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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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Old 10-02-2008, 10:46 PM
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Thanks for the product review. Looks like I won't be using it.

Have you contacted Alsa to ask for a refund??
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Old 10-02-2008, 10:56 PM
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Thanks for the great reveiw. Won't be recommending them to anyone!
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Old 10-02-2008, 11:16 PM
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Looks like a total waste of money, and false advertising to boot.
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Old 10-02-2008, 11:33 PM
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I remember when you built the grille and stated that you would try this product, I was waiting for these results. I am very impressed with what you have accomplished and wish you would have gotten better results.
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Old 10-03-2008, 04:51 AM
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I would contact Alsa for a refund ,the $5 a can dupli-color isnt blotchy like that and goes pretty far. linky
Shane

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Old 10-03-2008, 05:32 AM
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thanks for the time money and very good write up Ed
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Old 10-03-2008, 05:51 AM
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Man, sorry to hear that. I feel kind of guilty know how much money you spent and I got free information. Hope you send them back and get your money back.
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Old 10-03-2008, 06:16 AM
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You will probably find, that it dulls even more after a while.....I used a similar product on a grill.
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Old 10-03-2008, 06:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by poncho62
...You will probably find, that it dulls even more after a while.....
I'm going to shoot the Alsa clear coat over the shocks today just to see what happens (have to wait the recommended 24 hour drying time). I've read that simply applying the clear will reduce the reflectivity, so we shall see. Hopefully I'll have a few more pictures by tonight showing that part of the process.
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Old 10-03-2008, 07:06 AM
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I ordered this for some brackets and general hardware, sold by eastwood, after reading the directions on the can it went back. Had a ridiculous curing time with a whole lot of special prep and curing gotchas ... after reviewing all the hype I came to the conclusion that just chroming was a much better way to go.
One side bar in the end it is paint and might require a touch up ........ forget that with this stuff.
Do not really see this product taking a hold, maybe model building, but it more then likely would melt the plastic car into a puddle.

You took it further then I would have considering the price, just reading the instructions was the turn off for me. Thanks for the verification, so do you go to chrome now? Of course the shocks are out but what about the bracket..?
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Old 10-03-2008, 07:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arrowhead
... I feel kind of guilty know how much money you spent and I got free information.
Don't feel bad, I don't. As most of you know from reading my posts and journals, I like to toy with a lot of experimental and shadetree approaches on my projects. (Motto: We don't build no steengking cookie cutters.) So I'm used to having some things work (and save money) while other things fail miserably (and cost me a few bucks for the books and tuition).

I know I've gained a small fortune in knowledge (and stolen a number of good ideas) by reading your journal Arrowhead as well as the posts and journals of many others here on HR.Com. The cost of my little experiment with Killer Chrome is a drop in the bucket compared to what I've taken away from this site in excellent advice and hot rodding experience.
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Old 10-03-2008, 08:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pepi
...Do not really see this product taking a hold, maybe model building...
Interesting note on that Pepi. In doing my product research on Killer Chrome I came across a number of "modeling" web sites where folks had tried it out for their small scale projects. In every case that I was able to find, the results were rated as quite poor. Apparently there are some other alternatives for chroming these small plastic parts and they say the K.C. did not stack up well at all against those existing products.

Also I'm totally in agreement with you that Killer Chrome is a very poor substitute for actual chroming. I haven't done any homework on it but my guess is you'd be money ahead simply sending off your parts to an outfit that applies chrome professionally. The next best alternative might be the Caswell "Copy Chrome" process. I believe Willys36 has done this and speaks highly of it...and I trust his experience and judgement. More info on Caswell here

And for things like my shocks...which could not withstand the chemical chroming process or the heat from powder coating, I think the alternative is to either think far enough ahead when you make the original purchase and buy them chromed from the supplier or just be content with a nice paint job on them. I don't know what is involved in the Jet Hot type ceramic process but I would assume it can't be used after the fact on things like shocks.

One final observation that you made needs repeating. This stuff is very finicky to handle and apply. Like you say, there are way too many "gotchas" along the way...like absolute perfection in prepping the workpiece to strict adherence to application procedures. And even if you DO get everything else right, the cans themselves put out such a poorly atomized spray that it will blemish and blotch all those hours and hours of prep work.

Again, maybe in its liquid form applied via a gun or air brush, this is a decent and usable product in the hands of a master painter. But in the aerosol can form, in the hands of a hobbyist, it falls short.
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Old 10-03-2008, 09:18 AM
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Here is a product that does work. Although it isn't cheap. http://www.sprayonchrome.com/index2.html
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Old 12-07-2008, 11:33 AM
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well i think from a distance they look pretty dam good.unless you enter your car in the SEMA or world of wheels ( and if you're gonna do that then you will spend the EXRTA and have it chromed or buy them chromed already).but for a fair gound type show they look good i mean how close are people gonna be putting thier face next to your ride anyway. dam they shouldnt be that close what happens while there looking so close at the painted chrome they spill 1/2 their soda on your 8000.00 paint job

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