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Old 10-02-2008, 09:27 PM
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Alsa "Killer Chrome" product review

There have been a couple threads on HR.Com mentioning Alsa "Mirra Chrome" and Alsa "Killer Chrome". I took the plunge and ordered up a couple aerosol spray cans of Killer Chrome and their associated aerosol Speed Clear. And today I tested out the product.

First let me say that Alsa also produces a line of their chrome finishes for spray gun or air brush use. I have not used those products and my review is solely in regards to the aerosol cans.

Second, Killer Chrome is not an inexpensive product. At nearly $40 for a 12 oz can of spray, it is very pricey. On top of that there gloss black undercoat and their speed clear is also $40 per can. So you are looking at nearly $120 just to do a very few parts.

THE APPLICATION PROCESS:

I just did a fairly extensive write up on how you must prep the piece you want to chrome and then how to apply the chrome itself in my journal (see entry 354 and following).

THE RESULTS:

Here's a picture of the four shocks that I "chromed".



At first glance (and from a distance) they might look OK for a spray can application. But have a closer look.

Because of the nozzle configuration (simple spray can nozzle is what is shipped...NOT the special nozzle shown at their web site) the cans leak, dribble, and spray very erratically. The material comes out in spurts and as a result large drops of spray land on the workpiece and result in a very noticeable blotching effect as shown in these pictures.





I tried a number of different techniques, from very short bursts of spray to long flowing strokes and none made the slightest bit of difference. The paint comes out in spurts and in big sloppy drips as you can see from all the residue which runs down the side of the can.



I am convinced this is not human error but rather a design problem. The chrome mixture simply does not atomize properly. Also, this was not just a "one can fluke". I had ordered two cans of paint and they both sprayed identically bad and both produced the ugly blotching effect.

My second major observation regarding this product is that it will not provide anything close to a chrome like finish unless the underlying workpiece is mirror smooth. And I mean absolutely, mirror, smooth.

The Alsa site recommends spraying the chrome directly over a gloss coat of paint, either black or clear. They specifically state that the gloss coat should not be sanded because any sanding scratches will diminish the chrome effect. The problem is that most of us, outside of the real pros on this site, can not shoot an absolutely smooth final coal of gloss paint free of all orange peel or blemishes. Almost all of us have to color sand and buff to get a mirror finish in our paints. So the Alsa recommended application method simply does not work. The results are like the picture below...more of a dull aluminum finish rather than a chrome.



So unless you are a highly skilled painter you will have to disregard the Alsa recommendations and color sand your piece and then do a very meticulous job of buffing. Easy on a nice flat piece like the one in picture above, but quite a challenge for more complicated and intricate pieces like the shocks shown.

Also, be warned that although there are a number of web sites (as well as Alsa) that claim Killer Chrome can be sprayed effectively over any smooth surface no matter what color, I didn't find this to be the case as all. I shot it over my grill insert, which was gray (and VERY smooth) and got absolutely no chrome or reflective effect whatsoever as you can see in this picture.




One final note regarding coverage. Even if the produce spayed nicely and went on without blemishes, it should be noted that it doesn't go very far. I shot my four shocks, the spring mount shown in the picture above and my grill insert and it took approximately 1 1/2 cans of paint...or about $60 worth. Add to that another $60 of the Alsa clear and the gloss black undercoat and you are looking at $130 to $150.

RECOMMENDATION:

I would say Killer Chrome in the aerosol can is a very expensive product which provides very mediocre results. The cans that are shipped are NOT what is advertised. On there web site they show two part cans (product and hardener in the same can). The web site demo video even shows you how to activate the hardener in the can by punching a special tab on the bottom. They also claim on the web site to have special nozzles for proper atomization. But what is shipped is simply a one part product with a common aerosol nozzle.

As shipped the nozzles leak, drip and create a sloppy spray with large droplets that create blotches and discoloration in the finish. The product is very finicky to use and is clearly not something that goes on quick and easy. In fact, you will be lucky to get anything even close to an acceptable chrome-like finish without investing massive amounts of time, energy and money. I can't recommend this product for any hot rod related projects.
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