Chrome Plating RP parts

Any recommendations/referrals for chrome plating RP parts?

Consider what your end result and budget is first.

Chrome plating isn’t possible per-se, you should be able to do a polished vapor deposition process on RP parts but it is not an easy or in house process. This is the usual process for chrome plating effects on buttons and knobs you see on plastic parts.

The other problem is RP parts without substantial hand finishing or an excellent quality machine will likely look poor without preparation beforehand because of the base part quality. Depending on your budget/need painting with metallic silver paint on a highly polished part may give you the closest thing to in house. Or just machining from metal and polishing.

I am unfamiliar with any PVD vendors who would do low run parts but it doesn’t hurt to look and ask.

Thanks Mike,
We’re looking to send them out, I know the minimum will be expensive. There’s a couple of places around here that Chrome RP parts but not completely satisfied so I was looking for other vendors. The part is like an 8"x8" dome so I’m afraid vacuum metalizing will look funky to the vendor.

Thanks again.

You can electroplate SLA parts. Copper is electroformed over the part first and then polished and then electroplated in whatever finish you want. The issue I found is that electroforming adds about .010" to the thickness to every surface of the part. So make sure you factor that in to the SLA part if tolerance in important. While I haven’t used them, I have seen samples from B&L Plating in Michigan.

Vapor deposition (metallizing) can look perfect - the finish on the SLA part has to be perfect and the under and over coat has to be perfect to get a perfect mirror finish. We do our own on cosmetic components and it is beautiful. The color of the finish is different than chrome, whiter, since it is aluminum but that can be adjusted by tinting the over coat. Under and over coat adds about .008" to the part surface

Silvering is another option and can also look perfect – same considerations as metallizing. The silver color is very warm and requires a deep tint of purple over coat to make it look chrome. it is very convincing. Under and over coat adds about .008" to the part surface

Awesome, thanks.

How about high-wear applications like kitchen items, are chrome plated plastics suitable for that? Also given that chromium is a known carcinogen.
I am wondering about the durability of the coating.

Chrome is much more rarely used these days because of the environmental/health concerns. Bright nickel plating is much more common to get a shiny silver finish even though it is typically less durable. That’s what we would use on plastic parts.

In general it’s a fairly durable coating, but like any coating on parts with very high wear or abrasion you can wear through it. Better for lower touch decorative parts then actual things like handle surfaces.

Electroforming on printed parts is very doable but very labor intensive to get a good part. I had a professor in college who did a ton of electroforming of printed plastics and I went through the process with him a few times. If you’re part A surface isn’t really good going in, the result will be poor, as it does not “hide” and issues.

How about metallic additives for injection molded parts, can they come close to a chrome-like finish?
Can you recommend a company producing these, or a factory specialized in metallic additives?

Thank you, this is great information about all the possibilities.
So with electroforming, parts first receive a coat of photoresist.
With electroplating, parts receive a plating liquid and possibly a primer and over coat.
Is there a potential for these methods, including silvering, to be FDA approved for food contact?