The drawing is probably the most critical component of any product development process. You will get nowhere with a manufacturer if you approach them and ask “I have an idea for a product, how much will the tooling cost?”. That’s like going to a used car dealer and asking “How much are your cars?”.
Even small details that might seem insignificant can have significant effects on the tooling cost. In addition, if you try to explain your product over the phone the engineer you’re speaking to may misinterpret what your describing, perhaps leaving you with inaccurate cost estimates.
A photo may sometimes suffice if there is some point of reference given in terms of size and the part is not too complicated. If that is what you are relying on be sure to provide images from all sides of the part because again, seemingly trivial details can have big effects.
If there is a prototype available that is an exact replica of what you desire, that is the next best thing to a drawing. The engineer compiling the quote can use that to reverse-engineer your product and gain a full understanding of your needs. The issues with a prototype is that there is additional time required to do this reverse engineering, which will be added to your quote.
A well dimensioned drawing, even hand drawn, eliminates these issues. If done properly it eliminates misinterpretation and the need to make assumptions in product development.
A drawing generated with computer aided drafting (CAD) software is the best-case scenario. The engineer can manipulate the drawing, pull dimensions, volumes and angles. If the project moves forward the drawing may even be able to be imported into the mold design, saving time and money.
Due to the importance of a good drawing, this stage is not somewhere to skimp. Rex Plastics can provide these CAD drawings with an emphasis on designing your product for manufacturing, using best practices to insure the product meets your standards and minimizes upfront costs.