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Powder Coating Rims: The Magic Behind It

Posted on: June 18th, 2018 by byersbushblog

Some people believe that custom wheel rims cannot be done using the powder coating process. This is because of their belief that the extreme heat will weaken the alloy making it crack. However, when done properly by an experienced and reputable provider, you should be able to see beautifully coated rims. See what are the steps involved in getting those magically stunning rims.

Custom Wheels: The Magic Behind Powder Coating Rims

Making custom wheels can take some time to complete. Normally, the turnaround time will depend not only on the extent of the project, but also the color selected as well as the condition of the rims. With this in mind, the cost for the materials and the service can vary substantially.

If we are dealing with a freshly coated rim, you should expect to spend anywhere from $350 to $1,000 on the average. The price is justified by the amount of time needed to complete the job and the complexity of the procedure involved. In the end though, you can be sure that the price will truly be worth it. So how do we do it?

powder coating rims

Step 1: Remove tires, valve stems, and any reusable hardware

Basically, before you can start to do your powder coating rims, you need to remove the tire itself. Keep in mind that the rims will go through a baking process, which the tire will not survive. Aside from the tire, you will also have to take off the valve stems as well as any material connected to the rims that can be reused or reattached after the coating process has been completed.

Even if the valve stemsor any other material needs replacing, you still need to detach it from the rims. Essentially, anything that should not be subjected to the powder coating process should be removed. Take note of the mounting configuration of the wheel. You may be trying to remove the face of the rims, which was not intended to be removed. Note that some rims have been professionally welded as a single piece, so there is no need to detach the face.

Step 2: Chemical stripping

Now that you only have the rims left, it is time to put it into a chemical solution. Let the rims stay in the solution for at least 30 minutes or even hours depending on its condition. This is done to ensure that any old paint, chrome, or powder coat is stripped from the surface. Since we are dealing with chemicals, please be aware of the safety guidelines needed when dealing with such materials.

So if you can’t do it at home, where? There are some shops that specialize in stripping rims down to its bare metal. The goal is to ensure that you get to the bare metal rim, regardless of its existing condition.

Step 3: Bake and blast

After the stripping process, the rims have to be rinsed off and tossed upright inside an oven so that it can dry properly. This is a very critical step because it can lower the time needed to dry and allow the complete removal of any impurities that may be left on the metal surface.

The rims can then be subjected to sandblasting to eliminate any remaining corrosion. It is better if you can do this process in a spray booth to prevent the media from getting all over the place.Take special note of the areas of the rims that come in direct contact with the tires. This is necessary to ensure that the tires will seat properly once reassembled. Usually, aluminum oxide media is the recommended sandblasting media for this type of project.

Step 4: Grind and shine

You will notice that after the rims have been sandblasted, it will have to be buffed up to make sure that any imperfections on the rim surface is removed. This can be quite a challenging and long step, but it is something that you cannot skip. It is essential that you go through every inch of the rims with a fine-tooth comb to make sure that it becomes almost silky smooth. From the time after finishing the chemical dip, you should never touch the rims without gloves.

powder coating rims

Step 5: Torch, spray, and bake

You now have completely cleaned rims that are ready to go through powder coating spray. This means that you will be applying layers of powder on the surface of the rims. This is the time to choose the kind of color that you want for your rims. Before the actual application, subject the rims to compressed air one more time to do away with any remaining residue. The rims can then be torched to remove any lint that may be still be on the surface.

Gloss black is one of the more popular coats for rims. You can observe fine powder mist forming as the rims are being sprayed. After fully coating the rims, it will have to go through a baking process that will take roughly 30 minutes at temperatures of 400 degrees on the average. Make sure that the rims are completely cooled down for at least 10 minutes after the baking process.

The rims will have to be returned to the spray booth so that clear coat can be applied as an added protection. This means that it will go back to the over for another hour after. The baking time would normally take into consideration the size, material, and weight of the rims as well as the coat gloss levels you want for the final finish.

Step 6: Reassemble, mount, and balance

The rims have to be hung on racks for cooling. It will then go through polishing and respraying before the valve stems can be reinstalled. The tires can then be attached to the rims along with any reusable hardware.

You do not want to damage the new coating, so you have to use a special tire mounting machine for this process. This machine is designed to ensure that there is no contact with the newly powder coated surface.

It is understandable that you are excited to see those new rims and tires on your ride. However, before you roll out your vehicle, make sure that you balance the tires and have valve caps installed for ideal weight displacement.

You can appreciate how difficult this process can be if you are doing it for the first time. So if you want to make sure that you get only the best powder coating results, contact Byers Bush Powder Coating now!

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