Jenan Kazim - Kazbrella Patent - An Interview with Jenan Kazim, KAZbrella
3D printing, as we have noted before, has an inestimable amount of potential for so many people from the hobbyist/tinkerer up to the large enterprise and corporation. With the advances in technology even at the consumer-level, it can provide a means for someone with knowledge and skills to design or invent their own product which improves on existing choices. Thus is the case with our next interviewee, Jenan Kazim, who decided he could build a better mousetrap (or in this case, a better umbrella). Kazim, who himself has a background in aeronautical engineering, saw in the umbrella a good design, but one that was inherently flawed. As anyone who has ever tried to get into a car or a crowded bus with an umbrella or even come in from the rain knows, the design of the umbrella now means that you either get yourself wet, the umbrella leaks onto the floor, or both. Now, thanks to Mr. Kazim, he has found a way to eliminate those annoyances. With some reverse engineering, he developed a way for an umbrella, the KAZbrella more specifically, to close in on itself, as well as to open in narrow spaces. Currently in the midst of Kickstarter campaign where they are seeking to raise roughly $38,000 (and when we last checked they were almost there with 31 days to go). More information can be found on their website, too: kazbrella.comWords, however, do not do this adaptation justice, here’s a video that illustrates the concept much better:
The interview was conducted via email, and the transcript is here below.
1) What is it from your background in engineering, do you think, that enabled you invent this umbrella?
I am an Aeronautical engineer but I have worked for many years in offshore engineering, designing oil rigs. Working on leading edge technology has helped with my innovative thinking.
2) How long did it take to come up with the idea? When did you have your "AHA" moment, as they say?
The actual realization that there was something fundamentally wrong with the design of the conventional umbrella came to me 15 years ago. I had a full time job as an offshore engineer so I could only work on the KAZbrella part-time, although I was also thinking and sketching ideas. In 2010 I had a patent granted. In 2012, I was prompted to spend more time on the project when I was approached by a TV company who wanted to include me in a documentary about inventions, "Make Me A Millionaire Inventor". This generated more interest in the product and gave me the encouragement to pull back on my engineering work and spend more time on the KAZbrella.
3) Is this the first time you have invented something to market? If not, what else has there been?
I have a number of inventions which have benefitted the marine and offshore industry. To see a list of patents owned, you can visit Justia.com.
4) What gave you the idea for the KAZbrella in the first place?
The idea came to me in 2000 when my mother-in-law entered her house with a dripping umbrella complaining that it was ruining her floors.
5) How have 3D printing and 3D design played a role in its development? Are you 3D printing some of the parts needed?
Without a doubt, without the 3D printing technology and availablability of 3D printing facilities at a reasonable cost, I would not have been able to develop the KAZbrella to the stage it is now. Other than the shaft and the spokes, all other parts have been 3D printed for the development of our prototypes.
6) If so, what are type of printer and software are you using, and what type of printer filament?
We have been outsourcing our 3D printing to 3DPRINTUK who has given us an excellent service. The printing has generally been SLS (selective laser sintering) technology..
7) How many versions of prototypes of the umbrella have you produced to this point?
Numerous, probably up to 20. I started off by using parts I salvaged from conventional umbrellas and parts I purchased from DIY stores.
8) Are you and your family currently using the KAZbrella yourselves, or are the prototypes not ready to be used in the real world as of yet?
We have used the prototype in our home town. My wife would take a conventional umbrella and I would take the KAZbrella and visit friends who own cafes and shops. I was proud to show that I was not causing a hazard of dripping rainwater on their floors.
9) What have you done to combat issues experienced with a normal umbrella like being blown inside out? Does the design limit the possibility of this happening?
The KAZbrella has been designed to withstand a wind force as much as any good quality umbrella. However, the conventional umbrella, once it blows inside out, will most likely break or is virtually impossible to bring back. The KAZbrella is inherently designed to turn inside out and can be returned to its normal position by a press of a button.
10) Based on the design of the umbrella, will you be able to easily alter the size down to a much more portable one that can fit in a small bag or purse, and one as big as the popular "golf umbrella" size that can accommodate multiple people underneath?
We have started working on the development of a smaller folding KAZbrella but it will take some time for it to be developed to the manufacturing stage. The present design can be more easily altered to make different diameter size KAZbrella canopies such as a golf umbrella size.