I have been asked by our web developer to write our story page and have struggled to put into words this simple page for our customers. So, I am going to give it a go. This little company was started truly by accident. 5 years ago, Kayd came to me with a dugout he had made in his garage at home. It was an EDC case form the local outdoors store. He had taken a piece of round aluminum stock and cut it to size tapered one end and drilled a couple of holes in it. This made a very interesting round dugout that was waterproof and smell proof. He showed it to me at the local body shop I thought it was pretty cool and told him if he ever needed an investor in his product I would love to invest.
A couple of months later Kayd gave me a call and asked if I was serious about investing in this little dugout. I gave an affirmative response and after a partnership ensued afterwards. We went to the local machine shop with a design for a metal dugout and they began to work on them for us. Thus, the OG was born. This item had a long lead time and came in at a price point that seemed excessive at the time. The design was simple enough, so we began to sell the product. As we started to try and find distribution for the OG we kept being told it was great but too expensive and that we should go to China to get the cases done cheaper. Our goal was and still is, to keep all Kayd Mayd products made in the US and to employ American workers whilst keeping our production here.
Enter 3D Printers,
we decided to buy our first 3D printer and see if we could redesign it ourselves to come up with a less expensive version of the OG. By this point Kayd was working out of a small portable shed next to my office. This little beauty was just 6’x10’ and a very limited 60 square feet space. Most people’s bathrooms are bigger. He labored away in this learning how to use CAD along with the ins and outs of 3D printing.
Our priority at this point was to figure out if we could print an insert for the OG thus driving the price down. If we only had to turn the case, we could get it done much cheaper. So Kayd designed an insert to put in a turned aluminum case. This little product was called The Hybrid it certainly drove the price down and we sold thousands of these little units. We still struggled with sales and having to buy 10 thousand plus cases at a time was limiting our cash flow. On a whim Kayd decided to print an entire dugout on the 3D printers to see if we could come up with a better design to have turned at the local machine shop. After completing one of these cases, we jokingly said “Why not just print the whole thing ourselves” we had a good laugh and at the same time said why not.
The McFloatinator was born.
All be it, in the beginning it was not called that but that was what it was going to be. So, we started to print these little units to see if they would sell. The first ones were in single solid colors. They still had the waterproof and smell proof qualities of the OG and Hybrid but with one additional side effect they actually floated. What a great side effect for people who liked to be on the water namely Kayd and myself. We just hoped that others would enjoy this too.
Multicolor why not. We noticed one thing about the new fully printed version it seemed a little plain. What could we do to remedy this? Kayd in his little mad scientist lair came up with the idea of stopping the printer ever ¼” and change the filament to a different color. It worked we now had multicolored McFloatinators, as long as Kayd kept an eye on every print. We realized this was not going to work forever but non the less we went with it anyway.
along the way Kayd kept telling me we didn’t need more printers and somehow every time I paid off my credit card more of them would magically appear. It is a running joke here at Kayd Mayd that Kayd only ever wanted 1 3D printer and somehow, we have over a 100 of them now.
PLA (Poly Lactic Acid) vs ABS (Acylonitrile Butadiene Styrene), so during this time we were experimenting with different types of plastic to use in our insert and for the original McFloatinator. PLA was the cheapest and easiest to use but it came with some definite draw backs. Its melt temperature was so low that if you left it in your car on a hot day it would get warped by the heat. It also suffered the same fate if put in the dishwasher. What to do? We decided that we were going to use ABS a much sturdier product but was more expensive and harder to work with. ABS also stunk when you printed with it, Kayd definitely did not enjoy this while trapped in what had affectionately been named the Incubator (his little 6x10 jail cell). We had ordered a couple more printers so we could keep up with insert production for our cases. If memory serves me well, we had 3 total printers running pretty much nonstop to keep up. In the meantime, Kayd kept looking for a product that wouldn’t gas him out of the incubator. Then Kayd found it, a medical grade ABS this was the answer, it had no smell in production, it printed well if you knew what you were doing, (by this time we, well kind of knew what we were doing) and it was bio compatible. If it was good enough for pacemakers and replacement hips it should be more than good enough for our little McFloatinator. The only problem with this product was we could only get it in pellet form. At this point in 3D printing pellet printers were 10s of thousands of dollars each and printed as just as fast as the filament printers we were using. We could buy 10 printers for the cost of just one pellet printer. What were we going to do?
Why not just make our own filament?
This was the question we asked ourselves. Kayd investigated the process and for the cost of just one pellet printer we could get into filament production. So, guess what, that’s right, we decided to produce the filament ourselves. We also found that in doing this we could drive our price of production down and keep the little McFloatinator under $20.00.
while making our own filament Kayd decided that making solid colors and changing the filament every quarter inch was driving him nuts. So, he yet again he played mad scientist and through a long process of trial and error come up with the first multicolored filament. To test the coloring process, he had designed a beaker style piece (later to be known as The 9 Incher) and was producing test pieces to see the color designs. The first ones were definitely ugly dark brown terracotta looking pieces. We jokingly said we should sell theses too. Then the light bulb went off and we decided to see if they would sell. Sure, enough they did. With a lot more effort and experimentation Kayd came up with the beautiful bright colored pieces you see today.
This brings us to today,
now we are producing a variety of products in our new facility which we built last year. Kayd Mayd employs 7 people all of whom are highly valued by us. We show this by paying them well and treating them even better. Our dream of producing an American made product that is both durable, unique, and cost effective is now a reality. Thank you for supporting our brand and we look forward to stepping into the future with all our valued customers by our side. So, if you managed to take the time to read this all the way through, we would like to offer you a Coupon Code to reward your curiosity and to say thank you.
Enter OurStory420 during checkout to get 20% off. Thanks for reading.