I polished my nipples...Part 1

C'mon! What did you think you were going to see here?:smirk:

An injury has postponed my holiday riding so I figured I'd do a fun project to hold me over while I'm on vacation. I've been learning to powdercoat for fun so why not combine a bit of maintenence (bearing replacement) with a touch of bling? This is not intended to be the definitive way of how to build a wheel, just how I did it. I have a full time job, wife, kids etc. and won't be doing this as a side job. I'm posting this to show you that it can be done and try to remove some of the mystery. Actual mileage may vary.:excuseme: Here goes...

I started out with a stock set of Honda wheels, Rear got changed to an 18" earlier this year



First stop, high tech tire changing station


Next pulled the rotors/ sprocket off. If you haven't done this yourself yet here's a tip. Use the open end wrench to apply pressure not the allen wrench. You will strip out the allen bolt by turning it instead.


Breaking the wheel down looks scarier than it really is. If I can do it, so can you. Use an appropriate spoke wrench. The spokes on the rear wheel are two different lengths, the fronts were all the same. I don't know if that is Honda specific. I suggest that you pay attention to that when you disassemble yours. The 'INNER' spokes are the longer ones. If you look at your hub you'll notice that there are a series of inner and outer holes.



Keep it organized.



I bought a bearing removing tool but forgot to take a pic of it. Basically, it's a piece of steel stock that fits the inner bearing race and has a slot cut in one end. You drive a wedge punch into the slot which puts pressure on the race. Then you just tap that sucker out, very helpful tool.

Next comes bath time. These hubs were cleaned several times to be sure that NO grease/oils were present to screw up my finish. Like paint, powdercoat HATES oil. I use dishwashing soap and the hottest water I can stand. If the wife would have let me I would have ran them thru the dishwasher for a cycle or two...she didn't.:bonk:


The Honda hubs have a pair of nasty casting marks on them so I ground them down with a Dremel tool. The cone shaped stone and little sanding wheels did the trick.




Next the hubs went into the blasting booth. I found that 'Play Sand' provides a semi-rough finish very similar to the casting finish already on the hubs.

The hub on the left has been blasted, the one on the right is ready for it.


The hubs then got ANOTHER thorough cleaning. I also did a 15min bake at 500 degrees to force out any left behind oils from the aluminum. The term is 'outgassing'. If you don't do it oils can force thier way out during the curing process and ruin your finish. After they cooled down I washed them with an Iron Phosphate solution which promotes adhesion and resists rusting in steel parts. I also used hi-temp masking tape to protect the bearing mating surfaces. The hubs are now ready for powdercoating.


Thread broken into 2 to accomodate pics. Maybe one of you Mods can link them for me? Pleeeeze! Thanks, Larry

Edited by Jrs Turn

I bought a hobby powdercoating gun from Harbor Freight. Works like a champ and cost about $70. I buy my powder from Columbia Coatings. There are more vendors for each item out there, I have no affiliation with either of these places feel free to do your own homework for supplies. I got my oven for free from a Craigslist ad. I also got my blasting booth from another listing for $40. You gotta shop. DO NOT USE YOUR HOUSE OVEN! Wear a dust mask! Don't handle clean parts with bare hands...Disclaimer over.

Not all colors do what you're about to see. Most will apply and bake as a single stage not requiring a clear to activate the color. I'm using a color called 'Dormant Red'. It's VERY close to my sons red anodized Talon hubs. So close in fact that if you put my spacers on his hubs you would likely not even notice. The color coat goes on and looks like a flat burgundy color until it begins to bake. Then someting magical happens...


The parts come out of the oven to cool and then get a hi-gloss clear coat which goes on white.


The clear coat is very important. If it doesn't go on even or thick enough it will have dull spots. The clear in this particular color is what activates the red. If it looks bad you can re-clear til you get it right. Powdercoat can be re-coated as it conducts electricity. You don't have to have a bare metal contact on the part for the ground wire. Just clip it on in an inconspicuous spot.

More magic happens when baking the clear coat...The color comes out as soon as the clear starts to melt.

In the oven


After cooling


I did the spacers and axle blocks as well as a tie-down rack for my trailer.


Once your parts are cool you are ready to install your new bearings. I freeze mine until I'm ready to install them. It seems to help them go in easier due to the shrinking action the cold provides. I used a vise to press them in.

The spokes took a lap across the polishing wheel. I use the green rouge for stainless steel.


Almost ready to assemble


The spokes get a bit of copper anti-seize to prevent future disassembly issues. I will be replacing these rims with new Excels in the near future.


Ready to build a wheel? Here we go. Get your inner spokes. Set your hub in the center of the rim. It helps to prop your rim up about an inch and a half to better see where the spokes will go. Place all of your inner spokes on one side. Just thread the nipples on a few turns right now, you'll tighten them later. It will look like this.


Now flip it over and do the same thing on the other side. It will look like this.


At this point you'll place the outer spokes on this side. They may seem like they have some resistance, it's ok. They are being pressured by the inner spokes. Since you didn't put the nipples on too tight you can rock the hub side to side a bit if you need to. Now you should look like this.


Last set now, you're almost there. Flip it over and get done.


I run each nipple up to about 1/8" from the last visible threads and then go around tightening them at the same rate. Once they are snug enough to not let the hub make a clinking sound when shaken I mount the wheel on the bike.

Here's where patience comes in handy. Remove the hop (up and down) first. I use a pencil to find the high/low spots. Just hold the pencil solidly against the swingarm/fork and give it a good spin. The pencil will make a mark at your trouble spot. Give the nipples a turn to pull the rim the direction it needs to go. A little bit goes a long way. Take your time. Continue the process until they are all good and snug. You will have some that are loose, just catch them up to the others. I found a link on this forum on how to build a wheel. I'd like to credit KJ790 the OP.


This is only the second time I've built a wheel and it really isn't that hard. You can do it!

It's a fun project and can be done in a weekend (or a day) no problem. Good luck on yours. Here's the payoff.:excuseme:



Edited by Jrs Turn

Awesome Job!:excuseme:

that looks real nice ! you could prob have a side job in powder coating small stuff. id pay ya for it:thumbsup:

Very detailed and great job! Me and my dad have always wondered about doing some powdercoating

How come you cant bake the stuff in your home oven and how do you like that trials tire in the woods?

They look great! Good job! :excuseme:

How come you cant bake the stuff in your home oven and how do you like that trials tire in the woods?

Just the danger of the chemicals being near food that you're going to prepare the next day.

How come you cant bake the stuff in your home oven and how do you like that trials tire in the woods?

PM sent.:excuseme:

Looks good! Next time though, keep the hubs in about 5 minutes longer. The dormant red takes a little longer to cure. I played with it a bit and played with different times. With a thick metal like a hub it takes longer than recommended to bring the full brightness of the red out. Excellent write up sir!

Beautiful post. Perfection! Good text and explanation of how you did the job and where you obtained the material for the job. Nice wheel building and the use of anti-seize compound on the threads.

Best Always - Middleweight Sam

Jrs Turn > how much to send you my hubs without bearings to have them turned black? can yo do rims to I want them blue? thanks

Thanks for asking but I'm very new at this and would be really worried about screwing your parts up. Powdercoating is very inexpensive and you would be better served by having a local-to-you pro do the work. My thread was intended to show you that YOU can do it.:excuseme:

o.k thanks for your honesty,your pics and a few beers got me thinking!!! your work is great though!!

Absolutely a great job! Have you considered submitting this to be posted as an Article here?

Thanks for that post!! Powdercoating is something I would have never thought of doing myself. After reading your post, It's something I'm going to look into a little further....

And why can't you do this in the kitchen oven? Is there some lasting effect from the fumes or something?

C'mon! What did you think you were going to see here?:excuseme:


How come you cant bake the stuff in your home oven and how do you like that trials tire in the woods?

stuff tastes like powdercoat afterwards (or So Ive heard off another guy whos done it) :excuseme:

Doing it in your home oven releases toxic gas's throughout the house. It does not make your food taste like it though as long as you clean the oven after. The oven is powder coated to begin with... But it's highly unrecommended that you put your family in danger by using your home oven.

I think most ovens are Porcelin coated.

Doing it in your home oven releases toxic gas's throughout the house. It does not make your food taste like it though as long as you clean the oven after. The oven is powder coated to begin with... But it's highly unrecommended that you put your family in danger by using your home oven.

Pretty sure they are porcelain coated. Irregardless, just find a cheap working oven on Craigslist and use it solely for powdercoating!

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