Life on the tools can be filled little annoyances and frustrations that leave you thinking “there must be an easier way”. And sometimes there is. Here, we chat to electrician and inventor Patrick Lenaghan, creator of the QuikReel.
Tell us more about yourself
I’m an electrician from Dundalk, County Louth in Ireland and since 1995 I’ve been running my own business, mainly wiring houses, agricultural and commercial buildings.
What did you find frustrating about pulling cable that eventually led to the invention of the QuikReel?
In many of our jobs, we use one or two reels of cable at a time and frequently move them from one area to the next. Setting up a cable rack isn’t justified so we’d just put the cable reel on the ground – which works fine until the cable gets caught on a toolbox, a corner or another obstruction and we have to stop work to untangle it. Pulling cable that way also damages the reel and once the cardboard tears the whole cable spirals off, causing kinks and curls, which make it harder to install.
How did you come up with the idea for the QuikReel?
While rewiring a farmhouse, up in the roof space I found an old blue and white enamel dish – the kind they used back in the day for washing or shaving. I put it on the floor and an idea flashed into my mind. I began to spin it and it rotated on itself very easily.
The dish was about 14 inches across and it looked about the same size as my reel of cable, so I put the cable reel in the dish and began drawing out the cable. To my amazement, the dish spun around in the same place while I drew the cable, seeing my cable coming off straight and smooth. That was my ‘Eureka’ moment.
What did you do with this flash of inspiration?
When I got home, I started creating a design for a cable dispenser. The bottom of the old dish I’d seen was curved so it had minimal contact with the ground and naturally wanted to rotate like a spinning top. I incorporated this concept into my design for the QuikReel.
Tell us a bit about the QuikReel
The QuikReel makes cable dispensing trouble-free. It’s lightweight, sturdy and compact, and fits most popular cable reel sizes. It’s easy to load and the compression gland nut secures it to keep your cable reel dry and protected.
Was getting the QuikReel to market challenging?
I came across the Super Rod website by chance and saw they sold products designed by electricians, so I approached them with my prototype. They loved it and it was a great fit with their brand, which is all about helping installers work smarter. It has been hard work to get here but seeing the finished product in front of me and watching it in action, I know it was worth it.
Any advice for installers out there with a bright idea of their own?
Your idea must be a remedy for a real problem experienced by a lot of electricians. Sometimes we have great ideas for a problem that doesn’t exist! But if you have an invention which relieves an electrician’s pain, they will buy the remedy. Finally, make sure you get it independently field tested.
For more information about the QuikReel, available from Super Rod, visit: www.super-rod.co.uk