I started a thread on "the other board" re: anyone's general experience with "black chrome" painting. After looking into it more I wanted to try it. This is going to be a thread about doing my wheels from beginning to end and we'll see how it comes out.
I had been thinking about doing something with my wheels. They are just stock 17"s which a lot of people hate but I don't see them as that bad, they just don't have any "pop" and have bulky looking spokes. I had my backs widened to 9" years ago and I can put some pretty good meat on them with full suspension travel and no rub so I didn't want to go back through the whole hassle of fitment either.
Looking at the design of the wheels I decided that they were actually better than I'd thought if I could accent parts. The black chrome paint came to mind. I had originally looked at black chrome powder coating but a couple of local shops wanted a fortune and they said it didn't really come out well. That got me going on black chrome paint. Just to point out the different Duplicolor "black chrome" kits aren't really for making chrome. That product is a Niteshades kind of thing that you spray over things like trim or wheels to put a candy coat over your original chrome part.
There seem to be a lot of different companies that make chrome painting products. Those systems require a gloss black base (or any dark color to look good) and then the chrome material is applied over the top. With it you can't tell the difference between it and plating if you start with the base dark and smooth. You can potentially "chrome" anything you can paint although the companies don't recommend over 180* locations. Power steering reservoir? Oil dip stick? The FRCs for those that insist on throwing a blanket over their pretty engine?
The Alsa Corp product can also be bought in "Killer Cans" that feature a for real 2K-in-can mixing system and four times the spray pressure of regular rattle cans. I have not used it but I would strongly consider it especially if you don't have the spray equipment.
Studying the wheels I thought that the bulky look of the spokes could be make visually smaller and accent the lines by selectively taping off what would be black and what would be chrome. Basically the outside "arms" on the spokes I want to stay black as well as the center hub where they come together. On the outside I want the outer rim and first inside lip to also be chrome connecting flat center part of the spokes together. The second "flat" of the outer rim and inside of the wheel will stay black. This is a practice taping to try to define the lines I would eventually follow. The practice tape was removed before the base coats.
Alsa Corp and Innate are two of the companies with Alsa making "GhostChrome" and Innate making "HyperChrome". I settled on Innate. Their basic kit is HyperChrome paint, clear coat and a flannel cloth for polishing. There are kits with everything you need and maybe I would consider those but I ended up spending $160 for a pint of chrome and 8oz of 1k clearcoat with the flannel cloth. 1K means single part paint. 2K is a paint of a base and a catalyst. This is what $160 looks like.
I wanted a chip resistant paint and the base determines a lot of that. If the base doesn't stick the rest doesn't matter. I got an Eastwood quart one to one 2K gray epoxy primer, a quart four to one 2K gloss black and a quart of 2K clear coat. The reason for the second clear coat is Innate recommends one over their 1K clear for heavy use conditions (like wheels). I also got a detail spray gun, wet 320 and 400 grit sand paper, masking tape, solvent for clean up and rubbing alcohol for degreasing, air supply filter, one piece hooded paper paint suit, goggles, nitrile gloves and used my respirator. The fumes are intense and you want to practice safe use as even only one bad time with it can cause permanent breathing problems. The cost was significant as I got way more than I'll need and some the equipment and supplies were an investment that I'll use again.
First thing was cleaning up the wheels. I considered getting the tires demounted but that was $80 plus I'd risk the wheels getting banged up by uncareful workers. I deflated the tires and after normal washing used rags and mineral spirits to get the tar specks off the inside rims. Stubborn spots got sand paper or even a little careful scraping to pop the chunks off.
Next was sanding. I wet sanded every area of them inside and out. After wet sanding I wiped again with solvent to remove most dust. With the tire deflated I could get the tape down in between the tire and rim better. I used 6" pieces and worked my way around. I then went back and taped the entire outer portion of the tires. I've seen those areas masked with paper but this stand up well to moving around and flipping the tires over through the course of the process. After wiping with alcohol using the gloves so I didn't get finger prints on the wheels I lightly wiped with a tack cloth to remove the last bit of debris.
I set up a paint booth in the garage by comandeering the wife's side
and using plastic I made walls and ceiling. I put resin paper on the floor to make a clean room. Unfortunately it is pretty cold here and I used my 220v space heater to warm everything up overnight. Because these paints are combustible and possibly explosive I did not use it during actual spraying. Saw horses and my expandable scaffolding completed the "room". I light from the outside to keep that equipment clean and prevent a possible fire problem. Better safe than sorry.
2 coats epoxy primer coat on. You need to spray the base coat within 5-6 days or you'll have to sand it after it fully cures.