You may know there are many types of metal for choices and several processes. Many people are confused about how to choose base metal for their customized pins since final result might be turning out to be same. We usually make suggestion for customers basing upon their designs and target. Here’re some tips for you.
Comparing with high cost sterling silver, low-priced metals we use for making pin badges include copper/brass/bronze/iron/ zinc alloy/ pewter/stainless steel/ aluminum/stainless iron:
Copper is more pure and the most expensive one, this is the only base metal option for real cloisonné process, which is suitable for costly jewelry/ medals and car emblem. Also, it has the best ductility for some special designs, copper pins are more expensive.
We seldom use brass to make lapel pin, because it can be substituted by bronze. Raw brass looks more yellow than bronze, other features are similar, bronze pin is the less expensive option, it is usually used for military badges, car emblems etc that require high quality. Maximum size we can do is 140mm and thickness is 5mm.
Iron metal is hardest and contains more impurities and gets rust easily, it is even much cheaper. But maximum size we can do is 1.75” with double sided designs and 3”with single side design, maximum thickness is 3mm.
Zinc alloy is more versatile with less limit, it is cost effective than iron pin when quantity is large or size is large. For large size zinc alloy badge, it can be thinner with less weight. We can do zinc alloy pin badges with weight less than 1kg. And because this is to use injection mold, when the design has many inner cut outs, zinc alloy is the best option without extra cut out die.
Pewter metal is good option for outstanding 3D designs even full 3D designs. This metal is very soft and would easily deform, and cheap pewter contains high volume of lead that is not good to healthy; the pewter with less lead contains 99% tin is more expensive and softer.
Stainless steel is normally used for making jewelry like bracelets/rings/earrings/brooches with high glossy and higher value. Actually with further process and plating, final product made of all the above metals might look the same just with some invisible difference, if you want to know what metal the pin is, we need to remove the plating layer.
Aluminum is cheaper than iron when no plating is needed, it can be kept in its natural light grey color. It requires anodizing (can be PMS matching) not plating, final finish is quite different. And aluminum is the lightest metal and also softer than other metals.
Stainless iron is high density iron in dark silver color that is not suitable for die struck process because stamping die would easily damaged and the metal itself gets cracking; and it has special treatment to prevent rust and so it is also not suitable for further plating. It is usually used to make printing pins with direct cut and no plating.
How to choose base metal, for regular designs, all these metals are workable, you need to take the design & quality you want and target into consideration. The popular choices are iron and zinc alloy, some customers choose bronze for higher quality ones. If you still have query about the base metals, you can contact our sales team to get more details.