Challenge coins come in a variety of shapes, sizes, finishes and designs which could overwhelm anyone looking to get coins produced. But in order to figure out what custom options one should opt for, it would be best to first understand how challenge coins are made.
The first step is the designing stage. At this point, design ideas from the customer would be developed and refined. The artwork can furnished by the customer himself or it can be done by artists from the manufacturer. The layout can be in any format. Even pencil sketches can be turned into a usable design for a coin. However, most professionals now employ graphic design software to make more precise artwork. The final design would have to be approved by the customer and the manufacturer before proceeding to the next stage. The design specifications should also include the shape and metal style that the client wants.
In the molding stage, the design is molded into plastic clay. When the mold has been perfected, a rubber substance is poured into it and allowed to set. Once ready, it is attached to an engraver that transfers the design onto a blank coin. The coin is made of the base metal that the customer has chosen. It must be ensured that the engraver have the approved design in reverse, otherwise, the final coin would have a reversed design instead.
This step takes almost a month to accomplish. That is also why the customer must allow for a long processing time for the manufacturing of challenge coins. If the coins are rushed in production, this could lead to items of sub-par quality.
Next comes the striking stage where the engraver is set onto an anvil and a hammer is pounded onto it. This results in the design being stamped on the coin. For coins with designs on both sides, two engravers would be used and the blank coin is inserted between them before striking. So, the two sides will have their designs appear simultaneously.
Then, the plating stage is when the newly struck metal coin will be given a plating as desired by the customer. They can choose from a variety of plating options with the most popular ones being silver and gold. The metal will, then, be finished according to the client’s desired look. Some metals can be polished to a high sheen or dulled to create an antiqued, aged look.
If the design of the challenge coin involves color, then the painting stage comes next. This is done by hand and each color is applied one by one. So, a large batch of orders would take a long time to paint depending also on the number of colors to be used and the complexity of the design. Those with fine lines and small details will involve a lot of care from artisans to make.
Lastly, the protecting stage is where the challenge coin will be coated in a protective enamel or epoxy to make sure that the paint will not easily wear off and to also guard against nicks and scratches on the metal. The recesses in the design will have to be filled in carefully and the surface coated evenly for a professional appearance. In this stage, textures using the coating can also be applied to the coin. This adds dimension to the designs and is good for highlighting parts that would benefit from further emphasis.
Online services for manufacturing challenge coins like www.challengecoins4less.com offer services on their website that will allow you to easily design and choose the coins you want. They also provide an effortless transaction with different payment gateway methods and free shipping that will get your challenge coins to you in the most efficient way possible.