The process of Hard Chrome starts with the firearm being completely disassembled and cleaned. Depending on the current finish it will either get polished or media blasted.
If a Matte finish is requested then the parts are media blasted and immediately plated. The finish comes out a Matte Grey.
If the desired finish is traditional gloss, then the metal is polished multiple times using different grits starting out at 90 grit and ending at 400 grit.
The metal at this point almost looks like traditional chrome plating.
The more polished the metal before plating the shinier the finish will come out. Due to the amount of polishing that is required to get a glossy finish it is usually hard to give an accurate quote without seeing the firearm.
After the parts go through the required prep they are dipped in a heated cleaner bath solution. This cleans off any grim or grit left over from the blasting media or polishing compound and all remaining hand oils.
The parts are then moved to the plating tanks. The parts soak in there for 10-15 mins depending on desired thickness.
After plaiting, the parts are then moved to a rinse and oiling station.
Hard chrome, also known as industrial chrome or engineered chrome, is used to reduce friction, improve durability through abrasion toleranceas well as wear resistance in general. It is very hard, measuring between 65 to 69 HRC.
Hard chrome tends to be thicker than decorative chrome, with standard thicknesses ranging from 0.2 to 0.6 mm, but it can be thicker for extreme wear resistance requirements, in such cases 1 mm or thicker provides optimal results.
Increasing plating thickness amplifies surface defects and roughness in proportional severity, because hard chrome does not have a leveling effect.
Things that can be hard chromed: