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Old 02-01-2005, 01:52 PM
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Tips on chromed parts

I searched the archives briefly and couldn't find anything specifically on this.

Hypothetically, I was wondering if anyone had any tips/guidance on creating custom parts specifically to be chromed.

For example, what materials are the best base to use for fabrication? What process (welding/brazing/fastening) is best to use to join parts? What materials should be avoided? What sort of guidelines should be kept in mind when building the part (I'm thinking the joints are probably important) so that the chrome adheres and is as easy as possible to plate? Does the part have to be homogeneous, or can you use different metals or grades of metals on the same piece?

Do the parts have to be perfectly produced, or are their tips/techniques for filling the parts with some sort of metal, in the same way you might use primer for filling light imperfections in a part to be painted?

How much needs to be done by the fabricator, and how much will be handled by the plating shop?

A good example is probably a custom grille, but I think any info would apply to any custom piece, and perhaps to repairing damaged parts.

I'm just curious - I don't have anything in particular in mind. I thought if there were some good responses, it might be a good sticky topic.

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Old 02-01-2005, 03:25 PM
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Try these guys, they are the experts. I have only used mild steel and brazing rod on my "to be chromed" stuff.
www.nmfrc.org There that should fix it!!!

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Old 02-01-2005, 03:32 PM
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That address is for the North Midland Family Center.
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Old 02-01-2005, 04:03 PM
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Hey that chrome shop looks a lot like a playground! jk
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Old 02-01-2005, 04:12 PM
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WHHOOPSS!! FORGOT A LETTER Geezeritis strikes again!!! Try this www.nmfrc.org
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Old 02-03-2005, 07:20 PM
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Thanks for the chuckle.
Great site though, good information.
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Old 02-03-2005, 11:57 PM
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chroming

I have had alot of chroming done. There are two systems of chroming. Spray on and dip. The dip is a far superior finish.

The metal is cleaned, ground, and filled with braze. Dipped in copper, nickel, and then chrome.

Any pockets will not take the chrome but will take the nickel. For example; the insides of Shovel head rocker boxes or the inside of a headlight bucket. It leaves a brownish look. Like chrome pipes that have been used.

The smoother the part the less work the chromers have to do. They are charging you by the hour. Rust has to be ground off. Pits and dents have to be filled with braze and smoothed out. Welds ground as smooth as possible and pit free.
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Old 02-04-2005, 11:14 AM
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Sounds like brazing is an acceptable method of joining parts. I assume welding would work too.

Also sounds like brazing can be used as a filler. I imagine its a lot more work than bondo!

Are there any metals that can't be chromed or shouldn't be chromed? It sounds like steel, brass and copper are all good chroming candidates. Brass and copper are pretty easy to work with if you're considering a decorative piece. Can aluminum be chromed easily? With a little effort, you can do simple aluminum casting at home, it would be great for custom parts if you could chrome them.

How about stainless steel? Can it be chromed (not sure why you'd want to...)


I've heard several times on this board that chroming is a bad idea on coil springs, but I think that's more due to the anticipated use than the material itself.
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Old 02-04-2005, 11:34 AM
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Spring steels and forged steels suffer from Hydrogen embrittlement. Hydrogen from the plating process is driven into the metal causing molecular problems and sudden breakage.

It seems the better the quality of the steel, the greater the risk of embritlement. The part has to be heat treated to restore its original properties..
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Old 02-04-2005, 11:52 AM
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aluminum

Yes you can chrome aluminum. All Harley cases are aluminum and they chrome them.
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Old 02-04-2005, 12:02 PM
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Yes stainless can be chromed. It is done for wear resistance..Even tho stainless is tough. It wears bad if used in a rubbing motion situation.
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