With the increase in the number of split spots being noticed on ASM chips in recent months, I took it upon myself to go through the fantastic archive of images of ASM chips here on Chiptalk to see if could find the most likely color combinations to result in split spots. Here’s what I did and what I was looking for.
To begin, I decided to start with chips posted in the custom chip gallery after the first of the year, 2007. This was partially an arbitrary date. There was intent with this date as it represents a well defined cut-on date as well as a date when a variety of spot options had been opened up Chiptalkers. The last date for which I looked was November 1st, 2008... a span of nearly two years.
Second, I intentionally looked at chips that only used 214, 2A14, 314, 3AT14, 414, 4A14, 614, 6A14, 212, 2A12. 312, 3AT12, 412 or 4A12 spots. I did not use any double spot chips as I wanted to reduce the number of variables in the study. (I didn’t want to try to distinguish the differences between a yellow 3D14 gray/purple chip vs. a yellow 3D14 gray/black chip!!)
Third, I did not make an effort to study the effects of the different molds on splitting. With seven molds to look at (Horsehead, H-mold, A-mold, Hourglass, Circle Square, Roman and Fleur de Lis), this would have really complicated the study. In short, I can say that the hourglass appears to be the mold most likely to cause splitting while the H mold is probably the least likely. Two of the molds listed here (Roman and FDL) have photos in the gallery but are officially “retired” by ASM. A third mold (Circle Square) appears to now be reserved for solids by ASM.
Fourth, there are color combinations that I am certain exist, but I have not included in the summary simply because the colors used were not listed in the post with the photos. I wasn’t about to make guesses out of fear that I might get them wrong.
Without further ado, here is the chart.
The colors listed along the left edge (the Y axis) are the base colors. The colors along the top (the X axis) are the spot colors. You will notice that a base color when matched to the same color as a spot is blacked out, for what I hope is a pretty obvious reason! As an example, a mandarin red base with a white spot is colored green while a white base with a mandarin red spot is colored orange.
Each square with a color pair (base and spot) has been filled with a different color. For starters, any space that is white (or more specifically hasn’t been colored) represents a case where I did not find an example in the gallery with those colors. A green fill shows a case that for all intents and purposes didn’t show the spot being split by the base color. There may be case here and there with a split spot, but it is very rare). A yellow fill is a case where, on rare occasion, the spot has been split by the base color. Orange fills are cases where splitting of the spot by the base happens occasionally, potentially enough to be a nuisance to some, and red fills are cases where spot splitting is extremely common.
Now for a few generalizations. White as a base is very frequently problematic. Black as a spot is also highly likely to cause problems (I know this well with nearly half of my yellow 412 black spot chips showing splits). While there are relatively few examples of day-glo base colors, it is apparent by looking at the chart that you are treading a fine line to split spots if you choose to go that route. ASM has humored us with requests for day-glo base colors, but the split spots may be part of the reason they have been reluctant in the past to do this.
As of November 1st, 2008, there has only been one set posted that used the new Chiptalk exclusive Light Blue in anything other than a solid color chip. It's apparent from the one example that as a base color, it will do bad things to spots, especially if they are darker colors. For the time being I have refrained from adding light blue to the chart simply because there aren't enough sets that use it either as a base or a spot color to know larger trends. As more sets come in that use light blue, I will add the appropriate columns to the chart.
The Hourglass mold, while having a great texture as well as a nice, neutral design, appears to be causing the greatest problems with spot splitting. There have been comments in many of the posts to the effect that ASM must have changed things and that their quality control has fallen. It appears that these comments are in threads that show chips with the (rather new) Hourglass mold. I think this should serve as a buyer beware that the ART of making compression clay chips (NOT SCIENCE) has the potential to cause issues. It would appear that if you really do not care for split or otherwise misshapen spots you should be more careful with your mold selection as well as your color choices.
As a side note to the previous paragraph, as well as comments from other Chiptalkers (and as a little piece of defense for ASM), ASM is NOT the only company producing compression clay chips to experience this problem. Photos showing split BCC spots as well as (gasp) Paulson do exist. It has been guessed by others that a combination of materials as well as the pressure and temperature differences between the companies may have a bearing on the chips from ASM being more prone to split spots. My feeling it that it is these differences, in combination with the molds in use, that ultimately causes split spots.
I have compiled this chart and the associated description from my examination of the very large number of high quality photos that Chiptalk members have posted to the site. Without that fantastic resource, this would not have been possible. The list is too long to put here, but if you have posted photos and provided your color and spot combinations, odds are I used those photos to compile this chart. For “sharing the love”, I thank you! I suspect other Chiptalkers will also thank you when they use this chart and the other information here to pick their colors.
Have fun selecting, designing and ultimately enjoying your chips when they arrive. May you win big with them!!
As a disclaimer, I provide this chart to make the information on what colors are likely to split easier to access. I do not (and cannot) guarantee that your spots will or will not split. That’s up to whatever the chip pixies decide to do when your chip is being pressed under tons of pressure and the heat of the moment. All this chart shows are those ASM colors that have historically shown if they have the tendency to split during the pressing process.