jrbartlett

Painting Wire Wheels

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I made a vertical axle stand (push golf cart or wagon axle) with 6" wheel on the top.

Place the wire  wheel in it an turn slowly to paint the spoke from all directions.  Paint the spokes first then the outer band of the spoke wheel.  Good Luck

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James - nearly every commercial sandblast shop can powder coat as well. If you have yours sandblasted, have the blaster immediately powder coat them. then add y6our own custom color over the powder coat if you prefer. Makes for a very durable surface.

RON 

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2 minutes ago, ron hausmann said:

James - nearly every commercial sandblast shop can powder coat as well. If you have yours sandblasted, have the blaster immediately powder coat them. then add y6our own custom color over the powder coat if you prefer. Makes for a very durable surface.

RON 

If powder coating the wire wheels be certain that the inner area of the rim where the tube band goes is clean of all burrs. Most powder coating places will hang the wheel from a wire attached to the inner rim area. When the wire is removed it may leave rough, sharp edges in the powder coating. These areas must be cleaned off so that the edges will not cause flat tires. I kept getting flat tires on my '31 DB coupe until i completely removed the tire, tube and tube band. There were all kinds of sharp edges poking into the tube band and tube.

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Wire wheels move and "work". They must, to mobilise their strength. Any paint around the spokes to hub or rim meeting points may crack. I had mine powder coated in the '90s and they didn't do well. I had them redone recently with a zinc undercoat first, to prevent the rust spots appearing around the spokes at the ends.

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After sand blasting, I thread them on a length of pipe, about 3-4 feet from the ground. I leave plenty of space between wheels, as it is difficult to see every angle around the spokes. 2 coats of primer, and 3-4 careful light coats of acrylic enamel, rotating the wheels as I go. I leave the inner rim to last, to avoid finger marks. Patience is required to get an even gloss finish.

 

The general opinion locally is that powder coating is fine for show cars, but inclined to chip with road use, especially on unmade roads. I have not tried powder coating myself, so cannot offer an opinion on that.

IMG_2648.JPG

Edited by Bush Mechanic
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A clever friend of mine made a motorized jig just for this purpose.  He took a small electric motor and coupled it to a gear reduction box he had which coupled to a shaft (or axle, I don't remember).  This all mounted on a board you clamped to a sawhorse.  It turned the wheel at 2 rpm, just right for painting!  You could only do one wheel at a time but it worked very well for the purpose.

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Everyone should be able to do a perfect ,flawless job on this.   you need a heavy enough base, with a vertical post to mount a slow motorized driven spindle on which you can clamp cones made out of something like re-constituted wood fibre- based material.  ( You will soon have plenty of paint overspray on the cones).,  I used a new drive sprocket drum from a WW2 Light M3 Stuart Tank, because there are plenty of them, and they are ideal mass and dimensions.  I drive the spindle with a variable speed electric mains powered  device called a "Zero-max", which will turn the wheel  fast enough at half speed to deter runs in the paint coating.  when you have enough paint film thickness, you move the speed lever to maximum, and flying insects will not land on the paint.   You let it spin like that until the high-grade 2 pack paint cross-links and hardens.  We use a grade that is made  for heavy duty trucks.  There are spray guns which are ideal for this work, such as the Italian "Walcom Genesi".   This sprays at a very low pressure, and has a very high % coating on the wheel, so your mask filtration to protect your lungs from toxic overspray has little work to do,  Your job quality is stupendous.    I made this not only to paint my own wheels,  but also so David Dryden can use it for all his earliest Fords , and so Bob Schuhkraft could paint the wheels of his 1914 Chevrolet "Baby Grand",  (which is a very fine antique auto.).   It is most beneficial to make one of these so your friends can use it also.

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I hang them from the valve stem hole and move around the wheel when I do it.   Keeps my focus where it needs to be and allows me to get around the wheel quicker keeping the gloss consistent.   Spinning them slowed down the process for me and I'd have to compensate with slower activators.   Pay attention at a car show and you can see a lot wires painted where  they didn't get around them quick enough and the start/stop didn't melt together.  

 

 I can see spinning them in the future as I loose flexibility.  

 

I bought a gallon of black industrial Imron a few months ago.  Not the same stuff anymore.   It was piss thin so I'd never use it on a paying job.  Went right into the giveaway/trailer paint cabinet.  

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1 hour ago, Janousek said:

I hang ...  

 

I bought a gallon of black industrial Imron a few months ago.  Not the same stuff anymore.   It was piss thin so I'd never use it on a paying job.  Went right into the giveaway/trailer paint cabinet.  

 

 

  I use Axatla (DuPont) industrial Imron and it is NOT thin.

 In even it fills in  light rust pits in the frame. It is very chip resistant. It is very funny stuff though. The first coat looks brown and is transparent, the second coat covers, and is BLACK!

 Put a third coat on a frame and it looks like you spent weeks sanding it. (always use a primer first.)

 

 You may have used Transtar, (a PPG company).

 We were given a gal. by the rep. and he had to give us two more to get the job done where one Gal. of Imron would do.

Edited by Roger Walling (see edit history)

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1 hour ago, Roger Walling said:

I've used Dupont Imron on things since the mid 90's and this stuff I bought isn't the same.  All the Imron I've ever used was never as thin as this stuff.  Shake the can and it sounds like water sloshing around.   I quit using the stuff back in 13' when our local jobber dropped the mix bank.  I thought I'd try the industrial stuff on an engine and I'm not comfortable that I'm getting a top quality product anymore so I didn't use it.  

 

  I use Axatla (DuPont) industrial Imron and it is NOT thin.

 In even it fills in  light rust pits in the frame. It is very chip resistant. It is very funny stuff though. The first coat looks brown and is transparent, the second coat covers, and is BLACK!

 Put a third coat on a frame and it looks like you spent weeks sanding it. (always use a primer first.)

 

 You may have used Transtar, (a PPG company).

 We were given a gal. by the rep. and he had to give us two more to get the job done where one Gal. of Imron would do.

 

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My guy that does powder coating gets I think $75 a rim to blast and coat in your choice of color and he has quite a spectrum to choose from.  For that it isn't even worth loading the gun much less spending a couple hours in the blast cabinet. 

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Quality paint/clear will cost you as much, powder coating will also get in all of the little cracks. Very hard to spray paint around all of the spokes down by the hub. Rust creeping out of spoke holes in the hub/hoops looks bad. They can also color match powder to a paint sample, you just have to order the amount of powder that you need. Get enough, it will be a custom mix, to match a paint sample.

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We painted the wire wheels on my Auburn back in the early 1990s with acrylic enamel with a hardener and anti-wrinkle agent, slowly rotating them. Really stacked the paint on in order to fill in the pits. They turned out very well, and remain nice all these years later. But now I need to paint the wire wheels on my Packard. They are much more complex -- 80 spokes -- and I am told that today's acrylic enamel is different than the old stuff. What paint and additives do you use today? How slick do the wheels turn out -- and for that matter, how well does powder coating of wire wheels turn out? I've seen some that look bad.  

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The only complaint I had with the powder costing on my wheels is the coating was very thick and I actually had to take a round file and run around the hub hole as it was so tight  I would have had to draw it on with the lugs.  You get alot of build with the powder,  but depending on how rusty they are,  you may need to fill them with something that is heat resistant so you don't have a problem when they bake the finish.  I know guys who have had suspension parts done and it's not kind to the rubber components. 

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I have a good powder setup and good spray guns.  I end up spraying them because I think it looks better than powder.    Flaws will show with either procedure unless they are sanded out during the process.  

 

I don't use acrylic enamel very often.  The only change I can think of is shelf life.  Centari will no longer sit on the shelf for 10 years and still be able to use it.  Local jobber told me they changed something a few years ago and it doesn't last forever now.   Really it's a pretty good product for wheels.  It flashes really slow compared to urethanes to allow you to keep it wet.  Urethanes can be adjusted but it take experimenting to get the feel.  Most do it yourself guys don't need more complications.   I feel success begins with SPI epoxy primer, sand and ad epoxy primer as needed, seal with same epoxy thinned 20%, and spray with good paint a few hours after seal.   I'd use Dupont Chroma premier SS or SPI SS if black with an Iwata LPH80.  (small, high quality gun)   I never load the wheels up with 2k urethane build primer.  Only epoxy.  

 

Powder can be complicated also.  With paint you know your gloss.  Powder just goes on flat and dry with static pull so you can get thin/thick spots if the guy doesn't have experience.   It tends to build up on high spots and not always pull into the cracks.  It's not a no brainer.  

 

 

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1 hour ago, Janousek said:

Powder can be complicated also.  With paint you know your gloss.  Powder just goes on flat and dry with static pull so you can get thin/thick spots if the guy doesn't have experience.   It tends to build up on high spots and not always pull into the cracks.  It's not a no brainer.  

 

That's why you have a guy do it like I do, that has a good track record.  Yes you can powder coat at home but if you find a guy like the one I use,  Why?  In my blast cabinet a rim takes a couple of hours to blast, each.  So 8 hours to blast 4 wheels before you do anything else.  I just give him a call and drop them off.  I'l spend that 8 hours on something else. Some DIY things are just not worth doing when you have a laundry list of other things to complete.

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