What is cheapest thing to make?

What is the cheapest thing in the world to manufacture, on a cost per unit basis? I say it is a rubber band, my pal says a paper clip, another person says a postage stamp…other choices are straight pin, thumbtack, bb, penny and brass washer…i know a penny costs several cents to make so that can’t be the winner…what is???:confused::confused::confused::confused:

Transistorshave got to be in the running.

Something like a grain of abrasive, but transistors might beat even that.

Staples are smaller and cheapear than paper clips.
And you still need them one at a time. Anything smaller you use in bulk, eg sand grains in your brick work mortar…

One of the smallest “things” that you might request/use “one” is a jewel bearing, as used in watches.

Does that include packaging and shipping, or just manufacture.

Matchsticks and toothpicks, for instance, can ship in large-ish cardboard boxes. Straight pins and thumb tacks sell in smaller quantities with more expensive packaging, usually.

The packaging on washers sent to a manufacturing plant would be different than washers meant to be sold at hardware stores.

I bet the cost of a candy buttonis mostly packaging, shipping, and shelf overhead.

Checking the other posts, it’s going to be hard to beat those bulk transistors.

I suspect that is the cost of an individual transistor on a chip that had shitloads of them. For example an Intel i5 quad core with Ivy Bridge microarchitecture has 1.4 billion transistors.

As such it’s not really an individual unit; if you wanted to buy 100 individual transistors to use in 100 different items I really don’t think you can get the price quoted in the link.

I don’t know if transistors count because those insanely cheap transistors are printed deep into integrated circuits by the thousands or millions and look like this.

To buy a single “discrete transistor” like this still cost cents to dollars retail. I can’t find any info on what it costs to manufacture them, but the simplest are still more complex than a staple so I’d imagine they’d cost more.

I don’t know if the OP would count them or not.

ETA: Ninja’d by several minutes. That’ll teach me to walk the dog in the middle of a post.

I suggest those plastic coffee stirrers that look like miniature straws, or small brads (nails).

It costs nothing to make love.

Oh, ya think? :dubious:

And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.

Ice. It grows wild in some places.

Almost all of the things mentioned so far are sold in bulk and you’d be hard pressed to go into a store and buy just one of them. The one exception among those things mentioned is a single postage stamp. People do sometimes buy just one of those, and while the price might even be up in the dollar range, the manufacturing cost of a single postage stamp is negligible. That’s only true when they’re made in bulk of course, but that restriction is also true for the other things mentioned here.

Makin’ whoopee.

Isn’t there a rule against quoting lyrics in their entirety? :smiley:

Mud? Not a lot of market for it, but it’s certainly cheap to manufacturer.

Depends on the mud - barite powder drilling mud = US $165-328 / Ton (18 Tons Min. Order)

Add your own water:)


A sequin. They’re sold in bins in sewing and art supply shops, and I guess you could buy just one.