I'm prepping my stuff for powder and am having my wheels sandblasted. Just got off the phone with the coater and he says he doesn't recommend blasting because it could warp the wheels. Anyone heard anything like this?
sandblasting won't warp wheels. that's a real stretch! the only thing i'd recommend is taping over the bearing's to not destroy them. actually... it would be a good idea to actually remove/replace them for the powdercoating too, although i did leave my buddy's in when i powdered his rims and they survived the 400 degrees just fine.
I just did my wheels last week, although I didn't powdercoat them.
I was planning on sandblasting them, but the wheel is pretty soft and the body shop that I took the wheels to recommended I not sand blast them, and just hit the wheels with some 180 grit sandpaper instead.
I did, the paint on the wheels from the factory is so thin, even with the 180 grit I was able to take the wheels right down to the metal with minimal effort. I didn't take it down to the metal in all spots, only where I could find scratches.
The sprayed the wheels senna red and put them in the oven to bake the paint on, looks fantastic. Almost flawless, I couldn't be happier with the result. It only took me about 20 minutes to sand each wheel by hand too.
You can also blast them with something less abrasive than sand. My coater did my frame with walnut shells. When restoring cars with thin metal bodies (50's/early 60's VWs) sometimes plastic media is used.
i get my wheels 'acid dipped' (whatever the actual stuff they use is i don't know) by a local chemical stripping company. works a treat and usually really cheap. they need to have bearings and cush drives removed. make sure the strippers are 100% clear they're aluminium too, or you might get back some sculpture.