Over the summer, I worked at 219 Design as a mechanical engineering intern. I worked on variety of exciting projects spanning a range of disciplines from firmware engineering to hardware prototyping and even low volume manufacturing. The opportunity to work on every aspect of a product from its physical form to its embedded logic is very rare, and one of the main reasons I chose 219 Design for my internship.
Prior to 219, I had just completed the core ME218 courses, Stanford University’s graduate mechatronics series. The class combines elements of mechanical, electrical, and software engineering to teach students how to develop a complete embedded system. I learned more that year than I ever thought possible and wanted to work somewhere that espoused the same philosophy of taking an interdisciplinary approach to designing embedded products. However, finding such a company proved difficult until I came across 219. I took it as a good sign that the founders were all graduates of ME218 and liked the class enough to name their company after it. After meeting the team, I knew I had come to the right place.
My personal goal for the internship was to take the knowledge and skills I had gained in school and learn how to apply them to real products. Class projects often require a one off solution that only needs to last a few hours. This is a far cry from consumer products that need to be mass produced and function reliably for years to come. Designing meaningful and interesting products is what I want to spend my career doing, so understanding the challenges that the real world presents will be crucial. My time at Stanford has given me an excellent base to start from, but the only way to bridge this gap is to gain industry experience where I can see how my abilities fit into the product development process. This made 219 a perfect fit, as it was founded on the goal of taking the cross-functional approach to product development that ME218 was based on and scaling it to create real world solutions.
My first project was to help realize the full potential of having a CNC Mill in-house. This included everything from upgrading our tooling to writing an interactive 219-machining handbook. I also worked on an IoT (Internet of Things) internal demo prototype that honed my firmware and electronics skills. I even did a little project work for a client under the supervision of one of the partners.
I firmly believe in applying an interdisciplinary approach and taking the long view to product engineering. After a summer at 219 Design, I am confident I made the right choice in internships and am a better engineer because of it.
Date published: 03/22/2016