Sarah Pavis: "I’m Good At 3D Printing Because I’m A Mechanical Engineer"
Sarah Pavis is the Founder and Principal Engineer at Measure Twice Labs, a New York City-based mechanical engineering design and consulting studio.
Nora Toure: Sarah, could you let us know about your background and what brought you to 3D printing in the first place?
Sarah Pavis: I’m a consulting mechanical engineer living in New York City. I graduated with a bachelors degree in mechanical engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute in 2006. 3D printing wasn’t as prevalent then as it is now. My first job out of school was working on relatively low volume industrial equipment so most of my early work was designing for traditional subtractive manufacturing (lathe, mill, wire EDM).
Nowadays 3D printing is a big part of my job. I print something almost every day. Most of what I print are prototype parts for companies I work for, as well as for my own products that I’m working on.
Nora Toure: What was your very first experience with 3D Printing?
Sarah Pavis: My first experience 3D printing was at work. I joined a new company and a big part of my job was prototyping so I had to get good fast. I started by designing a couple of smallholding fixtures for testing assemblies. Basically mocked up some simple blocks with threaded inserts for screws as well as holding clips. We had an in-house Makerbot Replicatior 2.
It was a little fussy but a good machine to learn on. After my first couple pieces snapped, I learned pretty quickly that DFM (design for manufacturing) for 3D printing was quite different than traditional subtractive manufacturing in metals and carbides. I was used to uniform strength but had to adapt to figure out part orientation to accommodate for FDM 3D printed plastic being very weak in the Z direction.
Nora Toure: Could you explain furthermore what Measure Twice Labs is and the services that you are providing?
Sarah Pavis: I founded Measure Twice Labs to help early-stage hardware companies take the next step in their development process. The hardware development cycle happens in fits and starts, crunch and lull. I help out in those crunch phases to iron out whatever problem they’re having. For some clients, that’s been early stage concepting and design, for other clients, that’s been later stage smoothing out production bottlenecks.
I do CAD, 3D printing, physical prototyping with assembly, testing, analysis, documentation, and factory management. The whole mechanical engineering gamut! I also do a little industrial design and electronics engineering but it’s more of a supplement to my mechanical engineering work.
Nora Toure: How did you come to build the company?
Sarah Pavis: I built the company partially out of necessity, partially out of happenstance. At one point I was talking to an old acquaintance about looking for new opportunities and he told me he needed help ASAP so a week or two later I was on a plane to visit a factory for him.
From there it kind of snowballed from one client to the next. Hardware development has a natural business cycle and consulting allows me to align my work more closely with the flow of that cycle.
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