The Truth About Custom Design Molds

Samantha Mikos

In the world of recognition, clients can not always guarantee long term commitment to an award design. They may want to upgrade the branding in a few years and with that comes new custom design molds. Or they might want to grow your program and introduce a new set of custom awards each year.

While this is not most cost-efficient approach to your awards program, we understand that the recognition industry is ever-progressing. It’s also important to have a leg up on the competition, and that would require a constant evolution of designs. What’s important is not the why but the how – how will each design affect the future of your recognition budget?

The Mold Process Can Cost a Fortune

Many custom awards require a specific mold. Although short production runs are often desired by clients, this method of production can drive the overall cost upward.

It doesn’t take a PhD in microeconomics to understand how economies of scale works: the more you are able to purchase in bulk, the lower the cost per unit. While every program may have a specific need – multiple events throughout the year, small event awards for select candidates or even a pending upgrade in design – it is safe to say that the more you are able to order in advance, the lower the total cost will be in the long run.

Types of mold costs can vary depending on what machine will be used for the process. In order to make, let’s say, a medallion, you need material for both the top and bottom portions of the mold (what is considered the female and male cavities). By using a 3D rendered model of the design, a machine will create that mold by compressing material between the two cavities. Oftentimes, this process makes the mold heavy. Depending on the size of the render, it can be upwards of a couple hundred pounds. Every inch of material will mean additional weight added to the mold, and eventually, the cost.


You Are Paying for the Material as a Whole

Ever heard of a mold graveyard? They are exactly what it sounds like – a collection of excess scrap material that will go unused. This is because when you buy a mold, you must to buy material for the whole table, no matter how big or small your design may be.

What ends up happening in these graveyards is any extra scrap that is not used to create the product gets added to the mold graveyard, completely unused. You have to pay for the material as a whole, and in the end, you cannot predict how much scrap is wasted to finish a final product.

3D Print Services Are Not Free

To create a mold, there must be a 3D render of your design. This is done through a computer software and comes at an additional cost. The reason for this is because you will need to have a specific individual who specializes in computer engineered drawings.

This will allow the machine to interpret size and depth in the details of the design. With that comes the texturing effect that gives each design a unique feel to it, no matter the vision.

The absorption of the set up costs for all of these steps can become laborious for short run production projects. The best way to mitigate excess additional fees per capita is to order in bulk whenever possible or to commit to longer production runs to accommodate for your program needs.

Let’s chat about other ways in which we can help make your awards program more cost-efficient. Connect with a member of the Cristaux team today to discuss your custom design molds.