I took a shorter break from 3D printing when my original printer continued to have heat bed problems. Having a print fail a few hours in is frustrating and deeply disappointing when you expect results. Not having a 3D printer didn’t stop my mind from thinking about what I wanted to print. However, it did stop me from designing anything, because I knew I wasn’t going to print it. Once I did buy the new printer and get past the upgrades and calibration prints I started to design some of the things on my mind. I also badly needed new batteries for my digital caliper! So my first functional print was actually a super simple plastic part that keeps my triple monitors aligned on their mount. Its just a little clip that has a tiny bit of friction grip. I had an issue when I would slightly bump the monitors they would rotate out of alignment. These clips made it super simple to keep things in perfect alignment. Unfortunately, every monitor in the world is designed differently, so my print is extremely personal to my needs.
The next print I started working on actually has some function for others. I designed a replacement cup holder for my 2011 Honda Element. I shared this on a Honda Element Facebook group and many people where interested in what I had created. Its actually the reason I created an Etsy store. My designs purpose is to fit a larger water bottle, something the original cup holders failed to do. The reason I believe this has some value is because the Honda Element is a popular camping vehicle. The bottles in particular I was trying to fit are the Nalgene style 32 oz (1000 ml) bottles. They are perfect for camping. They have the volume measurements on the side of the bottle, and screw top lids for mixing / shaking. They are also massive, so its no wonder the cup holders were not designed to hold it.
So I showed my design on Facebook and sold a few just through PayPal, but it was suggested I open an Etsy store. It was a great suggestion. Even though they take a little off the top, they provide a way to print shipping labels really easily, and handle so much more. Its also likely that their user base will showcase my products before I advertise them on my own. So the Element cup holder (also happens to fit the first generation Honda Pilot) was a big hit on the posts I made. Unfortunately not as many people have bought the replacement inserts. At this time, I have only sold 3. I am not complaining, but I assumed I would be making more of them. The trouble with this insert is that it only fits some of the later models of Element. Also, I don’t believe everyone has issues with their water bottle not fitting. They probably just have a smaller water bottle! However, I did end up solving some other issues like designing a different place to put your mobile phone. The element doesn’t really have any great places for sitting your phone when you are driving.