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Unhappy with chrome results...is it me?


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Hello all, As the title says I’m unhappy with the results of chroming that was done. First, I’m not going to say who had done the work as I don’t want to turn this into a bashing session on the vendor. Let me explain a little. I’ve sent many racks out to this place and a majority of the time no big issues although the second to last order came back with some mild discoloration and what looks like dust in the chrome but overall I was still happy. This last order I got back was definitely worse than the last. I’ve included some pics but they don’t really do it much justice. The discoloration ( kind of goldish in hue) is more prevalent, more what looks like dust and tiny bubbles in the chrome, dull patches and runs in the chrome. I’ve used the same tedious process every time in my prep including even blowing off the racks with the computer canned air before putting them into new ziplock bags. The parts were stripped in super clean, rinsed thoroughly in warm water, than washed with warm water and dawn followed by another rinse and blown dry with compressed air.  Not every part looked bad, some looked fantastic, especially all the wheels that came back. It was mostly on the bumpers. I don’t know if it’s just me being overly picky or if this result is not typical. I don’t want to be that guy complaining so I’m reluctant to contact the vendor. What do you guys think? 

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13 minutes ago, FLHCAHZ said:

I wouldn't be very happy with those results at all. It would ruin a kit for me of the crome came out of the box like that.  

 

Yeah, i wouldnt accept it either. im surprised they didnt review it before sending it to you. they should have corrected the issue before sending it

Edited by youpey
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I agree that you have a write to be unhappy with the results. That said I would contact the person that is doing your chrome work and let him know that you're disappointed with this set of bumpers. I would give him a chance to correct the problem and I would suggest you contact him ASAP. They may not even be aware of a quality issue and you should at least give them the a chance to correct the problem. I have no idea how this all would have happened but I would think that making you a happy customer would be more important to him than any profit he maybe making on this. I would do this before airing any problems with his work and there may be a problem with the bumpers that this is as good as it gets, but he should have a chance to explain that if that is the case. Let us know if he just stiffs you on this because that is something we would like to know as well.  

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Contact them, strip them once again and send them back. Is it possible that you didn't get the clear coat underneath the chrome off completely? 

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Well, I know of currently only one "plating company" that caters to modelers, so unless you found someone else we all suspect we know who it is.  Or if you do know another cmpany that does plating for modelers, I would love to get more inf about them.

I would not be happy with the missing metalization and the yellow area either.  Years ago, when ChromeTech USA was my go-to company, I had a similar problem with them.  While they offered to redo the plating for free, most of the labor was on me (as I had to strip and remount the parts).  That was very frustrating!

Edited by peteski
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Thanks everyone for the responses and good advice. I’m going to reach out to the vendor . In all honesty I believe the vendor will make it right without any problems. They seem like good people. I’ll keep you posted. 

18 minutes ago, peteski said:

most of the labor was on me (as I had to strip and remount the parts).  That was very frustrating!

This thought absolutely ran through my brain. However as frustrating as it is, it is still the lesser of the evils because the way they are now would drive me crazy EVERY time I looked at the model. 

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One little unpleasant truth to remember whenever dealing with ANY service company...the workmanship and quality on any given day...or job...is only as good as the individual who does the work cares to make it.

The two real-car shops I contract with here (a major metropolitan area in the Southeast) can NOT hire competent help, even though a high 5-figure income is possible.

As a result, one shop has scaled back to only accepting enough work to keep the current crew busy (and they're far from wizards themselves), and the other shop is quitting the high-end hot-rod work when I leave.

The point is...your plating guy may have a new-hire who doesn't care, or just doesn't understand the concept of acceptable vs. not. That's pretty standard these days in every service business, including banking.

I would most definitely complain. You paid for a certain level of work you'd reasonably come to expect, as you'd received that level of work in the past. You have every RIGHT to complain, and to expect it to be done to your satisfaction.

 

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Well I did reach out to the vendor and this was his response . 

“It is not possible for us to economically make a standard practice of removing and reworking individual parts from customer mounted racks even if we spot the defects.  There are too many variables that cause these inconsistencies.  When the large majority of parts come out fine we have little choice.  The savings the customer sees when mounting their own parts is quite significant and it is our intent to pass that savings on to the customer.   You have shown only six parts from a total of four full racks of chrome work.  If you wish to strip the parts, remounting them on a rack and sending them back we will redo the parts.  That is the best we can offer.”

I emailed him back to let him know it was only six pics that I sent but between 4 racks there was a total of 15 bumpers with issues ( including one that after looking again I discovered a hair in it ) . I haven’t heard back. Based on his response I not sure I’m comfortable sending them back out to him but at the same time currently there’s few options. For the record I’ve tried alclad and other methods that came out good but I still prefer them to actually be chromed. I guess I was a little surprised that he didn’t seem to be too worried that the quality of the chrome job was not very good or apologetic to some level. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad he offered to redo them. 

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What is worrisome is that this type of problem is happening in the first place.  I would have thought that the parts would be handled in a seasonable dust-free environment.  I'm not expecting a surgical-suite cleanliness, but clean enough to minimize any "dust accidents".

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I apologise if this isn't the first time that this has been proposed : I wonder with which plating service that the now-defunct Modelhaus contracted ? Their plated items were --in my experiences at least-- the best !

I recognise a couple of 1973 & 1974 Plymouth Duster bumpers on that rack , @GoodbuildNY! Too bad that the spares that I have a marqued for projects , otherwise I'd send them to you at no charge .

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I've had parts chromed by 3 different platers over the years, and I can't remember a time when all of my parts returned unscathed.

In most cases, everything looked very nice, but in every situation, there were at least a few parts that exhibited some minor issues.

Debris, minor runs, bubbles or dull spots were fairly common in every batch.

Most of this is due to the lacquer base that is applied before plating, and some could be attributed to prep, but in the end, we have to remember that these providers are not large, "companies" of any description.

They are mostly "one man shows" who in the past, were quite often only the middle man and were not performing the actual plating process themselves.

Today, with the passing of most of these providers, the "ones" that remain, I have to believe, must be quite overwhelmed with the volume of work that they are tasked to complete.

It seems almost impossible to me that there are not going to be circumstances arising such as this as the provider rushes to get through the heavy volume of work coming his way from a constituency which is often very impatient.

 

I suspect that it will only be a matter of a short period of time before we won't have to worry about the quality of our re-plated parts anymore.

The model kit plating industry is hanging on by a thread as we speak.

I'm relatively confident that thread will snap in the not too distant future, and then it will just be a matter of whether or not some brave, and hopefully competent, individual will pick up the baton and wade into the quagmire.

 

 

 

 

Steve

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2 hours ago, StevenGuthmiller said:

I've had parts chromed by 3 different platers over the years, and I can't remember a time when all of my parts returned unscathed.

In most cases, everything looked very nice, but in every situation, there were at least a few parts that exhibited some minor issues.

Debris, minor runs, bubbles or dull spots were fairly common in every batch.

Most of this is due to the lacquer base that is applied before plating, and some could be attributed to prep, but in the end, we have to remember that these providers are not large, "companies" of any description.

Amen Steve! I have never sent out chrome, but I was wondering what would be an acceptable failure rate for a frame of chrome.

And I know a lot of it does come down to prep... I’m frustrated with my own work with Alclad, and prep worked that looked great to me, but very visibly flawed once chromed. And I know it’s on me!

Edited by Tom Geiger
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18 minutes ago, Tom Geiger said:

Amen Steve! I have never sent out chrome, but I was wondering what would be an acceptable failure rate for a frame of chrome.

And I know a lot of it does come down to prep... I’m frustrated with my own work with Alclad, and prep worked that looked great to me, but very visibly flawed once chromed. And I know it’s on me!

Prep is extremely important due to the thinness of the chrome plating, but my experience has been that the biggest problem is the heavy application of the base coat under the chrome.

The last time that I had Chrome Tech re-plate parts for me, the base was applied so heavily that it was to the point of obscuring detail.

I chalk this up to the fact that most of the model kit plating outlets farmed out the actual plating operation to larger plating companies who may, or may not have been used to working with such small and finely detailed parts as a model car part.

Any time you see detail hide, runs or sags, it's the fault of the base, not the chrome itself.

 

 

 

 

Steve

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20 hours ago, StevenGuthmiller said:

...it will just be a matter of whether or not some brave, and hopefully competent, individual will pick up the baton and wade into the quagmire.

Yup. The technology is out there, with prices for the equipment ranging from $2,500 to over $80,000. Step right up, kids.

https://www.marcacoating.com/pvd-coating-equipment/vacuum-metallization-equipment

FOR MORE INFO GOOGLE "VACUUM METALIZING"

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Funny thing after reading this topic.. in  the last episode of Restoration Garage, with the restoration of a Delahaye in season 7 episode 9 which aired last night, David said the million dollar car had $180,000 in chrome on it and they went through 3 chrome shops before they got acceptable work.

There is a good sequence at the chrome shop where they went through the entire process.  Interesting to watch.

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27 minutes ago, Tom Geiger said:

... they went through 3 chrome shops before they got acceptable work.

There is a good sequence at the chrome shop where they went through the entire process.  Interesting to watch.

Just keep in mind that "chroming" plastic model parts is an entirely different process from chroming metal real-car parts.

Entirely.

 

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2 minutes ago, Ace-Garageguy said:

Just keep in mind that "chroming" plastic model parts is an entirely different process from chroming metal real-car parts.

Entirely.

 

Absolutely, I just found the unacceptable results angle parallel ironic.  Plus the shop sequence was interesting.

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1 minute ago, Tom Geiger said:

Absolutely, I just found the unacceptable results angle parallel ironic. ..

Yup. Having been in the real-car resto and hot-rod biz for decades, I have to deal with unacceptable results on a continuing basis.

A shop that was my go-to for years can no longer deliver the goods. Another shop that opened fairly recently (becoming increasingly difficult with all the knee-jerk...but largely meaningless... "environmental" regs in many places) did a few knockout pieces for us, but now everything comes back horrible...if they don't lose it.

To finish up the high-end '66 Chevelle I've been building since 2016,  I'm working side-by-side with yet another shop. I do the metalwork (which insures there are NO WAVES, and it fits properly), they put a heavy layer of copper on it, send it back to me, I block the copper, send it back to them for more copper, and repeat as necessary. When the copper is perfect, it goes to nickel, then chrome. 

It's a royal PITA, as there was a time when there were literally hundreds of competent plating shops. No more.

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 3/15/2021 at 3:12 PM, espo said:

That said I would contact the person that is doing your chrome work and let him know that you're disappointed with this set of bumpers. I would give him a chance to correct the problem and I would suggest you contact him ASAP. 

The fact that their quality control is sub par, not sure I would give them another chance. I would just ask for a refund.

On 3/15/2021 at 3:26 PM, Plowboy said:

Contact them, strip them once again and send them back. Is it possible that you didn't get the clear coat underneath the chrome off completely? 

This shouldn't be the customers liability to whether they stripped it correctly or not. The fact that they went ahead and chromed it tells me they were ok with the strip job.

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