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topic 6272

Triple chroming at home


(2000)

HI: WERE INTERESTED IN TRIPLE CHROMING MOTORCYCLE RIMS AND PARTS OF MOTORCYCLES ME AND A FEW OF MY FRIENDS WOULD LIKE TO BE ABLE TO KEEP OUR BIKES THE CLEANEST IN THE AREA AND WANT TO BUILD AN ELECTROPLATING SYSTEM FOR OUR USE. WE WANT A TRIPLE CHROME HOME SYSTEM THAT COULD AT LEAST DO ONE MOTORCYCLE RIM AT A TIME OR TWO.A QUASI MINI CHROME SYSTEM NEEDED, ON A SHOE STRING BUDGET.

THE SYSTEMS I FIND WE KNOW COULD BE BUILT FOR LESS. A COUPLE OF US WORK IN POLISHING/BUFFING AND CHROMING BUT THE BOSSES ARE VERY GREEDY AND WON'T SHARE TECH.INFO. OR CONTACTS.

BATHS NOT A PROBLEM BUT SMALLER EQUIPMENT FOR A TWO CAR OVER SIZED GARAGE ELUSIVE. ANYBODY GOT BLUE PRINTS OR CATALOGS OF EQUIPMENT THAT COULD BE OBTAINED FOR PUTTING TOGETHER A HOME SYSTEM FOR LESS.

THANKS, FUTURE SHOW CHROME BARONS.

CHARLIE G [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
HOBBY - WEST VIRGINIA


(2000)

Your ambition is good to hear, Charlie, but in the meanwhile try to learn all you can from your present position or by taking your skills to a shop which appreciates them more! A couple of years experience with someone teaching you (and footing the bill) could be the difference between success and failure for your business. Although no one can learn absolutely everything even in decades, there is certainly such a thing as a "learning curve" -- you can learn one heck of a lot in a year or so when you're trying hard.

You say "the baths are not a problem" but that's not true. Who will even sell you chromic acid? It's toxic and carcinogenic, mustn't be operated without medical monitoring, stack monitoring, surface tension measurement and logging, and it can't be disposed of except at high cost and with EPA and OSHA permits. Used plating equipment is available much cheaper than new and if you pick used equipment that is right, it can be workable.

Your friends should probably go to work in another shop for a short while too! Virtually everyone I know of is desperate for their workers to take an interest and to learn. Further, if your friends don't know of the hazards associated with chrome plating, it sounds possible that they are not receiving the training they need and are supposed to be getting, and aren't learning the things they'll want to know for a successful operation of your own, Good luck.

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


(2000)

I fully agree with Ted! I know it sounds like a cool idea, but it isn't.

If I knew the people in the neighboring house were installing a "triple chrome plating operation" in their garage, I would be very upset! I, and I am sure many other people, would not be willing to live with the risk of carcinogenic chemicals in a newbie operation in my own residential area. I'd be on the phone with my lawyer right away, so expect others to do the same.

tim neveau
Tim Neveau
Rochester Hills, Michigan


(2001)

I found this posting to research the possibility of having my own "backyard chrome shop" I see now that it really isn't a possibility. I've always brought my parts to a chrome shop and am totally ignorant on the process. Is there a safe way to chrome plate metal at home?

Cary R
- Hammond, Louisiana


(2001)

It's certainly not impossible to set up a small plating shop, Cary. After all, people have done it! But it's more of an industrial science than a hobby; the process is not dead simple, and usually involves at least the following steps and often more:

As mentioned, the chromium plating chemicals are highly regulated. "Erin Brockovich" [link is to movie info at Amazon] was about a cancer cluster caused by chromic acid disposal.

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

--
Ed. note: Please see our Chrome Plating Tutorial as an intro, Cary. Good luck!


(2003)

I was thinking of starting plating myself, but it seems that the people responding to these questions are platers themselves and don't want garage platers because would hinder their business. Of course they're trying to discourage us, less competition, that's how I see it, no matter what they say I think I'll try it!

Raymond D [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Medford, New York


August , 2009

Hi, Raymond. All we ask is that you educate yourself first. There are many fine books available in libraries, local free monthly meeting of the American Electroplaters' Society (you don't need to be a member), free seminars and conferences, and many other opportunities to learn. But if you realize that you don't yet know enough to land a job as a journeyman plater, and would have to start as a helper, maybe you don't know enough to be the boss yet either. Please take a summer job in a plating shop, and learn fast. Good luck.

Regards,

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


Are You an American Pioneer? (2003)

I am a soon to be small business. I am in the process of building my foundation, and part of it is Chrome Plating. While researching my dream, I came across this web page. I agree with Charlie, and Raymond D. This is America, and with the freedom we have, we can be anything we want to be. Ted Mooney, P.E. - finishing.com Inc., and Cary R's comment is one of discouragement, a reply that destroys ones DREAM! Yes, we must stay within the boundaries of the law, and safety is of the utmost importance.

Ted is classic example of "Big Business" In my opinion men like this guy have hurt, and I say again "Hurt" the American spirit. I say this because "Big Business", and "Big Fat CATS" need to GO DOWN! They do not take care about their people who have homes, families, and I do not need to go on. They only think about $$$$$.

It is a new age gentlemen, and it is time to get back to free America. Time to get back to the "Mom and Pop Shop"! Big business is KILLING America! Time to wake up, and cut the lifeline of BIG BUSINESS! When we all see this, and understand the big picture, it will push us pioneering Americans to a new, and better way of Life, and doing business.

Ted, and Cary R, I am your competition, I May, or may not make it, but I will try till I DIE! BELIEVE IT!

All MEN who read my comment are free to email me with your reply of support, or other, at psjbogart@aol.com.

Think about it.

Phil B [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
Hobbyist, Soon Parts Maker/Chromer! - Lima, Ohio


(2003)

Phil, I've never owned, managed, or been employed by a plating shop. I'm not exactly what most people would call "Big Business" either; for over 30 years I've been a self-employed company of one, sometimes two.

I don't know how you decided I am more about '$$$$$' than you are, but I taught electroplating free to all comers for 10 years through the local branch of the American Electroplaters Society, I wrote many free articles about plating for magazines and books, and I work very hard to keep this site available to you for nothing.

I happen to agree with you completely about big business -- but the Freeload 500 / Fortune 500 washed their hands of plating decades ago, and the great majority of plating shops in America today are mom-and-pop affairs.

Self-employment is emotionally rewarding (although financially draining for almost all), and you are most certainly welcome to grab your piece of the American dream! But if your business plan revolves around insisting that there is no need to learn anything, nothing to be trained in, no value in apprenticeship, no point in attending educational society meetings -- and that anyone who disagrees is part of an evil empire -- I don't think you are starting out on promising footing :-)

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


(2003)

Ted, If I misunderstood your position/business in the Plating industry, then I offer a formal apology. I have experienced cold shoulders, and rudeness when it comes to entering into the custom fabrication, and plating business. A business I want on the side. I do understand why, because all business small or large wished they had no competition.

I do not feel/hope I advocated "Evil Empire", but after reading your letter, and experiencing what I wrote above, it did push a button at the right time. I have been exhausted of hearing/reading negative reports.

Your comment "But if your business plan revolves around insisting that there is no need to learn anything about the business, nothing to be trained in, no value in apprenticeship, no point in attending educational society meetings--and that anyone who disagrees must be part of an evil empire--you are not starting out on promising footing" I feel is jumping to conclusions. You have no Idea of the research, books, training DVD's, I have bought, and read, regarding metal fabrication, and plating process. I am a 10 year Navy Vet, and college graduate, so I fully understand the wisdom in attending educational society meetings and apprenticeships. In closing, I say, "I am a student", and I hope you do not feel I am arguing. I think there is a lot I could learn from you. I feel I have something to offer as well.

Kind Regards,

Phil B [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
Small Business Metal Fabrication - Lima, Ohio, USA


(2003)

You are right that all businesses wish they had no competition! But that doesn't mean that the motive for the responses you see is to discourage people for fear of competition. I and the regular contributors to this site are also tired ... tired of having our integrity publicly questioned every time someone doesn't like a suggestion -- just exactly what you did.

Our suggestions always include attending free professional society meetings, but that doesn't mesh well with believing everyone you will meet there is "greedy" and "won't share" as previous writers on this page assert. Our suggestions include reading books, but search this site and read how many backyard platers feel that the authors are just out to rob them.

In any field, apprenticeship is invaluable--it takes years of night school followed by years of full time employment to become certified for self-employment as a plumber, an electrician, an engineer, even a beautician ... but most would-be backyard platers get angry if we suggest the possibility that they take a job for a single summer in a plating shop before opening their own! Why do they assume that plating is so much easier than plumbing or cutting hair? The landing gear on 747's is chrome plated -- care to speculate on the consequences of it being imperfect? The molds for continuous casting of steel are nickel plated -- want to guess what happens when the plating fails and the steel sticks ... hundreds of tons of molten steel cooling to hardness in the wrong place :-)

Most backyard platers don't have any conception how difficult quality plating really is, and the hostile treatment they will get from the regulators, and they get angry with us if we don't assure them it is a walk in the park. Many backyard platers don't understand that sharing tips is one thing, but expecting people who have paid an employee for decades of development work on a proprietary additive have every right to want to sell that knowledge rather than give it away.

Yes, you certainly do have something to offer! -- and we can all learn from you too. Good luck.

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


(2003)

Ted,
Where are you coming from? Your reply totally disregards mine. I see you are trying to reply in general, painting a picture regarding backyard platers. I am not even there yet, and as I stated, I am a student, I am researching, looking for workshops, books, etc..

Home plating systems are offered from many companies, but are they safe and of quality. I happen to agree with you that the safety side is huge as I stated in my first post, and a novice needs to be schooled. I even stated this in my last post. Therefore after RESEARCHING, I do not think I will venture at this time.

I replied with humility, and class. Your reply is found wanting in my opinion.

Rgs,

Phil B [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
Small Business - Lima, Ohio, USA


(2003)

Yes, Phil, I think you replied with humility and class, and readers of this page will certainly agree! Thanks you!

Still, this is a public forum, not a private conversation. When someone posts here they are addressing not just you or me, but the other four people who posted before you, and hundreds of silent readers. You seemed very aware of that fact in your first posting, which was not directed to me, but was a public complaint about me.

My first response was a brief reply to that. My second was largely in response to your being "exhausted of hearing/reading negative reports" -- I feel there are many valid reasons for these negative reports, and I enumerated them because to not do so would be unfair to the readers, implying that I agreed that there were too many negative reports.

I am glad that you are eager to learn, and I am sure we all have a great deal to learn from you! To be successful in plating, or anything else in this world, "ya gotta have heart" -- and it's obvious that you do, Phil. Best of luck.

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


(2004)

Ahh ... home chroming is possible: there are several vendors online ready to sell you their package kits with the amperage you need to chrome most anything. In fact it's not the carcinogenic chemicals that I would ever consider a problem in obtaining, considering that common car batteries contain lots of lead and sulfuric acids to die for ... and any hardware store sells concentrated acids in plastic bottles sealed in THICK plastic bags. I would worry about how many amps per square inch it takes to chrome something, the POWER supply is what you will dearly pay for. DC welders can be modified for voltage control and negated ripplewise ... people also mention use of large battery charger [linked by editor to product info at Amazon] s, uprights, and jumpstarts -- did you know that the chroming process takes under 7 minutes?

Yet established chroming professionals charge outrageous amounts of money to do small pieces ... they have almost NO competition. Also note: the "stripping" of a metal, let's say chrome, is done by acids alone ... not even strong acids ... acids can also be neutralized by bases ... then there are only particulates left in the remaining solution ... very very minor in fact considering the big picture ... cars, coal-burning plants; hell, anything burning that provides wonderful carcinogens into the air ... apparently cigarettes too@!

LOL ...either way: use Google and type home chrome kits or how-to chrome plate or electroplating ...be creative..the knowledge is free...it's the tools they'll choke you for.  

Jevon D [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Princeton, Maine


(2004)

How refreshing to hear that chrome plating is easy, not dangerous, not an environmental problem, and plating shops are making money hand-over-fist from jobs that take them only minutes! Actually, the chroming step per se only takes about a minute and a half, not seven minutes, Jevon -- so your calculation on how much you'll make is very conservative :-) 

It's a wonder that it's so hard to find a chrome plater when the process is so lucrative and drop-dead easy!

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


(2004)

Hey guys

I'm not sure about the states you live but the big thing isn't the supplies. Yes It is true they are out there and not as highly regulated as most people would believe. Also the control's of chemical control and air and water filtration is very simple itself. I'm a Health Physic's Tech at a Commercial Nuclear Plant and I know first hand how the society would like you to believe this is more complicated than it really is. In fact in most cases all that the EPA and OSHA really require for the permits is written procedures which in most cases can be copied right out of their hand books. The process of electroplating is very simple but requires a lot of attention to detail. The major fact you need to look at is the plating process itself. In most states you can use these smaller kits or brush on process without any permits and usually get started with a home kit for about $2500. But the wet process of using chromium is illegal due to the vast amount of facilities that have shut down and left the states with the bill of cleaning up and site reclamation. I'm all for it I think it is good that you are charging to start on your own. May I suggest looking at also branching your ideas a little further and start with a small powder coating operation to help pay the bills until you are ready to expand into a bigger system that would help you pick up some manufacturing contract.

Brian M [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Manitowoc, Wisconsin


(2004)

Everyone is welcome to their opinion, and we are pleased to print yours, Brian! But your assertion that permits are not needed for these smaller kits or brush on processes appears to be wishful thinking: please google EPA 40 CFR 433. Also see the rules covering the generation, labeling, temporary storage, and disposal of F006 plating wastes. These are categorically hazardous waste (which means it doesn't matter what the actual dangers of any particular batch is, and nobody's opinion matters, if it came from electroplating it's hazardous waste, period).

It's true that the agencies may never get around to individual basements and garages, especially if the operator causes no problems to attract the attention of the sewer commission. It's also true that the regulations tend to use the words "industrial" and "plant" frequently, such that a smart environmental lawyer may have a basis for finding loopholes to help a basement plater escape prosecution. But electroplating was our nation's first categorically regulated industry, and the spirit of the law is that you cannot sell electroplating services, nor electroplate anything you sell, without obtaining a host of permits and meeting a host of regulations.

I certainly agree with you that powder coating may be a good way to start. Thanks.

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


(2004)

Ted

I understand where you are coming from on you concerns and I do agree everyone is entitled to their opinions. I'm not trying to say if someone wanted to; it is ok to go out and just start up without going through the proper channels. If someone has a desire for their own operation it is very achievable. Yes they will have to jump through some hoops and deal with the paper work and politics. But in reality the CFR's are rules. Yes I am very familiar with all the 40 CFR's also including the 10 CFR 20 dealing with posting of radiological and hazmat postings. The funny thing is if you ever talk with a underwriter in procedures and licensing they will tell you the simple fact that every CFR always refers back to DOT regulations. In fact DOT's limits for smearable contamination are 10 times higher than the release limits from the EPA. This has always been a very big issue with the DOE who picks up most of the reclamation bill.

The main thing here that I am trying to let some people understand if you wish to obtain the proper permits and licensing it is very possible especially with the fall of the economy and highest ever unemployment. If you are good with procedures and reading between the lines you can very easily get the fees waived and fall under you own procedures as long as they are approved by the EPA and DOE. You see the EPA has different categories of business; for one if someone wasn't going to be discharging more than a million gallons if was a year based on a 250 annual. Then they don't even fall into category 2 which would then cost $50,000 for a permit. Also you are by all rights allowed to adopt your procedures and guide lines from the DOE which would allow you to use PPM "parts per million" Rule and dpm/100 cm. This will allow you to use a Canberra sampling system that would then give a total count and control of your releases to the public. The proper use of hepas and water filtration will do all you filtering for you then all you will need to concentrate on would be sampling and documenting of the exhaust side of your filtration. As far as hydrogen and tritium, yes I said tritium this is a far more release that comes from the heating process that the EPA doesn't even acknowledge but the DOE does. You can take 20 ml sampling bottles right from your source or tanks and send them of to a local chemistry lab for a simple 10 minute count and calculation also a total pH print out.

So with all that said I'm not trying to mislead or make anyone mad; I just feel with the right homework done the little man could get started on his own. But they must be willing to have a lot of patience and drive to get through all the red tape.

Brian M [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Manitowoc, Wisconsin


(2005)

RFQ: I need equipment for rechroming auto parts & bumpers....Thanks

I am a small business in Conway S.C. & I want to find out if I could make money in Rechroming. I know a lot of people & classic car shops that are very interested in having some one that would do very nice work. With my back ground , I think I would be that person.

Thanks...Bill

William C [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
Automobile - Conway, South Carolina


Brian, Bill.

Certainly it is possible to get into the chrome plating business -- people are in it :-)

I don't want to discourage anyone from it, simply to let them know that there is a lot to learn, and it's risky to go into the business until you've learned it. Good luck

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


September 30, 2009

Hi everyone, Got to read a lot about Ted and all responses and issues surrounding the plating business in the US.

I want to start this business here in Africa, Lusaka, Zambia. I will need your help, Books, Videos, Contacts of sources of equipment and all.

Can you help?

Thompson Thompson
New one - Lusaka, Zambia, Africa


August 11, 2010

Chrome is a job not left to die. Hey, I'm from the Australia, here we love our cars shine and the best quality. most of them are now 2-litre milk cars, but there are some of us that teach the future generation that steel is more better than plastic. We are diehard , and thanks to all the older gens for keeping this trade alive, as I will with my son and anyone I have contact with. thanks brothers.

Andrew Flores
hobbyist - NSW, Australia



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