Blog: Software Utilities

25 Jul 2019

Tension graphing news

Webmaster

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 has the ones and zeros. 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.

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.

20 Aug 2018

Tensio support policy

Webmaster

Did you ask about tensiometer support in the spoke tension utility? This post is for you.

In order to support a tensiometer in the software, it’s necessary to have one in the workshop. It gives me confidence the experience is good — regardless of being free I’m not interested in providing second-rate software. Sometimes changes arise from using a tool professionally. For example you can enter 25 and it autocorrects to 0.25 when using the Wheel Fanatyk (but doesn’t with the Park Tool). Little details like this tilt the balance between flow and tedium.

For digital tensiometers, it’s even more important to have one on hand. Direct digital download can involve quirks that must be accommodated in software. Some of the most interesting features on the roadmap are for digital tools but the testing is more intensive.

I purchased the Park and Wheel Fanatyk tools myself, the former to build my own wheels and the latter to boost my professionalism. And so I supported them in my software. Now with the workshop properly equipped, I’m less keen to purchase others. (For full disclosure Wheel Fanatyk donated three tensiometers after finding my software popular with their customers.)

So if you’d like to see another tensiometer supported in the software, it’s easy and not easy: ask your manufacturer to send one here. I make it easy by taking no fees, neither for initial support nor for ongoing maintenance. And promise new tools will be supported within 30 days of receipt. But in practice it’s not easy as users have reached out to DT Swiss, Sapim and Unior without success. If you plan to engage one of them, you may have better luck asking the rep for your geographical area or a connection on the inside. If your contact doesn’t build wheels, temper your expectations.

If you’re in the market for a new tensiometer — whether a basic tool or a premium one — this information may help you choose. Park Tool and Wheel Fanatyk are easy to recommend. Both are supported in my spoke tension utility, provided for free on this site since 2013.

06 Jul 2018

Truing stand explainer

Webmaster

Here’s a more detailed video about my truing stand. To answer the most common question: this will not be a product in the near term — summer days aren’t long enough to run SpokeService and crank out new products. Maybe I can take it further in the off season. What do you think?

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

30 Jan 2018

More things weighed

Webmaster

Up in the utilities menu I have a little tool to compute spoke weight. Today I made a couple tweaks.

First I got a better scale in the shop, which helps because this tool is based on real world weights. At the same time I changed the sample weight from 300mm to 310mm spokes. The original idea was to depart from the norm of specifying weight based on short spokes. But since I sell spokes longer than 300mm, why not choose samples of the longest length? Job done.

Second I added all varieties of nipples sold here to the measurement tool. This update includes brass and aluminum nipples in all varieties. Still to come are spoke washers and nipple washers though they weigh next to nothing and are worth it when they’re needed.