Workshopshed: Graham Downey is an inventor of tools for the plumbing industry and DIY enthusiasts. He has multiple patents and works with fellow inventor and model engineer Alan Green. Together they design and developed a comprehensive range of tools to ensure your plumbing job gets done efficiently and correctly.
Workshopshed: Graham, thank you for agreeing to be inteviewed, you’ve quite a wealth of experience behind you, have you always had an interest in plumbing?
Graham Downey: I had an interest in anything mechanical from a very early age, and my first main interest was anything electrical. In fact, when I was in my early teens I was a dab hand at repairing anything of an electrical nature, and in fact became known in the area as the local “Handylad” and made a good few bob from it!
Workshopshed: Where do you invent and make your inventions?
Graham Downey: We also now have workshop / packaging units at Stockport where we combine our work here, or for more advanced stuff, work at Alan’s workshop.
Workshopshed: What kinds of tools do you like use in your workshop?
Graham Downey: Although I don’t use the Lathe much, it is probably my favourite machine, think it may be Alan’s as well.
Workshopshed: Have you modified any of them to enhance or simply operations?
Graham Downey: Modify? Yes I can think of one or two, the first that springs to mind is the handbender, we had to make mods on this to make it do what we wanted it to, i.e. bending 3mm flat bar in 2 x continuous 90 degree bends.
Workshopshed: What kinds of jobs require a trip to the “advanced” workshop?
Graham Downey: Mainly development work, this is very time consuming, as once you have the article in your hand in 3D, you immediately realise that you should have done it another way, this is truly never ending.
We do most (95%) of production stuff here in Stockport.
Workshopshed: There appears to be a lot of thick sheet metal used in your tools, how is that cut and formed into shape?
Graham Downey: Sheet metal? Laser cut, this is a fantastic process as far as I am concerned it has helped us a lot and relatively inexpensive, in fact we not only have to design with function in mind, we also have to do it within the confines of not spending lots of money on tooling, only to find out its of no use, ..Fatal.
Workshopshed: Your plumbing tools are made from a mixture of materials, plastics and metal, which do you prefer working with?
Graham Downey: Think we both prefer working with Metals, but sometimes plastics provide solutions, so yes, we use a combination of both, we also use Rubber extruded components.
Workshopshed: What material is the double ended rad wrench made from? Does it require specialist processes or tools?
Graham Downey: The Double ended RadWrench is made from super strong glass filled Nylon, and is injection moulded. We also have other components made this way.
Workshopshed: And finally, do you have a selection of sinks and radiators all over the workshop to test the tools on?
Graham Downey: One radiator, in workshop, lots of taps, but have carried out numerous tests on radiators & sinks that are actually installed and working, that way you get a better idea of how the tools perform under real working conditions.
Workshopshed: Graham, a big thank you for your time and effort being interviewed and all the best with your latest inventions.