Removing nickel plating for powdercoating

Discussion in 'Old's Cool' started by bikecat, Sep 8, 2011.

  1. bikecat

    bikecat Long timer

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    I have a cross-laced spoked wheel that was chromed. I want to powdercoat the wheel and hence had to remove the chrome layer first. The shop that I sent the wheel to told me that after removing the chrome, they found that the rim is nickel-plated.

    Here’s the thing. To remove the nickel plating acid has to be used. That will have a detrimental effect on the spokes. I do not want to remove the spokes as I do not have anyone where I live who can lace and true them again.

    It seems from my reading of articles on the Net that some thinks that powdercoating can be accomplished on nickel-plated surfaces, while I have seen some comments that hold the view that the powdercoating will be poor on such a surface. Does anyone here have experience with my situation?

    As of now, the only solution to me seem to be to mask the wheel so that the nickel plating can be removed by grit-blasting, and then to re-mask the wheel for powdercoating.

    Appreciate some advice here.
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  2. 396

    396 low-post lurker

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    Sorry to say, but you need to remove the spokes prior to powdercoating. You can't just powdercoat a complete, laced up rim. The heat required to flow the plactic will likely warp it, and powdercoating the nipples & threads will make trueing next to impossible.
    You can't just dip a laced-up rim in acid. You will never get all of the acid cleaned out, will eventually corrode the spokes, nipples & rim.
    It's not that hard to lace & true a rim.Learn how to do it yourself, and you will be pleasantly suprised.
    #2
  3. Wirespokes

    Wirespokes Beemerholics Anonymous

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    Good advice, except for this - I imagine you're not familiar with the BMW cross laced tubeless wheels? Not even the dealers will touch them. :lol3

    That's not to say they can't be laced up, but it's not like just anyone can pick up the skills.
    #3
  4. 396

    396 low-post lurker

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    You're right, I missed that part. Was thinking normal lace up.... I still don't imagine acid-dipping or powdercoating a laced-up wheel is a good plan...
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  5. squish

    squish Out of the office.

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    I don't see anywhere where the OP says that it's a reverse spoke BMW wheel?

    What reverse spoke BMW wheels are chrome plated? (I'd assume steel)
    #5
  6. AntonLargiader

    AntonLargiader Long timer

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    There was a mag article years ago where someone out west powdercoated a fully laced GS rim. Worked OK for him.
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  7. Wirespokes

    Wirespokes Beemerholics Anonymous

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    In his first sentence he says "I have a cross-laced spoked wheel that was chromed..."

    I took that to mean the tubeless style. The R1200? Cruiser had chrome rims. Chromed aluminum.

    Anton - any more data? Did they mask the spokes and nipples?
    #7
  8. bikecat

    bikecat Long timer

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    Powdercoated without removal of spokes recently. Masking without dis-assembly. :evil

    http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=710185&highlight=spoked

    [​IMG]

    Yes, indeed the front of the R1200C for a project. I'll post a pic of the now nickel-plated wheel (after de-chrome) when I get home.

    Will go see a electro-plating guy later to see if I can de-nickel it via the reverse plating process, failing which the grit-blasting will be the next best option.

    Cheers
    #8
  9. bikecat

    bikecat Long timer

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    The wheel in question. German nickel plating very good quality.

    [​IMG]
    #9
  10. DesmoDog

    DesmoDog Desmo's my dog

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    I'm not familiar with them but I have built at least 100 bicycle wheels, about 10 motorcycle wheels, and trued who knows how many. Easily in the thousands. I've seen the pics of these and understand they're different, but I don't see why they'd be so hard to work with.

    The chances I'll ever deal with one are slim but I am curious as to why they're so hard to true. Building them looks pretty simple - with straight spokes there's no screwing up the lacing!
    #10
  11. Houseoffubar

    Houseoffubar HoFmetalworks.com

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    I hear ya, I'm not arrogant enough to believe everyone is wrong, and these are easy, but I am tempted to buy one, just to pull it apart, and re lace it, just to see what the issue is.:lol3
    #11
  12. kellymac530

    kellymac530 motorcycle addict

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    The angle of the holes in the rim and the holes in the hub will actually make these wheels fairly simple to lace. I know alot of shops that have lost the art of lacing even simple dirt bike wheels and won't touch them. I did my first one in 15 minutes and got it true almost on the first shot. 5 minutes later and it sounded like a tuning fork and spun dead true.

    I would not hesitate to try to do one of those cross laced tubless BMW rims.

    If you are afraid, try removing 2 or 3 spokes and just seeing how they feel, what the varying lengths are, and how easy it is to see the angles. You can use a sharpie and make some markings on the rim, spoke, and hub and take a few pics and jump in.

    One other scenario is forget the powder and just spray paint the wheels. You can use easily touch up any future scratches and chips if it is sprayed which you can NOT do with powder coatings. There are also some decent etching primers that may help with biting into the nickel and eliminate the need to get in and sand all of those nooks and crannies. Just mask off what you dont want painted, prime with etching primer, spray with desired color after primer dries. I reccommend stripping off the masking tape before the paint is fully cured...albeit carefully, because if you dont it will require alot of exacto knife work and alot of time.

    Just my humble 1.5 cents
    #12