Watch How Rays Wheels Forge the Iconic TE37s in Japan
When it comes to aftermarket wheels coming out of Japan, Rays Wheels has long been at the top of many enthusiast lists. The forged wheel experts have been around since 1973, and produce some of the most popular performance offerings on the market today. You can now take a step inside the brand’s Volk Racing facility and watch exactly how their flagship design is produced with die-press forging.
The short documentary comes by way of Rays Wheels' own YouTube channel, in which the brand details the manufacturing process behind the popular Volk Racing TE37. This wheel design is among the most iconic to ever come out of Japan, and serves as a great showcase for Rays’ unique production hardware. The entire process starts with a giant hunk of aluminum billet, which is made from Rays’ own alloy blend based on Aluminum 6061. Before any forging can take place however, the billets must first be heated to over 900 degrees Fahrenheit. The heated metal is then transferred over to a large die press area, where the actual forging process for each model begins. The process involves putting the billet through three individual mold dies, which give the TE37 the shape we all know and love.
The pressure from the die press makes the aluminum alloy look like softened butter during the first stage, with some 70,000 psi at work. This “pancaked” bit of aluminum is then run through a step-by-step mold forging process, where the rear side of the spokes is hollowed out. The third stage transforms those hollow sections once more as the design of the wheel is completed.
Another die-forging machine is responsible for giving the wheel its final shape, cutting the outer and inner rims into shape. The wheels are then heat treated to maximize the strength of the alloy. The faces are then machined, stud holes are drilled, and burrs are rounded off the wheel’s edges. A knurling wheel adds some grip for the tire on the barrel before the visual customization can begin.
Before a set of Rays can receive their painted finish, the wheels must first go through some prep stages. This involves removing any lubrication left over from the forging process, as well as some shot blasting to level the surfaces for paint. The wheels are then powder coated as a base layer, ensuring the paint has a nice material to stick to. Some wheels are then diamond cut for that shiny finish, which requires another coating to prevent corrosion. The painting and detail processes are very precise, with no human interaction taking place until final inspection.
There is a ton of engineering that goes behind every single component on a vehicle. While you might not think of wheels as something that takes a ton of thought and car to make, this clip hopefully highlights otherwise. There’s a reason people continue to rock TE37s on just about every make and model known to man.
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