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Injection Mold Cost – What You Need to Know

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Injection molding is a fast process that requires low maintenance and produces near-zero rejected parts. 

There are a few different factors that contribute to plastic injection mold cost, as illustrated in the chart below. CAD design, tooling quality, and tooling costs are all factors to consider.

3D printed injection molds

3D-printed injection molds are an excellent solution for low-volume manufacturing. 

They can be created at the comfort of your desk without relying on expensive tool-and-die facilities. 

While 3D-printed injection molds are not a perfect solution for large-scale manufacturing, they are great for hobbyists and small-business owners.

3D-printed injection molds cost significantly less than traditional injection molds. 

Typically, traditional methods require the use of industrial precision machinery and the expertise of engineers. 3D printing, however, reduces the time and plastic injection molding costs associated with the design stages. 

Anyone with a 3D printer can design a plastic injection mold, which allows them to test a potential design before investing in a full-scale mold-making process.

While 3D-printed injection molds may cost less than traditional plastic injection molds, they are not suitable for large-scale production. 

A small-volume 3D-printed injection mold may cost a hundred dollars, while a complex mold may cost upwards of $100,000. Depending on your requirements, 3D-printed injection molds can reduce production costs and lead times.

3D-printed injection molds cost between $100 and $20,000, depending on the geometry. 

Small quantities of 3D-printed molds can be produced on an SLA 3D printer for as low as $100, while larger-scale productions can cost anywhere from $5,000 to $100,000. 

3D-printed injection molds are compatible with a wide range of plastics and can be made using a variety of thermoplastic pellets. The thermoplastic pellets cost between one and five dollars per kilogram.

If your mold design is complex, the molds will need to be complicated. For example, if you want a snap fit, you need a mold with action. 

Injection molds with action need to be much larger and will require more materials to produce the final product. Therefore, the mold design will be more expensive and complicated.

Factors to consider when estimating injection mold cost

There are many factors to consider when estimating the cost of an injection mold

This includes the materials used for the mold, the labor required to make it, shipping and storage, maintenance, and inspection. 

Mold cost can also be calculated using a manufacturer’s production planning or forecasting system.

The cost of a mold varies significantly depending on the type and the number of mold cavities. 

Plastic Injection molding cost

The cost of a single cavity mold is lower than a multi-cavity mold. However, the lower cost of a single cavity mold is offset by a lower production rate and higher part costs. 

Multi-cavity molds have multiple cavities and can produce many parts faster, making them a more cost-effective solution for high-volume production.

Another factor to consider when estimating the cost of an injection mold is the complexity of the part you’re producing. 

The higher the complexity of the part, the higher the injection mold cost will be. For example, if your injection molding machine washer has complex features, you’ll need to invest in a separate injection molding process.

Different types of thermoplastics require different temperatures, which can increase the cost of a mold. 

Low-cost thermoplastics include polyethylene and polystyrene, while high-temperature resins require higher temperatures.

Also, the type of plastic used in your mold can increase or decrease the cost. For instance, a high-end, mirror-finish requires a harder tool material.

The overall cost of an injection mold can range from less than $10,000 to as much as $100,000, depending on the complexity of the part, order volume, and other factors.

However, the price can vary greatly based on the type of material, tools, mold cavitation, and process.

CAD design

The cost of a CAD design for injection mold is not difficult to calculate, especially if you have a mold design drawing.

However, it is necessary to consider machining processes, which are typically the largest part of a mold’s cost.

The typical machining processes are CNC machining and electrical discharge machining (EDM). The cost of machining is determined by multiplying the total hours of machining by the hourly rate.

CNC machining is the main method for producing injection molds. However, some companies choose to hire a tooling engineer to supervise the process. In such cases, travel expenses are also included in the mold tooling cost.

Some mold makers even offer a quote service online. To receive a free quote, all you need to do is submit a CAD model and choose your desired mold shape options.

Injection mold cost is also affected by the size of the parts being manufactured. Larger parts generally require larger molds. In addition, they require more injected materials.

Therefore, they usually cost more than a smaller one. For this reason, it is vital to use a CAD design for injection mold cost that is suitable for the size of the product.

The cost of the CAD design for injection molds depends on several factors, such as the number of parts and intricacies of the design.

It should also take into account the materials used, the number of parts to be produced, and the process involved in the creation of the mold. The final mold price is often two to three times the cost of the material.

3D printing is an excellent method for fabricating injection molds. It can save both time and money because it does not require CNC machines and skilled operators.

This technology can also create molds for desktop and industrial machines. Furthermore, the process is fast, which means that product development can be iterated and the mold cost can be reduced.

Tooling quality

Injection mold quality and cost are two of the most critical considerations in any manufacturing process.

The quality of the mold and its longevity depend on several factors, including the materials used and the design process.

A key design criterion is the mold class, which indicates its life expectancy based on how many cycles it will go through.

When determining cost, the business owner or project manager should ask for several quotes for the injection molding project. The quotes should detail the type of material and machining methods used.

While conventional machining can be time-consuming and expensive, newer techniques like electrical discharge machining or computer numeric control allow for greater detail and lower costs.

Some companies even offer an online quote system to assist customers. These websites allow customers to upload their CAD models and select desired options.

Tool steel selection is a crucial consideration in the custom injection molding process. It should be a carefully considered decision by a molder who has experience with custom injection molding.

A molder with expertise in the materials selection process will help ensure a good balance between cost and quality. A white paper on tooling options can also help determine the right tooling option for your custom project.

Whether a tool is built in-house or offshore, the cost can vary greatly. Offshore tooling tends to be cheaper than domestic tooling, but the cost must include the cost of labor and material that are necessary for achieving the desired outcome.

The cost of tooling can be a significant initial capital expense, so careful consideration should be given to this expense.

Mold geometry

The process of plastic injection molding can be very complicated. Injection mold designers must consider several factors before choosing a mold. This can be time-consuming and difficult.

It can also lead to a significant increase in cost. Luckily, there is a way to simplify the design process and save money. One method is to use an excel spreadsheet to compute the price of a mold.

This process requires a few steps and can take as little as a half-hour. The results are not as accurate as human calculations, but they are very close.

The cost of a mold can vary depending on the size and complexity of the part. For a small part, a low cost injection molding tool may cost as little as $15K, while a complex part could cost as much as $500K.

It is important to note that mold costs can be greatly affected by the type of plastic and geometry of the part.

Another important factor is the wall thickness of the part. Molding parts with uniform wall thickness will reduce the amount of differential shrinkage and sink marks.

Additionally, thinner walls will cool faster than thicker ones, reducing cycle times. This allows you to produce more parts in a day. It also allows you to save on plastic injection molds cost.

The complexity of the part also affects the injection molded geometry. Larger parts will typically need larger molds, and these molds are usually more expensive.

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