Process

Artwork:

  1. With definite design
    When a design is ready, you may provide us artwork. Please create with either software listed below, which is workable to us :
    • Adobe Reader 7.0 (or lower version)
    • Adobe Illustrator 10.0.3 (or lower version)
    • Adobe PhotoShop 6.0 (or lower version)
    • Corel Draw 11
  2. Without definite design
    Even if you do not have an artwork or an exact design, but only other references, like photo, draft in black & white or original sample, and may need further alterations to complete your design, please just send us the references and changing instructions, we could simply work out the practical artwork with corresponding alterations, as for pre-production sketch, for your approval.

  3. Pre-production Sketch
    If you need, a digital pre-production sketch will be provided and sent via email for your proof reading and approval, before production. The sketch will illustrate and interpret how the finished product will be, which could give you a better idea of how your design will come out.

Metal Choice :

Copper, though of higher cost, could capture sharper image and more details as it is a more malleable and softer metal, when comparing with its counterpart, iron.

Iron, among the various metal choices, is quite an economical and popular metal base for the stamped color-filled types, as of its wide adaptation to different color-filling materials and processes.

If not sure which metal is suitable for your design, our sales will be pleased to suggest, as per your inquiry.

Please also take a look of our table “Process x Metal Type”, which may give you an overall idea.



Remarks
"*" -- means that the respective combination of the corresponding metal and process is feasible
"(mm)" -- measurement of mm in bracket refers to the least thickness possible for the product outcome
While without "*", that means it is seldom or even infeasible to have the respective combination of the corresponding metal and process
Process Choice:

There are 8 process types that are Hard Enamel, Imitation Hard Enamel, Soft Enamel, Photo Etched, Printed and Stamped without Color Filling, Pewter and Zinc Alloy. Basically, these different process types could be classified into 3 categories, namely Die Struck (Stamped), Die /Spin Casting and Photo Etching.

Hard Enamel

Hard Enamel is also called Cloisonné, Authentic Cloisonné and Hard-Fired Cloisonné. It is a natural color material, kind of powder mixture of ground glass and dyes.

The technique of Hard Enamel pin making has been used for over centuries. The pin design and shape is die struck onto the surface of copper and formed a based with recessed areas separated by the metal borders. Hard enamel color is then hand filled to the respective recessed areas and fusion with heated up to at least 800°C in kiln follows, one color one time; and then cooled down to crystallize.
End steps are to get pins polished and plated upon how the pin design requests.

Imitation Hard Enamel

Imitation Hard Enamel is also called Soft Cloisonné, Imitation Cloisonné, Synthetic Cloisonné, New Cloisonné, Semi-cloisonné and Cloisonné II and Epola.

The making of Imitation Hard Enamel pins is almost same as that of Hard Enamel ones. Only the color pigments of Imitation Hard Enamel are synthetic, which needs heating of up to 100°C in fusion and have wider choices, matching Pantone PMS color. Product of it resemble to Hard Enamel ones to a great extent, with lower cost comparatively.

Soft Enamel

The making of Soft Enamel pin is similar to that of Hard Enamel and Imitation Hard Enamel.

The color option is available per the Pantone colors. Its pigment is alike to that for car and is in paint form, for which the color stratum is thinner than that of Hard Enamel and Imitation Hard Enamel, so the fine metal rims and borders could be more noticeable or felt on the product top and became a distinctive feature for this type. And this allows more design diversification.

Photo Etched

The overall production of the photo etched pins is similar to the other color-filled types (Hard Enamel, Imitation Hard Enamel & Soft Enamel), with the process of color filling and fusion by heat significantly essential, while the tool for this coloring is a kind of syringe.

Different from the stamping method, making use of the technique for photographic negatives, the images of the desired design are imposed onto the entire metal plate, Recessed areas etched by chemical acid for injecting respective colors, which is the same paint pigment of soft enamel and thus also matching pantone colors.
The production processes including the etching and color filling are done collectively for the whole metal plate, for which our size is of 380mm x 305mm, before each individual pin to be cut out.
So the production is comparatively shorter and cost effective, comparing with other color-filled types.
Above all, this technique manages to etch the recess area extremely shadow, that the pin thickness could be 0.8mm or even thinner. And the metal borders and details could be very thin, so this method enables elaborated design that could be very delicate and intricate.
On the other hand, the metal rim of the pin shape will tend to be thick to hold the slight weight and the distinguished thinness of the whole piece.

Printed

The printing method offers another flavor and more flexibility for the pin creation. It lets your design or artwork to be printed directly onto the metal top. When you do not need metal lines or edges to surround or separate the colors, it is good to use this process, available in 3 methods, namely Silkscreen Printing, Offset Printing and Pad Printing.

Silkscreen method is more appropriate for design of solid color, while Offset for designs having gradual color changing and shifting. Pad printing is applicable to curled and uneven surface, especially 3D top. Their respective resolution is 280-300dpi for Silkscreen, 200dpi for Offset and 175dpi for Pad.

Silkscreen method is the same as used on T-shirt, printing each color of the design at one time. Having a higher resolution, it is idea for designs requiring sharper and highly recognized images. And it could be a nice solution when color filling may not fully carry out the pin design, for instance, you could adopt color filling and then silkscreen printing on top of the color-filled surface, which will also help boost your design.

Offset Printing uses the same procedure as for paper printing, involving the 4-color (CMYK) processing. It can reproduce exactly the image and fonts of your artwork, which could be a painting, picture or camera photo, especially ideal for considerable color counts, as it only charges four set-up fees.

Pad Printing is most suitable for printing on uneven surface, And it comes up with solid-color printing as well as 4-color printing.

Also you could choose to leave a rim along the edge of the pin top, either in its metal color or any other colors to suit your design. And glittering effect could also be added to printing to enhance the pin design and outlook.

Stamped without Color Filling

Image of the design is die struck onto the metal with no color filling. As offering a typical metal feel, this method is not only used for making pin, but also very prevailing for making as medals and coins.

The raised area will be highly polished, while the recess area may have various textured effect. And sandblasting or foggy could intensify the textured & matte look.
Plating could then be the chief way to further embellish the product.

There are various options for plating so as to meet the theme of your design, like gold, silver, bronze, brass, nickel, chrome. And special plating effect of antique tone or 2-tone could also further uplift your design. Please visit the page “Color Charts” for the plating choices.

Pewter

The material is a mixture mainly of lead and tin, as well as of few necessary metal substances, suitable for 2D & 3D designs and sculptured items. Process involves spin casting.

With different portion of tin, different pewter materials are generated, which we classified from #1 to #6, varying in terms of their melting points, softness, smoothness, weight, brightness, fragileness and cost, etc. #1 consists of the highest tin portion of 90%, thus is having the lowest melting point, being softest, smoothest, lightest weight, brightest, least fragile and most expensive, among our six pewter materials. While #6 has lead as its maximum portion, its attributes are just opposite to #1. Usually #3 is employed for our production of pewter products.

As fits for 3D design and comprises certain brightness, with addition of the color filling, pewter is good for making products like jewelry, garnishing accessories, decorative ornaments and elegant miniatures, etc.

Zinc Alloy

It is also called “Zamac” and involves process of die casting. The front and back molds are geared in the die-casting machine, in which the liquidized zinc alloy is injected and then solidified to form the designed shape. Being capable of implementing 2D, 3D & sculptured items, plus possessing remarkably smooth and shiny surface, Zinc Alloy products could extensively impress their customers and consumers, as well as excel the die struck types.
Coloring:

Coloring could be color-filling kind employing color pigments namely Hard Enamel, Imitation Hard Enamel and Soft Enamel. The other kind is printing of 3 methods, Offset, Silkscreen and Pad.

You may ask how to distinguish the diverse coloring types. The following tables generally pointing out their typical differences will help.




Grinding / Polishing :

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Attachment :

Variety choices for attachment are available to actualize the aim and usage of your product. Kindly see our page of “Attachment” to choose. Or please advise the desired attachment your product will use, or the usage of the product and we will check it out for you.

Plating / Finishing:

Different plating colors or methods could help diversify your designs and let your products to stand out.
A single design could have varied plating for getting various outlooks. Kindly refer to our page of “Color Charts” to choose your desired plating outcome.

Basic plating like gold, silver, copper, brass, nickel and chrome exhibits the shiny and flashing effect.
Antique plating is good for intensify the design of ancient theme, rendering a feel of past times.

Foggy and sandblasting could be other kinds of finishing to be done on metal areas, giving a textured & matte look. In cases of iron material, sandblast is not preferable, as the effect is not obvious for iron, which is hard and having more particles.
Epoxy:

It is another type of optional finishing, which is quite popular and a kind of clear & transparent plastic. Originally in liquid form, it will spread out to cover the full top of the product when meeting product’s pre-heated surface, and then crystallize to be a thin layer coating in dome shape, thus carrying several functions :

  • Serving as a top layer of protection, avoiding scratching or damage on the color fillings
  • Enhancing the final product, as its glossy transparent nature gives a shiny finished appearance
  • Adding thickness to the final product, as of certain thickness of its dome shape (Normally it comes out as a thin layer. Customers could still decide the thickness degree between extra slight, normal or extra thickness.)
  • Making product more durable, preventing cracking or fading after long time
Engraving :

Engraving could further characterize your product, in 2 methods of computer and laser engraving, usually on the metal surfaces.
The chief use is to impose different information for a single style, like serial or year numbers, names and titles, etc., in order to utilize the same mold.
Comparing with computer engraving, laser engraving is less deep on the metal surface, but could also perform artwork, besides letters and digits.
Quality Control & Packing:

All items are strictly inspected before delivery. Customer’s satisfaction is guaranteed!
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