WheelBuilder Personal Edition

Release Date: Ver 1 0.2: 12/05/2011
Terms: Free for personal use
Requirements: OS X 10.4. or higher; Windows XP or higher: ~ 1min download
Technical Support: wheelbuilders@me.com

WheelBuilder PE by daLynchi is a database that incorporates a Spoke Length Calculator, post-build analyser and gear calculator. Why another spoke length calculator? Yes, there's plenty out there on the 'net, many of them with long and honourable histories. Well first of all I wanted something that did not rely on an internet connection (once you've downloaded the application that is). Secondly I wanted something that could record my wheel builds without having to register on a web site and where I can record anything I like, not just what the web site allows. And finally I wanted something self-contained, that is it doesn't require another programme such as Excel in order for it to function.

WheelBuilder PE is built upon a database so that each wheel you build can have its own record. It's also what is called a "run-time" which means that all the database functionality is built in to it so that you don't need any other software for it to run. This does lead to a larger file size than you might expect to download but it's still only a minute or so over a broadband connection. (Comparable to bundling for example, Excel plus a spreadsheet-based spoke length calculator). A single compressed file is provided for either Mac or Windows.

WheelBuilder PE is copyright but is provided free for personal use.

Download: Mac | Win

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Installation is simple and very much the same for both Mac and PC. Once you have downloaded and decompressed the software for your platform, simply drag the resulting folder to any convenient place on your disk. WheelBuilder PE is a self-contained application that requires no additional software to run.

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Double-click the folder icon - the one with the little black arrow on it to launch WBPE. (The Windows folder displays many more files but the one to launch is still the one with the folder icon.)

Download: Mac | Win

Post-build Analysis

Many wheel builders produce true and reliable wheels simply through experience and feel they have no need for the amount of detailed recording offered here. That’s fine and I would not argue with them about it. But it’s equally true that if you build a wheel for someone else, then as soon as you hand it over, you have no control over the kind of treatment it will receive. How do you subsequently prove, should a dispute arise, that the wheel was fit for purpose when new? You can only do so if you record its radial, lateral and dishing dimensions and the final spoke tensions. Tedious though this may be, with practice it will probably add no more than 15mins of your time to the overall build. Of course, you will also need to use deflection gauges and a tensiometer.

Comments welcome:
wheelbuilders@me.com if that's a prob.

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Download: Mac | Win

Gear Calculator
Well, since we are interested in wheels I thought this would be handy. Gear Inches, Development and Speed in both imperial and metric units with drive train capacities and chain length calculation.

Once again there are plenty of gear calculators available already so why do another one? Firstly for convenience - it's built right in to where you record your wheels. But secondly I figured two is better than one. Mostly what you want to do when thinking about gearing is to compare one set up with another. So the calculator here is actually two calculators side by side so you can do just that.

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Download: Mac | Win

Measuring Components

Wheel building newsgroups are littered with threads asking for databases of hub and rim dimensions for spoke length calculation. Whilst a database of components seems like a simple thing to do at first, it doesn't take long to realise how difficult such it is to maintain. Just scraping initial information from different manufacturer's published spec's is tedious enough but keeping up to date with their new products is near impossible.

Experienced wheel builders don't rely completely on published specs anyway so why not learn how to measure the components yourself? It's not difficult and I have provided what I hope are plenty of descriptions in the help files.

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It's a work in progress but I have WheelBuilder PE a video of how to measure your hub and rim. I haven't yet optimised it for download so it's a still a 13Mb QT file at the moment.

Download: QT | Win

WBPE Manual

Download : PDF

Coming Up
The observant will notice a couple of unused buttons. There's other tools I'd like to implement so watch this space!

Donations very gratefully received.