Injection Molding Tool Options for Plastic Parts

Choose from two molding options tailored to your manufacturing needs

IM Mold

We make it easy for you to work with us from prototyping through production. Using scientific molding techniques, we optimize your parts for production and monitor them in real-time via our machine connectivity network, saving you time and simplifying process qualification across your development stages. Every step in our process is documented as a data point and that knowledge is applied to each run of your parts. Along the way, we offer DFM feedback and design consultation to improve part design, and in-process CMM inspection to verify critical dimensions and help you qualify parts and process quickly. Finishing options? We have a range of those, too, including Mold-Tech equivalent finishes.

Prototyping or On-demand Manufacturing Tooling?

While the molds themselves are similar, part quantities, lifetime maintenance, quality documentation, and pricing vary depending on which service option is chosen. The right one depends on your project needs.

Get Volume Pricing On Orders Over 50,000 Parts

Schedule a volume pricing consultation today to see how you can lower your piece-part price for injection molding.


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Injection Mold Tooling Options

We have two options for injection mold tooling to meet your needs wherever you are in the product lifecycle. Our prototype molding process helps you cut product development cycles by weeks—sometimes months—and bridge to production with injection-molded parts within days. Our On-demand Manufacturing process is designed to meet your production needs, and helps you qualify parts quickly to seamlessly transition into production with scientific molding, in-process CMM inspections with GD&T, and a full suite of secondary operations to make sure that your parts show up and perform as expected.

  Prototyping On-Demand Manufacturing

I need to validate my design at Protolabs speeds. I need the flexibility to economically iterate before production.

I have on-demand production needs at Protolabs speeds.

Best When
  • Completing design or material iterations, and assessing cost or manufacturability tradeoffs
  • Key focus is to reduce design risk, increase R&D productivity,  and iterate faster to reduce time to market
  • Typical Quantities <2,000
  • Design is finalized and run-to-run part consistency is critical
  • Key focus is to improve quality, reduce cost, and mitigate supply chain risk
  • Process development, qualification documentation, and mold capability information is required
Mold Cavities Single Single and multi-cavity
Mold Life Limited (guaranteed for at least 2,000 shots) Unlimited
Mold Storage Stored for 18 months of inactivity Stored for 3 years of inactivity
Mold Ownership Upon request Yes
Quality Documentation Basic inspection reports available upon request
  • Scientific molding process development report
  • In-process CMM inspection of critical dimensions, including 9 GD&T symbols
  • First Article Inspection
  • 30 part capability study
  • PPAP, ISO 13485 through approved partners.
Shared Features

Aluminum molds
Standard lead times as fast as 7 days
Tolerances of +/-0.003 in. plus resin tolerance (in./in.)
Set-up fees apply to each run 
Consultative Design Services (CDS)
Finishing Options
No minimum order quantities (MOQ)
Quick-turn shipping in as fast as 1 day


*Inspection conducted on initial run of parts

Why Use an On-demand Manufacturing Tool?

Start with advanced design for manufacturability feedback, which ensures that your design is optimized before a single part is molded. From there, our scientific molding process generates data and lessons learned and applies them to each run of your parts. Our in-process CMM inspection ensures and verifies dimensional consistency throughout the manufacturing process, and we finish with a 30 part capability study to verify your critical dimensions.

Our on-demand manufacturing service helps you simplify your supply chain so you can get quality parts easier and faster. We meet your inventory needs with no minimum order quantities, and offer supply chain flexibility ranging from bridge tooling and just-in-time (JIT) production to standard production and dual-sourcing strategies. So, you get:

  • Free prototype mold when upgrading to on-demand manufacturing
  • No minimum order quantity
  • Scientific molding process development report
  • In-process monitoring and inspection
  • First article inspections and process capability study with GD&T
  • ISO 9001:2015; ISO 13485; CoC; CoA

Piece-Part Price Comparison

This chart shares the potential cost savings you can achieve with on-demand manufacturing for molded parts with varying levels of complexity.

EXTENTS 1 in. x 1 in. x 0.65 in. 3.5 in. x 2.5 in. x 1 in. 4.2 in. x 4.2 in. x 2.9 in.
PART VOLUME 0.16 in.³ 2.73 in.³ 7.31 in.³


$1.50 $2.45 $7.50


$1.00 $1.70 $5.30


$0.40 $0.85 $2.00

*Note that this is an example of parts to illustrate the potential piece-part price savings offered by on-demand manufacturing.

Enhanced Quality with Digital Inspections

Digital inspection reports on molded parts are available on every on-demand manufacturing order. Our metrology lab uses a 360-degree, 12-position 3D scanner that collects data, identifies dimensional variance, and creates a visual aid and color map for a direct CAD-to-scan comparison.

Compare Inspection Reports