Hmmm, really? So the forged and barstock hammers, which cost $40-$50 each are not more expensive to make than the $15 MIM hammers?
In some cases....no. Mass produced items are generally less expensive to buy than those produced one at a time even when quality is the same. It boils down to profit margin. Two guys make the same part in their garage. They both work 8 hours a day. One uses the MIM process and can produce 10000 a year. Cost of materials to make them is $2 a piece. The other guy uses bar stock and a milling machine and produces 1000 a year. Cost of materials is $1 a piece. First guy has $20000 invested in materials while his buddy only has $1000. Both want to make $40000 a year profit. First guy needs to charge $6 a piece for his part. Second guy needs to charge $41 for the same part, even tho the second guy's product only cost half as much to produce. Now the second guy will only stay in business if and when there are folks in the buying public that think that even tho the quality is the same, the more expensive ones are better. Bottled water is another prime example. Take tap water, put it in a cute bottle, give it a fancy name with an endangered animal on the label and folks will trip over themselves to pay $2 for it. Still the same water they could get from the tap.