Making some money

(Leith) #1

Hi All

Thanks in advance!

I’m fishing for some ideas to make money with my Nomad. I live in New Zealand and have made some very nice precise things on my machine. But I must lack imagination because in the couple of years I’ve had the machine now I havn’t thought of anything I can make on it that I could actually sell for a profit which I would dearly like to do.

I’m in sales engineering for a job so I know how to sell and market products very well plus I am extreemly experienced with solidworks and have a license so nearly anything I can dream up in the 8x8x3 window I could machine, I have the vice, the bed of holes and the flip jig so the sky should be the limit but I just need some ideas guys.

Any ideas no mater how silly will be greatly accepted. By the way, in case you didn’t know, NZ is a fairly wealthy country probably similar to the US. So people have money to spend here.

New to CNC and interested in the XXL, I have a lot of questions
(Owen Protheroe) #2

I’m sure you’ve looked here already, but is a great starting point for ideas.

But here’s my two cents:
I think what makes the Nomad (and desktop CNC in general) unique, is the fact that rapid personalisation is possible. Individual objects can be tailored quickly to the customers intent. And you don’t have to start from scratch, almost any existing product can be engraved. I think the trick is to meet them halfway, come up with a product that would benefit from a unique touch. I sell stamps for weddings with a bit of my own design and get the customer to add their names and date. There’s a big market for weddings.

Things that you could sell with someones name or logo engraved or embossed in/on is pretty much endless. Stationary, picture frames, signs, you name it.

Get them to input on the design, and you get two things: they feel invested so they’re more likely to buy the thing, and they’ll pay slightly more too because they appreciate a personalised product. Not too tricky to make something profitable that way.

It’s true that you lose an element of impulse purchasing, as people have to leave an order with you and don’t get to walk away with something in their hands. But if you’re selling online then that effect is massively reduced. All customers would suffer is a longer delivery time. Also good for weddings because people plan those things way in advance.

(Leith) #3

thanks heaps Owen those are some excellent ideas!

(William Adams) #4

If you’re willing to operate the machine at craft fairs, you can do impulse purchases.

Baby items are consistent sellers, and one guy here had a business making rattles.

(Jonathan K) #5

I had been talking with @ApolloCrowe about doing a tutorial on custom Christmas ornaments using “DIY” injection-molded clear plastic ones, and due to work being really crazy the last month I haven’t finished up on the tutorial part, but here’s a few preview images for you :wink:

I’ll be putting these on Etsy next year, since I didn’t have time this year.

(mark robinson) #6

That’s Amazing Jonathan,good work!

(Leith) #7

Thanks for the ideas guys! I’ve regularly checked out for ideas and while it’s inspirational it just hasn’t given me that idea that I desperately want it too. I saw this post the other day Excellent customer service by @rayjneal and he says he’s paid for his machine 3 times in 2 months. I’m just woundring what I’m doing wrong, I would love to have paid work for my machine every day!

(MachineHeadLabs) #8

Maybe custom or O.E.M parts for RC cars or drones. They crash a lot and always need repairs. Pocket Knives could be very profitable I think once procedures are in place. Look at for ideas.
Realistically, production shop type machining for profit without automatic tool changers, fixturing etc., wouldn’t be very competitive. It’s so easy to get anything made online these days that I think we are all better off prototyping. Your location may work to your advantage.

(Joshua Hume) #9

I’m very impressed! How are you managing the engraving on a curved surface like that?

(Jonathan K) #10

@MrHume Very careful fixturing setups is how it’s getting done—I’ve very precisely accounted for my stock, and am using projected tool-paths in Fusion360. As aforementioned, tutorial will be coming at some point soon :wink:

@1st_Kiwi_Nomad he’s likely been producing other parts with an established market, and adding the Nomad has increased his ability to meet existing demand—that’s what is helping it pay for itself so much, it’s in a production context instead of an R&D/new product space. If you’re coming up with new things, it’s a different game.

If you can look at what’s selling generally well in New Zealand and Australia (keeping it regional) through using Google analytics & trends and other marketing sources, you can find a niche where you can compete and make unique stuff that’ll do well. Spinners are currently a fad, so you could make those for a bit until that burns out—you just have to be prepared to also deal with shipping/logistics, customer service, and setting up and running an ecommerce channel.

Or, make your stuff and post pics to your social media groups and see what gets traction. I’m amazed how people sell things through Instagram, but a great example is the [Canadian Woodworks] ( shop where they’re cranking out Lichtenberg figure serving boards and people click-through to their Shopify storefront to buy the things.


So what are you hobbies? What calls to you? Maybe you like to fish? High end custom reels, rods, or lures made with state of the art materials would be pretty cool products that could even get you some pretty nice trip invites.

Custom woodworking tools? Gadgets for gardeners? Triggers for target shooters? Cook’s tools?
Prostheses for pets? Camera gizmos? Puzzles, toys, and games?

Look around and go where your muse and your passions lead you.

(Kelly Taylor) #12

This a good source for ideas. Lots of diverse things.

(Jonathan K) #13

Some more ideas: cutting places of interest out using STLs from

Some places in Alaska (vertically exaggerated for effect):

Maui (with minimal vertical exaggeration, if any if I recall—it really sticks out of the ocean like it means it!):

On-deck in Fusion, I’m currently cutting all of Ireland:

Maybe you could do a few from Middle Earth :wink:

(Leith) #14

hey thats really sweet man! If by middle earth you mean my home (nz) then yeah, look up mt Ngauruhoe (mt doom in the movie) that would use all your z axis travel mate :slight_smile:

(Jonathan K) #15

Indeed that’s pretty cool! Going to have to go find the GIS data for it!

(Jonathan K) #16

The finished cut of Ireland, in case you wanted to see it:

(mikep) #17

These are pretty cool. I’ve been trying to find a source of bathymetric data to do underwater contours for lakes and such.

(Jonathan K) #18

@mikep If you’re willing to do some GIS data transformation work, you can get some maps from:

It’s starting data to build your STLs from, but I haven’t looked at what kind of resolutions are on offer. There are combined topo/bathy maps for coastlines in a lot of places too.

I would also point out you can get the GIS data from:

as well.

(Barry Ward) #19

my grandfather use to make moari meeting houses, with carving all over them.about 180mm high,200mm wide 50 mm deep, with a clock in side, bits of pua inserted they looked really affective, you north or south im in CH-CH… and wealthy country ummm cheers

(mikep) #20

I’ve found some contour lined maps of lake depths (looking for inland lakes) in some of the state land use sites, but they need to be redrawn to be useful.