Bestest workstation

Photo courtesy of Wheelworks

Many people ask about the best setup for running Wheel Analytics or think we prefer a particular setup because of a demonstration. The tablet configuration seen at trade shows is a good example.

The ideal setup is a personal matter. The Islandix recommendation is to build a workstation using parts you have already. If you have a tablet, for example one used for Di2 programming, try that. If you have a computer or laptop, try that. See what you like and what you don’t. These options are pretty different in terms of workbench layout.

Some people find this advice too generic and ask a followup question: what would the ideal workstation look like if it was purpose-built from scratch? Arguments can be made both ways but I like computers better than tablets for a few reasons. First, screen size with a computer is unlimited, which means you can mount it further back. At the expense of space behind the truing stand you get less clutter in your near field with no loss of visibility. Second, computers have better browsers and better browser choice. We find desktop browsers have the best printing support, especially if you want to do advanced things like send reports to a label printer. Third, computers have USB support. The WA-1 controller can plug into a computer directly, receiving power and data over USB. It creates a tiny single-purpose network consisting of your computer and the controller, totally isolated from the rest of your network. A private USB connection does not suffer from interference compared to Wifi and seems to generate fewer support requests for this reason. Finally, for all these advantages a computer setup can be less expensive than a modern tablet. It’s perfectly acceptable to use a toy computer like the Raspberry Pi 400 to drive the big screen.

New for 2024

Islandix is gearing up for 2024. The production schedule for the next twelve months has been set down — with more parts on hand we can plan for evenly spaced deliveries through the year. Dates and pricing in the online shop. Here are updates to help us meet the challenges of growth:

Shipping

Islandix has shipped to over 20 countries, which makes flat-rate freight difficult. From 2024 shipping is invoiced at actual cost (no handling charges or other fees). Helpfully better shipping contracts and new custom packaging make freight cheaper than last year. You have a choice of DHL, FedEx, UPS and tracked airmail. Have access to better rates? We’re happy to charge nothing and ship with your label.

Warranty

Islandix products have proven robust in the field with a failure rate approaching zero. From 2024 the warranty term on Islandix-manufactured products will be upgraded to three years! This change is retroactive, applying to past purchases. The warranty on accessories, including Mitutoyo, remains one year.

The Islandix warranty is (and has always been) a return-for-repair service. Parts, labor and one-way airmail with tracking are included. If Islandix is mission-critical in your workshop, consider owning an expansion kit since that will keep you going even if a controller is sent for repair.

Premium support

It’s tricky to market Wheel Analytics to small shops and volume manufacturers at the same time. The tool is the same but the needs are not. Islandix strives to keep prices affordable so little is built into the price for service luxuries.

2024 introduces IslandixCare, a premium support plan for manufacturing environments. It adds telephone and videoconference options on top of standard email support. Premium includes warranty service upgrades including expedited cross-shipment of replacement parts. It upgrades the guarantee on all Islandix tools in your workshop to lifetime warranty for the duration of your subscription. IslandixCare is $69 CAD per month (approx. $49 USD, €49 EUR).

Tablet mounting

There have been a few questions about the tablet setup shown at MADE and on Instagram. If you have a tablet in your shop, as many do for Di2 setup, dock it at your truing stand and have it work double duty.

How to make one? Browse photography accessories to find a holder that fits your tablet. The Islandix tablet is an older iPad mounted with an AliExpress tablet holder. The holder is fixed to the truing stand using an AliExpress clamp with articulating arm. The install required no modification to the Park Tool truing stand and doesn’t rely on pre-drilled holes.

Islandix + Abbey

If you subscribe to the Islandix newsletter, you’ve seen this already. It’s the Abbey Bike Tools truing stand. Major wow factor! Machined in Bend, Oregon this stand is designed to hold center so you can track dish continuously. It’s a limited batch release and you can get yours bundled with Islandix tools for quantitative truing. Read more at Bike Rumor.

Truing and tensioning

Wheel Analytics expansion kits were announced in March. The main use case is truing and tensioning at the same time.

Software version 1.2.4 offers improvements for these workflows. A default tensio port can now be configured, which is helpful when a dedicated port is available. And extra logic has been added to manage foot pedal input. Now foot pedal signals will be directed only to the window with focus.

Usage is straightforward. On any windowing system simply open two windows and position them as you like. Mac OS has a feature called Split View, that makes it easy to tile windows and run them full screen. It’s similar on iOS. On Windows there’s a comparable feature called Snap.

Top workshop

Photo courtesy of Wheelworks

Top wheelbuilders are picky about their tools — their tools need to work as hard as they do. That describes Islandix customers generally but Wheelworks of New Zealand takes it a step further with in-house customization. This look at the Wheelworks workstation is an inspiring read.

Digital dish

This video shows how Wheel Analytics can track wheel centering, also called dish. First the tool takes samples from both sides of the wheel using cues from the foot pedal. Then the visualization calculates dish at the same time as lateral and radial alignment. In the example above dish error is 0.10mm, which is a great result. In all it takes about 35 seconds to measure dish accurately and quantitatively. From this point the wheel can be adjusted and dish will be automatically recalculated without further setup (calibration stability depends on the truing stand).

In normal use perfect dish means a dish error of 0.00mm. If you’re building wheels with offset dish, then perfect dish could be some positive value. Cannondale Ai wheels, for example, have 6mm offset dish. Wheel Analytics accommodates these wheels seamlessly and is the only truing tool that can measure such wheels without adapters.

Read more →

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.

Scaling Wheel Analytics

The Islandix WA-1 controller has two ports because that’s the most common configuration — one port for the lateral indicator and one port for radial. It’s the least expensive to produce, which makes transistor truing available to the most workshops.

If you want to true a disc rotor, you need to borrow one of the ports. If you want to compute tension statistics with your tensiometer, you need to borrow one of the ports. Normally this is no big deal.

Even so sometimes the busiest workshops want more than two. Instead of offering separate electronics with three ports and four ports, the Islandix solution is to deploy multiple WA-1 tools — as many as you like, when your needs require. The included USB power supply supports up to three already. And now there’s a splitter cable that lets two controllers share one foot pedal. Sharing a pedal keeps your workbench simple and organized.

Currently a Wheel Analytics expansion kit is $349 CAD (approx. $259 USD, €239 EUR). It includes a WA-1 controller, foot pedal sharing adapter and USB cable.

On necessity

The ability to build a workstation with more than two ports is a customer-requested feature and that’s why it exists. We also think it’s perfectly reasonable to use a tensiometer without a cable and without software most of the time — and this is the best way to get started. If you only need the extra port at the end of the build, swapping isn’t too onerous. If you find yourself swapping often, the expansion kit may be for you.

A subtle but very nice benefit of having a second controller is redundancy in your toolkit. If you break one, you can fall back to using a single controller (with cable swapping) until you can manage a warranty repair.

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