by Brian Minock
An extension ladder stabilizer to access inside and outside corners, use as a stand off, use on a tree or pole with space for tools.
About this project
What is it?
The LadderMFS (in short MFS) is a Multi Function Stabilizer that mounts to and can be used with any extension ladder. It will fit on ladders with a rung width of 12-16″ (30-40cm) and a upright depth of 2-3.5″ (5-9cm). It can be installed on and dismounted from a ladder within a few seconds making it easy to use. Once installed it provides multiple advantages over using a ladder by itself such as offering a stand off from the wall.
MFS can be used on an outside or inside corner to avoid hanging away from the ladder or to work around down spouts.
Use the MFS to get onto a roof to avoid damaging the gutters or roof tiles.
You can use it to work on trees or poles from 4-12″ diameters. MFS will avoid dangerous contraptions to secure the ladder to round surfaces. In addition it will contain the risk of the ladder sliding off.
Stabilizes the ladder on larger diameter trees.
Contains all the bolts, fasteners, and tools in the trays. Your materials are in front of you so no more digging in pockets. The trays also have optional magnetic inlays and lids so everything can be put in them before moving the ladder in place. In addition, paint buckets, power tools, cable rolls, or anything else you might need can be hung from the trays for ease of use and access.
This will make replacing those motion detector lights on the corner of your garage or putting up the Christmas lights easy.
The MFS will also help to put the ladder in the correct, and industry suggested angle by providing a visual guide – if the front face of the MFS is fully touching the wall, then you have the ladder at the correct angle.
All in all the MFS is an excellent tool for anyone that uses a ladder, but specifically those of us that do not feel comfortable going up a ladder. Stability is the key and that is what the MFS provides.
There is no other product on the market that offers the same functionality, and on top of it, in a one-piece design. Other solutions consist of multiple components which have to be stored while not in use and can (and over time most likely will) be lost. The MFS is a compact unit that stores easily with all components securely attached.
There are multiple components that make up the MFS.
Main Body, Clamp and Knobs:
These are the two main parts that make the basic stabilizer. They are held together by specially designed clamping knobs which will ensure simple, quick, secure locking of the components and a good distribution of the locking force.
Based on feedback from family and friends we added a few additional features to the Main Body. Rotation locks to keep the MFS from flipping upwards when moving and positioning the ladder. Hangers on the sides (to conveniently hang saws, power tools, bags or anything else) and Tie-off Hooks to the front (this adds the possibility to tie the ladder off with the MFS via a rope or bungee cord when needed).
Kickstarter Special Edition:
We decided to make the KickStarter special edition MFS. Instead of the standard black bumpers we will incorporate bright orange non marking bumpers. The bumpers are the area that makes contact to the surface that you are working on. This will make your MFS a recognizable supporter special!
Additional Features:Things have been modified since we machined the prototype.
Rotation Locks keep the MFS from rotating in an upward direction when placing it against your work surface.
Tool Hangers were added to hold tools and anything else you can imagine.
Ladder Tie Off Hooks were added to help tie off the ladder during those windy days. Use a bungee cord or rope to help you hold down that ladder.
Locking Knobs that are seen in the pictures and video are not what the MFS will come with. We had to design our own to allow for the correct clamping force to the locking mechanism. See the picture below.
These additional parts, as listed below, will be added as stretch and super stretch goals. We will include these accessories with all MFS shipments to supporters once these additional goals are met.
Grippers:These optional parts clip to the inside of the U-opening of the main body. They come in two sizes. The Small Grippers allow you to use the MFS on trees and poles from 12-9″ (30-22cm). The Large Grippers can be used on diameters from 9-4″ (22-10cm). The grippers have a serrated front face that will bite into wooden surfaces.
An alternate set of grippers is available with a rubbery surface for use on metal poles. All clips attach to the outside of the Main Body when not being used. Thus allowing easy storage and without interfering with the usability of the MFS.
The optional Lids easily clip into the Main Body and cover the trays when moving the ladder to and from the working surfaces. They will keep small items such as bolts and nuts in the tray and keep them from falling out. They are attached to the Main Body by stainless steel rope. Once attached to the MFS you simply pop the Lid and let it dangle to the side. This keeps the Lids with the unit but also keeps your hands free when working up on the ladder.
The optional Hanging Bar can be hung between the trays and allows secure hanging of paint buckets, power tools, etc for easy, frontal access while performing work when on the ladder. When not used it conveniently clamps on the back side of the Main Clamp.
There are many other possibilities on making the MFS even more functional. For example: One additional idea is a light bulb holder. You have a place to store fragile light bulbs when handling them for replacement up on the corner of your garage or house.
What else? We hope that you, our supporters, will support and provide us with some of your ideas. We are all ears!
What do we use the funds for?
The MFS will be manufactured using plastic injection molds. These are tools that are machined out of steel which the plastic is injected into and produces the final product. Each part of the MFS requires its own tool (mold). These are big tools – the mold for the main-body will weigh approximately 2,500 lbs and will take hundreds of hours to create. With the support money we will pay for the steel, the tool design and machining, sampling, and production of rewards.
We started in March 2015 and have worked on this project for over a year. The Utility Patent has been submitted and it is pending. Within this past year we designed and made several iterations of prototypes, did a lot of testing, got all the input we can get from each and everybody that we could talk to, refined the design, improved its functionality, and finalized the product.
Once the crowd funding campaign is successfully completed we require 14-16 weeks to build the plastic injection tools. This timing includes final quality assurance, refining the process, manufacturing rewards and shipping. All of the work, from the design, the tool build and the molding of the final product will be done in Concord, North Carolina. This way we maintain full control of the quality and timeline.
Meet the Team
Our team consists of friends and family and each one of us has, still does and will keep playing an important role in getting the project to the finish line.
Brian Minock: Inventor and head of this project. Brian has more than 30 years of experience in the manufacturing industry.
Alfred Geiger: Designer and project partner. Alfred has more than 25 years of experience in engineering.
Voy Haig: Inventor and patent specialist. Voy is a creative mind and helped with his ideas to improve the product and create the patent papers.
Alia Haig: Web and video designer. Alia took on the challenge to edit the video and to create our web presence.
Special thanks: Tony Hewitt who took all of the pictures. Dan Daywalt who pushed me to pursue this project. Our wives Terri Minock & Karen Geiger who help with anything asked of them and allowing us the time to spend with the MFS and not them.
Risks and challenges
With any Kickstarter, there is the risk that the creators of a campaign won’t be able to actually deliver their product due to lack of funds.
As you can tell by the pictures: We have produced and tested prototypes and made changes to the design to improve its functionality. We CNC machined the prototype out of a solid plastic block. We had no issues with the stability. Final production material will be glass fiber filled polypropylene to make the product even more stable.
We have our partners lined up to cover all aspects of the production phase. Utilizing high end steels to build the injection molds, machining of the molds, molding, assembly and final packing of all of the parts required for the final product.
With our team’s core background and work experience in machining and plastics processing we are highly confident that the project will come to fruition smoothly, both with quality and within our timeline.