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#1 roadster

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Posted 03 March 2013 - 03:21 AM

What do you think the cost is for a model company to create injection mold tooling for a new tire?

#2 mikemodeler

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Posted 03 March 2013 - 04:22 AM

A lot probably depends on if there are licensing fees involved. Depending on whether or not this is an all new tire and size would also have some impact on the cost- modifying a mold versus creating a complete new mold.



#3 Sport Suburban

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Posted 03 March 2013 - 04:33 AM

From what I understand. The tooling dies are made from stainless steel blocks and a small one is around $20,000 after it is engraved or cut.

My mom used to work for a company that did plastic injection molding. And many of the dies cost $100,000 or more. They didn't make model parts but I do remember them making the plastic credit card car keys. Most of the time one die would shoot more than one part. The dies I saw would be large and in the case of tires. One die would make 40 tires in one shot or more.


#4 Greg Myers

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Posted 03 March 2013 - 06:39 AM

It's hard to believe in this day and age of computers, CNC machines,outsourcing, that these figures, which have been bandied about since the dawn of time, well maybe ten or twenty years ago

, are still so high.

Then look at some of the garbage that is made of plastic in most of your common $ type stores, or your local toy stores (is there still such a thing?).


Edited by Greg Myers, 03 March 2013 - 06:41 AM.


#5 Tom Geiger

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Posted 03 March 2013 - 09:12 AM


Then look at some of the garbage that is made of plastic in most of your common $ type stores, or your local toy stores (is there still such a thing?).

 

Simplicity and Volume!  Most of the junk you see is very simple and doesn't have to be specific or to scale.  Thus, the tooling would be much cheaper than a scale model where everything in the details (both in depiction of the subject and the fit between those parts).  A lot of the consumer stuff you see is all straight lines and it doesn't matter if there are molding flaws.  

 

A long while ago when my daughters were kids, they got this little merry go round for dolls.  They wanted me to put it together and when I pulled out the instruction sheet, it looked awful familiar... then I checked and yes, it was made by Ertl.  I then looked over the toy. It had maybe a dozen parts that were very simple and not well molded with flash, ejector pins and seams visible.  Then I realized the price of it was double that of a model kit at the time.  I asked myself (and shared with my club) why a company that could sell simple toys like that in great volume would even bother with model cars?!?

 

And for volume, the junk you see in the dollar store is in every dollar store in the country!  Grand volume.  One time I was out in Colorado on business and in the morning I drove past a school bus stop with kids all standing there ready for school.  I spied that one of the kids had the very same lunch box that my daughter had in New Jersey.  Think of the volume that they must have sold to have covered the entire country!



#6 Ace-Garageguy

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Posted 03 March 2013 - 09:17 AM

There are many US based injection-molding companies that are only too happy to provide actual quotes to cut a die and make a run of parts. Some will rustle up a ballpark figure from a relatively simple drawing and description.



#7 Art Anderson

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Posted 03 March 2013 - 11:43 AM

What do you think the cost is for a model company to create injection mold tooling for a new tire?

While I am not privvy to what the actual cost is to create an injection mold for a model car kit tire, there are some things to consider here:  Back in the early days of model car kits, tires seldom (if ever!) had anything like scale appearing tread patterns--rather, if you look at any tire from an AMT kit from say, 1962 or thereabouts, the "tread" is nothing more than a series of concentric grooves that run straight around the circumference of the tire.  That was both a function of cost (I'd be pretty sure about that one) and lead time (It had to be much faster to cut the "ribs" into the dies to make those "rings" than to lay out, figure out just how to pantograph any sort of "zig-zag" pattern on the inside of such a tool.  That was in the days of manually operated 3-dimensional milling pantographs translating "male" surfaces on a tooling mockup to "female" surfaces in a block of steel.

 

CAD/CAM doesn';t really simplify that process, rather computer aided work can cut some of the time required, and of course does reduce the labor costs--but even that comes at a price.  Every bit of tooling cut on high-tech equipment has to be priced in such a way as to "amortize" (pay back the cost) of the equipment, provide capital to replace that equipment, and hopefully leave a bit of money left over at the company when the tooling is finished and all the bills and amortization are paid (otherwise, why would anyone invest the money in such equipment?).

 

Of course, the tooling created for molding such as model car kit tires will have multiple cavities--almost always in multiples of 4--depending on the size of the tool base and the injection molding presses available, that can be anywhere from 12-36 tires per mold base.  One thing to bear in mind however is this:  The finer, more crisp the tread detail, the shorter the life of the tool, as with model car kit tires, they are ejected from the molds sideways, the tread detail being pushed out of the individual cavities across the detailing of the steel die.  It may seem odd to say this, given that PVC or whatever is being used as the material, it will be softer than the steel die, and of course it must be pliable upon being cooled to a solid state.  However, most all plastics are at least somewhat abrasive (otherwise, why would razor saw blades and needle files grow dull with use on styrene?), and this sideways movement across the mold surfaces will wear down, soften the detailing over time.  So, tire tooling does eventually have to be replaced if quality is to be maintained.  Balancing this would be that it's likely possible to run a die such as this for a million tires or more before the tool is worn significantly.

 

I would guess that $20,000 for a single tire mold cavity might be in the ball park though--but to mold tires inexpensively for mass production, that figure would have to be multiplied by the number of individual cavities in the mold base.  And, just as importantly, while the tooling time and labor input may be reduced, the cost of the technology and equipment likely is a lot greater for such modern, hi-tech machinery.

 

Art



#8 roadster

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Posted 04 March 2013 - 07:17 AM

Very good information, gentlemen.  Thank you!  



#9 Ace-Garageguy

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Posted 04 March 2013 - 07:25 AM

Here's a link to one of the companies that will quote for short-runs. I came across them a few days ago while looking for some plastic supplies for a project, and happened to find out one of my suppliers also supplies pellets for injection-molding locally.

 

If you want real and current information on the design and fabrication process, it's kinda hard to beat going directly to the source. You can download the FREE PDF White Paper and Design Guides at the bottom of the home page.

 

http://www.3dsystems...CFQ4FnQodz28Ajw


Edited by Ace-Garageguy, 04 March 2013 - 07:31 AM.