WINCHESTER, N.H. -- Dale Van Cor has a product he thinks is really going to take off.
He has developed a new type of thread fastener -- for nuts and bolts or anything else screwed together -- that he says is more than 20 percent stronger than whatever else is on the market today. He has made about 200 graphic prototypes of what he calls the wave thread, which he believes can change the way objects such as furniture and jet engines are made.
Van Cor described the wave thread as a breakthrough in how to evenly distribute stress.
"It is a stack of circles whose center is moving and follows a helical path," he explained, adding that he has patents pending on this product as well as two others. "This is a very complex geometry."
Sitting at a table with his prototypes, many of which are comprised of glued plaster, Van Cor said the thread's resolution is made up of two layers one-thousandths-of-an-inch in width and connected by glue about one-thousandths-of-an-inch thick.
"The smoother the surface, the tighter the hold," he said in the Reformer's conference room this week. He said his success has come from his ability to access 3D printing, a process of making a solid three-dimensional object from a digital model using layers of materials laid down in different shapes.
Utilizing 3D printing has helped keep costs down, as glued plaster is about $20 per cubic foot.
"The machine to make it is expensive but the material is cheap," he explained.
Van Cor has been able to work full time on his creation the past five years with the help of his wife's income from her job as a nursing director at Applewood Rehabilitation Center.
His research assistant, who has conducted more than 60 finite element analyses, is Jigarkumar Patel, a Ph.D. candidate in mechanical engineering at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
"My job was to do engineering analysis of his work. It was mostly on computers," Patel told the Reformer. "(The wave thread) is impressive. ... I enjoyed it and worked on it for about two years. And hopefully I can use the experience further down the line in my career."
Van Cor, a 1978 graduate of Keene State College, used his background in the software development business to create the wave thread, which he hopes to market to the world. He is now using RocketHub, "an online crowdfunding platform" that raises money and awareness for projects. Anyone can contribute to the wave thread project by searching "wave thread" on rockethub.com.
Van Cor said he hopes to generate between $18,000 and $23,000 for his project, with $6,000 to be used for a website to sell a digital library of files pertaining to the wave thread that can be purchased for $299.
Information can also be found at www.wavethread.com.
Domenic Poli can be reached at email@example.com, or 802-254-2311, ext. 277. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoli_reformer.