Blog: Software Utilities

07 Jun 2016

Autograph tension


This is a video of the new Wheel Fanatyk tensiometer, equipped with a deluxe Mitutoyo gauge. The terrific thing about a top end digital gauge is the ability to connect to a computer (an optional connection kit is available from Wheel Fanatyk). So what do you do on the computer side? I improved my spoke tension utility to accept input directly from the tool without keyboard interaction. After each reading the software advances to the next cell automatically.

I also added a new software feature to eliminate the need for zeroing the tensiometer but it’s not shown in this video. Stay tuned for a future blog post explaining how it works.

20 Apr 2016

Two Wheel Fanatyks


I’ve gotten a handful of reports that my spoke tension visualizer isn’t working with Wheel Fanatyk tensiometers. In all cases the problem has been incorrect tool selection on the setup page. Take note there are two choices for Wheel Fanatyk users: original and current Mitutoyo models. These tools have different tension conversion charts so it’s important to pick the right one.

15 Jan 2016

Edit graph titles


The biggest problem I’ve had with spoke tension graphs is mixing them up when I have a handful to manage. To help I pushed an update allowing the page title to be changed — click or tap the title and edit as you wish. Titles are preserved when the graph is rendered for printing so you’re covered if you archive graphs using the print/print-to-file feature of your browser. If the printable reports don’t fit a single sheet of standard paper for your part of the world, please let me know.

Sharing update

Over the holidays I looked into developing a feature to publish graphs directly to Instagram. Unfortunately Instagram is a closed system and its owners ask you to develop features for demonstration prior to approval. Since they can withhold approval arbitrarily, it doesn’t feel worth the effort. Would publication to Facebook or Twitter be useful?

16 Sep 2015

Spoke weight


If you have a target weight for your next wheel project or want to compare the weights of different options, spoke weight is one variable to consider. Unfortunately published spoke weights often contradict one another because they’re based on different model spoke lengths. And more often than not these lengths are on the short side, which makes the numbers optimistic.

To get answers I can use, I personally weighed some of the spokes available here. My method was to weigh bundles of 25 spokes in order to reduce the influence of error in my scale. In all cases I used spokes 300mm in length, which is on the long side but helps establish a realistic ceiling.

If you’re like me, the first thing you do after looking up the weight of a spoke is multiply it by the number of spokes needed. As a simplification I’ve captured this information and process in a little spoke weight utility. Just enter the number of spokes of each type and press the calculate button. You can ask for the combined weight of different spoke types, which can be useful for estimating weight when using different spokes left and right or front and rear.

In the near future I’ll factor in nipples and washers for completeness.

11 Aug 2015

Visualizer updates


I posted a small update to my spoke tension visualizer based on user feedback.

This update supports the numeric keypad for data entry, which was an oversight in previous versions. I have a few computers but none with a numeric keypad so please let me know if I missed the mark. For tablet and phone users the onscreen numeric input mode is now presented by default, which saves a mode-switch for every spoke (thanks to David M. for the suggestion). Last but not least, input validation is less restrictive so you can use hotkeys for cut, paste, print, etc. while editing.

I also re-tooled the setup screen to allow two kinds of bladed spokes: 0.90×2.2mm and 0.95×2.2mm. These are for Sapim CX-Ray or DT Aerolite spokes and the correct choice depends on the exact measurement of your batch of spokes. Sapim says nominal CX-Ray thickness is 0.90mm, which is a fine way to go by default, but some people find theirs closer to 0.95mm. This isn’t a huge deal because the point of visualization is to show relative differences, which are independent of scale.

Since you’ve read this far I’ll point out a couple features that may not be obvious. First, you can hover your mouse over any point on the graph to see the conversion from deflection to tension. Second, you can save your work by using the File > Print function of your browser to make a hardcopy or save as PDF on some systems. Mac users have a PDF option in the lower left of the print dialog. I’ve done a fair amount work to strip my site headers and footers so the resulting document looks nice and can be shared with customers if that’s your thing. Note: your browser may add unwanted headers and footers but these can usually be suppressed in browser settings (try Print or Page Setup menus).

Suggestions welcome. I don’t work on this tool often but keep track of requests so they can added when time permits. What would you like? More spoke choices? New ways to save graphs? A way to link to completed graphs? A publish to Facebook or Instagram feature? Other tensiometers?