View Full Version : Cnc'd mold pricing

04-20-2008, 04:54 PM
Hey Guys need a little help with some pricing from the pros out there. I was thinking about getting into the mold industry and made a model of a mold to be injected and was told the going rate for a mold that has the dims of 32"(L)x16"(W)x1.5"(H) was around $5000.00. Its made out of 6061 I figure material is 250-400 by itself. Now all of a sudden I was told its only worth $700.00. Would that be the going rate for a cnc mold of this size. I am going to drop a link to photo bucket for you take a look at. Thanks for the help.


04-20-2008, 06:19 PM
Something fishy about that mould! Are those Kippers or Herrings? $700 aka £350 sounds reasonable to me.

Jim Estes
04-21-2008, 12:23 AM

That looks like possibly a mold for liquid injected silicone for lures?

The picture may not show all of the work that is necessary to build a mold like that. First of all, I count 28 cavities, now even if you can CNC every detail of the cavities, it is still (28) times the length of time to cut one cavity. Now, you only show one half of the mold, a typical mold has two side, if the other side is mirror imaged of this one, then thats (28) cavites more to cut.

Also, If there are any sharp edges, such as down in the tail of the lure this will require either EDM machining or a very tiny cutter, either way, that is more time involved, (56 times).

Now once the cavities are cut, if you want your parts to look good you are going to have to polish any cutter marks or scallops or EDM out of each of those 56 cavities. The polishing process cannot be automated, it is a tedious process to get a good looking surface.

Whether you are building a mold for fishing lures or parts for a medical device, the amount of time you have to spend on creating those details in aluminum or steel can be quite extensive. The mold builder must make money, or he will not stay in business. Now, you can always shop around for a better price, but it all comes down to how much money the builder need for each hour he works on your mold. Some shops have shop rate of no less than $75 an hour, mainly because they have no shortage of work and their customers know they will get the job done and it will be right. Other shops charge $30 an hour for some jobs and $100 an hour for others, they charge what their customer is willing to pay.

Many years ago we had a customer who flat out told us our prices were too low, he said that he appreciated us trying to help him out and do jobs as cheap as possible, but that if we didn't make a profit, then we would eventually go out of business and he would have to look elsewhere for someone to do work for him.

I will admit that there are some shops that have excessively high shop rates. You don't have to use them, try posting an RFQ here or some other website, and get quotes from several people. Make sure to give them as much information as possible to quote from so that they are very clear as to how much work they are going to have to do and you will get the best price.

When I quote jobs, if there are details that aren't clear to me, I have raise my estimate in order to protect myself in case there are unforseen problems during the moldbuilding process. If the details are clear enough that I know exactly what I have to do, I don't have to "cover my rear" so to speak.

One other thing to consider with a mold is how it can be built. Someone who is used to making molds for fishing lures may know more about what is necessary and what is not when making the molds, whereas someone who typically builds mold for computers may think that every details must be exactly to spec and will spend much more time on it tha the guy who has built tons of them.

In fact, since I started writing this post I have thought of three different ways to possibly build this particular mold. Each one could be done quick and cheap, or it could take weeks and many thousands of dollars to make depending upon how its done.

Good luck with your project, shop around, there is probably a "middle price" somewhere between $700 and $5000 that you can afford and the shop can make money.

Jim Estes

04-21-2008, 05:37 PM
Hey guys I mis lead you. I am going to cnc this mold myself and the customer says the customary charge is only $1000.00. I would say the 6061 is $200-$300. My thoughts are well maybe one side is a $1000.00, I was feeling more like $2500.00 or higher, for the complete mold with channels and gates, I am just starting out and I know my skill level will be novice to intermideate, maybe even a begginer,LOL So the hours means nothing to me right now. Heck it took me forever just to model this.LOL.
The quality is more important. Good quality has a price, however I really dont want to get burned on my first mold. I feel thats a little to cheap @ $700.00 for both sides plus me pay for material, and I want to price things correctly to preserve the industry. Thats why I came to you all. Thanks

04-22-2008, 05:36 AM
That certainly looks more like $5k to me than $700.

One way to get a feel for pricing is program one (similar) cavity,
machine it and add a runner/vent/gate/etc.
Multiply the machining time by 28 and add the programming time.

Then multiply that by $75 (or whatever a comparable shop rate is)
and add material cost for a total price.


04-22-2008, 04:50 PM
Thanks Pres for the input. I was really working hard to get started into my own mold making business for soft plastics industry. "Fishing that is" if you have a few minutes take a look at the haas mill web site and look at mom and pop shop with mini mill and you can get all the history. Then I posted another one in best cams software in the same haas mill site, Its been a interesting ride, its hard to belive a well established soft plastics manufacture, someone who I know, would try to undercut the whole industry. I hope people will read these post and understand if they are a manufacture in order to run a business, keep a business, and most of all keep Americans employeed so we all might be able to eat and sleep, and have a roof over our heads will understand that things come with a price. If not They them selves, may one day be sitting there and saying boy I wish I wouldnt outsourced that overseas.

05-14-2008, 10:46 AM
Ok this is my first post but feel i should let you in on what I charge. I have been Designing and manufacturing injection molds out of aluminum for the last 13 years and have just begun doing consulting and prototype molds. many of my molds are made from 6061-7075 and my new favorite 6013 aluminum and have lasted more than 100,000 shots in materials from Polycarb to Nylon and Acetal.

I live in the mid-west and charge $25/hr for CAD, $30/CAM, $60-90/hr Machining depending on schedule and dificulty. I have had several customers all by word of mouth and I have been helping teach a program at Purdue University so i get to apply my experiences and help teach the future tool and die makers of the US.

There are atleast a few things to consider when doing this-One is don't undercut yourself no matter what the experience level. Charge your rate whether it's $75 or $90/hr- you can always give a discount or not charge for time spent learning new techniques. I have a customer here who spent more than $10K on a prototype before coming to me-I was able to redesign and manufacture the first two p-types for less than $5K and I still made good money. Chances are they will still pay less for you to do it than to have it done elsewhere. If you start undercutting yourself now you'll never be able to increase your prices because they will expect the same deal everytime. Give a discount that can always be increased or decreased given your schedule-but don't work for free. The second thing to consider is balancing the flow of material to each of your cavities, just because you have 28 cavities cut doesn't mean they will all fill without a problem. Ideally you want every cavity to fill at the same rate by adjusting your runner and gate sizes to "balance" the mold.

I'm sure there is more to add but for now thought i'd start with this. Good for you to start out on your own and good luck!

05-14-2008, 01:47 PM
I agree with airpro_1 that you are looking at a $5k to produce a decent standard tool & turn a profit. I would say at least that!

I also concur on the cavity balancing point. I'm not too familiar with this type of process (liquid silicon) but in melt processing in general it is a key issue to have a balanced tool i.e. to ensure the cavities fill at the same time. You can do this by varying the runner sizes (smaller runners for the cavity nearest the injection point of the tool etc) or by re-designing the tool layout so that all of the runners are of equal length. The reason for this is that in an unbalanced tool, the cavities closest to the injection point will fill first and then overpack. The cavities further away will get a progressively shorter fill and (in thermoplastics) will be prone to voids and sink marks. I imagine it is probably less of an issue with liquid silicon but might still be relevant? Not sure.

Good luck - it looks a very satisfying tool to make - lots of machining and not too much fiddling about afterwards!

07-22-2008, 04:17 PM
Where I can buy bars D 5/8" of Beryliun Copper?