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Multi-Tool System Entry #469

Table of Contents


Phase I Research


Problem Statement




Phase II Ideation and Study Model


14 Ideation 16 Chosen Concept 18 Study Model 22 Revised Orthographic

Phase III Refinement and Final Concept

24 CAD Modeling 28 User Storyboard 30 Logo Development 31 Presentation Materials

Problem Statement


Homeowners’ garages and sheds can often be cluttered and space is frequently at a premium. Many tools such as brooms, shovels, mops, and rakes are required to maintain a house and the property surrounding it and many of them have long handles which can make them very awkward to store. They can be hung on the wall, but any wall space below the rack is wasted. Tools are also a tripping hazard and look disorderly propped in the corner of the garage. Is there a better way to store long handled tools in garages and sheds?


1 #469

User Analysis Eleven potential users were given questionnaires asking about their usage of long handled tools. Average number of tools owned: 6-10. Average use: one to four times a month. Most used tool is the broom. Most were stored in the garage with some stored in a closet or shed. Majority willing to pay $10-20 for a product that aids storage. Almost no one would buy a new space saving tool until their old ones wear out. They are willing to pay 10-20% more for a space saving tool.

Based on the findings above, homeowners own the most tools, showing they have the largest need for compact tool storage. Even if they have many tools, the results showed that they were willing to pay only slightly more for a system that saved space, which meant that it must be simple to manufacture and efficiently use materials. Respondents also stated that they would replace their tools only when the old ones wore out; showing that the solution should be able to be purchased as needed and be able to be phased into the user’s environment.


Observing Current Storage Environment


Disorganized a anized and unsightly n nsightly

Wasted wall space

Looking at garages, I found the two most common ways to store tools are to either prop them up against the wall or to hang them from the wall. Propping them up is a tripping hazard and could damage the end of the tool. Hanging them on the wall prevents the utilization of the area below as the handles hang down and take up space.

Tools could be damaged


Visiting Stores

$9.97 at Walmart


Emphasis on large beefy handles at Home Depot

I took a research trip to local stores to see what they had to offer in terms of space saving tools. •Wal-Mart had brooms which had heads that screwed off and attached to a handle, but the overall build quality was poor and dealing with the long handle was still an issue. •Home Depot only had tools with thick wooden handles, which is most likely meant to give off a tough, manly branding image, but doesn’t do anything to aid storage •The Target location I went to did not have any outdoor tools that I could find, but the indoor mops that they had did not attempt to address storage.


Online Market Examples Name/Price Palmyra Push Broom


Pros Inexpensive, bristles snap to the handle

Poor build quality, handle does not collapse

Tines collapse, inexpensive

Tines look fragile, handle does not collapse


Bond Adjustable Steel Rake



Effol Collapsible Broom

Separates into storable parts

Plastic handle can break, parts can get lost


Base Runner Rake

Appears sturdy, compact design

Expensive, parts could get lost



Applicable Technology


Push button extending rods are useful, but they are small and can pinch fingers.

The Red Cross distributes clean up tools with changeable heads.

Screwing on the head saves space, but could be tedious.

As I searched for usable technologies, I found a few that might be applicable to the project. •Telescoping rods tend to utilize a push tab locking mechanism, which is sturdy, but fairly difficult to press due to the small size and the risk of pinching yourself during operation. •The Red Cross distributes clean up kits with exchangeable broom heads in order to save transport space, but these kits are not available in the market. •The screw-on broom heads at Wal-Mart did save some space but the screwing action might become tedious after repeated operation and a easier to use mechanism might be preferred.


Environmental and Economic Benefits


Economical •Having a collapsible set of tools allows for much more efficient shipping. •Combining multiple tools into one product lowers the overall cost as less materials are used to perform the same function. •The space saving feature is a selling point that increases the potential value to consumers.

Environmental •Smaller packages reduce waste and save energy in the shipping process. •The product emphasizes the idea of versatility over bigger is better. •The aluminum used in the telescoping handle is recyclable and the modular nature will make disassembling for recycling simpler.


Appearance Benchmarking Personality







Utilitarian, Basic

Rectilinear, Follows Function

Wood, Metal

Metal, Wood, Red

Basic, Support Bars

Utilitarian, Bare Bones

Basic, Follows Function

Wood, Metal

Wood, Metal

Basic, No Frills

Gadgety, Quirky

Asymmetrical, Blocky

Polymer, Metal

Metal, Black, Blue

Telescoping Handle

Playful, Inviting

Organic, Symmetrical

Painted and Unpainted Metal

Vibrant Green, Metal

Clean, Painted Metal

Utilitarian, Gadgety



Metal, Black

Exposed Mechanisms

Basic, Everyday

Structural, Follows Function

Plastic, Metal

Black, Metal

Hand grip, Ribbed Tines

Simple, Playful

Gentle Curving Body

Metal, Transparent Plastic

Bright, Clean Colors on White

Clean, Smooth Finish

Basic Yet Innovative

Follows Function

Metal, Paint

Metal, Bright Yellow

Wings to Hold Dirt

Sturdy, Inviting, Friendly

Gentle Curves, Flowing, Intuitive

Aluminum or Steel, ABS

Muted Primaries or Secondaries

Simple Controls, Clean Surfaces

Appearance Benchmarking







Design Language


Personality: Sturdy, Inviting, Friendly

Color: Muted Primaries or Secondaries as Accents Form: Gentle Curves, Flowing and Intuitive


Materials: Aluminum or Steel with ABS Parts

Details: Simple Controls, Clean Surfaces

Rugged Approachability describes the feel of the product as it relates to the user. The personality of the design must be approachable and friendly so the multiple parts and attachments to the product will not become intimidating. This is achieved through gently curving forms and inviting colors. The materials will be durable aluminum and ABS parts that show that even if the design is compact, it isn’t compromising on durability. The button details will be designed semantically and will allow the user to instinctively know how the product operates.


Concept Ideation


At this point I started creating ideation sketches exploring the problem of tool storage and different ways of compacting a long handle.

One of my concepts involved a folding handle based on a tension wire running through it.

Another involved a rail on which to hang tool heads that doubled as a handle.


#469 The idea I ended up pursuing uses a single collapsible handle with individual interchangeable tool heads, all of which are stored on a wall mounted rack.

Swappable Tool Heads

Collapsible Handle

Wall Mount to Hold Tool Heads

Slight Twist Twist st



Chosen Concept


apses handle, han ndle nd e, e, Top button collapses

tached he ead ea d. bottom one releases the a attached head.

Heads and handle are held on wall mounted rack.

Tabs lock lock into head until unttil button iss pressed.


Initial Orthographic Views


After finalizing my core concept I created an initial orthographic rendering and proceeded to make a study model to examine the human factors and mechanisms involved.

Rubberized End Cap

Holder for Collapsed Handle

Aluminum Handle

Telescoping Switch Head Release Button

Clips for Heads

Head Locking Tabs

Handle Socket (Integrated into Tool Head)


Study Model: Use


There are two main interactions required to use this product: telescoping the handle and attaching/detaching the tool heads. The handle slides freely as two nesting tubes until it reaches maximum extension and the switch locks in. The switch on the midpoint of the handle must be pressed to collapse the handle again. The end of the handle clips into the head and locks in place. The handle is then bent forward to pry the end from the wall clip for use. Once the tool is ready to be put away, the head is pushed back in the clip and the sliding switch on the handle is pressed to retract the locking wings and free the handle from the head.


Study Model: Human Factors

#469 The handle is approximately 62 inches long. This means that for most users the fully extended handle will reach from the floor to the head and from the floor to the waist while collapsed. The handle should be long enough to effectively use while extended, but short enough to store easily when collapsed. Overall the final handle should be about half a foot shorter than on the study model to fit a larger range of people. The buttons are placed on the midpoint of the handle allowing people with smaller arms to press them and interact with the end of the handle without having to reach long distances. The rack holding the tool heads would be mounted on the wall just above knee height to make it easy to insert the handle into the tool from above.

Study Model: Mechanisms

The end of the handle has two spring-loaded “wings� that lock the tool head onto the handle. There is a wire running from the wings to the recessed side switch in the middle of the handle (right photo). Sliding the switch will collapse the wings in order to release the tool head (middle photo). The lever switch in the middle of the handle allows it to collapse to half of its extended length when the lever lifts a tab out of a hole in the smaller pipe to allow the tube to slide freely.



Study Model: Observations

#469 Things I observed while building and testing my study model: All of the docking mechanisms work correctly but the end of the handle should be tapered to allow easier docking with the tool heads. The handle could use some kind of internal stop to prevent the two halves from coming completely apart even when the button is pressed. I need to investigate further how the wall mounted clips are going to be laid out. The clips should tilt slightly forward so the handle does not need to be flat against the wall while docking with the heads, which will allow the wall space above it to be used for storage.


Revised Orthographics Using what I discovered making my study model, I revised my Illustrator rendering and began to make a CAD model in Solidworks.

I changed the wall mounting system to include separate clip and rail parts to allow the user to customize the wall storage based on the number of the tools they have. This also allows the user to only buy the tools he needs and to clip new tools on the wall with the old ones.

While there would be multiple tools that fit this system, I decided to use the most common tool based on my research, the broom, as the example of how the system works, and how the tools would look.



Rendered View



Parts in Exploded View Rubberized TPE Endcap


Extruded Aluminum

Injection Molded ABS

Polypropelene Bristles

Injection Molded ABS Injection n Molded ABS

Injection Molded Styrene

Extruded Styrene Rail



18in 6in 1.3in 2in



.8in 60in







Product Mechanisms


Press side button to move slider . . .

. . . which pulls the wire . . .

. . . which folds the wings on the end of the handle.

Tool heads come with their own clip, which mount at any point on the rail.


Choose Tool

Store Tool


User Storyboard

Use Selected Tool


Logo Development


For my logo I wanted the name of the product to imply the multi-functionality of the product. I initially went with Polytool as a name, but I later changed it to Hydra, the creature from Greek mythology that had two heads grow back for each one you cut off, which perfectly represents the “multi-headed� tool system.



Tool System

Cleaning system




Multi-Headed Tool System

Cleaning system

Presentation Poster



Appearance Model



Thank you for taking the time to review my book.

Housewares Competition Entry Book  

My entry book in the International Housewares Student Competition.

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