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Old 04-19-2004, 06:41 PM
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chromed plastic

Anyone know how to strip the chroming off plastic trim peices?
headlight bezels, grill, ect.

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Old 04-19-2004, 09:10 PM
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what is it on??? why not buy new pieces??? cromed plastic, why bother
Jesse
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Old 04-20-2004, 07:18 AM
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It's things like head/tail light bezels, and the grill.
The plating is starting to peel off and I want to paint all the trim black anyway.
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Old 04-20-2004, 07:54 AM
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Most likely a chrome shop can strip it in a reverse electro-tank like they strip metal parts.
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Old 04-20-2004, 08:39 AM
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You could get it off with sandpaper.
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Old 04-20-2004, 04:21 PM
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yeah, try some sandpaper, or if you have a dremel tool that might be perfect for your application. be careful about using strippers, you might cause corrosion on the plastic.

the blonde weasel
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Old 04-20-2004, 05:42 PM
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Trouble is, the chrome plating on those parts is real chrome and a bunch harder than the plastic. Trying to sand it off will, I fear, result in gouges all over the plastic. The ABS used on those parts will stand up the the electro-chemical stripping bath, no problem. After all, it stood up the the chroming baths in the first place!
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Old 04-20-2004, 08:51 PM
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I'm just curious, I don't pretend to know everything there is to know about plastic parts with chrome plated appearances so I have to say that I wouldn't doubt that there may very well be processess I am unaware of..

I thought chrome plating on plastic parts was a completely different process since plastic doesn't make a good conductor.. I thought chrome plating on plastic was done with a film that was applied using heat and/or vacuum..
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Old 04-20-2004, 11:13 PM
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I tried sanding because at first i thought the coating wasn't even real meatal. Unfortunatly it is and it's too hard too sand away. Plastics stand up to acids and bases quite well, so i'm thinking about spraying the pieces with oven cleaner or just soaking them in salt water for a few days to corode the metal away.
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Old 04-20-2004, 11:47 PM
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There are a couple of process used. The one you are thinking of is used for only decorative purposes and is way too delicate for service in automotive applications. It consist of putting the parts on racks in a drum that is evacuated to a very low vacuum. While the rack is rotated slowly inside the drum a coupon of aluminum is vaporized my a large electric current charge and the aluminum ion atmosphere condenses onto the plastic surfaces. The chamber is pressurized, the parts removed, and the delicate shiny metal deposit is immediately fixed with a coating of clear lacquer paint before it can be mechanically damaged or oxidized by exposure to the atmosphere. This is the familiar finish on model kit "chrome" pieces. The finish is still quite delicate and can be removed with a brisk rub of your fingers. That is why I always shoot the chrome tree in any plastic kit I buy with a heavy coat of catalyzed urethane clear which makes it virtually bullet proof.

Car parts and other heavily used parts must be coated with something much more robust than vacuum metalization. Those plastic parts are first painted with a conductive paint such as lacquer filled with bronze powder or with silver powder like the stuff I recently bought from Caswell - costs the national mint but it works. Once thus coated, the part is conductive and can then be hooked up to electrical connections and be triple chrome electro-plated (copper/nickle/chrome) just like a metal part.

This coating is very tough, obviously, but is dependent on the bond between the metal plating and the plastic substrate for its integrity. Jzarczyn's parts are suffering from the paint/plastic bond breaking down and the chrome peeling off. Since it is hard metal and still stuck in places, any attempt to mechanically remove it will likely damage the plastic surface, ruining the part.

The metal will not corrode away with your paint remover or salt water elixer. The metals there are copper, nickel, and chromium, all very corrosion resistant which is why they are used in the chrome plating process in the first place. It will have to be unplated with an electro-plating process.
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Old 04-21-2004, 11:21 AM
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Cool.. so I could actually use this process to plate fiberglass trim pieces? One of the things I've got lined up to possibly make fiberglass molds for is my front bumper and grill assembly.. I think I could take about 100 lbs. off my front end by taking the wrap-my-***-in-fiberglass approach for the bumper alone.

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Old 04-21-2004, 04:40 PM
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Yep, you can chrome, or brass, or nickle, or copper, or silver, or gold, or platinum, or tin, or whatever metal electro-plate nearly anything. Stop and think - they have been brass plating baby shoes for over half a century using the conductive paint method!
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Old 04-21-2004, 06:23 PM
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Just be advised that, if you are "chroming" a flexible part, the chrome will not live very long as the flexing will break down the bond and the peeling process will start just like on your plastic pieces... Chrome is not very flexible so use some judgement in what you are going to plate... Any rock hits will also start the delamination process.
Mark
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Old 04-22-2004, 06:48 AM
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Hmm.. yes, but would it be any worse than applying regular paint.. Maybe the answer is obvious since paint is flexible, but I'm just not experienced in the degree to which the chrome plating is brittle rather than flexible.. I sure have my share of bent bumpers that don't have chrome plating peeling off..

I'll bear that in mind, and perhaps the answer for me is going to be that I will build in a little more rigidity. That's probably a good idea anyway, considering the function of the part.

My plan before was either to go with it painted body color or possibly leave it as unfinished kevlar.
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