Plating a Chrome Automotive Emblem With 24K Gold

Gold Plating automotive emblems has a very high value and a relatively low cost. Any emblem that has been chrome plated can easily be gold plated using the following procedure. Our proven system is essentially a process with three main functions.
1. Remove the existing chrome.
2. Activate the underlying nickel surface.
3. Plate with 24K gold.

We have broken each of the main functions into several steps detailing exactly how to gold plate a car emblem.

In order to have a serious gold plating business, you have to have the proper equipment. The Universal Plater - Chrome Edition or the Gold Star is the best equipment available anywhere.

Step 1- Place the Drain Apron

Plating a Chrome Automotive Emblem With 24K GoldOne of the best features of our system is the clean efficient method of rinse water collection.  This   system was developed so that our technicians can plate the emblems of a car right on the dealership showroom floor.  The first line of contact is a high quality vinyl tape that can be re-used many times and will not leave residual adhesive on the paint.  Little details like this may not seem like a big deal to the inexperienced person but it's all the little details that will help you to be successful in the on-site plating business.

 

 

 

Step 2 - Setting the Drain Pan 

Plating a Chrome Automotive Emblem With 24K GoldThe drain pan is a collection and holding reservoir for your rinse water.  A special "apron bar" or an optional stainless steel grounding tray (as shown here) holds the apron tight.  Keeping the apron tight and flat is important.  This prevents the rinse water from dripping off the drain apron before it gets to the drain pan.  The drain pan has 2 re-sealable plugs in the top to allow the liquid to drain inside and a spout on the end so the solution can be poured into a suitable storage container.   When you are ready to move to your next job, the drain pan can be totally sealed.

 

Step 3 - Positioning the Universal Chrome or the Gold Star

Plating a Chrome Automotive Emblem With 24K GoldHaving the ability to quickly set up for each emblem is the key to maximizing your income potential with an on-site automotive plating business.  This is where the Universal Chrome (with the car kit) or Gold Star really Shines.  The wheeled cart holds the plating handles and solutions in the best possible position for you to be able to roll in and begin the plating process.  The corrosion resistant solution beaker tray fits snugly up against the drain pan.  This arrangement greatly reduces the chance of the solutions dripping on the showroom floor or dealership parking lot.

 

Step 4 - Ready to sit down

At this point we have spent less than 1 minute setting up to plate this emblem.  The 88 tape that holds the drain apron up is reusable.  When an emblem is finished, the tape is carefully pulled off and laid in the drain pan with the adhesive side up.  This way, the tape will last for 3 or 4 cars before it needs to be changed out.  The color coded  application handles hang directly above their solution beakers.  The plating technician only needs to grab the right color for the step, everything else is automatic.

Close-Up Of Color Coded Handles And Solution Beakers
The various steps in the process require different voltages, polarity, (relative to the common), and current cut-off levels.  This is why we have developed this color coded system using different handles for each process.  The plating technician has enough to think about without worrying about switching to the correct polarity or voltage.  The Universal Chrome and Gold Star are fully automatic machine that utilizes multiple internal electronically controlled power supplies.  These electronic power supplies utilize special circuitry to sense the current requirements.


There are cheap, poorly constructed pieces of junk on the market that claim to be gold plating systems. The sad truth is that it is less likely that anyone will be successful using a battery charger or single output rectifier for commercial automotive gold plating. We developed this system so our own technicians will be able to produce professional results using professional equipment. The initial system comes with enough solutions that it may be able to pay for itself before you need to re-supply.

Plating a Chrome Automotive Emblem With 24K Gold

Step 5 - Stripping the Existing Chrome
Plating a Chrome Automotive Emblem With 24K GoldMore than 80% of automotive emblems, (such as the one shown here) are made of plastic. The emblem is manufactured using a plate-able grade of ABS plastic. The surface is then metalized, or made conductive, and then plated with copper and then nickel and finally with chrome. With the Universal Chrome or the Gold Star, the chrome is electrochemically removed in the "chrome stripping" step. This step has no effect on the underlying mirror bright nickel. Virtually any item that has been chrome plated will have a bright nickel finish that readily receives the 24K gold plate.

Step 6 - Rinse After Stripping

Plating a Chrome Automotive Emblem With 24K GoldAfter the chrome has been removed, the emblem and common clip are quickly rinsed with a few squirts from the spray rinse bottle using tap water. The rinse water will then run down the drain apron and into the drain pan. This rinse water contains chrome in solution and the chrome stripping solution which must be disposed of properly. 


Step 7 - Activating the Exposed Nickel
ActivatingIn this step the exposed nickel surface is electrochemically activated. The emblem is given a negative charge relative to the activator solution carried by the "woolly" sleeve on the blue handle. The activator solution makes the nickel surface highly active and removes oxides that could affect adhesion of the 24K gold plating. This is a quick step that only requires the technician to cover the entire surface at least once. Our procedure specifies that the entire surface is covered at least twice to make sure we have activated the entire surface.

Rinsing after activation is the same as rinsing after the chrome stripping step. We always make sure we rinse the clip along with the emblem. This is a good time to inspect the nickel surface. Any residual chrome or defect in the nickel is now easy to spot and will show up in the gold plate.

Step 8 - Starting to Gold Plate
Plating a Chrome Automotive Emblem With 24K GoldThe red gold plating handle is connected to a special post-regulated power supply that delivers the precise amount of voltage required to apply the gold plating. The emblem is charged relative to the solution. The output voltage of the gold handle is also user controllable. For most applications the voltage is set to 5 volts. The gold should be plated with a very pure direct current. The Gold Star gold application power supply produces less than 5mv of ripple. The low ripple, precisely controlled power ensures that you have every technical advantage possible.

The gold is contained in the Brush Gold Solution (the purple liquid or gel). We produce this proprietary solution to exacting standards that gives the brightest, fastest and most beautiful 24K Brush Gold solution available anywhere. We start with a fully complexed gold salt and add hardeners, brighteners and conductive salts that include a tiny amount of nickel and cobalt. The result is a high gold concentration, brush plating solution available as a liquid or gel.

The gold is applied as a series of overlapping, concentric circles. The gold becomes opaque when the thickness reaches around 5 micro-inches (0.000005 inches). Using the Universal Chrome or Gold Star and our Brush Gold Solution, one pass of concentric circles applies around 3-5 micro-inches. Since we have always had a lifetime warranty on our gold plating, we want to make sure we apply around 30 micro-inches of gold. This means we cover the entire emblem approximately 6 times.

The finished emblem is rinsed off and inspected by the technician. If applied properly using Gold Plating Services' Brush Gold Solution, the 24K gold plating that has been applied to this emblem will meet strict technical standards (MIL-G-45204C) . We have never had a problem offering a lifetime warranty against "peeling, flaking or corrosion of the gold plate. Although 24K gold is soft, our brush plating solution produces a gold plate that is more than twice as hard as a non-hardened gold plate. We apply our Island Glow - Gold Shield protectant to help keep the new gold clean and prevent water-spotting. Any high quality non-abrasive wax will help.

We spent about 6 minutes including set-up of the drain apron and drain pan. The cost of goods for this emblem is around $2.00. The going wholesale rate for plating an emblem varies from location to location but a good national average would range from $25 to $50 each. If you consider the low side of $30 per emblem and a 5 emblem car takes you about 1/2 hour, that leaves a lot of room for overhead. Gold plating is a very viable business for someone who is willing to apply themselves.

Plating a Chrome Automotive Emblem With 24K Gold