This paper presents parameter design methodology and related optomechanical engineering of a 905-nm diode-laser biaxial, eye-safe lidar ceilometer prototype for cloud-height monitoring. Starting with a brief review of the state-of-the-art ceilometer technology, acceptable parameter ranges are identified for the key system parts. Parameter tuning is achieved by imposing goal criteria on the simulated signal-to-noise ratio and laser-telescope overlap factor. The system is based on a low-cost pulsed semiconductor laser, low-cost Fresnel-lens telescope, a low-noise-equivalent power avalanche-photodiode optoelectronic receiver, and collimating/focusing adjustable parts. Finally, preliminary test measurements are presented.