Wheel building with Dave https://raleightwenty.webs.com/apps/photos/ Wheel building with Dave Stuff You'll definitely need a rim, some spokes, nipples, a hub and a spoke key. You'll also benefit from a wheel building jig, a dishing gauge and a nipple driver, although it is possible to build wheels without them. Here, we're building a nice, simple set of 451 wheels with large-flange track hubs and V-section double-wall rims. The spokes here have already been cut and threaded to the correct length. Spoke length is dependent on many variables, and is worked out with a calculator chart. One problem with 451 wheels is that stock spokes are not readily available in the appropriate length, as they are longer than BMX (406 size rims) spokes but shorter than MTB (559 size rims) sizes. Spoke length must be correct to the millimeter. Here, because front and rear hub flange dimensions are identical and dish is symmetrical, all spoke lengths are equal at 200 mm. However, it's not unusual to need three different spoke lengths in a single pair of wheels if hub dimensions, dish, spoke count or pattern varies. https://raleightwenty.webs.com/apps/photos/photo?photoID=205061670 205061670 Initial lacing The first spoke goes from the outside of the hub flange to the first spoke hole in the rim forward of the valve hole. To carry on with eight more subsequent spokes, miss three holes in the rim and one hole in the hub. If spokes are exactly the right length, nipples are initially threaded down to the exact point where the spoke thread is no longer visible. Consistency here will save time at the tensioning and truing stages. Nothing should ever be applied to the thread. I worked at a bike shop where the head mechanic insisted on applying chain lube to the spoke threads when he built a wheel. Every wheel I ever saw him build was returned with loose spokes! Dry threads are best. A thread locking solution can be added after building (it seeps into the thread by capillary action) for wheels that will be highly stressed, such as touring, BMX and downhill MTB wheels. https://raleightwenty.webs.com/apps/photos/photo?photoID=205061671 205061671 Dirty jumper! Yes, it's filthy, but it's my special shed jumper. It smells of creosote and I love it dearly! Anyhow, the rest of the outer spokes on that side of the wheel are laced in, and the hub is twisted so that the spokes slant away from the valve hole. This orientation is important, and the two spokes adjacent to the valve hole on a finished wheel must diverge away from it. It's a thirty six spoke wheel, so there are nine outer spokes on this side of the wheel. https://raleightwenty.webs.com/apps/photos/photo?photoID=205061672 205061672 Lacing the inner spokes Now the nine spokes on the inside of the hub flange are laced in the opposite direction to the first nine. Now that the pattern is taking shape, the spokes are too tight to push through the rim to fit the nipples easily. Another spoke is used to feed the nipples through the rim. We're using a "three cross" (or "3X") lacing pattern, meaning that each spoke crosses three others. It misses the first two and contacts the third by weaving around it. This "interlacing" contact provides additional strength to the wheel. https://raleightwenty.webs.com/apps/photos/photo?photoID=205061673 205061673 Nipple driver The bent screwdriver thingy is a special tool to whizz the nipples quickly down the spoke threads. Alternatively, a pump-action automatic screwdriver can be used. I've also seen a cordless electric screwdriver used. https://raleightwenty.webs.com/apps/photos/photo?photoID=205061674 205061674 One side completed So, here it is. eighteen spokes (one complete side of the wheel) are now fitted loosely, but all tightened to a consistent level - so that no spoke thread is visible. https://raleightwenty.webs.com/apps/photos/photo?photoID=205061677 205061677 Flip and repeat Starting with the spokes on the inside of the hub flange, the process is repeated on the opposite side. Spoke holes in the hub are alternately staggered, so we take the spoke adjacent to the valve hole and use the flange hole that lines up above the one that's to the left (anti-clockwise) of it in the rim. It is important that the lacing is symmetrical, so that when on the bike all spokes on the outside of the flange are angled backwards. These are the spokes subjected to additional tension when braking or due to driving forces. https://raleightwenty.webs.com/apps/photos/photo?photoID=205061678 205061678 Make it easy When starting the second side, inner spokes are fitted first. Passing them through into the open gap on the opposing side means that they can be positioned easily. https://raleightwenty.webs.com/apps/photos/photo?photoID=205061683 205061683 Two-thirds laced So that's twenty seven of the thirty six spokes fitted loosely. https://raleightwenty.webs.com/apps/photos/photo?photoID=205061679 205061679 Bender In order to achieve the interlacing contact, each spoke must be carefully passed around the back of the third spoke that it crosses. Care is needed so that the rim is not scratched and the spoke is not kinked. https://raleightwenty.webs.com/apps/photos/photo?photoID=205061681 205061681 Laced! All thirty six spokes are now fitted loosely. https://raleightwenty.webs.com/apps/photos/photo?photoID=205061682 205061682 Tension and true Spokes must now be tightened. At the same time as achieving consistent tension in all spokes, lateral and radial run-out must be dialed out so that the rim runs true. Dish (lateral symmetry between the hub's lock nuts) must also be properly set. So, as we tension the spokes we have to consider and accurately set all of these variables at the same time. I always begin by adding one complete turn to each nipple. I'll then check whether the rim is true as I go. I'll then repeat with another full turn on each. As tension builds, I'll check lateral and radial run-out and begin to compensate as necessary. https://raleightwenty.webs.com/apps/photos/photo?photoID=205061684 205061684 De-stressing As tension is added, the wheel is put on the floor and the rim is pushed down hard with both hands. This is repeated at increments so that the action is even across the entire rim. The wheel is flipped and the process is repeated. The wheel is removed from the jig and de-stressed in this way four or five times as the tension is built up. If this is not done (some wheel builders don't bother) the wheel will de-stress during initial use, causing loosening of the spokes. https://raleightwenty.webs.com/apps/photos/photo?photoID=205061687 205061687 Knocking-in About half way through the tensioning process, when the spokes have some tension but the wheel is not yet trued, the base of each outer spoke is tapped with a hammer to straighten it and remove the convex bow/distortion where it leaves the hub flange. Many wheel builders do not bother with knocking-in, but that convex distortion of the spokes will pull straighter during initial use, which is one of the reasons why some new wheels can loosen up during the first few rides. A wheel that has been knocked-in, de-stressed and properly tensioned will not loosen up in use, and should not require any remedial attention due to settling-in after a few rides. https://raleightwenty.webs.com/apps/photos/photo?photoID=205061686 205061686 The truth game To adjust lateral run-out, adding tension to a nipple on the right will pull the rim right, and vice versa. For radial run out, tensioning a group of spokes at a high point in the rim will pull that area of the rim towards the hub. The adjustable jaws of the jig are used as a gauge. However, the jaws are not symmetrically accurate enough to set dish. For that reason, many wheel builders remove or tie back one side. https://raleightwenty.webs.com/apps/photos/photo?photoID=205061685 205061685 Dishy fella Rims need to accurately follow the centre-line of the bike, and it is easily possible to build a wheel accidentally off-centre. The dishing gauge provides the solution. It indicates lateral distance of the hub's lock nut to the rim edge. I usually check the dish (obviously, it must be equal both sides) a couple of times during tensioning. In order to adjust the dish on a wheel that has already been laterally trued, all of the spokes on one side of the wheel are loosened, and the spokes on the opposite side are tightened by the same amount, so as to pull the hub across and centre it under the rim. When the dish, tension, lateral and radial run out are all perfect, the wheel is finished. https://raleightwenty.webs.com/apps/photos/photo?photoID=205061688 205061688 Glue? Spin the wheel and apply spray-on contact adhesive (aerosol carpet glue) to provide a sticky bed that the rim tape will properly adhere to. A rim tape that moves or comes loose - as can happen when self-adhesive rim tapes get wet, will lead to punctures due to the spoke holes of the rim bed being exposed to the inner tube. https://raleightwenty.webs.com/apps/photos/photo?photoID=205061690 205061690 Valve hole Fold the rim tape and cut a diamond to provide generous clearance for the valve before applying the tape. Also, use a bit more contact adhesive to seal down the overlap when you finish. Good practice when fitting inner tubes is to use plenty of talcum powder. Not only will this neutralise any adhesive over-spill, but it will remove the stickiness from the rubber. This will make the tube easier to handle, and will allow it to move independently of the inside of the tyre, reducing stress during inflation and aiding suppleness when riding. The best racing inner tubes are supplied "pre-talced" for these reasons. https://raleightwenty.webs.com/apps/photos/photo?photoID=205061689 205061689 A completely finished wheel! So, here we have it, ready to fit a tyre and tube. It has correct spoke orientation - tension spokes (the ones where driving and braking forces add tension) face backwards. Tension is correct and consistent - all spokes ring the same pitch when plucked. Rim is laterally and radially perfectly true. Dish is perfectly symmetrical. Irregular stresses have been removed by de-stressing throughout the tensioning process. There is a correct way (and incorrect way!) to do everything when building wheels - so it should never be described as an art. It's a technical skill process that anyone can learn. Let's repeat the entire process for the back wheel. https://raleightwenty.webs.com/apps/photos/photo?photoID=205061691 205061691