This instructable goes through the steps that I took to refinish a set of old 3-piece wheels that I had laying around. The wheels are old Racing Hart Type-C wheels from the early 90's, so they're about 20 years old at this point and were pretty beat up. I used the facilities and equipment at Techshop in San Francisco, CA to work on this project. Restoring wheels is a ton of work and having the space to work and right tools made the job so much eaier.
This instructable will be broken down into 4 parts:
(Part 1 of 4): Polishing nuts and bolts
(Part 2 of 4): Refinishing wheel lips
(Part 3 of 4): Refinishing wheel faces
(Part 4 of 4): Final assembly
These are the wheels in their original state after a quick wash with soap and water. The first thing to do is remove all of the nuts and bolts.
Step 1: Remove all nuts and bolts
The first thing that you need to do is wash your the wheels with soap and water to remove all the caked on grime, then start disassembling them.
Step 2: Polish
After removing all of the nuts and bolts I washed them again in soap and water to remove more of the caked on grime. You need to make sure that they are completely dry before putting them in the tumbler and also make sure that the tumbler itself is competely dry.
I used the walnut shells as the polishing media. Simply throw them in there and come back in a few hours.
Step 3: Removal
You can really leave them in the tumbler as long as you'd like, but I've found that it only takes a few hours until they come out clean. As you can see there is a night and day difference after tumbling. I always thread the nuts onto the bolts, to make sure that I havent left any of the nuts or bolts behind, because they can get lost pretty easliy in the walnut shells if you're not careful.