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Thread: So You Think You are Not An Inventor?

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    Supporting Member rgsparber's Avatar
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    So You Think You are Not An Inventor?

    Have you ever heard someone comment that a person is a “born inventor”? That really pisses me off! It implies that the rest of us are not endowed with such a gift.

    The fact is, we are all born inventors. When a child is born, they soak in the world. All the while, they are inventing insights that make sense of what comes in on their senses.

    When they master enough language skills, questions flood out to all of the haggard adults within earshot. Among these “childish” questions are always a few profound gems.

    Fast forward to adulthood. Those able to still generate “childish” questions often become inventors. There is a balance here. They must be able to look at the world and pose childish questions. But then they must switch gears and have the skill and knowledge to answer those same questions. This is invention.

    Have you ever heard someone say that a person did not invent something because they later found it on Amazon or eBay? That really pisses me off! The fact is that if someone invents something… they invented it. The creative process is valid regardless of who went through it before. OK, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is not going to give you credit but that must not be your motivator. Filtering your ideas based on money or fame will likely give you neither. Invent for the joy of it. Invent to figure stuff out.

    It is perfectly valid for an inventor to surf the web looking for past ways people solved the problem at hand. In patent law, this is called “Prior Art”. The challenge is to build on this past creativity and come up with something new. Did you notice that I did not say “come up with something better”? That would be yet another self-defeating obstacle.

    My ears always perk up when I hear someone say that something can’t be done. I just love proving them wrong. Not to make them look bad, but for the fun of solving what appears to be a difficult problem.

    Maybe the problem, as stated, has no solution. I then rely on an adage I picked up many years ago – “If you can’t solve the problem, change the problem.” It is not a silly quip. Extremely important problems have been solved by looking at it in a fresh way.

    So You Think You are Not An Inventor?-seed-scoop-prototype.jpgSo You Think You are Not An Inventor?-top-view-scoop.jpg
    Ever heard someone say they tried to solve a technical problem but failed? To me, this means they stopped trying. An essential part of inventing is to have your idea not work as expected. But then it is time to study the “failure”, learn from it, refine the idea, and try again. The trick is to “fail fast”. Throw together a crude prototype, learn from it, and then take it apart. Only when the invention has been proven to work should a polished version be constructed.

    The only truly doomed ideas are those that depend on a violation of physics. This is where skill and knowledge come in. You have a hot idea for a perpetual motion machine? Forget about it. Anti-gravity boots? Find another way to spend your time and money. But what about making something spin for a long time by using better bearings? How about boots with massive electromagnets in them? Fair game.

    If you are a member of the homemadetools.net community, you are an inventor. No idea is too trivial to share. Maybe your tiny idea sparks another inventor to see their problem in a new light and the result is earthshaking. Maybe you read that trivial idea and became inspired to greatness.

    Of supreme importance is understanding that “all of us are smarter than any one of us”. As a community, we can invent just about anything (unless it violates physics).

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    Last edited by rgsparber; Mar 28, 2020 at 06:29 PM.
    Rick

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    Manitoba Man's Tools
    OK, I get it but what the heck is it?

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    Looks like a version of a triggered scoop. Fill it and carry where you need it and pull the wire and dispense product in a controlled manner.

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    Supporting Member Murph1090's Avatar
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    In 35 years as a locksmith, I've invented a few devices and tools to make jobs go much smoother. some went into production, many are locked away after some self-proclaimed expert with a crapload of letters after their name said that there's no way it can work. There are certain jobs where the individual has called around to see who I'm working for, and then try to get me out to do the work. I've told more than a few people to KMA, and shove their wallet up their ass, I won't work for them, period.

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    Being a consulting engineer I get to charge people for my prototypes.

    That's the good part.

    The bad part is the customer normally thinks the first prototype will be a production ready model.

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    Supporting Member rgsparber's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marnat3 View Post
    Looks like a version of a triggered scoop. Fill it and carry where you need it and pull the wire and dispense product in a controlled manner.
    Manitoba man,

    Marnat3 got it right. If I can get this to work, I will use it to fill my bird feeders. If I can't get it to work, into the recycle bin it goes while I think of a new design.

    May you be well,

    Rick

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    Supporting Member rgsparber's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Murph1090 View Post
    In 35 years as a locksmith, I've invented a few devices and tools to make jobs go much smoother. some went into production, many are locked away after some self-proclaimed expert with a crapload of letters after their name said that there's no way it can work. There are certain jobs where the individual has called around to see who I'm working for, and then try to get me out to do the work. I've told more than a few people to KMA, and shove their wallet up their ass, I won't work for them, period.
    I have observed a wide spectrum of skills in people. At one extreme are people filled with book learning that do great basic research. At the other end are people who have learned it all by being hands-on. They get things to work but not always optimally. All of these people have their place. The danger comes, as you point out, when people with a lot of book learning think they have practical skills.


    "The working model is not supported by the theory".

    People with just practical knowledge can also get themselves in trouble. YouTube is littered with sincere inventors demonstrating their perpetual motion machines.

    Yesterday, in the news, was a story of a physicist who wanted to invent a device to detect when his hand was near his face. He decided to do it with magnets. From what I could gather, he was using a magnetic sensor that closed a pair of contacts when it got near a magnet. Because of his implementation, the alarm went off when his hand was not near his face and went silent when it got near the magnets. OK, a basic mistake but telling in that he could not figure that out.

    The really funny part was that he stuck the magnet up his nose. When he realized that one magnet wasn't enough, he stuck a second magnet up the other nostril. In short order, he had to rush to the Emergency Room where doctors were able to extract the two magnets that had clamped together and stopped blood flow in the area. He mentioned something about sticking to his books in the future...

    Be well,

    Rick

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    Hi Rick,
    I enjoyed your discussion, I too, over the last 40 years have “Invented” things that ether made the work go quicker, smoother, or more efficiently. I too was always pissed off at people who would say “You can’t do that” Those very words were my go to HOT button. In other words don’t tell me I can’t do something cause ill prove you wrong or go a long way to attempt to prove you wrong. (Learning a lot in the process.)
    It was just such a challenge that led me to selling my house moving my family 1000 miles to a new town and landing a job (Firefighter) that became my career for 30 years.

    What irked me even more was when a problem would come up particularly on the Job and I would take the time to solve said problem and then told by a supervisor that we weren’t going to use my solution. I had no problem being told this if someone came up with a better solution, But when none was offered and we continued on with what was clearly not working for the sake of just getting the task over with be it half assed or just poorly done drove me nuts.

    Some people particularly in power can’t stand to have an underling make in their opinion them look bad. As Far as I was concerned they made themselves and the rest of the crew look bad because a poorly done job reflected on all of us.

    I had a container of used lawn mower oil that had filled up with rain water, ( I’m guilty) I left it out without the cap. I wanted to separate the two to dispose of the old oil. After several failed attempts I took a 2 liter bottle cut the bottom off and filled it with the water/oil mix. I cracked the cap just loose enough for the water to trickle out the bottom. When the oil reached the cap it stopped flowing. After several refills I had the oil separated. A simple invention yet taking advantage of the physics principle that oil is lighter then water, thicker also.

    In closing remember the unwritten 4th rule of physics “You can’t push a rope.

    Best regards and keep on inventing, your never to old to learn something new.
    Stan.
    Last edited by stantheman55; Mar 31, 2020 at 11:03 AM.

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    Last edited by hansgoudzwaard; Mar 31, 2020 at 02:52 PM.

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    The difference between an Engineer and the person actually doing the work. It happens almost daily at my job. The engineer says here is a better way and it soon breaks or make the situation worse or more labor intense.

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