So can you use metamagic rods to power up your wand when you are creating it?
Metamagic rods do not raise the spell level of the spell, unlike metamagic feats that do raise the spell level.
Can you make a basic 5th level fireball wand with maximize on it using the metamagic rod, without raising the spell level?
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Short answer, no.
The good news is using a rod gives you access to a feat you may not normally have - but that's the limit. You cast your maximised spell once per day in crafting and that fulfils the spellcasting requirement, but the cost of the item is determined as though added without the rod.
All spell completion items are the same in this regard. Even if you had Spell Perfection (Feat) or Magical Lineage (Trait) the item's cost is still calculated as though each metamagic feat gained no discounted spell level. I guess it is a balancing factor.
So to really make things unhelpful, a maximised fireball cannot even be enchanted in a wand.