The QuickDraw Story
I was in second grade when a kid challenged me to roll a quarter down the center of my face. He said “You can’t do it, it’s impossible!”. I took the quarter and proved him wrong, to which he replied “oh, I guess I was wrong”, and he walked away laughing. Unknown to me, he had rubbed pencil graphite on the edge of the quarter, so I was walking around with a black line down the center of my face. Flash forward to me building my house in the Sun Valley Idaho. It’s snowing, my ears are cold, my skin is dry, and countless pencils have already fallen from the perch on my ear, into snowdrifts, lost until spring for sure. I’m using a Stanley Power-lock tape measure to frame the second floor and I’ve just lost my last pencil. SOB#%^@#! So, I start using the edge of the tape case to indent the wood. This was the beginning of the idea that would eventually become the QUICKDRAW Pro marking tape measure.
Already being a successful inventor (I had growing success with the Levelution System Level), I knew I was on to something. I did patent searches, and discovered there were sixty plus, patents on the idea of marking tape measures, yet nothing was on the market? This was strange, because I knew firsthand that it was a great idea. I analyzed all the existing patents and discovered that they all had pretty much, the same flaws. Simply put, if you have to engage a marking mechanism, then lock the blade, use it, then dis-engage the marker, then dis-engage the lock, well, forget it, it’s easier to use a pencil, plus, the marker would still have to be sharpened, so that’s another problem, and there was also the issue of the parallax effect. Imagine an indicator over a tape blade. The indicator can’t be directly on/against the tape blade, because the blade can retract at high speed and both would be damaged, so the indicator must be positioned some distance above the tape blade. It’s the gap between the indicator and the blade that causes the problem because if you are not exactly directly above the indicator, your measurement would be off. Try this: hold a paperclip above a tape blade and look at it from different angles. That’s the parallax effect problem.
So, I now knew why this great idea had never made it to market! For a marking tape to be better than using a pencil, it had to:
- Be ready to mark without having to engage and dis-engage the marking device
(this requirement eliminates the idea of using any kind of pencil).
- The marking device needed to make a line perpendicular to the tape blade
(not easily done with a pencil).
- The marking device needed to mark on rough surfaces without breaking
(nothing like a pencil).
- The marking device needed to never need sharping (nothing like a pencil).
- The mark made, needs to be visible in regular working environments
(similar to a pencil mark).
- The mark needs to be erasable, (similar to a pencil mark)
- The marking device should make at least 1000+ 1/4” marks, and reloading needed to be fast and easy, and not require any tools.
- The indicator needed to eliminate the parallax effect, to ensure accuracy.
Remember the kid with the quarter... well, that was a huge part of the marking solution. The QuickDraw has a very small hardened steel wheel with a serrated edge (like a quarter). A graphite stick (0.9mm) is in a chamber above the wheel, and as the wheel rolls, graphite is carried to the surface that the wheel is rolling on. This is a really elegant solution because the wheel rolls directionally and is positioned perpendicular to the tape blade, basically solving problems 1 -7.
I solved the parallax issue with a wedge-shaped indicator, that provides extreme accuracy by preforming just like a gun site. From the front, it’s a wedge shape, but look down from above and the wedge become a single red line that tells you precisely where you’re putting your mark. The Tru-VIEW™ WEDGE™ is the only indicator that eliminates the parallax effect to ensure “dead nuts” accuracy every time.
- E The Wedge indicator (patent pending)
I have heard from many tradesmen, that when they first got their QuickDraw, they continued to use a pencil, until they didn’t have a pencil, then they got hooked and never looked back. I can tell you from personal experience, that once you’ve owned a QuickDraw, you’ll find using a regular tape measure annoying (and slow).
Does your tape measure make 2000 marks per load?
Does it reload in 10 seconds?
Does it work with one hand?
Does it make a radius or circle?