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We learned that there are a lot of advantages of using injection molding for prototype making. For example:
1) Real part material as volume molding production;
2) Real surface finish as volume molding production;
3) Tooling feasibility and injection molding defects forecasting;
4) Cost efficiency on multi small runs of prototype;
There are much more than these with injection molding for prototype making.
Many product designers and mechanical engineers learned the advantages of adopting injection molding for product development. However, the biggest broker would be investing an injection mold. It would cost pretty amount in normal.
So how can we have cost efficiency injection molding prototypes? We would like to share some of our thoughts, from the respect of an experienced injection molding manufacturer. They maybe be deserved for you to think of in your product development:
1. Have the part design suitable for tooling and injection molding
A good part design can help saving tooling cost any molding cost a lot. If a part is with many tooling and molding issues, a mold maker would consider the risk, the scraps or any other extra cost besides normal mold making.
Adjust part design for manufacturing. If you’re not sure how to adjust part design for tooling and injection molding, try to ask some suggestions from mold makers. A good rapid tooling company, or on-demand manufacturing company, will be very glad to help you at these.
2. Prototype production run at first mold trial run:
All tooling debug, project management, sample shipment, would be considered into your tooling cost. However, if a mold maker knew that, the first sample run is also the production run, all these costs would be much lower, and then also lower tooling cost.
You may concern about sample quality. Try to specify the details as much as we could, for example assembly concerns, special tolerance, surface finish (if possible, a sample for reference), or any other average requirement as prototype runs.
We also could try a simple project with the new vendor first. To try their manufacturing quality and services. If not satisfied, we could try another one in the next time.
3. Color prototype trial at injection molding run:
Some of our customers would run color prototypes by CNC machining or vacuum casting. But we would suggest run them by injection molding. It will be much more convenient and cost efficiency.
For example, 5 pieces color casing of electronic product enclosure, if by CNC machining or vacuum casting, it will take 2-3 days, or even 4-5 days including the post process.
While by injection molding, it will take about 2-3 hours or even less in normal.
3. More tooling modification, at 3D model update:
If with part 3D update, we can arrange tooling modification, then run injection molding for new prototypes, it will be a very cost efficiency method. We don’t have to invest new tools. Just to pay some tooling modification cost, we can have cost efficiency injection molding prototypes then.
Some tooling modification, it’s not acceptable for conventional mold. But for proto molds, it will be acceptable, just be notified any limitations.
For example, for cosmetic parts, it probably cannot meet external cosmetic affect. But we still be able to to arrange tooling modification. We could paint the parts. Even though unit price would be higher, it’s still much more efficiency than by CNC machining, or vacuum casting.
These 4 suggestions are almost suitable at early stage of product development. A suitable quantity needs are about tens of, hundreds of, and 1000-3000 offs. We may have some more suggestions, for example set average tolerance (especially consumer product), but it depends on different projects.
Anyway, if for on-demand production, thousands of or even more, some of them would be not suitable anymore. For example, point 2 and point 4 above.
Danke Mold will have more standard, quick-turn services at proto mold and prototype injection molding. We will keep update ourselves, and inform the update at our Blog, company news, our company LinkedIn. Meanwhile, would you be working a new project, looking for protype making, or looking for a quick-turn injection molding factory in China? Email us via firstname.lastname@example.org. We will response in 12 hours.