May 26, 2005 ExacTile and GuessLess are two ingenious new inventions that make tiling much easier and advanced tiling far more accessible to the Do-It-Yourself marketplace. Both products reduce tile wastage, significantly cut the time required in laying tiles and enable far more complex patterns to be layed. The Intellectual Property on both tools is being offered for sale by Portugeuse innovation company Bdi.
A Portugeuse IP company is offering patents and licenses on some new tiling tools that significantly simplify the process of tiling for both DIYers and professionals.BDi is a Portuguese-based Design, Imagineering and IP Protection partnership specialising in bringing ideas and invention to the marketplace.
BDi works with entrepreneurs to develop workable IP and Designs, then collaborates with organizations such as CENTIMFE - a Portuguese rapid prototyping facility - to have them prototyped for presentation to business angels and investors at OPEN - the new business incubator that has been built alongside CENTIMFE in Marinha Grande, Portugal.
The partnership’s aim is to establish a foundation, appropriately named Grande Design, which will fund ideas and help innovators to evolve their concepts into products, protect them with IP and take them to market. In doing this, Grande Design will earn a percentage from sales, which will fund the foundation and provide the means to support future innovation at no cost to the innovator - only a small percentage of sales of successful products.
To launch the scheme, BDi is currently offering IP for sale on some of its launch products, and licensing on one patent that covers many ranges of tools and devices. The company has further products in pre-IP state, and more in the pipeline. Two of the products being offered are named ExacTile and GuessLess.
ExacTile is a hand tool born out of a desire to give confidence to DIY tilers and to remove the frustration caused using tile spacers, those irritating plastic crosses that purport to help the relative positioning of tiles.
BDi discovered that spacers cause many problems, from poor tile bonding and water seepage, to damage caused when trying to remove them after use. Many people simply don’t remove them, which makes the water seepage problem even worse. Professional tilers don’t use spacers - they use wedges.
BDi has developed a tile tool that works like a wedge, and actually achieves what spacers claim to do, but with many additional features and none of the drawbacks. ExacTile is a modular tile locating and pattern creating tool that not only achieves the objectives of improving tile bond and reduces the hassle when laying tile, it also saves time by allowing multiple laying per each use of the tool.
ExacTile also acts as a tile level-checking tool, allowing the user to confirm the relative levels of tiles, and their horizontal edge alignment - quickly and easily. With the help of UK based Level Developments, ExacTile is being equipped to provide accuracy well beyond the need of the average DIY user, and there will be a laser equipped version for the serious DIY tiler, or professional tile fixer, very soon.
ExacTile uses two blades with a unique design of locking handle to ensure rigidity and accuracy. The handle incorporates a spirit level that offers confirmation on the level of a single tile, a pair of adjoining tiles or multiples of tiles as required. A third blade is substituted when working close to walls or obstructions, and allows for the basic offset tile patterns to be achieved..
By adding an extension set, ExacTile becomes a pattern tiling tool. The patterns can vary in size by using the adjustment slots provided in the blades. The blades themselves can be widened if desired using sleeves and the sets can be produced in any size required by tile manufacturers. ExacTile comes in a range of three sizes that cover virtually all tiles available in the DIY marketplace.
The professional version utilises two sets of differently sized blades and two separate handles: this offers the serious tiler the chance to offer over 72 different combinations of tile patterns, including a unique range of rectangular tozzetto options that work perfectly with the current trend of rectangular format tiles.
The ExacTile is an opportunity for tile manufacturers to secure IP that protects the device for a range of sizes that they wish to offer. BDi is seeking manufacturers willing to take on licenses or purchase the IP outright, which would give them the opportunity to sub license as required. More information is available on request from Barry Clent of BDi.
The principle behind the GuessLess is to overcome many of the problems associated with the measuring of tiles. In particular, measuring spaces adjoining walls, corners, round obstructions and so on. Currently the prescribed method involves laying a tile on a previously laid tile, then positioning another tile on top of that, sliding it to the obstruction, marking the middle tile, remarking to allow for grout space and edge space, then cutting the tile.
If that isn’t complex enough, the process is many times harder with wall tiles … imagine holding one tile in place, sliding another tile over that one, then with your third hand … I think you see what we’re getting at!
What if instead of measuring, recording, calculating, reproducing - you could record > reproduce, so simply that a child could do it. Well that’s the principle behind the GuessLess.
Using a GuessLess, it’s possible to measure from inside a tile space, or outside, along an edge, or from a corner, on a floor or a wall. When you transfer the measurement to the new tile to be cut, the grout space and edge space is already accounted for. No more tile waste, no more badly cut tiles, no more time wasting.
By extending the device and securing two locking thumbscrews, the exact dimension required is recorded. Grout space blades provide the subtraction of the width of the grout in use, and wall space blades can do the same along the wall edge. All you need to do is place the GuessLess on the new tile, mark and cut.
GuessLess comes with options that will let you record the position of pipes, wall sockets, light switches, and many more obstructions. There’s even a profile gauge version that measure oddly shaped mouldings or obstructions and accurately reproduces the shape and position on the new tile.
The GuessLess range is still growing, which is why this IP is not for sale, but licences are still available for tile, brick and carpentry versions. Other derivations under development include tools for boat building, shop fitting and even a new type of drawing tool for designers.
The GuessLess is an opportunity for tile manufacturers or tool manufacturers to secure IP that protects the device for use with tile. Other licences are available for the brick and carpentry versions. BDi is seeking manufacturers willing to take on licenses, which would give them the opportunity to sub license as required. More information is available on request from Barry Clent of BDi.
BDi currently also has IP for sale or license on tools for aiding bricklaying, a new design of spirit level, a safety device for use with handsaws and reciprocating saws and many more that are under development. One area of speciality is that BDi aims to provide tools that do not discriminate, in terms of sex, age or disability. All designs have to confirm to rigid standards applied by BDi and where possible should be usable by all. Where necessary, however, separate designs are produced to cover any sector of society that would otherwise be overlooked.
Away from tools, BDi has projects as diverse as educational devices, a juggling toy, an hydrogen-producing device, a new concept in house design and is even securing IP for a new shape of pasta.
If you have an idea that you would like support for, or if you would like more detailed information on BDi products and licensing opportunities, please use the following contact details: Tel +351 239 533 526 Fax +351 239 532 616 or email to BDi@sapo.pt