Updated: Mar 6
Many game developers and creators ask me how much does it cost to produce miniatures for board games. When I ask them for CAD files or STL they answer that they are working on it and they still don't have a final version.
So, if like others you want to asses the production cost of miniatures before you start working on the design file, this post is for you.
Firstly I would like to briefly explain the manufacturing process. There are two ways to produce miniatures: one is 3D printing machine, where the factory uses the STL fie directly to print the miniature. And the second is injection mold, where the factory first makes a wax sculpture, then uses PU (plutonium) to create a mold and then injects the material of the miniature (mostly plastic) into the mold and dries it right after. Both processes are done by machine the difference is that an injection mold it is much faster and much cheaper. One machine can do a couple hundreds a day. where with 3D printing it can do a couple dozen only.
The thing is, that unlike 3D printing, creating a mold is an expensive process and is not worth it for small quantities. A minimum amount of miniatures worth while for injection is about 10,000 pieces. Some factories might do it for 5000 pieces also, but that's rare, and might not be much cheaper than 3D printing.
So without seeing the specs of the miniatures - their size, color, level of detail, weight - I would throw here an estimation by quantity.
Up to 2000 pieces a miniature of 28mm can come out to around 0.25$ per piece and larger miniatures even up to 0.6$.
2000-5000 pieces, a 28mm will go down to about 0.15$ and larger miniatures to around 0.3$
over 10,000 28mm will drop to 0.03$ and larger ones to 0.1$.
Therefore, if you are planning a new board game and are debating between having multiple types of miniatures or having similar types, consider these prices. Try to combine a couple of them making them similar in shape. This way the quantity for each type will grow and you can get a cheaper price on them. Otherwise you might end up with a game that is slightly too expensive to manufacture and then to sell.
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