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Technical Has anybody seen or heard of hydro chrome??

Discussion in 'Traditional Hot Rods' started by quicksilverart46, May 7, 2017.

  1. quicksilverart46
    Joined: Dec 7, 2016
    Posts: 460


    I just saw a pair of skinny chrome rims on a '62 Dodge SuperStock that were done with an amazing wet on wet water applied silver nitrate solution that looks exactly like triple electroplated show chrome. This is not paint or some kind of ceramic or powder coat although it is clear top coated with a water thin UV acrylic LACQUER for durability. This wheel has been outside in the California scorching sun and occasional rain for 7 years with no sign of rust ,corrosion or flaking. There are dozens of YouTube video demonstrations and many company's selling the setup or doing the process!! [​IMG]Check it out..

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    kiwijeff, mgtstumpy and Max Gearhead like this.
  2. :cool: I have some parts that need that!
  3. mgtstumpy
    Joined: Jul 20, 2006
    Posts: 9,146


    Sounds very similar to hydrographics, I had the wood graining done for my 46 Olds dash and garnish molds and watched as a garnish molding was dipped into a water based solution. Another technological advancement however I wonder how you touch it up if you get scratches or chips etc, I suspect that the entire part would need refinishing.

    I had some plastic engine parts chromed years ago (Vacuum metalising) and with exposure to heat over time they have tarnished slightly with a yellowish tinge to them.

    Not long after this I had all the chrome on my Olds replated the old fashioned way (Triple plated) and it cost me a small fortune, I could have saved $$$.
    I just googled Hydrochrome, the name is trademarked. Here's a short video, amazing process.
  4. Torana68
    Joined: Jan 28, 2008
    Posts: 1,346

    from Australia

  5. jcmarz
    Joined: Jan 10, 2010
    Posts: 4,633

    from Chino, Ca

  6. They use that process on the West Cost Customs show quite a bit. You can use a gold wash during the process to make the finish look exactly like polished brass. They even did an entire Audi TT coupe in chrome. Looked like the entire car had been plated. Yes it looked stupid, but it did look like a real chrome plating job.
    timwhit and quicksilverart46 like this.
  7. Website says not suitable for automotive use. Unless you use multiple coats of the clear they sell. As much as the kits cost. I would still opt for chrome plating.

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  8. I'm going to buy this set up, to go with my 3D printer, for my new shop, building space age traditional hot rods. :rolleyes:
  9. Corvette Fever
    Joined: Feb 18, 2014
    Posts: 142

    Corvette Fever
    from Michigan

    Modsteel did a 53 Packard on their TV show a couple of years ago. I talked to them afterwords to see if they were going to be using this process again and to have m y 53 T&C s trim done. They told me they would never do it again period. Way to much labor in prep work to justify the results.
    About a year later I saw the Packard at a Sins of Steel show and the Crome was really scratched up, looked really bad.
    This process might be OK for interior chrome but not for exterior stuff.

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  10. With the E.P.A. running the world and Chrome shops disapearing like the Horse and Buggy anything to replace them isn't going to be as tough. Looks are what we want. If that means treating shine like Paint so be it. mgstumpy talks about wood grain on a dash and how touching it up means total re do. I suspect a good scratch on factory wood grain would mean a re do also. No matter the base product damage is damage and proper repair often means re do in lou of touch up that often times looks just like a touch up. I think it's the New treatment for Chrome look and we just need to learn how to take care of it. Back in the 70's Portland had no less than 6 Chrome shops. Today there are Zero. If you have ever had a hand built part with many hours invested in making it, shipping it off to who knows where is a Crap Shoot as to what you'll get back as well as you may never see it again. I think the trade off is worth giving the product more T.L.C.
    The Wizzard
    quicksilverart46 likes this.
  11. I have heard mixed reviews on this process. Most of the negative, was that it does not hold up well. As has been stated above^, I am sure it needs special care, but almost everything does.
  12. quicksilverart46
    Joined: Dec 7, 2016
    Posts: 460


    If you watch the YouTube demos The initial prep is not usually shown . The quality of the end result is the same as a perfect paint job. That involves sanding, primer and most important is a flawless clear coat preferably over black. Any orange peel or blemish will show up in the mirror finish. As far as durability I saw the wheels that I posted on this thread and after 7 years of outdoor storage they looked perfect.!!
    All the new cars Apparently using this process in place of electroplating. As Pist n broke mentioned EPA has destroyed the plating business. In California any shop that opens or changed ownership after around 1990 was forced to use the "environmentally safe" new Chromic acid instead of Hexavailant chrome . This crap is slightly yellow compared to real old school Hexavailant chrome and it scratches easier too. My local shop that is grandfathered in to still be able to use copper as well as the original chromic acid has been forced by the EPA and attacked by the fire dept to modify the holding tanks and buffing room and add expensive new gadgets called scrubbers. All of this has driven the price of waiting to astronomical figures. Torch that used to cost me $60 are now at couple hundred dollars!! Its pretty much OVER for electroplating unless money is no object !!
    The one thing that concerns me on hydro chroming is it appears the use a tremendous amount of Silver Nitrate and how much does this stuff cost . They are flooding it on and where does it go? Into a drain holding tank? Can it be strained and re-used?? I do know that Silver Nitrate is Toxic so that involves the EPA AGAIN. I think a small set up for home use and friends might be cool depending on the cost of materials but I am not sure how many hoops you have to jump through to set up a business at least here in California doing this. When I first watched the videos I thought damn I want to start doing this but now I'm thinking I could be opening up Pandora's box for trouble with the EPA.

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  13. Engine man
    Joined: Jan 30, 2011
    Posts: 3,480

    Engine man
    from Wisconsin

    Don't have to worry about the EPA anymore.There just isn't enough business for chrome shops since manufacturers quit using chrome bumpers. The local chrome shop is doing more chrome these days for hydraulic applications where the hydraulic shop does all of the prep work.
  14. saltracer219
    Joined: Sep 23, 2006
    Posts: 900


    Chrome for hydraulic cylinders and industrial applications is much different than ornamental chrome

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