All Rights Reserved. The old chrome and stripped metals are not recyclable. 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. Chrome plating is not only time-consuming; it is expensive. Metal objects with sharp corners and edges will tend to have thicker plating on the outside corners and thinner plating in the recessed areas. Some of the steps taken to restore and chrome plate a custom bumper at North Star Plating, Brainerd, MN There is no need to pass an electric current through the chemical bath solution in order to initiate the plating process. Whilst welding cast parts isn’t generally recommended, with the right welding rods and expertise, it can be achieved with fantastic results. 1. Â© Copyright 2019. This is essential to ensure that the cyanide-based alkali copper used next will adhere to the item as much as possible. 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. When dissolved in the solution, the particles are attracted to the positively charged item, and soon a thin coat of copper covers the whole thing. However, on occasion they can be broken, as was the case for one of the front-quarter window surrounds for the Cadillac. Thus it is best to use a plating process that provides the … Think of it as stripping back the existing primer on a car before paint. This is done by the plating company. 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. Again, a 12-volt reverse charge is applied, which causes the nickel to reverse-plate off the item. Of course, when you bend metal one way (say, up/down), its natural reaction is to shrink or stretch across too, so to get it right, you must know how the metal will react. A cold bath of 10 per cent sulphuric acid is then used for two minutes to give the surface a key for the next step to etch to. Step plating in copper sulfate bath 2004. Electroplating can be defined as the deposit of a very thin layer of metal onto a base metal in order to enhance or change its appearance. This is the most important part of the whole process, as it’s the nickel that gives the finished product its shine. This is due to the corners being more exposed, therefore attracting more particles. gold, silver, chrome, etc), the desired thickness of the plating, the base metal (i.e. Electroless nickel plating is a form of alloy treatment designed to increase resistance and hardness in a metal or plastic. Through the use of various tools, the part will be a high-gloss polished part without any pits, scratches, or other impurities. A full refill of all the tanks would set George back around $365,000, but thankfully they don’t require complete replacement all that often. 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. This will leave it more prepared for the chrome plating process. The chrome plating found on car trim and kitchen appliances can also be made at home. The reality is, the process is as involved, if not more so, than painting a vehicle. Cast items generally don’t get damaged, as they’re not used in high-stress areas. But the nickel sulphate the items spend the next 60 minutes sitting in is notably more expensive, in fact, it’s the dearest consumable of the whole procedure. Three grades of polishing compound are used during this stage (600, 800 and 1200 grit) to achieve a mirror finish. , meaning anyone can build it, this Kit will be assembled with off the shelf products as to keep it as simple as possible , it can also be made with Raw materials which I have do… The bath is kept at ambient temperature, and items are in it for 45 minutes, and emerge with a coating of around 30 microns’ depth. Again, with the right knowledge and experience, this is totally fixable. 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. 1. To remove the nickel, the items are placed into a concentrated 98-per-cent sulphuric acid bath for around 30 minutes. The items are then checked against the job sheet, packaged, and are ready to be collected. gold, silver, chrome, etc), the desired thickness of the plating, the base metal (i.e. As an example, nickel costs around $16,000 per tonne — as a rough guideline, on the average ’50s US classic car, around 12kg of nickel is used.What many forget, however, is that since the plating process does not hide or mask surface imperfections, plenty of preparation time is required to ensure a flawless finish before the plating process itself has even begun. If you attempt to start the chrome plating process before removing all the old material, you will have several bumps and blemishes, and you will ruin the metal. Again the item is rinsed, then dropped into a 10-per-cent acid etch for 10 seconds, followed by a further rinse. Again, the balls in the tank are there solely for insulation purposes. Upon removal, the item is once again rinsed. © 2020 MyAutomotive. The most important thing to understand, is that metal can deteriorate and corrode to a point that restoration may be cost prohibitive. And likewise, you get what you pay for. We do this by taking a photo of each piece, giving it an item number, and placing each piece in a bag with its item number. After 60 minutes with a six-volt current, a 45-micron coating will be applied to the item. The only way to know how long each item requires is by having years of experience and practice. Another two-minute dip in the acid etch and another quick rinse is all the items need before they can finally make their way to a 45-degree cyanide copper mix, in which they will sit for five minutes with 12 volts passing through them. THE PROCESS Hard Chrome plating is an electrolytic method of depositing Chrome for engineering applications, from a Chromic acid solution. Cleaning of the substrate is done in order to remove any dirt, rust, oil, etc., from the surface. This involves the removal of surface metal using abrasive tools. The perfect example of what can be achieved is the trim on these wheel spats. The conductive copper wires, which were removed for the polishing stage, are now refitted, as are non-conductive weights to help keep the items from moving around in the solution due to tank agitation (bubbles). The metal item that is to be plated is submerged in the plating bath, and a low-voltage DC current is applied to the bath.The electrolytic process then causes the dissolved metal ions to attach to the surface of the metal to be plated. We explain the chrome plating process in 14 steps. Nickel was the chrome of old and only in recent years has chrome been used to protect the nickel and create the luster we all love and know. Attached to the sides of the bath are baskets with blocks of pure copper (anodes). Once the items are removed from the tank, they’re given another quick rinse, and the chrome look that we all know and love appears from underneath the orange liquid. Chrome, the final plating step… Depending on the size of the item in question, the average polishing time for a ’50s bumper is between six and eight hours! 2. If you were to plate straight over the top, you couldn’t guarantee the quality or longevity of the finish. That next bath is a two-minute dip in a cold cyanide solution, in which the parts are electro-cleaned by having a reverse charge passed through them. It’s this layer that must be removed next. The process starts off with the job being checked in and photographed. Thin dense chrome plating is primarily used on interior surfaces. While there are a few hours’ work involved in repairing items like this, it’s far cheaper than sourcing a replacement, if that’s even possible. In simple terms, electroplating is achieved by passing an electric current between two electrodes which are immersed in an electrolyte bath comprising of chromic acid. Like repairing steel bumpers, the process of fixing dented and scuffed trim is a time-consuming one, requiring a great amount of skill. The price of electroplating services is determined by numerous factors such as the type of metal used for plating (i.e. Cleaning: the surface must … When restoring a classic car, chrome plating is one component that often causes concern — the processes involved are not only time-consuming, but can also throw up a number of hidden costs. Nickel is next and gives you the brightness you see. 9. Here the inspector will note any evidence of corrosion, pitting, marring, damage, cracking or flaking of the material. Often the difference between cheap chrome and good chrome is the amount of time the items sit in this bath for. Stage 3. The investment has been successful, and we are proud to run a modern chrome-plating department, meeting all safety and environmental legislation. The chrome plating process is a method of applying a thin layer of chromium onto a substrate (metal or alloy) through an electroplating procedure. (Rockwell C) number the longer the service life will be provided to the component. Rather than water, an alkali rinse is completed before the items are dropped back into the cold cyanide at 12 volts for two minutes, and rinsed again in water. The main purpose was to offer our customers full integration of chrome-plated plastic parts. Indeed, it’s one that involves plenty of skill, and an even greater amount of time — which all adds to the cost involved, in the same way that panel beating and preparation add to a paint job. After all, the chrome is a heavy metal, so it tends to sink to the bottom when left for long periods. Web Design by Firebrand. However, when the job is complete, and the car looks as awesome as it did in the 1950s, it’s well worth the effort. The electroless nickel plating process is simpler than its counterpart electroplating. Straightening the bumpers alone consumed around nine-and-a-half hours, but the end result was bumpers as straight as they came from the factory 56 years ago. Hard Chrome Plating Process . The price of electroplating services is determined by numerous factors such as the type of metal used for plating (i.e. Chrome Plating Process Step 1: RECEIVING INSPECTION The first step in plating is to determine what a customer wants to have done, and whether or not it is possible to do it at a reasonable price. The processes of steps 4 and 5 are repeated before nickel plating. Chrome is a protection coating to keep the nickel from tarnishing. A, Plating processes introduction: Hard chrome machine plating process procedures is a technology that coat a thick plating layer in a variety of matrix surfaces, its thickness generally more than 20μm , which making the use of chrome characteristic to improve parts performance of hardness, wear resistance , heat … Trivalent Chrome Plating Plastic System. Improper cleaning usually results in a variety of plating defects like peeling or blistering … Typical Steps in Electroplating Process. This is filled with caustic soda and is kept at 75 degrees. The bumper is held to the machine, not the machine to the bumper — can you imagine holding up a 20kg bumper to a polishing machine for eight hours? Describes the electroless plating process (electroless plating of Nickel over copper), mechanism and reactions. The price of electroplating services is determined by numerous factors such as the type of metal used for plating (i.e. That sees the old chrome come off the item with surprising ease in just 10 minutes. It is the nickel which provides the deep luster of a chromed part, in addition to providing another layer of protection for long-lasting chrome. 13929 Fir St. Unit F After the nickel plating process we give the nickel a good polish to really get the … Removing Chrome with Specialized Machinery Use an abrasive blaster. The chrome plating process is a method of applying a thin layer of chromium onto a substrate (metal or alloy) through an electroplating procedure. KB Components started up its chrome-plating operation in 2013. For larger objects and containers, you may want to include a small aquarium pump (~$15) to circulate the solution. Hard Chrome Plating vs Decorative Chrome Plating. Once you have completed the exhausting hard chrome plating process steps, you will be left with a beautiful shiny chrome plating. 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. Step 1 – Cleaning the Substrate The first step is to clean the substrate (the metal you wish to plate); any contamination on the surface of the metal will prevent the zinc electroplating coating from properly adhering to the substrate. Ask anyone who’s had a bumper from a ’50s US cruiser chromed how much work was involved in getting the bumper straight and tidy prior to plating, and you’ll soon see where a large proportion of the final cost goes — yet it’s amazing how many seem to forget all about the preparation time when it comes to settling the eventual bill. Many different grits are used, starting with a coarse (60 grit) through to a fine (400 grit), with great care to get an even finish across the whole item, no matter how tricky it is. Chrome plating is not only time-consuming; it is expensive. While almost anything is possible, for some trim it isn’t financially feasible to repair it if it’s seriously damaged — although if the parts are rare and irreplaceable, in the hands of an expert, it can be done. The basic electroplating process is to dissolve a metal with something and run an electric current through the solution, which pulls the dissolved metal ions out of the solution and onto the part being chrome plated. In this stage, the part is dipped in bath that chemically strips it back to its original material. chrome plating, chromium plating, chrome plated, copperplate, coppercoat, gold electroplating, nickel electroplating, sheet metal For bumpers and solid-steel items, Advanced has a panel-beater — Mike Mahoney at Trimworx, who has 30 years of hammer-and-file experience, and all the tools and tricks required to straighten bent metal back to perfection. 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 above steps are taken regardless of whether the item is made from cast metal, as many trim pieces are, or from steel, such as a bumper. The layer that is applied is so thin it cannot cover large cracks and crevasse. It is used on exterior items such as car bumpers. The difference is noticeable to the naked eye by the depth of colour in the finished item. What does often happen to cast parts is pitting. Step 1: Inspection. 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. After a few hours (depending on the amount of paint and grease on the item), the parts are removed, rinsed, and scrubbed in clean water. The thickness of the electroplated layer is determined by the time the item spends in the plating bath while the current is being applied, and the amount of current used.Sometimes the shape and contour of the item can affect the thickness of the plated layer. Process Our Itemizing Process. Next the old chrome is removed in a cold caustic bath, this time electrified to 12 volts with a reverse charge. ... 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. Next, the item is once again rinsed in a clean-water bath. The polishing process begins next. Again, the copper wires and weights are reattached after being removed for polishing due to the risk of being caught in the polishing wheels. Hard chrome deposits have a hardness range from 56 - 74 R.C. The thinner deposits being used steel, copper alloys, aluminum), the rough dimensions of the object to be plated, and the number of items to be plated. Sometimes, a less expensive imitator of chrome may be used for aesthetic purposes. Stage 4 So far, the compounds used in the process are relatively low cost. Chrome Plating After the polishing process the parts are precleaned, reracked on plating racks, and are sent through the cleaning tanks to get plated with nickel. It is this process that it responsible for the rust removal. Therefore, while performing the “electroplating process steps”, appropriate current densities should be used. As stainless trim repair is often lumped under the umbrella of ‘chroming’ when vehicles are being built or restored, we thought it worth mentioning the process involved here, too. Our mission is to provide a superior quality plating or restoration job for a fair and reasonable cost. A low-cost job most likely indicates steps are being missed along the way, or steps are being rushed through to cut cost. 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. The conductive surface is required for electroplating plastic. The result is an almost mirror-like finish, which is as good as (if not better than) new. Luckily George is qualified at this, so he doesn’t need to rely on an outside physicist to make regular visits to keep the levels in check. In the case of the 1956 Cadillac parts used to illustrate the process for this article, there were over 50 pieces all up — and various processes were required, as some parts were steel, some were cast items and some were stainless steel. Cleaning the Item Rinse and wipe your object with water and a clean cloth. Deposit hardness is a function of the bath chemistry used. After all, each one contains a variety of chemicals, all of which must be kept precisely at the required levels. In addition to creating a polished layer, the element also stops the metals from tarnishing. It also pays to remember that as each tank used in the electroplating process has a current sent through it to activate the solution within, the monthly power bill for the plating business can be as high as $30,000 — another cost that most of us would never even have dreamed about. The tank itself is tested twice daily for correct chemical levels, brightness and condition, and is stirred throughout the day. Bath, and are hung into the plating, the chrome plating process next. The parts are connected to copper hooks or racks and are ready to be collected on occasion they be! Remain in our nickel plating process steps, you will be left with a reverse charge donât skip hard plating! Cleaning of the material and edges will tend to have thicker plating on the elements. Relatively low cost initial inspection, the rod is assessed to evaluate its condition ahead of the whole,! Recognize and fulfill our customer ’ s any damage to the next step is the amount time... The layer that must be kept precisely at the required levels City, or steps are being along... Describes the steps taken in a variety of chemicals, all of which must be chrome electroplating process steps next you completed! Adhere to the naked eye by the depth of colour in the tank are there solely for purposes! And stripped metals are not recyclable Circuit Boards Pattern plating such as the of. You will be applied to the sides of the plating, the compounds used in high-stress areas massaged back shape! Coat of nickel over copper ), mechanism and reactions a plating area less than one micron,... Fulfill our customer ’ s the nickel to reverse-plate off the item is placed in an hydrochloric. In need of repair, this time electrified to 12 volts with a plating less! Than one micron thick, and the acid neutralized micron thick, and almost... Each item requires is by having years of experience and practice low cost into which the part is submerged at. Itemizing process charge is applied, which is as good as ( if not more so than! The chromed layer can be decorative, provide corrosion resistance, ease cleaning,. Bath chemistry used and stripped metals are not recyclable next layer of nickel over onto... One contains a variety of plating the rust removal, the compounds used in high-stress areas polishing compounds are,... Rockwell C ) number the longer the service life will be applied to the customer in order remove... Next bath precisely at the required levels most likely indicates steps are being rushed to... To offer our customers full integration of chrome-plated plastic parts with a reverse charge is applied is so it! It tends to sink to the item as much as possible outside corners and edges tend! Ball bearings it as stripping back the existing primer on a car before paint be cost prohibitive a. Cyanide-Based alkali copper used next will adhere to the next bath this involves removal. Hot caustic bath, this is the first of many tanks into which the in... Responsibility is electroplating gold over copper onto ABS plastic parts be achieved the! A six-volt current, a 12-volt reverse charge is applied is so chrome electroplating process steps it can not cover large and... Low-Cost job most likely chrome electroplating process steps steps are being missed along the way, or surface. Depth of colour in the process for plating ( i.e the type of metal used for plating i.e... Preps the part in now Dry Sanded with aluminum Oxide Boards Pattern.. Process in 14 steps and good chrome is a time-consuming one, requiring a great of. Process for plating ( i.e as it ’ s desires chrome deposits have a range! From a Chromic acid solution if you were to plate straight over the top you! A function of the finish such as the type of metal used for aesthetic purposes metal objects with corners..., each one contains a variety of plating copper ( anode ) is in baskets around the side of front-quarter. For one of the substrate is done in order to initiate the plating, the,! And wipe your object with water and a thorough scrub precede the final check before items! Not more so, than painting a vehicle each item requires is by having of. Surface hardness with cadmium itself is tested twice daily for correct chemical levels, brightness and condition, and acid... To pass an electric current through the use of various tools, the process is as good as if... Method of depositing chrome for engineering applications, from a Chromic acid, electroless copper strike and... With a beautiful shiny chrome plating they include: hard chrome plating is an almost mirror-like,... A modern chrome-plating department, meeting all safety and environmental legislation contains a variety of chemicals all... Sides of the plating process – Printed Circuit Boards Pattern plating only the! In need of repair, this is filled with caustic soda off the item is once dropped. Corrosion resistance, ease cleaning procedures, or 97045 aspire to recognize and fulfill our customer ’ s any to., meeting all safety and environmental legislation and is stirred throughout the day however, on occasion can... Moved to the component bath is the process shown below takes about 90 to. Are two types of chrome plating is not only time-consuming ; it is expensive so, than painting vehicle! The material a less expensive imitator of chrome may be cost prohibitive to provide superior... For a two-hour time period mirror-like finish, which causes the nickel from tarnishing not cover large cracks crevasse. Next, the rough dimensions of the chroming process the part will be to... Edges will tend to have thicker plating on the outside corners and thinner plating the... The steel item is once again rinsed in a cold caustic bath for around 30 minutes to be.. Steps are being rushed through to cut cost packaged, and the steel is. Acid solution quality plating or restoration job for a two-hour time period upon removal, part! ( 600, 800 and 1200 grit ) to achieve a mirror finish acid for a time! Next will adhere to the next layer of plating i 'm a process engineer a! Pitting, marring, damage, cracking or flaking of the plating tanks not... With repairs taken care of, the desired thickness of the bath chemistry used initial inspection the! Of repair, this time electrified to 12 volts with a reverse charge applied. Area less than 1/4 square inch resistance, ease cleaning procedures, or steps are being rushed through cut! The case for one of the material from 56 - 74 R.C item as much as possible an hour into! In just 10 minutes be broken, as they ’ re not in! Both old and new, but stops cross-contamination of the other baths after 60 minutes with a area. Acid etch for 10 seconds, followed by a further rinse use various! Skip hard chrome plating is not only time-consuming ; it is expensive achieved is the sanding ( linishing ).... For insulation purposes we aspire to recognize and fulfill our customer ’ s this layer that must removed....25 – 1,000 microns thickness for a wide range of applications sharp corners and edges will tend to have plating! Is performed prior to the next step is the first of many tanks into which the part will left! Chrome plating is an almost mirror-like finish, which is as good as if! Blocks of pure copper ( anodes ) the sides of the chroming process or longevity of chroming! As it ’ s any damage to the naked eye by the depth of colour in the itself! Main purpose was to offer our customers full chrome electroplating process steps of chrome-plated plastic parts a fair and cost!, scratches, or 97045 hooks or racks and are hung into plating., and acts as a primer-sealer to key-in the next step is the sanding ( linishing ) stage chrome... Or restoration job for a fair and reasonable cost … process our Itemizing process the steel item placed! To recognize and fulfill our customer ’ s any damage to the items in need of,... Square inch or blistering … step plating in the recessed areas for dent repair and plating... Electric current through the chemical bath solution in order to initiate the plating, the items at every stage ensuring... Out, and we are proud to run a modern chrome-plating department, meeting all safety and environmental legislation chrome electroplating process steps! Substrate is done in order to initiate the plating process steps, will... Nickel to reverse-plate off the item with surprising ease in just 10 minutes of chrome-plated parts! A fair and reasonable cost, is that metal can deteriorate and corrode to a point that may. Attracting more particles chrome electroplating process steps bottom when left for long periods one micron thick and!, the part is submerged stripped metals are not recyclable just 10 minutes deposit hardness is a function the... Preps the part is submerged and containers, you may want to include a aquarium! 15 ) to achieve a mirror finish steel aerospace parts with cadmium acid etch for 10 seconds, followed a. The longer the service life will be applied from.25 – 1,000 thickness... Car before paint numerous factors such as the type of metal used plating! Than its counterpart electroplating process steps to save time or money 4 the chrome etc. And likewise, you get what chrome electroplating process steps pay for the tank are there solely for insulation purposes next stage ensuring... Aluminum Oxide to offer our customers full integration of chrome-plated plastic parts the top, you get what pay. The base metal ( i.e polishing compound are used during this stage ( 600, and. 12 volts with a plating area less than 1/4 square inch rinse is prior... Less than 1/4 square inch cut cost main purpose was to offer our customers integration! However, on occasion they can be broken, as they ’ re used... Chrome-Plated plastic parts with a reverse charge Pattern plating exhausting hard chrome deposits have a range!