Toolless vs Injection Molding/Vacuum Forming

First of all, Toolless does not require buying any tools, molds, or jigs in order to make your custom plastic enclosure, so it’s very difficult to compare those 2 technologies.

The question is more, what is your projection for your enclosure over a 3 to 5 year period of time. Do you think you will make less than a hundred, hundreds, thousands or hundred thousands of units? Most of our customers don’t really know for sure what their volume will be and that’s where Toolless helps with the process. We can design and make plastic enclosures from prototyping to thousands of units depending on the complexity, without mold costs.


Our engineering team is educated in the process and will guide you through the technology with their experience and knowledge of machining, assembly and expertise in designing.   The purchase of a prototype includes a complete set of 3D drawings submitted to you for approval prior to making the prototype.  The drawings provide you with a visual example of the enclosure to analyze prior to production to avoid errors.  The design, as presented, belongs to you and cannot be sold as is to any other customers.

Prototype Cost:  

Our plastic enclosure is completely custom made without a MOLD or TOOLING. Though, the technologies are not really comparable in terms of process or pricing. If we were to attempt to compare them a Toolless enclosure approximately 8” x 5” x 2” would run around $500.00.  A molded enclosure of equal dimensions and specifications would run in the multiple thousand dollar range due to the expense of the mold/tooling purchase required.

Lead time:  

A typical lead time at Toolless varies from 5 days to 3 weeks depending on the enclosure complexity.   Injection molding would require a minimum of 8 weeks lead time to create and standardize the mold dependent on the size of the enclosure.

Repeatability / Production / Mass Production:

At Toolless, we have a blanket order program for quantities between 100 to thousands giving you volume pricing, without the risk of carrying inventory. Injection Molding and Vacuum Forming offer mass production options for thousands of units, but becomes very expensive and difficult for orders for less than a thousand units. The blanket order system is not really conducive with the molding/vacuum forming technology in the 100 to 1000’s quantity range of production.

See our page here for Blanket orders:

Design Modifications:

Most of our customers have design upgrades at least once in a product’s lifetime.   Customers have been very thankful they found us because, for us, it’s just a matter of reprogramming the unit in our CAD software.

With injection molding or vacuum forming, if any changes are made the mold and tooling may very well become obsolete running the risk and the expense for a new mold/tooling.  Toolless offers modifications on the fly. This is one of the main reasons why our process is so successful. Depending on the complexity of the change or modifications there may be no additional expense for the change.  If there is a charge for the changes it is typically minimal and nothing in comparison to expense for retooling or the purchase of a new mold.  All our customers have design upgrades at least once in a product life time.