How V1 built my business

I see a lot of topics now and then about how to price your work and business advice, so I thought it help to tell how I started and how the MPCNC accelerated my business.

I quit my job at the beginning of 2018 and started a 3d print farm with some Prusa MK2S units. At the time the MK3 was wayyy behind shipping, and in my area 3d printing was fairly new so it was easy to get started printing promo items like trophy toppers and keychains etc.

I built the MPCNC I think 3 months in, and the first large production run was father’s day name plaques. I was assisted by a friend who had a shopbot buddy, he lent me his laptop with aspire and that made quick work of the gcode generation. I sold them for about $20 a plaque, and for the 2 weeks before father’s day, I think I ended up with about 40 orders. At less than $5.99 a pine 1x4x8, it was a fairly good project. I would do some similar projects for awhile, until I purchased the workbee, and built it to accommodate 4’ wide by 2’ deep projects.

At this point, the MPCNC was for super small runs of stuff, the workbee would actually do things like 4’ wide name cutouts and wooden signs. The MPCNC would do 12"x12" wooden monograms, or cut PVC. Wooden round monograms are an easy seller, and I would use the workbee for about a year and a half, along with the shopbot buddy at times, but usually the workbee and MPCNC.

Plaques, awards, cutouts and monograms were the main money maker at this point. The Ender 3 was released and I would continue to print multicolor keychains, bottle openers, and other related promo items. I would also print topographical slices on land for realtors and surveyors, that was consistent but easy money.

12 months in from that point, I built a 90watt co2 laser, and that machine is responsible for a lot of work, but the MPCNC and Workbee had bigger profit projects. The laser brought in consistent money, though, and that eased my mind a good deal, which is worth a lot to me!

For the approximate time of 6 months after that, I would save enough to purchase my current machine, the Avid Pro4848. I know @vicious1 said the extrusion based machines didn’t impress him, but it’s quite a machine. I know that we’re quite a ways away from the V1 machines now, but I hope that this provides a little inspiration to some of you who wonder if it’s possible. It’s not possible for all people or all areas, but it definitely is possible if you hold on hard enough.

So thank you Ryan, and thank you V1 Community. We certainly had a dark and uncertain time last year, but I’ve learned to just ignore the entitlement of users from that incident, and just feel sad that they don’t get to experience this type of manufacturing at the lowest cost possible for the amount of flexibility the machines give you.

So from 10mm/s to 127mm/s at 1/4" DOC, Thanks for the seed and the nurturing to get to where me and my 2 employees are now:


I don’t think I’ve ever seen that term applied to a milling machine before so just curious about the meaning?

Extrusion as in aluminum extrusions.

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Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! Thanks! I was thinking of the process of extrusion and couldn’t make it fit my picture. :crazy_face:

That was an amazing read. Thank you!

My idea about the MPCNC is cheap enough people are not scared to try, capable enough so that if they do it is worth the time. Beyond that there seem to be two use cases, people that keep it around like a table saw and use it once and a while and the ones that make money. If you start making money and can justify $5K+ on a machine I feel amazing that I was a step in that progression!

p.s. Nothing against extrusions at all, more against the statement that “extrusion machines are better” I think that is a silly statement that leads to people spending money on crappy machines just because they see extrusions.
Those Avid Machines seem well designed and reasonably priced. I would love to own one.