February 13, 2023
  1. Injection molding involves the process of melting a solid material, injecting it into a mold, and then letting it cool down and harden back into a solid. This process allows for a great deal of flexibility with color, clarity, special effects, shape, hardness & softness, etc.
  2. Compression molding involves compressing a powder into a solid. The letter tiles in Bananagrams are molded this way. Dice and dominoes are molded this way as well. This is a very old style of molding, using urea material. The benefits of using this material are that it is very inexpensive compared to other plastics, and the product that is molded has a heavy, dense feel to it. One limitation, however, is that with color- typically only white, black, brown, yellow, red, blue, and green are available.
  3. There are just 7 different types of plastics, but hundreds of variations. Typically, plastics used in the Toy & Game Industry are widely available, vary in manufacturing costs, and can be tailored to the effect that you’re trying to accomplish. These plastics include PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride), Acrylic, PS (Polystyrene), PP (polypropylene), and PE (Polyethylene)
  4. Textures can be added to the mold on plastics for texture on the finished plastic pieces (BUILDZI Games). The process involved acid etching some or all of the surfaces of the mold with a particular pattern so that the plastic product has that same pattern molded into its surface.
  5. If there are multiple plastic piece designs and multiple colors, more than one mold may be required. This is important to keep in mind when considering tooling costs. For example, a set of plastic figures that have very unique shapes (from one to another) may require that each figure be molded from multiple cavities of the mold and then glued together. Also, if each figure needs to be a different color, multiple molds operating at the same time can reduce the overall production timeframe.
  6. It’s best to allow 30-60 days for building and testing an injection mold.  This 30-60 day timeframe is separate from a production lead time. The typical “inputs” for producing a mold are three dimensional computer generated (CAD) drawings or physical sculpts, along with detailed written instructions.
  7. Other forms of plastic manufacturing for toys and games include extrusion-molding (think hula-hoop), blow-molding (similar to glass-blowing), and rotational molding of soft plastic (think rubber-ducky).  The type of molding and the plastic resin that is to be used for the molding is a function of what characteristics (color, effect, shape, hardness/softness, etc.) the final product is intended to have.
  8. We can print on plastic – common types are tampo (or pad) printing, silk-screening, heat transfer, and foil contact printing. We can also create imagery in plastic designs by insert-molding or molding twice.  A plastic inner “core” is molded, then set aside to cool.  These cores are then set inside another “filler” mold (with certain art elements of the core showing), and then injection-molded within that filler mold.  The resulting component has 2C art but is not inked.
  9. The hardness or softness of a plastic piece is the result of the particular plastic resin that is used along with any chemical additives that can influence the hardness or softness, called the “durometer”. This measure can be adjusted based on what physical characteristics you want the plastic piece to exhibit.
  10. Certain plastic shapes like dice and dominoes can be injection molded in a very wide variety of special effects. Typically molded with acrylic material, the shapes can be as clear as glass, opaque, or translucent in any number of custom colors, pearlescent, iridescent, and luminescent effects.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This