Ask the Expert Question-and-Answer Archive
(Hard Chrome Plating)
by Randy Taylor, Advanced Tooling Corporation
Bubbles in a New Chrome Finish
Q. I just had something (Automobile Console Top Cover) rechromed and the chrome finish has lots of small bubbles from 1/16" to 1/8" diameter. I think the company did not clean the part correctly, therefore the new chrome is bubbling. Any ideas?
A. Hard to say without seeing the defect first hand, but I can speculate. In today's decorative industry, it's not uncommon for nickel/chrome to bridge over defects or poorly prepared surfaces and be undetectable in the immediate hours after plating, but eventually form blisters or bubbles in the coating. If the item is "die cast", better known as "pot metal", base metal imperfections are common and extremely hard to eradicate. If the part is made from steel or other ferrous alloy, pitting, cracks and other defects are still a possibility, but the bubbles are more likely a product of poor cleaning or etching prior to plating.
Hopefully your chrome vendor has a reasonable return policy that can resolve the issue.