I like getting behind the scenes on the creation of tool classics, of which I think the IRWIN 3061001 Miter Saw Laser Guide qualifies.

It’s a simple, inexpensive add on that makes life easier. Brilliant!

I wrote to Irwin recently and interviewed Product Manager Scott Anderson, who delivered some fascinating insights into the creation of the 3061001, and cleared up some misconceptions I had. Thanks Scott!.

Q 1. How did Irwin determine that there was a need for this kind of add-on laser guide?

A 1: We saw the laser guide explosion with Strait-line, Ryobi, BDK and the likes and thought we could adapt the same timesaving benefits to the large miter saw install base. Miter saw manufacturers had begun charging premium prices for saws that included this type of feature. It was the perfect opportunity to create a less expensive solution, enabling the user to upgrade without the purchase of a new saw.

Q 2: What can you tell me about the team responsible for creating the 3061001 and their process for creating it?

A 2: Our internal engineering and marketing team did extensive research to determine the exact specifications needed to make this the most valuable accessory for our user. They studied different laser colors, different speeds for the automatic start feature and made it feel as close to “built-in” as possible. A very complicated process to make the product as easy as possible for our users.

Q 3: Your tools are for professional tradesmen, but my guess is that DIYs have been buying too because of the increased precision at a low cost. Did you deliberately target DIYers with this?

A 3: As with all IRWIN tools, the laser guide was specifically designed for the professional tradesman. But, given the nature of the product, we did anticipate that the serious DIY market would benefit from the use of the laser guide. The laser guide gives DIYers the opportunity to upgrade their current miter saw into a laser guided tool at a fraction of the cost of a new saw.

Q 4: Did you have concerns that professionals might not take your Laser Guide seriously because of its low cost?

A 4: No, conversely we thought there would be a greater chance to convert the professional with the affordable price. We felt the price was relative to other value-add items purchased from the professional trade community – i.e. Saw Blades, Tape Measures, etc.

Q 5: So where do you take a product with this kind of popularity next?

A 5: We want to expand on the popularity by driving awareness to those that may not be aware of the product benefits – there are more than 3 million miter saws without built-in laser guides and we would like to promote accurate laser cuts on all those. We also have plans to introduce a new laser design that will have greater adaptability to saws in the broader market place.

Q 6: I saw two requests of sorts in the reviews – one for a left side guide and the other for more explicit manual instructions for all the various saws. What is your process for implementing user requests into your products? Any chance you’ll be answering these two?

A 6: We welcome all feedback and/or recommendations from consumers. Once received, we consider the engineering feasibility of the suggestion and determine whether the new solution has a broad enough appeal… Our customer service center handles all requests and suggestions. You can contact IRWIN Customer Service at 800-GO-IRWIN or www.irwin.com.

Do you have any questions for Irwin? Comment this post or send an email to GFrench@ToolCrib.com.