We met Eric Davis at our casting call at the National Hardware Show in 2017. Eric made up one half of team Inertia Forces from season two. An experienced inventor, Eric was bitten by the creative bug in his 7th grade shop class. “After that it was fixing everything in the house and neighborhood.” Eric recollected, “needless to say in my spare time I could find myself in my garage making things and often times it was to experiment with a new idea.”
“As a woodworker and tinkerer, I have built many products or projects but never have I tried to bring a product to market, and prior to Make 48, I relied on educating myself before jumping in.” But after doing research and working with a coaching service, he was brought up to speed on many aspects of product development.
And now Eric has designed a better way to sand. With the help of a team, including the professional guidance of John Cunningham at L2i Global, who spent 20 years at Stanley Black & Decker, and Mauricio Villalobos– a mechatronic engineer, product designer and owner at IDW engineering, Sandsall was brought to life.
I asked Eric how he invented the Sandsall. Read what he has to say:
In order to sand a complex concave curve I did what everyone does….I grabbed a hose and applied a hook to it and then the loop sandpaper. I just wrapped it around it and started going back and forth. If this was a small project I would have continued but I had 21 doors front and back, and in 5 min I knew I had to come up with a better way.
Since it was a reciprocal motion I thought my old cheap jigsaw would volunteer for the task. I cut off the blade adapter from the axle and custom-made an attachment for the hose to fit on. Once that was done I had the stroke, but not the pressure, so I grabbed my seam roller for wallpaper and applied force. And boy did the dust fly then! I was amazed at the results but the hose was long and the other end kept flopping around.
I thought if I could hold the end somehow I would be able to operate this like a handle bar, and within 10 seconds the idea struck. I had been working with threaded inserts for my last project. I figured if I could drill a hole through the wooden handle that was much longer than the threaded insert, I could then use that chamber to receive the stroke of the corresponding screw, provided I grind all the threads off of the center of the screw. Once I attached one end of the screw to the hose I only needed to screw the other end in the threaded insert far enough to pass through so that the threads I grinded off would no longer catch and thus prevent it from coming out if I pulled away.
Within minutes I was dancing with my new toy. I called it the Sandancer (at the time as it was appropriate), but after a few minutes I started to realize that I could apply this logic to anything that reciprocates like rasps, scrapers or brushes. Ten minutes later I was on the internet trying to buy one because it was such a simple idea that someone had to have invented it, even though with all my years as a woodworker I have never seen anything like it.
My project and invention came from looking at a fine woodworking magazine #211 and wanting to build some new kitchen cabinets, and when necessity struck a lifetime of tinkering struck me like lightening, and thus the opposing damping handle was born.
But it’s never as simple as that. An idea requires expertise that I did not have until I learned how to find mechanical engineers, lawyers and graphic designers. I was then able to transmit my ideas in the right way and ensure this project takes the wind under its wings and fly. Many others have helped me and I can assure you that big ideas need big resources, and you must be prepared to give it 100 percent and follow through with it. But it also helps to have a good idea and the encouragement from the right people.
Make48 brought me together with other like-minded people and the positive energy and inquisitive nature of everyone was like a breath of fresh air! But more so meeting co-founders, Tom Gray, Bob Coulston and Rich Brull and all the excellent people of Make48 that confirmed my continued path for innovation. I am working on new products for the Sandsall all the time, as well as many other new and different ideas.
To learn more about this innovative sanding tool, subscribe to their email list and/or become a product tester at http://sandsall.com and receive product updates and progress of their upcoming Indiegogo campaign.