Wheelbuilding for beginners

For discussions about bikes and equipment.
fastpedaller
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Re: Wheelbuilding for beginners

Postby fastpedaller » 10 Oct 2014, 1:30pm

You can also use a vegetable oil (such as sunflower oil) which will dry out in a couple of days, but give lubrication whilst the wheel is being built.

Brucey
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Re: Wheelbuilding for beginners

Postby Brucey » 10 Oct 2014, 2:50pm

I just did a quick BoE calculation and a typical retaining/locking compound (with a nominal shear strength of ~25 N/mm^2) should give a breakaway torque on a typical 14g spoke nipple of about 1.5Nm.

I think this is safely below the shear torque of a spoke, but have not checked this...

cheers
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ANTONISH
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Re: Wheelbuilding for beginners

Postby ANTONISH » 10 Oct 2014, 4:02pm

I confess to using vaseline.

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531colin
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Re: Wheelbuilding for beginners

Postby 531colin » 10 Oct 2014, 4:20pm

I find it odd that nobody has mentioned stress-relieving the spokes, which is probably the single most important thing you can do in order to prolong spoke fatigue life.

And I'm afraid I disagree with Stewart....

stewartpratt wrote:............... - the absolutely vital one - always backing off spokes after adding any tension, to remove any residual torsion. If you've done this right, your wheel won't ping when you first ride it; the pinging is the sound of spokes unwinding, which means it wasn't done in the build..........


.....if you don't un-twist your spokes during the build, then they will un-twist themselves as you ride. It isn't a problem, and it doesn't cause the wheels to go out of true.
It is, of course, perfectly possible for badly-built wheels to "ping" when first ridden, and also to go out of true, but this is not cause and effect.

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interestedcp
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Re: Wheelbuilding for beginners

Postby interestedcp » 10 Oct 2014, 5:42pm

531colin wrote:
.....if you don't un-twist your spokes during the build, then they will un-twist themselves as you ride. It isn't a problem, and it doesn't cause the wheels to go out of true.
It is, of course, perfectly possible for badly-built wheels to "ping" when first ridden, and also to go out of true, but this is not cause and effect.


The technique by tightening the nipple ½ turn and then immediately loosening by a 1/4 turn is recommended by Jobst Brandt because it prevents spoke twisting. The effect is quite easily observed by attaching a small tape "flag" to a spoke when tightening it.

Spoke twist is IMHO the wheel builders enemy number one; untwisting spokes changes their tension after unwinding, which may cause the wheel to go untrue and may make spoke tension wary too much which is bad for spoke fatigue life. Techniques that makes the spoke untwist during the wheel build may work, but after untwisting, one has to true the wheel again and check the spoke tension again. So it is much better to avoid as much spoke twist as possible during the build by using the described technique and using adequate lubrication, than dealing with the problem later in the build.

That said, I find it hard to avoid spoke twist completely, so I do eg. side-load the wheel afterwards to release any spoke twist that may exist, but a spoke unwinding a 1/4 turn doesn't affect the wheel build as much as 1½ turn.
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531colin
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Re: Wheelbuilding for beginners

Postby 531colin » 10 Oct 2014, 6:24pm

Unless the nipple is corroded onto the spoke, a round spoke will not twist enough to have any real effect. (flat spokes twist much more)
I agree its good technique to "tighten the spoke to a bit past where you want it, then back off a bit", otherwise its difficult to make a small adjustment with any accuracy, and its much quicker to fit the key to the nipple if all the nipples are accurately aligned and don't twist by themselves.....but the sky won't fall down if you omit to do it, and its far from the most important thing in wheelbuilding.

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interestedcp
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Re: Wheelbuilding for beginners

Postby interestedcp » 10 Oct 2014, 7:16pm

531colin wrote:Unless the nipple is corroded onto the spoke, a round spoke will not twist enough to have any real effect. (flat spokes twist much more)
I agree its good technique to "tighten the spoke to a bit past where you want it, then back off a bit", otherwise its difficult to make a small adjustment with any accuracy, and its much quicker to fit the key to the nipple if all the nipples are accurately aligned and don't twist by themselves.....but the sky won't fall down if you omit to do it, and its far from the most important thing in wheelbuilding.


I disagree about that round spokes can't twist enough during a wheel build to have any real effect, especially on high tension wheels. (2.0/1.5mm spokes are extremely prone to twisting). I mean, if spoke wind up didn't have any real effect, why try to avoid it or remove it?

A badly build wheel with lots of spoke wind up may go severely out of true when used the first time, while emitting cracking and pinging sounds.

People could probably argue all day long what is the most important thing about wheel building, but having as even spoke tension as possible is generally seen as very important; a wheel with lots of spoke wind up may measure as having even tension, but when the spoke untwist the spoke tension may go out of spec which may affect spoke fatigue. Spoke wind up is simply a bad thing that makes the wheel building process slow and error prone, and is therefore best avoided at all.
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stewartpratt
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Re: Wheelbuilding for beginners

Postby stewartpratt » 10 Oct 2014, 8:14pm

531colin wrote:.....if you don't un-twist your spokes during the build, then they will un-twist themselves as you ride. It isn't a problem, and it doesn't cause the wheels to go out of true.


Unless by some great stroke of luck they all untwist by the same amount, it'll be slightly out of true, no? Granted, unwinding probably only has a small effect, but it has an effect; and backing off is an important habit to have: as you say, you can't really make small adjustments without it.

I'm sticking by my theory; at least, it's served me well over the years :) …don't think I've ever* had to touch a wheel once I've built it.



* OK, once. But that's what you get for building one in a mad rush in the small hours the day before a big ride :)

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531colin
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Re: Wheelbuilding for beginners

Postby 531colin » 10 Oct 2014, 8:49pm

interestedcp wrote:.......... when the spoke untwist the spoke tension may go out of spec ...............


No. You turn the nipple. If the nipple binds on the spoke, then the spoke twists. When you stress the wheel, (or ride the wheel) and that spoke is (partially) un-loaded, the nipple twists in the rim.
The only way the spoke tension can be altered is if the nipple binds on the spoke when you tighten it, but then mysteriously binds on the rim when the spoke un-winds.

as I said at the outset, a badly-built wheel may ping, and it may also go out of true, but they are not cause and effect.

RRSODL
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Re: Wheelbuilding for beginners

Postby RRSODL » 10 Oct 2014, 10:03pm

531colin wrote:I find it odd that nobody has mentioned stress-relieving the spokes, which is probably the single most important thing you can do in order to prolong spoke fatigue life.

And I'm afraid I disagree with Stewart....

stewartpratt wrote:............... - the absolutely vital one - always backing off spokes after adding any tension, to remove any residual torsion. If you've done this right, your wheel won't ping when you first ride it; the pinging is the sound of spokes unwinding, which means it wasn't done in the build..........


.....if you don't un-twist your spokes during the build, then they will un-twist themselves as you ride. It isn't a problem, and it doesn't cause the wheels to go out of true.
It is, of course, perfectly possible for badly-built wheels to "ping" when first ridden, and also to go out of true, but this is not cause and effect.


Quite agree with 531colin. I also recommend Roger Muson's book. It's quite simple to follow, having said that, deft tone people might find the book does not explain very well an alternative method to true a wheel and equalise the spokes but is not difficult to figure out an alternative method. Fortunately the tone method that Roger Musson encourages people to use suit me fine. I read with interest anything to do with wheel building but I have to say that I haven't found anything important that is not covered in Roger Musson's book.

Backing off is a useful technique and Roger Musson does mention it in the book but it's not a replacement to stress relieve, I use both, backing off when adding tension in the later stages but also stress reliving.

I have to say this thread already has some strange advice and RM would not be very impressed :)
Last edited by RRSODL on 12 Oct 2014, 9:04am, edited 1 time in total.

Milfred Cubicle
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Re: Wheelbuilding for beginners

Postby Milfred Cubicle » 10 Oct 2014, 11:04pm

That's great folks, many thanks.
As for the Vaseline, did the spokes loosen over time?

RRSODL
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Re: Wheelbuilding for beginners

Postby RRSODL » 11 Oct 2014, 12:00am

[quote="Milfred Cubicle"]That's great folks, many thanks.
As for the Vaseline, did the spokes loosen over time?[/quote]

Make sure the spokes have sufficient tension and you balance the spokes. You can use a similar wheel to judge what is sufficient tension ( assuming the wheel has been built properly) a tension meter would come handy otherwise.

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531colin
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Re: Wheelbuilding for beginners

Postby 531colin » 11 Oct 2014, 8:16am

Lubricating spokes is a double-edged sword.
The slacker, non-drive side spokes need no encouragement to work loose, and too much lubricant can mess up your rim tape or even tube.
I use the minimum, which for me, most of the time, is what is left behind by the manufacturing processes (assuming stainless spokes, brass nipples, and eyeletted rims).
When I was building wheels 2 days a week with arthritic hands, I used to follow Brandt's method....put the wheel in the fixture, apply a tiny drop of oil to each nipple where the spoke key goes, and spin the wheel.
Though now I think about it, why not lube all the nipples except the non driveside?

ANTONISH
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Re: Wheelbuilding for beginners

Postby ANTONISH » 11 Oct 2014, 4:33pm

Milfred Cubicle wrote:That's great folks, many thanks.
As for the Vaseline, did the spokes loosen over time?

No. I use vaseline because the late Ken Bird did. It hasn't given me any problems so far.
I only got into building my own wheels because I wasn't happy with a pair of wheels I had professionally built ( not Ken Bird's ).
I find it a slow process but being retired I'm in no hurry.

fastpedaller
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Re: Wheelbuilding for beginners

Postby fastpedaller » 11 Oct 2014, 7:02pm

But if you enjoy it ..... doing it slowly means it lasts longer so you get more enjoyment :wink: