Alchemy Art
2 months ago

Project Update: Update: Molds & Sample Progress, Surveys This Week

Hey friends! Thanks for hanging in there with me on this project! I have some Chinese New Year updates to bring to everyone. This, finally, is a mostly positive update on how things are progressing. Phew.

As outlined in the last updates, there was issues with the first manufacturer and the pin had to be moved between manufacturers (but was delayed since we were having severe issues with fund holds due to the issues with Purrtagonists, which caused for an almost $20,000 hold between the two projects), so I had to wait until the first manufacturer refunded me (minus the first sample set) to restart with the second. I do, again, apologize for that and for my silence as we figured it out - we’ve had some individual problems occur with single pins before, but not entire sections fail that badly (or as dramatically) as with the Purrtagonists campaign. It was very poor timing to have two projects concurrently with large issues, and we were strung along for long periods to hopefully get an answer “soon” and funds being effectively hold hostage.

Of course, in the last update for this campaign, things were already moved over and started again from the point of art. The big issues I was concerned about from the initial manufacturer as noted in the last updates were as follows: 
  • The cuts in the pin molds not being as exact as I wanted;
  • Some alterations in the art that made it problematic to sit side by side (which obviously is fairly critical with this design);
  • The colors being pretty off in the initial, but ultimately when the mold was having issues it didn't matter  (since the mold was the bigger issue);
  • And some general concerns with flaw rates (with the old manufacturer) as they were becoming more popular and thus more inconsistent (it happens).

Moving with the new (one of my other main) manufacturer, we’ve already worked to complete the mold… but as you notice below, there’s a second mold now present! I did actually have to adjust one of the molds purely, this time, because I was an idiot (entirely me, I forgot one of the triangles in the edits somehow and it got translated into the art):

As a quick note: I know this probably doesn’t look like they fit initially, but they were designed to fit a tiny bit displaced apart, and the center on both images is sitting a bit higher than the left and right panels. This was a big concern in the first manufacturer because the lyre ends did not fit and it just looked… well, not wonderful. These are a lot better in that respect!

Why two molds? The second mold will have a silver sandblasted background (which resembles a more glittery background) versus the stained glass gold-plated pin. I know that this is something that sometimes feels different once you see it in sample form, especially with a non-white metal plate, so the silver will offer an alternative option for those that find that they prefer sandblasting more. The last manufacturer was also struggling with the stained glass color theory, so I wanted to potentially get ahead of the issue for those people who many not like the final look and offer something tried and true. (I don't believe it'll be an issue with the new manufacturer, but I'm choosing to be wary.)

I will be working to send the surveys in the coming week now that I have the photos above to show you for the initials, but I will allow for you to swap between the gold plated stained and the silver plated sandblasting in the survey. I won’t have a fixed deadline for this yet to get those surveys in, so if you want to wait for the samples themselves to decide which you'd like, that’s no issue. I know I said last month for the survey, but I was waiting to see the revised adjustments so you guys would have an informed update. I figured it would be easier if you all saw both options being worked on, over wanting changes later.

We have begun the back and forth for the color samples! There are obviously some errors below in the colors below since they aren't matching the art, but that’s why we sample things and adjust. The manufacturer is on break for CNY, but has noted all my edits/requests for checks for when they return in a week or so. They just didn't have enough time to adjust before they went on holiday.

Ignore the fact that this is currently gold - this specific variant is silver. The test sample was just misplated (another reason why you sample).

Obviously, after the pantone edits to the base enamels, we'll have adjustments to the transparent enamels, then we'll have the screenprints. I know it's a bit like saying "trust the process," but this manufacturer has done some complex screens for us in the past - of which the biggest point for a pin like this is a very smooth non-bulky screen. A good example is the one we've been working on alongside this one, just so you can see how the screens lay in a different pin:

Sample manufacturer, reference for the screen effects.

That all said, I've been happy with how their screenprints look in the past, so I'm fairly confident that it shouldn't be an issue here.

The minute I've approved the final sample for production on either variant, I will let everyone know and show those off! I appreciate you trusting the process for now, since highly complex pins are a bit bonkers without their screenprints. And thank you again for your patience.





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