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"Decorative Finishing options for cast A380"

August 2, 2016

Q. We are a large lighting manufacture and I'm looking for advice on how to get high quality metallic finishes on cast Aluminum A380 parts. Currently we are powder coating these parts. Powder coat just does not look like a brushed metal finish. Since it's cast, we have not found an anodize solution that will work.

We have looked into electroless nickel which looks OK but doesn't give us any tinting options. I'm looking for a company that can cost effectively plate or metallize parts 4" in diameter so that they look like brushed nickel, brass, and various colored Alzak finishes

Is there a processing or plating method that I should look into? Machining these out of billet aluminum and then anodizing is not an option due to cost.

Chris Reed
Designer/buyer - San Antiono Texas

August 2016

A. Cast aluminum can be nickel plated or brass plated, but getting the dyed colors of anodized aluminum is not going to happen with metal plating. How about PVD coating them with titanium and then doing titanium anodizing. Or how about forming them from stamped/spun aluminum instead of cast aluminum so they can be decoratively anodized?


pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Aloha -- an idea worth spreading
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey

August 4, 2016

A. Here is a possible alternative. Your parts are small enough that they be mass finished in a dry organic abrasive mix. This is a common practice for antique looking parts. You will not get a grain appearance, but something similar.

tony kenton
AF Kenton
Hatboro, Pennsylvania

August 16, 2016

A. We've been taking aluminum railboards -- the body of a unique type of stringed instrument with lots of frets -- plating them and following up with various PVD finishes. We've figured out how to give these aluminum parts both brushed and polished finishes. It is a complex process, but certainly doable on parts your size (the railboards are around 36" long).

jim treglio portrait
Jim Treglio - scwineryreview.com
PVD Consultant & Wine Lover - San Diego, California

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