. In this embodiment, the space between the upper panel bay and the joists bay should be sufficient to allow fastener guns to be brought above the joists. In another embodiment, the upper panel bay drops panels on the joists by applying force to the underside of a diagonally oriented upper panel bay the force causes the top panel to raise over the walls of the bay and fall onto the joists where at least two actuators will press against the panel to ensure it is correctly positioned.

In an alternative embodiment, as shown in FIG. 17, joists may be brought into the installation position from the side of the machine (1). In one embodiment, a joist feeding device may comprise a metal roll forming joists fabrication machines (400) positioned so that they extrude joists (412) into the installation positions. A saw or laser cutter (402) are positioned on the machine (400) to cut the extruded joists once an appropriate length has been produced. In one embodiment, the joists may be kept in alignment along the length of the panels by a shallow channel cut in inner surface the panels. In a preferred embodiment, corrugated sheathing with channels transverse to the joists are used to allow for line materials installation between the joists and the panels.

Claims

1. A method of constructing a structural member for use in the construction of a building, comprising the steps of:
(a) providing a plurality of vertical joists, arrayed horizontally, each joist having an upper edge and a lower edge, a plurality of horizontal upper panels, vertically stacked, above the arrayed joists, and a plurality of horizontal lower panels, vertically stacked, below the arrayed joists, wherein each of the upper and lower panels has a leading edge and a trailing edge;
(b) installing a plurality of pegs into the upper edge and the lower edge of the joists;
(c) positioning the first joist in the joist array in a forward installation position and a second joist in a rear installation position;
(d) positioning a first upper panel and a first lower panel such that their leading edges aligns with the first joist in the forward installation position, and their trailing edges align with the second joist in the rear installation position;
(e) pressing the first upper panel onto the pegs of the upper edge of the first and second joists, and pressing the first lower panel to the pegs of the lower edge of the first and second joists;
(f) applying a horizontal force to the assembly created in steps (a) through (e) until the second joist is positioned in the forward installation position;
(g) positioning a third joist into the rear installation position;
(h) pressing another upper panel and another lower panel to the pegs of the second and third joists;
(i) pressing successive upper panels and successive lower panels to successive joists by repeating steps (b) through (h), to create a structural member.
(a) providing a plurality of vertical joists, arrayed horizontally, each joist having an upper edge and a lower edge, a plurality of horizontal upper panels, vertically stacked, above the arrayed joists, and a plurality of horizontal lower panels, vertically stacked, below the arrayed joists, wherein each of the upper and lower panels has a leading edge and a trailing edge;
(b) installing a plurality of pegs into the upper edge and the lower edge of the joists;
(c) positioning the first joist in the joist array in a forward installation position and a second joist in a rear installation position;
(d) positioning a first upper panel and a first lower panel such that their leading edges aligns with the first joist in the forward installation position, and their trailing edges align with the second joist in the rear installation position;
(e) pressing the first upper panel onto the pegs of the upper edge of the first and second joists, and pressing the first lower panel to the pegs of the lower edge of the first and second joists;
(f) applying a horizontal force to the assembly created in steps (a) through (e) until the second joist is positioned in the forward installation position;
(g) positioning a third joist into the rear installation position;
(h) pressing another upper panel and another lower panel to the pegs of the second and third joists;
(i) pressing successive upper panels and successive lower panels to successive joists by repeating steps (b) through (h), to create a structural member.
2. The method of claim 1 wherein the pegs comprise double-shanked nails.
3. The method of claim 1 wherein the pegs comprise triple-shanked nails.
4. The method of claim 1 wherein the pegs comprise a combination of double-shanked and triple-shanked nails.
5. The method of claim 1 wherein the pegs are pre-installed onto the joist prior to being arrayed in the joist array.
6. The method of claim 1 further comprising the step of inserting mechanical lines into the structural member as it is being formed.
7. The method of claim 10 wherein the mechanical lines are attached to the first joist, threaded through the joists and applied from a roll or container.
8. The method of claim 11 wherein the mechanical lines comprise electrical wiring, cables, pipes, corrugated venation ducts, reinforcement mesh, conduits or retractable insulation lines.
9. The method of claim 1 further comprising the step of inserting a stationary insulation line through the arrayed joists that sprays insulation into the structural member as it is being extruded out of the machine.
10. A method of constructing a structural member for use in the construction of a building, comprising the steps of:
(a) providing a plurality of vertical joists, arrayed horizontally, each joist having an upper edge and a lower edge, an upper rolled sheathing material, and a lower rolled sheathing material;
(b) installing a plurality of pegs into the upper edge and the lower edge of the joists;
(c) positioning the first joist in the joist array in a forward installation;
(d) pressing the upper rolled sheathing material to the upper edge of the joist and the lower rolled sheathing material to the lower edge of the joist in the forward installation position;
(e) pulling or pushing the first joist outwards and positioning a second joist into the forward installation position;
(f) pressing the upper rolled material to the upper edge of the second joist, and the lower rolled sheathing material to the lower edge of the second joist;
(g) repeating steps (b) through (f), to create a structural member.
(a) providing a plurality of vertical joists, arrayed horizontally, each joist having an upper edge and a lower edge, an upper rolled sheathing material, and a lower rolled sheathing material;
(b) installing a plurality of pegs into the upper edge and the lower edge of the joists;
(c) positioning the first joist in the joist array in a forward installation;
(d) pressing the upper rolled sheathing material to the upper edge of the joist and the lower rolled sheathing material to the lower edge of the joist in the forward installation position;
(e) pulling or pushing the first joist outwards and positioning a second joist into the forward installation position;
(f) pressing the upper rolled material to the upper edge of the second joist, and the lower rolled sheathing material to the lower edge of the second joist;
(g) repeating steps (b) through (f), to create a structural member.
11. An apparatus for automating building construction comprising:
(a) a joist feeder including a joist bay for holding a plurality of vertical joists, horizontally arrayed;
(b) an upper panel feeder, positioned above the joist feeder, comprising a panel bay for holding a plurality of horizontal panels, vertically arrayed;
(c) a lower panel feeder, positioned below the joist feeder, comprising a panel bay for holding a plurality of horizontal panels, vertically arrayed;
(d) fastening means for installing a plurality of pegs into upper and lower edges of the joists,
(e) panel press means for pressing the panels onto the pegs of the joists; and
(f) alignment means for positioning each successive joist in alignment with the panel press means.
(a) a joist feeder including a joist bay for holding a plurality of vertical joists, horizontally arrayed;
(b) an upper panel feeder, positioned above the joist feeder, comprising a panel bay for holding a plurality of horizontal panels, vertically arrayed;
(c) a lower panel feeder, positioned below the joist feeder, comprising a panel bay for holding a plurality of horizontal panels, vertically arrayed;
(d) fastening means for installing a plurality of pegs into upper and lower edges of the joists,
(e) panel press means for pressing the panels onto the pegs of the joists; and
(f) alignment means for positioning each successive joist in alignment with the panel press means.
12. A method of constructing a structural member for use in the construction of a building, comprising the steps of:
(a) providing a plurality of vertical joists, arrayed horizontally, each joist having an upper edge and a lower edge, a plurality of upper panels, and a plurality of lower panels, wherein each of the upper and lower panels has a leading edge and a trailing edge;
(b) positioning the first joist in the joist array in a forward installation position and a second joist in a rear installation position;
(c) positioning a first upper panel and a first lower panel such that their leading edges aligns with the first joist in the forward installation position, and their trailing edges align with the second joist in the rear installation position;
(d) fastening the first upper panel onto the upper edge of the first and second joists, and fastening the first lower panel to the lower edge of the first and second joists;
(e) applying a horizontal force to the assembly created in steps (a) through (d) until the second joist is positioned in the forward installation position;
(f) positioning a third joist into the rear installation position;
(g) positioning and fastening the next upper panel and the next lower panel against the second and third joists; and
(h) repeating steps (f) and (g) to produce a structural member.
(a) providing a plurality of vertical joists, arrayed horizontally, each joist having an upper edge and a lower edge, a plurality of upper panels, and a plurality of lower panels, wherein each of the upper and lower panels has a leading edge and a trailing edge;
(b) positioning the first joist in the joist array in a forward installation position and a second joist in a rear installation position;
(c) positioning a first upper panel and a first lower panel such that their leading edges aligns with the first joist in the forward installation position, and their trailing edges align with the second joist in the rear installation position;
(d) fastening the first upper panel onto the upper edge of the first and second joists, and fastening the first lower panel to the lower edge of the first and second joists;
(e) applying a horizontal force to the assembly created in steps (a) through (d) until the second joist is positioned in the forward installation position;
(f) positioning a third joist into the rear installation position;
(g) positioning and fastening the next upper panel and the next lower panel against the second and third joists; and
(h) repeating steps (f) and (g) to produce a structural member.
14. An apparatus for automating building construction comprising:
(a) a joist feeder including a joist bay for holding a plurality of vertical joists, horizontally arrayed;
(b) an upper panel bay for holding a plurality of horizontal panels,
(c) a lower panel bay for holding a plurality of horizontal panels,
(d) joist positioning means for moving successive joists into a forward and a rear installation position;
(e) upper panel actuating means comprising panel grasping means for grasping and moving an upper panel from the upper panel bay to a position aligned with the forward and rear installation positions;
(f) lower panel actuating means comprising panel grasping means for grasping and moving a lower panel from the lower panel bay to a position aligned with the forward and rear installation positions;
(g) fastening means for connecting upper panels to the upper edges of the joists; and
(h) fastening means for connecting lower panels to the lower edges of the joists.
(a) a joist feeder including a joist bay for holding a plurality of vertical joists, horizontally arrayed;
(b) an upper panel bay for holding a plurality of horizontal panels,
(c) a lower panel bay for holding a plurality of horizontal panels,
(d) joist positioning means for moving successive joists into a forward and a rear installation position;
(e) upper panel actuating means comprising panel grasping means for grasping and moving an upper panel from the upper panel bay to a position aligned with the forward and rear installation positions;
(f) lower panel actuating means comprising panel grasping means for grasping and moving a lower panel from the lower panel bay to a position aligned with the forward and rear installation positions;
(g) fastening means for connecting upper panels to the upper edges of the joists; and
(h) fastening means for connecting lower panels to the lower edges of the joists.
15. The apparatus of claim 14 wherein the upper panel actuating means is moveable backwards and forwards and the panel grasping means is moveable upwards and downwards.
16. The apparatus of claim 14 wherein the lower panel actuating means may rotate from a vertical orientation to a horizontal orientation, and the lower panel grasping means may move upwards and downwards when the lower panel actuating means is in a horizontal orientation.