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Selecting base metal for making Chrome Plated Auto Trim?

Selecting base metal for making Chrome Plated Auto Trim?

Selecting base metal for making Chrome Plated Auto Trim?

I make reproductions of trim parts for classic cars.
Quality & long expected life is top priority for this market place. ie: We're talking parts that should last 20+ years in a well maintained auto's interior.

The part in question is the bezel that goes around the vent control lever & also serves as the mount for the lever.

The original part was show chrome (ie: Cr|Ni|Cu triple plated) plastic. The plastic parts tend to fail after a few years of use.

A couple of years ago I started selling the parts machined out of 6061 Al and then show chrome plated. Customers love them because they won't break, & look better than the OEM parts.

I'm negotiating with an overseas company to source the part and they have suggested making the part out of either steel or brass instead of Al. Apparently Al is more expensive in their country. I've asked which specific steel & brass alloys are being proposed but haven't received a response yet.

My goal is to select the best base material for the part. Al,Steel, & brass all far exceed the application's strength requirements. This leaves finish. Which of the 3 base materials will provide the longest lasting finish when show chrome plated.

I'm uncomfortable with steel because as it oxidizes I believe it will begin to raise the chrome, eventually leading to peeling.

brass seems to have the advantage that the Cu plating can be dispensed with, & just given a Cr over Ni plating. However, won't brass also raise the chrome when it oxidizes?

Al requires the full triple plate which means higher price(not a major concern). However, Al's self-sealing against oxidation makes me tend to think that it's unlikely to peel over time.
Are the above concerns/reasoning valid?

What other pros & cons are there for the 3 base metals should I consider.


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