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Plating on ABS Plastic Substrates (Decorative)
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Plating of plastic and non-conductive parts

Here at A Class we now have FOUR different methods that enable us to electroplate (chrome plate) a large variety of plastics, fibreglass and other non-conductive substrates with a high quality finish and without altering part dimensions - other than the addition of a normal plating thickness. 
So - whatever the shape or type of plastic, we have a method that will do the job of chrome (or gold, other) plating your parts successfully and to a high quality standard.
How can Plastics and Non-Metals be Chrome Plated?
Glad you asked!  Of course traditional electroplating could only be performed on metal substrates because plating requires the transfer of electric current.  Later, process technology was developed that enabled chrome plating of ABS plastics (commonly used by automotive manufacturers).   Now, A Class can plate almost any substrate.  Of course we can't give too many secrets away but let me tell you - our methods are very successful and provide many advantages over other methods.  Customers are thrilled with the finish quality and the fact their parts fit back into place afterwards. The following table describes some of the differences between our methods and other methods for achieving a chrome or chrome look plastic part.
  Final Finish Dimensions Costs? Looks like Durability A Class does?
A Class Plastic Chrome vs Other methods
A Class Plastic Chrome Real Chrome plating with copper and nickel undercoat as for metal parts. No alteration to part dimesions other than a normal plating thickness. A reasonable price for top quality work. Mirror Chrome Copper-Nickel-Chrome plated is strongest. Yes
ABS Chrome Plating Methods Real Chrome plating with copper and nickel undercoat as for metal parts. No alteration to part dimesions other than plating thickness. If no preparation needed - lower cost Mirror Chrome "      " Yes
Other Plastic chroming Methods Real Chrome plating & 'probably' copper and nickel undercoat as for metal parts. Varies.  Distortion of parts in some areas. About the same or more as A Class Plastic Chrome. Varies (depth depends on surface prep quality). "      " Yes
Vacuum Coating A "chrome-like" coating (not real chrome). Coating is very thin. Low cost (you get what you pay for?). Bright, thin, silvery Varies but thin wall coating can not provide strength and is more prone to damage. No
Spray chrome Painted (based on a  hybrid of paint & chemical finishing). Can vary depending on the applicator.  Paint adds more thickness - therefore possibility of excess thickness. About same as a good chrome job. Can be a near match to chrome but prone to variation due to colour mix and methods. The same as paint. Yes
The best method for re-furbishing parts like dashboards, instrument trim, and other trim is the first method above (A Class Plastic Chrome).  If parts are ABS plastic and in very good condition, the second method may be suitable.  Other methods will only be employed if the job requirements call for it.
Plastic Chrome in Colours?
Yes - you can now get your plastic parts treated in chrome like colours.  Our colour finishing incorporates plating so it is more durable and robust than just spray finishing.  So if you'd prefer your plastic dashboard to be finished in a colour but still have the depth and lustre of a chrome finish - you can!
Plastic Chrome Images
Note that the engine bay reservior bottles (polypropylene) are plastic chrome plated by A Class.  There are many types of parts that can be chrome plated.  Plastic chrome parts are hard to tell apart from metal parts.
Plastic Chrome Poly Reserviors Plastic Chrome Candy Colours Plastic Chrome Dash Trim
Please note that the above information is provided as a general guide, for the general information of the reader only, and should not be relied or acted upon as accurate technical advice.
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Copyright © 2009, A Class Metal Finishers Pty Ltd. 6 Waddikee Rd, Lonsdale, South Australia, 5160. Telephone (+ 61 8 8384 4331) Email: acmf@aclassmetal.com.au
Specialising in Copper, Nickel & Chrome Plating, Gold Plating, Silver Plating, Tin Plating, Electroless Nickel, Plating on Plastic (ABS) and Metal Polishing
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