Four Advantages Of Utilizing A Domestic Tooling Source:

Elite Mold & Engineering – Domestic Tooling Experts 

3D Printing Example

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Many customers today compare 3D printing with injection molding services in search of the most efficient way to manufacture their custom production parts or prototypes. The efficiency that customers are chasing in this context generally refers to quicker turnaround, lower costs, and achieving the leanest, most sustainable end products possible.

To that end, injection molding and 3D printing services are two of the best modern manufacturing processes for custom plastic products, with each one being uniquely optimizable for different product types and/or volume requirements.

Custom Prototype Manufacturing and Product Development

3D printing is generally the most effective manufacturing solution for rapid prototyping projects because it provides the quickest turnaround possible. It’s a highly efficient manufacturing process for small batches of prototypes that carry intricate designs with complex geometries – which would otherwise require equally complex (and costly) tooling in the case of injection molding. Additive manufacturing is also optimized for tackling numerous design iterations, making it a boon for ongoing product development and refinement.

On the other hand, injection molding is the better service for prototypes that must be virtually identical to the final production parts. Your upfront costs will likely be greater, and the setup/tooling process requires longer lead times, but the end prototypes that you receive will be manufactured without compromise. This is sometimes a requirement for extremely demanding industries, such as precision aerospace applications or specialized injection molded automotive parts.

3D Printed Prototypes:

  • Rapidly produce custom prototypes without developing costly, complex tooling first.
  • Capable of producing virtually any complex part design into a functional prototype to test, refine, and implement additional design changes.

Injection Molded Prototypes:

  • Production-ready prototypes that exhibit superior strength and surface finish.
  • Streamline your project from the prototyping process into full-scale production.
  • Mold tooling can be fabricated from aluminum or softer steels like P20 to minimize costs and turnaround time compared to production injection molding.

Small Batch and Low-Volume Manufacturing

For low-volume manufacturing projects requiring less than 100 products, 3D printing services often provide the quickest and most cost-effective solution. Our DLS printing capabilities can achieve production-ready parts with a high level of infill density, satisfying many modern product requirements for strength and performance. Even for some mid-volume projects totaling <10,000 products, additive manufacturing is often the choice due to the process’ design freedom and rapid turnaround.

However, many small-volume projects are better served through the injection molding process. When higher strength, consistency, and/or extreme design complexity need to be accommodated, injection molding generally offers a more reliable solution than 3D printing services.

Moreover, low-volume injection molds can often be fabricated faster and cheaper than high-volume production molds. This is due to the fact that the service life of the tooling will be limited, enabling the use of easier-to-machine aluminum or softer tool steels. A low-volume injection molding specialist can therefore help bridge the gap in turnaround time and design freedom via rapid injection molding (RIM).

3D Printing for Low-Volume Production Parts

  • Minimum lead times and unbeatable turnaround speed for low-volume products.
  • The utmost in design freedom, allowing for product modifications and refinements at virtually any point in the production cycle.

Low-Volume Injection Molding Services

  • Ideal for production-ready low-volume products that demand the utmost in quality, consistency, strength, and performance.

High-Volume Manufacturing and Full-Scale Production

While additive manufacturing has been most commonly used for rapid prototyping and small-batch manufacturing projects, advances in technology have made it possible to mass produce certain products using 3D printing. However, in the current manufacturing space, injection molding services are almost always the most efficient option for tackling high-volume production runs.

3D printed production parts are stronger and higher quality than ever, but still generally can’t match the ultimate quality and efficiency of injection molding. Plastic injection molding services thus remain the most efficient method for manufacturing high volumes of production-ready products.

Quality American Injection Molding Services and Additive Manufacturing Solutions

Since 1982, Elite Mold & Engineering has remained one of the Michigan region’s leading injection molding companies. Embracing the latest production technologies, our manufacturing capabilities today include 3D printing services which compliment our leading expertise in prototyping and low-volume projects.

Based out of Shelby Township, our company is uniquely set up to deliver the rapid response and quick turnaround that will give your products an edge in their respective markets. Dedicated to delivering superior quality, our company is an ISO 9001:2015 certified and ITAR registered manufacturer.


By utilizing domestic tooling, you can benefit from improved communication with your tooling vendor. No more late-night meetings or waiting days for a response from an overseas vendor. Instead, with both parties in the same or similar time zone, you can ensure timely communication that aligns with your schedule. Moreover, this approach allows you to save valuable time and money on travel expenses for potential tryouts.

Confidentiality & ITAR

When working on a highly confidential or new design, where getting to the market first is crucial, confidentiality becomes an absolute necessity. By partnering with a domestic U.S. supplier that possesses complete in-house mold construction capabilities, you can have greater confidence in the security of your data, knowing that it will not be shared without your knowledge. This is particularly essential for government projects that require ITAR data protection, making the utilization of a domestic tooling vendor a mandatory requirement.

No Additional International Shipping or Tariff Cost

With a domestic tooling supplier, you can avoid additional charges such as international freight, customs, and tariffs. The savings on shipping costs can help offset the price differences between low-cost country tooling and domestically built options. Furthermore, by choosing domestic suppliers, you can avoid delays caused by mold transportation via ocean freight or costly airfreight shipments. Saving both time and money is made possible with a domestic tooling supplier.

Qualification All In One Place

When constructing and qualifying a mold, it is essential to possess prior knowledge of any modifications or tuning that have already been undertaken. By opting for domestic mold construction, your chosen provider can ensure that they possess a comprehensive understanding and documentation of all prior work completed on the mold. This facilitates a more efficient problem-solving process and enables effective troubleshooting of potential flaws.

Let Elite Become Your Preffered Domestic Tooling Partner

Elite Mold & Engineering has been crafting top-notch plastic injection molds domestically in the United States for nearly four decades. Our talented team of experienced designers and skilled professionals in the Tooling Department are dedicated to constructing robust, high-quality, and efficient molds tailored to meet your specific project requirements.

Discover the multitude of benefits when you choose a domestic tooling source. With our expertise, experience, and commitment to quality, we provide a multitude of key advantages that will streamline your operations. Our local presence ensures seamless communication, offering you the convenience of direct and efficient collaboration. Elite’s stringent quality control measures guarantee precision and reliability, delivering top-notch tooling solutions tailored to your specific needs. Also, by choosing a domestic source, you support local businesses and contribute to the growth of your community. Our quick turnaround times ensure that you stay ahead of the competition, enabling you to meet even the tightest project deadlines. Embrace the numerous advantages of a domestic tooling source and watch your productivity soar.