Introduction: Home Mechanic Bicycle Wheel Truing Stand
Truing stands cost a bundle and bike shops typically charge $25-35 to true up a wheel. For the home mechanic, a shop-made truing stand will do the job just nicely and costs a fraction of what one will cost in a bike shop.
This project requires no welding, no special tools or equipment and can be made with materials easily available from a hardware store and with basic hand tools.
Dimensions are all in metric, so if you stil use Roman measurement, you'll have to convert. You will need:
1.5m length of 50 x 30 x 3 RHS aluminium
200mm scrap of 3mm aluminium flat bar. Size isn't critical, but it should be at least 30m wide
6mm threaded rod - about a 300mm length should do
A couple of countersunk head sheetmetal or self tapping screws
Material for the base (optional), I made mine out of a plastic cutting board. Plywood or MDF will do
Total cost for this project is about $30.
Step 1: Cut the RHS to Length
Cut 3 lengths of the 50 x 30 RHS:
2 x 500mm for the legs
1 x 141mm for the base
Cut as square as you can. The legs aren't critical, but the base section needs to be as square as possible
Step 2: Square Up the Base Section
Sand, file, mill or whatever you need to do to make the base section square.
Step 3: Bottom Bolt
Cut a length of the 6mm threaded rod long enough to go through the base and the inner walls of the legs, and take a nut and washer on each end. See drawing. File or sand/grind the ends and chamfer so the nuts will go on.
Step 4: Drill the Base Section
Drill a 6mm clearance hole on the inside of each of the legs so the threaded rod can hold the base secton to the legs. When assembled, the base section need to mount flush with the legs, so take this into account when you decide where to drill the holes for the threaded rod. Don't assemble yet.
Step 5: V Slot at the Top of Each Leg
On the INSIDE and the top of each leg, drill a 5mm hole in the centre about 30mm from the end. The distance from the top isn't critical. 30mm or so is close enough. Mark and cut a V notch to the top of each leg. The top of the notch needs to be at least 20mm wide. Again, not critical, it has to take the biggest size axle you're planning to use. If you're going to use the stand for 20mm thru axles, make the notch opening about 25mm.
Step 6: Cutout at the Top of Each Leg
Mark and cut a section out of the top of each leg. Not critial how big - it should provide enough clearance to take the cam lever on an axle or skewer. I made mine 60mm from the top and left about 10mm from the insde.
Step 7: Assemble the Base
Use the threaded rod and nuts to assemble the base to the legs. Tighten the nuts just enough to hold the assembly together.
Step 8: Add the Flat Bar for Bracing and Squareness
Cut the flat bar to lenght so it's as wide as the base and legs. Drill and tap, or use sheetmetal screws to fix the flat bar to the base and legs as shown. Before you mount it, check that the legs are parallel. Clamp or brace the legs so they're parrallel before you fix the brace in place.
Step 9: Cut a Slot for the Rim Guide in One of the Legs
The rim guide is made out of a piece of 6mm threaded rod so cut a slot in both sides of one of the legs to take it. It doesn't matter which side. You can do both if you like. The slot needs to be positioned so that the guide will line up with the rim of the wheel when it's mounted in the stand. Mount a wheel in the stand to figure out where to put the guide. A slot about 50mm long and about 150mm from the base should work.
Note; if you aren't confident cutting a slot, figure out where the guide needs to be and drill holes instead.
Step 10: Make the Rim Guide
You can make this out of just a length of threaded rod, or put a tip on it like I did. It's a scrap of 10mm white Delrin. If you don't have a knob for adjustment, use a wingnut.
Step 11: Add a Base (optional)
Make a base big enough so it doesn't topple over and screw it to the stand with CSH screws. I bolt the whole assembly to the bench when I use it.
Step 12: Tips for Using the Stand
To use it, drop a wheel in the notches at the top of the legs so it's evenly positioned in the centre. It's important that the wheel turns on its own bearings and not simply on the axle or skewer, so add washers on each side or make some spacers so the legs of the stand apply enough pressure to make the wheel turn on its bearing as it would if were mounted in a bike. You can use the bike's own axle or skewer to mount the wheel on the stand, or make one to suit. Adjust the guide so that it just touches misses the rim when it's rotated.