Boomerope: The Rope-Threading Tool
Boomerope: The Rope-Threading Tool
The best tool ever for placing ropes right where you want them, quickly and safely. It makes ropework fun!
The best tool ever for placing ropes right where you want them, quickly and safely. It makes ropework fun! Read more
About this project
Welcome to our adventure. Together, our family has spent a number of years developing the Boomerope. We are very thankful for all the support we have received, and also for the opportunity Kickstarter has now provided to involve many others in bringing this product to life.
To take our idea from prototype to production requires validation and money. Your pledges will provide both, allowing us to finally provide the product many have asked for. Thank you for your time, trust, and generous support!
- Leon Jantzen, P.Eng., Founder & President
What is the Boomerope?
The Boomerope is the best tool for the precise placement of rope while increasing user efficiency and safety, in industries such as electrical, arboriculture, rescue, and safety, as well as in many recreational, household, and hobby applications. The Boomerope sends rope out and brings it right back to you, like a boomerang, but without any throwing. It’s your hands in the sky.
The pole-mounted Boomerope threads rope precisely where you need it, every time, and returns the end of the rope directly to you. Operate the tool from the safety of the ground, your tie-in point, or an aerial platform to accurately place: working lines, rigging lines, tag lines, and guy lines, to speed up work and reduce time, risk, and effort climbing or throwing.
The Boomerope is a patented, professional-grade tool that threads a rope through or around anything an extension pole can reach. The Boomerope tool passes a rope through holes as small as one inch in diameter or around objects as large as ten inches across.
How does it work?
The Boomerope securely passes rope tied to a shuttle and inserted in one arm to a receiver on the other arm, precisely and easily manipulated through webbed control lines. The Boomerope connects to all commonly-available fixed-length or telescoping threaded poles.
See the above video for demonstrations. (music for the video is used under a creative commons license. Track is "B-3" by Boxcat Games http://freemusicarchive.org/music/BoxCat_Games/ )
The idea for the Boomerope occurred to me when my wife and I were walking through a campground and noticed a haphazard arrangement of tarps, to shield campers from wind, rain, and sun. The tarps weren’t high enough to provide space underneath, to keep the ropes safely overhead so the kids wouldn’t get “clothes-lined” when running around, or so the tarp could drain properly. It was clear that the challenge facing these campers was the difficulty of placing a rope high enough in a tree.
A light-weight, inexpensive, pole-mounted tool seemed to be the answer. But creating the tool turned out to be a lot more difficult and time-consuming than I could have dreamed.
As a kid I was always taking things apart and building things, so I feel I always was an engineer. I completed university training and became a professional engineer. So with several decades of experience solving problems and inventing machines for others, I took on this problem as another puzzle to be solved.
I started with hand sketches and 2D CAD drawings of concepts. Then, one winter’s night, a piece of plastic hockey rink board miraculously blew up against the fence in our alley. Suddenly I had the materials and everything I needed to get into the garage, fire up the tools, and make a prototype.
I built one half of the tool and got one arm moving as expected. So I built the second half and put them together. This first prototype was UGLY—but it proved the concept. I used this tool on a number of camping trips with good success.
When I was a kid, I made what is now called a "bucket list." Two of the items on the list were to have my own patent and a successful consumer product in stores. Since I finally had a unique, useful tool that I felt should be available to the public, we decided as a family to go for it! So we purchased a license of ProEngineer CAD software and I started designing the 3D model of the tool, with parts that can be manufactured with industrial injection molding processes and easily assembled.
After many iterations on the computer, we finally sent the files away for rapid prototyping. Here are the results.
Since then, we’ve fine tuned the Boomerope to ensure the connection between the shuttle and receiver and the arms are easy to use and robust. We also designed a dual Control Line Reel to keep the webbing close at hand regardless of the angle of the pole, which has also been prototyped and tested. We now have a complete, professional-grade Boomerope Kit ready for production!
See our prototype Boomerope Kit:
Along the way, we worked on our patent application and are pleased to announce that our patent has now been issued in the USA, United Kingdom, France, Germany, and Ireland, and will soon be issued in Canada.
I’m really excited to knock a couple of items off my bucket list while helping improve the lives of lots of people and hopefully saving many from injuries.
Benefits of the Boomerope
The number of injuries due to falls from ladders each year in North America is around 100,000, with some of them being fatalities.(http://www.safety-engineer.com/ladder.htm)
Falls from tables and chairs, fences, and other makeshift props are over and above that number. In addition to the human toll, these injuries also create huge expenses for individuals, businesses, and health services.
(More fall information from the World Health Organization http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs344/en/)
When we demonstrated the Boomerope at a trade show, a young man brought us to tears as he said, “Two of my Dad’s friends fell off ladders this year putting up Christmas lights. One of them is brain dead. He would have benefitted from this.” Then he said, "This invention will save lives." This is what drives us to carry on.
For roughly the price of a ladder, you can stay off of a ladder.
A visitor to our website submitted this response:
“Noticed your Boomerope product on the gizmag web site. Brilliant idea…When a cyclone threatens here in northern Australia, boat owners take refuge in mangrove lined creeks, anchoring midstream with at least four ropes secured to mangrove trunks to stop vessel being blown onto either bank. Placing the ropes around the mangroves is a difficult and horrible job, due to the mud, mosquitoes, and possibility of snakes, crocodiles, and lethal jellyfish in the water. Your Boomerope looks as though it would work horizontally, in which case it could be used to pass rope around a mangrove trunk without having to go into the mangroves personally…”
Stories like these provide very real inspiration. Another point to consider is our aging population. The time has come to provide alternatives to climbing.
After seeing the Boomerope in November 2011 on the Cool Tools TV show, an electrical wiring installation business owner emailed: “I’d love to have one for my cabling business here in New York. When I'm running telephone or computer cables in warehouses, I often need to run them up at the building rafters (which can be 20-30 feet up).This means being at the very top of a tall ladder or climbing up on the shelving. Having something like the Boomerope would let me thread my string from the ground (or a lower ladder), and use the string to pull my cables.”
Arborists, studio electrical lighting technicians, an elevator repairman, trucker, fire fighters, an event decorator and instructor, ham radio operators, yacht captains, a rancher, farmers, facility managers, and many others have asked to purchase a Boomerope to help make their tasks faster, easier, and safer.
You can see many practical uses for the Boomerope at http://www.boomerope.com/applications/
In summary, the key benefits of the Boomerope are:
- Stay on the ground
- No flying objects
- No swinging objects
- Fast deployment
- Precise placement
- First try success
- The end of the rope comes back to you
- Ease of use
- Easy to carry
- Convenient storage
- Good Value
The Boomerope is so unique that, when we applied to trademark the name, we had to ask the US Patent and Trademark Office to create a new category: "Hand Tools, namely, Tools for Placing a Rope or Other Flexible Member Through an Eye or Around a Target Object"!
The competition for the Boomerope is the status quo: renting expensive lifts or scaffolding; climbing ladders, tables, and chairs; standing on someone else’s shoulders; throwing sticks, stones, keys, wrenches, and the like with ropes attached; or using a slingshot or bow-and-arrow with rope attached.
In many situations these methods just don’t work. Things and people get damaged. Time is wasted (albeit sometimes with amusing results).
It's about time we humans used a better option.
Imagine a future where you have your own Boomerope in its handy case behind the seat of your truck, in your car, RV, or boat, ready to go where you don't want to. Ready to help you in your business, your hobby, or on your outdoor expeditions.
Imagine the help a Boomerope can be to our search and rescue experts, first responders / fire fighters and police, coast guard, navy and military personnel, and disaster zone relief workers. The Boomerope can become instrumental in making a real difference in a lot of people’s lives! Think about hurricane and tornado search and rescue and cleanup efforts!
Perhaps you don't need a Boomerope often enough to buy one but, with your help, we will be able to work on having the Boomerope available at your local tool rental store. Then, when you want to hang those party decorations, piñatas, patio lights, or the backyard tree swing, it will be there for you.
Current Project Status
- Proof of concept is complete
- Verification of interested customers in all identified applications
- CAD models are complete and prototypes tested
- Patents and Trademark are in place
- We have received quotes from three manufacturers and have selected a very capable US company to be our contract manufacturer. They are eager to get going on building the molds and setting up production.
- We incorporated Boomerope Tools Inc. in February of 2012
- We have secured financing for the purchase of the injection molds for the manufacture of the parts (we need 13 molds like the two shown below) and for the long lead buyout parts (cases, cord and webbing, springs and hardware)
- We have a line of credit in place for operating expenses.
- We have picked the final product colors: high visibility green arms with a complementary blue body, a great fit to many of the environments for the applications we’ve identified.
- We are ready to take the next big step but we need a strong commitment from supporters like you.
The Manufacturing Plan
We have worked with our selected contract manufacturer since August of 2012 to work out as many details of the manufacturing process as possible. This company is located in California and has many years of experience in producing "shelf ready" products. They also have experience helping other Kickstarter projects get their products produced. To date we have undergone one round of Design for Manufacturing review. We have obtained the first samples of springs for the line reels and tested them in the prototypes. While the project is running, we will be finalizing the CAD models of the arm pieces.
As soon as our project successfully funds, we will travel to our manufacturer and finalize our agreements, the production plan, schedule, costs, and review all of the part specifications and design details, surface finishes, etc. The final CAD models will be handed over at this time.
Then the manufacturer will take over with his team to complete the final Design For Manufacturing review, making any changes required, with my input. Concurrently, the materials for the molds will be ordered to reduce the timeline. The team will also source all of the buyout items like screws, springs, webbing, cord, etc. The small number of machined metal components will be made at the manufacturer's machining facility in California.
The injection molds will be built in the manufacturer's own facility overseas, tested, and then shipped to California for production of the plastic parts. This will allow for close supervision of the production process and a greater assurance of high quality plastic components.
The plastic parts and all the buyout items will be kitted in California and then shipped to the manufacturer's own assembly facility in Mexico where their skilled workers will complete the assemblies. The cases will be sourced overseas and shipped to the assembly plant for the final stage of assembly.
Once the order is complete and inspected, the kits will be shipped to our fulfillment company's warehouse down the street from our manufacturer's head office in California. The fulfillment company's expertise is in warehousing and shipping, and they will be tasked with sending the kits out to each backer on our list. (The exception will be for some backers in Canada. These will be sent from us directly, from a quantity sent to us in Calgary.)
We expect this plan will allow us to complete the project efficiently, cost effectively, and with a high probability of success, so our backers can start Boomeroping as soon as possible.
My name is Leon Jantzen, the inventor, President and founder of our company, a professional engineer with 25 years of experience in the design and manufacturing of machines, hydraulic systems, and human / machine interfaces.
My lovely, outgoing wife Debbie is our VP of Marketing who takes care of marketing and all things administrative.
Our oldest son Kurtis takes care of web design, photography, and video editing, and has been an invaluable asset in collaboration on the design of the tool.
Our other children, Mark and Amanda, though too young to contribute a lot directly to the product, are a great support and collaborated on the naming of the Boomerope.
We thank the professionals who have helped us on our way: our business mentors, accountant, lawyers, and our family and friends for all their encouragement and support.
Why we need your help
Immense interest in the Boomerope has been shown over the last couple of years since we started presenting it, first at the 2011 National Hardware Show in Las Vegas. People are asking, "When can we get one?" and we have to disappoint them and let them know we don't have the Boomerope in production yet. Getting to the end zone has been the hardest part... now we’re on the one yard line and we need a bigger team to push the ball across the line.
To do this, we need the funds for the first order of Boomerope Kits. We need to raise $195,000 to pay for a large enough quantity of product to keep the cost of each item low and make the project an economic success.
Since the tool has so many potential uses in a variety of industries, your help will ensure that we have market and customer feedback and sufficient Boomerope Kits to supply to industry experts who can provide feedback to further improve the product or make additional models with specific features.
What You Receive - Rewards
Those who choose to back our project will receive our sincere appreciation and heartfelt thanks, regular updates on the project's progress, a great T-shirt, or a first run Boomerope hot out of the molds. The pledge levels we set will enable you to get Boomerope Kits at significant discounts compared with expected retail prices. Please see all the reward options described in detail in the column on the right.
Note that poles are NOT included, as these are readily available at hardware and painting supply stores or on the internet. Visit our website for information on poles.
Included in the Boomerope Kit: (See full specifications on our website Product page http://www.boomerope.com/product/)
- One Boomerope
- One pair of Control Line Reels
- One Carrying Case
- Four Boomerope Shuttles
- Two Boomerope Receivers
- 50 feet of lightweight rope for your lead line
- The Owner's Manual
- A one-year limited manufacturer's warranty
- Membership in an online community of Boomerope users
We have included the shipping costs of the Boomerope Kits in the amount of each reward. Note that there is a separate reward for orders from overseas (outside North America) which includes a larger shipping fee. In all cases, customs, duty or other fees over and above the reward amount are the responsibility of the backer.
Our aim is to create a community of Boomerope users who share their Boomeroping experiences, best practices, tips and tricks, and also enable users to be part of a tool development community to provide feedback, testing, and ideas to advance new accessories and products in support of the tool.
Your Boomerope already has the arm attachment features to accept a range of new accessories we have in mind.
One that we can share, as it is Patent Pending, is a "two-way shuttle" that will let you pass a rope back and forth between the arms without bringing the tool back to the ground to return the shuttle to the original side. This will be helpful for threading the rope over multiple objects like rafters or trusses.
Another accessory we are working on is a"remotely placed tie-wrap" that will let you clip items like Christmas lights or any ornamental lighting or decorations to tree limbs from the ground. The ties can be cut later with a pole pruner to retrieve the lights.
Be a visible part of our community: make a pledge of $30 or more and get this awesome T-shirt. What goes around, comes around, so we thank you and commend you for “paying it forward” with your pledge.
Ways Everyone Can Help: Share This Story
Did you find this product story interesting and perhaps inspiring? Please share it – get the word out to your network of family, friends, and business associates. You never know who may want one, or know someone who would, or who may be searching for a unique gift for someone special, or who may know a media writer in search of a good story.
Thank you so much for sharing your interest and giving your generous help. Together, we can make a far-reaching impact!
Risks and challenges
Leon and our partners have many years of experience in manufacturing and therefore know that there will likely be some bumps along the way. If there are any setbacks or challenges, we will be transparent and update our community of supporters accordingly. We do not anticipate these challenges would ultimately prevent a successful conclusion. Our selection of a reputable, experienced contract manufacturer should mitigate these risks.
Product Changes: All the parts will undergo a DFM (Design For Manufacturing) review so we will continue to refine the Boomerope during tooling development. We will only make changes that enhance the Boomerope's manufacturability, aesthetics, or function. One example of a part still requiring DFM work is the arm part which we plan to make from two pieces by screwing and ultrasonically welding them together which prevents excessive shrinking and warping which we believe would occur with a solid one-piece part.
Product Colors: We are planning to produce the product in the high visibility green and blue colors shown in our illustrations. However, final colors may differ to some extent. We will see how well the colors can be matched in the plastic materials.
Ship Date: If the manufacturing takes longer than anticipated, we will update our community as information becomes available. We have selected a strong US based warehouse and fulfillment company to assist with the shipping of rewards.
You can help us! By pledging for a Boomerope and spreading the word to your friends, we gather more certainty on the demand, which will make it easier to work with our suppliers. The greater the demand the better price we can negotiate, and the easier it will be to bring the Boomerope to life.
So have a great day and Happy Boomeroping!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Support this project
- (60 days)