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"INFO NEEDED ON CHROMING of PLASTIC SKULL"



2000

Q. THIS QUESTION IS GOING TO SOUND ODD. BUT HERE IT GOES, I HAVE A LIFE SIZE PLASTIC SKULL, I WANT TO "CHROME IT" MOUNT IT ON THE FRONT OF MY OLD HARLEY-DAVIDSON MOTORCYCLE AND MAKE IT A HEADLIGHT.

6835

WHAT AM I IN FOR? HOW?

WHO? HOW MUCH?

THANK YOU.

TONY S [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- YOUNGSTOWN, OHIO
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"Electroless Copper and Nickel-Phosphorous Plating"
by Sha, Wu, & Keong
from Abe Books
or

Affiliate Link
(finishing.com may earn commission)

2003

A. Ok, This is a fairly difficult task to undertake. Electroplating a plastic object is something not easily done (plastic not being conductive and all that). I used to work as a chemist at a plastic plating company many years ago and I have some knowledge of the plating process but it isn't a home brew type of thing. I will give you a quick rundown of the process. First the part is dipped in an acid cleaner tank (Sulfuric acid, chromic acid, water) then it is dipped into an acid etch tank (same as cleaner tank but stronger).

After this, the part will have microscopic pit marks covering it. It then is rinsed in a couple of tanks, cleaned in a hydrochloric acid tank, rinsed again, then dipped in a palladium tank. From here it is dipped in a tank called electroless copper (Cupric sulfide, Cupric sulfate, Formaldehyde). The palladium (it sticks in the small pit marks) attracts copper from the cupric sulfide and ends up with a very thin layer of copper coating. Now the part can be electroplated as normal. When we Chrome plated parts (flusher handles, faucets, etc.) we had 2 copper strike, 2 nickel strike and 1 chromic tank.

David Zahn
- Berea, Ohio, USA
^


A. Hi. David is right about real chrome plating on plastic, but these days there is "chrome-look paint" or "spray chrome", which actually has nothing to do with chrome but does look a lot like it. It consists of spraying the plastic surface with a compatible clear or white paint, then applying a two-part solution of silver nitrate and a reducing agent to create a shiny but very thin silver surface, then applying a compatible non-yellowing clear coat to protect the very thin layer of silver.

M&M Metalizing Sales [a finishing.com supporting advertiser] can perhaps do this for you.

Luck & Regards,

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