Chip Construction and Production
Today most of the casinos use clay chips but these are actually compression molded chips. Almost no casinos use 100% pure clay. Modern day casino chips are actually a composition of materials like calcium, sand, chalk and clay which makes them more durable than pure clay.
The exact process used for a casino chip construction is a very closely guarded trade secret. There are only a few manufacturers in the US that make casino chips and each of them have a different method of producing the chips. Casino chips are quite expensive since they are labor intensive to produce. For every casino there is a different and unique design and the logo of the casino is often engraved on the chips to differentiate them from others.
The inserts or the edge spots are not painted on the chips but the area of the clay is removed and then it is replaced with clay with a different color. Every single chip has to be treated individually. Every chip has a center inlay if required and then these are placed in a mold which compresses and heats the chips which is why they are known as compression molded chips.
The graphics which are printed on the chips are known as inlays. These are generally made from paper and are then covered with plastic and are applied to the chips before they are compressed and molded. The inlays become fixed permanently to the chips and cannot be removed.
Characteristics of modern day casino chips
All the casinos in the US use chips which are not more than 11 g. However, if these chips are inlaid with coins they can even weigh more. The chips which are sold for home games can be heavier depending on the particular manufacturer and the material used.
The ones which are used at home have suit symbols or faces of die around the edge and are generally manufactured with injection molding with plastic. For weight, some of these chips are molded around a metal slug or disc.
Though casino chips look quite similar to each other at the first glance with the only difference being the logo of the casino and the color, in fact every casino has different chips.
The main elements
The main elements in casino chips construction are as listed below:
- Every casino chip has a base color which is the dominating color on the chip.
- Inlay is the graphic on the chip which is made from paper and is covered with plastic before the chip is compressed and molded. The inlay will have the logo and name of the casino, the value of the chip and even designs.
- Mold is the pattern which is molded at the rim of the chips between the inlay and the edge of the chips. These are different than the inlays and usually have a special code and dates of the chip.
- Inserts are the spots at the edge of the chips. The edge spots are of a different color than the base color.
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