Case Study: Kitchen Cabinet Levelling Tool
Client: Nick Bunday
Website: Drapers Catalogue (Page 400)
This project involved designing and manufacturing a tool that provides easy access when rising, lowering and levelling height adjusters on the base of units for kitchen, bathroom or wardrobe cabinets. It’s design allows installers to locate the U shaped open jaw of the adjustable foot nut, enabling adjustments to be made without having to get into awkward positions. Fitters and carpenters often have to lie on a dirty floor as they try and reach rear leg units and adjust them to the right height. These are difficult to turn by hand alone, especially with the heavy weight of the unit on top. The tool allows fitters to place a spirit level on top of the unit and adjust each foot without having to lie on the floor.
The big lightbulb moment came for Nick Bunday came when he was fitting a large kitchen in a college and realised how difficult it was. According to Nick: “My workmate, who is 6 feet 4 inches, looked very uncomfortable rolling around on his stomach on a dirty floor trying to adjust the rear legs nearest the wall on the base units. So I thought: ‘why isn’t there a tool to aid you with this task?’” That’s when he came up with the idea for the kitchen cabinet levelling tool. The big challenge once he settled on the design was getting interest from tool companies to manufacture it before moving to market. Nick was lucky in that the team at Draper Tools were able to provide support from start to finish after offering him a licensing deal. Nick applied for patent perhaps a little too early and now feels that he could have waited and got more feedback from other companies before going ahead. Working with Innovate Product Design, however, he emailed many tool manufacturers and used the CAD drawings and presentation pack he had developed with us to spark interest. It was always his intention to go down the licencing route and Draper Tools, who showed immediate interest, were an experienced outlet to deal with. Nick made his own initial prototype from MDF which was then sent to Draper Tools for their team to have a look at. The company took things to the next stage and one of the highlights of the process came when Nick received the ‘finished’ tool for his approval. After that, everything went into full production.
The Lessons Learnt
When it comes to offering advice to other inventors, Nick’s is pretty straight forward: “Just believe in your idea and keep pushing it forward. Many of the companies that you approach will reject you as a ‘one man band inventor’ but don’t give up. Our family mantra is ‘Believe, believe, believe’! It’s been a very long road getting to the final stage of the process but well worth it when you finally see it go on sale to the general public.” While an innovative product for the market was a new experience, having a well-known tool brand believe in him was also a major part of Nick’s success in bringing his invention to market. Even with this support, he is still working hard to make as many people aware of the product as possible.
The levelling tool is now on sale through Draper Tools and Nick says that the future is looking bright. The tool has had its UK patent granted and there’s potential for selling the product around the world. “I didn’t know where to go to get the wheels turning to progress my idea. Innovate’s advice, presentation pack with prototype drawings definitely opened doors for me. I don’t know whether the Kitchen Cabinet Levelling Tool would have made it to production without Innovate. I would highly recommend Innovate to other budding inventors.”
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