Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Baby needs new shoes! Wheel cleanup pt.1

I needed a break and still wanted to be productive, so I switched gears this afternoon and prep'd some EX250 wheels I've had on the rack for a while. I picked these up for a little race bike I was putting together but that project moved on to someone else to be finished up. 

The plan for these was a strip, smooth and refinish in a nice gold metallic with a red rim stripe and a good hard glossy clearcoat. I still like the idea since they are really quite nice to look at and deserve something better that black. Dunno what I'll do with them once they are done; hang'm on the wall? make lamp bases? Naw....think I'll make someone out there a REALLY good deal on wheels and discs that are lighter than should be fair and perfect for someone's smaller custom bike.

This will be a multi-parter so stay tuned for more, but in the meantime:
Here's your basic '08 EX250 aluminum motorcycle wheel. it's got a nice design but being a production piece, it's also got evidence of 'production', mainly some casting marks and such left behind. Note the rim lip: this was the first place I felt needed to be addressed. The edge was rough from the casting process and even with the thick coat of powdercoat on there you could really tell. I just took a fine file and skimmed the lip. Easy peasy.

These were really the only other areas I thought needed to be addressed. They are left behind after the blank wheel is pulled from the mold. For 98% of people out there it's no big deal. Bugs the shit outta me. And yeah, that hole in my fingernail hurt like fuck-all, did not occur during this work..
It really IS as simple as carefully filing them down and blending the edge of the spoke. It is and should be time consuming though, lots of work involved but nothing good is easy.

Here's what it looks like after blending. I'll be stripping this wheel down to bare and doing a final blend after too.
I did pretty good right up to the last step, then as per my usual got too into the work to remember to snap pics. You didn't miss much, after I was satisfied with the blend of the casting nubs I had the wheels beadblasted clean. Once they were back in my hands I gave'm a quick spritz with 50/50 phosphoric acid and distilled water. This etches the surface nicely and after a wipe down is as good as you get for painted aluminum. What you see above is the front after two basecoats of epoxy silver metallic. Once the rear is done to this point I'll spray them in gold. I'll have a pinstriper that i know come in a lay down a nice simple hand painted red pinstripe around the rim, then off for a nice durable glossy clear powdercoat. For those technical enough to worry; both the paints and the one-shot for the rim stripe are more than up to the powder curing temps needed. 

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