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  1. #1
    Senior Member smurfy's Avatar
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    Has anybody here ever make thier own bike tools? Specifically freewheel remover tools but any other kind I'd be interested in. I couldn't find anything about this on the forum search.

    At the now-defunct LBS I used to wrench at a local machinist down the street made us some Suntour two-prong remover tools (we were always chewing ours up!) in exchange for a bike repair we did for him.

    I tried to make the same one myself out of 17-4 stainless thinking that would be tough material but when I tried it on my Suntour Winner freewheel it just chewed the crap out of it and the f/wheel didn't even budge. I didn't put the hole in the middle of the tool (duh!) so I took the axle out of the hub (what was I thinking!).

    Anyway, this time I want to do it the right way. Do these things need to be heat-treated? What material would be best? Tool steel? (hello!!!). I work in a custom fabricating shop so I have access to some cool stuff. I would also like to make some cone wrenches out of sheet stainless or aluminum.

    Any more ideas?
    Last edited by smurfy; 10-02-05 at 07:08 PM.
    "You handle it like you handle a bicycle" - Jacques Rosay, Airbus A380 test pilot

  2. #2
    Senior Member Nessism's Avatar
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    Cone wrenches out of aluminum.

    Tools are usually made out of steel and then heat treated. I'm not a tool maker so I can't tell you what exact alloy to use. You might want to try some sort of oil or water hardening steel since these are readily available. Honestly though, unless you have lots of free time, this is a loosing proposition for simple/cheap tools like cone wrenches and freewheel tools.

    Sorry to be a downer. If you want a REAL project, make some frame facing/chasing tools (you can buy the cutters off the shelf). These tools are expensive so making your own would make more sense to me.

    Good luck.

    Ed
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by smurfy
    Anyway, this time I want to do it the right way. Do these things need to be heat-treated? What material would be best? Tool steel? (hello!!!). I work in a custom fabricating shop so I have access to some cool stuff. I would also like to make some cone wrenches out of sheet stainless or aluminum. Any more ideas?
    A couple of comments:

    1. Yes, any tool must be heat treated appropriately. Fully anealed stock is much too soft and ductile.

    2. I expect the common tool steels (O-1, W-2, etc.) would be suitable but a good metallurgist should be able to make specific recommendations.

    3. Forget aluminum cone wrenches. There is no Al alloy strong enough.

  4. #4
    hello roadfix's Avatar
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    One very simple, cost effective bike tool that anyone can put together for under $5 is a headset press. I've been using mine for like 15 years. I use it like 5 times on average each year....

    Some bike tools are not worth the time fabricating as they are inexpensive to purchase new.
    Last edited by roadfix; 10-03-05 at 10:23 AM.
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  5. #5
    JRA...
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    as far as suntour freewheels or those with a prong design go, i think they're always going to wreck tools over time; they're just inferior in design. but locking the removal tool down properly and greasing the freewheel threads goes a long way in keeping them in decent shape.

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    Home fabrication of tools (general, not bike-specific) is covered in "The Modern Blacksmith"

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Fixer
    One very simple, cost effective bike tool that anyone can put together for under $5 is a headset press. I've been using mine for like 15 years. I use it like 5 times on average each year....

    Some bike tools are not worth the time fabricating as they are inexpensive to purchase new.
    Thats what my grandpa did. He made one for the headset and one for the BB. He recently bought a Nashbar headset press because he uses it about 5 times/month cause he rebuilds bikes.

  8. #8
    don't pedal backwards... MacG's Avatar
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    I've actually brewed up a freewheel removal tool for SunTour freewheels. It is made from a scrap of 3/4" by 1/4" barstock cut to length to slot into two opposing channels much like an oversized screwdriver. I clamp the barstock in a sturdy vice and use the rim as a wrench to crack loose the freewheel. Due to the rounded shape of the notches, I have much better luck by pressing firmly downwards on the center of the hub while applying torque. The tool has no accomodation for the axle, so I have to remove it before attempting to crack a freewheel loose.

    THose suntour freewheels can also sometimes be removed by using an old open end wrench as the spanner part and grabbing the wrench with the biggest crescent wrench you own. THis chews up the open-end a bit though.

    I've also nade a chainwhip or two out of some scrap barstock and pieces of old chain. They work great. I guess a vice grips and some chain will even do the trick.
    from Minneapolis, with bike love

  9. #9
    Senior Member mtbikerinpa's Avatar
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    I made some tools over the years. My favorites have to be the frame taps from old bottom bracket cups. I will have to post pics later
    On the freewheel remover topic, I would buy a simple Park unit and an electric impact wrench. I know it sounds like sacriledge to do so, but the rotary force of an impact wrench combined with the hit frequency will do far less damage to your components and tool than man-handling through it. Been there, chewed up 2 units. Same way with Cartrigde bottom brackets. A manual wrench(i.e. socket) will impart an angular leverage as well as the desired rotary force. It is the non-rotary force that causes the tool to loose contact and distort the work.

    Disclaimer: Impact wrenches are NOT installation tools. I used to work in a car shop, believe me, bad idea to install with one.
    Aviation Mechanic, Bike racer, Fitness Equipment Restorer

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  10. #10
    la vache fantôme phantomcow2's Avatar
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    Well now that I have my miniature machine shop, half way computerized. I do plan to make my own bike tools. I would like to make an ISIS BB remover.
    But for wrenches, i would not bother. In fact for the most part its not worth the effort to custom machine a tool unless your in it for satisfaction
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    0-1 would work wekk and it is pretty easy to ehat treat at home if you have a hot enough torch. Just heat it till it is cherry red and or till a magnet will nto stick to it. dunk it in oil moving it around till it is cooled. out it in a oven at around 400 degrees for a hour. that should do it.

  12. #12
    Senior Member duckliondog's Avatar
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    I made a headset race setter out of a piece of pipe I found. I also made the world's largest chainwhip out of a piece of wood and a chain I found on a Diamondback in someone's garage.

  13. #13
    Senior Member DannoXYZ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by smurfy
    I tried to make the same one myself out of 17-4 stainless thinking that would be tough material but when I tried it on my Suntour Winner freewheel it just chewed the crap out of it and the f/wheel didn't even budge. I didn't put the hole in the middle of the tool (duh!) so I took the axle out of the hub (what was I thinking!).
    The hole in the middle is to allow you to stick a QR-skewer through to clamp the tool tightly to the freewheel. Due to the small contact area of that tool, the pressure gets pretty high and can round off the tool and/or freewheel pretty easily, so you want all motion in the radial direction parallel to the threads. All axial movement must be limited, and the only way to do that when applying a tonne of force is to tightly clamp the tool to the freewheel


    Quote Originally Posted by smurfy
    Anyway, this time I want to do it the right way. Do these things need to be heat-treated? What material would be best? Tool steel? (hello!!!). I work in a custom fabricating shop so I have access to some cool stuff. I would also like to make some cone wrenches out of sheet stainless or aluminum.
    No way you can use aluminium for tools, it's too soft and weak. You'd want at least 3mm thick stainless and you don't want run-of-the-mill 18/8 or 304 stuff. You'd need the proprietary stuff like AK-steel's 17-7PH or Nickelvac's A286 or Gall-Tough+. Tools typically have small contact areas and are used repeatedly, so you need to make them as strong as possible or else you'll be wasting a lot of your time and machine time making more tools. You'll also want to look into shot-peening and nitriding them as well.

  14. #14
    Senior Member smurfy's Avatar
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    Thanks all for the good advice!

    Yesterday I made my freewheel remover tool for a four-prong Suntour freewheel. It's kinda crude looking but I think it might work. I haven't actually tried any kind of torque on it yet but a welder at work said he can set me up with a torch and some oil to heat-treat it. Wish me luck. I made it from 12L14 CRS hex stock.

    I'm not trying to be a cheapskate or anything like that but I thought it would be fun to try making something simple I could use for bicycle repair. I made a slide hammer out of a piece of scrap brass tubing for installing the lower headset bearing race but that was pretty easy.
    "You handle it like you handle a bicycle" - Jacques Rosay, Airbus A380 test pilot

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