From offices in Boise, Post Falls, Twin Falls, and Pocatello, TechHelp Specialists help Idaho manufacturers, food processors and entrepreneurs improve their competitiveness through continuous product and process innovation.

Kip Blair, L, and Steve Hatten of TechHelp hold MixKwik prototypes in the NPD Lab at the Boise State University College of Engineering.

New Product Development

MixKwik

Teton Valley, Idaho

MixKwik
Better Than a Handshake

Kip Blair invented the MixKwik Spray Paint Shaker in his hometown of Victor, Idaho in 2008. He came up with the idea while shaking spray paint cans by hand for a home construction job. With his arms aching from so much mixing, this self-described “Plain Jane carpenter with a Ph.D. from the School of Hard Knocks” took a break and had a “beerpiphany”.  Maybe he could save his arms by shaking the cans with his reciprocating saw. He taped a can to his saw blade, fired up the saw, and began a shakeup of the world of paint mixing. His next challenge was to turn his rough idea into a prototype to see if it would really work. Kip sought design help from a local friend, Jerry Linn, who had worked with TechHelp.  

TechHelp Project

Jerry captured Kip’s ideas in AutoCAD and sent the drawings to the TechHelp New Product Development (NPD) Team at Boise State. He asked the Team to use their 3D printers to create a MixKwik prototype. Ten days later Kip received a prototype that perfectly fit a can of spray paint. His next challenge was to secure a paint can to the device. Another beerpihany led him to the local ski & board shop where he grabbed a snowboard toe strap that worked perfectly. Kip now had a fully functional working device that he could turn into a commercial product. Kip zipped off to the National Hardware Show in Las Vegas where the sound of his reciprocating saw drew a crowd including the producer of “This Old House”. The producer loved the MixKwick and promised to feature it on the show. The subsequent national exposure put MixKwik on the map.

Results

  • Kip made investments in design and prototyping services that resulted in an innovative new product. 
  • Kip secured several design and utility patents. 
  • Kip developed markets on Amazon and eBay and throughout the USA, Europe, Canada, Australasia, and the Philippines.
  • The MixKwik is now used in a nature project to separate out bees from mites in order to save bee populations.
  • MixKwik enjoys a healthy profit margin thanks to lean manufacturing and cost containment initiatives. 
  • By keeping costs down and quality up, Kip can charge a reasonable price for a quality product.

“The TechHelp team at Boise State were so great to work with in creating my prototype. An idea can be developed from concept to market all under one roof”.
– Kip Blair, Founder & Owner of MixKwick