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"Plastic part plating research"


I need to set up a small finishing shop to apply chrome to plastic parts. Most parts would be small. I would like to know how to research vacuum metallizing equipment pricing, and how to determine the complete line of equipment required. Also need to research the production time involved in finishing parts, and the cost of materials. Also cost of disposing of any left over haz. mat...

I know it's a lot, and we don't have any experience, but we have a client with a need and want to keep them happy.

Can any one recommend some good books or trade associations?


Mark Huber
Mark Huber Construction - Park City, Utah


Hi Mark. Vacuum metallizing is not used to apply decorative chrome. If you want real chrome it is done by electroplating.

Vacuum metallizing is, however, used to apply an aluminum coating for certain bright items, which is then followed with a clearcoat. Interior decorative automotive parts have long been vacuum metallized, although exterior parts are chrome plated.

Another alternative is chrome-look paint.

I think you may need to hire a consultant because after many weeks of study and buying books and joining organizations in a given technology, you might not even be into the best technology for the product in question. But if you can be pretty explicit about your situation it's possible that people here could steer you towards the right direction.

Ted Mooney, finishing.com
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey


Vacuum metallizing of chrome and aluminum is offered only by a few shops in the US. It is not as widely available or as widely accepted because of process economics, i.e. cost. However some new technologies are coming into market that indicate better process economics and could be attractive enough to consider for your application.

Mandar Sunthankar
- Fort Collins, Colorado

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