Painting spokes/wheel.

Has anybody tried spray painting stainless steel spokes?

I was thinking of just doing a really a simple spray job on my wheel. It’s a cheapish wheel so I’m not bothered about the spokes being painted into the hub or anything (If they need replacing, they will pull out easily enough). The only important part would be masking off the nipples and the axle/bearings.
I’m planning on using primer first, but will the paint adhere to the spokes?

I think you are going to have a lot of paint coming off your spokes. As for the hub, I have had good results with painting parts and baking them for a while in the oven. I have painted aluminum cranks this way and the finish never chipped off. Of course you will need to get the bearings off to do it this way. I don’t know what color you want the spokes, but if you want black (or there abouts) you might consider bluing them instead of paint. It’s easy to do, and if you go with a hot method it’s fairly durable.

Excuse my ignorance, but what’s ‘bluing’?

I was planning on brown and just spraying the whole lot whilst it’s still built. I’m not too bothered by quality, as long as it looks brown when the wheel is going round!

I’ve seen some half decent paint jobs on BMX’s where they’ve literally just aimed a spray can at certain parts of their bikes!

Its gonna get rubbed off your spooks super easy and look like crap.
I would suggest not painting your spokes with spray paint. Even powder coat doesnt last too long on spokes. If you do end up doing it at least sand them first, tho I dont know how much stainless steel with scuff.

What type of paint do they use when you get factory bought black spokes? That stuff stays on really well.

most paints will require a special non-ferrous primer to be used to allow them to adhere to stainless steel.

By blueing i think he means a process i know as blacking ( it gives a blueish black) it’s the process of heating a component until it is cherry red and then quenching it in oil, which provides a surface hardening effect and a blue/black colouring.

The second bit makes sense and I’ve heard of it before.

The non-ferrous comment I’m not sure about as there are many discussions as to whether stainless steel is ferrous or non-ferrous. Also, to add to the discussion there are over 60 grades of stainless steel with different levels of each material within them, which all effect whether they are ferrous or not.

Interesting quote about stainless steel:
Gerry Stewart, executive vice president of ELG Metals, McKeesport, Pa., says without hesitation, “I consider it a ferrous grade. The benchmark grade, 304, is 75 percent ferrous. In the ferritic grades, the ferrous content can be as high as 85 percent to almost 90 percent.”

So I’m not sure whether non-ferrous primer is the right thing or not. I don’t mean to undermine you about this if you have experience with it. Have you tried it yourself?

I believe that most companies go with a powder coat.

I would have tried it by now, but I have not made the jig yet. I am going to tack weld 40 spoke nipples to some sort of stand. That way I can screw in 40 spokes to be painted. I doubt I will get around to this anytime soon, as a set of pre painted spokes is about the same price as non painted spokes. Colored 14g spokes are actually less than silver 13g spokes. So there is little incentive to actually go through all the trouble to paint some spokes.

The only reason I was going to do it was just to try it out cus im bored of the colour scheme. It’s a pretty cheap wheel that could break at any time (hopefully not too soon though) so I was literally going to take the cranks off, remove it from the frame, mask off the bearings and nipples then aim a primer spray can at it, followed by a can of brown. Obviously, all with the correct spraying motion of side-to-side/up-down!

ok i fully take the comment about ferrous, stainless steel is mostly iron, which makes it ferrous in my book. The reason i said that is because the hammerite primer I use for SS is described as a non-ferrous primer (does copper brass etc. in addittion to SS). Obviously that wouldn’t necessarily be the same for all non-ferrous primers so I was in error.

if anyone was going to try the oil-blacking be careful - if the metal is too hot going in to the oil it will ignite while boiling and you’ll have burning oil spraying about the place

Bluing is a process that replaces the outermost surface metal with black iron oxide. You don’t need to heat the metal util it’s red, you just boil it in the right chemicals. Here is the wiki that explains it. I have never done the hot method, but I have done the cold method and it works very well. I understand that the hot method is just a bit more durable. It may be similar to what they do to make stainless spokes black.