Tools to Build Wheels...

Discussion in 'Wheel Building' started by Mikie, Jan 12, 2021.



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  1. Mikie

    Mikie Admin/iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    North East Canada? , California
    Name:
    Mikie Watson
    Current Bike:
    Ibis DV9, Santa Cruz Hightower
    I have had a Park Truing Stand for decades, but mostly to take some of the sting out of beat to death on a regular basis aluminum wheel sets. Now that i finally want to build my own wheels i have been collecting some tools.
    This is what they say the basics are...
    • Truing stand such as the Park TS-2.2.
    • Truing keys for the spokes.
    • Measuring tool or Vernier caliper.
    • Spoke prep or a lube.
    • Proper length spokes (for disc wheels each side requires two different lengths)
    • Spoke nipples.
    • Calculator (to calculate spoke length)
    • Spoke Tension Meter (if you want to get fancy, or accurate...:coffee: )
    I have this stand:
    ptppt3-1.jpg

    My buddy @SS Barby gave me a Park Tool TM 1 Spoke Tension Meter, cuzz he had an extra!
    product_437813_14463.jpg
    Some have said to take an old wheel and disassemble and put it back together as your first project. Seems like a great idea as you know the components are right.

    Wheel Builders? Any suggestions?
     
    Faust29, Grego, SS Barby and 3 others like this.
  2. mtnbikej

    mtnbikej J-Zilla

    Location:
    Orange
    Name:
    J
    Current Bike:
    SC Chameleon SS, SC Hightower
    This isn't always true. Really depends on what components you are using.

    Newer Boost hubs, Asymetrical rims have often times run the same spoke lengths left and right.

    Having a Tension meter is only good if you know how to use it. If you don't have the Park Conversion Table, you can find it here:

    https://www.parktool.com/assets/doc/product/TM-1_conv-table.pdf
     
    Faust29, Stkx66, Old&InTheWay and 6 others like this.
  3. sir crashalot

    sir crashalot iMTB Rockstah

    Location:
    laguna beach
    Name:
    gary fishman
    Current Bike:
    2018 banshee rune
    Mikie, I use Permatex antiseize on the spoke thread instead of an adhesive-type prep, as per Mike T, who had a great wheelbuilding instruction page linked to mtbr which is no longer there. No limits on working time, and easier to turn the nipples for truing down the road without spoke windup. if the tension is correct they wont come undone.
    Dont forget to grease or antiseize the spoke holes. at least for aluminum, not sure if carbon needs that. Id use brass nipples instead of alloy.
    thin flathead screwdriver works for me for a nipple driver. With a piece of tape on the shaft so I can count turns easily.
    you also need a dishing tool. i cut mine out of a piece of foamboard, with a screw in the middle of the cutout for adjusting.
    my truing stand is an old hardtail frame with ziptie truing feelers on the chainstay!
     
  4. BonsaiNut

    BonsaiNut iMTB Rockstah

    Location:
    Troutman, NC
    Name:
    Greg P
    Current Bike:
    Santa Cruz Hightower CC XX1
    Agree! I am sure that there are different alloy nipples out there, but don't cheap out on the nipples. If you can't confirm what "alloy" means, and how strong they are, I would definitely go brass. I have had repeat problems with alloy nipples in the past, to the extent that I have rebuilt wheels to swap out the alloy nipples with brass, after which I never had an issue. Nothing less fun than breaking the head off a nipple during a ride... of either kind! :)

    bad-nip.jpg

    Also, don't forget your rim tape. I happen to use Gorilla duct tape cut to width, but there are a lot of alternatives out there.

    And in addition to spoke keys / spoke wrenches, I would recommend a nipple driver. Yeah you can initially set up the spokes by hand with a wrench but it takes much longer than needed. Better to use a driver to get the spokes moderately tightened and a wrench for the final tensioning. It will cut the time required for the initial spoke/nipple setup by at least 80%.
     
  5. Mikie

    Mikie Admin/iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    North East Canada? , California
    Name:
    Mikie Watson
    Current Bike:
    Ibis DV9, Santa Cruz Hightower
    71VQAf1bNqL._AC_SL1500_.jpg
     
  6. Mikie

    Mikie Admin/iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    North East Canada? , California
    Name:
    Mikie Watson
    Current Bike:
    Ibis DV9, Santa Cruz Hightower
    See? ...and I never knew you built wheels. Thanks!
     
  7. BonsaiNut

    BonsaiNut iMTB Rockstah

    Location:
    Troutman, NC
    Name:
    Greg P
    Current Bike:
    Santa Cruz Hightower CC XX1
    Exactly. While your spoke wrench is attached the nipple as it projects through the rim, the nipple driver is used from the outer side of the rim. You poke it into the rim and it fits into the head of the nipple like a screwdriver. Because the spoke isn't getting in the way, you can crank it quickly (as long as there isn't much tension on the spoke) and can snug up the spoke quickly.

    Hard to describe the function, exactly, but it is similar to using a ratcheting wrench versus a standard wrench to tighten a nut. If you are threading that nut on a 4" bolt, you just want to snug up the nut as quickly as possible before giving it the final tightening.
     
  8. mtnbikej

    mtnbikej J-Zilla

    Location:
    Orange
    Name:
    J
    Current Bike:
    SC Chameleon SS, SC Hightower

    Helpful, but not necessary.

    For the all the wheels I have built, I do not own a nipple driver. Just a plain flat blade screwdriver works just as well.
     
    Cyclotourist, Faust29 and Mikie like this.
  9. BonsaiNut

    BonsaiNut iMTB Rockstah

    Location:
    Troutman, NC
    Name:
    Greg P
    Current Bike:
    Santa Cruz Hightower CC XX1
    I'm going to respectfully disagree, only because I used the screwdriver method before I bought the driver. The driver has two advantages: (1) it has the little nib at the point that fits into the hole in the nipple and keeps the tip of the driver from sliding off and (2) the bent shape allows you to hold it steady in your one hand while you crankity crank it with your other. Much faster than a screwdriver.

    Is it worth $20 for the tool? Depends how many wheels you plan on building. It is definitely not required. I however am both lazy and clumsy... so it works for me :)
     
    Faust29, Stkx66, Mikie and 1 other person like this.
  10. SS Barby

    SS Barby Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Palmdale, CA
    Name:
    Barby
    Current Bike:
    Ibis Ripley LS/ Esker Hayduke
    I use a really cheap but secure tool. A old spoke bent into a driver with a little "L" shaped handle. You screw an old nipple to the threads upside then there are enough threads left to screw a nipple on for placement. This is really only needed sometimes to get the nipples attached to the last round of spokes. the unfortunate part is they do not completely seat the nipples to the end of the spoke threads, if that is how you do it, so you still need to use a screw driver.
     
    Faust29, BonsaiNut and Mikie like this.
  11. SS Barby

    SS Barby Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Palmdale, CA
    Name:
    Barby
    Current Bike:
    Ibis Ripley LS/ Esker Hayduke
    I have used denatured Linseed oil to lube spoke nipples and Tri Flow. Tri-flow gets too thick when it is cold outside. I have never actually used Spoke prep or anything specific like that because I am too cheap, hence my budget spoke driver post above.
     
    Cyclotourist, Faust29 and Mikie like this.
  12. SS Barby

    SS Barby Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Palmdale, CA
    Name:
    Barby
    Current Bike:
    Ibis Ripley LS/ Esker Hayduke
    Definitely, agree. You need the conversion table or it is useless. But, I think the spoke tension meter is very valuable. Probably more valuable then a dish tool. I use mine for every wheelset I have built. Asym rims are pretty cool when it comes to wheel building and not having to mess around with trying to get equal tensions. They already pretty much do that for you, as long as you use the correct spoke lengths
     
    Cyclotourist, Faust29 and Mikie like this.
  13. mtnbikej

    mtnbikej J-Zilla

    Location:
    Orange
    Name:
    J
    Current Bike:
    SC Chameleon SS, SC Hightower

    Haha.....old school ways....

    here is mine....

    0F7F209F-FECC-43A0-8C6F-69F730D6873A.jpeg
     
  14. BonsaiNut

    BonsaiNut iMTB Rockstah

    Location:
    Troutman, NC
    Name:
    Greg P
    Current Bike:
    Santa Cruz Hightower CC XX1
    You need to create a web site and start sellin' em for $20!!
     
    Faust29, mtnbikej and Mikie like this.
  15. mtnbikej

    mtnbikej J-Zilla

    Location:
    Orange
    Name:
    J
    Current Bike:
    SC Chameleon SS, SC Hightower
    So this is my kit for wheel builds..

    3CF53D8C-D833-4714-8E1B-2B69C2229EC7.jpeg

    96EE7B35-1FFF-4CDA-8A75-BE30089421D0.jpeg

    Personally I use Tri Flow Dry lube for spoke prep. It lubricates well during the build them dries nicely as a bit of a thread locker, but still allows for easy turning of nipples later on. It also easily wiped off the spoke threads if you reuse the spokes.

    I have 2 spoke wrenches. The Black Park wrench is the normal one for 95% of spokes out there. The round cheapie has multiple sizes and works ok for bigger sizes found on BSO’s.

    the Park Spoke Tension Conversion Chart goes hand and hand with the TM-1. The numbers on the TM—1 have to be converted over so you know how many kPF’s your tension spokes to. It’s a bit confusing to use at first, but once you figure it out, it’s pretty simple.

    Also included with tension chart is a spoke gauge. Makes quick work of determining which spokes you have. Just remember you always measure to the thinnest spot on the spokes.

    I use a homemade nipple driver. Basically an old spoke bent with a brass nipple spun all the way up. This allows for installation of those last set of nipples where the spokes aren’t close to the backside of the rim.

    the Shimano driver is nothing special. It’s just a good size and the bit is wide enough that it doesn’t wander around in the rim hole.

    Ive got a Park TS-2.2. It’s about 10 years old now. It’s old enough I can do fat bike wheels. It is expensive. Not for the normal DIY peeps. Park and some others make much less expensive consumer Truing Stands.
     
    Cyclotourist, Faust29, Grego and 4 others like this.
  16. SS Barby

    SS Barby Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Palmdale, CA
    Name:
    Barby
    Current Bike:
    Ibis Ripley LS/ Esker Hayduke
    Exactly. But, mine is a black spoke
     
  17. SS Barby

    SS Barby Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Palmdale, CA
    Name:
    Barby
    Current Bike:
    Ibis Ripley LS/ Esker Hayduke
    I have pretty much the same setup but with the addition of a DT Swiss spokey wrench and I do use a dishing tool. Plus, I always have a beer.
    https://wheelbuilder.com/dt-swiss-classic-nipple-wrenches/:~:text=DT Swiss Classic Nipple Wrenches are designed for,drive nipples are different than DT Squorx nipples.

    mtnbikej, do you use a thru axle/boost adapter or just let the axle sit in the channels like with QR axles? I just let them sit in the channels and then try and tighten the stand against the hub spacers as much as is safe.
     
  18. mtnbikej

    mtnbikej J-Zilla

    Location:
    Orange
    Name:
    J
    Current Bike:
    SC Chameleon SS, SC Hightower
    I just use the axle from the fork or the frame. I have a spare 15mm Rock Shox Maxle and a spare DT 12mm axle.

    I do have adapters that that work ok with 142 rear hubs, but my stand is old enough that Boost wasn't even a thought.
     
  19. sir crashalot

    sir crashalot iMTB Rockstah

    Location:
    laguna beach
    Name:
    gary fishman
    Current Bike:
    2018 banshee rune
    Ha, I know that trick!
     
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  20. Grego

    Grego iMTB Addict

    Location:
    Fullerton
    Name:
    joe
    Current Bike:
    WFO9
    Not a wheel builder, more of a wheel repairer. Probably laced up a dozen wheels in my time. I don't have all the fancy tools. Heck I wouldn't even have a truing stand if I didn't find one for free. Had to come up with other ways. Sure the bike shop was always an option but I'd rather do it myself. I could get damn close with a piece of tape and whatever the wheel was going on. Proper tools would be ideal if I'm going to keep doing this. The LBS wouldn't touch I9's aluminum spokes...whatever.
    tvw2.jpg
     
  21. sir crashalot

    sir crashalot iMTB Rockstah

    Location:
    laguna beach
    Name:
    gary fishman
    Current Bike:
    2018 banshee rune
    Thats a neat trick. Yeah mtb wheels hardly need to have perfect true. Even(ish) correct tension mor important.
     
  22. Grego

    Grego iMTB Addict

    Location:
    Fullerton
    Name:
    joe
    Current Bike:
    WFO9
    I'm okay with an ever so slight left right wiggle. More concerned with keeping the rim round. No high /low spots. The tape helps out this way.
     
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  23. sir crashalot

    sir crashalot iMTB Rockstah

    Location:
    laguna beach
    Name:
    gary fishman
    Current Bike:
    2018 banshee rune
    true dat.
     
    Cyclotourist likes this.
  24. Cyclotourist

    Cyclotourist iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    Redlands
    Name:
    David
    Current Bike:
    Chameleon 60%
    Mikie likes this.
  25. Mikie

    Mikie Admin/iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    North East Canada? , California
    Name:
    Mikie Watson
    Current Bike:
    Ibis DV9, Santa Cruz Hightower
    Not sure that link be workin'
     
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  26. Cyclotourist

    Cyclotourist iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    Redlands
    Name:
    David
    Current Bike:
    Chameleon 60%
    Internetting is hard.
     
    Mikie and mtnbikej like this.
  27. Mikie

    Mikie Admin/iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    North East Canada? , California
    Name:
    Mikie Watson
    Current Bike:
    Ibis DV9, Santa Cruz Hightower
    Atta boy!
     
    Cyclotourist and mtnbikej like this.
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