Introduction: How to Powder Coat Aluminum Wheels - TechShop

I made it at the TechShop, well.. I powder coated it there. This is a "How-to" guide including step by step directions on How to Powder Coat Aluminum Wheels. Powder coating cannot be performed without having access to the proper equipment, but if you do it makes an excellent alternative to painting and provides a professional finish. It is recommended that you have previous knowledge of powder coating and sandblasting before attempting the procedure.

This was my first time powder coating a larger part so I went through some trial-and-error to reach my desired result, all of which are included in the guide. This guide should be very helpful for beginners.

It is a good idea to do one wheel at a time just in case you make an error.

Required Equipment:
-sandblasting cabinet
-powdering coating gun
-powder coating oven

Required Materials:
-desired set of wheels (can be made of any metal but be sure there are no plastic parts attached as it will be placed in the oven)
-powder coating powder
-metal or wire hanger

Recommended Safety Equipment:
-safety goggles
-leather gloves

See for classes on How-to sandblast and powder coat.

Step 1: Preparation

Before you start, make sure to power wash your wheels and sand out any curb-rash or blemishes so you have a clean surface to work with.

Step 2: Sandblasting (the Most Important Step!)

I learned through trial-and-error that sandblasting is the most important step of the process. While sandblasting is most important on the face of the wheel, I recommend going over the entire wheel thoroughly.  My first mistake was that I had not completely sandblasted around the outer edge of the rim leaving some of the factory clear coat and therefore a visible blemish as seen in the photo below. My second mistake came about when I had not noticed that the factory had silver paint in the holes of the spokes while the face was covered in a clear coat. The clear coat comes off much easier than the paint and if the paint is silver it is hard to notice. I took clear pictures to help identify the problem. Make sure that you go over every centimeter of the wheel to remove all surface paint and clear coat before beginning the powder coating step or the powder will not attract to the wheel. The more time I put into sandblasting, the better quality of the finish.

Step 3: Hang Wheel / Powdercoat

Now that you have prepared the wheel, its time to powder coat (Note: this would also be a good time to preheat the oven to 400 degrees F). In order to cover the entire wheel, it is important to hang the wheel freely in a well-ventilated booth. I used some hardware from napa, a roll of steel "tie-down" strap, and a hook cut out of 16 gauge steel. The key here is to get creative but make sure that all parts are conductive as it is easier to attach the electrical lead to the hanger. I found it was easiest to stick a bolt through the air stem hole for attachment. Now that the wheel is freely hanging, completely cover the front and back of the wheel with powder using the powder coating gun, but do not apply to the area that will be covered by the tire as it will only be a waste of material.

Step 4: Cure

With the powder applied, place the wheel in the oven making sure that it has been preheated to 400 degrees F. The powder I purchased from the TechShop took about 18-20 minutes total to cure. Refer to the label for specific time to cure as it can be different for various powders.

Step 5: Allow Time to Cool

After the wheel has cured in the oven, give the wheel some time to cool off, disconnect hanging device, and enjoy the beautiful finish!