I attended NAMES in 2019, and it was a different world then.
Things are dicy post-pandemic, and the supply chain distruptions have made it very difficult to buy some types of equipment.
Inflation is rampant, and so material costs are unpredictable.
A buddy of mine is talking about quitting his job with a 1st rate company, and running a foundry full time.
I told him "Don't quit your day job", but his is going to do it.
Best of luck to him, but the odds are stacked against him, especially these days.
The economic climate these days is dramatically different than 2019.
I survived 2008/2009, but it was not fun. These days, I try to make myself "recession-proof", by keeping costs as low as possible.
If I started a casting kit company, it would be after I retired (I still work full time, like 70 hrs per week on average).
And it would be with the understanding that it would be on a hobby level, and not a "for-profit" thing.
Instead of trying to mass produce casting kits, I would use limited production, and make say 10 kits for each engine type, and that would be it.
They would not be cheap kits, but they would definitely be superb kits like none other (that is the goal anyway).
As I told someone yesterday, for the amount of money they are asking for that one set of patterns/drawings/castings, I could buy a new copy of Solidworks, buy the latest large format Prusa printer, build a very nice iron foundry with all the accessories, molding sand, and still have some money left over.
The trick is knowing how to use a 3D modeling program well, and knowing how to 3D print patterns.
I know 3D modeling and pattern making very well, and I know how to 3D print patterns and core boxes.
So for me, it is just a lack of time that is preventing me from recreating some of these great engines in a kit form.
I use photos of original engines to develop my 3D models and 2D drawings, to avoid any conflict of interest as far as existing kits.
It seems that casting your own kits is the only affordable way forward, if you want a Ball Hopper Monitor, or a 1/2 Olds, or something like that.
The list of casting kit companies seems to be shrinking more and more every day.
Make your own is all I can say. It can be done; I have proof.