Bicycle Wheel Truing Stand




Introduction: Bicycle Wheel Truing Stand

This is a simple truing stand for bicycle wheels. It's no-frills so it might not appeal to professional bike mechanics but it's perfect for recreational bikers who might only build a few wheels a year. It's made from just a few pieces of steel so it's cheap, and it breaks down nicely for storage.

I made it at TechShop.

To create this wheel truing stand you’ll need the following raw materials:
- 36 in. x 2 in. x 1/8 in. steel angle
- 36 in. x 1 in. x 1/8 in. steel angle

Steel angle (aka angle iron) is just a length of steel that is bent at a 90 degree angle along its long axis, forming an L in cross-section. It’s pretty cheap and you can get the two pieces you need from your big-box hardware depot for about $20.

You will also need the following tools (all of which are available at TechShop):
- Angle iron bender/notcher
- Vertical bandsaw
- Disk grinder or hand file (to clean up rough edges)
- MIG welder
- C-clamps, welding magnets

These are tools that I had available to me at TechShop so that’s what I used. This wheel truing stand is pretty simple so other metalworking tools and techniques can be used to build this project.

Step 1: Make the Parts

The first few operations are done on the Iron Worker, a machine that can punch, shear and notch metal. Here’s an Instructable with more info:

Using the Iron Worker’s shear function, cut 2 x 14.5 in. lengths of the 1 in. steel angle. These will become the uprights to hold the wheel.

Using the shear function, cut 2 x 14 in. lengths of the 2 in. steel angle. These will become the base for the truing stand. Next, using the notching function, cut out 6 inches in the middle of each base piece. This notch is where the uprights will go and the 6 inches is enough so you can handle wheels with up to 135 mm spacing. If you want to build wheels with a larger spacing (e.g. tandems), you’ll need to adjust accordingly.

The notcher will leave a bit of a raised edge so you’ll want to even it out a bit, especially near the ends where the uprights will go. I used a hand file to do this.

Use a disk sander, grinder and/or hand file to clean up any rough edges.

Step 2: Notch the Uprights

Using the vertical bandsaw, cut a notch into each end of the upright. Each leg of the notch is roughly half an inch, it doesn’t have to be too exact, just big enough for the wheel axle to rest in. Since the two uprights need to be identical to each other (not mirror-images), cut the notch in the same side for each upright.

Line up the notches back to back, clamp the uprights together and use a hand file to make sure both notches are the same size and depth.

Step 3: Assembly

All the parts are now done, time to do some assembly.

The idea is to weld one upright to one base piece, then repeat so you end up with two identical units. You could do these individually but I wanted to make sure the uprights were even and the notches lined up so I clamped everything together and tack welded the parts first.

Clamp the two uprights together, making sure the notches lined up. Position the base plates in the fully-closed position and insert the uprights. Because we want the notches to align, the faces of the uprights and base pieces do not overlap anywhere. The two pieces only have about 3 inches where edges butt up against faces. It’s a bit difficult to describe, just take a look at the pictures.

Fiddle around with clamps, welding magnets and shims until everything is plumb and level, then tack weld. With all the pieces clamped together it can get confusing, make sure you understand how it’s all supposed to go together so you tack the right pieces together.

Now unclamp everything and complete your welds.

Step 4: All Done

And there you have it, your complete wheel truing stand. Just flip one base/upright unit around and position the base pieces back-to-back, slide them side-to-side to get the desired spacing between the uprights and clamp the base pieces together. The stand is pretty stable all by itself but you can clamp it to a workbench if you want.

This is a no-frills wheel truing stand and lacks any calipers or guides to show wheel trueness or roundness.  I currently use the extension nozzle from a can of lubricant to serve as a guide. Works well enough for the two or three times a year when I build a wheel. If I get ambitious I may create a set of calipers that attach magnetically to the base.

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    14 Discussions

    I was a bike mechanic for 7 years, You can save it. Truing a wheel requires only a spoke wrench and the forks of the bike the wheel is mounted on.
    Simply, all you need to do is adjust the spoke tension as the wheel is on the fork and tune it according to spacing visually against either a stationary mark (brake apparatus) or a finger held in parallel to the fork pointing at the wheel rim.
    Good effort though, this stand looks like a really good design, it would probably serve its purpose.

    Seems like you could run some threaded rod through the lower part of the uprights from either side (maybe with sharpened tips), and you'd have simple calipers for truing. You could make markings to make sure dishing was good.

    Of course this would only work for one size rim, but you could have multiple positions for smaller wheels!!?

    1 reply

    Lucky for me, I inherited a pro-Park Truing stand from a Bike club years ago... :) but this is a nice simple design.

    Voted, and it went to my Blog:

    The idea is simple and neat and it can fit both front and rear wheels.
    I would improve the notched area removing part of the angular making more room for the locking device of the wheel, so it will look more like the front fork drop out. Locking the wheel on the stand is very important to make a precise truing of the wheel and in this case to make the stand even more solid.
    Also I would add some brakets to install a comparator or a adjustable reference both for lateral and radial truing. I also made my own stand but even using brake pads on the bicycle as reference it's possible to have very good results. I use the stand only when I need to make heavy repair where for example I need to hammer (using a piece of wood in between) the rim to repair radial bumps that are impossible to solve working only on the tension of the spokes. Of course the stand has to be fixed on a vise.

    1 reply

    Thanks for the suggestions. You're right, removing some material from the upright would let me use the QR skewer to secure the wheel to the stand, I hadn't thought of that. I am planning to add some sort of gauge or feelers to show trueness and roundness, just haven't worked out the design yet.

    I found that it is faster and easier and cheaper to just turn your bicycle upside down and use it for a truing stand. Use the brakes as a reference and "true" away.

    1 reply

    I do the same thing when I need to true up a wheel with a wobble, but when I'm building a new wheel a dedicated stand make a huge difference.

    Nice and simple idea. I've got a few ideas how I can use this to make something similar as I've no welding facilities available but have wood and plastic. If I get something done I'll put it up for scrutiny.

    This is a simple design for a very useful thing, I love it. for anyone who does not own a welder or does not have a techshop nearby you can also make it from wood.

    Its a clean design, but whatever happened to the old tradition of either just taking a pair of old forks, and spreading one to take rear wheels, or one fork, and one set of chainstays w/bottom bracket chopped out of an otherwise dead frame.

    1 reply

    I didn't have an old fork handy or else I might have gone that route. But it was also fun to come up with something new and different.