From The Ergoweb® Learning Center

Unique Application Tools

Dan MacLeod, CPE, MA, MPH

Holding slippery items


This is a catch-all category of special application tools. The intend for much of this list is to enable readers to see equipment that could be used in their own operations, even if the initial purpose of the equipment is for a different industry or task.

Potential list of unique tools and gadgets is endless. Part of the value from reviewing this list is to get in the habit of (a) brainstorming specialized designs to solve your particular problem, and (b) searching for equipment ideas in industries other than your own.

Ideas and Options

Bench tools


Flexible shaft tools

Flexshaft1 Flexshaft2
Flexible shaft tool with additional suspended tools Components (

Flexible shaft tools provide the advantage of eliminating the need to hold the motor, i.e., the heaviest part of many powered tools.  The motor is suspended over the workstation

Used in niche industries like jewelry and dentistry, but have wider potential application elsewhere.

Myriad of end pieces for grinding, sanding, and cutting.  Including an attachment that converts the rotation motion into a reciprocal motion

Precision powered hammers

reciprocal tools

jewelry engravers hammer



Panel and sheet handling

PanelLift1 PanelLift2
Panel handler (

Tools and equipment developed for dry wall handling in the construction industry can be used for other types of sheets and flat materials. The are a number of vendors of similar equipment, many of which provide a variety of specialized tools of this sort.

PanelLift3 PanelLift4



foot lever to raise a door or panel. Version at right stays up until released.

Block lifters

Paver1 Paver2
Designed for pavers, but conceivably useful for any block-like load (


First issue


Holding especially slippery items

Fish Some gloves

Some items are difficult to hold because they are slippery. Certain gloves can be used, but

available many sporting goods stores and on-line retailers. Many other varieties of fish grabbers and holders

Strap wrenches

StrapWrench1 StrapWrench2
Strap wrench Two strap wrenches used to loosen sticking spray pump

The strap wrench was designed for removing oil filters from cars.  They can be used for any cylindrical object.  In the example above, two are used to open a sticking spray pump. Available in hardware stores and similar.