5 reasons to sell on Etsy (and how to get started)

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2020/02/09/5-reasons-to-sell-on-etsy-and.html

Yeah… No. Been there with my ex, sorry, and Etsy IS NOT the answer to your money woes.

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I run a CNC machining company and have thought about selling some custom-made stuff on Etsy. Would you care to tell a bit more about your experience?

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Etsy is for people with cult-like following or brands, ALREADY. If you don’t have a hopping social account, or a really busy ebay account, you’ll just get lost in etsy’s noise. You should never ever START on etsy hoping to make a sale. Etsy is an advertising website. You have to pay to get the front page of any search result or even a relevant hash tag. The best way to get people to your etsy page without bribing them is to have a really busy social account (free advertising) or make a sign in your real brick and mortar store that says “visit us on etsy” or some such…

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I have been thinking of doing that- getting small CNC mill to make certain things for sale on etsy. Now I realize why you liked so many of my posts over time. What kinda equipment do you have? Just curious. Not trying to compete

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In my opinion it’s worth to get (or even better - build it yourself) a small mill even just for fun. If you get one with ballscrews, it’ll probably be able to machine aluminum alloys. Be sure to check BlenderCAM - it is surprisingly capable CAM system (especially when machining complex geometries) and free:


I’m one of the maintainers :slight_smile:
There is also really nice open source CNC simulation software:
https://camotics.org/

I have a DIY CNC mill with cast iron table, servodrives and work area of about 1360x1200x500mm, a small lathe, small conventional milling machine, 2 press drills, 24" vertical bandsaw and a medium-sized shaper (it’s silly but I like it too much to get rid of it). I also have larger cast iron table that I plan use as a CNC machine base (2x3m, about 5,5 metric tonnes :slight_smile: ). Right now we use it as a table for TIG welding. There’s also a 6 axis milling robot that needs new controller, but I haven’t had time for it yet and it’s just sitting there.

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I am guessing you already know I work as a machinist. I run extremely high end stuff at work.

But at home, I have a Taig mill and lathe, and both 1930s Ames lathe with collets, and a Schaublin 102 Im trying to kit out.

Been thinking of getting a closed loop Taig mill with ballscrews. I know how to write Gcode directly for most things, including thread milling.

Been looking at getting a Vulcan CNC mill- but they arent for sale…yet.

Trying to kit up to make my handmade watch.

I was gonna go FreeCAD route since Im linux user, but my new laptop just blew up. Id love to learn any other software you know- that’s really cool you’re a maintainer. (I know Inventor really well, Solidworks, MasterCAM, heard good stuff about MeshCAM. Always looking for new parametric modeling and CAM software, especially for linux)

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That was the most perfect reply anyone could ever give this post.

If you had been first, they woulda deleted it. I feel like I have wasted hours of my life contemplating Etsy (although I was going to make special metal puzzleboxes, not jewelry)

Thank you :rofl::joy:

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Old Ames lathes are beautiful :slight_smile:

Yes, and if I remember well you also mentioned working at company that was grinding carbide tools. Or was that someone else? I make mostly low precision stuff like molds for composite parts (for example for non-military UAVs), and recently designer furniture which is even nicer, because nobody cares about precision, it has to just look good. I previously worked as a scientist, but gave up because it increasingly felt like a rat-race.

You don’t even need closed loop for CNC - it would work really well with just ballscrews, stepper motors and a simple controller. It would be also really cheap to do this way. I recommend HIWIN ballscrews.

To be honest I never wrote more than a few lines of Gcode - modern CAM software is so good that there’s rarely a need to do so.

I’ve just seen their video and it looks really rigid. I prefer 24k rpm spindles with ceramic bearings, but having a 30 taper is nice. Mine only has a taper for ER32 collets, so changing tools is annoying, but due to high RPM and good balancing it works well even with very small endmills, like 0.4mm diameter.

When you start making it, post photos of progress in the crafting thread, I’d love to see it:

FreeCAD has recently seen a lot of progress - be sure to build from the most recent version on github and enable assembly module (they finally implemented assembly constraints). My personal favorite is SolveSpace - it’s a very simple parametric CAD modeler with amazing geometry constraints and assemblies. It’s also best to build from source:


And BlenderCAM (especially with OpenCAMLib) really shines on extremely complex stuff that takes days to machine:

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As noted by others, you really need an existing following for Etsy to work at all well. Relatively few people browse Etsy…besides people selling on Etsy (not just anecdotal, supported by metrics) ^^’ .

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