- Tell us something about yourself, your background
My name is William D Gotter and I am a 49 year old machinist that has worked in machine shops from ship yards to industrial job shops helping keep steel mills operating, and to many places to name off.
- Tell us about the product you invented with a brief explanation
- How/Why did you start inventing. What set you off?
My last job before I started my journey of inventing was in a large job shop. These places all had one thing in common. Other people would secretly borrow tools from my toolbox that never made it back. The only option then was to get keys out of my pocket and lock my toolbox up every time that I had to walk away from it. It was a time consuming process and an aggravation to say the least. I sat down and thought up some ideas to solve the problem. I carried my ideas around with me at work wishing there was a better way. In about 2010 I suffered a massive brain aneurysm rupture that retired me early from industry due to short term memory loss. The road to recovery was long. I then had time to really think about my idea on a deeper level. I decided that I wanted a power lock for my toolbox that operated just like the doors on cars. One push of a button could instantly lock or unlock many locks at a time or just a single lock.
- How did you get from idea to finished product?
I had my own small job shop in a pole barn at home and started to draw up plans to create a universal automatic cam lock that could be mounted on most tool carts and more. My drawings were all done with pencil and paper on a drafting board. It was time consuming but it worked. I came up with a solution. I totally built my first prototype in about 3 months. It worked but was big and bulky and not a pleasure to look at. So back to the drafting board I went! It took a while but then I came up with a second prototype that was more appealing. However it was more complicated to produce as I only had manual machines. So back to the drafting board I went again. I reverse engineered it concentrating on a simple design that was appealing to look at and worked. In the process I had applied for a provisional patent and continued to refine my locks. In the process I had to design and fabricate a hydro-press to form the shell for my latest and final prototype. It turned out very nice but was time consuming and labor intensive to build one at a time on manual machines. With this design I needed a manufacturing partner. As in, I was on a fixed disability income and didn’t have the capital to entice others. As time rolled on I did a lot of advertising on the net the best I could. The brain damage held me at a slow pace as I had 2 brain surgeries in the process. I had a lot of people wanting to buy them but could not produce them at a reasonable pace. I then went into the mode of trying to license the idea to very large companies or out rite selling the design . I had a lot of interest. There was only one problem. I did not get awarded the patent. Someone in Canada had drawn up a similar to mine but is way to complicated to build and sell at a reasonable price and has never been seen or advertised in any shape or form. Its been several years now and they haven’t even built one to my knowledge, and my product stands alone on the net. The one thing I do have is a nice looking, functional product that can be built for a reasonable price and sold as such. My hopes are to sell my design to a company that sees its value. Three times of reverse engineering it gave me a simple design that can be profitable. My second, third and final prototype can be seen on the web on my you tube channel which is ‘gotterbuiltboxlox1’. The product can be seen on my LinkedIn profile also.
- Let us know of useful resources that helped you i.e. Books, websites, software etc
All of this product, materials, and process was searched out on the internet. The hydro-press was a journey of its own because the metal being pressed into shape was 304 stainless .060 thick and is very tough. In the end I enjoyed this process and still remain hopeful that a company will see the value of my product. I have many ideas rolling around in my brain although damaged. If nothing else, no one can take my tools without my consent any longer!!
--End of Interview--
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