Wow, I’m not too good at writing blog posts regularly am I. But I thought I should do it now, at the end of one chapter of my life and the beginning of another. I suppose making blog posts was one of those things that sounded exciting at first, until you get into the everyday reality of it. Like running an online store.
Kelly Industries started a year and a day ago. I had set up a website to sell a select fire Rapidstrike circuit board I was working on, and then my friend Phil’s high crush cages, released under the name Open Flywheel Project, were taking off, but nobody without a 3D printer had any way of buying them. Another friend, Ray, had a 3D printer, and I had a website, so I made pages for the cages and posted about it on Reddit. The first day I got an order for 12 screws, and then a couple hours later an order for one OFP cage and one Barricade cage of my design. For a couple weeks before I got my own printer, we would meet in the snow halfway between our dorms and hand over bags of cages and plastic filament. I didn’t have much experience with 3D printing so I didn’t know it at the time, and nobody had much experience printing cages, but the quality back then was awful, and I would like to thank and apologize to the people who bought cages early on. Once I got my own printer, I was able to continually improve the quality, and I like to think that my print quality right now is quite good. Ray designs some cool 3D printed Hammershot and Quadrant cylinders and is actually starting his own Nerf company soon, keep an eye out for Ray Blasters once he gets his 3D printers fixed.
Well I’ll just come out and say it. I wasn’t very good at running an ecommerce store. The printers would frequently break down, I would get several weeks behind on orders, and not read or respond to the email inbox full of people asking where their orders were. I also lost track of several customer orders. I was spending many hours each day printing and shipping orders, but wasn’t bringing in enough money to hire someone to handle the shipping and customer service for me so I could focus on what I was really interested in, developing new ideas. Selling 3D printed parts took to much time, and having backlogs of orders is terrible because everybody is wondering where their order is. I would have liked to have stock of all the printed parts, but for the cages alone, between all the different blasters and cage spacings, and the versions with an without Morpheus guides, there are 58 different cage designs to keep in stock, and that’s not even counting all the variation in colors. I am truly sorry to all the customers whose emails and messages are still sitting unread. I plan on going through and respond to them all this weekend.
For the last year, I’ve splitting my time between printing and shipping orders, repairing my printers, developing new products, and designing a better 3D printer from scratch. I realized that the Nerf business wasn’t bringing in enough cash to live off of long term, so the plan was to switch to making 3D printers. When I realized that the 3D printer wasn’t going to be done for a while, I started applying for mechanical and electrical design jobs. Today I got a job offer, and so I am writing this blog post.
I am shutting down the online store of Kelly Industries. All currently outstanding orders will be shipped on Monday. I am still going to be designing new products, as that is my favorite part of this hobby, and will be licensing out my 3D printed designs to other stores in the community. Today I’m publishing the files for my Stryfe/Rapidstrike flywheel cage, 3D printed wye that actually feeds full length darts, Mediator horizontal pump grip, and Rapidstrike switch mounting plate. I have some non 3D printed parts in the works as well, such as high concavity flywheels called Comet Wheels, MOSFET circuit boards, and a Rapidstrike switch plate circuit board that makes the wiring super easy, which will be for sale soon, both from community stores and shipped from Amazon. Maybe I’ll even finally finish that Rapidstrike select fire board that started this whole company. I also have a ton of stock flywheel blasters to mod and sell, and maybe I’ll even finish one of my 3D printed blaster designs.
This is the end of a chapter and the beginning of another one, both for Kelly Industries, and for me personally. I’d like to sincerely thank all the people who have supported me in this endeavor. I hope you will stick with me through this transition, and that Kelly Industries can move to bigger and better Nerf projects. Drop in HPA Longshot kit anyone? Maybe I’ll even build a springer.