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Old 09-11-2019, 06:15 AM   #1
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Default Cost of Developing a Mould

Hi Everyone,

I've always wondered how much it costs to develop an accurate mould for diecast models.

Does anyone know what the process is and how much it realistically costs to do so? Can't be cheap obviously, but I've always wondered when companies have numerous types of aircraft, just how much they must have spent on creating moulds for each of them.
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Old 09-11-2019, 07:01 AM   #2
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Default Re: Cost of Developing a Mould

Very interesting question. I also wonder if 3D printing has any effect on reducing the cost and increasing the accuracy
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Old 09-11-2019, 09:08 AM   #3
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Default Re: Cost of Developing a Mould

I do not remember which scale (1/400 or 1/200) but I have heard it's upward of 10K to develop a mold.
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Old 09-11-2019, 10:24 AM   #4
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Default Re: Cost of Developing a Mould

£20,000-25,000 was quoted a few years ago, but I do think perhaps that has come down with improved technology.
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The missing B.707s still needed to be done in 1/400: Ethiopian, Uganda Airlines, Air Zimbabwe (rainbow scheme), Kenya Airways, Air Niugini.

DC-8s still needed to be done in 1/400: UAT, Iberia ('80s scheme), Air Ceylon, Surinam Airways, Air Spain

Aeroclassics Comets still missing- Dan Air (4 & 4C), United Arab Airlines/Misrair/Egyptair, Kuwait AW, Sudan AW, East African AW, Saudi Royal Flt.
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Old 09-11-2019, 10:56 AM   #5
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Default Re: Cost of Developing a Mould

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£20,000-25,000 was quoted a few years ago, but I do think perhaps that has come down with improved technology.
Any idea what that includes? As I am assuming it actually doesn't cost that much to design them in the first place on CAD etc., and it is the actual mould casting that costs the money (and the equipment to do so)
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Old 09-11-2019, 11:25 AM   #6
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£20,000-25,000 was quoted a few years ago, but I do think perhaps that has come down with improved technology.
That seems excessively high. GBP has taken a massive hit in global currency markets, but even with lessened value that still seems really high. Most numbers thrown around on here are $10k to $15k USD, not £25k GBP.

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Any idea what that includes? As I am assuming it actually doesn't cost that much to design them in the first place on CAD etc., and it is the actual mould casting that costs the money (and the equipment to do so)
What?!?! I defy you to render a detailed aircraft in CAD form, and come back and tell us that it's easy and "doesn't cost that much".

In terms of actual cost of software and electricity used, not that much. But cost in terms of man-hours invested?? Very steep.
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Old 09-11-2019, 12:20 PM   #7
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What?!?! I defy you to render a detailed aircraft in CAD form, and come back and tell us that it's easy and "doesn't cost that much". [IMG class=inlineimg]https://www.diecastaircraftforum.com/images/smilies/wink.gif[/IMG]

In terms of actual cost of software and electricity used, not that much. But cost in terms of man-hours invested?? Very steep.

Point taken, but assuming you already have all that in place, it would be interesting to know the actual manufacturing cost (design aside).
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Old 09-11-2019, 12:29 PM   #8
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Default Re: Cost of Developing a Mould

$15K is what I've heard lately. In US Currency.
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Old 09-11-2019, 12:30 PM   #9
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Default Re: Cost of Developing a Mould

I would be interested to know the cost of a 1:400 mould vs a 1:200 mould for the same aircraft type.
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Old 09-11-2019, 06:24 PM   #10
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Default Re: Cost of Developing a Mould

What's a mind blower for me is if you get some high powered lenses or a strong magnifying glass and examine the intricate detail especially on the graphics, that can't be seen with the naked eye,I'm talking mainly 400 scale here, you realise more than ever,what's exactly involved in producing these models. It's almost unbelievable!
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Old 09-13-2019, 09:16 AM   #11
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Default Re: Cost of Developing a Mould

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$15K is what I've heard lately. In US Currency.

I suppose that isn't that bad at all if you get a decent amount of use out of it.
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Old 09-14-2019, 09:04 AM   #12
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Default Re: Cost of Developing a Mould

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$15K is what I've heard lately. In US Currency.
I think that's about right - it has come down in recent years with CAD technology, which begs the question, why aren't more moulds made of much requested types?
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The missing B.707s still needed to be done in 1/400: Ethiopian, Uganda Airlines, Air Zimbabwe (rainbow scheme), Kenya Airways, Air Niugini.

DC-8s still needed to be done in 1/400: UAT, Iberia ('80s scheme), Air Ceylon, Surinam Airways, Air Spain

Aeroclassics Comets still missing- Dan Air (4 & 4C), United Arab Airlines/Misrair/Egyptair, Kuwait AW, Sudan AW, East African AW, Saudi Royal Flt.
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Old 09-14-2019, 09:08 AM   #13
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Default Re: Cost of Developing a Mould

My Good Bud, Adrain - you got $15K loose change at the moment? Doug
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Old 09-14-2019, 11:55 AM   #14
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Default Re: Cost of Developing a Mould

Just to break even on a new mould , a manufacturer would have sell at 1500 units to retailers. There are very few examples that would demand that amount.
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Old 09-14-2019, 01:09 PM   #15
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Default Re: Cost of Developing a Mould

I would guess 50-100 hours just to make a CAD model never mind the cost of molds. 3D printing is still far away in detail to reach the smoothness of a mold.
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Old 09-14-2019, 01:42 PM   #16
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Just to break even on a new mould , a manufacturer would have sell at 1500 units to retailers. There are very few examples that would demand that amount.
That can't really be true unless you are basing that across all of the different models that could be made using a single mould. E.g. 15 releases of 100x models. In which case there is plenty of examples.
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Old 09-14-2019, 03:15 PM   #17
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That can't really be true unless you are basing that across all of the different models that could be made using a single mould. E.g. 15 releases of 100x models. In which case there is plenty of examples.
It seems reasonable, when you dig into the numbers.

Models that retail for $39.95 USD, means that the retailer likely paid in the ballpark of $20-$25 for it. Which, in turn, means the cost of production for the manufacturer was likely in the $10-$15 dollar range.

So, from the producer side, their profit is only $10 per unit. Give or take. If new tooling costs $15k, then they need to sell 1,500 units to break even. Itís not until unit 1501+ that they see their investment actually start to pay dividends.
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Old 09-14-2019, 04:10 PM   #18
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It seems reasonable, when you dig into the numbers.

Models that retail for $39.95 USD, means that the retailer likely paid in the ballpark of $20-$25 for it. Which, in turn, means the cost of production for the manufacturer was likely in the $10-$15 dollar range.

So, from the producer side, their profit is only $10 per unit. Give or take. If new tooling costs $15k, then they need to sell 1,500 units to break even. Itís not until unit 1501+ that they see their investment actually start to pay dividends.
To be fair that isn't that many units. Most moulds, even relatively obscure ones, have enough liveries available to sell 150 units of each and often 250-500. It won't take long to get to 1500.

For example the TU-204 I just posted has at least 22 liveries. 8 or 9 of those could sell around 250 units and the remainder 100-150 which gives a total run of around 3,550-4,200 or so (I think that's reasonably pessimistic). If the manufacturer was clever with the selling they could probably sell more.

Of course there are plenty of other costs involved other than the mould itself that may make those new castings unviable, then again those costs (design, materials etc) are presumably hidden somewhat among the costs with other models made. So it should be a lot easier to stand up a new mould when you already have a backlog of production going.

The issue I see is that understandably the manufacturers target the highest selling models and so low hanging fruit get a lot of attention. Not many of the manufacturers appear to be enthusiasts so the question they are probably asking is why make a TU-204 when I could make a higher selling 777?
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Old 09-14-2019, 04:11 PM   #19
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Default Re: Cost of Developing a Mould

Thank you for doing the math, but Iíve had numerous conversations with manufacturers, and the numbers are sound.
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Old 09-14-2019, 04:18 PM   #20
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Thank you for doing the math, but Iíve had numerous conversations with manufacturers, and the numbers are sound.
Yes, I was agreeing with you.
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Old 09-15-2019, 01:14 AM   #21
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Just out of curiosity, how many of you own a Vickers Viscount in 1/400? If you do, how many different liveries copies ?
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Old 09-15-2019, 01:27 AM   #22
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Just out of curiosity, how many of you own a Vickers Viscount in 1/400? If you do, how many different liveries copies ?
I own 39 Viscounts and a whole myriad of liveries. There aren't many I wouldn't buy. Especially a British Midland series would be awesome
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Old 09-15-2019, 02:28 AM   #23
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I have a relatively small collection of 300 models, with four Viscounts: Aer Lingus, Capital Airlines, Lufthansa and United Airlines Mainliner. It was an import element of many fleets from the 1950s - 70s. Doug
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Old 09-15-2019, 03:07 AM   #24
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Out of just under 400 models, eight Viscounts. Oh, and three Heralds.
What is your point?
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Old 09-15-2019, 03:10 AM   #25
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I'm fairly certain I have s copy of nearly all Viscounts produced including the Gen1 Aeroclassics.
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Old 09-15-2019, 03:31 AM   #26
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Thank you for doing the math, but I’ve had numerous conversations with manufacturers, and the numbers are sound.
I think he was backing up your claim by the looks of it. And trying to say that 1500 across several releases is not that many really, so potentially even the more obscure are viable.
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Old 09-15-2019, 07:27 AM   #27
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Default Re: Cost of Developing a Mould

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I think that's about right - it has come down in recent years with CAD technology, which begs the question, why aren't more moulds made of much requested types?
Well, add human resources, insurances, transport, taxes etc. and there‘s - at least - a ‘good amount’ of models you have got to sell before making notable profit, I’d say. Of course, the mould has to be paid only once, but additional models (new printings) are still causing production and all the other costs.

Bottom line: the variety of new models (moulds) comes with good sales of current moulds and model releases. Now that 1/400 scale is there for around 20 years right now, the variety is pretty good - but the quality is not as it could and should be. The 1/400 manufacturers should concentrate on accurate mould design and high-quality production processes. That’s the best way to guarantee a final product that meets collectors’ (customers’) expectations. Sometimes it’s that simple.
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