We have been moving full speed ahead with our new project, the EDC coin. As stated in our last post, we wanted to do something with different elements. We love the idea of titanium, copper, and maybe even zirconium coins. Makes it fun to match different carries as well as getting to try different materials that you have never had before. The problem though is manufacturing these materials in a coin isn’t as easy as expected.
Softer metal such as copper, silver, and gold can be minted easily into a coin. Basically, they cut circular blanks and stamp them with a die. This is how they get the very detailed designs you normally see on a coin. For harder metals, such as titanium and zirconium, this is very difficult or impossible. Based on our research it doesn’t make sense to pursue the conventional method of making coins. This led us to investigate machining them.
We machine titanium all the time so making a coin in that process wouldn’t be a problem. The plan would be to machine all the metals as well in order to keep a similar look. We started the design and made an initial prototype model. It was simpler than a stamped coin due to the limitations of machining, but the coin could still have some great design features. All was good until we started looking into pricing. The quoted costs were much higher than expected and would make the titanium coin cost around $60 which in our opinion is too much for a coin. We strive to utilize technology and efficiencies to keep costs low and product quality high. There had to be a better way!
That better way is laser cutting or waterjet cutting. This is the process that we use for the Persuader and Executive pry bars. It is a more cost-effective process, but you are limited to a 2D cut instead of the freedom you get with the CNC process (that’s why we hand grind the pry tip on those). This brings down the cost considerably but forces a simpler base design. We are hoping to get the cost to around $25 for the titanium coin and about 50% reductions on copper and zirconium when compared to machining.
While the base design is now much more simplistic, it still allows for a plethora of finishing options to add that design flair. For titanium it can be tumbled, brushed, polished, anodized, coated, and maybe even get textures stamped into it. Copper can be tumbled, brushed, polished, blackened, and distressed. For zirconium, there are not as many options, but we are leaning for a black anodized. The possibilities are limitless and leaves a lot of options for special coin runs.
All this being said, we are pursuing the coins based on the current design. Our hope is to kick them off in a few weeks and get them in hand in late May. Who would have thought this much went into making something as simple as a coin. Thankfully, we love the design journey as well as having you with us during it. As always, let us know what you think.