NAME: Ersen Boran
WHERE ARE YOU FROM?
I was born in Florida, lived in Arizona for most of my life, and I moved out to Pennsylvania when I was 17. I went to community college at Delaware County Community College and then transferred to Drexel University. I graduated from Drexel in July of 2015, but I had begun working at Creative Mechanisms in January of 2015. I had come from a family of engineers and cartographers, so it was very much expected of me to be an engineer.
WHAT IS YOUR POSITION AT CREATIVE MECHANISMS, AND HOW DO YOU CONTRIBUTE IN THAT ROLE?
My job title at Creative Mechanisms is a Design Engineer. As such, I am a jack-of-all-trades employee who must communicate with clients, provide them with concepts that help solve their problems, engineer those concepts into real world solutions, and then finally create those solutions into prototypes. Most of my days are not spent linearly, but are all over the place. Some days I am at my desk working on concept generation or engineering solutions in Solidworks. Other days, I will be at my work bench doing prototype assembly and finishing. We are usually quite flexible in how we operate from day to day.
WHAT INSPIRES YOU TO BE IN THIS FIELD?
As a kid, I was (and still am) a pretty nerdy person. As such, I was a kid who played with LEGO and exclusively with LEGO. A day or two after buying and building a LEGO set, I would tear down all the pieces and start making something entirely new. I’m pretty sure I ended up with at least 100 gallons worth of LEGO bricks and parts by the time I outgrew it. It probably also didn’t help that I liked watching TV shows that had giant fighting robots and battle bots. As a teenager, I started working on cars a lot and I even went to a place called the Center of Arts and Technology for half the day in my senior year of high school. There I would basically repair cars and see how everything worked. Fast forward a couple of more years and I graduate college with a Bachelors of Science in Mechanical Engineering. Editor's note: LEGOs are made from ABS. Read about this versatile plastic here.
EXPLAIN THE CREATIVE MECHANISMS PROCESS; HOW DO YOU BRING AN IDEA FROM CONCEPT TO REALITY?
So our first pillar of any sort of project is communication. Talking and interacting with the client is the best way to understand what their needs and wants are when it comes to what they ultimately want us to develop for them. From there we take a second, third, and fourth looks at how to solve the problem and look at it from all angles. “Does something like this already exist?” “If it exists, what does it look like?” “If it doesn’t exist, what SHOULD it look like?” This enters into the problem solving and concept phase. Here, sketches turn into Solidworks design and ultimately into a provable concept. Usually, more than a couple of concepts are generated and shown to the client for their input. Was this what they wanted? If not, we tweak and combine concept ideas to get to a point where the client is satisfied with how the concept looks and is intended to work.
From there, we start the real engineering and designing by ensuring the concept can be manufactured and/or easily assembled. This usually means simplification or adjustment to geometry to allow for machining, injection molding, fixturing, and/or general assembly. Once the design has been fully thought out and modeled in Solidworks, the prototyping process begins. This usually means one of two things: we will be CNC machining the parts or we will be 3D printing the part. If there is a specific material, surface finish, or strength requirement from the client, we will choose the method that best suits the part’s needs. Once all the parts have been made by either of the manufacturing processes, we will usually assemble, fine tune, and paint the model to the client’s desire. Once that is done, we have completed the prototype and it is ready for the client to use.
Most projects usually end there, but some take it even further. Beyond this point, we start looking into mass production of the prototype to be put on sale in the market. However at this point, the client is in the best position possible to ensure that he/she has the biggest chance at success with their product because they went through the proper engineering and prototype phases with Creative Mechanisms.
TELL US ABOUT ONE OF YOUR MOST SATISFYING PROJECTS THUS FAR:
There is a very specific project that I worked on that is called the ezLash Eyelash Applicator. This is a device that allowed for people to very easily remove a synthetic eyelash from the holder and easily apply that eyelash in a very quick motion. At first glance, it seems like a simple accessory that would not be out of place in a makeup bag or on a stylist’s desk. However, the time and thought processing that went into the size and shape, the internal mechanisms, and how it is manufactured took weeks’ and months’ worth of time. Objectives were ensuring that the aesthetics were both visually and tactically pleasing, and the operation of the device must also work organically within a person’s hand. At first a rough prototype was needed to nail down the precise functions of the device. For this stage of the project, using our FDM machine to make prototypes quickly and efficiently was essential to giving the client immediate feedback. Afterwards, a looks-like and works-like prototype was made to look like a high quality production model that rivaled current brands on the market like L’Oreal or Chanel.
This leads me to the client who had brought this project to us. There were two business partners who had this vision for their product and their passion for it was very tangible. As such, they needed someone who was on board with the final outcome of the product. As a design engineer, when I see the level of dedication and devotion to the idea or product, it acts like an extra motivation to want to see the project succeed. For me personally, being able to design a product that has the potential to make even one person feel better about themselves really helps to validate my purpose as an engineer.
WHY SHOULD COMPANIES & ENTREPRENEURS CONSIDER CREATIVE MECHANISMS?
We have three primary attributes that set us apart: our communication, speed, and knowledge.
For the success of a project, being able to understand and communicate with our clients is paramount. Each person is a unique individual, and as such, everyone prefers a different type of communication and the frequency of such. Some people love to be very involved (“in the weeds”) and have constant communication daily. There are some clients who are the polar opposite and just want to be provided the finished product with all the detailed decisions being decided on by our team. No matter the frequency that you wish to be involved in the design and development process, we are always happy to accommodate. Even the method of communication is considered when speaking with the client. Besides the standards of any business calls and emails, we use a specific website that acts like a personalized internet forum just for the client and our team to communicate. We are able to post messages, pictures, and videos of the progress of the project easily while allowing the client to view it from anywhere in the world that they have an internet connection.
The second pillar of the Creative Mechanisms process is the speed at which we work. For most projects of reasonable size and scope, we are able to provide concepts and prototypes in days while other companies take weeks and months. A lot of this speed comes from direct client communication with the engineering team here, providing instant feedback for us and the client.
The last pillar is our prior knowledge in a lot of fields of products involving plastics and prototypes. We have worked on many projects ranging from pet accessories to high tech medical devices and everything in between. If you are considering approaching an engineering firm for your design and prototype, it’s best to work with one that has both the theoretical and practical knowledge when it comes to product development. Each one of our design engineers and model makers works on both the 3D CAD environment as well as physical models, so we know what works and what might need redesigning.
Do you have a project that requires a design and engineering team? Consider Creative Mechanisms
We've put together a team with depth and breadth across many industries to help design and engineer solutions to complex problems. Our team has extensive experience with plastics, and we are skilled at defect prevention for injection mold manufacturing. Here are some quotes from previous clients about working with the Creative Mechanisms team:
- "After thinking there was no way to develop and prototype living hinges, Creative Mechanisms were recommended to me. I quickly learned they offer a rare and sought after service, ideal for any early stage prototyping through to production level injection molding. They were hands down the best external contractor I can recall working with." Carla Zampaglione, Invetech
- "Creative Mechanisms is the type of company that is hard to find. I’m glad I found them. They provided what they promised on a short notice, tight timeline, and with amazing precision. They exceeded my expectations and I highly recommend them - without a doubt." Hassan Mohamed, Edgewell