MADE it out alive

Photo courtesy of MADE

It was energizing to meet so many enthusiastic folks at MADE 2023 — a special thank you to everyone who visited the Islandix booth! A double dose of appreciation to existing Islandix customers who visited (including other show vendors who use Islandix tools internally). And finally thanks to Wheel Fanatyk for sharing a booth filled with essential tools.

Many things were learned from these conversations. Visitors who got the full demo always asked about cost and the most common response was they expected to pay more. We see so many tools with less R&D — yet higher prices than Wheel Analytics — that we feel good about our accessibility. Prices will remain at current levels for the rest of 2023.

Economical indicators

MADE visitors were shown digital sensor options beyond the premium choices in the online shop. We’ve tested dozens in the Islandix lab and settled on two budget recommendations: iGaging 35-705 and Terma IDA910. The key difference between them is the threading for indicator tips. iGaging uses #4-48 threading, which is best if you want to transfer the tips from Park Tool indicators. Terma uses M2.5 threading, which is best if you want to buy tips from Islandix.


Indicator tips

For your convenience indicator tips are available with Wheel Analytics. You don’t need to buy indicators to buy indicator tips.

Many were tested before coming up with this kit. Mitutoyo tips are the gold standard and these are just as good. Possibly better if you appreciate the large-diameter knurled locknut on the lateral probe.

Note: Islandix tips are for indicators with M2.5 threads, which is the standard for indicators in most of the world outside America. Indicators offered in the Islandix online shop are all M2.5-threaded.

Indicator backs

Indicators are sold with lug backs, flat backs or both. Lug backs are a good way to mount indicators on most truing stands. As an example they make for drop-in replacements on Park Tool TS-2/3/4 truing stands. Flat backs are an alternative if you plan to mount indicators by their stems and want to keep the rear tidy. Magnetic indicator mounts and most tensiometers use a stem clamp design.

iGaging indicators and Terma indicators include both styles so you can switch back and forth. Mitutoyo indicators are sold as one style or the other, however you can purchase extra backs to convert a flat back to a lug back or vice versa. By Mitutoyo part numbering conventions, models numbers ending in the letter ‘B’ ship with flat backs. Model numbers not ending with ‘B’ ship with lug backs.

The Mitutoyo indicators available from Islandix come with a lug back by default but we’re happy to switch to flat backs at no cost.

Going digital

Thinking about adding digital indicators to your truing stand but not ready to dive into visualization just yet? This post contains pointers to digital indicators you can add to your truing stand so visualization is an option when the time comes.

Islandix Wheel Analytics interfaces with digital indicators that conform to the Mitutoyo Digimatic SPC standard. Data is read using a special uplink cable (available for purchase with Wheel Analytics). You can’t go wrong with Mitutoyo indicators but the market is served by compatible brands too.

The Mitutoyo 543 range is a great choice. 543-5XX and 543-7XX models are my preference. You’ll see lots of options with different feature combinations depending on your preferences and what you have already.


Say you want to replace your Park Tool analog indicators with Mitutoyo 543. Look for a model with #4-48 UNF threads, which lets you re-use the nice #4-48-threaded indicator tips from your Park Tool kit. The Park Tool truing stand attaches indicators using a lug back so pick a Mitutoyo model with this feature (all model numbers except those ending in ‘B’). Compatible indicators for this specification include 543-506, 543-507, 543-783, 543-792, 543-793 and 543-796 among others. All Mitutoyo products are premium quality and the least expensive are perfectly suitable for driving visualizations.

Other brands implement the same standard, which means there are options at difference prices. For example iGaging 35-705-10 has the same data interface. It uses #4-48 UNF threads and features a lug back, which makes it a drop in replacement for Park Tool analog indicators. Finding iGaging indicators below $100 USD is pretty easy, often as low as $70. Try iGagingStore or eBay.