A quick self-estimation of injection mold cost in China

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The cost of plastic injection mold in China

For anyone who is about to start a plastic injection molding project, one of the main questions is: what is (are) the true cost of my plastic injection mold(s). Everybody wants cheaper prices, but, to what level is the price still reasonable to ensure a satisfactory quality?

Well, to understand what the mold cost consists of, an easy way is to ask your mold maker to submit the cost break down in a spreadsheet. Let’s dive right into an example.

This is an example of a square plastic lid

This is a square lid for a plastic box, the basic information is as follows:

  • Product material: PP
  • Product dimension: 150*150*15mm
  • Mold material: 718H
  • Number of cavities: 1
  • Ejection method: ejection plate

Our quote for this mold is $1250, the cost break down is listed below:

CatogoryItemDescriptionUnit price
Qty. (unit)Amount
MaterialMold base (standard)
Material 1045, outer dimension
300*280*260mm, 60 kgs.
$1001 (piece)
Core plate
Material 718H, 280*280*80mm, 50 kgs.
$1501 (piece)
Cavity plate
Material 718H, 280*280*80mm, 50 kgs.
$1501 (piece)
EDM electrode (for core)
Copper, 150*150*20mm, 4 kgs
$351 (piece)$35
Bolts, hose connectores ,etc.
$501 (set)$30
DesigningPart designing fee
$501 (piece)$50
Mold designing fee
$1001 (piece)$100
MachiningCNC milling
15 (hours)
CNC engraving
10 (hours)$40
Wire EDM
$1.5/hour6 (hours)$9
EDM discharging
$3/hour10 (hours)$30
Surface polishing$8/hour6 (hours)$48
Assembly, heat treatment,
mold testing
10 (hours)$80
Heat treatment$0.5/kgNone
Mold testing$20/time2 (times)$40
Tax, overhead and others
Administration fee$95

So in this particular case, the general composition of the mold cost is:

mold cost break down

Are these numbers accurate?

You may wonder are these numbers accurate? How do I know the mold maker does not overrate the costs?

True, the mold maker will not be happy with a mere 10% of profit, so they will put some room in some of their calculations.

However, I do not mean they are all dishonest. Many of them will try to give you a close costs estimation, partly, it is because of the competition they are facing. You will always to ask several mold makers to quote your project, aren’t you?

First of all, they will calculate the material cost on every job they are quoting, and the material cost (weight and price) is quite transparent, in most cases they will tell you exactly what it is. Usually, it should be no more than 5% of the real cost.

It will be less accurate when it comes to the machining cost, it is usually a rough estimation based on their experience. It is hard to predict the exact machining time needed to accomplish each process (milling, EDM discharging, etc) precisely, in order not to quote a price lower than the actual costs that is going to incur, they will put some safe room into it. It is quite often that they will quote you 10~20% more than the real cost.

Please look at the table below for the accuracy of each cost estimation:

MaterialAccurate (0~+5%)
DesigningLess accurate(0~+10%)
MachiningNot accurate (0~+20%)
Assembly, heat treatment, mold testingAccurate (0~+5%)
Tax, overhead and othersAccurate (0~+5%)

Overall, the profit for the mold maker will be somewhere between 15-30%, or even higher. 

Examples of mold costs:

small plastic end cap

End cap ABS ø25*20mm, $500

Mold material P20, 4 cavities, Polished finish. $500 is probably our the lowest price for very simple and small plastic molds. This mold does not have any sliders.

electrical socket cover 2 pieces

Electrical socket cover, ABS, 80*40*40mm, $1,600

Mold material 718H, Family mold 1+1 cavities, Polished finish. There are multiple internal and external sliders for the side holes and some internal features.

plastic container mold

Square container, PP, 150*150*80 mm, $1,900

Mold material 718H, 1 cavity, Polished finish. We use air ejection in this mold, meaning the parts are blow out by compressed air. This way there are no ejection pin.

home appliance plastic cover

Electrical appliance cover, PC/ABS,ø 220*25mm, $2,600

Mold material 718H, 1 cavity. It is critical to have an appealing appearance on the outside surface on this product.

40 liter plastic barrel

Plastic bucket, PP, ø380*450mm (40 liters), $13,000

Mold material 718H, 1 cavity, Polished finish. Need to have smooth finish on the entire surface and even wall thickness.

injection mold for LED bulb socket

LED light bulb socket, ABS, ø 50*55mm, $9,000

Mold material H13, 8 cavities. This is a very large volume product, it is critical to make each of them the exact weight. The mold is made to very high precision.

injection mold for LED lens

LED lens, PC, Ø50*8mm, $11,000

Mold material S136, 2 cavity. This mold is quite expensive of this size. The CAD design was outsourced, the polishing was done in a dustless room.

TPE overmolding finished parts

Power tool handle, PA+GF, TPE, 130*110*50mm. $10,000

Mold material 718H, 2 cavity (2 molds). 2 molds are needed. One is for producing the substrates, the other is for TPE overmolding. High precision is required as well.

If you want to get a precise quote for your mold(s), please contact us, we will usually send you the quote within 24 hours.

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