Don’t Give me the Recipe – Just ‘Bake the Cake’!
October 20, 2023

When a plastic product is to be made, there are many different types of molding techniques and materials that can utilized to achieve the desired effect for the end product. It can be overwhelming. To make it easier, the starting point is for you to think about what the “cake” should look like. In other words, focus on the end product- what it should look like and how it should perform.

Think about dice, dominoes, letter tiles, and the like. They’re colorful, polished, can have all sorts of special effects, and in general have a great “look” and “feel” to them. So with that thought in mind, let’s dive in and consider how they’re made.

Standard monopoly-style dice and traditional dominoes are made with urea material via compression molding. Compression molding involves compressing a powder or granular material into a solid. The letter tiles in Bananagrams are also molded this way. This is a very old style of molding, using urea material. The benefits of using this material are that it is less expensive compared to other plastics, and the product that is molded has a heavy, dense feel to it.

After the urea material is molded into its solid shape it has a very flat, dull appearance with sharp edges all around. It then needs to be tumbled to achieve the shiny polished appearance with softened edges.

One rather obvious downside to injection molding (compared to compression molded urea) is cost. All these special effects that you can accomplish are more expensive to create. But think of it this way- those really cool dice you want to include in your game that is chock full of other components may represent a very small portion of the overall cost of the product yet yields a pretty big “bang for your buck” in the cool factor of the game.

As you can see, there are many different options and considerations that go into producing those dice that you want or that set of highly detailed miniatures. All the more reason to tap into the expertise required to figure out how to get them made.

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