Measure Twice Labs is a NYC based design and consulting studio which offers short-term engineering services to help companies move from one stage of product development into the next stage.
Early stage hardware development needs a hacker approach: What's the dirty, cheap, fast way that I can get this thing to work correctly once?
Late stage hardware development needs an engineering approach: What's the robust, economical, repeatable way that I can get this thing to work correctly every time?
Because of this dynamic process, Measure Twice Labs offers targeted development work focused on fulfilling the specific needs called for at the time.
I’m the founder and principal mechanical engineer at Measure Twice Labs (sarah@
My breadth of experience means that I know when to use a hacker approach to get the Minimum Viable Product made fast and out the door & when to use an engineering approach to ensure systematic long-term design processes are sustained throughout the life of the product.
I specialize in the commercialization of products. Do you want to go from a napkin sketch idea into something that you can build at a reasonable cost that people want to buy? That's where I can help. I've performed competitor analysis to ensure product-market fit & I've done value engineering to reduce the cost of expensive manufacturing processes to be in-line with my client's target profit margin.
At Measure Twice Labs, most 3D printing is done on an in-house Prusa i3 MK3 with PLA and ABS. For jobs done in-house, quickturn printing is available within 3 days.
Print jobs that need a larger bed or different printing techniques (SLA, SLS) can be sent out with a longer turnaround time.
3D printing is not the only prototyping capability available (see Prototyping).
For quoting, please email your STL file or email a description of what you would like.
Sometimes you have a half-formed idea & you want to try out a few different implementations in order to see what's best.
Over the course of 3 weeks, I designed 8 radically different mechanisms for a client, all of which varied based on complexity, ease of use, visual elegance, and cost to manufacture. I modeled these designs and gave the client the CAD mockups as well as functional to-scale 3D prints that I had prepared for them to experiment with. The client chose one of these designs for their product and I moved forward with refined industrial design integration work.
I've visited factories throughout America and China to audit their existing processes, as well as to be more hands-on by instructing line workers in proper assembly.
For one company, I spent a month in China so that I was able to go through several cycles of iteration as I visited their sub-vendors. I diagnosed issues with specific parts and they modified the tooling and processes to correct issues I found within days, a process which takes weeks when done remotely.
I have trusted factories I've worked with before that I can recommend to clients. I also put together a documentation package (see Manufacture-ready) when sourcing factories to ensure the factory will serve the needs of the company and the product.
I've been on the factory floor for a wide variety of consumer products from smart wearables to kitchen electronics. The photo below is one I took when I was in a toaster factory where I inspected the product for performance (even browning) as well as for CMF (color/material/finish aesthetics are to spec).
As a senior engineer with over 10 years of experience & having worked with half a dozen startups, I know how to move fast.
For one company, I took their product from concept to factory hand-off in 6 weeks, a process that normally takes 3-6 months. This extremely rapid execution was necessary because of internal delays running up against firm external deadlines so the company was motivated to expedite their decision making processes.
My key to working quickly is my ability to zero-in on downstream blockers (things that aren't a problem now but will be later). By identifying and resolving these issues upstream, I reduce the number of cycles necessary to achieve the desired result.
I have designed and performed in-house testing for almost every company I've worked with including performance testing, safety testing, and failure analysis.
For UL/ETL testing, I've submitted products to external labs for testing and certification. Prior to submitting I would conduct my own in-house testing to ensure the product had the required rigor not only to pass certification but to ensure it would perform well according to customer expectations.
For 6 companies, the test plans I designed went above and beyond governmental required test criteria to include aesthetics and nuanced performance metrics. I've performed failure analysis to determine the root cause of product failure often cause by consumer misuse. I've cycled that feedback into product design revisions to ensure a positive user experience for the customer in terms of performance and aesthetics.
The photo below is of a test system for a consumer medical device which I devised in-house and had implemented both at the contract manufacturer and the third-party logistics provider in oder to provide a controlled sample at 34° C and 80% RH.
I am very experienced with Solidworks CAD (computer aided design) and can model your design for you in 3D or 2D. The amount of time needed to do the drafting or modeling depends heavily on the number of parts and level of complexity of the product.
I've created and maintained complex electromechanical 3D assemblies with hundreds of parts designed over the course of months & also done simple one-day turnaround designs.
However I consider 2D drawings even more important than 3D models because that's where the rubber meets the road. When working with companies, I ensure that the 2D drawings I create capture the design intent of the product using GD&T (geometric dimensioning and tolerancing) so that the factory can manufacture the product accurately and economically. If you only give a factory a 3D model they will make a lot of assumptions about how you want it produced.
You might want a feature to be 1in wide, but is it okay if it's a little bigger? How much bigger? Should these two surfaces be flat and parallel with each other? How off can they be? 0.5° or 3°? Should this surface be matte? What specific texture pattern does matte mean to you? All these questions are answered with specifications I add to 2D drawings to inform the manufacturer of what you need & it gives you a standard to check the final parts against.
I've worked on 3 products for crowdfunding campaigns. Depending on how you are framing your crowdfunding campaign, this will typically mean that you want to have a prototype that looks like your final product and has the essential functionality of your final product. This is what's called a looks-like-works-like prototype and it is what you will use in photos and videos on your campaign page. The guts of this prototype and the manufacturing process used to make it will likely be very different from what your final product will be. However your looks-like-works-like prototype will be a great stand-in so prospective backers have an accurate idea for what they'll be getting.
Being Kickstarter-ready can (and should!) mean that you have your factory lined up and your costs/timelines determined. (See Factory Visits and Manufacture-Ready) Everyone knows the stories of Kickstarters that miss their deadlines and go over budget. I advise companies to mitigate this by having already done proper factory sourcing and to have a clear understanding with their factory about what their manufacturing schedule is.
Below are photos of a camera I worked on. The lefthand camera is the 3D print I made to test form and balance & the righthand camera is the look-like-works-like version I had fabricated for the Kickstarter campaign.
3D printing is a great way to start prototyping if you need simple static structures. But in order to have prototypes that twist and move, I use additional techniques and hardware to achieve high resolution functional prototypes.
I use my trusted network of local vendors to source hardware supplies and services which allows me to quickly iterate from simple to complex prototypes.
I have the in-house capability to prototype and assemble dynamic electromechanical products to suit clients' needs using 3D printing, woodowrking, laser cutting, spray coating, breadboard electrical prototyping, and PCB soldering.
Once the product is made it can feel like the hard part is over but if you can't sell it for the profit margin you need then your company is going to be in trouble.
I have reduced the cost of one product by 30% without a major redesign by making small changes including: sourcing, part consolidation, requoting, and faster assembly time. This value engineering resulted in a better profit margin for my client as well as a better production workflow for their contract manufacturer.
I hold 2 design patents for consumer products. For those patents and other patent applications, I've created both the 3D model and 2D figures of my invention as well as written the first draft of the claims.
I can help you write a patent application either for a design patent or a utility patent, which are the two types of patents in the US. I use the USPTO's nominal formatting style for the 2D drawing views including how to handle cross-section hatching and balloon callouts for individual parts.
In your claims you will likely want to include multiple interpretations of your invention which will mean you will want several different depictions of how your invention can be implemented. I can help you ensure that each set of drawings is distinct from a technical standpoint.
I studied Mandarin at The New School and have received private tutoring lessons. My current comprehension level allows me to have basic conversations as well as read and write simple technical documents.
When dealing with Chinese factories, for any formal or information documentation I write, I will highlight the most critical design notes in both English and Mandarin. When traveling overseas and working one-on-one with factory engineers who spoke no English, I have communicated with them directly to perform environmental testing in preparation for golden master sample verification.
If you're looking to hire your first full-time mechanical engineer, it can be hard to interview prospective candidates because you don't know what good technical questions you should ask or what good technical answers you should get in return. It's a chicken-and-egg problem.
I have been involved in the hiring process at 5 companies, both large and small, so I understand how to determine which skills are important to have based on the needs of the current team and product.
I talk with you to determine what your pain points are & then write a job posting, review applications, craft interview questions, help you conduct interviews, and sit with you to evaluate candidates.
Are you trying to go from 0 to 1? 1 to 100 units? 100 to 10,000 units?
Each time you scale up the number of units you produce there are new and different challenges & new manufacturing techniques and economies of scale to consider.
I helped one client scale their production volume to 5x capacity by on-boarding them with a new factory, increasing their sales forecast, streamlining their assembly process, and consolidated the number of parts they were using. This process took 2 months and empowered them with the processes to move past their inventory bottleneck.
I have experience laying out electrical components for size considerations including checking with the PCB board house for their standard clearances for PCB traces and V-score clearances. In factory production I perform integration checks with mechanical and electical components to ensure final product quality.
From a prototyping standpoint, I've done breadboard layout and C++ Arduino programming for proof-of-concept product design.
In order to push the testing capabilities of PCBs, I've hot swapped parts to replace faulty components for extended prototype testing (see below photo).
I've worked with assembly workers on the factory floor to architect firmware check steps to weed out malfunctioning units & specified reconditioning procedures to ensure 100% functional units are packaged and shipped out.
I am the lead inventor on two design patents (see Patents) including one for a hair dryer specifying the shape of the housing and the arrangement of buttons.
In consumer products for the American market, the industrial design is just as important, if not more important, than the functional design. I always strive to understand and preserve the design intent in the products I create. This includes outer surfacing and curvature as well as color, material, and finish.
I have worked closely with industrial designers at 4 companies to ensure we are on the same page about aesthetics as well as technical feasibility. At 2 companies I've participated in focus groups and design studies to test out different iterations of product design in order to have a barometer of market demand to determine which aspects of the design make sense to move forward with.
From a graphics standpoint, I have also designed this website and my logo.
A rough prototype and concept sketches can take you really far but, when the rubber meets the road, a factory is going to need a lot more in order to be able to professionally manufacture your product.
Finding your factory and determining the COG (cost of goods) can be a very lengthly process taking weeks or months. Approximately 1/3 of that time is coming up with a RFQ package (request for quote), 1/3 is doing factory research, and 1/3 is communicating with your potential factories. Before you decide on your factory it's important to establish a relationship with them (see Factory Visits).
To have your design considered manufacture-ready would be to have the drawings and models tailored to the manufacturing process you intend to use. I've designed for a wide variety of manufacturing processes including injection molding, extruding, milling, lathing, stamping, casting, and 3D printing. Additionally your factory will need you to have documented all assembly, testing, certification, and shipping criteria.
I have worked with 5 companies to refine their product designs for their specific manufacturing process (including injection molding, milling, lathing, and plating) as well as to write specifications and organize all that documentation into a RFQ package and do factory selection.
The photo below is of a teapot assembly line I visited. I worked with this factory for several weeks in the US and China to ensure material sourcing, test criteria, stamping pressure, and assembly specifications.
As companies scale and integrate more processes into their workflow, it can be scary to realize just how little you have documented.
I have designed and authored 50+ page quality specs for clients, working with their manufacturer's best practices. This allowed the company and the manufacturer to be on the same page about the expected quality level of the finished product by following concrete checks.
I've also designed and refactored assembly documentation including taking photos for assembly documents. This increased line worker adherance to the correct procedure in production which reduced the scrap rate and increased assembly speed. The weedkly batch yeild increased by 20% and the contract manufacturer was able to be more flexible with their labor pool.
Making something cool is only half the battle if you don't know how to make it in a way where (1) people want to buy it (2) people will pay enough that you'll make a profit.
I can consult with you on target profit margins, logistics deployment, design for manufacture, seasonal projections, and economies of scale.
For 2 companies, I have developed yearlong manufacturing schedules taking into account seasonal sales volume and factory load balancing. I determined the revenue multiplier for products by talking with internal bizdev teams to ensure that sales and manufacturing were aligned on the target profit margin.
Prototyping for a new boardgame gearing up for a Kickstarter launch. Designed, fabricated, and assembled components locally in-house and with NYC vendors.
Early stage prototyping and idea generation for a wearable armband. Mechanical concepting integrated the industrial design and electronic constraints.
Overhauled documentation for standardization and costing for their wearable fitbit-for-factory-workers. Performed factory evaluation and recommendation.
Led mechanical design of Avengers Hero Kit wearable from late stage concepting thru prototyping to early stage manufacturing release of their wearable for kids.
Defined development timeline of automated pill dispenser in-home medical device. Iterated on existing mechanisms to improve reliability and reduce complexity.
Performed risk analysis for legacy and new consumer electronic products with in-house tests. Analyzed market to estimate sales volume and COG/
Traveled to conduct on-the-line factory inspections for a smartphone breathalyzer consumer-grade medical device. Negotiated with factory engineers on an economical test plan.
Early stage prototyping of watertight chamber for preliminary submersible tests. Designed and locally fabricated components in strict timeline.
Designed and maintained high volume component production drawings for industrial equipment. Tested failed products and recommended courses of action.
Services are offered either on an hourly rate (for one-off consulting) or a weekly rate (for ongoing work). We can also review your needs and construct a project-based quote for a fixed scope of work.
I have experience at every stage of product development so whether you have an idea you're looking to turn into a prototype or a small production run you're looking to scale to high volume manufacture, I can help.
I'm happy to have a quick phone call to discuss your needs and how I can help.
Email me with the details of the work you'd like performed and I'd be happy to quote with a cost and time estimate.
Measure Twice Labs is based in Brooklyn, New York.
Email is the best way to get in contact. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will reply same-day if contacted during standard business hours.
If you have a more in-depth question, I'd be happy to schedule a brief call to discuss your needs.
To get a quote on your project, please send me details about the deliverables you are looking for as well as your timeline.