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Wheelbuilding Pointers

Old 04-01-09, 10:31 PM
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Zaphod Beeblebrox 
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Wheelbuilding Pointers

I built my first wheel tonight. A front wheel. It was fairly easy to lace up and the horizontal truing was fairly simple to get pretty close so far, but I seem to be having some problems with my vertical truing. any tips?
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Old 04-01-09, 10:45 PM
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Check out Sheldon Brown's (may he rest in peace) advice in his still amazingly useful website, and/r gt a copy of Jobst Brandt's "The Bicycle Wheel." Either of those will probably be more useful than anything we can try to tell you here.

And you are correct - lateral truing is easlier than truing for round. What Brandt will say, and probably Sheldon, too, is you slowly tighten up the spokes, working on true, round or dish (if it's a rear wheel), whichever is the most out of whack at the moment.

Good luck, and welcome the the fraternity. May you never have to pay someone to build or true a wheel again.
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Old 04-01-09, 10:55 PM
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I built my first set of wheels about 9-10 years ago carefully following the Sheldon Brown instructions - front was a Schmidt Dynohub, rear Croce D'Aune hub, laced to Sun 36h CR-18's, w/quality spokes and nipples from Peter White. No truing stand or dishing tool, just used the bike frame and general understanding of geometry.

I've used those wheels on my daily all-rounder (commuting, long day trips, errands, etc) since. Other than a few minor tweaks immediately following construction and a few brief rides, I've never had to true them since.

I'm not saying this to brag about my skills - as I noted, I was a complete newbie at this then. Rather, it is a testament to the quality of the Sheldon Brown instructions. Follow them thoughtfully, don't start getting your own ideas (you can do that later with other wheels), take your time and it will all work out.

That was my experience anyhow and in one evening opened up a whole new aspect of bicycle mechanics that previously had been a bit of a mystery.
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Old 04-02-09, 04:18 AM
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You want to alternate between rounding adjustments and lateral adjustments as you true up the wheel.

Set the calipers of the stand just below the rim, so the edge of the rim rubs them as it rotates. Set it so it is gently rubbing the rim most of the way around, except where there is a radial "dip", and the rim moves towards the hub and away from the calipers. Find the beginning of this dip, and the end of it, and loosen left side and right side spokes evenly along the length of the dip, about a quarter turn at a time, until the rim begins to rub the calipers. When you resolve all dips (and sometimes one whole side of the wheel is effectively a "dip"), adjust the caliper so it is close to the rim, but not touching, except where there is a "hop," and the rim bumps out to touch the calipers. Find the beginning and end of the hop, and tighten opposing spokes equally along its length, about a quarter turn at a time until the rim is no longer rubbing the caliper.

You'll notice the method for getting rid of hops is the exact opposite of the remedy for dips.

Good luck.
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Old 04-02-09, 08:44 AM
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thanks guys, I am also using Sheldon's wheelbuilding article, It sure made lacing everything a snap. My problem with the vertical truing seems to be I have a hop that covers maybe 5 or 6 spokes, and several of the spokes are at the max recommended tension for the rim. Is it Ok to go a little over the max tension or am I better off to loosen all the rest of the spokes, sorta treating the rest of the rim as one big dip?


I am working with a Minoura Truing Stand and Park TM-1 tensioning tool.

The Rims are 36 hole Sun CR-18, wheelsmith Double Butted Spokes, Normandy High Flange Hubs.
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Old 04-02-09, 09:20 AM
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I took my new wheels out for 2 - 10 mile beat runs the last days it was nice and warm here in Podunk. As I had to leave town on a family emergency, I let the LBS build the rear wheel - Mavic A719 on Ultegra hubs, DT DB 14-15-14 spokes - while I built the front. My wheel was perfect. The LBS built the read backwards and one-spoke-off. It measured to within 1mm lateral and 1mm vertical true. Dish was acceptable.

My front was <.25mm lateral & .5mm vertical.

So I hit every one of winter's potholes without fail over 20 miles. My front wheel remained in the same true as I built it. The rear went out by 2mm lat. & vert. My guess is the owner of the LBS didn't bother to stress it. I've remedied the problem and brought it to my specs. My advice - take your time and get your wheel(s) as perfect as your eyesight and tools will allow. And don't forget to stress the wheel and then check it again.

Off for another beat run soon. Wish me luck.
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Old 04-02-09, 09:30 AM
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A little bit at a time. Don't try to do all the lateral trueing, and then all the vertical...so on and so forth.

I think you may have developed an imbalance along the way. Loosening spokes elsewhere may be the way to go...keep in mind you can have spoke "interactions" across the hub, and these get more pronounced the more butted a spoke is.
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Old 04-02-09, 09:36 AM
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Originally Posted by deez View Post
thanks guys, I am also using Sheldon's wheelbuilding article, It sure made lacing everything a snap. My problem with the vertical truing seems to be I have a hop that covers maybe 5 or 6 spokes, and several of the spokes are at the max recommended tension for the rim. Is it Ok to go a little over the max tension or am I better off to loosen all the rest of the spokes, sorta treating the rest of the rim as one big dip?
If this were happening to me I would loosen all of the nipples equal turns, say two, maybe three whole turns and bring it up to tension again. Keeping an alert eye out for the problem area. You should be able to make it go away.

Out of curiosity what is the max reading in the problem area on your Park-o-meter?
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Old 04-02-09, 09:50 AM
  #9  
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Tightening the spokes opposite the hop will help pull things in also. I concur with the loosening advice.
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Old 04-02-09, 10:05 AM
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Out of curiosity what is the max reading in the problem area on your Park-o-meter?
about 25.5

I had read that for this rim I should be in the 23-25 neighborhood on the Park-o-Meter (i like that term) or around 100kg
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Old 04-02-09, 10:09 AM
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Everyone does it differently I'm sure.

First, I try to be really consistent when lacing and tightening the nipples from the start, which results in a fairly true wheel to begin with if the rim is good. As I bring the spokes up to slightly firm I get the wheel roughly laterally centered, then perfect the vertical, then the final truing up to true. I don't have a dishing tool, so I just flip the wheel in the stand as I get to final true to center.

As you begin, you want to seat the spoke heads to the hub: I push hard just beyond the hub flange on the outside spokes and pull on the inside ones. While truing, you want to occasionally squeeze parallel spoke pairs all around the wheel to reduce windup. When I remove the wheel to flip, I also stand it on the floor and lean all my weight on the top of the rim, rotate the wheel and repeat. If you don't remove the windup, you'll build a wheel true in the stand that will go wobbly the first time you ride it.

I always finetune the dish in the frame using the wheel: I know in a perfect world centered should be centered, but it never seems to work that way exactly...

Its not rocket science; just move methodically and consistently; big moves at first, getting smaller and smaller as you reach perfection.
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Old 04-02-09, 10:17 AM
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Originally Posted by deez View Post
about 25.5

I had read that for this rim I should be in the 23-25 neighborhood on the Park-o-Meter (i like that term) or around 100kg
25 is 155 Kgf on my chart for a 1.8 spoke
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Old 04-02-09, 10:27 AM
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Originally Posted by deez View Post
My problem with the vertical truing seems to be I have a hop that covers maybe 5 or 6 spokes, and several of the spokes are at the max recommended tension for the rim. am I better off to loosen all the rest of the spokes, sorta treating the rest of the rim as one big dip?
Originally Posted by King of Kadence View Post
If this were happening to me I would loosen all of the nipples equal turns, say two

I think I'd loosen all of the spokes as well including the ones at the high spot. Where is the high spot located? By the valve hole or the seam?


The more information a stockbroker is given the worse they are in predicting the market. The same holds true for wheelbuilding. My advice would be to put your tension meter in a drawer and true the wheel. Whatever the tension ends up being is what it is.
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Old 04-02-09, 10:37 AM
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Originally Posted by miamijim View Post
I think I'd loosen all of the spokes as well including the ones at the high spot. Where is the high spot located? By the valve hole or the seam?
Not sure, I'll check when I get back to it.
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Old 04-02-09, 10:49 AM
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I have a newbie issue too. The dishing tool I have index on the end of the hub axle. As far as I can see this requires the axle to be dead centered on the hub (not always the case). A dishing tool that measures over the lock nut would be more accurate, no? Or am I needlessly splitting hairs here?

Jan
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Old 04-02-09, 10:58 AM
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no your not splitting hairs. the axle floats in that one side can be longer than the other
(especially true with older cup/cone hubs. the Park WAG3 and 4 both measure to the
axle lock nuts.
Can you adjust your dish tool to use the axle nut (but placing end next to axle and not on it?)

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Old 04-02-09, 11:03 AM
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Originally Posted by deez View Post
thanks guys, I am also using Sheldon's wheelbuilding article, It sure made lacing everything a snap. My problem with the vertical truing seems to be I have a hop that covers maybe 5 or 6 spokes, and several of the spokes are at the max recommended tension for the rim. Is it Ok to go a little over the max tension or am I better off to loosen all the rest of the spokes, sorta treating the rest of the rim as one big dip?


I am working with a Minoura Truing Stand and Park TM-1 tensioning tool.

The Rims are 36 hole Sun CR-18, wheelsmith Double Butted Spokes, Normandy High Flange Hubs.
If the hop is spoked at recommended tension, I'd consider resolving dips. You might want to find access to a park stand. Its hard to get real accuracy on the cheaper stands. One instance where the standard tool is standard for a very good reason. I've tried the other stands and even being a practiced wheelbuilder, I've felt frustrated and unable to make quick and efficient stand adjustments, and have them stay in place.

Its a new rim, so you should be able to get pretty even tension without having any one set of spokes at significantly greater tension than the rest. If they're all at or near full tension, thoroughly check for dips elsewhere, and if it seems perfectly round besides the hop, back all other spokes off a quarter turn, resolve the hop, and tighten everything back up again.
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Old 04-02-09, 11:11 AM
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So is it correct to think that if all the spokes are the same tension the wheel should be pretty close to true? Thats kinda what I was thinking but I figured i'd be better off going by eye than the numbers.








Jan, I had the same problem last night and was wondering the same thing
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Old 04-02-09, 11:12 AM
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Originally Posted by deez View Post
about 25.5

I had read that for this rim I should be in the 23-25 neighborhood on the Park-o-Meter (i like that term) or around 100kg
That's the recommended reading for 2.0mm straight gauge spokes. Since thinner spokes deflect more, you should be in the ballpark of 21-22 on the park meter for yours. The 1.8 diameter of the thinner butted portion of the spoke is the one you consider when looking at the Park Tension Meter Conversion table.
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Old 04-02-09, 11:14 AM
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Originally Posted by jan nikolajsen View Post
I have a newbie issue too. The dishing tool I have index on the end of the hub axle. As far as I can see this requires the axle to be dead centered on the hub (not always the case). A dishing tool that measures over the lock nut would be more accurate, no? Or am I needlessly splitting hairs here?

Jan
Completely agree. Centering on the axle relies on perfection in factory assembly. Centering on locknuts will always give you center of wheel. Are you sure you can't position your gauge on the locknut instead of the axle?
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Old 04-02-09, 11:15 AM
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25 is very tight. I usually start rounding off nipples at 21, which is what I aim for on my normandy hi flange/weinmann 27"/double butted dt swiss wheels.

Originally Posted by dbakl View Post
As you begin, you want to seat the spoke heads to the hub: I push hard just beyond the hub flange on the outside spokes and pull on the inside ones. While truing, you want to occasionally squeeze parallel spoke pairs all around the wheel to reduce windup. When I remove the wheel to flip, I also stand it on the floor and lean all my weight on the top of the rim, rotate the wheel and repeat. If you don't remove the windup, you'll build a wheel true in the stand that will go wobbly the first time you ride it.
I don't think you mean wind-up, you're describing stress relieving. I do the same things except I don't recommend standing on the wheel, pressing with your upper body is more than enough.

Originally Posted by dbakl View Post
I always finetune the dish in the frame using the wheel: I know in a perfect world centered should be centered, but it never seems to work that way exactly...
I use a dish tool. I don't see how you could dial in dish with the wheel mounted in the frame.
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Old 04-02-09, 11:20 AM
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Originally Posted by CravenMoarhead View Post
So is it correct to think that if all the spokes are the same tension the wheel should be pretty close to true? Thats kinda what I was thinking but I figured i'd be better off going by eye than the numbers.
You can't follow the numbers perfectly. Even the tension gauge isn't perfect, and there are more expensive ones out there. With all the myriad tensions in a wheel, you can't expect every reading to be exactly the same. But if you take your time, you can get the tensions very close and have wheel true.

I knew a very careful and experienced wheelbuilder who died recently. He had built over 1000 wheels. His standard was all spokes within 10 pounds of one another. I'm sure he often got them closer than that, but this was the standard beyond which he considered it unacceptable.
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Old 04-02-09, 11:20 AM
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Originally Posted by CravenMoarhead View Post
So is it correct to think that if all the spokes are the same tension the wheel should be pretty close to true? Thats kinda what I was thinking but I figured i'd be better off going by eye than the numbers.
In a perfect world with a perfectly round rim, maybe. But as you're finding out that isn't the case.
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Old 04-02-09, 11:38 AM
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Originally Posted by King of Kadence View Post
I don't think you mean wind-up, you're describing stress relieving. I do the same things except I don't recommend standing on the wheel, pressing with your upper body is more than enough. I use a dish tool. I don't see how you could dial in dish with the wheel mounted in the frame.
No, I believe the individual spoke itself is winding up: when released its going to become looser; but you can call that stress if you like.

I don't stand on the wheel, I stand it up and lean my body weight on the top, and rotate and repeat.

I've never had a dish tool, which is really a centering device, just like flipping the wheel in the stand.

When the wheel is close to true I check it in the frame and adjust as needed to center in the stays and to the rear brake hole, by sitting behind the frame in a bike stand and adjusting the dish as needed. Then finalize back in the stand.

Remember, I started my post by saying everyone has their own way...
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Old 04-02-09, 11:44 AM
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Originally Posted by CravenMoarhead View Post
So is it correct to think that if all the spokes are the same tension the wheel should be pretty close to true? Thats kinda what I was thinking but I figured i'd be better off going by eye than the numbers. Jan, I had the same problem last night and was wondering the same thing
If you've brought the wheel up to tension pretty evenly, yes. If you've acheived true with both loose and tight spokes, no.

By eye do you mean how true it is in the stand? Yes, but with experience you'll also develop a feel for the nipple at a good tension.
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