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Starting a 3D Printing Business on Etsy

When his gym finally reopened in the middle of the pandemic, the rowing classes had been moved to the parking lot. Six feet apart and masked, it wasn’t ideal but sure beat working out at home. This was all good in the summer but fall in California meant rain. The machines could handle a little rain but the built in monitors were not designed for this. The gym resorted to putting ziploc bags over the monitors to protect them and Kayvon thought, “You know what, I can do something better. “I had just started taking the Design Academy Online Course and learned enough to be dangerous.”

So Kayvon fired up Fusion 360 and designed and 3D printed a more elegant rain cover.

Kayvon's final product was the result of small ideas building on each other. Above is a picture of the first step, a simple rain cover.

At this point in Kayvon’s design journey, he had just completed the cell phone stand in the Design Academy course, which is only the second project in the course.

This gave him the idea of combining both parts to create a phone stand that he could attach to the rowing machine to allow him to see his progress on the app. The phone app connects wirelessly to the machine and allows you to compare your results with others around the world.

One of Kayvon's many cell phone holder designs after completing the second project in the Design Academy Course

This then led to an even better idea…

Design it so that you can attach not only your phone but also a tablet to follow the workout classes from home.

What started as a rain cover had now evolved into an easily attachable and adjustable phone and tablet holder that allowed you to easily keep an eye on your workout metrics and watch a workout class from home.

It turned out that Kayvon was not the only person who needed this solution. There were many others who had resorted to using side tables and tripods and other hacks to position their tablet in front of their rowing machines.

He printed a few more for friends and not only did they love using it but also gave him valuable feedback on ways to improve it.

It was at this time that Kayvon was being encouraged by his wife and daughters to open an Etsy store. He was reluctant at first but finally decided to give it a shot. He uploaded some pictures and made his first Instagram post promoting the product. One hour later he had his first sale! Eight months later and Kayvon has sold over 600 units all around the world and has made over $30,000. He’s recently bought printer #4 to help keep up with production, all Prusa i3 MK3s.

Keyvon's final product featured on his Etsy store. Note at the time of this posting, he has sold 608 units and has a 5 star review!

“It was nothing that I started with an end goal in mind, it sorta just came about by accident mostly.”

Kayvon’s story perfectly illustrates the tremendous opportunity that’s available to us all.

The first blog post I ever wrote on my website was titled, It's the Perfect Time to Learn 3D Design, and that was 5 years ago.

I start the article by saying, ”We are living in an age where the lanes of hardware, software, and education are colliding beautifully into an intersection of tremendous opportunity for makers”.

At the time I described these three lanes to be:

1) the accessibility of 3D printers (e.g., Prusa i3 mk2 for under $1,000)

2) The affordability of powerful CAD software (e.g., Fusion 360 free for hobbyists)

3) The availability of high quality affordable educational content

This is even more true today. 3D Printers have gotten even more affordable. Autodesk Fusion 360 is even more powerful than it was 5 years ago and is still free for hobbyists and very affordable for small businesses. We are living in a renaissance age of high quality online educational content that can easily compete with instruction from some of our top universities for a tiny fraction of the price.

Kayvon’s story is the perfect example of what can happen when you take advantage of these 3 lanes. Check out his Etsy store here.

Click the video above to watch my entire interview with Kayvon and hear some of the valuable advice he gives for starting a 3D printing business on Etsy.

If you're looking to get started with designing your own 3D models whether to level up your hobby or start a small business then you'll want to get started with my easy to follow Fusion 360 courses. A great place to start is my Quick Start Course. Get it by clicking here.

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Just like Kayvon' success, my progress on Fusion 360 and 3D printing is due to Vladimir.


Ed Johnson
Ed Johnson
Mar 04, 2022

Such a cool success story!


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