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89AKurt

CHROME plating, plater, outsource company (2020)

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Yes I searched, using 'chrome plating' and 'chrome plater', tagged this topic to help everyone out.  I know I've read recommendations before, buried in topics, but don't see an obvious dedicated topic.  Last century, I sent out parts to get chrome plated, makes a HUGE improvement.  Want to know who is still in business and worth the effort.

About ready to pull the trigger.....
IMG_1451_Fotor.jpg.b1b091fbdcda825acb226aee19bd9ffe.jpg

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There's really not enough to talk about to constitute an entire thread on this subject.

 

In the US at least, as far as I know, you basically have 2 options for individuals that do this sort of service specifically for modelers.

Dale Horner at "Little Motor Kar Company" in Pennsylvania, and George Hernandez at "GT Kustom Krome" in Michigan I believe.

 

That's pretty much it.

 

 

 

Steve

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55 minutes ago, StevenGuthmiller said:

There's really not enough to talk about to constitute an entire thread on this subject.

In the US at least, as far as I know, you basically have 2 options for individuals that do this sort of service specifically for modelers.

Dale Horner at "Little Motor Kar Company" in Pennsylvania, and George Hernandez at "GT Kustom Krome" in Michigan I believe.

That's pretty much it.

That's all I was asking for, thank you.

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Sorry Kurt.

I didn't mean to sound cranky, but the options for plating are so limited today that it kind of makes me feel that way sometimes. ;)

 

I used to have parts chromed quite often, but it has become a little more difficult in recent years.

Chrome Tech is no longer and Kustom Krome has changed hands in the past few years.

When Bob, (now of Bob's Paints) was running Kustom Krome, the service and product were top notch!

Now, the service seems to be a little suspect.

Or at least it was some months ago when George was apparently having some health issues.

 

I have never used LMK, but I hear that he does good work.

With Kustom Krome having some issues over the past year or so, I'm just a bit apprehensive about taking the plunge with George with any of my irreplaceable vintage parts.

 

I have enough re-chromed parts now to last me quite some time, so I'm just kind of waiting at the moment to see how things shake out in the plating arena.

 

 

 

Steve

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2 hours ago, StevenGuthmiller said:

Sorry Kurt.

I didn't mean to sound cranky, but the options for plating are so limited today that it kind of makes me feel that way sometimes. ;)

[...]

I can be just as cranky as anyone. 🤭  Don't understand why that thread did not come up when I searched within this forum, but found it using Safari.

 

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8 minutes ago, 89AKurt said:

I can be just as cranky as anyone. 🤭  Don't understand why that thread did not come up when I searched within this forum, but found it using Safari.

 

Yes, I noticed that you had given it a bump.

No harm, no fowl.

As long as you find the information that you need. ;)

 

 

 

Steve

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I was going to suggest to maybe make the "chrome" platers thread sticky, but we already have way too many sticky threads in this section.

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Ok, sent my projects off to Little Kar Company yesterday.  Fingers crossed, look forward to a positive report.

IMG_1508_Fotor_Fotor.jpg

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I would have bagged the frame in a Ziploc plastic bag (in case parts come loose during shipping).  That is how I used to send mine out.

Also, instead of hard Styrofoam cradle in a small box, I would place the bagged part in the center of a bed of packing peanuts, in a larger box.  If the box gets slightly crushed or dented,  in your type of packaging the frame will get bent or damaged.  Using my method, the "peanuts" would just readjust, and the rack would be left undamaged.

I spend way too much time stripping, smoothing and racking my parts to take *ANY* chances on shipping damage.  And it happens.  Good luck Kurt!

Edited by peteski

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I have made resin bumpers for a guy that does commission builds.  When they come back from LMK, they are absolutely gorgeous.

I have an interest in vacuum metalizing.  I just keep thinking if I could afford the equipment, I would purchase.  Even though I might not do the work myself it would create a job for a couple of people.

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14 minutes ago, Greg Wann said:

I have made resin bumpers for a guy that does commission builds.  When they come back from LMK, they are absolutely gorgeous.

I have an interest in vacuum metalizing.  I just keep thinking if I could afford the equipment, I would purchase.  Even though I might not do the work myself it would create a job for a couple of people.

"I"........for one ....could set up at least. Four (4) trees of parts in the fashion chrometech required them ....not knowing the said cost of equipment required to start a plating service..."How" many others like me would invest... @  X amount of dollars....would lessen the burden of the initial investment to get you started...then in return, could get the service provided @ a stock holders rate...and a higher rate for non-stock holders fees?   Just a thought?

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Hmmm. Kind of like a kick starter or a go find me program.  That is a great idea!  I do like it.

I have done a small amount of research on the subject.  I would be buying equipment that would do ornamental chrome, and in different colors too.  This type of equipment can do coatings that are considered a hard wear coatings for such things as interior car parts and drill bits and such.  New innovations have made the coating application more environmentally friendly as well.  I live on two acres with plenty of space for another shop.  Thank you for the suggestion.

Greg

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21 minutes ago, Greg Wann said:

Hmmm. Kind of like a kick starter or a go find me program.  That is a great idea!  I do like it.

I have done a small amount of research on the subject.  I would be buying equipment that would do ornamental chrome, and in different colors too.  This type of equipment can do coatings that are considered a hard wear coatings for such things as interior car parts and drill bits and such.  New innovations have made the coating application more environmentally friendly as well.  I live on two acres with plenty of space for another shop.  Thank you for the suggestion.

Greg

Hard wear coating!?  That doesn't sound like something I would like to use for models.  I know plastic car parts are electroplated with real chrome. I believe first a layer of conductive lacquer is sprayed, then thin layer of copper is  electroplated. Next is a layer of shiny chromium.  That stuff is very durable (since it is a fairly thick metal coating over plastic).

Trumpeter used similar process on some of their kits, and everybody hated it, because it was extremely difficult to scrape off from the gluing surfaces, and impossible to strip.

As I see it, the standard vacuum-metalizing aluminum (in very thin layer) over plastic is still the best "chrome" for models.  Looks great, and it is easy to scrape and strip.

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When I worked at Arizona State University before retiring, I found a professor that referred to this type of vacuum metalizing as a ornamental type.  So...I really dont have much info other than the equipment is quite expensive.

I did find a company that has a used piece of equipment for about 25 k.  It would do a nine inch square part one side at a time

Edited by Greg Wann

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https://www.svc.org/

Here is a link to the vacuum coaters society.  Lots of interesting info here.  If you live in the Chicago area, you might want to attend this conference if you would be allowed to.  This is a huge industry, far beyond simply applying aluminum to plastic parts and resin parts.  The idea of plating resin parts I make here at the shop is mesmerizing and quite daunting too.  I talked to Don Holthaus, he said there is a rejection rate of parts he gets back from the plater.  What he and his wife and family did for the modeling community was huge.  All the work was tedious and done by hand and eye.  And he agreed that clear resin and making taillights is a big PITA.  I have tried a few brands of clear.  The lack of consistent success can certainly take the wind out of ones sails.

Edited by Greg Wann

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Well Greg, whatever you take on, as long as it is similar to the vacuum-metalizing process that the model industry uses currently would be welcome by modelers.

It would be nice to attend that conference, but I  live in the Boston area.

Edited by peteski

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http://www.pftechnologies.com

I found this company here in the Phoenix area.  I'm thinking about applying for a job there.  Perhaps they will hire me.  What better way to learn about the equipment and processes than to be paid and be hands on!.  It could help guide me in equipment choices and help with a learning curve too.  Lots of interesting reading here about cosmetic coating, etc.

Edited by Greg Wann

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Greg, maybe you should try to get in touch with Louis Bernier. He was "Chrome+" out of Quebec. 

Since he moved several years ago he hasn't been plating. Maybe he'd sell his equipment . 

His e-mail, if you'd like to try contacting him is 

chromeplus@hotmail.com

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Thank you for your suggestion.  I know of Louis, I have some items he did for me and they are very nice too.  Last I knew he bought a house in the country.  He last told me he was going to move and the equipment was in need of some repairs.  Not sure how I would get the equipment from him.  Probably a long roadtrip in a big truck!

I am hoping to learn more about equipment.  The process today is much more eco friendly.   I have a two acre ranch property here in Sun City with a private septic system if there might be any kind of effluent that might be regulated.  It seems to me that recent science is able to make plastic parts chrome without the need for that ugly lacquer  that needs to be applied first that can cause part detail to get covered.  I'm sure if I had such equipment I would be busier than a one armed wall paper hanger.

Edited by Greg Wann

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Greg,

Vacuum metalizinig process does not require any clear lacquer to be applied to the plastic parts before or  after metalizing.  But if the plastic's surface is not glass-smooth, the metalization will basically show the surface finish. If the plastic has a satin surface, the metalized part will show satin finish too.  I have several Tamiya kits where the clear gloss base coat was applied  only to one one side of the parts trees. So the plating looks like chrome on that side, and satin aluminum finish on the other side.

Then there is the glossy top coat lacquer.  Again, not needed, but if applied, it protects the metaillic layer (which is ony few atoms thick) from chemical or mechanical abrasion.  Again, there are some models out there where the metalized parts do not have clear coat.  If you handle those too much (especially with sweaty hands), the metallic coating will be dulled.

Vacuum metalizing is not a dirty process. Unlike electroplating (which uses all sorts nasty liquid chemicals), it only needs a vacuum chamber and a heater inside it to vaporize a sliver of aluminum. At least that is how I understand it.  The clear lacquer fumes are probably the only thing you have to worry about.

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On 2/13/2020 at 7:33 AM, Greg Wann said:

[...]  I'm sure if I had such equipment I would be busier than a one armed wall paper hanger.

Thanks for the contribution to my topic.  I think you would be!

On 2/8/2020 at 11:34 AM, peteski said:

[...]

I spend way too much time stripping, smoothing and racking my parts to take *ANY* chances on shipping damage.  And it happens.  Good luck Kurt!

Thank you too for your contribution.  And thank you, it worked! 🎉

Pleased to report, received today!  He even took a picture to explain that I did not use enough silicon caulking to attach the sprues.  Turn around was better than expected, a couple days over one month.

IMG_1768_Fotor.jpg

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Posted (edited)

Congratulations Kurt!  Your package was handles gingerly, and the parts look great!  Take that Alclad and Molotow!  B)

 

EDIT:  While it was staring me in the face, I don't know why I didn't realize that there was an "Oops".  Oh well, live and learn. . . .  I never use silicone caulking when I mount my parts on the rack.

 

I drill and pin, and use CA glue.  Here is one of my racks. Some parts and parts of the reck have been already cut out.  The rack is made of Evergreen square styrene.

PartsRackChromed.JPG

Edited by peteski

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Hi Kurt, just curious, how much $ does it cost to have a frame like that "chrome-treated"?

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Can scratchbuilt parts that include plastic + brass, or plastic + aluminium be plated by this process? Or for that matter, can brass and soldered brass parts be plated with this process?

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If anyone is considering having this done, but doesn't have enough parts to do, to justify the expense, I have a rear bumper and bumper/grill I could add and kick in for the cost. Send me a PM. 

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