03 Nov 2021

How Much does a Foundry Pattern Cost?

A foundry pattern is a tool used to produce the sand moulds from which castings are made (from molten metal). The pattern impression is essentially a replica of the casting.

So, if you’re a foundry, and unless sand printing is an option for you, you’re going to need a pattern with which to make your moulds.

And unless it’s a duplicate, replacing a worn-out or missing original, the new pattern will be unique. And so will its cost.

But exactly how much will this cost be?

Quite simply, it all depends on your specification.

The five elements of your specification that will affect pattern cost are:

  • the casting process;
  • the casting geometry;
  • the pattern material;
  • the number of pattern impressions; and
  • the pattern construction.

Read on to understand how these elements influence the cost of pattern equipment.

The Process 

Usually determined by the required volume of castings, the process will have a huge influence on pattern equipment cost. Handmoulding usually only needs one simple, lightweight pattern, which will obviously be far less costly than the metallic, multi impression tools needed for volume production.

The Casting Geometry 

The geometry of your casting will hugely influence the complexity (and cost) of the required pattern. Simple castings with no internal geometry will usually only need relatively cheap, simple patterns. Detailed castings with extensive internal form will require far more complicated tooling, the cost for which will, unsurprisingly, be far greater.

The Pattern Material

Low density tooling board or wood are suitable for handmoulding or low volume patterns. They cost the least to buy and take the patternmaker the least amount of time to produce patterns from. Cast iron or steel are the most expensive options, usually reserved for patterns needed for high volume production runs. As a rule of thumb, material will usually account for approximately 10% of your pattern cost.

The Pattern Impressions

A difficult balancing act when specifying patterns – more impressions means that a single tool can produce more castings, but more impressions means a more expensive pattern.

The Pattern Construction

The more separate elements there are to a pattern (running system, lifting inserts, steel wear strips, brass inserts for improved moulding, and so on), the longer it will take to manufacture and assemble and so the more expensive it will be. Going the integral route and incorporating all features into one CAD model for machining from a single billet of material will yield the greatest pattern cost benefits. The simpler the construction of the pattern, the lower the cost.

There is no ‘one size fits all’ price – your pattern costs will vary according to your specifications. It’s crucial that you get this right – right material, right number of impressions, and so on – to suit both your production requirement and your budget.

Your patternmaker will be able to discuss your requirement with you. And if they’re a good supplier, they’ll work with you to come up with a specification that gives you the right tool at the right price.

Read More:

Getting The Best Quote From Your Foundry Tooling Supplier 

Buy Better Foundry Patterns by Asking These Questions

How Much Does Pattern Equipment Cost?: Hidden Costs

Foundry Pattern Price Examples

Want to get a feel for how much your pattern will cost?

Here are some examples of a variety of patterns, along with an indication of how much they could cost:

Hand mould patternHand mould. A small pattern (170 x 120 x 95mm) produced from a medium density tooling board (in this case, OB0652). £750

Airset pattern produced from tooling board

Airset. A manifold pattern produced from a denser tooling board (OBO750), with an integral running system and fitted with single skin airset frames. £3,000

Tooling board horizontal Disamatic pattern

Prototype. A production-ready pattern, produced from a high density (high wear resistance) tooling board, with an integral running system, and steel corner inserts (for lifting). £4,000

Aluminium horizontal Disamatic pattern

Production. A multi-impression cast iron pattern, machined from solid billet with an integral running system for optimum performance and used on a horizontal moulding line. £22,000

How to find out your cost for sure

To find out exactly how much your pattern equipment is going to cost, you'll need to get a quote. 

Send your data (CAD model, 2D drawing) and pattern specification (material, impression numbers, process etc), and we’ll be happy to give you a budgetary indicator, or a full quotation if preferred.

Get a price

So, there you have it. Our guide to how much your foundry pattern will cost!

Learn more about how you can save both time and money sourcing foundry patterns with our free guide, Buying Foundry Tooling Better. 

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