Plastic Chroming

I’ve been researching this subject of late, and was hoping someone here might have some insight.
-With the ‘Chrome Paint’ process, the material applied is aluminum, but doesn’t have quite the same reflectivity as a mirror.
-With the ‘Vacuum Metalizing’ process, the material applied is aluminum, but doesn’t have quite the same reflectivity as a mirror.
-With the ‘Spray-On Chrome’ process, you have the same reflectivity as a mirror (since you’re using the same chemicals as with resilvering a glass mirror). However, once you hit it with a urethane clearcoat to seal it, it will develop a yellowish tint. A second coat of clearcoat with a violet tint is then applied to give the look of real chrome (which has a blue tint to it).

What color tinting of clearcoat could be used after the ‘Spray-On Chrome Process’ to mitigate the yellow, but give the piece a ‘mirror color’, rather than a ‘chromed color’?

Could the ‘Chrome Paint’ process be more accurate in appearance to the original Ford vacuum-metalizing process, for restorations? (I’ll be testing this week).

I will be very interested in a good solution, this is definitely something that I am struggling with.

Finding a good chrome paint that is not priced like French Perfume.

The dash is one thing, but what is the deal with the side panels?

The “chrome” on the plastic trim on my rear panels is wrinkled and would peel off like foil if I tried, seems a different process from the dash…

Either way, a chrome paint that works well will do!

I spoke with a friend of mine Saturday about a new process. He is getting into the hydro graphics business. He is setting up his shop now and has completed the schooling. He said during his training classes he hydro dipped camouflage, carbon fiber patterns and chrome finishes. Once he is set up he is going to do test samples and I will post how well the chrome looks. He said this process is very durable after it has been cleared with automotive clear coat. He said if the product can be dipped in water it can be coated. So we will see if this can be a different approach to our dash clusters. I told him I will give him the dash cluster out of my Top Cat project for his test sample. I’ll keep everyone posted on my findings.

Good news, Hydro-printing was actually one of the things I was thinking about. I had a gun stock done some time ago, and the guy I found was actually an auto body guy. He had done some “woodgrain” work for a woody vehicle which looked very real.

I never looked into whether chrome was an available hydro-print media…apparently it is! Seems like it would be more fool proof than spraying.

Well, you’re not going to find any chrome paint for cheap. The stuff I bought awhile back was close to $100 for a little 4 oz. jar (Alsa Corp MirraChrome).
The chrome on your interior panels is the same process as originally used for the dash (vacuum metalizing). It’s very fragile, and the panels flex a lot more than the dash bezels, so that’s why you see more damage there.

Yeah, sounds like the same process I’m referring to as ‘Spray-On Chrome’. All the chemicals are diluted in distilled water. After degreasing, you spray with the wetting agent, rinse, apply the Tin for Silver, rinse, then the Silver Nitrate solutions which is dispensed from a dual-reservoir sprayer which reacts and produces the chrome.
Don Rush had a guy lined up for chroming dash bezels awhile back with this process, but apparently the guy was unable to get consistent results, so that effort kinda died.
To the best of my knowledge, this process will ALWAYS turn the chrome a yellowish tint once you hit it with the clearcoat, so you need to add the proper tint to the clearcoat to correct this.
I definitely would be interested in how your friend’s tests work out!

I think this hydro graphic process is different. What Victor told me in our brief conversation is that the product comes in sheets that you lay on the water then you dip the piece into it. He said the dip process is very quick and you only have about 20 seconds to complete the dip. Then it adheres to the piece and you let it dry and clear coat it. One of the items he did was a shotgun in camouflage. I will get more information and pictures of his samples when he gets operational.

Ohhhh, thanks for the clarification. Completely different process! I just thought you and devildog had another name for it. I’ll definitely be checking the hydrographics process out!

I had a friend do some dash panels with the carbon fiber hydro graghic process. He did it at home with a kit. Turned out nice. Hopefully we could do this with chrome as well. Keep us posted Steven.

Yes, if you have not seen the hydrographic process in action you are missing out! If they can make carbon fiber look real then I see no reason they couldn’t do a “chrome” version of this.

Also Corp has some really cool chroming options. I was very interested in it about a year ago, but never pulled the trigger.

i think it is more mirroring than chroming.

Holy crow, that’s cool.

I agree, very cool!

if u all want to send me $300 i will try it out for the greater good!

Too late, already ordered…however, YOU can send ME the $300, and I’ll report back… :poke:

(didn’t really order it, but it IS tempting, for those nasty looking instrument pods…)

yeah i remember reading some guy made his own kit for a fraction of that $300, i think the biggest expense is the silver nitrate, but other than that its basic chemicals.

Aye. Thar times ye spent navigating chrome services for plastic mostly to find that Yahoo, Google and many other search engines are candidates for Davy Jones locker. This is true as to the headache of finding plating services for the dash bezels in the 67’ of which I am working on and I’m sure for many others and their projects as well. Some people, instead, choose to paint their plastic components rather than send them off to be re-plated, typically a metallic paint as silver or aluminum looks really nice from a few photographs out there. I just decided to paint mine gloss black then polished to a glass smooth finish. It is not original but a good alternative none the less.

Just depends on what your building. If its a restoration then most of the choices are made for you. If modifying your car anything is possible or in some cases why limit yourself to the original Cougar part at all.

Just depends on your final goal

I’ve heard plastic can be re chromed by stripping it and then painting it with a copper infused paint so it can then be electro plated in chrome, gold or whatever metallic finish is desired. Might be worth checking into.

Advanced plating in Nashville will chrome plate anything! Their showroom has diffferent pieces of just about anything possible. But, it’s not cheap, but they are good.