Information is king. The clearer you describe desired modifications , the better able we are to provide answers. Still need help? Give us a call. Generally, requests fall into one of two categories, modifications to the patterns we already sell, or new pattern types.
No Cost vs. Cost
No cost modifications to an existing, standardized mold patterns already in our line:
- Addition of a logo,
- How the location holes are drilled,
- Removal of the belt clip mount.
For both Universal Molds and Production Molds, modifications that require new pattern development include:
- Site channel changes,
- The height of the models on the backplate,
- Modified retention plates,
- The relationship of the two halves to each other, and
- Style changes, like open muzzles versus closed muzzles, and rounded edges versus open edges.
“…development of a new mold pattern.”
Mold development to support a holster style you currently make, a style that both you and your customers like, will require development of a new mold pattern. We will create that new pattern as a Universal Mold or as a Production Mold with matching Trim Jigs. The fastest and most accurate way to get answers about what can and can’t be done is to call us, and then send us one of your completed holsters that demonstrates those features . We’ll send it back with a comprehensive estimate of what it will take to make those modifications happen in the mold style of your choice.
There is no charge for reviews and estimates. What have you got to lose?
What is the customization process?
To understand customizations, it’s important to understand processes. The molds we offer have been previously designed, tested, and feature standardized. The benefit of standardization is that the tested mold features have been incorporated across a wide platform of gun manufacturers and models with success.
We do not stock molds. When we receive an order, that order is scheduled for production. The previously standardized design and the machining file for that manufacture/model is sent to a milling station where it is milled from a solid block of HDPE. A no charge modification, like removing a clip mount, means that the belt clip component is simply turned off for that single milling of that design.
Many custom modifications requests sound simple, but are not. To achieve the modification, the digital file containing the standardized model goes to a design station where the request is interpreted, modeled, and incorporated into the 3D model. Next stop is the lead machinist’s station where the modified design will be assigned code that can be utilized by a mill.
Depending on the modification requested, a prototype is milled, Kydex formed on that mold, and a holster finished to determine if the modification has unintended consequences or will influence other areas adversely. If problems exist, the design is reworked and molds are recut until a solution is reached. Contingent on the extent of the modifications, we may ship a prototype Kydex holster made from a custom mold to be reviewed by the customer.
It’s vital to understand that the modification outlined above will then exist on a single mold for a single manufacturer/model. All additional manufacturer/models will be taken through a similar process, which will require design time and machining setups. The cost for subsequent manufacturer/models may be less when your modification can be standardized. If milling test molds and forming Kydex may isn’t necesscary, the cost will be less.
“… small change can affect the function of a mold adversely …”
To better explain how a seemingly small change can affect the function of a mold adversely, consider our most common Production Mold request. Folks ask us to flatten out the indented area between the trigger guard and the retention plate. While developing the retention plate, it was critical to standardize so the same hardware could be used for every model. The dimensions of trigger guards that butt up to the retention plates, however, vary wildly. On one model of gun, the retention plate would work great. On another model, it would cause binding at the trigger guard. We solved the problem by isolating the retention plate from the trigger guard. The flattened area creates a neutral zone that allows us to standardized the retention plate and hardware package for all manufacturer/models.
What is a “Holster Pattern?”
There are as many opinions of what makes a perfect holster as there are holster makers; open muzzle versus closed muzzle, open edges versus closed edges, active versus passive retention, and too many variations in sight, trigger guard, and detent blocking to count. Every holster maker develops a style and function package that represents their vision–sometimes several unique styles. That feature package is a pattern, and that pattern can be reverse engineered as a mold to support that pattern.
Our molds, particularly the Production Molds, were originally developed to support our own holstermaking. Those molds product a specific holster pattern–the features and style we like in a holster. Even with small modifications, the appearance and function of a holster made with our Production Molds and matching Trim Jigs is essentially unchanged. The development costs for our current Production Molds are offset by using those molds to make the holsters we sell, which enables us to sell exact duplicates of the molds to holster makers at a fair price.
“… we can develop and test a new holster pattern.”
If you have developed a unique esthetic you are known for, and you have developed a marketplace for those holsters, you may be shopping for molds to support that holster pattern and help you expediate production. If that’s the case, we can develop and test a new holster pattern to reflect that vision. Depending on what you want in your new mold pattern, research and development costs can range from inconsequential to very expensive. We have a 3D file library of manufacturers and models that can be used to assist in building new patterns, but all new holster patterns have to be designed and tested.
Production Molds with Matching Trim Jigs are more expensive to pattern develop than Universal Molds. The symbiotic relationship between the Kydex Forming Mold and the Trim Jig Mold requires precise engineering to achieve clean cuts with the router bit on a table. Kydex can only be routed cleanly if it intersects the blade horizontally; any surface that is slightly vertical to the router bit will leave a rough edge. The fastest and most efficient way to get a holster to market, however, is definitely a Kydex Forming Production Mold and a Matching Trim Jig.
Universal Molds require less engineering. Since the trim line profiles are not predetermined, a holster maker can trim out the holster to accommodate their individual vision and esthetic. This lack of predetermined profile lines also supports less expensive pattern development. It may also be less expensive to apply that new pattern to subsequent purchases of other manufacturers and models.
It’s important to know that attempting to modify an existing, standardized and tested mold design pattern, or trying to incorporate changes into a mold pattern that was designed to function differently, often results in dissatisfaction or outright failure of the mold to perform.
Whether you want feature rich and unique Production Molds with Matching Trim Jigs that reflect a pattern style you and your customer’s love, or you want a simplier Universal Mold pattern developed, give us a call to discuss what’s possible with both types. We’ll start collecting the information we need to provide you with a comprehensive quotation.