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Onyx_6

What is a tool? {Minimates making variety, of course}

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There has been a lot of discussion lately about the 'tool' used for making Minimates. Sitwell didn't get his mug because there wasn't enough space 'on the tool.' The SDCC DoFP 4-pack had to have all parts reuse because of time and 'tooling costs.' Often a 'tool' may not be available at the time for a certain part.

So, what exactly is a 'tool' in the context of Minimate production? What does one look like (do you have pics, Zach)? I imagine something like a modular jigsaw puzzle, where each 'piece' has a rectangular shape mold and they all need to fit together, possibly with spacers, into a larger rectangular mold that gets filled with plastic. Is this even close?

Does the basic Minimate body have its own 'tool?' Or does each character get a 'tool' that has his/her accessories and basic body?

Thank you to anyone who can provide any insight into this well talked about, yet mysterious concept!

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The tooling is the mould that produces the basic plastic pieces ..........something akin to this is made by the tooling . post-638-0-27277700-1403788334_thumb.jpg

The following video very basically shows how it's done

I think.

I would speculate that each Minimate (less head) has its own specialist tooling which incorporates separate sub-moulds including unique & satandard/other moulds.

In other words I have no idea !

Edited by buttheadsmate

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Once upon a time there was a video tour of a factory that made Minimates. I tried finding it but couldn't. Maybe someone else will have better luck but either way I'd love to see an updated video that walks us through the entire process, from concept through shipping.

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Once upon a time there was a video tour of a factory that made Minimates. I tried finding it but couldn't. Maybe someone else will have better luck but either way I'd love to see an updated video that walks us through the entire process, from concept through shipping.

That would be really cool. We used to have a show here in the UK that showed stuff like that. How erasers were made and so on.

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I don't have any pics, but the basic Minimate body is it's own tool. Depending on the extra parts involved, and how many are on old tools, a wave can use anywhere from 0 to 1.5 new tools. Waves and sets can share tools, but each tool costs a bundle, so once a tool is full, we probably aren't going to start another one.

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So, a wave could be using 20 tools, if you needed a piece from 20 different old tools? Or can you change out what molds are on the tool?

I find this topic extremely interesting and I appreciate my things more if I know from whence they came or how they are made. Thanks for the details, Zach.

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I believe 20 tools would be excessive. I think the number of tools needs to be kept to a minimum for logistical and producion time purposes, which can affect what parts get used from which lines. They are not modular, that I know of.

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Zach, I think you and I should go to China on a field trip. highfive.gif

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You guys should bring Geoff Beckett!

They would not let him into the country.

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watch NatGeo's Megafactories, the one with the Lego episode.

that would give you an idea about the tool. i would assume it's the same expensive looking mental molds.

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25640_toy-bear-mold_u4otpkuoohegc34cxym6

This is a shot associated with that episode, which I now need to see. I toured a Chinese factory back in my ToyFare days, where they made injection parts for 6-inch figures and roto accessories and soft goods for 12-inch figures. It was very cool, but definitely not a "megafactory."

Our tools look similar to this, as far as I know, but I believe they hold a lot more stuff than this, and never multiples of a single item, since our production runs are much smaller than Lego's. I said the tools were not modular because I know that when they want to use something from a mold, they have to block off the parts they don't want.

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So, the Walking Dead Wave 5 bandana piece that was used years ago in Platoon, they had to pull the entire Platoon tool, and block off all of the other parts just to get the bandana? Crazy!

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