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0089-cat-looking-aroundb Where's your pricing in's Custom Shapes Library? ~Website Visitor

Where’s your pricing in’s Custom Shapes Library? ~Website Visitor

I had a visitor go through our Shapes Library wondering why there was no pricing to go along with what they saw. They literally said “Where’s your pricing in’s Custom Shapes Library?” I replied that we are different kind of company, we stock no inventory, we are on-demand across any material you want making to suit your budget and goals.

Although there is a direct relationship between all of these different parameters that affect price, I think it’s important dividing them up to help customers understand how we go about producing work for their project. works the other way around than your traditional “shape retail shop” in that we optimize our materials, shapes and sizes to suit your application and timeline. For instance, if you want a 3D cutout of YOU life-sized shipped to you tomorrow, you’ll have to live with what materials we have in stock, give us a few more days, and we can offer you more flexibility.

If your budget is far too low, then the “life-size” will become “hand sized”, if your budget is “skies the limit”, then we can go beyond life-size and give it some 3D shaping using stainless steel or even Corian with imbedded LED lights. We can service both extremes at the same time, cardboard to mahogany, paper to cement and acrylic to polycarbonate.

Price depends on Shape (Design)

There are literally more ways to design something than there are to skin a cat, it really never ends! What to you may seem like the same shape can actually cost twice as much to produce and it comes down to nodes, angles and vector parameters.

Without getting too technical, if you have a circle that’s 2″ round, let’s make that X price. Now, if you add an inner circle to make it into a donut, then you are looking at 2X price depending on the size of the inner radius or diameter. Now, let’s say that inner part is an engraving line instead of a cut line, then you are looking at about 1.5X price. If that inner line is rectangular rather than a circle, well, straight lines cut faster than round ones, so it would be cheaper even if the overall line length is actually more.

This is only for a circle, imagine the design decisions for something like an elephant that has just a big shape compared to a monkey with “hair” detail that might be smaller BUT cost more to cut simply due to all the extra detail caused by an smooth “skin”.

Price depends on Size (Dimensions)

Obviously, the bigger something is, the more it will cost in both material and time, including finishing. If you want a custom picture frame looking like a cat, the bigger the frame, the more it will cost to produce.

Size isn’t always a direct correlation though, for instance, if you want the frame made out of cardboard, it will cost a lot less, even at 2 – 5 x the scale larger than if it was made at the original scale out of 304 stainless steel. If you want a call out sign made out of whiteboard material, it will cost a lot more to make that exact same call out sign out of specialized whiteboard acrylic that’s semi-transparent or as a blackboard.

Size is only part of the equation. Let’s say you wanted a custom shape of a boat made for your house, if we made it out of a mirror, it would cost less than something the exact same size made out of Corian. Small details can have a significant impact on unit price as well, we specially when we are dealing with larger volumes where line optimization becomes key.

Price depends on Material

Although it might make total sense that a circle out of anodized aluminium would cost more than the equivalent out of paper, what might not be is that the two circles out of anodized aluminium can have totally different price points. Why? Material thickness.

Although it isn’t a direct unit scale price from 0.02″ to 0.05″, meaning one doesn’t cost two and a half times more than the other, there are other factors involved to be considered. Sometimes our raw material suppliers have discounts to get rid of stuff that’s been on the shelf for too long, I can fit an order with a few other clients bringing the overall material price down or there is a more cost-effective method of production, such as physical stamping for large volumes vs laser or plasma cutting smaller volumes.

The rabbit hole regarding material options goes quite a few leagues beyond 60 000 under the sea.

Price depends on Application

It’s important for us to know about the application you intend to use what creates for you. For instance, is this a one-time or multiple use product? Will it be exposed to a salty environment or industrial where there are lots of vibrations? How about will it need to be cleaned on a regular basis and using detergents vs just lain water.

We make custom projects across a huge range of industries, from personal stencils for schools to Christmas Ornaments and machine tags, it’s literally all over the map! Each of these projects help educate us via our customers requirements, as to the optimal material to use for any given application which, we can then convey to other customers.

For instance, we made a lot of custom stencils across cardboard through acrylic until we had a customer suggest using polycarbonate and PETG, which is now our go-to material as it’s perfect for the application.

Price depends on timeline

Timeline has a direct impact on pricing, for instance, two weeks ago a customer wanted a project made NOW for arrival to their shop the next day, in New York City. The cost of “next day” for the project was a few hundred dollars vs less than a hundred if they were willing to wait a few days.

Timeline also affects the overall material options as well, from custom plate and finishing options to raw materials, the more in a hurry you are, the more narrow your options unless you are willing to take a hit on the chin cost wise. Time is money and when there isn’t much in the time department, cost goes straight up!

Now, this is not always true but generally the more “spec” your work is and the less flexibility you have, when tight timelines are thrown into the equation, cost go North rather than South.

Price depends on Equipment and Finishing

Technically, whatever we engrave we can also cut, whether that’s Corian on our CNC laser or cardboard on our CNC router or even tile using our industrial sand blasting booth. The question is, which piece of equipment does an optimal job on any given project.

Each piece of equipment has the optimal production envelope and furthermore, each one produces a different finish that may or may not require additional production. Each piece of equipment also has their advantages and disadvantages, for instance, our CNC laser doesn’t require holding any parts down as it’s a non-contact method while CNC routers need things held down.

Engraving depth is perfectly consistent with CNC routers as there is Z-axis (up and down) control while there is no two-way feedback with CNC lasers, it’s based off material density while this is somewhat true with sand blasters but there are still other issues involved such as grit freshness and compressor PSI.

Price depends on Volume

To a certain extent, the more of any given unit you get to produce for you, engraving, cutting and/or designing, the lower the price per unit becomes. These units don’t drop proportionally though, so the difference between one unit and ten will be far larger than ten thousand and eleven thousand.

As referenced earlier, the design has a large effect as well when mass custom production is involved. For instance, if you want us to make a thousand custom bottle openers out of stainless steel, with personalized annealing, one line of text will have a direct effect across those many units. You must ask yourself, is this extra line of text essential if you are trying to keep things to a particular budget?

The more optimized your design, the more your budget will stay in line as volumes increase.

Brochure_OutsideB Where's your pricing in's Custom Shapes Library? ~Website Visitor