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PICList Thread
'OT: Molding plastic enclosures'
1999\09\17@144505 by Jeff King

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Hi all:

I got a  PIC based board that I need to make an enclosure for.
Also in the enclosure will be a Palm CE PPC (the PIC makes up for
the shortcomings of this device). The box will be 7"H x 5W x 2.5D
(or smaller).

I stopped by one shop, who wants to mold a enclosure for me out of
urethane (not injection molding, but a "poured process"). $850 mold
design, $500 tooling and $85 for each box (qty 100).... not
having any experience with this, it sounded a bit high. This plastic
is common used in industrial environments and very strong.

Anyways, thought some of the Piclisters might have experience in this
technology and could comment. Also, if that is a "bad" price, maybe
mention some of the houses you have used in the past.

Thanks!

Jeff King

1999\09\17@171611 by Dave Johnson

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Jeff King wrote:

>Anyways, thought some of the Piclisters might have experience in this
>technology
For one quick product, we're using a place called ToolLess Plastics
(http://www.ttkbox.com/index.html), they fab enclosures from sheet
plastic, and do a great job. No tooling costs to speak of, so even though
the final unit cost is higher than injection molded plastics, for
smallish runs it's very economical.

>Also in the enclosure will be a Palm CE PPC
What the heck is a Palm CE PPC? If it's a Palm, it isn't a wince device,
and I don't know what PPC means in this context...

Dave Johnson

1999\09\17@200132 by Brian Kraut

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Check out http://www.globeplastics.com.  I got some information on their
process.  They score, bend, and glue sheets with cnc cuts.  I haven't
tried them, but their catalog looks impressive and they advertise low
volume work.  Let me know what kind of pricing they offer.

Jeff King wrote:

{Quote hidden}

1999\09\18@162856 by William K. Borsum

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At 02:43 PM 9/17/99 -0400, you wrote:
>Hi all:
>
>I got a  PIC based board that I need to make an enclosure for.
>Also in the enclosure will be a Palm CE PPC (the PIC makes up for
>the shortcomings of this device). The box will be 7"H x 5W x 2.5D
>(or smaller).
>
>I stopped by one shop, who wants to mold a enclosure for me out of
>urethane (not injection molding, but a "poured process"). $850 mold
>design, $500 tooling and $85 for each box (qty 100).... not
>having any experience with this, it sounded a bit high. This plastic
>is common used in industrial environments and very strong.

If possible, make your system fit an existing plastic box from Bud, Rose,
or whomever.  MUCH cheaper in small quantities--even if you have to do some
custom machining on the box.

Did a design for a simple garage door opener transmitter years ago--Pricing
went like this:  $5000 for the case design in autocad.  First bid on the
mold was $12,500.  After they (the mold maker) screwed it up, it cost
another $13,000 to get it right--all for a two cavity mold intended for a
100,000 unit life.  Cost for materials was about $0.10 each.  Another $.010
per part for molding time, etc., and about $.30 for the tooling, for a
total cost of $.50 each.  Not too bad--if the job had run the full 100,000
pieces.  As it turned out, only 10,000 pieces came out of the mold, which
cranked the total price up to about $3 each for the tooling alone.  Not cool.

I buy the cast aluminum boxes for our loggers in small quantities from
mouser or digikey at under $10.00 each, and add a couple of bucks to
machine out some internal raised areas I don't want, and put four holes in
the lid.  Another $40 gets them powder coated safety yellow (minimum lot
charge) and I'm done.  NO tooling. Fixed price, no commitment other than
designing the boards to fit.

The design and tooling figures seem very reasonable to me--piece price is a
bit high, but urethane is expensive.

Hope this helps
Kelly


William K. Borsum, P.E. -- OEM Dataloggers and Instrumentation Systems
<spam_OUTborsumTakeThisOuTspamdascor.com> & <http://www.dascor.com>

1999\09\18@182050 by Jeff King

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Hi Kelly:

"William K. Borsum" wrote:

> If possible, make your system fit an existing plastic box from Bud, Rose,
> or whomever.  MUCH cheaper in small quantities--even if you have to do some
> custom machining on the box.

Yeap, I'm just about at this point.

> Did a design for a simple garage door opener transmitter years ago--Pricing
> went like this:  $5000 for the case design in autocad.  First bid on the
> mold was $12,500.  After they (the mold maker) screwed it up, it cost
> another $13,000 to get it right--all for a two cavity mold intended for a
> 100,000 unit life.

OK, this sounds like high pressure plastic injection molding. Also sounds
like you got a good price on the mold as I hear they are quite expensive.
What I was looking at is commonly used in prototype/quick turn houses...
urethane cast molding.

> I buy the cast aluminum boxes ...

> the lid.  Another $40 gets them powder coated safety yellow (minimum lot

$40 each to get them painted? Thats one of the reasons I was looking at
plastics.... no painting needed. Also, possibly a bit lighter (this is going
into a vehicle).

> charge) and I'm done.  NO tooling. Fixed price, no commitment other than
> designing the boards to fit.

I hear you. I have a fixed price already bid. Designing PCB's is a known element
to me, maybe me fitting the box is a better way to go.

> The design and tooling figures seem very reasonable to me--piece price is a
> bit high, but urethane is expensive.

Yes, I checked some suppliers and the price was high, but not that much
material in each one. I think it was somewhere in the range of $70 a
quart or so..... but I doubt if there is much more then 8oz of plastic in
each.

Anyways, thanks for the words from the "trenches"...

Regards,


Jeff

1999\09\19@235410 by Tjaart van der Walt

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Jeff King wrote:

> I stopped by one shop, who wants to mold a enclosure for me out of
> urethane (not injection molding, but a "poured process"). $850 mold
> design, $500 tooling and $85 for each box (qty 100).... not
> having any experience with this, it sounded a bit high. This plastic
> is common used in industrial environments and very strong.

Those prices are crazy.

We can get an injection tool made for around $4000 with the
boxes around $1 each.

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1999\09\20@010442 by Dennis Plunkett

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At 06:03 20/09/99 +0200, you wrote:
>Jeff King wrote:
>
>> I stopped by one shop, who wants to mold a enclosure for me out of
>> urethane (not injection molding, but a "poured process"). $850 mold
>> design, $500 tooling and $85 for each box (qty 100).... not
>> having any experience with this, it sounded a bit high. This plastic
>> is common used in industrial environments and very strong.
>
>Those prices are crazy.
>
>We can get an injection tool made for around $4000 with the
>boxes around $1 each.

At $4000 how long does the mould last 5000 boxes? How many do you have to
have made each time before no setup cost?  Surely not the expected 150000...

As of the urethane, this is quite acceptable in price??, but don't expect
the mould to last much more than 300 boxes (In which case a cheep injection
mold may be better (Watch the plasic used here wouldn't want crud PCVA)).
Have you had a look into a blown mold instead?, all be it that the boxes
may not look as good. I do hope that the $85 also includes machine
finishing (Things like the actual finsh and cutouts, holes and slots etc),
if not, then Tjaart is correct, also I an assuming that the enclosure is
quite sizeable, like around 15cm by 25cm by 10cm or so.
Note that the cost you are looking at is $9850, could get a good metal box
made for lots less than this in these numbers.


Dennis



{Quote hidden}

1999\09\20@023937 by Tjaart van der Walt

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Dennis Plunkett wrote:
>
> At 06:03 20/09/99 +0200, you wrote:
> >Jeff King wrote:
> >
> >> I stopped by one shop, who wants to mold a enclosure for me out of
> >> urethane (not injection molding, but a "poured process"). $850 mold
> >> design, $500 tooling and $85 for each box (qty 100).... not
> >> having any experience with this, it sounded a bit high. This plastic
> >> is common used in industrial environments and very strong.
> >
> >Those prices are crazy.
> >
> >We can get an injection tool made for around $4000 with the
> >boxes around $1 each.
>
> At $4000 how long does the mould last 5000 boxes? How many do you have to
> have made each time before no setup cost?  Surely not the expected 150000...

The tools are hardened after the first 500 (no changes after that).
It will last 150k (machine steel).

Material is polycarb, polyprop, or nylon. ABS is cheaper.

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1999\09\20@182843 by William K. Borsum

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At 08:48 AM 9/20/99 +0200, you wrote:
>Dennis Plunkett wrote:
>>
>> At 06:03 20/09/99 +0200, you wrote:
>> >Jeff King wrote:
>> >
>> >> I stopped by one shop, who wants to mold a enclosure for me out of
>> >> urethane (not injection molding, but a "poured process"). $850 mold
>> >> design, $500 tooling and $85 for each box (qty 100).... not
>> >> having any experience with this, it sounded a bit high. This plastic
>> >> is common used in industrial environments and very strong.
>> >
>> >Those prices are crazy.
>> >
>> >We can get an injection tool made for around $4000 with the
>> >boxes around $1 each.
>>
>> At $4000 how long does the mould last 5000 boxes? How many do you have to
>> have made each time before no setup cost?  Surely not the expected
150000...
>
>The tools are hardened after the first 500 (no changes after that).
>It will last 150k (machine steel).
>
>Material is polycarb, polyprop, or nylon. ABS is cheaper.
>

$4000 + 400 is much better than 1350 + 8500 in my book--and quite
reasonable for steel tooling.
Have to wonder if that price includes cutouts, holes in boxes, stiffening
ribs, and all the other necessities to make a plastic box work?

We are getting boxes machined from solid aluminum--about 3" cube for around
$60 each, for comparison.
Kelly


William K. Borsum, P.E. -- OEM Dataloggers and Instrumentation Systems
<EraseMEborsumspam_OUTspamTakeThisOuTdascor.com> & <http://www.dascor.com>

1999\09\21@002900 by Tjaart van der Walt

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"William K. Borsum" wrote:
>
> At 08:48 AM 9/20/99 +0200, you wrote:
> >The tools are hardened after the first 500 (no changes after that).
> >It will last 150k (machine steel).
> >
> >Material is polycarb, polyprop, or nylon. ABS is cheaper.
> >
>
> $4000 + 400 is much better than 1350 + 8500 in my book--and quite
> reasonable for steel tooling.
> Have to wonder if that price includes cutouts, holes in boxes, stiffening
> ribs, and all the other necessities to make a plastic box work?

We pay per weight for the plastics. On the one tool there were plenty
wire cuts, sparked cavities and other fancy work.

>
> We are getting boxes machined from solid aluminum--about 3" cube for around
> $60 each, for comparison.
> Kelly

Gasp!

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1999\09\21@012545 by Peter Tran

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Hi all,
I have a small business in my country that can make the plastic stuff. For
example, a small box (2"x3"x1"), the mold is approx. $1000 and 45 cents per
piece ( minimum 2000 pcs.). The shipping cost is about $4 per lb. If you are
interesting in this offer, we can discuss off line for more details.
Thank you.
{Original Message removed}

1999\09\21@113550 by Glen G. Shepley

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try vacuum forming !
i needed some cases done

1)    i cut the blocks (the design shape)  from hardwood using a drop
saw

2)    drilled the required holes to suck the plastic to its shape
3)    i stated the use of ABS plastic for its resistance to enviroment
cost me $2- each @qty of 100 (they were only small -35mmx20mmx46mmx)
hope this helps
glen
p.s. farnell have a range of boxes etc which are reasonably priced in
qty.
look for manufacturers in farnell cat. & contact them directly to get
them cheaper
**********************


Jeff King wrote:

{Quote hidden}

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