How to build custom spoon, custom fork or custom knife
Building your own custom cutlery only needs five steps.
Step 1 – Understand your requirement and application
Can I design my cutlery if I do not know how to build engineer drawings?
Do not worry about the engineer drawings. As long you can provide us your hand draft we can help you design your dream cutlery. Hand draft, your food, or the cutlery pictures you are interested are all very important reference for us to understand your demand. We have more than 30 year experience in plastic product development and 10 plus year experience in disposable cutlery product development. We have broad knowledge about the cutlery application in a variety of food. No matter your food is appetizer like salad, main dish like pasta or dessert like cake or ice cream, we can provide you suitable sizes and material to lower the risk of new product development. Our mission is to help designers shorten the development process and build the cutlery they want.
I am bad at drawing. Can I provide other reference? Of course. Sometimes we also use the handmade samples in clay or wood or other material to build our prototype. You can use the same way to build your samples and send to us. If possible, you are welcome to visit our company for further discussion.
Step 2 - Confirm the design drawings
After we receive your reference or samples and understand your demand, we will start to design the cutlery. If you have your engineer drawings, it will only take 3-5 days to identify the potential problems of the application or tooling development. Otherwise, it will need 10-14 days to build a new drawing. The more complicated design may need longer lead time.
After the engineer drawing is completed, we will send you the drawing for confirmation. We can provide you the drawing with igs format, x_t format, pdf format or the format you can read. In the file, you need to confirm the design, thickness, length, weight and the dimensions matter for you.
If you have concern about the design, we can do minor adjustment for the dimensions or shapes. It will need another 5-10 days to rebuilt the drawings if the minor adjustment is necessary. We will provide you the drawing again for final confirmation.
The surface treatment will be confirmed in the step as well. You can select high polish or texture on your cutlery. High polish gives customers impression of high quality and texture give customers the impression of high value but low key and a little mystery.
Step 3 - Custom cutlery prototyping (not necessary)
Is it necessary to build the prototype for your custom cutlery? No, it is not a necessary step for everyone. However, if you have following concerns, you can consider building the prototype.
1. If your design is unique and has never seen before, we would suggest build the prototype. With the prototype, you can see the real design in physical but from your computer. Sometimes what you see in the computer is much different from the real world.
2. Your custom cutlery has special function. You would like to test if the function works as your expectation. For example, you would like to know the spork tine if long enough for your meat.
3. Your design is special and has no reference in the market. You worry about the handle strength or the scoop shape that may not meet you demand. Under the circumstance, building prototype is also considerable.
Most of Tair Chu cutlery must go through the prototyping step before hitting the market because our plastic utensils are design with non-traditional or unique shape. We need to do many tests in looks and function in advance to satisfy customers’ expectation.
How to do the cutlery prototype? There are three methods to build the cutlery prototype.
1. Cutlery prototype from 3D printer
2. Cutlery mockup from CNC machining
3. Cutlery prototype mold
3D printer is the rising star in product prototyping. The lead time is very short. It can save developer time . However, you can’t expect too much for the prototype from 3D printer because the majority of 3D printers can only build the prototype with coarse surface. If you need the fine surface for your design, you need to pay a lot for building the prototype with high end 3D printers.
Mockup from CNC machining is a traditional way to build the prototype. The prototype surface is better than that from 3D printers. We usually use the method to confirm the new design cutlery if we don’t worry about the cutlery strength.
The advantage of both 3D printer and mockup from CNC machining is lower cost. However, the biggest problem is that you can’t test the product strength or durability with these two methods. In addition, you will only get one sample in the end. If you are going to test product strength or durability, you should go to prototype mold.
What is prototype mold? Prototype mold is the steel mold for injection molding. The prototype mold is small and usually have no cooling systems. In the prototype mold, the runner design is design with the easiest way for production to save cost. Because the prototype production is close to the mass production, the product is almost the same as the final product. The only difference is that the product surface is raw but still better than that from 3D printer or CNC machining. With this method, customers can have more samples for tests or package design. The cost of building cutlery prototype form prototype mold is the highest among three but it is the only way to have the samples close to the final design.
When we design our heart shape spoon, petal shape spoon or cake fork, we use CNC prototype to review the design and shape. After the shapes are confirmed, because all of the cutlery are deign with non-traditional shape either with curve shape handle or with column shape handle, we build the prototype molds to test these cutlery’s strength and to ensure the design and function meet our request.
Step 4 - Build mass production molds
The mass production mold will be built after the drawing or the prototype is confirmed. The lead time before pilot run is around 28-35 days. In pilot run, the mold’s mechanism , the runner design, and operation stability need to be tested. The samples except for their surfaces should be 100% the same as the engineer drawings. With sales’ and engineer’s approval, the mold will go to workshop for surface treatment.
Customers need to select the colors for their custom cutlery in the phase.
There are two ways for color confirmation.
1. Color samples. You can send us the color samples that may be a ribbon, a wrapper, or a color paper. With the reference, we can analyze the color and build your cutlery with very similar color.
2. Pantone no. In many industries, pantone no. is the color bible.With the Pantone no, the color information is more accurate. It can help shorten the lead time for color confirmation.
All colors are analyzed with spectral colorimeters to avoid human error.If necessary, we can provide customers the plastic color boards to check the color with Pantone or their color samples.
Step 5 - Mass Production
The lead time for the production is usually 10 to 14 days. Our engineer and sales will do the first article inspection and build a golden sample for operation and QC. Operators need to take care product quality in the production process and QC department will do the inspection periodically. Before the shipment, OQC will be performed to ensure the product quality to provide the best custom cutlery for our customers.
Now your custom cutlery is ready and your company can start to enjoy the benefit from your exclusive cutlery for you customers.
If you would like to learn more about our custom process, you are welcome to visit our Process Flow page.