Tooling: Why Does It Take So Long?

Posted January 16th, 2018 by Bailey Jones

It takes a long time to manufacture tooling. The tooling fabrication may be done in-house at your contract manufacturer or, more likely, the manufacturer will sub-contract it out. Why does it take so long? One, to precisely manufacture tooling from large blocks of solid steel takes several time-consuming steps. First the tooling must be designed. The factory will work from the documentation of your product as a starting point. For injection molded parts they will consider gates, runners, vents, cooling systems, and mechanisms such as lifters and slides. Then they can manufacture the tooling using various machining and finishing steps. But secondly, tooling manufacturing takes a long time because your project is likely not their number one priority and you must get in line behind previous commitments. Depending on your relationship and your good fortune, it could take from a few weeks to three months to manufacture the tooling, which often represents one of the largest capital expenses of product development. It is common practice to make partial payment up front with the remainder due upon delivery.

Find this and more in the book, The $39 Mustache Comb: The Start-Up Guide To Manufacturing.

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