Blog: 2019

24 Dec 2019

See you next year

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SpokeService is now closed for 2019. I’ll be taking the remainder of the year to clean the workshop, overhaul tools, count inventory and close the books. The online shop will remain open but orders won’t ship until operations resume in January. The site will have a little downtime for server upgrades, which means my free software utilities may be unavailable for short periods.

Happy holidays and tailwinds in 2020.

20 Dec 2019

Morizumi mounting

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Ric from Wheel Fanatyk visited recently and wrote about it on his blog. He was interested in my Morizumi setup and maybe others will be too. I’ll leave a few notes and build photos here.

I started with a King stand for big drills or small mills. A few considerations led to this choice: not too heavy to move alone but heavy enough to resist tilting under use; not too expensive; and available locally. The same stand is sold under different names in different markets so searching by keyword may be helpful if you’re looking.

The default option would be to mount a spoke machine directly to the stand but that would be low for me especially with my thick anti-fatigue mat in front of the tool. I took a sheet of leftover pine, chopped it on the table saw and laminated pieces together to create a top with my desired lift. I took advantage of the laminated construction to insert T-nuts between layers — I matched them to existing holes in the stand letting me attach the top with bolts from inside. No exterior hardware makes the top an uninterrupted flat surface, which is helpful in terms of oil containment.

By mounting my spoke machine to the wooden top I only needed to drill one hole in the metal stand — for the spoke offcut chute. If you’re a casual cutter this step might be unnecessary but it’s important for a production shop. I bolted my spoke machine in place and traced exactly where the chute would go. I cut the chute in the wooden top, mounted it, and used the top itself as a drilling guide. The result: spoke scraps fall through the chute landing in a bucket accessed through the main door.

Though oil is mandatory I didn’t want to fix a drip tray under the machine. To protect the wood I wrapped it with Formica countertop laminate. The process involves gluing pieces with contact cement and trimming the edges with a router. Formica is oil tolerant and lets me wipe away drips without hurting anything. In order to prevent oil from seeping beneath the spoke machine and draining through its bolt holes, I put a bead of sealant around the spoke machine on its final installation.

13 Oct 2019

Building as always

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Wheelbuilds continue to trickle through the shop. Here’s a few snaps of recent builds:

25 Jul 2019

Tension graphing news

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A couple of changes to the spoke tension visualizer went live recently. The first is the Print setup button. It allows you to enable or disable parts of the screen for printing purposes. This includes the title, deflection readings, legend and the graph itself. Now would be a good time to remind users you can edit the title. Click or tap on the title and change the text to describe the job at hand. If you see other headers or footers, they’re added by your browser and can be suppressed with browser settings. Printing or saving to PDF is the most foolproof method of storing your work.

The second change is the Snapshot button. This clones your work into a new tab as a readonly copy. Users might find this useful for charting tension balance as work progresses. A subtle impact of this change is, for the first time, inputs can be saved as a URL — the address bar of the snapshot contains your data. Loading this address brings you back to the viewer with settings, readings and graph intact. As usual hovering the mouse over points on the graph shows exact tension values. There’s no need to make an account, no need to store anything in the cloud or anything like that. This isn’t a foolproof way of storing your work because if this site is down or deleted, snapshots cannot be rendered.

Users are invited to share bug reports and browser compatibility issues. I also appreciate feature requests. They may not see the light of day right away but it helps shape my priorities when there’s time for development. If you’d like support for another tensiometer, please see here.

04 Jul 2019

Paul track build

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For singlespeed wheels I like hubs from Paul Component Engineering and Phil Wood. I can suggest which are best for you and offer competitive pricing — please email.

This wheelset uses Paul Component track hubs laced to Stan’s Alpha 400 tubeless rims with Sapim Laser spokes and alloy nipples. Total weight is 1545g. Additionally this wheelset is getting tamper-proof torx bolts for a little extra lockup security. The bolts are a Paul upgrade option.

Easy rim, hard rim

This wheelset was an interesting study in the difference a rim makes. My runout target with machined rims is 0.25mm (with the expectation they’ll settle in to 0.33mm over the long haul). This wasn’t achievable on the rear rim, which finished at 0.26mm. I spent quite a lot of time getting it this good and the rim made it clear I could go no further. After improving the most extreme misalignment the rim would fold some other way for no net improvement. The distortion didn’t seem related to the weld area nor expressed in locations 180 degrees apart. Even so by industry quality thresholds of 0.50mm runout and ±20% tension variation, this is still a very good wheel. The penalty associated with less-than-perfect rims is mostly wheelbuilding benchtime. Indeed the front wheel was completed in half the time with better alignment and lower tension variance.