Multiple days a week I take time to enjoy a good podcast on my way to and from school. (I’m a third grade teacher!) I love hearing about others’ journeys in small business and learning about ways to improve my own business. Here are my favorites…
The Product Boss Podcast – I’ve been listening to Minna and Jacqueline since shortly after they began and find their podcast to be the BEST for a product-based business. Their podcasts are full of great strategies for product-based businesses. My favorite are the strategy sessions where you get to hear from other business owners.
Online Marketing Made Easy – This is another excellent podcast with many great tips for reaching your ideal customer. Amy Porterfield gives actionable steps for marketing in small business.
The Merriweather Council – Danielle Spurge is an Etsy guru and full of ideas for handmade businesses. I love that many of her episodes are short and sweet with something new to learn in every one.
Strategy Hour – The name says it all, this podcast really focuses on strategies to streamline your business and gain financial freedom. Abagail and Emylee walk you through many steps required for creative entrepreneurs.
When it comes to shopping for Valentine’s Day, it can be easy to feel stumped on what to buy. Welcome to the M3 Custom Designs Valentine Gift Guide. I took the hard work out of the holiday by providing a product ideas for those on your list. If none of these products seem like the perfect fit for that special someone in your life, head on over to our shopping page for many other options.
At our house, we love to watch “How It’s Made” and learn more about making products. At M3 Custom Designs, we have quite a few different types of products I have learned to make and over the past several years have added on numerous machines and tools to create new products. Take a look below to learn about the different processes I use to create the different products.
The plasma CNC is the first machine we started with in 2017. It was built by my dad and helped get M3 off to a great start! I do all the design work on my computer, then load the file to a separate computer that operates the plasma cutter. After the metal piece has been cut, my husband grinds the pieces down and prepares them for paint or clear coat.
In the fall of 2018, we purchased a Boss Laser. It gives many options for custom-made products and personalization of ready-made products. Much like the plasma and all of our other processes, all of the artwork is designed on the computer then loaded to the laser for cutting and/or etching.
Our CNC router is another machine that my dad built. It runs and operates very similarly to the CNC plasma. I have barely tapped into the potential of this machine, but currently use it mostly for stands for acrylic signs. In the future I’d love to learn to do even more with the machine.
This it the most recent process we have added equipment to do. I converted an Epson printer to do sublimation printing and have a heat press. Designs that are printed on the sublimation printer can only be fused to polyester fabrics or products with a special coating. This has been a great way to add further customization options to signage and products.
I use a variety of software programs to operate each machine. These are the programs I use for each process. This is just what I am used to and have learned to use over the past few years.
CorelDRAW Graphics Suite – I use CorelDraw for nearly every product I make. This is where most of my actual design-work takes place. I also use Corel Photo-Paint for some sublimation work.
SheetCam – SheetCam converts the artwork from CorelDraw to G-Code, the programming language used with the CNC.
VCarve – This is the software I use to program and convert artwork to G-Code for the CNC router.
Mach3 – Mach3 manages and sends the G-Code to the CNC plasma cutter and CNC router.
Lightburn – Lightburn is the software that runs the laser. I tried a few different options and highly recommend this software for anyone running a laser.