One of my previous jobs involved putting Robots onto plastic injection
moulding machines and sometimes the customer needed metal foil put onto the
moulding as part of the finish, this required a lot of heat and pressure as
the plastic mouldings surface had to be remelted to get the foil to adhere
and the pressure was to hold it in place whilst cooling. A company we dealt
with that made machine's specifically for this were called Tampa Print. Hope
I haven't tried the leaf you mention, but I can advise you a little
bit on a bit on replicating mirror finishes on plastic.
There are 3 processes you can consider. The first is chrome plating,
but you will need to use a plating grade of whatever polymer you are
machining from. In reality this will probably be quite difficult as
most cast or extruded resin bar will not be made from plating grade as
this usually carries a cost premium. ABS is the most commonly plated
polymer, and some polymers will be impossible to plate.
ChromeCo, QPP, & Borough Plating can all do it but will expensive or
perhaps not interested in small one-offs.
The other process as Martin P mentioned is Hot Foil Blocking. A heated
die plate is forced onto the substrate under pressure (pneumatic
cylinder) trapping a transfer foil between die & substrate, the heat
will cause the printed film on the foil to bond to the substrate and
release from the backing film. As the pressure is released and the die
head retracted the backing film should slowly peel away from the
transferred film, leaving the desired surface on the substrate. Many
finishes including chrome/mirrored are possible.
This disadvantage of foiling is that it is pretty much a line-of-sight
process without going to specialised equipment, although rotary foil
transfer is quite easy, but getting an all over finish on tricky
geometry is nigh on impossible.
Leonhard Kurz are the experts to contact about this.
The third option is use vacuum metallising which will sublime pure
aluminium and deposit it on the surface, and this will provide a more
reflective, brighter surface than chrome plating, ca. 90% for pure AL
against ca. 65% for Chrome. Rotary jigging on vacuum coaters will also
produce an all over finish, as otherwise this is also a line-of-sight
The Al coating however is VERY thin, and will only be in the order of
500-2000 angstrom units thick, so will need protecting, but this is
easily done, usually by a lacquer coating.
Again, a company such as Kendall Hyde can advise.
Doesn't entirely help with your original query but may give you an
idea of what else can be done
There is another option that is fairly new to the market its called
chemical metalizing. It is where a part is coated with a metal
substrate using a chemical process instead of a electrical process.
The process is more flexibale than normal chrome plating in that it
allows you to coat virtualy any surface. It does have a its draw backs
it is not as durable as standard chrome plating. It is comparable to a
automotive grade finish mainly because it is clear coated. But its
advantages over plastic is that it has more flex than other process so
you don't have faliures due to the flex of the part check it out at
Peter Neill wrote:
A quite reasonable (IMHO) chrome-like surface can be obtained by using
an aerosol paint known as "Plasti-kote" Brilliant Metallic.
I have used it on plastic surfaces and primed metal ones with
excellent results. It looks best if you can use just one coat so
surface preparation is important. Also, don't try to spray over with a
clear lacquer or polish.
You should be able to get it from Buy & Queue or Homebase.
I have used the aluminium foil to 'replate' a model MG grille and it
works successfully on flat surfaces but is near impossible to get it to
fit in where the actual grille sectioning is.
I just wondered if anyone else had tried any of the leafs gold or
otherwise and could advise.
How shiny is this paint, I have tried the Simoniz one but that is just
like shiny silver.
On 16 Jan 2006 07:28:06 -0800, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
<snipped all the stuff I wrote before>
Interesting... you're not talking about electroless nickel or chemical
vapour deposition are you? If not, I'd be interested in learning more
about the process.
Thanks to all of you, I have discovered there is a spray on product
called Alclad which is marketed by www.cammett.co.uk, this is a
cellulose based paint, applied by an airbrush , apparently very
effective and used on model aircraft/motor trade etc.
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