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From Concept to Conception

How Pins are Made:YouTube Video 1
YouTube Video 2

Beginner's Guides to Pin Making:- Welcome to Pin Hell (2018) by Hannako Lambert
- Enamel Pins 101 by thepinksamurai

General Tips and Tidbits:- Assume nothing.- Even if the art is coloured correctly, the written pantone codes, plating, measurements, etc. will be what the factory follows.- Samples are not generally offered by default. Consider them an additional cost for the additional work. Best to request if you are not sure of how certain colours or special effects will look.- Molds can't be changed once made, but you can make multiple colour variants with the same design. Molds also have a shelf life of roughly two years before your manu has to replace the mold.- Glitter and Glow-in-the-dark powders are not always colour-matched to your pantones. Consult your manu for their glitter/glow offerings.- Pin grading is subjective and will vary by maker. Here is an example of mine. This one is another example with a more thorough breakdown.

Re: Soft Enamel:- Glitter can fall off the enamel if there is no epoxy coat sealing it in place.- Epoxy is not always offered by default. State it in your file if you want it for your pin.- Screenprinting can be printed with or without epoxy present. If epoxy is present, the screenprint will be printed on top of the epoxy layer, which will cast a shadow underneath it.

Re: Hard Enamel:- Line thickness can vary due to the sanding process. There is always a risk oversanding, especially near areas with tiny colour spots or near the edge of a pin.- Colours may come out slightly darker due to the baking process.

Re: Factory Errors/Worst Case Scenarios:- No manu will ever give a flawless order 100% of the time. The best manu rep is one willing to compromise a solution when an order does go wrong.- Not all pin flaw types are considered reasonable enough for a refund/remake. Due to the handmade nature of pins, exercise judgement when determining what is within reasonable human error and what is a more obvious factory error.- Very rarely will a manu ever refund an order 100%. More often, the refund amount would be based off the unit costs and not the mold fee.Examples of flaws worth bringing up to a manu for orders with a high flaw ratio (~40% or higher):
- Chipping/craggling plating
- Incorrect enamel colouring in more noticble areas
- Visibly large underfilling
- Unusually high numbers of dust particles/air bubbles, etc.
Disclaimer: Not all manu are guaranteed to remake/refund based on the listed flaw types above.

How to Format Pin Files for Manus:

Manu Preferred Format:
- Vector AI or PDF
- Pantone Solid Coated Colour Bridge
- High Res Image submission is still possible (with line art as a separate image)
All enamel-filled colours must have lines surrounding them.
Minimum Colour Space Needed Between Metal Lines:
- Soft Enamel: 0.3mm
- Hard Enamel: 0.5mm
Recommended Minimum Metal Line Thickness:
- Soft Enamel: 0.12mm
- Hard Enamel: 0.2mm
Minimum Clean Cutout Space Needed:
(Spaces smaller than recommended sizes may result in recessed metal areas instead.)
- 0.8mm Outer Cutout (between metal)
- 1.5mm Inner Cutout
Minimum Screenprint Size:
- 0.1mm
Types of plating available:
- Silver/Nickel, Gold, Rose Gold/Copper, Black Nickel
- (Soft Enamel/Dye Struck Only) Antique Gold/Silver, Rainbow/Anodized, Pantone Dyed

Example of File Submission Formatting:

File Submission (Cleaner Example):