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New Process Replaces Chrome Plating?

Posted in auto industry, Car Care, car modifications, Classic, Cool Stuff, Custom, Environment, General, Materials, Used Cars by Kurt Ernst | July 1st, 2010 | 29 Responses |

Chrome plating isn’t exactly something you do at home in your garage, since the process involves baths of cyanide, sulfuric acid and some form of chromium (usually chromium trioxide, chromium sulfate or chromium chloride). Never inexpensive, the cost of getting something chrome plated has skyrocketed as more and more restrictions are placed on the chemicals used. Today, when you find a shop that still does chrome plating, chances are that the prices will be astronomical, especially if the shop does first rate work.

So what options do you have for putting a chrome finish on small parts? You can’t just hit them with silver spray paint, because that never looks good. You can try painting them in a different color, but some things just look right in chrome. Besides, if you’re restoring an old car for the show circuit, you don’t exactly want to show judges your interpretation of what the designers had in mind.

Jay Leno gets all the good toys, so leave it to him to find a process that replaces chrome plating for small parts. Marketed by a German company calling themselves Chrome Solutions (www.chromesolutions.de), the process involves four steps. First, the item to be chromed is prepped by sanding and filling in any pits with a suitable material (solder, Bondo, etc.). Next, a base paint is applied via spray gun, as it the item were being painted instead of chromed. When the base paint sets up, a thin metal layer is sprayed on the item, with no regard for runs, orange peel or paint flaws. When this surface cures (shortly after application), a clearcoat is applied to protect the “chromed” surface. The cool part? The clearcoat, which is water based, can be tinted any shade you’d like to enhance the appearance. Make mine black chrome, please.

Originally developed for the mirror industry, the process adapts well to the automotive restoration business. You can’t tell from the video how durable the finished product is, and Leno himself admits that it’s not for use on large surfaces like bumpers. Still, for updating tired parts on a restoration, this may be just the lower cost, environmentally responsible solution that gear heads have been waiting for.

Update: Since I posted this article in July of 2010, there’s been an incredible amount of interest in Chrome Solutions. Unfortunately, the company seems to have gone out of business, since I’ve had no luck in tracking down any further information. The closest competitors I could find are Spray On Chrome and Alsa Corporation; for additional information on the products they produce, please contact the companies directly via the above links.

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29 Responses

  1. Set says:

    I wonder what kind of heat it can withstand. But, that is an awesome process.

  2. Kurt says:

    Set, I get the impression that it can take moderate heat only, like what you’d see on plastic motor covers.

    I get the feeling that durability is the big issue. If you’re using it on switches, window cranks or inside trim, it probably works great. On outside trim pieces that get stone chips, pine tar, bugs and other nasty stuff on them, I suspect it works as well as paint.

    It would be cool if someone invented a high temp chrome paint that looked decent. I think there’d be some money in that.

  3. Scrub Hansen says:

    The durability would be the only question I would have…I am building a 32 Ford coupe and the application really sounds great!!! Where do I find more info on this process???

    • Kurt Ernst says:

      Bad news, Scrub: Chrome Solutions appears to have gone offline. They moved to a Word Press website (www.chromesolutions.de) in June, but haven’t built it out yet, and even the comment section is nothing but spam. Durability of the finished product may have indeed been an issue.

      I’ll update the post if I can find any other companies marketing a similar product. Thanks for reading!

      Kurt

  4. EARL WILLIAMS says:

    i would like to know a price for all the products used for the spray chrome.. could you send me more information on this product. thank you

  5. Very interested in the chrome solutions de. B

  6. Kurt Ernst says:

    Bob, like I’ve previously posted in the comments section, Chrome Solutions seems to have disappeared off the face of the earth since I originally wrote the story. I’ve looked for additional information on the company or the process, but there’s none to be found. Sorry!

  7. Bud Wheeler says:

    Saw you video on Chrome Solutions. Where do you find this product? It says that their web site is still under construction… from June 2010. Help please.

    • Bill shugart says:

      I saw jay leno, showing the new cromeing prosess and I would like to know where I can get a kit so I can try it at home.
      thank you Bill Shugart.

  8. gene says:

    i would like to know if i can a kit to do my 1969 cadillac grill. if so how much would it cost.

  9. Lynn DeForest says:

    Is this product for sale?

  10. Duane says:

    where to purchase chrome solutions.

  11. Where can I buy the product, and how much is it?
    Thank you Wally

  12. Mike Greer says:

    I would like to know where to buy this product and how much does it run. Restoring a 1955 wagon. Thanks Mike

  13. Bob K. says:

    where can I buy this chroming product that Jay Leno mentioned on My Classic car?

  14. brad says:

    is this product on the market.where can it be purchased and price.

  15. Joe Kindig says:

    I would love to know how to get the materials to do the Chrome Solutions technique but I can’t find anyone that can hook me up. I would really appreciate some help in doing so…Thanks, Joe

  16. Julius Martin says:

    Interested in getting the information on how and where to purchase chrome solutions. please advise.

  17. Tom Thordarson says:

    Where can i buy the product need small amounts for small parts on a motor bike.

    Thanks Tom Winnipeg Manitoba Canada

  18. kirk says:

    i have done chrome painting for 5 years, we were one of the first shopd, it has yet to be perfected, if you notice anything big has a candy paint over it there is a reason. it looks good as long as it is not out in the elements. you will spend thousands trying to get it to work, the peices in this video are as big as you can do to perfection, anything bigger the solution will burn it.

  19. kirk says:

    spray on chrome.com dan and alsa corp. in california. steve. check out creationsnchrome also.

  20. Herb Maxwell says:

    Eastwood now carries a product like this…three coats very good price.

  21. Tony O'Neill says:

    I have four (4) chrome plated aftermarket Magnum 500 wheels made by specialty wheels LTD that are becoming pitted/loosing chrome after only a short time on my 69 Mustang convertible. I take meticulous care of this prize as we have been together for 40+ years. I have contacted the manufacture and they suggested I use navel jelly to remove the rust/pits and then seal them with a McGuirers product. It made things worse can you help me. Tony O’Neill @ (239) 433-4497

  22. Lee Schelin says:

    The German Chrome Plating company is out of business

    Here’s another

    http://spraychromesolutions.co.uk/

  23. Ted Gord says:

    I saw it on U tube with Jay Leno, would like to know more about it!