My Wheel Building Guide

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My Wheel Building Guide
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Posted: Mar 18, 2009 at 18:29 Quote
There are many different ways to build a wheel, and there are pros and cons to all. As I was building my wheel today, I decided to document to make a step by step guide to sort of dumb it down and possibly help people who are trying to build there own wheels, but are uncertain if they are capable or not. The answer is yes you are.

Tools & Materials:
-Nipple Starter
-Nipple Driver
-Grease
-Nipples
-Spokes
-Hub
-Hoop
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Before you start, you should insure that your spokes are the proper length for your hub/hoop combination.

I will be using a Syncros hoop with a Hope ProII, in a 3 cross pattern which means my spoke calculation gives me 256mm spokes on the drive side, as well as on the ND side. Note* this isn't always the case, most wheels use two different size wheels depending on the dish.

Step #1: Preparation
-In order to acheive proper tension, and insure you have a wheel you will be able to true your wheel for many years, you should take a synthetic grease of your choice, and dab it on the inside of all the eyelets in your hoop. (a Philips screwdriver or a Q-tip works fine) Start at the valve hole so you can keep track of which eyelets you have greased already.
-Then you should prep the spoke threads with either spoke prep, or Boiled Linseed oil works fine as well (pay attention to storage directions if you used Linseed oil.) This helps with locking the threads, as well as preventing corrosion (DO NOT USED LOCTITE)

Step #2: Loading The Hub
There are different ways to lace the wheel, with the hub fully loaded or not. The method I was taught laces the hub when fully loaded.
-Hold the hub with the axle on a vertical plane with the Drive side down
-Take a Non-drive side spoke and load it into the hub on the NDS Flange into the first hole to the right of the logo. This "guide" spoke will be hanging down, however, it will be considered a heads up spoke.
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-Then, take a DS spoke and load it into the first hole to the left of where your guide spoke meets the bottom flange. This will be a heads down spoke.
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-Then, finish loading the DS flange with the heads down spokes, into every other hole and to the same for the NDS Flange. Keep in mind it is easier to fill the DS (bottom) flange first. Be sure to load every other hole, and not to accidentally put a spoke through a hole in both flanges.
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-Then flip the hub (carefully) making sure that no spokes fall out.
-Then load the rest of the hub making sure you are using the proper spoke length for each flange.
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Step #3: Lacing Side 1
Possibly the most frustrating part of building a wheel, so be sure to be patient, and take your time, double checking all the time to insure there are no mistakes. Checking more often will save you more time than making a mistake and having to redo everything.
-Lay the hub down vertically again, in the same position it was in while loading the hub, with the drive side down.
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-Place the hub so that you can read the logo on the hub through the valve hole (I'll explain why later)
PAY ATTENTION
-Locate the first heads-up spoke on the NDS flange, clockwise to the 3 O'clock position. This will be your first spoke laced.
-Then count on the NDS flange again, 3 heads down spokes clockwise of your first spoke.
-Cross the heads-up, OVER the heads down.
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-Then take your spoke starter and thread the spoke into the hole to the right of the valve hole, about 3-4 turns should do, just enough that the threads catch (same for all spokes).
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-Skip a hole, then thread the heads-down spoke into the third hole counter-clockwise from the valve hole.
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-You will finish lacing this side in a counter clockwise direction
-Locate the next available heads-up spoke CCW from the first, and cross it with the 3rd heads-down spoke CW from the heads-up spoke. Thread them in the same manner as the first two. Remember, there should be an empty hole between every spoke (you will lace the other side into these holes) Then continue the pattern until your first side is done.
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-Double check your work and make sure nothing looks cockeye. If it does, there are a couple of mistakes you may have made.
-forgot to skip a hole
-picked the wrong quide spoke
-crossed them improperly
If this happens correct accordingly, but if you keep doublechecking it will help avoid most mistakes.
Then carefully flip the wheel and spread your spokes out neatly, to prevent trapping them.
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Step #4: Lacing 2nd Side
-Your first hole this time will be the first empty hole to the right of a valve hole.
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-Then follow the spoke the the right of this hole, to the bottom (NDS) flange.
-Make an imaginary line to the top flange right above where this spoke is located.
-Then locate the first heads-down spoke CW to where this imaginary line intersects the Top Flange (DS)
-Next locate the 3rd heads-up spoke CW to the heads-down spoke.
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-Then cross them and thread them into their proper holes. (the first two available holes)
-Continue the new pattern, lacing in a CCW direction again until the 2nd side is finished.
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Step #5: Burying Threads
-Take your spoke driver and finish threading the spokes in until the nipple is flush where the threads end. Start at the valve hole so you remember where you are.
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**Style Points**
Remember when I said to start lacing so you can read hub logo through the valve hole? Well a nice wheel will have this trait, this is so you can read the hub logo and the hoop label when seated on the bike (not necessary, but if your going to build it why not). Also, the more careful you are will minimize scratches on the hoops finish which also adds for style points.
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Step 6: Working Tension
(This step requires a truing stand if done properlly)
Take a spoke wrench and add a layer of tension to each spoke by tightening the nipple from 1-1 1/2 turns. Do this consistantly.
As you do this, you will notice the spokes getting exponentially tighter as you go around. You want to do this until turning the nipple will actually adjust the lateral true of the rim.
-As soon as you have working tension (approx. 15 on a Park Tool Tensiometer with 2.0mm Straight gauge steel spokes), you then need to start your initial true, so go around, only tightening specific spokes to true the wheel. Then you want to adjust your vertical true to eliminate hops and dips. (You should ask a mechaninc how because it is to confusing to learn by reading.)
Then you want to continue this pattern
-layer of tension
-lateral true
-vertical true
As you add layers of tension, decrease the amount of turns you use on the spoke nipple each round, to bring the wheel up to tension slowly. This will help with a consistant wheel and will help decrease hops and dips.
After your wheel is brought up to proper tension according to specs, you want to pre-stress the wheel. Do this by squeezing all of the spokes. You might here "pang" or "pop" noises, don't worry, this noise is the spokes seating and the nipples slightly unwinding in the eyelet. After your done pre-stressing, go back through the tensioning pattern to make your final adjustments.
There, your wheel should be complete.
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Remember, this is just a simple guide, and it is no substitute for experience, so please use it cautiously and hopefully it will make your attempts at wheel building simple. If you have any questions or comments feel free to message me!

Posted: Mar 18, 2009 at 19:26 Quote
Thanks for putting this together! I want to mention that it's helpful to have a fully built wheel next to the one that you're building. That helped me the first time I did it.

Another thing is to take a phillips screwdriver and file/grind it down to make it a nipple driver. That makes it much easier to get to the "hidden threads" point.

Otherwise, great stuff! Great job!

Posted: Mar 18, 2009 at 19:37 Quote
Thanks for the feedback and input dude!

Posted: Mar 18, 2009 at 19:57 Quote
great post, this should be stickied.

Posted: Mar 18, 2009 at 20:03 Quote
Amazing! That's so cool that you took the time to make this! Total props to you! Very useful!
tup

Posted: Mar 19, 2009 at 2:35 Quote
ey dude thats real good help, if you don't know how to lace a wheel! THX for the good info!

Posted: Mar 19, 2009 at 12:20 Quote
i used to do builds with a spare wheel next to me, but that involved almost bending the spokes to get them into place.. untill i came across a website that shows me how to do it properly ( just like this thread) and its easier then easy now.

Good job

Posted: Mar 19, 2009 at 15:08 Quote
I'm glad everyone appreciates it so far, it took me a while to write!

Posted: Mar 19, 2009 at 17:35 Quote
Was riding the wheel today after I finished dishing it and tensioning it, works like a charm and the hub is awesome!

Posted: Mar 19, 2009 at 18:25 Quote
thanks man, i donno if i'll ever have the patience to build my own wheels, but i read through it and it answered a few wheel questions that were bouncing around in my head

Posted: Mar 19, 2009 at 18:31 Quote
great thread, i personally do it way diferent, i prefer not to start out by fully loading the hub and load it as i go instead, a little trickier to get the spokes in but i find it easyier when the rest of the spokes arnt in my way as i get confused easy lol:P.


nice write up!

Posted: Mar 19, 2009 at 18:43 Quote
This is a good write-up, also important is seating the spokes in the hub using an aluminum punch and/or a plastic mallet. It saves a lot of the settling in process later.

Posted: Mar 19, 2009 at 19:29 Quote
hustler wrote:
This is a good write-up, also important is seating the spokes in the hub using an aluminum punch and/or a plastic mallet. It saves a lot of the settling in process later.

Explain.

Posted: Mar 19, 2009 at 20:03 Quote
He means use the punch to push the spokes heads into the hub tighter so that when you start tensioning it it is all consistant.

Posted: Mar 19, 2009 at 20:20 Quote
rubbersidedown661 wrote:
He means use the punch to push the spokes heads into the hub tighter so that when you start tensioning it it is all consistant.

Word.

The head of the spoke (behind the flare) is kinda conical, especially on higher end spokes, like DT Revolutions. Seating the spokes with a punch (basically a drift punch with a dimple in the end) puts them in the right place in the spoke holes on the hub and makes it possible to get an accurate tension measurement. It doesn't matter for cheap spokes, because the heads on them are formed differently - only on the better ones, or something like Alpines, which don't seat all that well by themselves.

It's not life or death - if you don't do it the spokes will end up there eventually, it just makes the initial build better.

There are other cool aspects to wheel building - like in the old days track guys used to solder the crosses for more stiffness, or 2X or radial lacing in some cases to save weight, or rim offsets ... actually all kinds of stuff. This write-up is a good start, and will work fine for 90% of the wheels out there.

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