As a ceiling installation contractor David Buchner knows all about the challenges of the job, whether it is the time spent climbing up and down scaffolding moving from one area to the next as he does his job or it is being up on that scaffolding several feet in the air knowing there are safety issues that go along with that.
In an effort to save time on his projects and to ensure he is safe while on the job, Buchner decided to create a new product that would allow him to move much more quickly and safely as he installs ceiling fasteners.
That product, called The Skydrill, allows users to do the same job they have done, whether installing a false ceiling or just putting up sheetrock, while keeping their feet firmly planted on the floor.
The Skydrill was displayed this past weekend at the Minnesota Inventors Congress, and in the end it fared very well.
Buchner and his partner, Reed Felton, a business consultant who offers product innovation expertise, were presented with the F. Robert Starr award, which is the grand prize at MIC.
The Skydrill was also presented with the Professor Otto Schmitt memorial Innovative award, a gold medal and the Gordon Volkenant Memorial award, which is given for the best working model exhibited.
The product is based on a telescoping pneumatic cylinder erected on a mobile platform.
A joystick control allows the user to drill necessary holes and install screws into sheetrock while standing on the floor.
Buchner said the idea actually started with another product he developed which he used to install hardware in concrete ceilings after the holes had been drilled.
“I?got tired of carrying the scaffolding up and down and having to get off of it all of the time,”?he said. “As the only employee I?also risked injury and then not being able to work.”
Buchner said he is humbled by the response he received not only in terms of award recognition but also everyday members of the public who stopped by and commented on his idea.
He also said he has learned a lot about the process of marketing his product and other steps to get his product to the consumer.
Felton said a product like this really has the potential to extend the career of people like Buchner as it limits wear on the body.
Buchner, who hails from Wisconsin, attended the MIC for the first time this year, and he felt it was a very valuable event.