If you're anything like me, people are constantly shooting out your tires for no good reason. Not only does this get expensive, but it's more than a bit annoying. That's why I've designed these bulletproof, Road Warrior-esque, tire armoring systems. This is only conceptual, so I hope someone will actually build a set and do a remix instructable. Okay, let's kick this mule!
Step 1: Wheel Familiarization
Start with the wheel and tire combination you will be using. In the second picture, I've artificially colored part of the wheel yellow in order to draw your attention to it. I don't know what it's called. It's probably the only truly vertical part of the wheel; the part that has holes through which your lugs bolts pass. Thus, let us call this the "holey vertical plate" or "HVP".
Step 2: Duplicate the HVP
Now we're going to make a duplicate HVP. We'll call this the "HVP 2.0". Using calipers or some other precise kind of instrument, measure the original HVP's inner and outer diameter. Using these dimensions, cut out the HVP 2.0 ring. I think 1/8" or 1/4" steel would work fine, depending on the length of your lug bolts. Your HVP 2.0, of course, won't yet have lug bolt holes. To get the holes, place the ring directly onto the original HVP and trace the holes from the other side. Then pull the HVP 2.0 off and drill out the holes to the same size as those in the original HVP.
Step 3: Stand-Off Pedestals
Now we need to create a supported offset, for reasons that will become obvious below. Lay something flat across your tire, like a board. In the image here, I've used a translucent red plane and a yellow arrow. These are for illustration only and not part of the manufacturing process. Measure the distance between the original HVP (yellow) and the board (translucent red). Add 1" to this length and we'll call it your "total offset distance measurement" or "TODM".
Now find some solid material like steel pipe or square stock or something (aqua blue). Its outer diameter (or equivalent) can't be greater than the distance between your HVP 2.0's inner and outer diameters. Cut this material into five pieces, assuming you have five lug bolts on your axle. If you have six lug bolts, cut six pedestals, et cetera. The length of each pedestal will equal your TODM. Weld these to the HVP 2.0 (yellow) so that they are offset from and centered between the HVP 2.0's lug holes.
Step 4: Armored Plate
Now measure the actual outer diameter of your tire. DO NOT ASSUME you know it! Many advertised and stated diameters are actually approximations or outright lies. Before you measure the diameter, make sure the air pressure is where you want it. Also, measure the diameter when the tire is mounted on the vehicle and supporting the vehicle's weight.
You're going to cut out a round circle of steel plate now (red). The thickness is up to you. I'm sure you can go online and find information regarding steel thickness and corresponding bulletproofedness. The diameter of the circle you cut out is going to be LESS than the diameter of your tire. If they were the same diameter and you mounted them, you'd be driving as much on the armor as you would be on the tire, which would create sparks, attention, citations, and possibly an explosion. When deciding how big your armor circle should be, take several things into account. For example, do you plan on doing any rock-crawling, which might momentarily distort your tires in several dimensions? Do you foresee "airing down" to drive on sand? I would recommend taking your tire's diameter and subtracting 4" to 8" and using that as the diameter for your armor.
Okay, once your round armor/shield/disc (red) is cut out, lay it flat somewhere and mark the very center of it. Using a compass (drafting, not magnetic), draw a circle around the center of the shield. The diameter of this circle should be the same as the outer diameter of your HVP 2.0 (yellow). Now lay the HVP 2.0 on the shield, within the circle you just drew. Lay it so that the two components are laying "plate-to-plate" (i.e., yellow touching red) such that the offset pedestals (aqua blue) are pointing away from the shield (red). Grab a Sharpie and trace the lug holes from the HVP 2.0 onto the shield. Set the HVP 2.0 off to the side. Cut lug holes through the armor shield. These holes will be bigger than the holes in the HVP and the HVP 2.0. They need to be big enough to accommodate your tire iron or lug wrench. Include a little wiggle room.
Once the holes are cut in your armor shield (red), put the HVP 2.0 back on it, centered. This time, the pedestals (aqua blue) will be touching the shield. Rotate the HVP 2.0 until the pedestals are offset evenly between the lug wrench holes in the armor (red). MAKE SURE that the holes in the armor (red) line up with the holes in the HVP 2.0 (yellow). Now weld the offset pedestals (aqua blue) to the armor shield (red). Your tire armor is now complete.
Step 5: Mounting and Optional Accessories
Now you can mount your contraption. Safely use a jack to lift the tire off the ground. Remove the lug nuts. Mount your armor so that the HVP 2.0 goes over the lug bolts and rests flat against your wheel's original HVP. One at a time, insert a lug nut into your lug wrench and poke it through a hole in the outer armor shield (red). Screw the nut onto a lug bolt, which is sticking through both the HVP and HVP 2.0. In this fashion, install all of your lug nuts and tighten them. Remove the jack and enjoy your new level of confidence.
What is that you say? Why stop there? You want more? Well, any number of additional doodads could be added, although I can't speak to their legality. In the last two pictures, I show a hypothetical fan configuration (green and blue). If you're anything like me, people are always trying to run you off the road for no good reason. With such a fan accessory, the rotation of your wheel would create something of a wind vortex that would push laterally and get the other driver's attention. They would feel a cool breeze and think to themselves, "Hmm, maybe I'm actually having a great day and I'm now having second thoughts about my road rage. I think maybe I'll go take in a museum or something." And then, coincidentally, they have a blow-out. Whoops, they should have tire armor too. Like I said, I'm not sure how legal such fans are. You're responsible for checking into that and I will not be held accountable. In retrospect, they look a little sharp, so you'd probably end up with a lawsuit at some point. Maybe. I don't know.
Okay, there you have it. In theory, this should work swimmingly. I really, really hope someone will give it a go. I mean, I'm going to eventually, but with my schedule it's hard to say when. Good luck, be safe, and have fun!