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Hanging a Towel Rack Only Takes 38 minutes Now

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AliveInTheLab View Drop Down
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    Posted: 10.Nov.2017 at 04:00

My wife and I bought our first house in 1982, so I have been undertaking small projects for a long time. I can recall hanging my first towel rack and the mistakes I made. This weekend, I was able to hang one in 38 minutes. I don't think that I have gotten any better. I think the tools have. As a tool provider, Autodesk aims to do the same thing to allow our customers to make more things, better things, with less - less in terms of time, materials, and confusion.

Here is my story:

  1. We have lived in our house for 8 years. This is how I hang my bath towel.

    2017-11-05 13.18.14

  2. The problem with this arrangement is that my towel stays wet long after use. This was not a problem when we lived in Arizona that has almost no humidity. In Calfornia, this leads to the growth of mold on the wall behind the towel.

    2017-11-05 13.18.31

  3. I grew up in New Orleans, so I am used to mold, but it even grows on the grout between the tiles.

    2017-11-05 13.18.35

  4. This is my wife's bath towel. She has a nice rack. She never has a problem with her towel causing mold.

    2017-11-05 13.19.08

  5. My solution was to hand a new towel rack on the wall adjacent to hers.

    2017-11-05 13.19.17

    Here's the first improvement. Towel racks come with a paper template. I can really the old days of 1982 where I used to have to carefully measure the distance between the anchor plates.

  6. The template shows exactly where to make the holes in the wall.

    2017-11-05 13.22.53

  7. This is done for both ends. The same template is used for two different rod sizes to save on production costs.

    2017-11-05 13.22.59

  8. After the template is removed, the holes are perfectly in place.

    2017-11-05 13.25.54

    The second improvement is blue painter's tape. It holds the template in place, but when the tape is removed, it does not disturb the paint on the wall.

  9. Both sets of holes are exactly right.

    2017-11-05 13.25.57

  10. The plastic screw anchors are inserted into the holes.

    2017-11-05 13.28.04

    Screw anchors are the third improvement. I can recall the days where one could only hang a towel rack where there was a stud behind the wallboard.

  11. The anchors are tapped into place with a hammer.

    2017-11-05 13.28.52

  12. This is done on both sides.

    2017-11-05 13.28.55

  13. The next step is to attach the anchor plate. In this case, on the left side, there is only a little bit of clearance as a wicker storage cabinet hangs above the toilet.

    2017-11-05 13.32.08

    The next improvement is the short screwdriver. It is perfect for tight spaces.

  14. The end cap attaches to the wall plate.

    2017-11-05 13.39.29

    Not knowing how long this would take, I started with the "more difficult side" (due to the clearance issue) so that I would be fresh on the job. It turned out to be a breeze.

  15. The wall plate on the right side is then attached. No clearance problem on this.

    2017-11-05 13.43.11

    The next improvement is an electric screwdriver. This wall mount attached in one-fourth the time of the other one.

  16. The second end cap is then attached, but...

    2017-11-05 13.43.31

    make sure to insert the rod before doing so. I think I forgot to do that 35 years ago.

  17. The end cap is attached to the wall mount with an allen wrench.

    2017-11-05 13.46.32

    Here's the next improvement: The towel rod comes with an allen wrench that is the correct size. There's no more fumbling around with an allen wrench set to find one that fits exactly.

  18. The result is pretty level.

    2017-11-05 13.48.22

    The paper template had a line on it that can be used to make it level. Another improvement from long ago is that levels come with a magnetized bottom so that they can be attached to the rod to see how the project turned out.

  19. I now have a towel rod to rival my wife's.

    2017-11-05 13.49.10

  20. I then cleaned the tiny bit of mold at the location where I used to hang my towel.

    2017-11-05 13.56.17

Individually, these tool improvements are tiny; however, taken together, the whole project took 38 minutes. Autodesk has formed industry collections of its tools with this type of thinking in mind. For example, the collection for construction allows project leads to evaluate projects for constructability, design intent, and clashes during pre-construction. If evaluating constructability can be considered as using a paper template for a towel rack, then evauating design intent is like being supplied with the correctly-sized allen wrench, and clash detection is like using the line on the template with the level before drilling the holes. Much like reducing towel installion to 38 minutes, workflows can be dramatically improved by using the combination of tools in the collection. With Autodesk, you can make anything.

Tools are alive in the lab.

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It's Alive in ihe Lab - Autodesk Labs blog by Scott Sheppard
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