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Brushed Chrome install on Raw Aluminum

Discussion in 'General Signmaking Topics' started by rjssigns, Nov 19, 2012.

  1. rjssigns

    rjssigns Major Contributor

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    Home Office
    Not sure if this is the right spot for this post, but here goes. I have been making gauge faces for a restorer. He is having trouble getting the printed/lam'ed brushed chrome "faces" to stick to the smaller raw aluminum blanks. The large(6"dia) faces work great.

    He is dropping everything off for me to work on. My first thought is to see if something contaminated the small blanks. Then I will clean and prep as I would for vehicle install and see what happens. Worst case I will have blanks cut from powder coated material.

    Failure is not an option.
     
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  2. SignProPlus-Chip

    SignProPlus-Chip Active Member

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    If the aluminum blanks were not cleaned up properly there could very well be residue left from any lubrication/s used during the manufacture process.

    I worked as a machinist for many years, and we had to beat it into some of the guys heads in the paint department to properly clean the metal. Even though it looked and felt like clean bare aluminum, it had enough residue left to inhibit paint adhesion. I have no doubt it could cause a vinyl application to fail as well.

    We typically scrubbed parts in hot water with Dawn dishwashing liquid, the stuff will cut through almost any grease/lubricant....even motor oil.
     
  3. rjssigns

    rjssigns Major Contributor

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    Thanks Chip.

    I have the blanks and it seems like something is on the surface of a couple of them. They are laser cut, but they may have used coolant contaminated drops form another process. Going to try the usual prep methods and test. If that doesn't work I am going to glass bead then clean and apply.
     
  4. sowinski_t

    sowinski_t Member

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    Nov 22, 2011
    I've run into this issue before as well. We resolved it by actually giving the aluminum pieces a quick acid bath before application of the vinyl. About 2 hours in a diluted hydrochloric solution should be about right. Obviously rinse it off really well with water before applying or touching with bare hands...
     
  5. rjssigns

    rjssigns Major Contributor

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    Your idea had crossed my mind but I took another route. The faces went into my glass bead cabinet to knock the "mill" finish off. Cleaned with IPA then installed. Looks good so far on the comps.
     
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