What We Do

Perhaps you need a custom “bespoke” gadget box of some sort. Using a combination of open-source and in-house circuits and software, KSF can put together a solid and useful device for a very reasonable price. Or perhaps you need help debugging your rig or selecting a technical approach for your research. Or maybe you need a custom circuit board for multi-cellular recording, bio-sensing, or other unique applications. Or maybe you just need help deciphering which of the dozens of 10K resistors you need to order from the Digi-Key catalog. Whatever your electronics questions or research requirements, Ken and KSF’s network of experts can help you figure it out!

Analog Circuits

Physiological measurements, neuronal recording, sensor interface, motion control, LEDs and sensitive optoelectronics, data conversion and acquisition.

Digital Circuits

Discrete and programmable logic, embedded microcontrollers, data communications.

Custom Circuit Boards

Design and debugging of multi-layer, high density, surface-mount and through-hole boards.

Mechanical Design

Instrument panel design, basic 2D/3D CAD.


Prototype construction, sheet metal work and basic machining, hand tools, conventional and hot air soldering, custom cable assembly and repair.

Troubleshooting and Repair

Hardware/software integration, ground loop and noise issues, problem analysis, experimental rig debugging, custom and commercial equipment repair.


Specifications, instrument manuals, circuit descriptions, parts lists, schematic diagrams, photography, fabrication drawings.

Consultation and Collaboration

Component research and selection, needs analysis, build/buy decisions, design review, brainstorming, test rig and prototype development.


Develop and conduct workshops, assist with student labs, explain test instrument use, teach soldering and other technical skills.


Working with Us

Getting Started

Initial consultations are always free. This typically begins with a face-to-face discussion about your particular situation, and concludes a few days later with a brief summary and proposed solutions from us, including preliminary time/material estimates for any suggested work. As part of this free consultation we are also glad to look at your equipment and deduce what we can from flipping switches and taking a few signal measurements, but if you ask us to investigate further (basically, once the screwdriver comes out) the time meter starts running. Once we do start on your project, we will report developments with you promptly and ask questions frequently to make sure we stay on track.


Introductory Rate

If you’re an entrapreneur bootstrapping your start-up, or a struggling artist with some projects that need technical help, or maybe  a fellow engineer who needs a couple of hours’ assistance in our well-equipped electronics shop to debug or document your own circuit — we want to work with you!  After your free initial consultation ask for the Start-Up Special and we’ll give you up to ten hours of KSF Labs engineering effort for only $50/hour. This will give you a chance to check out our capabilities on the cheap, and if more work is needed we can negotiate an arrangement that works for all involved.


We have an Independent Contractor Agreement (ICA) with University of California San Francisco. Our campus rate is $90/hour. Contact us to discuss your project, or better yet let’s meet at your lab so we can better analyze your particular situation, and within a few days we will propose a Statement Of Work.

Standard Rate

Our standard consulting and contracting rate is $100/hour. We will consider lower rates if you commit to a larger project. We often can respond to rush jobs as well but may charge a 50-100% rate premium if this disrupts other critical projects. We are flexible and reasonable so if you have a clever business arrangement in mind, we want to hear about it.

Fixed Bid Contracts

If you have a well-defined project in mind (for example, you have a final board outline and schematic, and you need a PCB layout or design review) we will be glad to give you a fixed-bid estimate to help reduce your risk of going over-budget.

Custom Instrument Design

On a different tack, we are looking for custom research instrument projects that we can also sell to other many other researchers. We will be glad to discuss your requirements with you and then develop an apparatus on our time, from our pocket, and sell it to you as a finished product (for a very good price!) and also make it available to other labs on-line for a reasonable price.

In general, we expect to make these designs open source, publishing the design files and instructions after we’re done so anyone can replicate it. We can offer assembled and tested units and perhaps kits for sale as well. In fact, we are now working  with ManyLabs, a successful SF vendor of Arduino-based educational and citizen-science kits and parts, to develop open source hardware-based research instruments. We think this model has a lot of potential for breaking down economic barriers to research.

If you are currently using open-source hardware such as Arduino in your research lab, we’d love to hear about it. And if you have any ideas or thoughts about how we could help your  efforts, get in touch!

Our Facilities

Tools and Techniques

We have experience with a wide range of Design Tools, and we maintain an excellent assortment of Test Equipment to help make sense of it all.


KSF Labs is primarily a home-based electronics shop in San Francisco’s Mission Terrace neighborhood. We are about four blocks from the Balboa Park BART/Muni station, about two blocks from the triangled intersections of Mission Street, Ocean Avenue, and Persia Avenue (the “heart of the Excelsior”), and just across 280 from City College.  We also get some things done at TechShop SF. We have portable tools and test equipment and can come to your location in the Bay Area and beyond when the situation requires it.

Contact Us