I've been modeling and printing parts since 2017. Once I discovered potential in making replacement toy parts, I turned this hobby into a full-time enterprise. I've been running my business solo from 2021-now. 

Small Beginnings

On January 27, 2021 I dusted off my old Tevo Tornado. It had been sitting stored away for years, never seeing use outside of school projects. My friend called and asked me if I could print a G1 Megatron scope he found online.


I didn't have a free table in my house, so I found an open space in the floor and set it up. I treated it like a temporary arrangement, only to get it stored back away once I was done printing the scope. I used the only color filament I had at the time, a half-empty, translucent orange spool of PLA. It did a decent job printing this part.


I held it in my hand and wondered what the original part would look like in comparison. I then did some research on G1 Megatron and found some good reference images for the original scope online. I noticed many differences between this part and the original scope. I thought, maybe I could model one that looked closer to the original scope, so I did.


I felt like I had accomplished something special here, using what I learned from digital modeling to make an accurate representation of a real life thing. I purchased some black PLA and printed this new scope right away. My friend lent me his G1 Megatron so I could test the fitting. The new scope turned out okay, but my printer clearly needed some maintenance.


I got to work on my printer. After being left to sit for ages, the belts were pretty loose and the lead screw collected a bunch of dust & debris. I spent night after night in the floor with my printer, using a pillow for my knees. Once I got things cleaned up, I began working on the rest of G1 Megatron's parts, the stock and silencer.


Using only a beat up Megatron and some free pictures off the internet, I was successfully able to recreate all his parts. My friend encouraged me to add full-functionality, moving tripod pieces and handles. So I did.

The end result was definitely something to be proud of! All the parts looked great and worked great. Now it was time to see if I could turn a profit from all this work. I decided the best way to do it would be to go ALL-IN. I wanted this to be a complete set of parts! I wanted custom boxes with a cool design, so I drew it up. Below shows the first design (left) and the final design (right).


I ordered 50 boxes to be custom printed. Took almost a month before I got them, but that gave me plenty of time to mass produce parts. But this is when I began running into problems on my printer. By adding more parts to one print, I noticed significant layer shifts.


I took me weeks to diagnose and fix. I found that lowering my print speed from 60mm/s to 30mm/s solved it, also making sure my bed was properly leveled. I also found that printing fewer parts was safer than printing a whole bunch at a time. The result of a print failure was worse if I had a ton of pieces that didn't finish, there was too much material waste. It was around this time I saved up some money to buy a table for my printer and made some space for it in my laundry room. I also bought an uninterruptable power supply (UPS) to save my prints in case of a power outage.


Boy it felt so nice to have this printer off the floor! I could finally work comfortably. I knew I had to scale my operation to fulfill the stock I needed, so I took out a loan and invested in another Tevo Tornado.

The new printer worked flawlessly out of the box, it was like a breath of fresh air. Now that I had 2 machines, I could finally print all the parts I needed.

I launched the kit on June 5, 2021 and made my first sale the same day. The following week, I sold 9 more kits. After taxes, I took home about $250 from the 10 kits I sold. I thought that was promising. The next week came around and I made $145, sales were slowing down a bit. I figured I had to keep this up somehow. I only managed to sell 15 Megatron kits. To keep this business model sustainable, I knew I had to keep coming out with new things; so, I set my sights on G1 Galvatron. This choice was made simply because his orange barrel goes for almost $100 by itself. I knew I could undercut the price and provide a solid alternative for folks who wanted to complete their Galvatrons.


2 weeks later, I launched G1 Galvatron's kit. From start to finish, it was the fastest I had ever developed a kit. Weeks went by, and sales increased dramatically. My highest was $320 one week; I definitely had my work cut out for me. I was running those 2 printers non-stop, so I used some of that money to buy another Tevo Tornado, bringing my printer count to 3. I cleared out some more space in the room and added another table as well.


My first resin printer

Sales remained steady for almost a month, just off those 2 kits! I started work on developing parts for G1 Rodimus Prime, launching his kit on July 19, 2021. It was this time I decided to make an investment in resin printing.

It was new technology at the time, and I had no experience using one, but I knew if I could get my parts to work on a resin printer, I could dramatically increase my quality and production rate. I did my research and the Anycubic Photon Mono X caught my attention. It wasn't too big, or too small, the perfect resin printer for me.

Resin printing called for a lot of extra labor, but the advantages exceeded my expectations. I could print as many parts as I wanted within a single print without affecting the print duration. It was incredible to me coming from FDM printing how many parts I could make at once.

I transitioned from printing Galvatron's orange barrel on my FDM printer to printing on the Resin printer. The results were jaw dropping.


On the left are FDM printed barrels, on the right are Resin printed barrels. The resin printer could easily pull off the transparency I needed. With time, I perfected the part, adding more polish here and there. Then I moved onto making other parts in resin, i.e. Galvatron's gun, Rodimus Prime's gun and blast shields, Jetfire's rifle and booster. The results were just as promising.



This was the time I realized I needed to invest in painting. I decided to invest in airbrushing. Airbrushing can produce a consistent, smooth coat of paint. It was a learning process for sure. Finding the right air-compressor, gun, booth etc. along with perfecting the application took me about a month to get it right.



My first product failure

Near the end of July 2021, I wanted to branch out a little bit. I wanted to make a display stand for my G1 Megatron toy. I went to work developing a good holder for the toy, going further to add details and eventually a removable base that could double as a wall-mount. I wanted this to be a be-all-end-all Megatron stand.


My goal was to design a stand that cradled the toy. I didn't want it getting in the way of viewing the toy. I didn't want it drawing too much attention from the toy itself. I came out with a black version and a purple version. Over time I decided to just stick to the purple version because I didn't sell many black ones. Plus keeping stock of both colors became difficult. So I moved to a system were someone could request the color black if they wanted to.

I sold my first stand August 4th. It achieved little success, with sales steadily increasing with time. I decided to make stands for all the official versions of the P-38 Megatron. Since I already did the work for the G1 toy, I thought scaling this design for the MP-36, MP-05, and WST versions wouldn't be too hard.

Each Megatron stand had unique difficulties, shaping the stand just right at the base, stretching out the back rest, and adjusting the center of mass. I actually needed to obtain another copy of MP-05 to make a stand for him, since I had previously sold him off years ago. This was also my first time making instructions to go along with something. I drew up some assembly instructions with mounting guides for each stand. In October 2021, I made my first sale for the new stands.

Despite the work I put into them, they never sold at the numbers I was expecting. I considered this project my first failure at launch. I realized I needed to go back to making G1 parts. I set my sights on a holy grail project, G1 Jetfire.

My biggest success


At no spared expense, I obtained a complete 1985 G1 Jetfire. I had seen a few attempts to make 3d printed replacement armor for this guy, but I knew I could do one better. Modeling for Jetfire's parts began July 2021, but full production didn't start until November 2021. I started posting regular updates on the project to my Facebook and Instagram pages; and, it pulled a lot of interest. I also got my first sponsorship around this time from the Michael Mercy YouTube channel; he reviewed all the products I had on offer at the time. Thanks to him, my sales and social following increased dramatically.

Jetfire was the first project that gained a massive public interest. I did my best to post updates every time I had a new part finished.


This was the largest kit I've ever made, encompassing 17 different pieces, paint details, and resin parts. For the paint details, I had to come up with a fast and reliable way to add black sections to the Leg Guards and Turbo Thrusters. These parts were painted on the originals, so replicating it felt like I was following in the footsteps of the original artists. Looking up-close on the originals, I could tell they used some sort of airbrushing, perhaps via a physical paint mask. I set off developing a hard mask to fit around the part, exposing the areas that needed paint.



This masking method worked beautifully! It took a few iterations to get the hole alignments just right. Other than some minor overspray, this method produced very clean results in seconds! I originally intended to hand paint these areas with a small brush, but it was way too time consuming and produced pretty nasty looking results (see above image).

 Once I got all the parts figured out, they were ready for mass-production. 

Printing for the Jetfire set began November 12, 2021 and continued all the way until it's release on January 9, 2022. I only managed to put 24 kits together.

It shouldn't have taken 2 months to make 24 sets. This was a sign that something was wrong with my workflow. 2 of my printers went down near the end of the run, leaving me with only one machine. I spent a month trying to fix and diagnose the printers, but never found a solution. I had to keep moving forward despite it. Leaving parts piled up with all the support material still attached left me with a daunting amount of work. These parts sat here in boxes for weeks with no attention. Something had to change.

I decided to launch the set despite not having any of them finished. Being flooded with orders is what finally motivated me to get it done. At launch, my entire stock sold out within the first night! The next morning was brutal.


The following week, I spent every waking hour cleaning, painting, packaging, and shipping orders. Michael Mercy was ready to showcase the Jetfire kit in another upcoming video review, so I knew I had print as many parts as I could within the week. When the video launched, I only had individual parts available. Each part gets sold for a higher rate on it's own. My reasons are to cover shipping fees for single orders, and to discourage customers from buying all of individual parts to build a complete set. This is a helpful practice for whenever I'm sold out of a particular kit. It prevents me from becoming too overwhelmed. I believe most folks would rather spend $45 for a complete set instead of spending $120 for all the individual parts to build a set.

Despite the higher price tags, people were still willing to pay hundreds to build a complete Jetfire kit. It became too much for me. I honestly didn't feel like my parts were worth spending that much on. I allowed the orders to continue until the end of the 2nd week. I had reached a breaking point. I only had 1 functioning printer, I was selling parts I didn't have in stock, and it was time to stop before it went on any further. On January 18, 2022, I made the following public announcement on the Facebook page.


The week of the launch yielded $1461, adding up to $1600 in Jetfire sales by the end of the first production run. I had never seen that much income from a single week in my entire life. Without hesitation, I invested all the earnings back into the business. I ordered 8 new machines and renovated my entire printing infrastructure.


The whole process took about 1 month to complete, with production spilling over into 2 months. I was happy to finally see my new studio in action.