The Custom China Manufacturing Process

To make a new custom product in China we use the word ODM or Original Design Manufacturing.

ODM means a factory takes your product from an idea or sketch into an actual finished product. This includes:

  • 3D AutoCAD Drawings
  • Prototyping Sample
  • Molding
  • Product Production
  • Shipment to Doorstep

At Arcadia Sourcing, we get ideas daily and with those ideas from our clients, we work out a plan of action on scheduling a timeline and also giving a ball park costing on the whole workings and the final product costing up to shipping it to their doorstep.


Once the client is interested, we help them to work on the 3D AutoCAD drawing.  There are different software options on the market, however in China, most molders prefer to use Pro Engineer as it is more user friendly with their molding machines.  Please note that a number of overseas clients like to use Solidworks which by itself is great for viewing but not at all workable for most vendors in China.


Once the CAD drawings are out and the client is happy with the drawing Arcadia Sourcing then assists with making a prototype.  Prototypes are usually made of polyresin when we talk about plastics.

In the last two years, 3D printing machines have come into being and many have opted to go with 3D printing vs. the typical prototyping with resin. 3D printers can print out an item within a day whereas prototyping would take a week.  However, 3D printed articles are very flimsy and most of the time have to be corrected several times around.  For a good mold to come out properly we suggest the old way of prototyping with resin.

Product Molds

When the client is happy with the prototype we can then go into molding. Some clients refuse to do the prototyping stage as they feel it is a waste of time but we highly advise against molding without a prototype because a lot of things can go wrong. When the mold comes out they might have spent a fortune on the mold already. Having a prototype also helps the manufacturer whilst molding to see what the product will look like and how to then bypass some of the molding and manufacturing issues.

Molding usually takes 45 days but at times could be faster if it is not complex.  When a mold is made and completed the factory will then inject what we call a T1 (Test Shot One) injection.  With this injection, the factory will be able to see if the injection will create any flash areas or areas that are undercut.  Flash areas are areas where the plastic is having extra residue on the item so it needs to be deleted.  Undercut is where the mold cannot come apart due to some locking areas.

At the same time the T1 injected product will be sent to the client for verification and any amendment that they feel needs to be done. Amendments on a mold are only for minimal changes and not major changes. Once the client and the factory have identified which areas of amendments are needed for the mold the factory will then rework the mold and usually within 14 working days the mold will start the T2 injection and will produce the product for the client to view and confirm.

Manufacturing and Production

As long as there are no issues the client will confirm and ask the vendor to start the manufacturing process. It typically takes 30-45 days to inject and package standard products and 60 days for complex products. Upon completion, the manufacturing factory will then ask the client to inspect the product and if they are happy with it the manufacturer will ship the consignment to the client’s specified destination.

Interested in having Arcadia Sourcing help you through this entire process in order to have your original product manufactured in China? We can help you save up to 30% plus give you access to the best factories in China through our networks.

Please call 1-888-659-1018 or contact us online.

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