Illinois Contractor Practices DIY Equipment Manufacturing

Illinois Contractor Practices DIY Equipment Manufacturing

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Rodney King subscribes to the belief that if you need a tool and can’t find one to purchase, make it yourself.

The owner of Hydro-Mole Drain and Sewer Cleaning Contractors in Mount Vernon, Illinois, did just that, and it led to the creation of what he named Kei Carts, an allusion to the miniature kei trucks popular in Japan. 

It happened this way: Five years after starting Hydro-Mole Drain and Sewer Cleaning Contractors, King was frustrated with the transport of inspection camera units from work van to work site.

“The camera is narrow and is constantly flipping on you when you’re pulling it through a yard to where you want to use it,” King says. 

So he sketched out the design for an all-terrain rig in which his Envirosight camera could be securely placed and more easily be moved. The cart also fits a MiniCam camera.

“It allows you to move with ease from Point A to Point B, whether the terrain is muddy or rocky or the place you’ll use it is 300 feet away,” King says.

He took his idea to a metal fabricator and had several all-terrain carriers made in hopes of marketing them. He affixed the Kei Cart name to the finished product, patented the creation and took it to Indianapolis to a WWETT Show. The manufacturer Picote subsequently asked King to create an all-terrain cart specifically for its Maxi Miller unit. On his own initiative, King designed yet another model for the RIDGID SeeSnake.

Eventually, King also showed his camera carrier to Mike Vislay, who operates a Key Equipment store in St. Louis where King buys his cameras. Vislay was impressed by King’s invention and asked him if he was willing to sell his patent. Today, Key Equipment owns and markets the cart.

“His guys sell cameras at shows and they have the cart with them when they do. It’s an easy sell. I knew the carrier needed to be in Mike’s hands,” King says.

The all-terrain carrier wasn’t a one-off inventive impulse. King also made what he branded a Stealth jetting cart that he also sold at equipment outlets and the WWETT Show. Is there another gizmo coming together somewhere in his head?  

“I have some stuff in the works,” King admits, though he’s not ready to reveal anything yet.

Read more about Hydro-Mole Drain and Sewer Cleaning Contractors in the August 2023 issue of Cleaner magazine.


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