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Anyone ever seen a tool like this?

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Anyone ever seen a tool like this?

Old 09-20-13, 09:14 PM
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silver_ghost
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Anyone ever seen a tool like this?

Taking advantage of the relatively slow days fall brings to a bike shop, I built a couple tools this week that hold and orient loose ball bearings so they can be placed into the races of a shimano hub all at once, saving the effort and greasy fingers of placing them one-by-one.

I'm surprised that I haven't heard of an existing tool that solves this (admittedly minor) problem, but I'm also suspicious of the possibility that there is anything new under the sun.

Have any of you folks run into a tool like this before? Alternatively, are there any deep pocketed toolmakers who'd like to license mine?
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Old 09-20-13, 09:55 PM
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I have seen vdeo of a tool that raises from the bottom of a tub of balls and on it's face (A circular shape with a depressed edge) it captures 11 balls (1/4" for BBs). then loads the balls into a pregreased cup. Andy.
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Old 09-20-13, 10:05 PM
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The easiest and fastest way to handle, count and load balls is with a piece of steel or copper tubing with an ID slightly larger than the balls. To count X balls, you measure X diameters, and dimple the tube, or drill across and set a stop pin. Finish by bending the tube into a scoop shape, and stick the far end into a file or screwdriver handle.

Then store your balls in a long tray.

To use - run the tool up the tray of balls and it'll fill with an exact count. Set up the hub, with the axle blocking the hole, and pour out of the tube and you're done. Total cost to make is about a buck or two.
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Old 09-21-13, 06:51 AM
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Originally Posted by silver_ghost View Post
Taking advantage of the relatively slow days fall brings to a bike shop, I built a couple tools this week that hold and orient loose ball bearings so they can be placed into the races of a shimano hub all at once, saving the effort and greasy fingers of placing them one-by-one.

I'm surprised that I haven't heard of an existing tool that solves this (admittedly minor) problem, but I'm also suspicious of the possibility that there is anything new under the sun.

Have any of you folks run into a tool like this before? Alternatively, are there any deep pocketed toolmakers who'd like to license mine?
Picture?
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Old 09-21-13, 08:28 AM
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I just use a pair of tweezers. No greasy fingers, BBs go exactly where I want them.
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Old 09-21-13, 08:52 AM
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I like FB's idea - eliminates counting and handling, but a condiment dispenser (different color for each size) cut to the right diameter also allows one to easily distribute the correct amount and size of balls into the cup.
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bearing dispenser.jpg (1.8 KB, 160 views)
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Old 09-21-13, 08:53 AM
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Ketchup and mustard dispensers. Cut the spout opening to just the right size to allow only one ball to be squeezed out at a time. Two colors - two different sized bearings.
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Old 09-21-13, 08:55 AM
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Oh man! cny-bikeman beat me to it. His post has art too.
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Old 09-21-13, 09:09 AM
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Hey, no problems - great minds run...

I don't think there's anything I enjoyed more that coming up with creative ways to solve problems. I used that idea way back in 1975, did a lot of other things for our shop, like color coding wrenches, making 'pointy tools" (awl), parts holders and "hub pokers" (for pushing a rag through hub tunnel) from spokes, and using clear silicone caulk to seal hubs, or sections of inner tube to seal the bottom of headsets.

I also designed a repair form unlike any I have seen since, that I later used in my own mobile repair business. We had limited space and a huge amount of repair business, so we found some tall, heavy gas-pipe racks and two-ended hooks that we used for bike storage - pretty much the same a hanging shirts on a closet rod.
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There's no such thing as a routine repair.

Don't tell me what "should" be - either it is, it isn't, or do something about it.

If you think I'm being blunt take it as a compliment - if I thought you were too weak to handle the truth or a strong opinion I would not bother.

Please respect others by taking the time to post clearly so we can answer quickly. All lowercase and multiple typos makes for a hard read. Thanks!

Last edited by cny-bikeman; 09-21-13 at 11:05 AM.
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Old 09-21-13, 09:10 AM
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Originally Posted by cny-bikeman View Post
I like FB's idea - eliminates counting and handling, but a condiment dispenser (different color for each size) cut to the right diameter also allows one to easily distribute the correct amount and size of balls into the cup.
Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
Ketchup and mustard dispensers. Cut the spout opening to just the right size to allow only one ball to be squeezed out at a time. Two colors - two different sized bearings.
So stealing that one.. thanks guys!
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Old 09-21-13, 10:27 AM
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Originally Posted by ThermionicScott View Post
I just use a pair of tweezers. No greasy fingers, BBs go exactly where I want them.
Me too. I remove the old bearings with a magnetic pickup tool which gets them all out, including the ones that try to escape into the hub's axle hole. I do not use the magnet on the new bearings.

FR's metering tool is clever but be aware that the number of balls varies from hub to hub. Most older Shimano front hubs use 10 3/16" balls per side while some newer ones use 11. You will need a collection of these measuring devices.
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Old 09-21-13, 11:36 AM
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Originally Posted by HillRider View Post
Me too. I remove the old bearings with a magnetic pickup tool which gets them all out, including the ones that try to escape into the hub's axle hole. I do not use the magnet on the new bearings.

FR's metering tool is clever but be aware that the number of balls varies from hub to hub. Most older Shimano front hubs use 10 3/16" balls per side while some newer ones use 11. You will need a collection of these measuring devices.
Or you can make one for 10, and add the last ball when needed. In any case the tool is super simple and cheap to make.

BTW- I didn't invent my metering tool. Ones like it have been used to load bearings probably as long as there have been bearings. Automated systems use a similar method of counting balls by lining them up on a sloped track between 2 gates. The rear gate opens and the balls roll down, then closes behind them. Then the front opens and they roll into the bearing assembly stage.
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Old 09-21-13, 11:40 PM
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FB: never run into that bearing loader idea. Simple, elegant and cheap, my favourite! Made one today out of some busted rack tubing. Thanks for the tip!

CNY and Retro: You'll be happy to hear your idea has been adopted by at least one distributor, who packages bearings in squeeze bottles for convenience.

HillRider: Left them at work but I'll try to get some pictures on Monday.
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Old 09-22-13, 05:00 AM
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Originally Posted by silver_ghost View Post
CNY and Retro: You'll be happy to hear your idea has been adopted by at least one distributor, who packages bearings in squeeze bottles for convenience.
Yes, Bike Tools Etc sells it's packages of 1000 loose bearing balls in plastic squeeze bottles with a dispenser spout. It appears the bottle size varies with the ball size so they are differentiated by size, not color.
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Old 09-22-13, 05:41 AM
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Originally Posted by silver_ghost View Post
FB: never run into that bearing loader idea. Simple, elegant and cheap, my favourite! Made one today out of some busted rack tubing. Thanks for the tip!

CNY and Retro: You'll be happy to hear your idea has been adopted by at least one distributor, who packages bearings in squeeze bottles for convenience.

HillRider: Left them at work but I'll try to get some pictures on Monday.
Reminds me of the method used to load the Tommygun BB guns at the Shoot Out The Star game at midways.
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