Cheap media blaster or pay a local shop to media blast wheels

CTxK20

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I want to get my wheels media blasted because they are rusted to the point that I can't get the bead of the tire to be seated. I don't know what the best way to get it done is. I am wondering which to go with, renting or buying my own media blaster, or hiring a local media blasting shop to do the wheels. Which would be better for the price?
 

Ricko1966

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In my opinion media blasting isn't going to fix the seal problem. I'd use a 4 inch grinder with a sanding wheel and go all the way around the bead sealing area and the wheel lip. If you have access to a tire mounting machine this super easy grab your grinder step on the spin pedal and start sanding.
 

Doppleganger

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I do alot of powder coating and my experience is to find a decent local blaster - especially if they powder coat - and let them do it. The cheap blasters (IMO) are pointless....especially for a heavier rusted item with nooks and crannies. Media isn't terrible price, but you'll go through more than you think. A decent compressor is a must. Time and $ wise, to me...its a wash.
 

CTxK20

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I've gotten the inner beads with a wire wheel on an angle grinder, but that doesn't remove the material in small hard to reach areas of the bead.
 

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I've gotten the inner beads with a wire wheel on an angle grinder, but that doesn't remove the material in small hard to reach areas of the bead.
Wire wheel doesn’t seem to touch rust beyond the loose flakes, just starts polishing once you get down to that point. flap discs seem to clog up quickly and quit cutting unless you use super coarse grit. The paint and rust stripper discs seem to make short work of paint but I haven’t tried them on heavy rust yet.

I agree with @Doppleganger take them to a powder coater and have them blasted and coated in one stop.

I’ve gone through 700 pounds of blasting media this year using a cheapo harbor freight pressure pot blaster. Each time we blast we waste a bag of media before the blaster gets tuned and running right, makes a huge mess, and has about worn out the big compressor at the shop.

When I worked at a tire shop as a kid the local dirt track guys would bring me their bent, gouged, and rusty bead rims once they couldn’t get them to hold a bead.

A little clean up with a 3M roloc disc, and some light banging with a hammer followed by a heavy doucheing of Coppercoat head gasket sealer between the bead and wheel lip usually did the trick. They were a real MF to deal with the next time though.
 

MrMarty51

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I too have one of those HF 40 pound pressure feed sanding blasters.
I have been doing some restorations on those small park bench devices that You see in peoples yards thats usually leaning and looking like they will fall over.
I have been making struts and brackets to keep them from leaning. After I get the bench assembled and all the components built, then its out into the street with the sand blaster and the components and legs.
It takes more than one bag to get the components stripped of old paint and cleaned off.
Over here that is almost $15.00 for a 40 pound bag. And the street and driveway turning snow white. :laff
I want to make a small 8X8 foot shed, 1/4 in h OSB and line it with heavy visqueen so I can retrieve that media.
Sanding blaster would be the best way to clean them wheels.
I asked the only shop over here, how much to sandblast the legs. He told Me $100.00 bucks. I shoved the leg back in the truck and told him I cant do that.
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And the struts and braces. I add that center support and that makes these be ches mighty solid.
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CalSgt

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I too have one of those HF 40 pound pressure feed sanding blasters.
I have been doing some restorations on those small park bench devices that You see in peoples yards thats usually leaning and looking like they will fall over.
I have been making struts and brackets to keep them from leaning. After I get the bench assembled and all the components built, then its out into the street with the sand blaster and the components and legs.
It takes more than one bag to get the components stripped of old paint and cleaned off.
Over here that is almost $15.00 for a 40 pound bag. And the street and driveway turning snow white. :laff
I want to make a small 8X8 foot shed, 1/4 in h OSB and line it with heavy visqueen so I can retrieve that media.
Sanding blaster would be the best way to clean them wheels.
I asked the only shop over here, how much to sandblast the legs. He told Me $100.00 bucks. I shoved the leg back in the truck and told him I cant do that.
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And the struts and braces. I add that center support and that makes these be ches mighty solid.
You must be registered for see images attach
I’ve been getting fine coal slag from tractor supply for $10-$11 a bag in N.E. California. I think it’s called black diamond or something like that. It’s black-ish in color instead of white like what you are using.

I keep garnet in my blast cabinet where it can be recycled, it’s closer to $80-90 for a 3 gallon bucket full.
 

MrMarty51

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I’ve been getting fine coal slag from tractor supply for $10-$11 a bag in N.E. California. I think it’s called black diamond or something like that. It’s black-ish in color instead of white like what you are using.

I keep garnet in my blast cabinet where it can be recycled, it’s closer to $80-90 for a 3 gallon bucket full.
Sadly, no TS stores here, 150 miles to the west is a TS store.
I’ll check them for coal slag, or any type of media compound next time I get over to there.
Several other stores over there too that might have such as that.
 

Scott91370

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I have a cheap blaster and pair thath with a not so large compressor and you have a great mixture for hot, wet air. Hot, wet air used with a media blaster is not a good thing - you'll just fight everything to get it to work.
Pay someone the $100 a wheel and have it done right.

Plus, it's messy!
 

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If they won’t seal after cleaning them up with a wire wheel, they’re pitted and will never seal. Blasting them is a waste of time and money at this point.
You need a smooth, even and true surface to get the tires to seal.
By blasting you are taking equal amounts of material off the high and low spots.
So it will clean up real good but will never improve any imperfections/pitting due to rust.
 

Ricko1966

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Post number 2 I said that's what I'd do because that is what I do it's not an I think this will work. It is an it does work for me. Try it it's cheap and if it doesn't work for you your other options are still open. I can look and see what Grit I'm using but I'm pretty sure it's 36 grit.
 

CTxK20

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The bead will seal, but I need to smooth it a bit more on one of the wheels. I am wanting to remove all the surface rust on all of the wheels.
 

Grit dog

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Well I misunderstood what you said in the first post here apparently.
Only you know exactly what they look like but you’re comparing the expense of $400-800 for a brand new set of rims to the other options.
Being as plain ole GM steelies are not really worth anything, I’d either be searching for a used set that required less prep or I’d just get after it with wire wheels, flapper discs, maybe a splash of paint stripper, basically all the things I have laying around that would cost me zero dollars. If you have the time to dedicate, say a whole day to prepping them.

However you prep them either diy, diy blasting (=spending $) or having them blasted, the primer, sanding and paint will be the same effort and presume you’re setup to paint them properly as well. (If not that’s more $ spent besides paint if you don’t already have a gun and compressor and the space and ability).

Point is, think about $ and hours and decide if your best method clearly beats buying new wheels.
 

Ricko1966

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Yep,I was just addressing the bead that won't seal that seals.
 

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