Nipple driver needed

Nipple driver needed

Postby petie » Tue Jan 01, 2013 1:10 pm

Alas and alack, I have been putting off building my first wheel for a few months. Now, I mustered up the courage and realised I needed a nipple driver, so decided to make one (like the internets most famous wheelbuilder, Roger Musson, suggests). I have bashed and whacked the stupid screwdriver I am trying to fashion into a nipple driver a thousand times and am getting nowhere. I live in a bloody apartment too, so no vice or decent work area to be found.

So.

Does anyone have a nipple driver I could borrow or a vice so I can finish making my tool? Heres hoping I still have some energy to build the wheel! :?
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by BNA » Wed Jan 02, 2013 7:17 am

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Re: Nipple driver needed

Postby Jean » Wed Jan 02, 2013 7:17 am

I have a DIY Musson driver, but my Dad, who likes to tinker with metal, did it for me. IIRC he had to apply heat (with a blow torch I think) to get the bends in it. You could try a cheaper screwdriver, which should be easier to bend. The job of screwing in nipples doesn't require any great strength and durability from the tool, so a cheapie screwdriver would be OK.

If you get stuck you can PM me and either come over to use my driver or we could have go at making the tool. I've got a bench grinder, small kitchen blow torch, a metal working vise and a ball pein hammer - how hard can it be :roll:
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Re: Nipple driver needed

Postby find_bruce » Wed Jan 02, 2013 8:11 am

Whereabouts are you petie ?

One of my new years goals is to make a nipple driver, so if you are anywhere near 5 dock in Sydney we could have a crack together
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Re: Nipple driver needed

Postby RonK » Wed Jan 02, 2013 10:05 am

petie wrote:Alas and alack, I have been putting off building my first wheel for a few months. Now, I mustered up the courage and realised I needed a nipple driver, so decided to make one (like the internets most famous wheelbuilder, Roger Musson, suggests). I have bashed and whacked the stupid screwdriver I am trying to fashion into a nipple driver a thousand times and am getting nowhere. I live in a bloody apartment too, so no vice or decent work area to be found.

So.

Does anyone have a nipple driver I could borrow or a vice so I can finish making my tool? Heres hoping I still have some energy to build the wheel! :?

Ha - you are procrastinating. I was guided by Musson's publication for my wheel build and used an ordinary screwdriver. :roll:

Yes, as Roger suggests, a specialised nipple driver will be handy if you build a lot of wheels, but is far from essential essential.

Just get on with it and put the wheel together. :lol: :lol: :lol:
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Re: Nipple driver needed

Postby Jean » Wed Jan 02, 2013 10:32 am

RonK wrote:
petie wrote:Alas and alack, I have been putting off building my first wheel for a few months. Now, I mustered up the courage and realised I needed a nipple driver, so decided to make one (like the internets most famous wheelbuilder, Roger Musson, suggests). I have bashed and whacked the stupid screwdriver I am trying to fashion into a nipple driver a thousand times and am getting nowhere. I live in a bloody apartment too, so no vice or decent work area to be found.

So.

Does anyone have a nipple driver I could borrow or a vice so I can finish making my tool? Heres hoping I still have some energy to build the wheel! :?

Ha - you are procrastinating. I was guided by Musson's publication for my wheel build and used an ordinary screwdriver. :roll:

Yes, as Roger suggests, a specialised nipple driver will be handy if you build a lot of wheels, but is far from essential essential.

Just get on with it and put the wheel together. :lol: :lol: :lol:


A half way solution would be to use a normal screwdriver with the modification made just to the tip. That's the important part because as you first screw the nipples onto the spokes the modified tip is a gauge that gives you a standard engagement across the wheel. It means that as you start tensioning you have a standard starting point.

The cranked handle of a proper driver makes it easier to to the job, but it's the tip that's important.
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Re: Nipple driver needed

Postby RonK » Wed Jan 02, 2013 11:11 am

Jean wrote:
RonK wrote:
petie wrote:Alas and alack, I have been putting off building my first wheel for a few months. Now, I mustered up the courage and realised I needed a nipple driver, so decided to make one (like the internets most famous wheelbuilder, Roger Musson, suggests). I have bashed and whacked the stupid screwdriver I am trying to fashion into a nipple driver a thousand times and am getting nowhere. I live in a bloody apartment too, so no vice or decent work area to be found.

So.

Does anyone have a nipple driver I could borrow or a vice so I can finish making my tool? Heres hoping I still have some energy to build the wheel! :?

Ha - you are procrastinating. I was guided by Musson's publication for my wheel build and used an ordinary screwdriver. :roll:

Yes, as Roger suggests, a specialised nipple driver will be handy if you build a lot of wheels, but is far from essential essential.

Just get on with it and put the wheel together. :lol: :lol: :lol:


A half way solution would be to use a normal screwdriver with the modification made just to the tip. That's the important part because as you first screw the nipples onto the spokes the modified tip is a gauge that gives you a standard engagement across the wheel. It means that as you start tensioning you have a standard starting point.

The cranked handle of a proper driver makes it easier to to the job, but it's the tip that's important.

If I was going to be building a lot of wheels I'd use an electric screwdriver, with an Philips screwdriver bit modified slightly on a grinder (get a small one for a few bucks from Bunnings). Then screw up the nipples such that there is an even amount of thread showing before I start hand tensioning.

Or better still, buy an IceToolz nipple tightening bit.
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Re: Nipple driver needed

Postby Jean » Wed Jan 02, 2013 11:32 am

Geez $18, not bad. A quick Google found a manual version for <$8 from Taiwan on Fleabay.
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Re: Nipple driver needed

Postby petie » Wed Jan 02, 2013 5:09 pm

Jean wrote:I have a DIY Musson driver, but my Dad, who likes to tinker with metal, did it for me. IIRC he had to apply heat (with a blow torch I think) to get the bends in it. You could try a cheaper screwdriver, which should be easier to bend. The job of screwing in nipples doesn't require any great strength and durability from the tool, so a cheapie screwdriver would be OK.

If you get stuck you can PM me and either come over to use my driver or we could have go at making the tool. I've got a bench grinder, small kitchen blow torch, a metal working vise and a ball pein hammer - how hard can it be :roll:



tried to bend today in a vice....broke the screwdriver :(

Jean wrote:
RonK wrote:Ha - you are procrastinating. I was guided by Musson's publication for my wheel build and used an ordinary screwdriver. :roll:

Yes, as Roger suggests, a specialised nipple driver will be handy if you build a lot of wheels, but is far from essential essential.

Just get on with it and put the wheel together. :lol: :lol: :lol:
A half way solution would be to use a normal screwdriver with the modification made just to the tip. That's the important part because as you first screw the nipples onto the spokes the modified tip is a gauge that gives you a standard engagement across the wheel. It means that as you start tensioning you have a standard starting point.

The cranked handle of a proper driver makes it easier to to the job, but it's the tip that's important.


yes, the modified tip with a normal screwdriver is my next plan. As you mention, I am super keen to have the uniform engagement (i.e. I don't trust my ability to tension the wheel...) And yes, I am procrastinating BADLY :cry:
find_bruce wrote:Whereabouts are you petie ?

One of my new years goals is to make a nipple driver, so if you are anywhere near 5 dock in Sydney we could have a crack together

Would love to, but am in Canberra. Good Luck (hopefully you have more luck than I did :D )
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Re: Nipple driver needed

Postby RonK » Wed Jan 02, 2013 5:33 pm

petie wrote:As you mention, I am super keen to have the uniform engagement (i.e. I don't trust my ability to tension the wheel...)

But you are not going to apply tension using a screwdriver? Surely you will use a spoke key for that?

If you have calculated the spoke length correctly, the tension should be just coming on when the spoke threads are fully covered. Then start to tension with a spoke key.

You did buy spoke tension gauge?
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Re: Nipple driver needed

Postby petie » Wed Jan 02, 2013 10:01 pm

RonK wrote:
petie wrote:As you mention, I am super keen to have the uniform engagement (i.e. I don't trust my ability to tension the wheel...)

But you are not going to apply tension using a screwdriver? Surely you will use a spoke key for that?

If you have calculated the spoke length correctly, the tension should be just coming on when the spoke threads are fully covered. Then start to tension with a spoke key.

You did buy spoke tension gauge?


no no, I just have this thing in my head that starting with the same tension will make it easier. Final tensioning will be done by spoke key. I have been contemplating using thread engagement as my measure, but there could be a whole turn difference depending on which angle I look at :shock: :shock: :shock: :lol:
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Re: Nipple driver needed

Postby Jean » Thu Jan 03, 2013 8:04 am

petie wrote:no no, I just have this thing in my head that starting with the same tension will make it easier. Final tensioning will be done by spoke key. I have been contemplating using thread engagement as my measure, but there could be a whole turn difference depending on which angle I look at :shock: :shock: :shock: :lol:


Indeed, as Musson stresses, the great value of a nipple driver is that it gives you a uniform starting point. I don't think you can get around not having one of some sort, though you can build wheels without a tensionometer (as I do).
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