28 Oct 2018

Coaxial SON

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SON hubs and lights include normal spade connectors — trim wires to length, crimp on connectors and connect to your hub. Anyone can manage this system and it works well. As an upgrade, SON offers a coaxial version that I put together today. This system requires more effort to assemble (basic soldering required) but pays you back with a number of advantages.

The upgrade comes with an adapter that connects a coaxial plug to the hub spade connectors. The new plug interface is spring-retained, which is more refined than the friction fit of spade connectors. The coaxial plug is secure but can be fitted or removed with full-fingered gloves. As well a single plug presents no opportunity to reverse pins, which is an issue with dual connectors.

If you’d like the nitty gritty details, check out the manufacturer’s instructions seen on my workbench. If you’d like a SON dynamo hub/wheel with a SON light, get in touch for a quote.

25 Sep 2018

Universal nipple driver

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I prefer using a nipple driver specific to my chosen nipple but sometimes that’s not possible. Sometimes a tool doesn’t exist or isn’t available but you’d like to use one anyway — getting your nipples started evenly makes life a bit easier. In a pinch you can make one.

To make a universal nipple driver I trim a thin butted spoke and roll threads in such a way that the threads cross the butting boundary. This lets a nipple thread all the way through without bottoming out. Then I attach an inverted nipple — one with a round bottom and no screwdriver slot — leaving a bit of spoke thread protruding. How much protrudes depends on how far you want the driver to work. I use some Loctite so the nipple doesn’t move but a jam nut can be used if you want adjustment. In the following example I inserted the tool into a pin vise but you could glue it into a cork, dowel, etc.

To use the tool thread it onto the back of your nipple. Insert the loaded tool into the rim and thread onto a waiting spoke. Then sideload the spoke to hold the nipple and unthread the tool. This isn’t the fastest way to work but it gets the job done and costs very little. I keep a couple around for starting deep dish rims, where a longer reach is required and the risk of losing a nipple more acute. They’re a good solution for inverted nipples too.

06 Jul 2018

Truing stand explainer

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Here’s a more detailed video about my truing stand. To answer the number one FAQ: I didn’t build it for commercial purposes. Regardless, summer days aren’t long enough to run SpokeService and crank out new products. Maybe something for the off season if there’s interest. What do you think?

If you like, future videos and updates can be found using this bookmark.

25 Jun 2018

Spoke shortening

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If you bought spokes here but need shorter ones, I can help depending on the situation. I can cut them shorter and roll new threads so you end up with the length(s) you need. Maybe you realize your hub/rim dimensions were wrong, calculated incorrectly, abandon a project and start another, etc. The catch is you need to identify the issue before using them. Once spokes have been laced into the wheel, even without tension, the spoke cutting machine is liable to reject them. Send me an email with the details and we’ll go from there. I do this a few times a year but it’s not meant to be a secret handshake kind of thing.