May 11, 2014 2 Comments
[Note: this is #20 of a series of 20]
Fast, effective, enjoyable wheel building depends on details. Never miss a trick. No matter how small, they add up to mastery and fun. Imagine being paid to have fun?
Lacing is where many otherwise-advanced builders lose time. Who takes lacing as seriously as tension balancing and truing? Well, if it costs time and affects subsequent steps, take it seriously. Wheel Fanatyk re-introduces an historic trick for the lacing stage: a simple tray designed to sort nipples. Behold, the Wheel Fanatyk Nipple Shuffler.
Nipple shuffling is key to fast lacing. Ours is a precise tray with slots of exact width and spacing, made of wood, built individually by a master wheel smithy in Montana.
Dump nipples in the tray and shuffle. Play dance music, get hip action. Any shuffle works but best are movements in the direction of the slots. Presto, the nipples are sorted.
Sitting neatly in uniform positions, slots up, nipples can be quickly grabbed with a tapered tip driver. Brett Fleming at EVT makes the Mulfinger tool . Other builders through the years made theirs from short spoke stubs: ground to a tapered point, fitted with a nipple (crimped or overtightened).
The Wheel Fanatyk Nipple Driver is a bearing equipped, nickel plated, brass pin vise with 2 collets (four grip diameters).
We use the 13g collet option and a 13g stainless spoke shortened and precision ground to a 2° taper. We provide two tip lengths: one for rims up to 30mm depth and one for rims up to 50mm. You can make your own of any length from a 13g spoke. Simply taper the end with your bench grinder until it grabs and turns nipples.
Natural interference between the tip’s 2° taper and the nipple bore lets you turn the nipple a few revolutions onto the spoke. The tool’s bearing top rotates freely in your palm as you turn, for a comfortable, stable feel.
The Wheel Fanatyk kit (tray and driver) is an optimal solution to the lacing stage, a workshop must.
After loose lacing, use a driver (like ProblemSolver) to draw each nipple down to the same spoke length. But oh such joy is shuffling. Try sorting nipples, dump them back in the dish, and sort again. Shuffle sorting is soothing, irresistible. Imagine being paid to have fun!
November 02, 2021
Nice tool. I used mine several times this week and really enjoyed it.
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November 02, 2021
Really like the box, and it does exactly what I hoped it would, however it would be nice if you could update the item description on the order page to mention that it now comes in different colors/woods
I had ordered one expecting the original “bamboo” color, but the one that arrived looks is much darker, and appears to be made of walnut, or a stained darker bamboo strand.
The only reason I mention this is that I had planned on engraving a quote on the box as a gift, and the darker wood makes it difficult to see against the grain.
Thank you for making such a neat product!