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Chrome alternatives

JimfrandiscoJimfrandisco Posts: 210
edited November 2010 in Road general
I'm in the process of re-building a vintage tandem, but the chrome on a lot of parts is in a terrible state.
I've made a few enquiries about getting bike parts (bars, stems etc) re-chromed but it's hugely expensive - usually because they do such a thorough job.

Are there any viable and cheaper alternatives that people know of?

Jim

Posts

  • YossieYossie Posts: 2,600
    Give Triple S powder coaters a quick call - they do chrome "coloured" powder coating. www.triple-s.co.uk or some such tat.

    I've never seen their chrome work but they have done a lot of work for me on race m/bikes and its excellent quality - long lasting, no colour variations, quick turn around.

    Other powder coaters offer the same service but I've never seen their work, so can't comment.

    Alternatively, if you want anything anodised/engineered I can out you in touch with a guy who does excellent work as well - drop us a pm.

    HTH

    Y
  • Thanks Yossie - didn't know that alternative existed so will look into it

    cheers

    Jim
  • bluefoambluefoam Posts: 102
    To be honest, powder coating is not a direct substitute for chroming. It adds a layer/thickness to the parts and effects parts fitting together & parts with tight tolerances.

    Alternatives to chroming would be: nickle plating or anodising which are also expensive...
    Thanks Yossie - didn't know that alternative existed so will look into it

    cheers

    Jim
  • bluefoambluefoam Posts: 102
    BTW, cheap chroming is not worth wile... it will rust.
  • YossieYossie Posts: 2,600
    But anodising (and very good anodising at that) doesn't have to be expensive if you know the right people. :)

    Agree re powder coat and the thin layer but hey, its not like you're slapping on a load of hammerite with a cabbage: its microns thick. In my experince it's never effected (sic) anything I've ever built.

    Only suggested as a possible alternative worth looking at, not a do, do, do.
  • YossieYossie Posts: 2,600
    As a quick addendum to the above - thinking about it, p/coat will not be thicker than a layer of chrome, so there shouldn't be any problems at all.

    After all, they are just another layer of substance (be it chrome, p/coat or orange marmlade or whatever) on top of the base metal.
  • bluefoambluefoam Posts: 102
    Yossie wrote:
    As a quick addendum to the above - thinking about it, p/coat will not be thicker than a layer of chrome, so there shouldn't be any problems at all.

    After all, they are just another layer of substance (be it chrome, p/coat or orange marmlade or whatever) on top of the base metal.

    Sorry, but this is just not correct.

    Powder coat is a layer of plastic powder sprayed onto the parts by hand and baked to harden. It adds a coating to the base material of between 500 & 1000 microns - this can have a huge effect on high tolerance parts.

    Chrome plating is a process where a secondary material is applied to the base material using a series of acid baths and electromagnetism. It chemically effects the base material and does not add a layer of anything to that base material - it may however cause the base material to expand by up to 100 microns (which would have little to no effect on fabricated parts). Because it is not a layer of material it should not peel away - It should strengthen the outer/exposed surface of the base material & be relatively scratch resistant as opposed to powder coat which is softer & is suseptable top scrathing.

    They are two very different processes and serve different purposes.
  • laelae Posts: 555
    ^ yep Bluefoam's right. Powdercoating is much thicker than chrome or even 'wet' paint systems. It would certainly affect, for example, threads or bearing surfaces that would be fine if chromed. If you've ever tried to install headset cups in a frame that's had the inside of the headtube powdercoated, you'd know it needs sanding off first!
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