Volume 15, Issue 6- November/December 2013

Others of Invention:
by Jamie Browning

I recently asked technicians to write in or call me about some of the little tricks they use or tools they have made to assist in their daily installations. Even with more than two decades in the industry, I learned a few tricks while writing this article. The comments also reminded me that auto glass guys are some of the smartest in the auto industry. Let’s take a look at some of the tools technicians are using that are slightly unique, but get results in a big way.

First up was a pretty creative idea—the pipe and rope. Dennis Farrar, owner/partner of Oesterle Auto Glass and Paint in Parkersburg, W. Va., says he has been using this tool for more than 20 years. Using a piece of copper pipe he removed from an old sink, he created this handy rope trick for gasket set windshields. He uses it to install the rope into the gasket to assist in the "roping in" process during installation

“It has worked like a charm for over 20 years,” Farrar explains.

This is the kind of innovation that paves the way as installations continue to get more complex.

Next was a great idea from Greg Hamilton of Hamilton Auto Glass Group in Charleston, S.C.

“It’s designed to prevent scratches to the pinchweld area on newer cars like the Jeep Wrangler and Volkswagen models that do not have a moulding” says Hamilton. “It fits behind the cold knife blade and rides the pinchweld to avoid any damage.”

This is a contrast from the “pipe” idea by Farrar that represents old technology at its finest.

Joe Estrada, technical trainer for Estrada’s Car Glass in San Antonio, Texas, submitted another great idea. He uses a low-cost pinchweld protector for interior cut-outs.

“It’s just a thin strip of metal I purchased from a hobby store” says Estrada. “It protects the back wall of the pinchweld when cutting out glass from the inside and is a pretty low cost design.”

Travis Crebs, auto glass technical training program manager for Techna Glass in Sandy, Utah, also developed a creative device.

“The tool is detachable and can be used to measure the exact angle at the corners of a glass part by simply dividing that measurement in half. The tool can then be adjusted to the angle at which the moulding ends need to be cut,” he explains.

“Once fastened to the cutting mat, the tool can be used in various ways to line up and cut mouldings of all widths and sizes. The angle finder is very versatile. It has been modified using felt pads attached to the underside to give it the stability needed to maintain a steady level while making cuts using an adjustable X-Acto razor knife.”

It appears to be very effective if you need to make cuts on a universal moulding.

“Lately, I’ve been using one of my wife’s makeup brushes to dust a rock chip off after probing, re-fracturing or drilling. It seems a little more professional then accidentally blowing spit on a windshield, or cutting my finger on broken glass. I also used the brush in competition in Tampa,” says Nick Gittins, manager of Techna Glass in Logan, Utah.

Gittins was the first recipient of the ay Asbury Innovation Award in 2012 for his modifications to a setting tool.

Teran Marsell, owner of Team Acme Glass and Tint in Las Vegas, Nev., has developed the concept of using a car-magnet sign to protect the back wall of pinchwelds from light damage.

“I came up with the idea by using readily available supplies around our shop,” he says. “We focus on safety and quality so coming up with new ideas for less damage is beneficial for us and our customers.”

The magnet sticks in place against the metal body and can be cut in to 1-inch strips to cover the entire back wall of the pinchweld. Paint protection seems to be a key focus for technicians and rightfully so. Pinchweld priming is one of the most overlooked areas of auto glass replacement and rust can be a serious problem.

Being able to adapt and problem solve are what make auto glass technicians the masters of their industry. Do you have a tip, trick, or idea to help other technicians? Submit your ideas to jbrowning@glass.com to be considered for a future issue of AGRR™ magazine.

Jamie Browning was the gold medalist in the 2009 Auto Glass Technician Olympics and is a columnist for AGRR™ magazine. He has more than 22 years of experience in the industry. He can be reached at jbrowning@glass.com.
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