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Old 04-08-12, 08:34 AM   #1
yannis
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Paint over chrome

I need to restore some chrome plated parts of my old bicycle. I cleaned and polished them but at some points the chrome has gone away. There is no rust, but they don't look as good as new... I know that the best solution is to chrome plate them again, but at this case it is more economic to buy new. I am thinking about painting them. Is there any special paint that has very good adhesion over chrome without using any primer? I have to say that I have to use a wrench on some of these parts in order to install them (headset and bottom bracket) and I am afraid that the paint will peel off... Any advice could be very helpful!
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Old 04-08-12, 08:52 AM   #2
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"I am afraid that the paint will peel off... " I am afraid that you are right. Unless you remove the chrome completely (chemical etch or sandblasting?) I do not know of any way to get paint to adhere, primer or not. There is probably nickel and copper plating under the chrome as well. Chrome is so hard and smooth that the paint will peel off in big chunks in short order, like the second that you touch them with a wrench. Maybe someone will have a "secret sauce" but I am not optimistic.
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Old 04-08-12, 10:40 AM   #3
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wet sand the stuff with 220,400 grit, sand untill you have no more shine,
use a 2 component primer for best results,

maybe prep the frame and tape it, take it to your local body shop,

make a deal with them that they prime it next time they are shooting primer which may even be daily,

then YOU do the final sanding and if they dig the project they may paint it for you.
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Old 04-08-12, 10:53 AM   #4
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Its done all the time.. it is how the frames that have chrome lugs is done..
Powder coaters can mask off the portion you wish to keep shiny, too.

chrome as an electro deposition can be removed by flipping the current flow,
but then It may just as well be re-plated entirely.. surface prep in between.

chrome on old italian bikes was not the 3rd metal applied,
unlike the effort taken for Automobile parts.

Last edited by fietsbob; 04-08-12 at 10:59 AM.
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Old 04-08-12, 10:57 AM   #5
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oh please ............ scuff it up with a wire wheel and spray it with engine enamel
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Old 04-08-12, 07:47 PM   #6
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Google paint over chrome, there is a guy that shows how to do it the correct way. Good luck.
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Old 04-08-12, 07:57 PM   #7
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"Self Etching Primer"
Allows you to paint over chrome finishes.
You will still ruin the paint once you start wrenching on it.
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Old 04-09-12, 01:25 AM   #8
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I did this to a chrome bmx. Basically sanded it and got rid of the shine. Then used self etching primer and then engine enamel on top of that. Baked the frame for a few days in the hot sun, inside a car. That was Jan/Feb 2011. The engine enamel cracked when I tightened the axle nuts, but other than that, the rest of the frame hasn't peeled off. I don't abuse the bike, so FWIW, who knows whether it would endure a real torture test ?
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Old 04-09-12, 02:14 AM   #9
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Paint usually wears off anyways! Youd have to stain the aluminum which is done at the factory level
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Old 04-09-12, 07:07 AM   #10
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its a bike ...ride it unless your building a showpiece you could always clear coat it in lacquer
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Old 04-09-12, 08:16 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by amandadun View Post
Paint usually wears off anyways! Youd have to stain the aluminum which is done at the factory level
1. 'Staining' aluminium (and other metals) is called anodising, and if you're enterprising enough, you could try it at home.

2. Parts that have been chrome plated, especially stuff like headsets and bottom brackets, are not likely to be aluminium. Unless I'm mistaken, it's possible to chrome plate aluminium bits, but even the tough ally my BB and headset are made from would prolly be too soft; the slight deformation caused by using tools on the parts would likely cause the plating to flake.
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Old 04-10-12, 03:13 AM   #12
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Unless I'm mistaken, it's possible to chrome plate aluminium bits
You're correct. Look at the headlight bezels on bikes from the 1960s, they 'chrome' over plastic.
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Old 04-11-12, 07:49 AM   #13
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Chrome plating is 60 billionth of an inch thick. It is very easy to clean it off with acid based cleaners you see this in toilet fixtures. Underneath this is a much thicker layer of nickle and underneath that is copper. You should stop sanding when you see the copper. Paint will stick better to nickle than chrome
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