Bad news: All right, just got off the plane from Beijing with rather disappointing news. Although I spent almost 3 weeks in Beijing, a lot of time has been spent in bed due to sickness. Then came dinners with family, relative and friends. The reminding bits of time I had left, I used on calling around and visiting local factories together with local 501st Garrison members. However, due to time constrains, I did not have time to send all the parts to chroming before I left, and thus
all protocol parts have been left in Beijing for the future. I am planning my next visit in June to finish the protocol project.
However, I’ve done quite a lot of research work during my stay. Firstly, I came to learn that most vacuum metallizing/chrome plating factories in China are located in the south, and not in Beijing. Finding a factory which does this kind of work has been hard. However, I’ve obtained a great deal of experience with both understanding the technique, and knowing the situation as it is in Beijing. I have found two very good candidates which one of them I will continue to work with when I am in town this summer. One factory is about 1,5 hours drive from Beijing (In Hebei Province), which does vacuum metallizing. The second factory is located within Beijing (which is a big plus), which uses the chrome spraying technique very similar to Spectrachrome. Spray chroming is by far superior to vacuum metallizing due to its ability to withstand wear and friction, it also flexes with the material, minimizing the risk of the gold plating cracking and falling off. While vacuum metallizing is used for toys and home applicances, spray chroming is more commonly used for cars and arts decoration. The only downside with spray chroming is that of expense. The cost of spray chroming is roughly 2-3 times that of VM. The spray chrome is also applied as a thicker coat than the VM surface.
Surprisingly enough, the price for chrome spraying given by the factory in Beijing was almost the same as the VM factory. And with the Beijing factory being closer to home, it is by far the best candidate.
Good news: An ABS shoe shell, resin greeblie and fiberglass helmet have been sent in to the vacuum metallizing factory in Hebei for test chroming. Once it is finished, I will ask ES from China 501st Mainland Outpost to take some pictures for me.
The project will thus be put into temporary hibernation until I get myself to Beijing..in about 5-6 months. However in the meantime, we can wait for pictures of the test chromed Threepio helmet, and I will keep continuing to post updates about everything See-Threepio.