Mech E / Prototyping Freelance Work or Internship

About us:

We’re a startup creating computer keyboards for humans: ergonomic, portable, hackable, loveable.  Right now we’re based at Highway1’s incubator space at 450 Alabama, a few minutes’ walk from the 16th St BART and even fewer from a range of trendy third-wave coffee joints. We have a tiny bit of seed funding and are happy to pay you in money and coffee. Exactly how much money and how much coffee depends on the candidate.

What we are looking for:

Right now, we have a totally functional flat design (see We’re looking for someone to help us prototype and design a mechanism or mechanisms to make our keyboard supremely adjustable on a number of axes.  We’re also going to want your help designing the rest of the enclosure. Like most other incubator programs, Highway1 is on a tight timeline. We’re looking for someone who could start pretty much immediately and work with us in SF for (at least) the next few months. We’re pretty flexible on how many (and which) hours you’d work.

About you:

  • You love to tinker.  You’re comfortable taking things apart and putting new things together.  You’ve done it enough that you have a good mental library of design patterns.

  • You are comfortable prototyping on the cheap.  We have a small facility here (with a few low-end Stratasys 3D printers) and access to additional machine shop resources, but we anticipate a lot of “minimally viable” prototyping using inexpensive materials and tooling methods (if duct tape works, use it!)

  • You’re comfortable and experienced with iterative physical prototyping.  We’d like to do mockups in paper drawings or ad-hoc physical models before we start committing to CAD models.  We expect to do a number of iterations on a few designs before we settle on the final design.

  • You have at least a basic intuitive understanding of tradeoffs in terms of cost, complexity, risk, tolerances, and manufacturability. (Ideally, you’ve worked on products that have gone into production.)

  • You work fast – we’re on a deadline.  You intuitively understand how to do 20% of the work to get 80% of the benefit.

  • You’re creative.  As far as we know, nobody has designed quite the mechanism we need.

  • You have excellent communication.  You’ll primarily be working in our incubator space and talking with us in person, but you should feel comfortable communicating ideas over email, as well as some communication with our China-based (though English fluent) manufacturing partners.

  • You are someone people like to work with. You are able to deal with conflicts of ideas without making it personal.  We are not assholes and you shouldn’t be either.

  • You probably have (or are working on) a degree in Mechanical Engineering or Industrial Design. That said, some of the most amazing engineers and designers we know are self taught. Being able to show us examples of things you have designed or built is even better than having a degree.

  • You have authorization to work in the U.S. We can’t sponsor visas.

  • You can come to work in the Mission in San Francisco at least a few days a week between the end of March and the end of June, 2014.

Bonus points:

  • Excellent aesthetic sense or industrial design experience

  • Experience designing housings for electronics

  • Experience with ergonomic products, or experience building products with a big human factors component

  • Experience designing products for a premium market

  • We’re also going to need someone to help us with getting the prototype to market.  This could be the same person who helps us with the mechanism design, which would be a win for us.  That position requires:

  • Several years CAD (Solidworks) experience

  • Experience with injection molding

  • Design for manufacturing focus

How to apply:

Send email to! Make sure to include details about your background (this might be a resume and portfolio, a link to a webpage with examples of work you’ve done, or descriptions of projects you’ve worked on); why in particular you think you might be a good fit and why you want to work on this project (we do read cover letters!); and what your availability is between now and the end of June (hours / week). If you don’t have a resume, just write us an awesome letter.

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