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Airsoft gun parts: Chrome, anodize or or another for finish?

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Q. Alright guys here's the deal. I play airsoft. I have some pieces that I want to either chrome, anodize or whatever is cheapest. They are all aluminum (I think) and there's surely under 30" of surface area that I want to do.

What I'm wondering first is that if I have a piece chromed does everything have to be chromed, or can I pick and choose? Say I want/need only a side or sides chromed, can it be done that way?

The pieces consist of a "Glock" slide approx. 7.5"x1" on 3 sides, totaling 22.5", with some ports cut out for the compensator system, the ejection port and for weight reduction.

The fire select switch I just want the exposed part chromed, or whatever I end up doing to it. It has a surface area of approx. .3"

Then there is the outer barrel. Excluding the surface are already covered in the slide area (Ejection port part of the barrel), the rest of the barrel has an approx. surface area of about 6.7".

The last piece is about 1" x 3", but is covered in the surface area of the slide (it is under the port cut out for weight reduction). I only want this one side that is 1" x 3" plated.

Now what are my options to keep a mirror finish without having to polish it ever other day? I swear every time I polish these things they have re-oxidized by morning.

I requested a quote and they quoted me well over $200 not including shipping. That to me is surely not worth it. I wouldn't mind a cost of under $100 including any shipping or taxes incurred, but I just couldn't justify spending over 3 times the amount I spent on the gun itself on just plating a few parts.

What are ya'lls recommendations? The only two options that I am aware of, as of now, are chrome and clear anodizing. However, I am not even sure that clear anodizing would retain the luster that I am seeking.

Anyone care to weigh in on this?

Jim Williamson
Student and hobbyist, bit of a "gunsmith" - College Station, Texas
April 3, 2008

A. Hi, Jim. Your best approach to reducing the need for repeated polishing is probably a clearcoat -- the main reason being that you can do it yourself. You would need to find a clearcoat that you can brush on yourself that you find satisfactory for the application.

Because it really doesn't matter whether you pick anodizing, chrome plating, or something else; and it doesn't matter that the surface area you want to treat is small ... the money unfortunately is in the labor cost. If you wanted a plumber to fix 4 small leaks or an auto mechanic to fix 4 small problems, you won't find anybody to do that for under $100 either.

When the parts were originally made, hundreds were placed on a single plating rack for processing, and the process was probably automated for even lower costs. So one hour of labor probably enabled processing a thousand parts. In your case, even without masking to allow plating selected areas, it's going to take somebody at least a chargeable hour to process those parts; masking for selective coating is certainly possible, but adds still more labor time :-(


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

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