A quick self-estimation of injection mold cost in China

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?

Here is a brief summary of this post, you can jump to each topic so as to save time:

  1. An example of a mold cost breakdown, so you know what the mold cost consists of, and the usual rates of each cost;
  2. Our own designed mold cost calculator, but you need to send the drawing to let us conduct the calculation;
  3. Our earlier examples of mold prices, so you know the rough mold price is there is a part similar to yours.

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

Now, to understand what the mold cost consists of, an easy way is to ask your mold maker to submit the cost breakdown 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 breakdown is listed below:

injection mold for square plastic cover

Cost breakdown for an injection mold

(We have hidden the below table for mobile devices. You need to use desktop or tablet devices to view it.)

CatogoryItemDescriptionUnit price
Qty. (unit)Amount
MaterialMold base (standard)
Material 1045, outer dimension
300*280*260mm, 60 kgs.
$1001 (piece)
$100
Core plate
Material 718H, 280*280*80mm, 50 kgs.
$1501 (piece)
$150
Cavity plate
Material 718H, 280*280*80mm, 50 kgs.
$1501 (piece)
$150
EDM electrode (for core)
Copper, 150*150*20mm, 4 kgs
$351 (piece)$35
Accessories
Bolts, hose connectores ,etc.
$501 (set)$30
DesigningPart designing fee
$501 (piece)$50
Mold designing fee
$1001 (piece)$100
MachiningCNC milling
$8/hour
15 (hours)
$120
CNC engraving
$4/hour
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
Assembly
$8/hour
10 (hours)$80
Heat treatment$0.5/kgNone
Mold testing$20/time2 (times)$40
Tax, overhead and others
Tax$90
Administration fee$95
Profit$100
Total$1,267

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

Usual percentage of each costs

It makes sense to know what are the most common percentage of each cost, so you will know if the quotes you receive are calculated properly, and if they are competitive:

 ItemPercentage
1Material20-35%
2Machining25-40%
3Assembly15-20%
4Mold design5-10%
5Tax, profit20-30%

Important note:

  • The percentage of the material cost is usually between 20-35%, depending on the part size, complexity and precision level. In other words, the mold price is 3 to 5 times of the material cost. You may use this number to calculate the appropriate price range for your mold.

Will the mold maker give me accurate numbers?

They may overbid each cost a little, but not too much

You may wonder are these numbers accurate? How do I know the mold makers are so honest that they do not overrate the costs?

True, the mold maker will want to get a higher profit than what they claim. At the same time, they are not sure about the accuracy of each cost, so they will put some room in their calculations.

However, I do not mean they are all dishonest. Many of them will try to give you a close cost estimation, partly, it is because of the competition they are facing. You will always to ask several mold makers to quote your project, so you can compare them to see if each cost is calculated correctly.

Some costs are difficult to be predicted precisely beforehand

First of all, 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 are 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. 

However, it is also possible that they underbid the prices sometimes. It means the mold maker will have less profit on this job than he earlier expected.

The accuracy of estimation of each cost

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

ItemAccuracy
MaterialAccurate (0~+5%)
MachiningNot accurate (-5~+20%)
DesignLess accurate (-5~+10%)
Assembly, heat treatment, mold testingLess accurate (-5~+10%)
Tax, overhead and othersAccurate (0~+5%)

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

Our mold cost calculator

Is there an easy mold cost calculator for everybody?

Is there a mold cost calculator that can easily calculate the mold price by inputting the part sizes? Well, it takes a bit of engineering training to estimate the mold cost. Other than the part sizes, many factors, like the number of cavities, sliders, the direction of how the part is placed in the mold all have to do with the mold cost.

If the mold price is only calculated from the length, width, and height of a part, the accuracy of the calculation result is quite doubtful.

Our mold cost calculator designed by excel spreadsheet

Calculating the mold price is like a simplified mold design process, it usually takes half to one hour to conduct the calculation for a part.

We have designed an excel spreadsheet with a set of excel formulas to help to estimate the mold price. With the help of this spreadsheet, it will only take 1 or 2 minutes. However, the result will not be as accurate as of the human calculation, but it can usually be within +/-15% of accuracy.

Our cost estimation report will look like below:

Example 1

sample 1 used for mold cost calculation
mold cost calculator result example 2

Example 2

sample 2 used for mold cost calculation
mold cost calculator result example 1

Rather than a self-help calculator, you will need us to conduct the calculation for you. If you want, please click the button below, and fill out the form and upload the drawing, we will get back to you shortly.

Examples of mold costs:

Here are a few examples of our earlier jobs. If you find some parts are similar to yours, you may get a quick estimation of the mold cost.

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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