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topic 5075

Chrome Plating Plastics


I am carrying out a project to improve the VolksWagen Beetle headlamp. It is currently built entirely from metal, but I would like to look at the possibilities of manufacturing the rim of the lamp from ABS or Polypropylene.

How much would a chrome plated ring of 15 cm diameter cost to produce on average ? and would it have better corrosion resistance compared to chrome plated mild steel, which is currently used. Do you also know the average lead time for chrome plating such a part.

Adam Goodfellow
- Coventry, United Kingdom


The majority of grills, headlamp bezels, and tail lamp bezels are chrome plated ABS, so you won't be tilling new ground. The corrosion resistance, whether the substrate is steel or plastic, will be outstanding and not an issue if a really high quality duplex nickel-chrome plating system is used.

Sorry, I don't know the usual cost, although the overall cost of the item will be lower in plastic. Lead time would certainly depend on volume; a prototypist could do a few this weekend if you made it worth his while, whereas a major production run involves displacing/delaying someone else's work and could take several months.

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


What would be a typical a value for the resistivity of chrome plating applied to plastics (PC/ABS)? We want to use the chromed inside the case for RFI shielding, and need to compare it with other technologies. The thickness of the materials used to finish the plastic case are:-

Cu 5.0 microns
Ni 8.0 microns
Cr 0.1 microns

Raymond Yu
- United Kingdom


Just a quick question. Do you know of any way to chrome PET?

Richard Mills
- London, England


Your question was quick, alright, but perhaps a bit too quick smiley, Richard, from the aspect that "to chrome" means different things to different people. To some it means very literally to electroplate with chromium; but to others it means merely "to make it reflective, metallic, and shiny looking". So, do you merely want it to look like a reflective mylar party balloon or must it actually be electroplated with chromium for some functional reason?

Please explain what you want "to chrome" and why. Absolutely anything can be plated, but the hard part can be getting excellent adhesion. Thanks!

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

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