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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Afternoon.

I'm thinking of restoring my KG bumpers over the coming months and would like to get them up to a reasonable but not neccessarily show-winning standard.

Chroming costs always appear to be a massive figure plucked out of the air. Is most of this cost on the prep work?

I have a pretty decent set of bumpers already. They have the odd small ding and light pitting but certainly don't need any sections welding in or masses of reshaping.

What could I do to get the chroming costs to an absolute minimum?

I'm hoping to get them to the stage where I can hand them over to basically just get dipped as they are. Am I being a bit over optimistic or is this achievable?

TIA. :)
 

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i had some beetle blades i wanted doing a while back, they where perfect in everyway bar the pitting chrome, chromers wanted £220 for each bumper!!! in my expeience i dont think it will make any diff wot prep u do......
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
That's the thing. I don't understand where the cost comes from, or who pays them to chrome other items on a daily basis.

It seems chromed items from overseas are as cheap as painted ones. Granted, the chrome often doesn't last that long when exposed to heavy weather but still.
 

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fancy starting up a chromers LOL , they told me they dip them in cleaners then copper then the chromy stuff a couple of times, maybe the chromy stuff / copper cost alot? dunno....but hence why ive only had door/ragtop handels/light rims done....
 

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I think chroming has become expensive because theres a lot of nasty chemicals involved. Health and safety have dramatically increased overheads and so has insurance. Added to this is the high cost of disposing of used toxic chemicals after use to protect the environment.

A proper chrome job means meticulous preparation of the metal since the plating process will not hide any imperfections. Then the steel is copper plated, then its nickel plated and finally chrome plated.

Why so many layers? If the chrome is applied to steel it will fail because its porous and the steel will rust. If its applied directly over copper the copper tends to leach out and stain the chrome.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
So let's suppose I got the metal work as smooth as a baby's bum. If it was just dunked in as they doing a load of other parts, it would basically be about 4 dunks in tanks.

What do chromers normally chrome? :confused: Surely they don't have a long queue down the road of people that like old cars. Nothing chromed off the shelf seems to cost a staggering amount more than a painted item. I really don't get it.
 

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There was a bit in last months practical classics about why chroming costs a lot, and what you can do to reduce the costs.

I might be able to scan it for you :)

I only bought the last months magazine as I was bored in an airport, but it might be fortunate for you that I did :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Nice one Jim. :)

Just been doing some Googling and it certainly does seem like a very labour intensive process. I might just see if I can get away with cleaning up the bumpers I have as US spec Ghia bumpers consist of about 8 pieces each.
 

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chroming old things properly is difficult, the old plating, chrome, nickel, copper, needs to be removed. any pitting will need filled and/or polished out before replating. and of course good british labour costs way more than 'chinese or brazilian !!!
there's a way of cleaning/derusting stuff which u might want to try, It won't remove the chome, u nee a plastic container big enough to hold your object, a big bit of steel sheet (stainless in best), arc welder or good big battery charger, heavy copper wire, bicarbonate of soda, water,
Add one dessert spoon of B of S per 5 lts water in plastic container, connect sheet of steel with copper wire to negative side of power source, hang steel sheet on inside of container in the water/B of S solution, connect object to positive side of power source, hang in solution, (dont let it touch sheet steel) If your using an arc welder, use it on a low setting, after a few hours (or a day or so) the corrosion will have come off and leave a black residue, scrub this of with a brush and water, U're now left with bare metal that will need dried and protected straight away to stop it rusting again.
 

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chroming old things properly is difficult, the old plating, chrome, nickel, copper, needs to be removed. any pitting will need filled and/or polished out before replating. and of course good british labour costs way more than 'chinese or brazilian !!!
there's a way of cleaning/derusting stuff which u might want to try, It won't remove the chome, u nee a plastic container big enough to hold your object, a big bit of steel sheet (stainless in best), arc welder or good big battery charger, heavy copper wire, bicarbonate of soda, water,
Add one dessert spoon of B of S per 5 lts water in plastic container, connect sheet of steel with copper wire to negative side of power source, hang steel sheet on inside of container in the water/B of S solution, connect object to positive side of power source, hang in solution, (dont let it touch sheet steel) If your using an arc welder, use it on a low setting, after a few hours (or a day or so) the corrosion will have come off and leave a black residue, scrub this of with a brush and water, U're now left with bare metal that will need dried and protected straight away to stop it rusting again.
McGyver strikes again! ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Yeah, seen that rust removal process before. Good stuff though overkill for what I need I think. :) On the outer surfaces, could I save some money by stripping off the old layers of metal myself perhaps?

Jim, thanks. ;)
 

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dunno if it would work out any cheaper the more youre having done but could always ask and if so id happily get mine done at the same time. im not very far from you and would be well worth the drive for a good price and reputable company.

think mine have one ding in them that'll need to be knocked out but other than that i was just planning on going over them with the DA or something until all the old chrome is off and they are nice and smooth.
 

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It costs about £50 per bumper piece.American spec bumpers = lots of pieces =high cost.
Cost me £750 for my ghia bumpers and not completely happy with them.
Get them done properly by a recommended company or they will start rusting easily/quickly.
 

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It cost alot to prep the parts and you need a mirror finish from the polisher BEFORE it gets chromed. Take a look a the cheapy stuff and you'll notice it isn't finished well and this is before it is plated.

Also and welding or filling is usually a pig to do. Chroming is expensive and despite the prices charged I haven't met lots of rich chromers.

Good chrome is worth the money or better still good original is really worth the money
 

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what he said! ^
the chrome is a finish - the metal has to look astho its chromed before it starts the process - any prep done beforehand is realu a waste as the bumpers would croode befor the platers have had chance to get to them
cood chroming is tripple plated
copper
nickle
chrome
how many of each will depend on the quality

powder coat them for a cheap option





 

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The problem is with old parts they need to have all traces of chemicals removed from the surface before the first nickel electro plating process. As chrome is a mirrored surface to get the pest surface finish Your material must be polished to a very high luster removing traces of material from it. This is expensive as the process uses machinery that by law has to have heavy extraction on it. In addition the polishing mops dont last long and are also expensive. Once the items been nickle plated it needs polishing again to ensure that surface is good. Then you get onto the tanks. The tanks need continually cleaning to remove crap fropm them otherwise you get a shopping trolly chrome effect. All this adds up to a lot of money as any prep is expensive .To be honest its you get what you pay for!!! Same as respraying a car!
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Even the cheaper chrome finishes are pretty good IMO. I'm sure I could strip and polish the parts to a reasonable standard so they'd just need the degreasing and dunking. Same with bodywork, I can do about 75% of the process myself.

I'm thinking it's probably not going to be worth the money though. I'll try to piece together some reasonable bumpers from the parts I have (I have spares too) or maybe pick up the odd section second hand. Failing that, importing a decent pair from a dry country could be an option. It'd still work out at half the price of chroming.

Though I want it to look decent, I don't really want the stress of worrying about £1K worth of bumper every time I park it on the road. I could use that money elsewhere.

Thanks to everyone for their input on this. I feel I understand the process a lot better now. :)
 

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One final note, some chroming companies cost the process on the replacement value of the product.

I have known some companies check the replacement cost of the item, then give you a figure somewhere between half and three quarters.

I called a local chromers and asked for an approx cost to plate my Ghia bumbers - £500 :eek:, I called some months later and asked how much for late beelte bumpers, they quoted £120 and offered to drop them in with a recent big job they were doing. As soon as I asked if they could drop the Ghia parts in to the process, the cost rocketed upto £700 for both :eek:

Out of curiosity I called the next year and asked if they could do my "vw" bumpers, when they asked I said they were off a late Beetle. I explained how many parts were involved, i.e. I described a 1967 Ghia towel rail and all it's parts and they said, bring em down, we will throw it in with another job. Again, £120.

I have heard this happening with other chromers, although I admit there are some good ones out there. Hell even the guys above offered me a good price when they thought they were cheap bumpers. :D
 
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