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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
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? :D 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. :D



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 :D 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.

 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
I painted the 2K gloss black the next day. The manufacturers say to wait 5 or more days for the paint to fully cure in a warm location before the chroming. They now decorate my entryway. :)The end of this week I'll tape off the areas to remain black. Hopefully I'll have the rest done in a week. Stay tuned to see if it rocks or bites.



I didn't have a decent pointing device but here's a quick and crappy photoshop of what they'll hopefully look like.

 

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Seems to make them look less like flower petals.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Seems to make them look less like flower petals.
Flower Power! lol. I think the spokes are going to look quite a bit narrower and different than they did as one light color. The difference is apparent in the sig photo below the Photoshopped one. Black is slimming you know. :) After I looked at it I was surprised that nobody had tried it yet as the lines of the wheels seem to lend themselves to it.
 

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You, sir, are a visionary and an innovator. :)
 

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I painted the 2K gloss black the next day. The manufacturers say to wait 5 or more days for the paint to fully cure in a warm location before the chroming. They now decorate my entryway. :)The end of this week I'll tape off the areas to remain black. Hopefully I'll have the rest done in a week. Stay tuned to see if it rocks or bites.



I didn't have a decent pointing device but here's a quick and crappy photoshop of what they'll hopefully look like.

I think they look great! They really do look slimmer, almost like you have the 18" wheels on them. That color in the sun is almost a blue black, just brilliant. You should photo shop that color, if possible, to your car to match and see what that looks like. I bet that would make the car look even more wicked!
Great job, man.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
lol. The "great job" should be reserved for if I do a great job. :D The taping looks daunting but I'm committed to do this.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
FYI update. I think the paint has cured enough to tape and chrome. It took 2 hours to tape up the first one. I thought the lug radius would be the hardest. It was the easiest. I stretched a wide piece of tape over it and used the flat of a razor knife to guide it around. Took just minutes to do that. The outer rails of the spokes and the rim were a PITA tedious job. Too cold to paint here so I have time to get the other three done...



The black untaped parts will be the black chromed areas.

 

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Discussion Starter #13
Nope, still not done. I have 2 more days of quick clear coats before all the tape can come off but this is a major visual with the HyperBlack sprayed and most of the masking tape removed. Probably wasn't the project to learn painting on and using a new spray gun :D and the weather has been horrible but it came out OK. There's some orange peel and sag but it's not glaring. Now that I'm getting the hang of it the next project will be a lot easier. I think it will look fine once installed on the car. I'll have it finished and installed later this week if the weather holds.



 

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I like it. Are you keeping the backside in primer color or did you black them? I can't tell.
 

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I like it! Keep updated.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I like it. Are you keeping the backside in primer color or did you black them? I can't tell.
I started with the entire wheel in gloss black. The only "chroming" is the center of the spokes and the outer half of the rim. I was trying to trick the eye of narrower rims and spokes. Everywhere else like where the outer rim is stepped in, the outer "arms" of the spokes and the whole back side is gloss black. It changes appearance as the angle changes. Parts of the chrome go from mirror to black. Pretty cool. I'll take some better pictures mounted on the car hopefully later this week. Now I'm looking at my '04 coolant overflow tank. . . :D It was a learning curve learning spraying with these products and with a new detail sprayer. I can do even better.

Final clear coat on tonight. I have my fingers crossed it will be durable enough as it was a lot of work for this project. The instructions on these paints say to spray the chrome over glossy black, fully cured paint such as my single stage 2K black. Of course normally you're never supposed to paint over 2K paint that's cured for more than 3-5 days. With this they say you have to. Because if that adhesion is my main concern.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
You can't scuff before the clear coat just like you don't scuff before the chrome is laid down. The glossier the base is the better the reflection of the chrome. That's the part I wonder about but you can see the chrome look come out over the gloss when you put it down. Any scuffing of that before the clear would take the "chroming" effect away. I did their one pack "Motoclear" which they say is a good medium wear-ability clear and followed it with 2 coats of Eastwood 2K Euro-clear. They advise a 2K clear for "heavier duty" applications.

The added clear took away a bit of the reflection (they say about 15%) but it still looks good. Tomorrow all the tape comes off and maybe I can roll it out into the sun (if we ever get any) and see what they look like. I'm pleased so far.
 
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