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Being charged too much for simple molds

Hello all,

For the past month I have been canvasing for a good casting service
which could make 15 -20 molds for me from my metal originals. Thes
are small, flat simple pieces 1" x 2" max. I’m recieving quotes
upwards of $30 - $40 per mold, which I think is outrageous, especially
since this would be a continuing service, not a one time deal.

At this point I am considering just buying a vulcanizer and making
them myself . If you do the math $35 x 20 is equal to a good piece of
equiptment. The reason I would use heated rubber as opposed to poured
rubber is because the originals are brass.

The problem with making my own molds is that it is also one more
distraction from simply being able to design and make my jewelry, and
I have plenty of distractions these days running this business by
myself.

Can any of suggest a reliable company for affordable, low shrinkage
molds? I need to get this project underway very soon.

Thank you as always.
Elkka Nland

Elkka, I strongly recommend you buy your own vulcanizer. By the
time you get reliable, well cut molds figured out in the next couple
of years, you may well realize what a bargain the price you are being
quoted is.

Mike Rogers
Precious Metal Arts

Elkka, my humblest appologies if I offend you!

You said “outrageous”, let me ask you some questions, you have no
time but you don’t want to do the rubber mold making yourself.

Do YOU have a vulcanizer? do you have the metal templates? You still
have to buy the pre- cut rubber forms…do you have the time to MAKE &
pack the rubber and soldering the gate to each “sample”? do you have
the time to spend at each vulcanizing of “??” minutes? do you have
the time of cooling down and professionally cutting each mold exactly
for removal of the future intended waxes? and this has to be done ONE
MOLD at a time, maybe two if templates designs permitting! if you
slip with razor-blade because you were distracted with other more
important matters you might slip and seriously cut yourself, which is
more important your $35.00 or perfectly made molds with air-holes for
easy wax extrusion. Each correctly made rubber mold will then be
made for hundreds of wax impressions. I would be happy to let someone
else do this very exacting work and letting you make more money.

If each mold makes you 100 waxes at $35.00…the result is only .35
CENTS per extrusion …too much to pay?

I once paid $125.00 for one mold of a design of 1"x 3 " thick, but
the caster had to rely on his time and dexterity to know how to cut
air-lines for this “craft show” silver design. It was used only once.
Making molds off-site is a part of doing business.

Again, sorry if I sound defensive.“Gerry, the Cyber-Setter” for 46
years in this jewellery trade.

Elkka,

Consider it takes approx. 15-20min to properly cut + pack the frame,
cost of rubber (which is perishable and certainly not cheap), 1hr to
vulcanize the rubber, power to warm up, heat, maintain and run the
vulcanizers, mold removal + cool down, cutting, + some profit margin
for labour ~

I think if you are running a business and your main focus is design,
$30 per is quite reasonable for the service and your time IMHO.

Cheers;
Taylor in Toronto

Send them to Danial Grandi at Racecar Jewelry.

If you’re in a hurry, and don’t really have time, then now isn’t a
good time to teach yourself mold making. It’s not the mold making
that’s hard, it’s the cutting them open.

Elaine
Elaine Luther
Metalsmith, Certified PMC Instructor
http://www.CreativeTextureTools.com
Hard to Find Tools for Metal Clay

It sounds like you would like to make all of the profit. How much
money would it cost you to hand make the pieces each time? The
people who make molds also have to pay salaries, overhead, equipment
charges, raw materials, etc. I think that $30 - $40 per mold is
very reasonable. There is no one in my area who would do it so
cheaply! If you buy the equipment to make these molds for yourself,
how much will you charge me to make similar molds for me? I am
guessing you would charge a lot more than they are asking! Mold
making is no fun, not like your ‘art’ of making jewelry. Give the
technicians their money (for the molds) and you will make your money
from the jewelry.

Just my 2 cents.
Lee Cornelius

I have had a company in Grass Valley CA do my casting for me. The
guy’s name is Paul Quackenbush. There number is 1-530-274-2777.
They do really good work. I think his mold costs were about the
same price.

I talked with a company at the MJSA show who told me they would do
molds for $18 ea. they are called BEST CAST there number is toll
free 1-877-225-0700 They were making a good salespitch at the show.
But I don’t know anything about them.

Good Luck Dennis

Elkka

Total agreement with Lee Cornelius! It usually is not cheaper to do
things yourself, case in point…Many years ago, my Dad wanted to
change a tire, he tried, till the car slid off the mini-ramp and
fell on his arm, nearly broke it!

WE all have our “own tools” but I prefer to leave even mold making,
tire changing to those who will do it so much safely and faster. Its
well worth the $$$ effort and time.

For mold making, one deep slip of the ultra-sharp blade that will
slice through muscles and tendons and alter your life in nano-seconds!
If you wish to entertain doing mold-cutting yourself be aware of the
pitfalls of the “inexperienced”. To do it once, doesn’t make you a
professional!

I know of one fellow was a real “artist” in cutting rubber-molds,
the nuances of air-line positioning was truly an art! He did this all
of his life, but he still squirmed at the contact with that blade. He
told me, if the air-lines are just not right, he’d do the whole mold
over again!

To use the blade correctly, in regards to the EASY future removal of
the wax. This requires years of experience and understanding the
process of extruding the still warm wax.

Gerry Lewy!

If anyone is looking for a mold making or casting service I would be
happy to discuss their needs off list.

by the way I charge $25.00 to make a vulcanized mold with one wax
pattern and have been charging that same fee for over twenty years.

While the cost of rubber, equipment, wax, overhead etc. keeps going
up it is making it more and more difficult to keep costs low for
making a quality product. I think the prices that have been quoted on
the list recently for making a mold are right in line.

Thank you
Greg DeMark
email: greg@demarkjewelry.com
Website: www.demarkjewelry.com
Custom Jewelry - Handmade Jewelry - Antique Jewelry

My goodeness, great responses.

I don’t post here to be a firebrand or a wholesale offender and the
purpose of the post was not to devalue the work of the mold- making
profession…

BUT

When I see prices being quoted from as low as $15 up to $45 between
Utah and New York for the same model, I have to wonder. Personally I
think the prices are dependedant on the market they serve (local
economies) and not so much on the “hard labor” of mold making.

Just as a side note, I’ve cut molds on and off for the past 6 years,
and yes, cutting a complex 3d object out of the mold can be a b*tch.
Cutting round, flat coin-like shapes is not.

On making a living - I happen to have to do that as well. I’m by no
means rich and if I clear $12,000 off my jewelry this year I will
consider it a success (self employed 3 years). And if I can save some
money on $800 worth of molds, I will.

Thanks to all for your responses, thank you in particular to those
who actually suggested some mold making companies.