View Full Version : Heating/Bending Chromed Parts

05-29-2007, 11:38 AM
A friend has asked me to alter the bend slightly of a chrome plated gear shifter (motorcyle). It's a good healthy 1/4" thick, so will require some heat.
He'll accept a degraded appearance, but I'm wondering if there's some way or tricks to preserve the shine. ???

05-29-2007, 12:02 PM
It will discolor the chrome, and it will probably crack and peel.

05-29-2007, 12:21 PM
That's what I was afraid of Topct.

I often see that thin stainless steel foil in all the tooling catalogs, and wondered if some of that wrapped around it before applying the heat would protect it. I don't have any of it anyway, and it's pretty pricey stuff.

05-29-2007, 12:27 PM
depends on the degree of bend and the quality of the plate.

I've bent many of them cold with no ill effects, (most were intentional) just do a gradual bend using tubes etc to make the bend, some I mounted in the vice with three chunks of pipe and slowly snugged it up till I had just over the bend I wanted. (spring back allowance)

others I just used a longish flat bar with two bolts in it to bend the shifter when it was more hassle to remove it.

Also done the same with tubular shifters in cars/trucks. I have short legs, and average arms, so getting my legs in right for the clutch means the shifter is normally too close, so it's a standard operation when I get a new vehicle.

I'm assuming lateral repositioning, not vertical as there are easier ways to alter the height, and shifters are positioned with the stongest axis up/down


05-29-2007, 01:09 PM
Yes, this bend needed is laterally (the easy way).
I'll try it cold with the vise first. But I'm not real optimistic about that.

On this one the heel portion extends straight back from the shaft clamp, and the longer, tapering toe part makes an outward bend just forward of the clamp of about 20deg, Then at the very end where the toe stub is, it has a counter-bend of about 5-10deg. ...so that the heel and toe stubs are not parallel, as he wants them to be.
I need to either reduce the 20deg bend, which is wider, or increase the reverse bend out at the end, or add some gradual reverse bend along that length (approx 4.5").

05-29-2007, 03:47 PM
If you heat it to bright yellow, the chrome will bend too. After it cools, simply polish the chrome on a buffing wheel with white compound. If it's triple chrome plated, the copper layer will melt but should re-fuse to the steel. Don't cool it--Cover it and let it cool slowly.

If you bend it cold, it will definitely crack the chrome and nickel layers then start peeling.

Make sure it IS steel before heating. If it's die cast or aluminum, stick a bucket of sand under it because that's where your pedal will end up. :eek:

05-30-2007, 07:41 AM
It's steel alright. Magnetic, and too heavy for aluminum.