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topic 7238

Chrome Plating Plastic (aka vacuum depositing?)


I am searching for a company who can chrome plate plastic parts.

The material I will be plating is black ABS plastic. I am told this process is called "vacuum depositing". Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

Scott Appe
- Ponchatoula, Louisiana USA


People sometimes use the phrase "chrome plated" as slang for anything that is shiny--and that can confuse the issue a bit.

ABS plastic can be chrome plated, and millions upon millions of automobile grills, headlight and taillight bezels are chrome plated ABS. This is not a vacuum process, though, but a wet process involving electroless deposition of metal, followed by copper, nickel, and chrome plating. It's a premium finish for rugged outdoor exposure, and it isn't cheap.

On the other hand, a "chrome plated" toy car, or a "chrome plated" plastic armrest on a 1960's vintage automobile would actually be vacuum-deposited aluminum, followed by a lacquer. This would be a cheap finish, but not suitable for outdoor exposure.

On the third hand, there are more robust chromium-like finishes (sputtering) that can be vacuum deposited. But it sounds to me like you are looking for real chrome plating on that ABS.

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

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