While working in a hardware store in 2008, University of North Dakota alumnus Michael Lupelow knew there had to be an easier way to seal paint cans.
With assistance from project group members and his professor, Lupelow eventually turned his dream into reality.
In the spring 2012, Lupelow, a native of Maplewood, Minn., enrolled in the Machine Component Design Laboratory, part of the UND Mechanical Engineering program, to create a prototype of his new paint-can sealer.
UND Professor Ralph Johnson, who led the course, emphasized design, analysis techniques, construction methods and design reporting.
"The Paint Can Sealer" is a cone-shaped design that fits within the lip of both quart and gallon-sized can lids. The simple design allows the impact from a hammer or a rubber mallet to be distributed evenly around the entire edge of the lid, allowing for a quick and secure seal.
On the top of the cone is a storage space for a generic paint can lid opener. A magnet at the base keeps the opener inside when it is carried or stored.
"I incorporated the storage space because if you are sealing cans you will probably need to open the cans as well," Lupelow said.
Lupelow has partnered with UND' Office of IP Commercialization & Economic Development (IPCED) for its help with the patent and commercialization process. Lupelow and UND filed the Paint Can Sealer patent application in last year. It could be three to five years before any patent is issued by the United States Patent Office.
IPCED has developed a YouTube video to market the patent application to companies who may be interested in selling the Paint Can Sealer.
Lupelow graduated from UND in the spring of 2013. He currently works at Marvin Windows and Doors in Warroad, Minn.
Interested parties should contact Tara Kopplin, licensing associate in the IPCED office at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 701.777.3267.