I’m happy to have designed this new product but nothing happens in a vacuum! I’ve been very fortunate to have found excellent help and advice to move this project forward. Read on as I explain. It’s been quite a journey over the past year fine tuning the design of this brush washing invention. Now patent pending, this brush washer is a new way to clean brushes – designed to more thoroughly clean artist brushes than what is now available for this purpose. I decided on the name Brush Butler ™, a few months ago. It sums up the right impression for what it does for the brush washing experience. The trademark for Brush Butler was filed around that same time.
The idea was born in my studio about 14 months ago when the brush washer I was using sealed itself closed and I was unable to open it. It was one of the kind that has a screw on cover and the cover had “glued” itself to the base. I had a metal bowl in my studio so I put some OMS in there and cleaned my brushes in that for about a month. After a month the build-up of settled paint had to be cleaned out. I had another of the same steel bowl in my studio so I poured out the solution (now settled and clear) into the second bowl and found that the settled paint stuck very nicely in the first bowl. Now all I had to do is wipe it clean. HOW EASY. Much easier than brush washers now on the market. The rounded bowl with no obstructions was very easy to wipe clean – and how convenient the paint stuck right there and didn’t flow into the second bowl with the clarified solution!
That got it all started. I began drawing out design possibilities and even made a few crude prototypes out hot glue, copper flashing, metal and plastic bowls and a few other assorted things I had around the house. It worked well enough to encourage continuing! I then contacted a patent attorney who has been a critical link in the process over the next year. A good patent attorney is important! I was fortunate to have found an excellent one who has walked me through the patent process and even made important suggestions for proceeding with the design work.
By this time I had my drawings but needed someone to take my drawings and put them into a digital 3D CAD. It was the attorney who recommended I contact the University of Maine Orono, Advanced Manufacturing Center (AMC). This is not a free service but well worth it as it gives people like me, and companies, the ability to tap into the engineering resources and knowledge UMO is known for. I arranged for them to get the first 3D CAD completed. They also printed the first prototype last spring. The folks at the AMC were great! They brought me all the through to about August 2016, when it was time for the project to be brought into a more commercial setting.
The timing was right and we initiated a business relationship with an excellent CAD Designer / engineer who continued to help us foster the fine tuning and refinements to ensure the best possible experience in brush cleaning available today. Another excellent help was the SCORE organization with the variety of classes they offer (free!), and experienced mentors who generously share their experiences and offer insights I may never think of.
Several prototypes were 3D printed over time. Each one I would personally test in my studio. Any modifications in the design that could improve the brush washer was then drawn out by me. I would send the CAD designer the drawings, he would modify the 3D CAD, and we would print another prototype for testing. A long and costly process but I was confident the Brush Butler was a worth while endeavor. I realized cleaning my brushes in it was never easier, it was easy to clean when settled paint built up, and I didn’t have to clean my brushes in a sink. I tested it with other artists as well and it was very well received.
Nice to look at isn’t it?
You’ll have to wait for launch to see inside!
Stand by! Demo videos and website will launch soon!