It happens all the time that a customer becomes surprised by the cost of chrome plating. Many people think that for chrome plating you only need to deep the parts in a chrome tank and chrome would cover it. here I try to explain the factors effecting the cost of plating.
The cost of decorative plating divides between prep work and plating itself. prep works include stripping of the old coating like paint,rust,powder coat or old plating, the next step in prep work is to polish the parts and later removing all the grease and polishing compounds. at this point if no repair is needed ,the prep work is done. the prep work cost about 50% of the total. the plating cost depends mostly on base metal. Steel, Bronze, Copper are easier to plate . Stainless Steel is hard to plate and same with pot-metal ( also called pewter or zinc die-cast ). if a piece has pitting in the base metal even after polishing the only way improve the appearance is buy brazing the pin hole or extreme Copper plating. that's why the old pewter parts are very expensive to rechrome.
another factor in the cost of plating is the length of the parts, most of plating tank are 48" deep from which about 42" is usable. parts shorter that 42" can be hang in the solution vertically and parts longer will have to hang horizontally. 6 ft thin tube holds a plating tank like a bumper while 2 pieces of 3 ft long would hold a small corner. the length factor is should be considered by architectural designers. a modular design would cost much less than an all around welded design.
People involve in antique car restoration often need chrome plating on pewter. Restoration of old pewter parts usually requires some brazing and several layers of acid Copper to fill the voids.
Street Quality vs. Show Quality
many customers don't need an absolutely perfect job. which means less brazing and less layers of plating and naturally lower cost. We call this street quality .for street quality we would not chase individual pin holes and imperfections. we are after a great job in general. if the base metal is free of porosity we can do a street quality job and still achieve a show quality finish . there is no difference between the two when it comes to the quality of each plating layer. the only difference is the prep work needed before applying each layer. we recommend street quality for more than 90% of all jobs. in most cases our street quality jobs are simply perfect.
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