Since the inception of the automobile, ornamentation in the form of chrome progressively grew and grew. It wasn't too long before automobiles began to look like luxurious pieces of rolling sculpture. It was a simple philosophy, the more chrome one had, the higher the stature. It wasn't until a man by the name of Edward Nicholas Cole-the mastermind behind the '55 Bel Air-decided to do more with less (chrome that is), that we see a decline in chrome highlighting automobiles. However, one thing has remained constant. Since the first auto designer hung that single piece of chrome, enthusiasts have been enamored with it.
In the genre of customized trucks, chrome is a staple in design. Whether it's stock chrome accessories, plating objects that were never chromed, or one's own ornamentation, we see chrome exhibited from truck to truck, coast to coast. Although chrome is enormously popular, we find that many don't know about chrome beyond the fact it's shiny and cool; and more importantly, what it takes to get something plated. To shed some light on the subject we contacted MJB Plating and Polishing, in Rialto, California, and discussed what chrome plating is and what you need to know before you send your parts off.
What Is Chrome?
Chromium, better known as chrome, is a chemical element found upon 91 other elements in the periodic table. Although chromium is a metal, it is not useful in a pure substance form. However, because of its durability, luster, and malleability it is a perfect metal to coat other metals-i.e. steel, brass, copper, and more-for either decorative, corrosion protection, or wear protection purposes-the latter being in industrial machinery.
What Is The Chrome Process?
"We get people in here all the time thinking we can chrome plate something in minutes by applying just some magic solution to their parts while they wait in the showroom," said Bill Felts owner of MJB Plating and Polishing. Unlike what many may think about chroming metal, objects are not dipped into a pot of melted chrome like a Fondue party. Instead, objects are chromed via a time-consuming process called electroplating. Electroplating is the process of using electrical current to reduce cations of a desired material-in this instance chromium-from a solution to coat a conductive object with a thin layer of the material.
Here's where this whole story got started, the grille for Project Get Shorty. The grille i
I ground the heavy stuff down with a grinder, but used a body file to work the rest of the
Here you see the final product. After the body file I used a red Scotch-Brite pad on an an
Once at MJB, Joe Gonzales began polishing the parts through the various steps.
Here's an up close look at the material used to polish the pieces. This is the 150 grit al
So fresh and so clean, the only way to describe the freshly polished grille bars.