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"Chrome Spray" Systems


MochetVelo

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I'd not heard of this, but a "new" system is being marketed for plating both plastic and metal. Instead of electrolytic plating, it is a "spray-on" metallic coat resembling chrome based on that used in the mirror industry. Leno posted a demo this week. I then noticed there are several firms selling this process. It's never stated exactly what the metal is; one guy speculated it was actually silver, hence the necessity for a clear coat.

I wonder if anyone has tried this process, and if it does indeed resemble chrome, nickel, or...

Phil

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There is no technical information provided except that the process is bases on mirror silvering processes. Jay Leno (but notably not the demonstrator) states that there are "no toxic chemicals used". These 2 statements do not jive.

Mirrors are silvered using silver nitrate (see Notes on the silvering of mirrors), which is a "severe poison" (see SILVER NITRATE). If this is the actual process used to silver mirrors, at the very least this should be done under MUCH more controlled conditions than are shown in the Leno video. This is especially true for ventilation, where inhalation of minute concentrations exceed safe standards.

Also any spent solutions will be D011 hazardous waste for commercial producers, and a serious environmental hazard for the home user (see EPA Hazardous Waste Codes).

It may be that no silver compounds are used, the "mirror-based process" is a red herring to protect proprietary processes. However if it isn't a red herring, this promising process is not the simple, harmless spray-on solution as presented.

(Note--Many modern mirrors are factory made using aluminum in a heated vacuum chamber. This is a very different process than the one shown.)

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I have no familiarity with this "new" system but traditional mirror-silvering used a silver salt complexed with a "chelating agent", often Rochelle Salts (salts of tartaric acid) and a reducing agent, usually formaldehyde. The formaldehyde reduced the complexed silver to metallic silver at the glass surface. A somewhat similar system using copper salts is (was?) used for plating on plastics as the the first step to produce a conductive surface to then allow electrolytic plating of subsequent metals. The major user of these processes was (is?) the printed circuit board industry for the metallizing of drilled holes thru non-conductive matrix to get conductivity from one side of the board to the other.

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Saw samples from a new setup a local shop had just got about 2 years ago. If it is the same process it was pretty impressive. I would not want to mix real chrome and spray on the same car but I could be happy with it on a nice driver.

To be fair the fellow had not had it long and was still learning how to get the best results.

Same fellow was doing a powder coat chrome replacement that would look good on wheels or a street rod where you wanted some contrasting chrome like color. He was doing alloy wheels with it to make them look new again.

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Well, the only guesses I've seen so far is that the process is actually silver plating. I can't say I've seen many silver-plated car bumpers, but it sounds pretty ritzy. Since it is actually a metal plate, I would think any uneven appearance would be due to poor undercoat or clear coat. That would definitely give the process away. If done perfectly, I wonder how many judges would be fooled. After all, there are not many silver plated car parts.

Phil

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  • 3 weeks later...

Well the Formaldehyde reduces silver metallic silver complex with glass surface. A similar system with copper salts is used for the coating of plastics as the first step to produce a conductive surface to allow subsequent metal plating.The main users of these processes in industry with the printed circuit board for the metalization of the holes drilled in the non-conductive matrix to obtain the conductivity of a side dish to another.

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  • 5 weeks later...

Hi, I was searching for people who had personal experience with spray chrome systems.

I am pretty sure they are using a silvering process. Look at the picture here, especially Step 2.

There are several vendors of the "chrome spray" systems out there. Anyone had any personal experience with these so called "spray chrome" results on small parts?

I have some small to medium sized parts that even if it looked almost like chrome, or sprayed chrome, they still would look better than they do now, considering todays budget:(

I found a cool picture of a whole car that was Chrome Sprayed.

%7Boption%7Dhttp://www.spraychrome.com/images/fb_1.jpg

I would love to hear from anyone that has had this done.

Pete

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  • 1 month later...

Hey all, new to group but wanted to offer my insight. I've been using the Alsa spray on chrome system for awhile now. The results vary according to the substrate surface, dramatically.... The Silver Nitrate and Amonia Hydroxide solution must be applied to a Glass Smooth finish and then topcoated with a violet tinted 2k clear in order to look like chrome. I have been able to produce some pretty awesome results by tinting the clear with HOK candys. Oh, and the entire surface must be coated then masked for paint, attempting to mask for chrome will cause delamination during tape removal. Hope that helps a little.

Steve

<Side note> DO NOT MIX Silver Nitrate and Amonia Hydroxide directly together as serious personal injury WILL occur!

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  • 1 year later...
There is a System called "Chrome Spray System" available in Europe. If you are interested in details, see that page : chrome Spray System - Chroming with Laquer Effects

Regards from Germany

Michael

This site claims to be European (probably either German or Russian), but nearly every link in it winds up with forum comments on a Hong Kong University's web site ( Hong Kong Shue Yan University ). I tried to use babelfish ( Yahoo! Babel Fish - Text Translation and Web Page Translation ) to translate the links that purport to comment on the safety aspects of this process. All of them translated into gibberish (usually food related), whether translated from simple Chinese, traditional Chinese, Japanese, or Korean.

Why these supporting documents were listed in a forum section, rather than in pier-reviewed technical documents, is never explained. I wouldn't be too surprised if this thread got linked in support of this operation.

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I just bought a setup. Big differences in quality of chemicals and knowing how to apply successfully. Much more critical and unforgiving than automotive paints regarding prep, compatible chemistry, and application. If what you see doesn't pass for chrome, it wasn't done right. Even the manufacturers say it takes several months to get it down right when you start learning. The folks saying it's easy are just selling systems and chemicals. BTW, it is actual silver being deposited. Expect longevity to be in the same ballpark as urethane paint systems, and costs to be in the 1/2 to 2/3 the cost of electroplating.

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So is this spray chrome set up simular to what is used on those chinese mag wheels that have that chrome looking coating that is not chrome?

Many years ago i used Mirra Chrome paint to paint the fiberglass bumpers on my 55 chev race car that I built from a 210 parts car i had torn apart to restore a belair that had been butchered for racing. The car was also driven on the street and i was looking to disguise all the fibreglass panels i recycled from the belair and i had primered the car black and dusted the fibreglass doors, quarters, front end and trunk lid with grinder flash in stratigic places where they would normally rust as the paint dried. within a week the grinder dust had started to rust and it looked like a primered steel car.

More to the point though i painted the bumpers with this mirra chrome stuff that you spray like a candy over highly pollished black paint. After priming and blocking the bumpers till they were flawless i based them and cleared them and pollished them to a show car finnish and misted them with the mirra chrome candy stuff and re cleared them. I was amazed. While it has a slightly different color to it than propper show chrome the shine, reflection and depth were certainly there. the origional plan called for sraying grinder sparks at it after it flashed a bit i couldn't bring myself to do it. The results really were stunning. several people who owned 55 chevs that saw the car around aproched me offering to give cash and trade bumpers citing that mine were too good for a rusty old weekend drag car. I don't know that it would have a place on a proper restoration it may be suitable for one of those projects we should probably just get rid of that isn't really worth doing right but we can't bring ourselves to part with.(the three cars at the bottom of the ten car project list)

post-61072-143138760126_thumb.jpg

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  • 2 weeks later...

I wonder how this would work on bright anodized trim pieces? Sometimes we do more budget minded restorations on late 60's early 70's cars with bright anodized aluminum trim that is pitted and unrepairable but could be primed and sanded. What type of substrate is required for your process? Could be an answer for rotted unrepairable pot metal pieces when money is an issue and making new castings is not an option.

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Once the substrate has had any material which could create offgassing or loosening of a 2k etching primer (rust, corrosion, peeling plating, etc.) filling of pits and scratches can be done with a 2 part sanding primer and other finishing materials. All products must be catalsyt type materials like polyester sanding primers, fillers and putties. Final prep coat is a 2 part primer with no sand throughs to any other materials. At this point proprietary basecoats and metallizing followed by an automotive style 2 part clearcoat with additives for adhesion is applied.

Aluminum is fine, but some types of anodizing may have to be removed. Pot metal is a great application for this process as normal replating processes can destroy a lot of fine detail in some cases. Fiberglass can be done, but as GM, Studebaker and other manufacturers discovered, extra precautions are necessary to prevent outgassing from creating blistering.

One of the attractive features is that cores can have broken features restored, pitting repaired, etc, so the costs of restorations can be reduced.

One should expect a lifespan similar to any premium multistage paint work.

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What about over chrome? I have some chrome pieces that are badly pitted in places. Can the pitting be filled, with the 2-part primer used before the spray chrome is put on? Also, if this will work over chrome pieces, does it have to be ruff'd up a bit?

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What about over chrome? I have some chrome pieces that are badly pitted in places. Can the pitting be filled, with the 2-part primer used before the spray chrome is put on? Also, if this will work over chrome pieces, does it have to be ruff'd up a bit?

There is some prep, but yes, it can be done over chrome. I haven't tried it yet, but there are some using this to spot repair chrome on the vehicle.

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I'm thinking of trying the MirraChrome on some of the small bits of my old car,as it will be a driver not a show car.I'm thinking that these smaller pieces will need to be replaced along the way anyhow.If I do this I will try to photograph each stage and post it.I'm thinking if someone where to do the bumper of a car It would be subject to all the bugs and rocks and this would be a once a year thing to redo.cost wise I think if you prep it to a show quality black as is necessary that would entail surface prep sanding, ding repair, surface adhesion promoter,primer black gloss,top coat,then mirrachrome and a few coats of clear.cost around 150-200 USD. not counting hours of sanding and curing.I think cost of a re-chrome bumper is twice that or more. If I do this its more for the quest for knowledge and some time to play in the new paint booth.

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I guess that it would be like any paint job. The more time spent on the prep work, the better the outcome. The amount of time spent on doing this is not my concern, it's the dollar figure I'd have to invest. You know, working on a shoe-string budget. Even this method appears to be not on the "cheap".

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Thank you for the link Steve. My car will never be a show car, it'l be a driver. However, I have read about this killer-chrome, and I'm not sure how it would look. With the economy the way it is, I hate to put much money into my car, because I have so many other bills that HAVE to be paid. It does give me foor for thought though.

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I'm interested in what it would cost to have the bumper I mentioned above prepped and sprayed professionally. With the labor and materials involved I'm betting it wouldn't be much, if any, less expensive than a rechrome.

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That was kind of my point Jim.Badges or smaller parts I could see doing this type of process but large front end pieces are going to take a lot of bugs and rocks.And will look like the rest of the front end with little chips in it.Should last as long as the paint on the front of a cars will though.And for those of us working on a very tight budget this may be the only option.Now with that said,I wouldn't even think of using this method for a show car or one that has potential.And if you have the black and clear already the chrome like paint is really cheap.40 dollars a can.

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On that "Killer Chrome", they say spray a "light dusting" of the chrome spray. Well, I have to wonder how much coverage will 1 can do? On my 37 Pontiac, I have 9 grille pieces on the front of my car. I also wonder when you buy their back, and their clear-coat, can these be subbed with something cheaper, without compromising the end result? Paying $40 for a can for a clear coat, seems really high to me.

Any comments on this?

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My understanding of the reason for the clears being so expensive is that the effective UV exposure is much higher in that more UV is reflected back up from the metal surface. There are a lot more UV modifiers in the clears I use. I assume the spray can folks have found the same phenomenon.

Although the process I use has been done on entire vehicles, and certainly bumpers, at this point I'm limiting the size of projects I take on to about front grille shells and smaller. Even though each step is very critical, the metallizing sequence has to be done very quickly, with uniform coverage and a lot of visual inspection. Larger items, like bumpers, are better done with 2 operators using 2 guns and 4 eyes watching.

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