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topic 8302

Reflective Coating on Car Headlights


I am trying to find out if it is possible take an auto turn signal light and coat the inside so that its highly reflective like the headlights. I don't really know how they put the reflective coating on the headlights and what they use (i.e. chrome, silvered plastic?) I was also looking to do the side mirrors. The surface on the housing is only like 50 sq. inches for one. I was just wondering if anyone knows of any companies out there who small orders like this and if its at all economical? I'd appreciate any help you could give me.


Aaron Smith
USAF - Tinker AFB, Oklahoma


G'day Aaron.

Re:Reflector coatings. Silver or Rhodium plating works well. Rhodium is preferred due to its anti-tarnish properties. Be sure to have the reflector stripped, polished, copper, bright nickel, then rhodium plated. A thin coating of rhodium is all that is required.

As for your side mirrors. Chrome plating would be the best. I would look for a precious metal electroplating company. One that plates jewellery. Try the yellow pages or a search engine.

Richard Bancroft
- Parkdale, Victoria, Australia

October 15, 2009

The type of coating used in head lights is aluminum. Electro plating arc process is what used in manufacturing plants. They spray a electrolyte solution to the surface of the unit in a temperature controlled state. Thus the charge of the anode arcs to the cathode and within the arcing the plating occurs. High current and high voltages are supplied with a special power supply to create the arc. These supplies are specially designed for applications like this that control Arcing points, ramp times, and ripples and within these capabilities you can adjust how the plating occurs to control how smooth the finishes are. Not having these options on supplies can cause dramatic distortion and porous holes in the finish.

Dave lumber
industrial - Canton, Michigan

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