Restoring Chromed items is one of the most common jobs we are asked about here at Silchrome, we often receive enquiries from car enthusiasts looking to restore their pride and joy. Few people understand however that what we simply refer to as ‘Chrome Plating’ actually involves a number of different stages.
1: Inspecting the component when it comes in. This helps us to assess any damage from wear and corrosion which might not have been obvious from pictures. All components are subject to inspection before any metal finishing process is carried out on them. In some cases, where damage may be worse than anticipated additional time may be needed on a component and we may need to requote the price prior to works being carried out.
2: The component will then be subject to any number of Pre-plating processes. This can involve stripping away any material currently on the component as well as possible grinding/polishing of the item and various water and chemical cleaning stages. In many respects the pre-plating processes are the most important stage in ensuring the best possible surface condition for plating to begin.
3: Copper Plating. The first stage in many re-chroming jobs is actually to first to Copper Electroplate the component. This helps to further ensure a smooth surface finish in order for the next step in the process.
4: Nickel Plating. The Nickel layer will add corrosion resistance properties to the item and is also where the shiny finish of Chrome comes from. Chrome Plating actually consists of more Nickel than Chrome!
5: Chrome Plating. The final electro-plating process is a very thin layer of chrome which protects the nickel player, adds the white/silver appearance to the component as well as increasing its hardness.
6. Additional Polishing – After plating the component may need additional polishing in order to achieve a bright and decorative appearance.
To the casual observer, Electro-plating may seem as though a very simple process in which parts are put into a vat and the part comes out shiny, nothing could be further from the truth. Electro-plating is an exact science and is reliant on a carefully controlled environment, chemicals and electrical current.
As you can see re-chroming an object relies on multiple processes and this is why the cost involved in re-chroming an object may often make it cheaper to buy a replacement component as opposed to trying to restore an old one. Silchrome Plating are an ISO 9001 and 14001 certified metal finisher who carry out a wide variety of processes from our modern facility in Leeds, West Yorkshire.