In general, an Injection plastic mold should cost anywhere between $1,000 and $80,000, the average cost is around $12,000. This investment is only part of the story, however, as another factor is just as important; cost per part.
The cost per part
When it comes to the total cost of your project, one of the most important things to consider is the price per part, sometimes called the price per unit. When using an injection mold, the bulk of the cost is the initial investment, that is, the actual creation of the mold. The more parts your mold produces, the more cost-effective it becomes.
As an example, If you spend $20,000 on a steel mold and then use that mold to create 400,000 parts, the cost per part would end up at 5 cents.
How long does an injection mold last?
There are a wide variety of molds out there, and those molds have very different lifespans. Some molds, often those made from aluminum, only last for a few thousand cycles. Tool steel, like the molds Rex Plastics make, can last for millions of cycles and ours come with a lifetime warranty.
There are three classes of molds most widely used in plastic injection molding. The first, grade 103, is the lowest quality mold and is well suited for projects using up to 500,000 parts. 102 is a step up from that, and can generally be counted on to create upwards of 1,000,000. The highest quality molds, the 101 class, are best used in projects requiring well over 1,000,000 parts.
In addition to the material the mold is made from, there are a few other factors that can change the expected lifespan of a mold. Different projects require different levels of pressure within the mold during production. In general, high-pressure molds have shorter lifespans that low-pressure molds.
The materials injected into the mold can also have an effect on it. Highly abrasive materials, like those with fiberglass added, can wear down a mold faster. Some materials require higher temperatures as well and these extremes can also cause higher wear on your mold.
Is 3d printing cheaper than injection molding parts?
Generally speaking, injection molding is usually cheaper than 3D printing if you produce more than 300-500 parts. While the cost per unit using 3D printing stays relatively unchanged, the price for injection molding becomes dramatically better the more pieces you manufacture with your mold.
You can read more about the pros and cons of 3D printing on our blog.
Your efficient solution
Plastic injection molding is, by far, the most cost-effective solution for projects requiring the mass production of parts. After the mold is created, some parts are created at the cost of only a few pennies. When injection molding, the more parts you create, the cheaper they become.