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topic 12447

Plated Aluminum vs Plated Stainless Steel for a motorcycle gauge



My company is looking to change materials for a new chrome plated product that we make for motorcycles. We make clocks and air themperature gauges that are attached to motorcycles and currently use a zinc-alloy case that is painted silver or black. We now want to offer a set of gauges with chrome finish cases and are curious which material is better for the best chrome plating results for best overall appearance and high durability: billet aluminum, brass or stainless steel? We want to be able to tell our customers the advantages of our choice.

Thank you,

Richard Bond
- Mill Valley, California, USA


If you can afford brass, don't even hesitate. Brass is not only much easier to plate reliably with far fewer peeling defects, but many years from now when the plating starts to wear the instruments will look full of character. Making it of brass means never having to say you're sorry.

Ted Mooney, Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Pine Beach, New Jersey


Hi Richard,

Go with stainless steel with an electropolished finish. Stainless has a public image of being indestructable. It will not bubble or flake, ever. The electropolishing enriches the chromium content of the surface which enhances corrosion resistance. It also stress relieves the surface and superpassivates it. All in all you have a nice marketing story to tell if you go this way.

Good luck,

John Holroyd
- Elkhorn, WI


I have to agree with Ted on this one. Chrome plate looks a zillion times better than polished SS or aluminum.

George Brackett III
- Utica, New York

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