An electrician designs an innovative marking tool that simplifies conduit installations.
After working as a commercial electrician/foreman for more than 11 years, Brent Galbreth, president of Deviser Inc., Winchester, Calif., knew there had to be an easier way to mark electrical enclosures for conduit entry. Like many electrical contractors, he found the task of measuring each conduit, transferring the measurements to the enclosure, and getting everything to fit exactly right both arduous and time consuming. Thus, the concept of the KO Stamp was born. Electrical Construction & Maintenance (EC&M) magazine named the product as its March 2007 Product of the Month.
“The idea for the KO Stamp came to me almost five years ago,” says Galbreth, the tool's designer and developer. “After spending many nights working on ways to solve the problem, I finally had the general concept of how I wanted the tool to work. Then, I set out to find a way to develop a product that would work effectively.”
Comprised of a vinyl insert, a vulcanized rubber stamp with center point, and inkpad, the KO Stamp is a marking device that helps installers find the center point of conduits in an electrical enclosure. He says the tool allows users to eliminate measurements and cut layout time by as much as 98 percent, compared to the traditional method.
Intended for electrical contractors and electricians, Galbreth's initial design started out as a threaded cap with a rubber stamp on top, but he soon found that adjusting every stamp in the raceway took too long. Instead, he designed the KO Stamp to fit inside the conduit. A major issue, however, was that each type of conduit (rigid, EMT, and PVC) has a different inner diameter. After some trial and error, Galbreth finally found the exact size for each stamp that would fit in any type of conduit.
“The benefit of the KO stamp fitting inside the conduit is you can adjust the stamps above the tallest conduit in the raceway,” says Galbreth. “As your enclosure makes contact with each stamp, the stamps will slide down the conduit until it makes contact with all the stamps in the raceway.”
Drawing upon his experience as an electrician, Galbreth tested the product on layouts in the field. “When I created the KO Stamp, my co-workers at A&R Electric would test the product for me,” he says. “Now, I think the only way they know how to lay out an enclosure is with the KO Stamp.”
According to Galbreth, in addition to saving time, the KO Stamp saves money by helping eliminate certain conduit layout mistakes made in the field. “Sometimes, electricians reverse the layout like a mirrored image — they don't account for the bolt holes on the back of the enclosure, which stick out ¼ inch to ⅜ inch, etc. In most cases, mistakes like those will result in scrapping the enclosure and starting over.”
Using the KO Stamp involves a straightforward three-step process: Insert the stamps into the conduit, ink the stamps, and place the electrical enclosure on the stamps and apply even pressure. The tool gives electricians the center point, conduit size, and diametric lines passing through center to align the knockout punch score lines for a precise hole. In addition, it's reusable, rugged and works on underground applications, overhead, and sideways. The ink used to mark the conduit is dye-based and takes 10 to 15 minutes to dry, which allows time for electricians to set the enclosure. This also gives installers enough time to wipe the ink off if a mistake is made.
“With the traditional way, I could layout an enclosure with 25 to 50 conduits in about 1 hour to 2 hours,” said Galbreth. “Now, with KO Stamp, I can average 2 minutes to 4 minutes for the same layouts.”
Chick Weldt agrees. An electrician for Reddy Electric Co., Xenia, Ohio, Weldt first heard about the KO Stamp through his general foreman. “It looked like a great time-saving tool, and time is money,” he says. “It saves about 40 percent of a standard installation. I use it for placing wire ways and panel tubs. It solves the problem of exact placement of conduits — especially coming through the floor.”
Introduced in April 2006, the KO Stamp is Deviser Inc.'s first product offering. The KO Stamp starter kit includes 27 stamps in a broad range of sizes and an inkpad. Electrical contractors can also customize the kit to meet their specific installation needs.