Getting A Foundry Quote
Getting either an actual or an approximated quotation, which is also known as a bid, is an essentially simple task. Made more convenient if the founder has enough information about the project to form precise cost calculations.
As with most things, the most pervasive problem found by foundry founders attempting to calculate the cost is a lack of definite or approximate clarity in the given description of the artist’s design. Expecting a founder to provide accurate yet instant quotes on artwork yet to be seen by anyone but the mind’s eye is not a practical or realistic way of doing things.
However, some leniency can result in artwork falling under known categories, like portrait busts, etc. Though still be cautious and aim for as much definition as possible, you still face the interpretation that a verbal description can offer.
Since most of the workload of a founder cannot be specified into convenient descriptions, and much of the factors used in calculating fees are complex and more variable than static. Frequently a surprisingly subtle or minor detail forces an expense adjustment, either raising it or lowering it. Therefore, it is best to define carefully and in person or with some software to provide additional visual aid, like email attachments or video conferences.
A relaxed request leads to a rough quotation. If you want a solid and accurate one, you will have to supply the founder with a reliable graphic and further details. Use either mail, email or hand the founders in person photographs, drawings, pictures, or screenshots that act as precise indicators of form, relative scale, dimension, and surface detail of the requested project. If appropriate and possible, you should also bring in the actual work of art itself or a maquette.
Speaking of maquettes, they should ideally be created carefully to illustrate the exact detail and form to be expected on the end product’s master pattern. And do use appropriate material when initially modelling it.
Furthermore, if it is to be used as a functional prototype when constructing the up-or-down-scaled master pattern, please do appropriately scale it to increase the accuracy of the whole thing. Also, to make the process a good bit easier – and thus less predisposed to error – use a standard, easy-to-calculate, non-excessively-decimal-place prone ratio, like 1:5 or 1:10.
If sufficient detail is either not provided or not available when calculating costs, founders will generally only supply budget estimates. The presented outline facts inform how close it will tend to a fixed or binding quotation. Usually, the founder will use language asking for confirmation or approval to assert their right to re-estimate the cost after the customer’s settled-for design.
If you are sending photographs, screenshots, etc., the founder may miss out on an important detail: accurate dimension measurements. In such cases, include some form of a scale indicator, like a 300mm = 12 inches, a defined object to relate to, or any other – appropriate – equivalent.
Then again, you may skip any such relative scale indicators favouring defined written dimensions, which should fully include the proposed project’s height, width, as well as its depth and any ‘extraneous’ details for any relevant features. The metric system, predominantly metric millimetres, is the standard in most workshops – except some in the US. And remember, the point of a standard is that it stays put so other features and characteristics can be played with, innovated, and improved. So find one that a majority of the local industry uses, and stick to it.
While the measurement type should be standard, most foundries’ allow a margin of error of around 2-3%. Also, do not deliberately misrepresent it, hoping for a smaller casting fee. If you try to change it after, the founder can impose a fine or refuse the project outright. The same thing goes for all other measurements or items of indication and even shipping!