new plastic molding part devolpment:process,timing and shipment

plastic mold structurer with undercut
plastic mold structurer with undercut

Injection molding allows mass production of precision plastic parts once the initial molds are made. But successfully navigating this intricate process requires understanding its nuances. This 10-step guide breaks complex mold design into simple, logical stages for flawless execution.

1. Finalizing Part Designs

The foundation of any injection molding project lies in the 3D CAD models defining part geometry. Before investing in steel molds, ensure designs are fully finalized with all critical dimensions locked. Avoid tweaking shapes and sizes later by optimizing CAD files upfront.

Focus initial design efforts on overall form factor and functionality. Perfecting every styling nuance can come later once we understand manufacturing considerations. Work with experienced engineers to refine CAD models for DFM (design for manufacturing) compliance. Simulation will highlight potential moldability issues early. Prioritize getting outer contours and essential fittings precision engineered first.

Finalizing initial design geometries before kickstarting tooling fabrication saves significant time and expense down the line. Lock in 3D models before molds get made.

2. Prototyping Concept Parts

Even the most refined CAD model remains theoretical without physical validation. The wise next step is prototyping concept parts before full-scale tooling investment. This could involve 3D printing test geometries or CNC machining prototypes from plastic blocks.

Physically prototyping parts is instrumental in verifying form, fits and ergonomics from a tactile perspective. Digital designs often don’t translate fully as-is in the physical world. Prototypes reveal these gaps early when changes cost less. We can tweak CAD files based on prototypes before committing to injection molds.

Rapid prototyping part designs upfront ensures theoretical models match real world requirements. Refine 3D CAD further if needed before kickstarting tooling.

3. Designing Injection Molds

With design geometries physico-digitally verified, we progress to designing the injection molds themselves. These precision-machined steel tools will mold granular plastic into finished parts. Intricately crafting the molds is crucial for efficiency and output quality.

Partner with experienced technicians to design world-class injection molds. Details like surface finish, number of cavities, cooling layouts, ejector pins and material injection systems get meticulously mapped. We help optimize mold configurations leveraging decades of manufacturing insights. The goal is minimizing cycle times and material wastage while maximizing production quality and durability.

Invest in expertise and analysis for excellent injection mold design. Superior tools ensure superior parts.

4. Analyzing and Verifying Tooling

The mark of meticulous mold makers lies in virtually verifying designs before physical fabrication. Detailed analysis using mold flow simulation highlights potential issues in cooling layouts, fill-time disparities, weld-line strength variation etc. Tweaking at the design stage prevents expensive fixes later.

Leverage scientific simulation coupled with years of experience to refine mold designs digitally first. Everything from injection pressure balancing to texture plate integrating gets verified upfront. We refine tool geometries virtually to save time and rework later. Analysis before machining is the hallmark of established mold makers.

Verifying world-class injection molds virtually before committing to steel is key.

5. Fabricating Steel Molds

With a comprehensively analyzed design, machining molds from steel blocks begins. We transform virtual CAD data into high precision physical tools using electrical discharge machining (EDM) coupled with CNC milling and drilling.

Skilled technicians masterfully carve cavity geometries while integrating other critical components like ejector pins, runners and texturing plates. Precision crafted steel molds breathe life into injection molded plastic dreams. Depending on complexity, mold fabrication normally takes 4-6 weeks. Rush delivery options can compress this to 2-3 weeks if needed.

Transforming flawless CAD data into durable, consistent injection molds requires advanced machining methods and years of expertise. Leverage established mold makers for excellence.

6. Initial Test Shot Sampling

Fresh out of the machining center, molds produce their first offspring – initial test shots. These “T1” samples assess production readiness before mass manufacturing kicks off. Critical dimensions, surface finishes, fill ratios, weld-line strength and multiple other attributes get evaluated first-hand or under microscopes.

Test shot sampling reveals molding details not visible in CAD simulations. We assess samples internationally within 1-2 weeks of tool completion normally. More intricate parts may take longer. Client feedback coupled with our optimization commences if needed before signing off for full production.

Initial test shots validate what digital models and machined molds ultimately yield in practice. They reveal optimization opportunities early.

7. Optimizing and Texturing Molds

Injection molding involves innumerable interdependent parameters. First shot samples rarely meet all specifications out-of-the-box. Cooling layouts, texture plates, vent positions often need tweaking to stabilize filling uniformity, de-molding, cycle times etc.

We carefully adjust injection mold attributes based on test shot feedback for production-ready quality. Common enhancements include increasing clamp zones, shifting gates, balancing runners, removing weld-lines etc. If needed, we also develop custom texturing procedures for desired visual or ergonomic part finishes.

Tuning injection molds requires experience-backed nuance. Optimize tools before manufacturing kickoff for consistency.

8. Running Mass Production

Fully optimized, textured injection molds signal the critical transition from sampling to serialized mass production. We meticulously mold parts as per approved T1 benchmarks for shipping globally. Integrated quality assurance protocols guarantee production consistency.

For very large volumes or secure IP situations, consider exporting molds for in-house manufacturing. This saves re-developing high-precision tools while retaining greater control over security and quality. Define detailed production plans upfront covering order volume projections.

Flawlessly crafted injection molds are the gateway to mass plastic production. Ensure consistency and quality commitment before pull-the-trigger.

9. Planning Timelines

Smoothly executing an injection molding project requires intelligently mapping timelines for each stage. Tooling fabrication averages 4-6 weeks after approving designs and payment. Test shots need 1-2 weeks normally before optimization.

Mass production schedules vary depending on order volumes. Clearly convey manufacturing roadmaps to align with go-to-market plans.

Realistic schedules prevent frustration. Map timeframes diligently upfront for injection molding success.

10. Clear Communication

Successfully transforming concept CADs into shippable plastic products depends tremendously on alignment between stakeholders. Maintain clarity across teams through the long, intricate injection process. Overcommunicate design intent before tooling commitment to prevent downstream changes. Share ideas freely, define acceptance criteria and stick to decisions for progress. Outline realistic payment terms and production timelines cooperatively upfront.

With open channels, expert guidance and commitment to excellence across functions, intricate injection molding journeys become smoother. Align, plan diligently and execute flawlessly together.


This expanded 10-step guide breaks the complex injection molding process into easy-to-follow stages. Streamline your plastic manufacturing journey with structural blueprint covered here as the foundation. Mastering injection mold intricacies seems simpler when methodically broken down. Reach out if any assistance needed in navigating from concept CADs to shipped products. Our experts support each step to manufacturing success!

plastic molding process

Here are some additional details on timeframes:

Tooling typically takes 5-6 weeks after receiving your deposit, assuming the 3D files are finalized. For rush orders, we can shorten the lead time to 21 days for an additional fee.

The “T1” test shots are the initial samples made according to your 3D specifications. Depending on the complexity of the plastic parts, it usually takes 1-2 weeks, sometimes longer, to finish the test shot stage.

Production lead times depend on the part complexity, material and tool requirements, and your order quantity. If you have a target timeframe, please let us know so we can check with our factories on meeting your deadline. As an example, an order of 10,000 units would normally take around 2 weeks.

Contact us for project time estimates, as scopes and schedules vary.


Shipment timelines depend on the method (UPS, DHL, TNT, FedEx, ocean, air, etc).

If you have a designated freight forwarder, we can use your existing accounts for an additional fee. If not, we can recommend forwarders we’ve worked with previously.

From our experience, samples typically take 2-5 days by air and 20-45 days by sea, depending on the destination.

For China port FOB deliveries, international couriers aren’t recommended, as the process is complex. EMS is better for small, urgent shipments.

Customs clearance times also vary by country. Check with your local forwarders for regular timings.