Thank you. This post was very informative. I guess it is more complicated than it seems. In any case, not a home shop procedure unless you are seriously tooled up for it.
>From: "Aldo Ross" <email@example.com>
>Subject: Re: [CR]Re: (was silca) now Chromed Plastic
>Date: Thu, 22 Feb 2001 13:23:04 -0500
>"There are many objects that are not metallic, yet need to be plated. Most
>people are familiar with 'Baby Shoe Bronzing" where small leather shoes are
>'dipped' in copper. The process is carried out by gluing a layer of fine
>copper powder to the shoe. Once this has been allowed to dry, the part is
>then immersed in the copper plating tank and a heavy layer of copper
>Plastic and other parts can be treated the same way. We have found that the
>copper powder is best applied to plastic, (car parts & models) by mixing
>copper into a plastic adhesive, such as PVC or ABS plastic pipe adhesive
>(Made by the Oatey Co.) This can then be brushed or sprayed onto the part
>and allowed to dry, and then plated first with copper, then nickel and or
>chrome. On plastic model cars, the nickel plate makes an excellent
>substitute for chrome. The copper can be polished to a high shine using
>metal polishes etc. and this will improve the reflective properties of the
>The real trick here is to get the paint onto the part evenly. Once dry, dip
>into Caswell Tinning Solution to increase the conductivity.
>Apply a heavy layer of copper plate, and LIGHTLY buff it to a high shine.
>Then you can plate it with Copy Chrome, or Nickel plate. We would NOT
>recommend plating with Chrome, as the currents required are too high, and
>may encourage dis-bonding of the paint film.
>There is a certain amount of skill required to accomplish this procedure.
>do not recommend the process for large items, such as motorcycle helmets.
>The copper conductive coating only becomes conductive once it is actually
>immersed into an electrolyte and has a current applied to it. Testing the
>dry surface with a test meter will not produce a positive reading.
>Commercial Chrome Plating onto plastic is a complicated, and involved
>process, using numerous tanks with dangerous chemicals. We can only
>recommend our process for small 'one off' items. You should also be
>competent at copper and nickel/Copy Chrome plating before attempting this