When making the prototypes posted above, the scratches pattern that I so meticulously crafted and screen-matched, sadly, entirely failed to survive the molding process.
Apparently when casting in metal, this is a common issue with large planar surfaces. Detail is often lost and minor surface finish flaws (which look like pitting) are introduced.
For the prototypes, the pattern you saw was created with a jewler’s burr in a Foredom flex shaft manually on each one (which is why the pattern is slightly different on each prototype). This was done line by line.
The casting firm suggested that in order to persist a pattern of scratches like the one I had originally created that I should make scratches approximately three times as deep as I want them in the final piece. So I spent last night doing this with a Number 0 florentine file:
This took about four hours. My finger is still store!
It’s on its way back to the casters and should arrive tomorrow morning. I’m hoping we should have some final pre-production samples (cf prototypes) in a week or two.
Oh, and there were also some minor surface finish issues on the circle prototypes that I mentioned last time—also caused by the same phenomena associated with casting large flat surfaces.
Those will be addressed by adding an extra plating step. The circle will be given a heavy plate of copper, which will then be buffed to a flat, flawless mirror finish. That polished copper layer will then be given a (relatively) light plating of gold.
They’re also re-working the rivet structure to create a tighter joint, as recommended by @pielock373 and myself.
Rodd.com decided to take our community’s advice and they’ll be going with the gold plated version, btw.