turtle wrote:At the time ABS cost $0.12 per pound. Adjusting for inflation in the price of oil, that's about $0.60 per pound today.
As I recall, the average piece/weight ratio for system bricks is about 350 pieces per pound. If both that and the above are true, that'd be roughly 0.001714 per piece-- somewhere around 1/50th or 1/60th of the MSRP. I think the price of plastics has gone up since then, but even if it's been doubled, you're still talking in the ballpark of 1/30th of the MSRP cost.
turtle wrote:Does bricklink include the weight of the cardboard box in their numbers?
I believe so-- I think it's the weight of the sealed set, so that people selling the sealed box will know what it weighs when they ship it. So that includes the pieces, the bags, the box, the instructions, stickers, catalogs, and any other packaging that might be included.
turtle wrote:Changing the color of plastic in an injection molding machine wastes about 2 pounds of material,
I think a lot of the wasted material is recycled into other ABS elements. I remember being told that it's often ground up and re-used into things like black elements, which are too dark to notice the small imperfections. So, not sure it's eating up much material cost per se in terms of sprues and color switching. Dunno what percentage is reclaimed, though. Probably not all of it, but I seem to recall that it was a good chunk.
turtle wrote:The molds for the overwelhming majority of lego parts fall into the $5k mold range.
I don't think that's true, but I could be wrong. I believe the high-tolerance, long-lasting molds that LEGO uses for most of its elements (IE non-licensed elements that they expect to get a lot of use out of) are more expensive. Maybe someone can find the quote, but I believe they've told us it's in the $20-$50k range for most molds, and under $10k for the cheapo limited-use parts.
turtle wrote:A small injection molding machine, would hold a mold that made 16 1x2 bricks. And it would make a sprue of parts that size about every 8 seconds.
That sounds about right-- I know the 2x4 molds have 8 chambers, and 1x2's would probably be around twice that. LEGO's also said that it takes on average 7 seconds for an element to cool and be ejected.
turtle wrote:Those numbers tell you which mold the part was made in, which cavity of that mold it came out of, and probably what year that mold was put into service.
Yep-- Design ID, Mold number, Cavity number. Although not the year (that I know of). Maybe on a few token parts it'll have the year? Some say "(c) LEGO", but I don't remember any giving a date.
turtle wrote:Based on talks with a friend that works for a custom box printing company, the box for that set probalby costs TLG about $5
Really? That seems high to me considering the number of smaller box sizes. If it's $5 for a large box, I would've guessed roughly the same for printing a smaller box, and that would be a HUGE percentage of the MSRP. Is that the cost of the box itself plus the cost of printing? Does that include the die-cut and assembly of the box?
turtle wrote:it probably costs them a little over $5 to ship it to the retailer.
That seems rather high to me too-- plus, it's missing the step of getting to the distribution center. Not sure what steps it goes through nowadays-- I believe it used to be that LEGO would send the boxes to their internal distribution centers that would in turn send them to the retailers, and/or the retailers' distribution centers.
If true about this and the box price, we're talking $10.67 of the $60.00 retail cost, and that's not including the price of packaging, set design, license fees, product testing, advertising, market research, legal, etc, etc. Given that LEGO's probably selling this to retailers at around 50%-70% of the MSRP, LEGO's got to make a profit on $30 at the least.