7 Tips to Start Small Scale Manufacturing | Business Ideas for Product Makers

7 Tips to Start Small Scale Manufacturing | Business Ideas for Product Makers

do we know how we’re starting this one? not at all! Hey guys we’re Evan and Katelyn today we’re
gonna be talking about how to start a small scale business based around products that
are designed for small scale manufacturing did I say the things I think you said the
things there were a lot of words in that sentence basically this means starting small without
the risk of a big financial investment but at the same time being ready to scale up big
if the opportunity presents itself and how to scale your business beyond what you can
produce in your own shop we’ve made a video on how to sell handmade products which we’re
gonna link below but I feel like this is a big topic that we didn’t really cover in that
last video so we kinda wanna do a little bit more of a deep dive into that here and we
do’t just wanna go through saying general tips so we’re gonna include some of our personal
experiences and walk through how we apply these tips to one of our own products and
the first thing that we’re gonna talk about is kind of this new startup type company that
seems to be developing I feel like it needs a theme song new startup company that seems
to be developing it seems like in the past if you were gonna start a business you kinda
fell into one of two categories you were a big company making big products and that requires
a lot of money or you were kind of on the smaller side you were making handmade things
and you kind of stay a little bit of a smaller company now there seems to be sort of a middle
path developing as small scale manufacturing is becoming more accessible to more people
another thing that really opens up product design to a whole bunch of new people are
digital design tools there are great tutorials out there it’s really accessible some of them
are free or cheap designing things in 3D is a lot cheaper when you don’t actually have
to spend any money at all yeah it is free the cheapest of cheap haha so with less capital
needed there’s less pressure to hit that homerun with your very first product idea you can
test it out in the market see if people buy it see if they don’t you can do iterations
and there’s not that huge loss if you invest a ton of money in machines or casting and
the product doesn’t work and then you’re left with all that capital wasted we went through
a whole bunch of product ideas before figuring out what we wanted to make our very first
idea was terrible it was good it was good it’s a good thing just the idea of trying
to make it at any sort of scale was terrible yeah it was our marquee letters they’re really
pretty people love them people wanted them we got inquiries a lot about renting or borrowing
or buying them but they’re massive and delicate and they would not ship well and they take
a really long time to make but that was ok it didn’t hurt us we kept going and kept moving
and kept trying out other types of products we started on our computers in our garage
we came up with what we thought was yes same garage we are in now we came up with what
we thought would be a good design and we invested in one 3D printer once that printer had paid
for itself and we had enough orders to start getting more things and start expanding our
product line we got we’re up to 4 3D printers and 2 CNCs so you can start with just that
one small investment you don’t have to buy your entire robot army all at once although
it is cool having a robot army and you can grow from there yeah so I’ve worked in traditional
manufacturing before as an engineer and product designer and these big machines that companies
have to make their parts are really impressive but along with those impressive capabilities
comes this huge price tag and ever since we’ve been working on products at home I honestly
haven’t really missed those you can accomplish so much now with a small shop with limited
budgets we recommend starting with just the design of what you wanna make before you ever
start making cuts you can do that free design software we use Fusion 360 and once you have
that design ready you can make it yourself for not that much expense you can go to a
local makerspace and if you don’t have a local makerspace nearby there is the internet and
on the internet there are people who want to make money with machines who will help
you out who will help you out yeah once you have that proof of concept with your product
if you wanna start making it in house you can setup a whole little shop for yourself
like we’ve done here you can have your CNC, 3D printer, power tools, hand tools whatever
it is you need it seems expensive if you’re looking at the prices now but if you compare
it what you’re pulling in with your products it’s a reasonable business cost and I think
that’s really cool that it’s actually within reach now and I love that like if I come up
with an idea I can just come out here and realize it using stuff that we have at home
it’s like Evan’s dream ever since we started buying tools it’s literally my dream I’ve
been dreaming of this since I was a little kid I love it and these machines are a lot
more affordable now the cost of 3D printers and CNCs over the past few years has gone
down so much and there’s even payment plans now where you can pay you know per month and
it’s a lot easier to tackle as you’re making profits instead of a big upfront cost you
know if you’re trying to run a business so I think that’s super awesome and hopefully
by the time that you buy the CNC you have products designed you’re selling some and
you can use that profit from those sales to pay for the machines that are making the money
yes yeah so to give you guys a real world example we’re
gonna use this CNC ring dish that we designed we did all of the design work in CAD then
we did all of the computer aided manufacturing work to plan out how long it would take how
much material it’d use so we knew all of the variables of this product before we spent
any money at all and we have a whole video on that which is that process is called CAM
on our channel so we’ll link to that too but after we did all of that digital design work
it was time to test the program and figure out all of the bugs and kinks so we ran it
on our X-Carve right over there and went through 4 iterations of the design of the g-code and
that took the machining time from 30 minutes to about 15 minutes and we probably could
push it further and having all of that figured out at the small scale really helps you grow
and scale it if your product succeeds and starts going and selling really big. these smell good they smell real good haha
do they smell like pecan cuz these are pecan just just like insert like 30 seconds of Katelyn
sniffing it right now hahaha so now that everything with this design is figured out if we need
to hire help to make more of these or outsource this outside of our shop we can do that because
we know that this design works and we’ve optimized it so we’ve talked a lot about manufacturing
it but it is very important good product design I think is the key to selling things because
without the thing you can’t sell it man that’s some wise words right there anyways while
we’re designing things we try to keep two things in mind the function and the manufacturability
so we often design things with small scale manufacturing in mind if it’s something that
we want to become a product so for us that means CNC work it means 3D printing or sometimes
it’s molding and casting each of these works with some types of designs and not other types
of designs and you want your design to work with manufacturing method and not against
it there was once a product I was designing and I happened to add a curve to it I don’t
actually know why probably trying to be fancy I might have been trying to be fancy but I
was talking with a machinist later that day he was looking at it like this is gonna be
really hard and I was like no it should be really simple he’s like well this curve right
there that’s gonna like make it take a long time like oh just take out the curve that
doesn’t need to be there at all he’s like oh we can get that done real quick and it
probably saved us it cut the time down by 1/5th so keeping that manufacturability in
mind is really important for scaling and growth and your profit margins for example with these
ring dishes if you look close there’s kind of a spiral design and it looks kinda cool
that’s actually the cut lines from the bit it’s something that in a lot of designs you
might have to sand out because it wouldn’t look very nice but we came up with a design
where it actually kind of becomes a feature and it means less work for us another thing
is when we’re 3D printing we try to keep those layer minds in mind layer minds did I say
layer minds yes we try to keep the layer lines that are part of the 3D printing process in
mind and maybe even make them a feature we came up with a topographical Texas where each
layer was like a layer of the topography a layer of the topography so it was better that
it was 3D printed instead of worse or when we’re doing molding and casting we try to
keep it like a one part mold so we don’t have to sand down the seam line this is kind of
tied to it but we try to keep human intervention down as much as possible so avoiding things
that have to be hand painted or hand stitched or hand anything really I mean we still do
put a little bit of work into it but we try to minimize it so going back to this for example
we have this bottom rounded over and that’s because we can take this over to the router
table it’s a way to remove tabs it polishes up it makes it look finished and it’s all
part of optimizing our process tied to keeping human time down we try to keep robot time
as high as possible so that while they’re working we can work on prepping stock setting
up jigs coming up with new designs working with cusomwers 🙂 coming up with marketing
material there’s so much that you can do to help your business besides making things like
come up design things in your mind and let robots make them that’s what I like you sound
like an evil genius but yes another thing to keep in mind is cost wise it’s gonna be
hard to beat a big company that has huge econ- econ- economies of scale it’s just it’s a
losing game but there are other things that you can do that big companies can’t do one
of those is customizable products or coming up with products that respond to trends or
seasons you can be a lot more flexible than a big company can be another way to set yourself
apart from big companies is customizing we started I kinda said that but you can go into
the details haha we’ve started engraving initials and dates on to the back of our ring dishes
for weddings and stuff like that yeah it takes what literally 2 minutes actually 1 minute
and it makes it so much more special and more meaningful to the people you’re selling it
to and it’s something that big companies can’t do yeah as easily I mean well yeah they probably
can but they wouldn’t bother yeah haha alright so what’s next let’s say you have a product
it’s selling really well and you can’t keep up with the demand ahhhh oh you want me to
finish that yeah I thought I was the example we haven’t had one of our products go big
like that yet but I have had a lot of experience dealing with this in my past job when you’re
selling volumes that large you can start with with local companies or overseas partners
to increase the amount of products you can produce if you come to them with a proven
sales record a projection for how much products you’re gonna make they’re gonna say yeah we
wanna do that they’ll work with you they’ll bring down their price and they’ll make it
more accessible they don’t like people coming to them saying I have an idea well no it’d
be like I have an idea it doesn’t exist yet but it’s gonna be great they’re not gonna
be interested and that’s where everything that we’ve been talking about the well designed
product with a proven track record that is able to be scaled that’s potentially based
in digital means so you can just send them a file and they can make the same thing that
you’ve been making the whole time you can have your standards in place you can have
a quality policy and you can grow without really too much downsides you can also take
it a step further and even outsource some of the fulfillment so you can work with your
manufacturing partner, your packaging suppliers and have all of them send everything to a
fulfillment center and they ship it out for you and that allows you to spend more time
working on your next product your next design and just continuing to grow which takes us
to our outro yay I really hope that this video was useful to you guys and helped give you
guys some confidence to start your own business it’s a little bit scary I think the thing
that we struggled with the most is when to start and how to start and I think the tipping
point for us was when we were more afraid not to do it than we were afraid to do it
and then we made the jump and then we made the jump and started doing it and that’s the
end of our story haha good story actually that was just the beginning and then we started
doing YouTube yeah haha but we still do products on the side still doing it on the side it’s
fun to keep a finger in that world a little bit where is it alright if you guys have any
questions we’d love to chat with you guys in the comments below and if you wanna help
us make more videos you can support us by checking out our awesome merch which is at
Shop Evan and Katelyn dot com and if you want more content sneak peeks behind the scenes
the aftershow we’re about to record the aftershow you can head over you can head over to patreon
dot com slash evan and katelyn and see you that there hope to see you next time bye did
you say see you that there I dunno hahaha words are hard and today we’re gonna- bleh
opport- mlehele still had done all this reshearch reshearch reshearch another thing about sca-
scall you can stay even keeper keep hahaha woo yay!

Dereck Turner

100 thoughts on “7 Tips to Start Small Scale Manufacturing | Business Ideas for Product Makers

  1. Evan and Katelyn Podcast says:

    We wanted to tell the story of how we started selling products in more detail, and why we eventually stopped (AKA… going full time on YouTube) but didn't have the right place to tell the story till we started a podcast! Get the full scoop in episode 009, available on your favorite podcast app or: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FsVBPraUOFE

  2. Illium says:

    you guys are great. thanks for the info!

  3. David Antonetti says:

    Awesome video. Thanks much!

  4. Aaron Hart says:

    Ooohhh… that spiral is a spiral surfacing toolpath. Mastercam?

    <—- CNC Machinist and Engineering student

  5. Henoc Zarate says:

    Really nice vidrio very fun but reallistic, love it 👌

  6. Nick Porter says:

    Thanks for all the great info! Now that a year has past do you have any new tips? I'm interested in specific product categories you've seen that have the best roi. I have a complete small scale cabinet shop and an xcarve. I want to quit my job and go full time but not sure what products to focus on.

  7. King Rah says:

    Dear Evan and Kate,
    Who the hell do you think you guys are, like where the hell do you get the nerve. You know what screw you guys with your seemingly fairy tail like relationship and electric chemistry. And your content don't even get me started because, its inspiring informative and I going to subscribe. If you can't tell by this point I'm being ironic, I really enjoyed this video and your guys are a great team thanks for the content!!!!

  8. Abrahan Mora says:

    great story great couple

  9. Rapho Perleche says:

    This is definitely the video I was looking for: that adventure experience told by true adventurers. And you even make the video itself more customized with that content organization with the colorful bar below. Thanks so much for sharing your bussiness experience in order to help other enterprenuers. You are really making this a better world.

  10. bull shiyot says:

    The vocal fry.. I can't…

  11. The Luminary says:

    Haha yall so endearing

  12. Luke Garcia says:

    I inherited a commercial property. Formerly auto repair shop. I hate working on cars don't know how to diagnose. I want to do something here. Any kind of manufacturing. I have bad credit no startup. There has gotta be a way. I don't know what to sell. Drones? Hemp? Scooters? I don't know what to do. Any help appreciated thanks

  13. Illham Akbar says:

    I need a lesson video about "how to find a beautiful wife who support me on everything i want to do to make money"

  14. Billy Davis says:

    I am wondering what I do about the business/accounting side of your business? I keep telling my wife" if I could be left alone to sell work and do what I do without having to think about the office, or taxes, or payroll, ect. We will be millionaires in our first year". We are opening a shop called"Hazzard County Hotrod Coatings. We do vinyl wraps, powder coating, hydro-dipping and some retail. Do you have any advice for me on the subject? It's almost like I have a huge mental block with it to the point that I can't even learn it. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

  15. erikals says:

    1:11 LoL !   😀

  16. all mamun says:

    nice video guys

  17. Basit Ansari says:

    hi dear

    i really appreciate your efforts.
    Keep it up…….!!

    EvanAndKatelyn Rocks………..:)

  18. Sequilla Williams says:

    I have re-watched several portions of this video several times not because I am having problems understanding and following what you're saying but because I love the way you to interact with each other it seemed so genuine and I just love you 2

  19. Valentina Jerenec says:

    Your designs are amazing guys, you really have an eye for modern, fresh…cool stuff ! 🙂 YOur home decor looks amazing! 🙂 where too buuyy??

  20. T S says:

    As an FYI, you don't need a proven product or sales history. I had a chinese company build me a prototype (similar to a gameboard so couldnt be cnc'd or 3d printed) for almost nothing then we went into production.

  21. Eikona says:

    The energy and vibe in the room

  22. Kitty Kat Congregation says:

    Omg I'm so happy I came across this! Thank you guys!!!!

  23. April Lawless says:

    I'm wanting to do welded modern furniture with exotic wood tops. Any idea how to ship them and not really over charge or lose money?

  24. MT says:

    You two are such a cute couple thank you for the information

  25. Jeff O says:

    Awesome video! So glad I found your channel.

  26. Stone Motion Animation says:

    Congrats guys! Thank You! Just bought a laser engraving machine and You helped me a lot.

  27. S P says:

    Great vid, thanks. Would you mind itemizing the manufacturing tools (with brand) that you guys use?

  28. The Bullfrog says:

    I'm 15 and joining the army reserves when I turn 18 and I'm going to start a toy manufacturing company so you keep an eye out for a bullfrog toys or something along the lines of that one day I plan on becoming the biggest toy soldier manufacturer at least in Australia if not the world

  29. Drone Obsessed Jerry says:

    Love the video! You guys are so well spoken… Lol! I am impressed with your honest and concise presentation. Inspired to step up my game.

  30. Robert Jenkins says:

    Thank you friends for an awesome video. I have been trying to start my own small business for years now but the stars just haven't lined up for me yet. I actually did start building keepsake boxes but it didn't pan out. I probably sunk $2,000.00 in it and got much of it back but it just wasn't the right thing for me. I did learn a lot though. Also got my feet wet, so to speak. Also tried selling T-shirts and sunk about $1,200.00 in that and again got most of that back. The experience is what was priceless and worth anything I lost. I work full time but still am constantly looking for that great idea. You guys and your story is some kind of awesome and very inspiring to say the least!!!!!! Thank you for taking the time to share and I will be looking for more of your video's. GOD bless and the best of good fortune to you!!…..

  31. Eugene G says:

    You are awesome guys! 😻

  32. Patrick Rabarison says:


  33. Okwudilichukwu Nwawuzie says:

    You sure you guys understand small scale?

  34. 120togo says:

    Like how they explained everything in a very simple way! Easy to follow what they are saying

  35. G M says:

    Why would anyone click a thumbs down?? You guys are great…keep up the great work.

  36. Frank Bob says:

    What the heck was in that wood that smelled so good? Now I want to smell it.

  37. Lewis Jones says:

    4:11 a local what space?

  38. Pierson Workholding says:

    Solid advice! Thanks guys.

  39. Steven Watson says:

    Two sweet people. Don't ever forget how happy you are right now. Money doesn't matter.

  40. ArtistRebeccaLS ___________________________ says:

    Wood sniffing is lovely 😍

  41. Shawn Schultz says:

    You guys are great, totally inspirational…..makes me want to quit my 9-5 and just do it already!!!

  42. ponmari selvam says:

    These couples are best pair…. In all aspects….. ☺😍

  43. Just me says:

    Far beyond beautiful.

  44. Josh Gibb says:

    Hey, this may have been already asked and answered. But, what toolpaths did you use for the interior milling out of the ring dish? I have a similar model that has had losing used to create an interesting interior.
    Cheers from New Zealand

  45. Sabrina Flipse says:

    What’s going on with Evan? Usually in the videos I’ve seen he is super bubbly. Did someone tell him to stop that? Noooo.

  46. He Ka says:

    I like it. Been thinking of this sorta thing for years. I'm mostly concerned about the actual selling part.

  47. Sarita xd says:

    This is just superb, I have been researching "do you need a license to be a professional organizer?" for a while now, and I think this has helped. Have you heard people talk about – Xanmily Yonandon Finder – (just google it ) ? Ive heard some super things about it and my brother in law got amazing success with it.

  48. Gary Speirs says:

    I need help with my cnc

  49. גרמנית בעברית says:


  50. Frank Tran says:

    Dang. How did I not see ya'll until now? Subscribed!

  51. Jose Ramos says:

    I just bought a Laser Engraver and you guys just gave me the confidence to push forward!

  52. Harley Hardin says:

    The cat marking the time should be picked up by every channel lol it rocks!

  53. AustinAirCo says:

    I'm a robot that needs to be reprogrammed.

  54. Lion Heart says:

    lady you are so beautiful. you can do what ever you want.

  55. Alex Velez says:

    What CNC do you have?

  56. Marcos Fredrickson says:

    Awesome video. Thanks

  57. Tom Squire says:

    Thank you for making the color bar on the bottom of your video. Super helpful for those of us who like to skim!

  58. ilyketyorwy says:

    …my rivals!

  59. Stephy Ann says:

    When she started singing I hit the like👍🏼😄

  60. Terence Almeida says:

    Well spoken and explained and a nice couple. Keep up the good work guys.

  61. Chris Kaminsky says:

    You two are absolutely the cutest thing.

  62. Ivan Perez says:

    I love the video, can you please give us ideas of where to sell? Already have a product but selling on facebook isnt good enough, would like to sell internationally, cheers

  63. Sleepy says:

    What a cute couple!! 🙂

  64. Jagdev Singh says:

    Dear. Nothing was clear and easy to understand, what ever you said. Regards.

  65. Jean Alexandre says:

    Take the path of least resistance. For as long as you could maintain the same quality

  66. Cathy the Maker says:

    This video gives me the courage. Thanks!

  67. Craig Connors says:

    Most big companies want a patent to go along with the proven track record when you present your idea/product. I used to make cutting boards with the initials and date of wedding as well. Ideas are virtually endless with the 3d printer, as long as the part is not too large. Keep up the great work and it was great listening to you share your enthusiasm.

  68. Nolan Mcewen says:

    LOVE THIS! i started the same path hoping to sustain myself through college. all the best to you two

  69. Mr. Louis says:

    Interesting video, thanks for posting it. These seem to be trinkets and can be hard to sell, manufacturing for real profit should be more useful items industrial or home use. Good luck.

  70. Dhritiman das says:

    how do you guys set prices?

  71. Brittany Tucker says:

    EDIT: Sorry Evan and Katelyn i just saw the pinned comment to the podcast video!!!
    I know this is an old video, but do you still do stuff like your topographical texas? I'd love to see a video on that, since my fiancee and I have been talking about doing something similar with resin and HDPE in the shape of the Island we live on!

  72. Chris Austin says:

    Good looking young couple.

  73. Kreative Rainbow says:

    Great planning ideas!!

  74. DsVibe says:

    Partner Goals, my God.

  75. Vishal Mehra says:

    It really pushed me to DO IT! Thanks. ❤️

  76. Jennifer Lambert says:

    Cute couple. And great wisdom. Thanks.

  77. R.C. Welding's garage says:

    This is really cool. I make videos of my welding business and tell people to start small.

  78. Shannon Elizabeth says:

    super helpful! please make more videos like this!

  79. Oliver Taveras says:

    What's a good FREE 3d modeling software for commercial use

  80. Wood Chaser says:

    I feel like when you try to sell small items you don’t make as much money and it’s way more time-consuming

  81. Fennah Woodworking says:

    I really love this video it might help me a lot:)

  82. MrFizzle says:

    What design software did they say they use? Fusion 360?

  83. Cruzer Cruzer says:

    Do you have to patent your product before it goes on the market?

  84. Bruce Allen says:

    Dude – this is awesome. Love the content! Great job. Must check this out as well if you get a chance: @t

  85. Teresa Page says:

    This is the first video of yours that I have stumbled upon in my search for how to manufacture a new product. First of all, you two are absolutely adorable. How lucky you are to have each other? My ex-husband didn't have a creative bone in his body and didn't respect any of my ideas. Secondly, I want to thank you for the information. I subscribed to your channel and plan on spending the rest of the afternoon watching your videos and learning. I'm doing this all on my own and it is scary But like you mentioned I am at the point where I'm more afraid NOT to take the leap. Best of luck to you in your business ventures and thank you, again for sharing your knowledge.

  86. Stormy Effects says:

    Can I work for you? Please?

  87. Lola Johnson says:

    Can anyone tell me where to outsource small cnc project jobs?

  88. John Craftenworth says:

    I want to have katelyn for myself!!!

  89. Firmly Balanced says:


  90. funny AF says:

    You guys are cute ❤

  91. Richard Benson says:

    Awesome channel, I like how informative you guys are highlight ideas that I personally probably wouldn't have thought about not to mention the laughs… "words are hard".

  92. Joseph Prosnitz says:

    This all sort of hinges on you being a couple with graphic design and engineering backgrounds. I think that it is great that you did small batch (I miss the content you made about batching). I wish you walked through design iteration and process selection/optimization. I am doing this and sort of failing at it and there isn't good guidence that I know of on the process. Currently doing novel functional textiles as well as some metal manufacturing and it is brutal. I don't mind that you have switched to being maker personalities vs. a small manufacturing duo but I think this seems to highlight the challenge of this. You two have more background than most and you still couldn't make it work in a reasonable time and effort frame.

  93. Lima says:

    I dont have problem to create, to manufacture, my problem is, i dont know how to sell. What can i do?

  94. Phil Nolan says:

    4:48 This is how I felt when I got my first 3D printer about 6 months ago. I have worked with Shapeways for many years but it takes SO long for them to print and ship something plus the high price. As a 3D artist I just loved the idea that I could come up with an idea, work on it on my computer, and then have it in my hand later that day.

  95. Phil Nolan says:

    So suppose you come with an idea for a small product, like that ring dish, and you can make a bunch of them. Do you just take them to small local stores and say "Would you like to sell these?" or is it more like "Would you like to buy these from me and sell them?"

  96. Vrc Chnd says:

    your video make a great contribute to my mind, just finishing my homemade CNC machine 350mmx500mm working area, very frustrating time and considering so many resource to be plan after, wanna walk a step like you both, but althougt this promising, the process are all it's core, keep it low and proud, great hello from Indonesia

  97. Continuous Self-Improvement says:

    Cool. But I'm just here for the cat.

  98. bogieman101 says:

    Just found you guys, (actually the custom door vid) and your goofiness was magnetic. So I watched more videos and finally found this one. Y'all just have so much fun and get along so great. I would absolutely love to do what you are doing- if only I was smarter, and imaginative. Those are the only two things holding me back. Oh well, I guess I will keep doing my part and watch your videos…

  99. AKSHAY RAJPUT2 says:

    Great Video really informative 🙂

  100. Ecovey Designs says:

    I love your videos and I am so glad that you took the time to make this one!

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