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Old 11-08-2013, 03:08 PM
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Chrome Plating

Hi guys. Quick question. I am thinking about having some things chromed. Folks say it's expensive. Can anyone comment on how expensive? Thinking about suspension parts. A-frames, springs, steering controls, etc... Will this be like, $10, 000 worth of work? Or what? Like I said......thinking about it. Have not contacted any local shops. Wanted to start with my favorite forum.....

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Old 11-08-2013, 04:24 PM
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We don't have any plating shops in New Mexico because of environmental issues. I send mine to Denver or Tucson. The bumpers for my 1966 LeMans cost $385.00 each at Denver Bumper. The rear bumper for my 1969 Firebird was $280.00 in Tucson. I don't pay freight because both of these places make regular runs to the shops around here very 3 or 4 weeks. The prices they charged me also included straightening. New bumpers from OPG would have cost about the same, but I know they are made with lighter steel. I don't believe the plating quality would be as good either. I would guess the prices could vary from one region of the country to another. Ya just have to start shopping.

Hope this helps.

Chris
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Old 11-08-2013, 05:10 PM
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check this thread out and look at the chrome work

53 Belair conv rust repair

10k is easy, good work is not cheap and cheap work is not good!!
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Old 11-08-2013, 06:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by James Chatfield View Post
Hi guys. Quick question. I am thinking about having some things chromed. Folks say it's expensive. Can anyone comment on how expensive? Thinking about suspension parts. A-frames, springs, steering controls, etc... Will this be like, $10, 000 worth of work? Or what? Like I said......thinking about it. Have not contacted any local shops. Wanted to start with my favorite forum.....
James, before you chrome plate any suspension parts or any other parts that serve a critical purpose on an automobile, read up about hydrogen embrittlement. The free hydrogen atoms that are introduced into the metal from electroplating can be baked out of the metal, but it has to be done within 4 hours of plating.....please read.....
Hydrogen embrittlement - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
I have read of electroplated parts cracking while simply sitting on the bench. If it were me, I'd powdercoat the critical parts and call it good.
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Old 11-08-2013, 07:42 PM
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As Richard mentioned, powder coating is an option that you may want to look at...it's cheaper and quite durable.

However, it isn't chrome, what you need to watch for when chrome plating, just like painting a car, is the preparation before it's chromed. Like painting, what the cleaned metal is finished in is crucial to how the chrome looks after you get it back. There is show chrome and regular chrome. Show chrome is where they polish all sides of the piece being chromed...and when I say say polished. I mean what grit is the product finished in before it hits a nickle or copper tank.

Copper can be used a type of primer and then repolished in a finer grit. This a very viable process, as long as the copper is applied properly cleaned and prepared properly before it hits the nickle and brite tanks. With this step not being paid close attention to, the copper can oxidize and cause the chrome to peel. Copper plating prior to chrome plating is more common on metals such as pot metal to increase conductivity in the brite nickle or chrome finish.

Nickle plating is used because it has a relatively thicker mil thickness and will cover coarser metal polishing and still give you a very brite and durable finish...both processes work...discuss this with the chrome shop you chose. Ask what grit of polishing they use before it hits the tanks, if it's a 320 grit...ask for 400 or 600 grit...that way sand scratches won't show in the finished product.

As far as the cost for the parts you listed...if you have $10,000, this will more than cover the costs you mentioned...as long as they aren't to pitted and need some major repair...if you want a show chrome, the cost is often double of regular chrome and its the prepping procedure that increases the cost. More detail and attention is given to the metal being chromed. For example, a bumper with regular chrome will have hammer marks on on the inside of a recycled bumper, even if your core seems perfect. The reason being that when a bumper is installed, the torquing down of the bumper bolts will cause distortion in the bumper and if that distortion isn't removed, an obvious low spot will be evident. In show chrome, the hammer or straightening marks will be removed and the rear of the bumper will be as smooth and shiny as the front.

Shop around, there are deals to be had...find out which process they use, copper or nickle as a substrate. Ask what they finish their prep work in. Ask if you you can see a finished product...like a large flat bumper (semi truck bumpers are the best), look at them at an angle, look for waves in the chrome, look for sand scratches. Ask how they deal with plating 90 degree angles (like the inside portion of a piece shaped like the letter "L", without proper equipment and polish, chrome will begin to rust there first.)

Chroming is very much like painting a car, the devil is in the prep work, how straight the prep work is and if they polish between either the copper coat or the softer nickle work before they apply the shiny brite nickle.

I hope this helps, if you have further questions, let me know and I'll try and explain further.

Ray
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Old 11-09-2013, 12:15 AM
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4 yeArs ago I got into the same argument of chrome vs powder coat. Just as Insp said do not chrome suspension parts or any high stress part.

Well the guy chromed the suspension parts of a Funnycar that I had done a lot of work on. About 10 runs into the season the entire a-arm assembly fractured and caved in. Fortunately it had just stopped after a burn out. the metal was clearly crystalized and fractured outside of the welds.

Back at the shop the argument raged. I said take the stuff to a metalurgical analyst. It didn't take long for the guy to show hydrogen embrittlement. Just to run the sword deeper he added "Are you guys nuts, chroming suspension??" He also detailed the proceedure to minimize the problem also adding that there is no sure cure....it will become embrittled sooner or later anyway.

So when Insp and some of us old guys say things don't just blow us off ..we have been there done that.

If it's a show car only fine. But it goes on the street or racetrack powder coat or don't coat or paint at all so you can see problems before they fail.
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Old 11-09-2013, 04:00 PM
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Thank you all. This is a great bunch of guys with appreciated advice. I will NOT be chroming any springs ar A-frames. I had no clue the damage that could result. You guys rock!
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Old 11-11-2013, 08:31 AM
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If this is an older rod, you could go with a Nickle plated piece instead of chrome. It has a warmer look to it and it won't cost so much. Proper prep work is required. There are chrome-look powdercoats, but they absolutely cannot be handled much, and should be clear coated with powder to make them more tolerant of being in the elements. However, once you clearcoat it, it doesn't look like CHROME, it looks more like polished stainless.

Also remember that a lot of cars used different types of surface finishes on the same car. Polished aluminum side trims, chrome bumpers, brass tone finishes. Theres also a gold looking finish that was applied to protect magnesium "DDR-7" I think.

In todays world, you could go with a dark grey magnesium powdercoat, or even a satin nickle or brite copper with a clear over it. The sky is the limit.
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Old 11-11-2013, 03:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by James Chatfield View Post
Hi guys. Quick question. I am thinking about having some things chromed. Folks say it's expensive. Can anyone comment on how expensive? Thinking about suspension parts. A-frames, springs, steering controls, etc... Will this be like, $10, 000 worth of work? Or what? Like I said......thinking about it. Have not contacted any local shops. Wanted to start with my favorite forum.....
Hydrogen embrittlement is a real concern for parts that flex in the process of carrying loads, and this is common the the plating process regardless of the metal being plated. It is a function of hydrogen ion migrations inherent to the electified acid bath used for plating metals. A reasonable substitute can be found at this link, once you get past the girls. <<<
>>>.

Bogie
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