Ladder Morph - The Next Step for Ladders
Ladder Morph - The Next Step for Ladders
The Ladder Morph is a bracket which converts two extension ladders into an adjustable A-Frame Ladder.
The Ladder Morph is a bracket which converts two extension ladders into an adjustable A-Frame Ladder. Read more
About this project
What is the Ladder Morph?Quite simply it is two metal brackets that attach two extension ladders at their peak creating an adjustable A Frame Ladder.
After years of working in the home improvement industry and spending LOTS of time in home improvement stores, once again I found myself standing in the rental line.We were working on the ceiling of a 2 story great room and we needed to reach up 20 ft off the ground. Most contractors have multiple smaller A-frame ladders and numerous extension ladders – but neither of them work in this situation.My options for this type of job as a business owner are to buy/rent scaffolding or 16-ft A-frame ladders.The ladder alone is either respectively $650 to purchase or $65 per day rental and if we do purchase the ladder or scaffolding they are very heavy, difficult to store and the scaffolding can sometimes damage the floors if not used properly.[To figure out how high a ladder we needed we assumed that the height of worker is 6 ft and arm reach of another 2 ft we needed to be a minimum height of 12 feet off the ground. Since you cannot stand on the top rung of a ladder we needed a 14 ft A Frame at minimum, a 16 ft would be ideal. Purchase price of 16 foot A frame is about $ 650 and then you need a dedicated space to store the ladder when not in use.] So here I was in line once again to rent a 16-foot A-frame ladder….
While waiting patiently for the customer in front of me – I thought there has to be a better option for this type of job?Why are there are no adjustable A Frame ladders of this size?My first thought was --it must be a weight issue. Structurally it should not be a problem since the standard 20 ft extension ladder easily extends to that height. As I stood there waiting, my mind continued down this path….I thought why not attach two extension ladders at their peaks and use that instead of renting a ladder. Little did I know, at that moment the idea for the Ladder Morph concept was born, hazy and vague, but the idea was there.The first consideration was of course safety, second functionality which would also include weight to carry and transport. At that point I rented my ladder and off I went:Vague idea in hand with no real plan.
A short while later, I was back in that same line and at that point I started seriously thinking my idea through from start to finish. In my mind, I came up with a variety of designs and concepts none of which seemed viable solutions. At some point the idea for outside brackets came to me and the concept for the first prototype was put to paper. While drawing there were numerous visits to Occupational Safety and Health Act’s (OSHA) website to make sure all the angles involved meet all the OSHA safety guidelines associated with ladders. After I was satisfied with the design the first version was built out of wood because for me it was much easier to work with than metal.
Even though it was made of wood the first version worked as expected and kept the ladders in a very ridged shape.
Building on the success of the wood version we moved to metal and tweaked the design slightly. This proved to not be very effective and we returned to the wood design but this time made of metal. We contacted a mechanical engineer to review the metal gauge we were considering for the base and the brackets and discussed the bolts, screws, etc needed to make the unit “secure.”We then located a metal supplier and found a welder.Most of the cuts, bends and other fabrications were done in our garage with a variety of hand tools. To make the bends we purchasing a metal bender to create a 2nd & 3rd prototype.The welder helped attach the angle irons to the base plate.The 2nd prototype had adjustable brackets but proved not to be secure and strong during the testing process, so we returned to the 1st wood prototype and created it in metal.In the pictures shown here (3rd/current prototype) on the extension ladders are 16ft maximum length and rated at only 200 pounds each.
We tested the Ladder Morph with 250 pounds attached to the third rung and the brackets did not budge at all.
Currently the Ladder Morph is constructed of 16 gauge rolled steel and 1 inch angle irons. The angle iron is welded, rivoted and bolted into place. The bolts used to hold everything together are rated at a tear strength of 600 lbs each which may seem like overkill but at the end of the day we want our bracket to be much stronger than the ladders it is attached to.
We have discussed the Ladder Morph concept with electricians, painters and contractors and the feedback has been positive and we’ve heard they are already talking it up with their colleagues.This is all very exciting for us.One contractor during a conversation sat and rattled off 10 different uses for the product that we never even considered….. We are now at a point where we know the design and concept work, but we need to take the next steps and this is where we need help from Kickstarters!!
Our goal is to begin production of the product so that we can begin marketing during the 1st quarter of 2014 when the Home Improvement and Hardware trade shows begin. Before this can happen we need some financial help and we are looking to Kickstarter to help us.
What we will use the Kickstarter funds for
Mechanical engineering study and certification to confirm materials we need to use, while still maintaining safety standards that are acceptable. Currently the base plate is 16 gauge rolled steel. Based on my internet research 24 gauge with beads is just as strong. Angle Irons are welded, riveted and bolted to the plate. While this may seem to be overkill times 3 while we are in development, if I am climbing up the ladder I wanted to be completely confident nothing would budge – the mechanical engineer will clearly provide accurate load and stress assessments.
Completion of the patent process. At present we have a provisional patent which ultimately needs to be converted to a utility patent
Product Liability Insurance – The Mechanical Engineer Certification is necessary for this to move forward and without that and Product Liability Insurance we can never go to Market.
Initial Production Run. After the engineers sign off on the materials and structural integrity, the manufacturing process will be changed accordingly.
Marketing materials- for Home Improvement shows
The first prototypes where built in our garage using hand tools along with the purchase of a metal bender. As we move forward and begin production, our garage will not be able to accommodate the space and machines required for fabrication. We have contacted two local metal fabricators inquiring about outsourcing the various phases of production. Both are eager and able to accommodate the additional work. Local metal suppliers have also been contacted and we have determined our least expensive option for purchasing the materials required. With the help of Kickstarter, a portion of the funds will be allocated to materials and production to create our initial production run. From there proceeds from sales go back into purchasing materials, production and other expenses. Our initial business plan has been submitted to a financial advisor.Sales and expense plans are in place and ready to be implemented. At various levels of production we will have to step back to re-evaluate our negotiated rates for materials and production costs but that is some ways ahead.
Ladder Morph vs Conventional A Frame ladders
Cost Savings – As previously mentioned, the 16 ft A-Frame ladder is either $650 to buy or $65/per day for rental.Most contractors, electricians, etc have at least 2 extension ladders so they will only need to purchase The Ladder Morph.Our product should retail for around $ 195 –
Significantly easier to store than a 16 ft. A-frame ladder,
Easier to transport than 16 ft A-frame ladder or scaffolding
Costs less than renting the 16 ft A-frame ladder after 3 rentals.
Uses existing ladders and makes them much more versatile
Transparency: We realize that we are asking the Kickstarter community for a large sum of money and because of this we pledge to be completely transparent with our books regarding the use of that money.
Thank you for reading about our product and we sincerely appreciate your help and any feedback.
Risks and challenges
My biggest concern going into this was the fact it's not something everyone will need, but the more people I spoke to - the more I realized there is a legitimate need for this product across a variety of trades. The other risk was the sheer physics of creating this product - which is why it's been adjusted 3x - AND I'm reviewing it with various engineers. If there are additional adjustments to be made - I am prepared to expand on my current learning up to this point. I am very excited to watch this product go from the idea phase to the shelves of home improvement stores.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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