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chrome plating

Chrome plating (chroming) process.

(go to this CHECKLIST to improve your project.)

1. Receiving and Inspection. The first step is to determine what work you, our customer, wants done, and to assess what will be required to achieve the desired result. Metal can deteriorate and corrode to a point where restoration is outrageously expense; after evaluating the part, we must first agree on a price, level of quality and expected completion date.

2. Stripping. Parts are stripped to bare metal; all paint, dirt, oil and grease, rust, old plating and any other foreign material must be removed. Items brought to us stripped clean will cost less to plate then if we perform the stripping step (sand blasting is a typical method for stripping parts).

3. Polishing. Polishing is the removal of surface metal using a series of abrasive wheels and sanding belts (at any plating shop, the words "sand," "grind" and "polish" basically mean the same thing). We start by using coarse-cutting grinders, working down to soft cloth buffs. The end result is a high-gloss polished metal part with all pitting, scratches and impurities removed.

4. Wiring and Racking. We use hooks, racks, copper wire and other methods to hold parts in the plating tanks; this also provide electrical contact to the part.

5. Cleaning. Parts must be surgically clean before plating -- the slightest spec of dirt, grease, oil, buffing compound, rust, or other foreign matter will cause a reject. In our shop we use an elaborate series of soap, acid and water solutions to guarantee a clean, spotless surface.

6. Copper Plating and Buffing. Parts are copper plated and then buffed to a brilliant shine. This is an important step in the process, as copper offers an added layer of corrosion protection and helps to fill-in polishing lines and pits. (While copper is very thin, many layers of coppering and sanding can slowly build-up surfaces. In fact, copper can be used to level and fill much like a painter uses primer and block sanding.)

7. Wiring, Racking and Re-cleaning. The processes of steps 4 and 5 are repeated before nickel plating.

8. Nickel Plating. It is the nickel which provides the deep luster of a chromed part, in addition to providing another layer of protection for long-lasting chrome. Parts remain in our nickel plating tank for about an hour.

9. Chrome Plating. Chrome, the final plating step, is actually a protective coating over the shiny nickel which prevents the nickel from tarnishing.

10. Final Inspection. Parts are cleaned and inspected; some parts may require minor buffing.

polishing and buffing
careful polishing yields a flawless finish 

copper plating tank
parts are copper plated, then buffed again 

nickel and chrome plating tank
nickel and chrome plating are the final steps of true triple chrome plating

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