Wheels of Destiny – Forged vs Flow Formed vs Cast (Part Three)

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Wheels of Destiny – Forged vs Flow Formed vs Cast

There are three different construction types for aluminum wheels; cast, flow formed, and forged. Casting takes molten aluminum and pours it into a mold that creates the wheel.

Typically, it’s not just poured in but also shaken and moved to eliminate air pockets during the forming process. A cast wheel is going to be inexpensive and is usually the highest weight of the three types.

A flow formed wheel is the in-between of forged and cast. An aluminum wheel is first cast for the face and the initial stage of the process. That casted wheel is then taken to a rolling forming machine that presses out the barrel of the wheel.

Flow forming creates a grain into the metal of the barrel where casting doesn’t normally make. It not only creates a lighter wheel than cast but also a stronger barrel thanks to that grain. Flow forming takes on many names from M.A.T. Technology from Enkei Wheels to Rays Cast Flow from Gram Lights and more.

Finally, a forged aluminum wheel is the strongest and lightest wheel you can have outside of magnesium wheels. The wheel will start out as a solid piece of billet aluminum. From there, a press will create the wheel using high pressures and hammer out the wheel to its shape.

While it is a very expensive process, it is the strongest and lightest wheel you can buy for your Ford Truck. Some companies will forge just the base of the wheel and machine out the rest while companies like Rays Engineering and BBS will completely forge the entire wheel, including its face, only to machine finer details out like bolt patterns, logos, and other small parts of the wheel.

Wheels of Destiny – Genuine vs Replica vs Forgery

This is an area of murky and controversy; genuine, name brand wheels versus replica licensed wheels versus forgery wheels. The reason is mostly out of pride and quite a bit because of intellectual property and even safety.

Genuine wheels from manufacturers like BBS, Rays Engineering, WEDS, and other big name brands go through strict research, design, and manufacturing standards to the point that many OEMs even rely on them to make their stock wheels. Replica wheels and forgery wheels don’t typically go through the same processes and forgery manufacturers are even stealing a popular design because they know it will be a quick sale.

Another issue is resale of licensed replica and forgery wheels as genuine wheels that have all of the identifications of a genuine wheel. Things like serial numbers, logos, and other identification marks are replicated in an attempt to bring more money to a guilty party trying to sell the wheels as genuine. To see where this is a big problem, take a look at this video from WEDS which shows the issue of buying a forgery wheel.

In case you missed it, read Design (Part One) here and Wheel Sizing (Part Two) here.

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Justin Banner is a regular contributor to LS1Tech and JK Forum, among other auto sites.

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