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  1. #1
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    (MkIII) Homemade Headset Tools...



    This post is one in a series of twelve posts depcting the build of my Hollowpoint MkIII.
    Link to MkIII / Speedhub bike build post.



    Oh goody, more homemade tool solutions.

    About four years ago, I put together a post titled "Thanks Gearjunky - 99¢ headset cup remover". It was a length of PVC tubing sliced open at the ends to impersonate a headset cup remover. Only problem was that every few uses, the PVC would become chipped along the edges and eventually shatter. Someone much smarter than I ran with Gearjunky's idea, but made their tool out of copper pipe. Not too long ago, I copied, and have been using this for maybe a year already. I must say, it's much improved over the old PVC design.

    This is a simple piece of 1" copper, capped on one end, and flared open on the other with four 4" cuts. Combined with a rubber stopper to hold the flares open during the removal process, it's worked like a champ each and every time. And, since I'm banging on metal and not plastic, I retired the rubber mallet for a real hammer. Bangs out headset cups in a snap.

    The second tool is a low-tech headset press. God bless Mike T., but I simply can't bring myself to whack a headset cup into the frame using a 2x4 and a hammer.

    For me, the answer is a simple 3/4" x 8" UNF (fine-threaded) bolt with a stack of fender washers. A 1/2" bolt would be ever better for this application. The UNF threading requires 16 turns per inch of movement for a 3/4" bolt, or 20 turns per inch for a 1/2" bolt.

    Avoid coarse threaded UNC bolts of similar diameters -- they would require 10 and 13 turns per inch, respectively, resulting in a less even press and a greater chance for the cut to get crooked while going in.

    Here's a bunch of pictures.



















    Index of MkIII Build Posts

    MAIN: MkIII / Speedhub Build Pics

    Iron Horse MkIII Naked Frame (March 2005)

    Hollowpoint Speedhub Build Pictures (April 2003)

    Cane Creek AD-12 Air Chamber Volume Adjustment

    White Brothers 2006 Technology
    White Brothers DT 1.2 Fork Porn

    Stripping Anodization

    Bottom Bracket Drain Hole Drilling & Installation

    Drilling Out Cable Stops (Full Length Cable Run)

    Dremel Cut & Prep of Cable & Housing
    Hopey Steering Damper Installation

    Stripping & Polishing an Aluminum Frame

    Homemade Headset Removal & Installation Tools

    Star Fangled Nut Removal (Drilling out the Star Nut)
    Last edited by Speedub.Nate; 09-15-2005 at 07:56 PM.
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  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Speedub.Nate
    .......bless Mike T., but I simply can't bring myself to whack a headset cup into the frame using a 2x4 and a hammer.
    I think of it as "gently caressing" the cups into the frame with a 2x4 and a hammer Nate. I look upon my hammer taps as intermittent pressing motions. People have this nightmarish idea that one needs to pound aways with a FBH (firkin big hammer) and that's not the case. The last one I did for a friend I made sure that he had the optimum 0.1-0.25mm of interference (how many shop "mechanic" headset pressers confirm that fit?) and had the headset tapped into his frame before he could have assembled a bolt, washers and nut or loaded the car for a trip to the LBS. It took maybe 10 seconds per cup.

    "Wow I didn't know it was that easy" was his comment.
    Mike The Bike's home wheelbuilding info - dedicated to providing Newby wheelbuilder information and motivation.

  3. #3
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    I have complete faith in your method, as long as you're the one doing it. I'm sure once I see you do it, I'll change my opinion.
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  4. #4
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    Nate -

    I use the exact same method for a headset press except I use a long eye-bolt instead of a regular bolt.

    I then inset a long lever (I use an old handle from a floor jack - but whatever will work) and hold the nut on the bottom with the adjustable wrench.

    I can just rotate the lever while holding the bolt and eveything tightens up without having to remove the wrench...

    Same idea, just a little different implementation.

    LP

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    Nate, where did you source the parts for the press? I was thinking either hardware store or autoparts store, but I was wondering if a "UNF" bolt or "fender washers" were going to be hard to find. Thanks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bikerboy
    Nate, where did you source the parts for the press? I was thinking either hardware store or autoparts store, but I was wondering if a "UNF" bolt or "fender washers" were going to be hard to find. Thanks.
    In fact, they weren't as easy to find as I expected. At the time, Home Depot nor my local True Value didn't stock any UNF bolts. I tracked some down at an Orchard Supply Hardware store.

    The fender washers are pretty common. Bring along a headset cup just to make sure the diameter of the fender washer is large enough to cover the edges of the cup.
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    Quote Originally Posted by lanpope
    Nate -

    I use the exact same method for a headset press except I use a long eye-bolt instead of a regular bolt.

    I then inset a long lever (I use an old handle from a floor jack - but whatever will work) and hold the nut on the bottom with the adjustable wrench.

    I can just rotate the lever while holding the bolt and eveything tightens up without having to remove the wrench...

    Same idea, just a little different implementation.

    LP
    I used the exact opposite method for spreading the rear dropouts of a steel road frame to 130mm using threaded rod same diameter as a hub axle and placing the bolts and washers between the dropouts.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Speedub.Nate
    In fact, they weren't as easy to find as I expected. At the time, Home Depot nor my local True Value didn't stock any UNF bolts. I tracked some down at an Orchard Supply Hardware store.

    The fender washers are pretty common. Bring along a headset cup just to make sure the diameter of the fender washer is large enough to cover the edges of the cup.
    Word, Osh has more of this usefully stuff

    I use that method on pressing everything in, bearings, headsets, it always works like a champ and costs next to nothing. If I had money to throw away I'd get the headset press from Park tools but this works fine for me.

  9. #9
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    cool ideas. d

  10. #10
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    nate the bicycle tool guru...keep tinkering for us poor folx who really ride and work on our bikes
    "He can make even a global summit meeting seem like a kegger." M. Dowd, NY Times, 19 July 2006

  11. #11
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    So, how do you set the crown race?

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    Quote Originally Posted by TeamRoundBoys
    So, how do you set the crown race?
    tap on with a pipe, keep the pipe on the floor and move the fork up and down to avoid damaging dropouts and rebound knobs. I used the stick and hammer method once and it took a few rides for the headset to settle in. The pipe method works much better.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ratt
    tap on with a pipe, keep the pipe on the floor and move the fork up and down to avoid damaging dropouts and rebound knobs.
    Same here. I have a length of ABS pipe (PVC will do) with an interior diameter just larger than a 1-1/8" steerer tube. I simply stand the fork upside down on the pipe (which itself is standing on the floor) and bang on the underside of the crown with a rubber mallet.

    Of course, if you use FSA headsets, most have that nifty split ring crown race, which snaps into place with light finger pressure.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Speedub.Nate
    Same here. I have a length of ABS pipe (PVC will do) with an interior diameter just larger than a 1-1/8" steerer tube. I simply stand the fork upside down on the pipe (which itself is standing on the floor) and bang on the underside of the crown with a rubber mallet.

    Of course, if you use FSA headsets, most have that nifty split ring crown race, which snaps into place with light finger pressure.
    I think the worst crown race I've installed was RF DH Real Seal headset... it was so hard to get it in its home position... i use this big metal collar that is just over 1 1/8 of an inch in diameter( inside dia.) and its about 3/4 of an inch thick and tall..efect for crown race fitting... then i use a pipe that i pound on the collar with( like a dent puller but opposite motion) and set the crown nicely.. except for the RF... it took a hell 'o long time to get it there...
    now what do you use to get the crown race off??

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by wickerman1
    now what do you use to get the crown race off??
    For removal, I bang 'em off with a flat bladed screwdriver and a couple of well placed blows from a hammer. Others suggest a brass punch to avoid scarring the bottom of the race. With those super slender races (I assume the RF is one of them), it's sometimes difficult to find enough exposed race to bang against.

    I wish everyone would adopt the split crown that FSA uses -- it snaps on with light finger pressure and pops off with the gentle twist of a screwdriver blade.
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  16. #16
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    That is exactly how we pressed in the headset on my Distance...just a peice of allthread and some washers.

  17. #17
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    For the press i use the same washer screw method but i also use some pieces of wood (soft pine) so I don't scratch that nice Chris King finish.

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    Another option for setting the crown race is to use a cut down peice of 1 1/8 Copper Pipe (about 12~18 inches long). Copper is a really soft metal and will deform to the crown race shape. It also will not shatter like PVC will when hit too hard. (PVC is sharp when is shatters)

    If you have some time, you can hold the fork in one hand with the crown race and pipe in place and tap the crown race down (slow and boring). If you have less time a 2X4 between two sawhorses gives you a really good place to place the top of the rigid crown (not the suspension crown) of the fork and tap harder. In both cases watch the race seat and try to keep the race flat while is being tapped on the the fork.

    Also, you can order just the headset press step washers to fit inside the headset from mail-order / web based part houses. Then you only need a single fender washer in the press.

    Quote Originally Posted by Speedub.Nate
    Same here. I have a length of ABS pipe (PVC will do) with an interior diameter just larger than a 1-1/8" steerer tube. I simply stand the fork upside down on the pipe (which itself is standing on the floor) and bang on the underside of the crown with a rubber mallet.

    Of course, if you use FSA headsets, most have that nifty split ring crown race, which snaps into place with light finger pressure.

  20. #20
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    Patent infringement?


    A slight variation on your design

  21. #21
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    Very nicely presented Nat. I'll have to make my own.
    Trev!

  22. #22
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    So, would this work for 1.5" headset as well? I'd like to make one of those tools, I'll be installing a Cane Creek Double XC into a blindside, anything I need to know about it being a low stack and 1.5"?

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by yomattyo
    So, would this work for 1.5" headset as well? I'd like to make one of those tools, I'll be installing a Cane Creek Double XC into a blindside, anything I need to know about it being a low stack and 1.5"?
    Yeah, or at least it ought to with the right sized washers. I've pressed a whole bunch of zero stack headsets with the nut & bolt trick, and it hasn't failed me.
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  24. #24
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    If I remember correctly you will need a washer the size of the inside lip that the bearing sits on as the cane creek recommended not pressing using the outside of the cup. You should check their website to make sure.

  25. #25
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    Here is a picture of my headset remover

    I went to the hardware store looking for a 1" copper pipe and the cheapest one they had was 2 feet long and 20 dollars.

    I already had a breaker bar that I had used in the past to knock around each "corner" of the cup successively. The problem with this is obvious. Not only does it damage the cup to hit only one side of the lip but you could easily hit your hand as you're holding it so carefully.

    So I took a washer that was the right diameter to just fit inside the headtube (happens to be 33 mm for a 1.125" headtube). I held it with vice grips and filed down two sides of it so that I could slip it through the inside of a cup and get it into the headtube. It turned out that it needed to be filed down to 29 mm to do this.

    Then I simply drop the washer into the headtube. It sits cleanly against the inside of one cup. I pound the washer using my breaker bar and the cup is out in seconds with no damage.

    The washer cost about 50 cents.


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