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Powder coating plus chrome plating


Q. Is it possible to powdercoat a chrome plated surface? I have a set of alloy motorcycle wheels which have a chrome plated finish on them. I'd like to powdercoat them black but I'm not sure if the chrome plating must first be removed?

If it makes a difference, the wheels are brand new and the chrome plating is in perfect condition ... no pitting.

Thanks for the help.

Brian Carvalho
hobbyist - Kearny, New Jersey


A. Hi Brian. No, it's not practical to get good adhesion to chrome plating because few things will stick well to chrome. But a powder coating shop can probably chemically strip the chrome. Or, at a Powder Coating seminar at the Southern Metal Finishing conference, a couple of shops reported successfully powder coating parts after a very light "sweeping" sandblast. This presumably removes the chrome (which is only a few millionths of an inch thick) and exposes and etches the nickel. This probably is a practical way to maintain the shiny chrome look under translucent powder coats. Still, it would be better to swap your chrome wheels with someone else's powder coated wheels if such a swap could be arranged :-)

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

Painting or powder coating a logo onto our chromed valve covers


Q. We are a manufacturer of cast aluminum valve covers. We currently have a logo cast into the valve covers that is indented (not raised). We are looking at having these covers polished, chromed, and then would like the logo portion of these valve covers to be red or black powder coated. Is this possible, powder coating over chrome or would we be better off using an epoxy based paint?

Regardless of what method we use (powder coat or paint) how would we get the paint or powder to stick to the inside of the logo since they have already been chromed?

There has to be a way to do this, can anyone help?



Roger Sullivan
Aftermarket Auto parts manufacturer - Las Vegas, Nevada, USA


A. You can do the powder coating first, Roger. I've seen much less expensive components than yours mass produced by powder coating the desired areas and then chroming the whole thing; no chrome will "take" on the powder coated area. I think it's a more reliable sequence. Good luck.

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

To minimize searching and offer multiple viewpoints, we've combined multiple threads into the dialog you're viewing. Please forgive any resultant repetition or failures of chronological order.


Q. I recently had my triple trees form my H-D motorcycle powder coated. It's chipping and peeling. Not prepared correctly is my guess since under the coating is the shiny chrome finish. What needs to be done in preparing for powder coating so I can insure that it's done right this time. I'll prep it myself if I have to, just so I know it's done right this time.

Glen Helsley
Motorcycle Owner - Hurley, New York


A. The only way that you are going to get a Powder Coating finish to go over chrome is to remove it, either with an acid or by shot blasting it off.

Steven Miller
- South Wales, UK


A. The few powder coaters I have dealt with find a good non-peeling chrome finish to be excellent for powder coating over. I don't know how many different processes there are for applying powder coating. So it may not work in all forms of application.
All of this doesn't mean much now since you will have to remove the current powder coat. Sometimes in the process of removing the powder coat the chrome undercoat will most likely get damaged. In that event the part will have to be stripped to the base metal.
Your best bet is to take it to a reputable chrome plater and have the plating stripped to the base metal.

Frank DeGuire
- St. Louis, Missouri, USA

April 11, 2014 -- this entry appended to this thread by editor in lieu of spawning a duplicative thread

Q. Hello, my question is about Powder Coating over new chrome. I have several new Harley Davidson Motorcycles.


On two of the bikes I want to powder coat over the chrome and I want to do it with a "candy" color. I called Eastwood (a tool company) and was told to clean the chrome piece with a good cleaner and pre bake the part at 450 °F for about 45 minutes then take it out of the oven and spray the powder over it while its still hot so the powder can really start to stick then put it back in the oven for 20 minutes. And yes you can do candy colors. Now, do you or anyone else have anything to add to this to help me out?
Thank you

Bill Stephenson
Hobbyist - Clearwater, Florida USA

April 22, 2014

A. It is not a good idea to powdercoat over chrome if the intent is to use the Motorcycles. If the motorcycles are purely for display it would be OK.
The problem is that there is nothing promoting adhesion and so the coating would be extremely susceptible to chipping.
Hope this helps.

William Doherty
Trainer - Newcastle NSW Australia

June 15, 2014

A. I have had excellent results with powder coating over chrome. Just make sure the chrome is not peeling or pitted and is thoroughly cleaned and free of all dirt and films before coating.

Frank DeGuire
- St. Louis, Missouri, USA

March 31, 2016

Q. My small business specializes in creating custom motorcycle accessories. I would like to create custom designs that are a combination of gloss black images on chrome. Reading other posts it appears I could mask my aluminum part, laser my design into the mask, powder coat gloss black and then chrome. Will my chrome shop balk at putting the partially coated part in his tanks? Would there be any special instructions that I would need to provide to keep the gloss black? Is there another process that would work better? Thanks!

Charles Nussbaum
- Columbus, Indiana USA

March 2016

A. Hi Charles. Frank Deguire has told us twice now that powder coating will stick to clean chrome fine. I've also listened to powder coaters describe how they sweep blast components to remove the chrome and slightly etch the nickel for good powder coating adhesion.

But we all believe most confidently in what we've seen with our own eyes, and yes I've seen your approach of doing the powder coating first. I've watched thousands of selectively powder coated parts go through the whole chrome plating sequence including cyanide copper strike, with the powder coating acting as a mask, without a problem -- so that's an approach I personally believe in :-)


pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey
Striving to live "Aloha"

April 1, 2016

Q. Hi Ted,
That is amazing.
Do you know which Powder Technology was used?
Thermo-set, Thermo-plastic, Epoxy or Polyester?

William Doherty
Trainer - Salamander Bay

April 2016

A. Hi Bill. It was a thermoset powder coating of conventional thickness not exceeding a few mils, not a heavy thermoplastic coating. And it was for outdoor use, so it probably wasn't epoxy (but might have been a hybrid epoxy-polyester). But I can't explain the details any further -- both because I was involved in the subsequent plating operation rather than the powder coating operation, and because the company that was doing it is still in business and presumably would want to retain the benefits of any development efforts they may have put in. There were occasional problems at sharp edges and corners if the powder was allowed to get too thin because plating "trees" would grow through the pinholes (uninsulated corners draw high plating current).

I perhaps left the impression that no development work at all is required and Charles can simply take his powder coated parts as they are and run them through through the chrome plating sequence -- but that may not be true. Whether his parts will work right out of the gate, vs. whether there might be substantial development work required, I don't know.


pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey
Striving to live "Aloha"

Can chrome lip on a wheel withstand the heat when powdercoating?

April 17, 2017

Q. I want to powder coat the center of a customer's 30" wheel. Will the outside lip of the wheel be okay being that it is chrome? 400 °F.

James K
- Fort worth, Indiana

April 2017

A. Hi James. I wouldn't chance it; I'd go with liquid paint. Although the chrome per se can withstand 400 °F, blistering of the chrome on alloy wheels is a very common problem even without heating ... and the tendency will be greatly increased if you bake them. Plating on aluminum requires a zincate immersion plating layer (with less adhesion than most electroplating), and alloy wheels are made of a rather trashy grade of aluminum for finishing. I'm not saying for sure that baking them would ruin them, but I think there is a good chance, not just a remote chance.


pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey
Striving to live "Aloha"

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