In this instructable I want to show you how to take an old rusty car rim and transform it into a vintage racing beauty. I used Techshop San Francisco for all aspects of the project
Step 1: Rust Be Gone!
The most effective way to remove this kind of deep set surface rust is to use a blast media cabinet. I'm gonna use garnet media and glass beads.
I'll tell ya right now, like any paint job, the application of the paint is the quickest and easiest part of the process - the prep is what takes the real discipline to really nail down. If you look closely here, you will see where I succeeded and where I lacked the moral character to be patient. Some of you deadline oriented non-perfectionists will identify.
Perfectionists will sieze the opportunity to share disdain and point out the flaws - I'll be forging ahead with and without flaws since I am building a car that drives down dirt roads . . . and I can live with a bit of criticism about my methods - after all I have two teenage girls - I know how to recieve criticism!
Step 2: Blasted Clean! Almost
For a show car, this would have a ways to go - for a working rally car, this is far enough. For the very thorough, they will also labor on the back side, I gave it a lick and a promise.
Step 3: Water Jet for Cutting Slots Int He Wheels - My Bright Friend and Techshop Dream Coach at the Controls
We decided the rims needed slots or holes to look like period racing wheels. So off to the water jet to lay out a pattern. At this point we were not sure what would happen as the wheel profile slopes away on the cut path of the water jet. TechShop pro Cody started the pierce on the high point and we hoped the cut would continue down the profile since it sloped off over an inch at the bottom of the slot.
Step 4: Flow Path, Flow Cut, Lots of Clicky Clicking the Mouse Thingy
Quick background - I hate learning programs and resent most updates where software wonks keep hiding the tools in different windows. Sometimes I wonder if a drill and a handgrinder couldnt get it done quicker - NOT TRUE in this case. It came together quick and the precision and ease of the cuts left me time for a long lunch with an adult beverage!
Step 5: The Water Works!
Here is a shot of the cuts in progress. Notice the lousy cut on the left - real wavy and jagged. We had to stop and secure the rim because it moved all over on the bed. We blocked and weighted it, but not enough. Lesson learned - make it seriously secure. After the improved work holding, all was well.
I had to pull out my old school hand tools and file away the mistakes in that one slot - no matter how far we progress with technology, a file still comes in handy.
Other old school tools to keep around - a phone that makes phone calls on a thing called a phone line, big hammers, a toaster, and a pocket knife - these will be crucial during the Zombie Apocalypse.
Step 6: Powder Coat Me!
Here is the wheel, blasted, cleaned with iron phosphate, then rinsed and hung to dry.
Now I am gonna powder coat the whole lot of them.
Step 7: Fresh Out of the Oven
I took the a powder coat class at Techshop to learn it. What an easy and cheap way to get set of rims done. I'll not go into painful detail about powder coating works, but I will tell you that it is simple, fun, and fairly fool proof.
Basically, you hook up the gun, put the powder in - it takes way less than you think - and spray it evenly. I was not shy about spraying it on.
Some logistics are best thought through ahead of time, like how to hang them in the oven, and how to move them when they are hot. I used Caswell Chrome powder. I have been curious about how this would really look - I was not expecting a mirror chrome, and it was not.
It was a rich reflective silver that I leally like for that clean but not too bright finish.
Step 8: Some Shiny Detail - Good News and Bad News
Here is a closer look at one of the problem rims - it had some prep issues - there was still some pitting from the rust that I did not finish out, and on this wheel you can also see some over application problems - these were coated twice and in places the build up was excessive.
But you can also see some of the rich smooth reflective finish we were hoping for. If it were a show car, back to the blaster on do it again. For a rally car - its ready to be stone chipped and sratched in a race!
We did notice MUCH IMPROVED FINISH on the rims that we blasted a second time with glass beads - the finer and cleaner finish was well worth the time when you are using such reflective paint.
Step 9: Finshed, and Unfinished Comparison
Here you see the old wheel from a 1967 Citroen 2cv, and our slotted and coated racing wheel that we made from the stock set. It looks great with the new rubber and a bolt on spinner.
Look me up at Techshop San Francisco if you would like to see how our 1967 Citroen 2 cv truns into an aluminum bodied BMW powered roadster and off roadster!
Thanks for reading !