The AR comes with some sweet rims. But these had been ridden hard and put away wet. The gold was faded quite badly. In some places (about 7:30 in this pic) the gold was almost gone and you could see the bare aluminum. The machined lips were all scratched up and oxidized.
A little aircraft remover and some time with a sanding block made pretty short work of the stock gold.
Sanding blocks, steel wool, and a lot of elbow grease got the machined lips pretty shiny. Then, I used a felt wheel on the Dremel along with some polishing compound to really shine them up.
The lips were full of nicks and scratches, so I knew they were never going to be mirrors. But I am happy with how well they ended up looking.
I used high heat tape to mask off all the machined surfaces so I could lay down the gold first. Masking off the rims was quite difficult. By the second side of the second rim in the second half of the second hour I had gotten the hang of it though.
Here you can see the wire I used to hang the rim for shooting. I had to make sure that the rim hung at an angle so it would fit in the oven. If it hung level the door wouldn't shut.
I did a number of "dry runs" to practice moving the rim from the hanger, onto the oven rack, and then into the oven.
Once I had it down, I shot the gold and popped it in.
I did two coats of the gold. Then I pulled the tape off the lips and shot a layer of super gloss clear.
The clear powder goes on white. It looks like powdered sugar. Delicious.
After shooting and baking I was left with a big pile of tape. . .
. . . and two slick looking Enkeis.
This one really shows the shine on the lips.
Three coats of powder leaves a pretty smooth finish, even on the rough cast aluminum.
Masking the machined lips off was an exercise in extreme patience. It certainly would have been easier to do gold on the whole thing. But boy did the time and frustration pay off. I love the way the machined lips look next to the gold centers. With the clear over the whole deal, hopefully they will stay looking this good for years to come.