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I would be happy to help you with your project.
By Profession i am a consumer product development director and have extensive experience with injection molding globally and happy to share these sources.
I work with designers daily and try to give back and share my knowledge as others have done with me in the past.
you can reach me firstname.lastname@example.org
also on linkedin
Dale W. Mason
If it’s silicone, the mold should be fairly inexpensive no matter the country. If you look online for silicone cost you should be able to find a price / kg. Your CAD program can give you either the weight of the part or you can calculate it using the volume of the part on the density of silicone. Maybe double the price of the raw material and you should have a ballpark idea of part cost.
Quotes will likely be all over the place and before you are ready to commit to an order you shouldn’t burn people’s time (or yours) trying to negotiate.
Try http://cascobaymolding.com in Maine. They’re good and fairly patient. Otherwise, gooogle away, and send emails to a bunch of factories. That’s how I found them in the first place. Another one I’ve heard good things about is http://www.premiersource.us. http://lusidarubber.com also specializes in silicone and pairs US sales team with Chinese factory, so it could be much cheaper than the other two, but I can’t vouch for their quality. Note that some molders are used to doing seals and gaskets, not cosmetic parts, and it may take a lot more work to get on the same page.
But do read up on designing for molding silicone, so you don’t waste much of your vendors’ time. It’s expensive but a fun material, and you don’t have to deal with the dreaded draft in many cases.
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For this project it probably makes sense to start with the companies the others mentioned. Recommendations from others have been the best way to find good manufacturers. When we don’t have sources available google is a slow way to go but it will usually get you there. The most time consuming part is following up with each company to get a sense of what they’re really capable of. Be sure to get multiple quotes; you’ll learn something from every company and like was said earlier quotes can be all over the place.
Another resource is http://www.mfg.com. You upload your part drawings and models to create an RFQ and manufacturers bid on the project. It’s not ideal if you’re trying to keep the design secret before launch, but we used it once and did end up getting in touch with a couple decent seeming companies. Fortunately you don’t have to buy through the site; you end up dealing with the company directly. It’s just a matchmaking service that manufacturers pay to be on.
I also get advertisements for a traveling trade show call “Design-2-Part” (http://www.d2p.com) which features contract manufacturers. The advertisements seem a little hokey for some reason but I recently talked to someone who went and they said it was well worth the trip. Theoretically there’s also Thomas Register (http://www.thomasnet.com), but I find it clunky to use.