Dan's Handy Tire Truing Gizmo
Daniel J. Dyke

There are many tire truing methods and machines out there. Whenever someone posts on one of the forums a new method someone is quick to either post their tried and true method or their new method.  I appreciate both of these as anything new has to be evaluated as to whether it is better than what has been done or else I have to steal some of the other guy's ideas to make mine better.  Also we must realize that people are different and what works for one may not work for another.

Why not just buy one? Let me make a list of the reasons in my mind.

  1. I am a cheapskate is the first answer I give and I had all the parts.  The price for a commercial one is too high for my current situation.  They are about a third to half the price of a good lathe like a Sherline or a Taig.  I already have a lathe and a mill and $250 would buy a lot of attachments.
  2. The commercial tire truers are single purpose machines unlike the oscillating spindle sander I am using for this purpose. I make bodies, borders for my track, and other thingamabobs for slot cars on it.
  3. The wife already knows I own the spindle sander (she bought it for me) and since nothing has appeared on the credit card or the workbench what she does not know won't hurt me.
  4. It takes up no new territory in my limited shop space.
  5. This thing has torque out the wazzoo which is important as motors can get very hot during tire truing and this thing is not bothered in the least.
  6. The replacement sanding drums are as near as the hardware store or Harbor Freight.
Parts List
1.    One Oscillating Spindle Sander. Price $90 to $350. This is equal to or less than the dedicated sander.  I already have one and so my price is $0.  Mine is the cheap Ryobi which appears to have been discontinued by them but picked up by Harbor Freight.  The one I looked at when I was at Harbor Freight was identical in color and design to my Ryobi.

2.    Fine and coarse sanding sleeves.


There is none.  I put a small drum with a fine grit sleeve on the spindle.  The large drum is going to be placed vertically on the top of the sander. It is the largest drum that comes with the sander. The small drum is going to turn the tires from the top and the large drum which is stationary will sand the tires.  The large drum is preferred and is more stable because it is heavy with plenty of mass and has a nice flat bottom.


The grit of the sanding drum is chosen according to the task at hand.  I prefer the finest grit on the small drum as it is only mildly sanding the tires.  Initially the large drum will have a medium or course grit sleeve.  I like to start with a medium grit.  If that is not suitable then I move to a fine or coarse grit sleeve.  The tire I was having problems with was a Fly Classic.  The coarse grit took the tread off and then the fine grit dressed the surface.  It is actually very easy to change the sleeve.


1.    Shim the axle in its chassis to take out the slop.
2.    Place the top of the chassis so it is facing the spindle on the sander.  You should run the the sander a little to get the feel of what is taking place. The bottom of the chassis is going to rest on the large stationary drum as shown in the next photo.
3. Your one hand is going to be holding the chassis and the other hand is going to turn the large drum slowly and gently into the tire. The two drums will work together to center the two tires evenly. Look at this photo (I had to hold the camera with my left hand). More pressure can be applied by pulling the chassis between the two drums.

4.    Practice on a pair of garbage tires.  You will probably find this method to be pretty easy once you figure out the dynamics of what is happening.

5.    It does both front and rear tires in the chassis.  Be sure to remove the motor and the guide.

6.    Our friend Rob (waaytoomuchintothis from HRW) has added the idea of attaching fine sand paper to the large drum.  I tried this and it works.  Just cut a piece that is about 2.5" wide and long enough to make it most of the way around the drum.  The two ends are taped together with Duct Tape.  See this is a real man's machine, it is held together with duct tape.

If it does not work for you, then go back to your old system, use someone else's method, or buy a HUDY. You will not offend me if you don't like it.  This method works for me.  Should you buy a spindle sander? Yes, even if you don't use it for this.  I use it more than my lathe and milling machine put together.  It does many wonderful things. This is one of them.