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Chrome plating on aluminium


I run a small business supplying parts for classic cars. I am attempting to reproduce a reasonably large chrome plated piece of cosmetic trim. This item will need to be cast from a new pattern and chrome plated. The original trim was cast in an unstable pot metal, Mazak or similar, and this exhibits all of the classic problems of large pits erupting without warning. I would like to cast the reproduction components in a more stable material. A bronze or brass alloy would be ideal except for the weight of the finished components, potentially 4Kg, which is too heavy to be retained by a single screw on a near vertical surface on a vehicle! Whenever I have brought up the subject or manufacturing these parts in alumin(i)um, I am told that this can not be chrome plated. My own experience in this field is very limited and do not feel qualified to argue with the professionals. Firstly, is it possible to chrome plate cast aluminum, and if so, what intermediate plating or other processes are necessary to achieve this. Secondly, if plating aluminum is not possible or impractical for some reason, is there an alternative, relatively lightweight material which is easily chrome plated which could be used as an alternative?

Thanks for your help, Bill Davies
- Swindon, Wiltshire, UK


Yes, aluminum can be plated. Many motorcycle parts are aluminum. But perhaps this cosmetic trim piece should be chrome plated ABS plastic? Most bright grills, headlamp surrounds, and tail light bezels are.

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


If the quantity is not too large, you could make a pattern, check it, make inverse of it and electroform. The electroform will be light in weight depending on the thickness required and will last long.

- Mumbai, India

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