(2 minute read)

Injection molding could be described as a dance of efficiently designing a prototype’s features while taking full advantage of the molding process. Be careful: this dance may turn into a haphazard game of Twister when it’s the first of many iterations in designing for manufacture.

Studio Red, our professional partner, wrote an article on injection molding tooling with valuable tips that product developers can use to go to market with their functional and cost goals aligned — avoiding the jaw-dropping prices.

Let’s start with the basics: a mold consists of a core and cavity, and the space between them is what forms your part. It’s the action, the piece of tool that isn’t directly pulled out of the cavity or can slide off the core, which can get interesting when developing your prototype.

Adding actions adds complexity. This may explain why your BOM (Bill of Materials) can be so high. Your product’s functionality can still maintain aesthetics through workarounds that don’t greatly impact your costs.

Here are Studio Red’s 4 tips to save on injection mold tooling:

1. “Don’t get hung up on holes”

A circular connector needs a product to have a circular hole to fit through, right? Not necessarily. If the assembly can tolerate it, it could be possible to just maintain a simple core-cavity tool by just working with the parting line — saving the additional cost of an action.

2. “Knowing which button to push”

Buttons could be essential for your users to interact with your product, but it doesn’t always require adding another part to assemble. Instead, there are different tricks for engineers to maintain usability and aesthetics of a product.

3. “The design hinges on it”

Though many product developers would assume their hinges are made of plastic pivoting on a metal pin, there are other options if the material allows it.

4. “Making hooks is a snap”

When designing a hinge, it’s likely that your product will need a snap to hold the hinge in place. Again, think of “don’t get hung up on holes”! Consider how to use a hole if it can be tolerated.

Continue reading Studio Red’s article for more details, and a demonstration of these tips in action.