How To Apply Metal Coating

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A thin layer of metal can be used to coat plastic parts for conduction, static reduction, and aesthetic purposes. It is not easy to coat plastic parts with metal because traditional metal coating methods highly depend on electrical conductivity. In addition, high temperatures can cause plastic to melt. Methods used for applying a metal coating on plastic are the same as those used to coat metal parts.

Electroless Plating
This involves the use of a chemical reaction to move metal ions to a work piece. This process is like electroplating although an electrical current is not required and therefore, the work piece does not need to conduct electricity for this process to work. This means that plastic can easily be coated with metal using electroless plating. The work piece is immersed in an aqueous solution bath causing a chemical reaction. Consequently, the chemical reaction creates a negative charge that will be induced on the work piece. The process draws metal ions from the solution. Electroless plating is a reliable coating method that provides uniform coating even in corners and crevices.

Vapor Deposition
This process involves the use of a vacuum coating equipment to create super thin film coating on a wide range of base part materials including plastic. There are several types of vapor deposition techniques including sputtering, pulsed laser deposition, cathodic arc deposition, and evaporative deposition.

Conductive Paint
Conductive paint contains metal materials that conduct electricity. This method is cheap and easy to undertake. Platinum and silver are some of the most common paint types used in this method.

How to Prepare a Surface for Chrome Plating
The term chrome is often used to refer to metallic substances that shine. However, real chrome has undergone an electroplating procedure. In many cases, there is little or no visible difference between chrome and any other metal. A lot of preparation is usually done to metallic objects before they are chrome plated. The objects should be thoroughly cleaned with soap and water to remove debris, dust, and dirt after which they are put in a bath of caustic soda that acts as a degreasing agent. Wear gloves, goggles and a long sleeve shirt for safety.

• Dip the item in caustic soda and clean it thoroughly

• Remove it from the bath and rinse it with water as you hold it above the bath

• Drain the bath solution

• Polish the item to remove scratches and any other tarnish

• Start with a tough buffing wheel before using a fine surface wheel

• Clean the surface once again to remove any particles of dust left after buffing

• The item is ready for chrome plating.

Originally published at Mab Tech Blog.

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