Monday, March 13, 2006

Chrome Plating Fiberglass

by Jay Berentis

Fiberglass is quickly become the substrate of choice for custom car and car racing enthusiasts. Fiberglass has many advantages over using metal. Most notably are the weight issue and the ease of working with fiberglass. Fiberglass molds can be made for almost any automotive panel to lighten or customize. Older muscle cars or vintage vehicle that are no longer in production and racecars are the main market area that we see right now. The only problem with fiberglass is that you are limiting the types of finishes that can be placed over the substrate.
For most of the vehicle this is not a problem most automotive finishes are compatible with fiberglass. The problem comes with the accessories to the vehicle mainly the bumpers. Chromed metal bumpers add a large amount of weight seventy-five to one hundred and fifty pounds each. This added weight could cause some problems with cars that are primarily fiberglass. The fiberglass body may not support the added weight and cause stress cracks. If the vehicle is for racing the added weight can slow a vehicles track time.
Custom Coating Specialties has a new process XXX Chrome Plating that allows the coating of fiberglass bumpers and most any other substrate. It is called chemical metalizing. The process involves laying down a foundation coat on a part to achieve a truly smooth surface. Then a thin coating of metal is applied using a chemical reaction instead of the normal electrical process. The final step is to place an armor coating over the top. The finished process looks identical to chrome plating. Some of the advantages to this process are that any surface can be chromed and any imperfections in the piece can be fixed using standard automotive repair procedures. There is also an environmental benefit to using this process.
Chrome plating uses several extremely hazardous chemicals and is heavily regulated. Chemical metalizing produces a minimal amount of waste and is more environmental friendly. You can check out more on this process at www.chromeandpowdercoat.com

About the Author
Jay has been involved in the automotive industry for over fourteen years. Jay graduated from college with an associate's degree in automotive collision repair and refinishing. Jay worked in several high-end body shops before taking the position of manager at a GM dealership. Four years ago he started a custom coating shop specializing in coating for automotive and industrial applications(chrome, powder coat, ceramics, and liquid coatings)

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