As with most automotive parts, wheels begin their lives on computer screens using a Computer Aided Design (CAD) program. Built into the software are parameters a wheel needs to meet to get Department of Transportation (DOT) approval for things such as material ductility, hardness, and resistance to fatigue. This design program is then sent to the DOT for approval. Once approved, the pattern is checked with a CNC editor program prior to being loaded into the CNC mills. True Forged General Manager Jim Hornung showed us how this software is used to check the tooling paths to confirm that the mill can physically make all the cuts needed to make the shape.As with most automotive parts, wheels begin their lives on computer screens using a Comput The multitude of wheels available on the market today is truly staggering, especially when compared with what consumers had to choose from even 10 years ago. Sophisticated CNC machines are able to make seemingly limitless wheel patterns and designs. However, don't take that to mean that making a wheel design is as simple as entering some coordinates, plugging them into a machine with a chunk of aluminum mounted, and waiting for it to become a wheel. There is a lot going on behind the scenes, and we were recently invited to take a peek at what goes on back there. Steve Medina, owner of True Forged wheels showed us around the facility in Anaheim that manufactures his wheels. The process is fascinating. Two-Piece vs. Three-Piece Two-piece wheels consist of a wheel centersection that is welded to the rim. That's the process shown in these pictures. To make a three-piece wheel, the center is made the same way, but it is sandwiched between an inner and outer rim. The assembly then is either bolted or riveted together. The advantage of three-piece wheels was that the customer could have wheels made in any offset he specified-the wheel maker would just use differing widths of inner and outer rim sections to come up with the combination that yielded the correct offset. With the same manufacturing process True Forged uses for its two-piece wheels, you can achieve the same results. The rims, or hoops, of the wheels are forged from 6061-T6 aluminum alloy. These are delivered to the warehouse ready to be assembled.The rims, or hoops, of the wheels are forged from 6061-T6 aluminum alloy. These are delive The centersections are also 6061-T6 alloy. They are delivered as raw forgings that follow the general contour of the final shape of the wheel.The centersections are also 6061-T6 alloy. They are delivered as raw forgings that follow The raw forgings get an initial machining that cuts the front and back sides to a shape that matches the intended wheel line it will ultimately be (some True Forged wheels have flat spokes, others are curved). The pad (where the wheel bolts to the hub) is also machined at this time.The raw forgings get an initial machining that cuts the front and back sides to a shape th Once the order comes in, the face of the wheel is machined first in one of the company's CNC mills. This is the centersection of a "Victory" wheel that machine operator Ignacio Valencia is removing from the mill.Once the order comes in, the face of the wheel is machined first in one of the company's C From there, the centers go into a second mill that cuts the holes for the wheel studs and holes for the rim rivets, if it is a three-piece wheel.From there, the centers go into a second mill that cuts the holes for the wheel studs and To fit the centers in the rim, it is placed on a turntable that rotates it while a propane torch puts on the cool light show. Heating it up expands the rim, and a worker drops the center into place (after the flames go out!). Inside the turntable is a fixture the operator adjusts that sets the correct offset. The center rests on this fixture. After a final check, the center is welded to the rim.To fit the centers in the rim, it is placed on a turntable that rotates it while a propane SOURCES True Forged Wheels 1225 Knollwood Circle Anaheim CA 92801 818-357-2531 www.trueforgedwheels.com By John McGann Enjoyed this Post? Subscribe to our RSS Feed, or use your favorite social media to recommend us to friends and colleagues!