A coupling for mechanically connecting modular tubular struts of a positioning apparatus or space frame, comprising a pair of toothed rings (10, 12) attached to separate strut members (16), the teeth (18, 20) of the primary rings (10, 12) mechanically interlocking in both an axial and circumferential manner, and a third part comprising a sliding, toothed collar (14) the teeth (22) of which interlock the teeth (18, 20) of the primary rings (10, 12), preventing them from disengaging, and completely locking the assembly together. A secondary mechanism provides a nesting force for the collar, and/or retains it. The coupling is self-contained and requires no external tools for installation, and can be assembled with gloved hands in demanding environments. No gauging or measured torque is required for assembly. The assembly can easily be visually inspected to determine a "go" or "no-go" status. The coupling is compact and relatively light-weight. Because of it's triply interlocking teeth, the connection is rigid. The connection does not primarily rely on clamps, springs or friction based fasteners, and is therefore reliable in fail-safe applications.
FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH
The United States government has rights in this invention pursuant to Contract No. DE-AC03-76SF00098 between the United States Department of Energy and the University of California, for the operation of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.