Plating Plastic/Resin

Hi, Has anyone tried the aluminium leaf [similar to gold leaf] that I have seen advertised. I am trying to plate resin/plastic parts to replicate chrome or a
similar finish I
Regards
Isleofthanet
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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 this helps
Martin P
isleofthanet wrote:

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wrote:

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 process. 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
Peter
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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 www.chromeandpowdercoat.com. Peter Neill wrote:

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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.
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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.
Regards
Isleofthanet
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On 16 Jan 2006 07:28:06 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@chromeandpowdercoat.com 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. -- Peter Neill Suffolk, England
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Peter Neill wrote:

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.
Regards
Isleofthanet
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