KZ Customs for all Carrier Needs
By Maryann Valentine
Kevin Zettle was born and raised in West Branch, Michigan. After high school, he went straight to work at a global Swedish company called Sandvik Hard Materials as a manual machine handler. After 6 years of hard work, the company offered to pay for Kevin’s college degree. Kevin was able to work full time, and attend a community college after work hours to complete his Bachelor’s degree. He was introduced to CNC machinery at the school, and fell in love with the versatility of the machines. He soon realized he did not want to be a manual machine handler for the rest of his life. While he was attending the community college, Sandvik began investing in more CNC machines. Zettle was promoted to a machine programmer after mastering his CNC skills in college. In 2001, the company was bought out by Sandcar Materials. Zettle, along with the rest of Savik’s employees, feared they would lose their jobs. Zettle began his CNC journey in 2003 when he decided to invest in his own CNC router, as a backup plan if he were laid off. Kevin purchased a Techno CNC router after extensive research to find the perfect CNC machine. He opened a company called KZ Customs, where he worked closely with local customers who wanted to create custom multi-wood signs and benches. He soon realized that there weren’t much work in the area for smaller jobs like wooden signs and benches. The company started off as a hobby, but slowly as his customer base grew, Zettle was able to leave Sandvik behind in 2013 and pursue his dream of designing and cutting industrial parts with his CNC router.
Kevin worked closely with Sandvik, cutting industrial parts for them to use in their grinding shop. “I knew that if I wanted to grow my business, I was going to need to do something more than just custom signage. While working for Sadvik’s engineering department years ago, I traveled a lot for the company and made a ton of connections around the world. When my business opened, I had a few people reach out to me asking if I could cut some parts for them, too. I was able to make a transition from signage to industrial parts fairly quickly. That’s when my business really took off. I would have never been able to mass produce parts so quickly if it weren’t for my CNC router”. Zettle received a call from a former colleague asking if he could be the supplier for making carriers for the grinding industry. Zettle was able to make 66 carriers in less than a week with his Techno router. “The carriers needed to be 4×3, so they were fairly large boxes. I used 200 sheets of 4×8 plywood and ran them through the CNC router in a little over a week. I would run the machine about 10 hours per day. Without my Techno CNC router, I would have never been able to take on a job this large and tedious”. Zettle also still takes on smaller jobs like creating plywood silhouttes for local paint nite guests. “We have this really cool service in my area where women, men, couples, etc get to paint something unique at a local restaurant or bar. Now, locals will ask me to design different projects for their paint nite parties. It’s really cool”.
Right now, KZ Customs mainly focuses on manufacturing lapping and grinding carriers, boxes, and palettes for different industry uses. KZ Customs currently manufactures a variety of carriers up to 48”, and can manufacturer any type of custom carrier based on drawings. Kevin works closely with aluminum, steel, wood, plastic, G10, and phenolic. He also engraves part numbers on the products, as well. Most companies order boxes from Kevin, and use the boxes as protectants during shipping. Kevin has also utilized his CNC router for household parts and appliances. “I’ve cut a lot of stuff for my wife around the house. Last year, I covered my house in foam and made it look like stone. I made everything on my Techno CNC router. I even coated the foam with waterproof makery paint. It turned out awesome. People still don’t believe me that it is foam – it looks that real! I always show them a raw piece of the foam that I cut – they cannot believe it. I would have never been able to do this project without my router. Originally, I requested a quote for someone to come in and do it for me. The quote came back at $30,000. With my CNC router, I completed the job for less than $1,800 including materials and paint”.
“I’ve recommended my Techno router to a lot of my friends, who have actually went ahead and purchased their own Techno CNC. It is a reliable machine, and allows me to complete rigorous projects that I would never be able to do without it. I am making more money than ever before, and I get to do something that I love every single day. The opportunities are truly endless”.