How to make cheap and heavy spoke wheel weights

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by Skippii, Jun 27, 2013.

  1. Skippii

    Skippii Milkshakes, my lad.

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    I recently decided to balance my Yahama XT350's rear tire, which has a single rimlock, but has never been balanced.

    First thing I did was duct tape a bunch of 1/2" nuts and bolts to the rim and spokes to figure out how much weight I'd need. Then took them off, and using a digital kitchen scale, worked out I'd need 9oz (255g) of weight, or a little over half a pound. Or 36 of the 1/4oz stick on weights. Clearly, I needed a better solution. So I got a 1-inch pipe nipple.

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    I clamped some scrap metal to either side.

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    And welded the scrap to one side. (The other side just has the scrap metal so I have something to which to clamp.)
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    Simple enough.
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    ...okay, I still suck at welding. I left a little gap in it. Don't leave any holes.
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    Secure it in place...
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    Go to the local tire shop and ask for any old weights they have pulled off vehicles. They gave me about half a pound for free. They have the steel tabs on them, so grab an oxy-acetylene torch. I'm actually using this rosebud torch with oxy-propane, and it works perfectly well for this application. A blowtorch might even be hot enough.

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    Lead is apparently toxic, or so they say. I ate plenty of lead paint chips and solder as a kid and I turned out completely normal, but I guess it's a good idea to wear some kind of protection. I'm not sure how much a respirator cartridge that seems to have been eaten by mice will protect lung from lead fumes, but it's probably better than nothing. I don't know if melting lead produces much in the way of fumes, but I'll want it when cutting and grinding later anyway.

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    Hold the metal tab with vicegrips, and the lead melts off in seconds and drips into the pipe. Only takes a few minutes to fill up the pipe...although when it was about halfway fill, it suddenly started leaking and a bunch of lead came up from the bottom of the brick. It looks like I spilled the lead, but I didn't..I just didn't properly weld the bottom on.

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    Pull out the pipe nipple.

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    ...or not. Damn, that thing is soldered to the brick REALLY well.

    Turn it over and hammer the pipe out...

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    Finally it comes free...
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    Use a brazing tip to melt the lead off the sides and clean it up.

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    Then go over to the drill press, and realize that you now want to secure the pipe again. Should have just left it in the damn brick! Oh well, drill a 1" hole in a block of wood with a spade or forstner bit, then drill a 1/8" hole (or however thick your spokes are) through the pipe.

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    Since the pipe nipple bulges in the middle, I used a rasp the thin the middle of some scrap wood so it would stay in the vice.
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    Cut a slot down to the hole with a metal cutting circular saw.

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    Remember that this needs to go over the spoke nipple as well, so drill out about half with a wider bit.

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    One 5 ounce spoke weight, all finished!

    Slide it on the spoke...
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    I still needed more weight, though, so I got some threaded steel rod...

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    Drilled and cut that as before..
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    That rod was really, really hard to split open enough to get over a spoke.
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    Here they are, 9 ounces of weight, just slid over the spokes.
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    I then used vice grips to clamp them on so they wouldn't come off. The lead pipe was east to clamp on. Then I went over the seam with lead solder and the torch, working quickly so I wouldn't heat up the spoke enough to pop the inner tube. The steel pipe was not so happy to crimp onto the spoke, and ended up deforming my vise-grips after closing just a little bit. That channel was just filled in with solder.
    I put some epoxy on them both, to keep the steel from rusting as well as holding them in place.
    Somehow, I forgot to take a picture of the end result, but rest assured I did makes sure they were very secure before riding it.
    #1
  2. H96669

    H96669 A proud pragmatist.

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    I should have said something after your other post on balancing. I may have had some environmental and safety concerns....:evil Actually too busy at work to post.:pot

    Could have saved you time....money for gas, drill bits and a heck of a mess from the "Great stuff".:lol3 I had a can of that start shooting on me recently,valve got stuck when I removed it from the gun, made a heck of a mess of my freshly cleaned gun but I was working outside so just dropped the can , threw a rag on it and left it on its own for a while.:D

    I did cast a lot of lead with my grandpa back in the days, making battery posts adapters to go from side posts to top posts terminals.

    Crucible was just an old ladle with a pour spout. Attach all the steel weight clips together with wire then melt in the ladle. Pull out the clips.

    Pour was always in a block of hard wood drilled to specs. Let cool and because we had to drill for a bolt we just drilled with the lead still inside the piece of wood.

    Would work to cut a slot, just hacksaw into the wood through the lead. If you lined up the cut with the woodgrain, all it takes is a chiesel to break the wood and free the weights.

    We almost had to do that for my friend's old Triumph resto, but he did find/recycle enough weights. Maybe next time, darn things are expensive.:huh

    I used to be good at filling the bucket with old weights, to the point where I couldn't move it. Now I have lead on my hands and maybe the computer, just checked the fishing tackle box and there is a 12lbs cannon ball that we can't use for fishing, missing a hook. May just come home with me that one.
    #2
  3. ohgood

    ohgood Long timer

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    welding galvenized steel ! danger will robinson ! danger !
    #3
  4. groundrules

    groundrules Long timer

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    just curious- if you need 9oz of weight, isn't something else wrong?
    #4
  5. HapHazard

    HapHazard Waiting for Gudenov

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    Hello, I'm actor Troy McClure. You kids might remember me from such educational films as "Lead Paint, Delicious But Deadly" and "Here Comes the Metric System!"

    One must be aware that in a Skippii how-to thread, certain commonly-held, well-established health and safety guidelines are sure to be either ignored or actively disregarded.
    This should NOT be cause for concern - Skippii has proven to be indestructible, and it is the hallmark of a Skippii thread.
    :lol3
    #5
  6. viverrid

    viverrid not dead yet

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    That looks like WAY more trouble than it is worth. It's only "cheap" if your time is worthless. And yeah, if you need 9 oz. of weight, something else is wrong other than just having a single rim lock. I've had several bikes with a single rim lock (I have one now) and none has ever needed 9 oz. to balance. A rimlock weighs less than 4 oz.

    Really frugal riders have been known to just wrap wire around the spokes for balance weight, but it would take a lot to get to 9 oz. that way.
    #6
  7. stainlesscycle

    stainlesscycle Long timer

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    9 oz. is an insane amount of weight. you may want to demount the tire, remove the tire iron you left inside the tire, and remount. then balance it... the absolute heaviest rim lock i have here is 3.2 ounces...
    #7
  8. viverrid

    viverrid not dead yet

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    lol!!!
    #8
  9. Skippii

    Skippii Milkshakes, my lad.

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    The pipe was not galvanized. They come in galvanized and black steel. I used black steel.
    (If you want to see me weld galvanized, check out the muffler threads. I do it a lot there, but don't recommend it.)
    #9
  10. trailer Rails

    trailer Rails Long timer

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    That option was discussed is the other thread and he stated it was too much work to remove the tire and line up the light spot of the tire with the rim lock.
    #10
  11. Yukon65006

    Yukon65006 .

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    Just zip tie some 1/0 welding cable to a spoke.
    #11
  12. groundrules

    groundrules Long timer

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    how about just zip tying the rest of that brick on there?
    #12
  13. Truckin_Thumper

    Truckin_Thumper low profile

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    Eye Heart Skippii threads :clap
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  14. stainlesscycle

    stainlesscycle Long timer

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    less work than fixing a flat on the side of the road when the tire goes flat, or one of them wheel weights zings off like a bullet through the body part of your choice or tears up your fender??? i think there is a potential for disaster here..
    #14
  15. jantarek

    jantarek Long timer

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    $4.99 at Amzon for bunch of stick on's Link
    but you go on and build your weights if it makes you happy
    #15
  16. ChromeSux

    ChromeSux Plated and screwed

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    Even the guy that invented the wheel did not need 9oz on his first wheel, that is messed up, are you sure this wheel is actually round.
    #16
  17. joexr

    joexr Banned

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    I don't even think his HEAD is round.:huh
    #17
  18. FakeName

    FakeName Wile E Coyote SuperGenius

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    Klr?
    #18
  19. ONandOFF

    ONandOFF ┬┐to post or to ride?

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    An "A" for initiative! When faced with similar circumstances, I took the items of required weight to the motorcycle dealer and asked what they had for balancing weights. Luckily, they produced sizeable lead weights that simply clamp onto the spokes. :norton

    I know... what fun is that? :huh
    #19
  20. crazydrummerdude

    crazydrummerdude Wacky Bongo Boy

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    When else would you encounter lead fumes? :lol3

    FWIW, lead smells like blueberries. I've melted hundreds of pounds. Do it outside and stay up-wind from it; a busted respirator won't help.
    #20