1. Electroless nickel plating is a form of alloy treatment designed to increase resistance and hardness in a metal or plastic. Think of it as stripping back the existing primer on a car before paint. This is the most important part of the whole process, as it’s the nickel that gives the finished product its shine. The items are then checked against the job sheet, packaged, and are ready to be collected. The chromed layer can be decorative, provide corrosion resistance, ease cleaning procedures, or increase surface hardness. As the metal on these old bumpers is so thick, it takes a great deal of skill to work it, along with plenty of heat to help soften the metal. With so many different processes — and so much attention to detail required, you can only imagine the reaction when customers walk in thinking they can wait while their parts are chromed (a daily occurrence according to Anita, the manager at APC). THE STEP-BY-STEP HARD-CHROME PLATING PROCESS . If there’s any damage to the items in need of repair, this is where the process changes slightly. This process not only takes the caustic soda off the item, but stops cross-contamination of the other baths. Attached to the sides of the bath are baskets with blocks of pure copper (anodes). An alkaline detergent is used to clean the surface to ensure the zinc electroplating is of good quality, and the plating remains intact for a long period of time. A rinse and a thorough scrub precede the final check before the items are moved to the next bath. 2. Depending on the size of the item in question, the average polishing time for a ’50s bumper is between six and eight hours! To remove the nickel, the items are placed into a concentrated 98-per-cent sulphuric acid bath for around 30 minutes. Metal objects with sharp corners and edges will tend to have thicker plating on the outside corners and thinner plating in the recessed areas. During this time they’ll form a smooth skin, which once again must be etched by a further two-minute dip in the acid etch, before another rinse. Web Design by Firebrand. Thin dense chrome plating is primarily used on interior surfaces. Stage 3. George himself has been in the game for 36 years, and some of his staff have been with him for almost as long, making them quite possibly part of the most knowledgeable team around. Each individual dent is pressed out, and slowly the metal is massaged back into shape. Chrome, the final plating step… The items must not dry out before being transferred to that next stage; if they do, blotching will occur, often the sign of a lack of care during the process. The parts are connected to copper hooks or racks and are hung into the plating tanks. After a total of 25 steps and around seven hours, the product is nearly ready to be handed back over to the customer, but not before the dedicated quality-control officer has had a good look over it to ensure that it’s perfect, and it has had a polish by hand. We take special care in our chrome plating process and understand the importance of keeping each piece accounted for by itemizing each piece as it starts the chroming process. gold, silver, chrome, etc), the desired thickness of the plating, the base metal (i.e. chrome plating, chromium plating, chrome plated, copperplate, coppercoat, gold electroplating, nickel electroplating, sheet metal Unlike painting, where the new deposit is sprayed on, the chrome (and associated materials) are applied through the use of an electrical current, hence the term ‘electroplating.’A plating bath is the name for what is essentially a giant tank, many of which are used throughout the chroming process. The chrome plating found on car trim and kitchen appliances can also be made at home. Improper cleaning usually results in a variety of plating defects like peeling or blistering … Next the old chrome is removed in a cold caustic bath, this time electrified to 12 volts with a reverse charge. This is essential to ensure that the cyanide-based alkali copper used next will adhere to the item as much as possible. Three grades of polishing compound are used during this stage (600, 800 and 1200 grit) to achieve a mirror finish. With the job logged, all items — cast or steel — that are currently chromed, or are to be chromed, are wired up to copper wire to conduct electricity from the bars that run above the tanks to the part itself. Hard chrome deposits have a hardness range from 56 - 74 R.C. The layer that is applied is so thin it cannot cover large cracks and crevasse. Our mission is to provide a superior quality plating or restoration job for a fair and reasonable cost. As you’ll see as you scroll below, it’s amazing how trim parts and bumpers can be repaired and returned to a flawless finish by experts possessing the right knowledge and skills. 13929 Fir St. Unit F A good heavy coat of nickel will help protect your item from the outside elements and corrosion in later life. Cast items generally don’t get damaged, as they’re not used in high-stress areas. ... How to Make Simple DIY Nickel Plating Setup is illustrated in this video with steps to be adapted by suppliers who plan on adopting this method for manufacturing. One of New Zealand’s leading chrome professionals, George from Advanced Chrome Platers (ACP) in Hamilton, ran us through the process at his purpose-built facility, so we could see what happens behind the scenes for ourselves. For show chrome, the process is finished by re-buffing, cleaning and re-dipping, plating added copper, two to three types of nickel plating and finally, the chrome plating. Through the use of various tools, the part will be a high-gloss polished part without any pits, scratches, or other impurities. Trivalent Chrome Plating Plastic System. Nickel is next and gives you the brightness you see. With the initial sanding sorted, it’s on to another workstation, where a buffing compound is used on a polishing wheel, and the process continues. Again, the balls in the tank are there solely for insulation purposes. After 60 minutes with a six-volt current, a 45-micron coating will be applied to the item. The stripping bath is the first of many tanks into which the part is submerged. For this George and the team use a digital camera, and take photos of every individual piece showing not only the item itself, but any damage on the items, for future reference. The investment has been successful, and we are proud to run a modern chrome-plating department, meeting all safety and environmental legislation. After all, each one contains a variety of chemicals, all of which must be kept precisely at the required levels. Often the difference between cheap chrome and good chrome is the amount of time the items sit in this bath for. Some of the steps taken to restore and chrome plate a custom bumper at North Star Plating, Brainerd, MN The process consists of pretreatment, alkaline cleaning, and acid dipping, which were described previously, followed by strike plating of copper, copper electroplating, nickel electroplating, and chromium electroplating. Abrasive … We all know that rechroming can take a big bite out of the budget of any restoration project — but do you really know how much work is required to refurbish those shiny bits? Guide to the chrome plating process. Again, the copper wires and weights are reattached after being removed for polishing due to the risk of being caught in the polishing wheels. Metal Plating – How Its Made . depending on the bath type used. 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