This article is from the Bicycles FAQ, by Mike Iglesias with numerous contributions by others.
From: Jobst Brandt <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Mon, 16 Dec 1996 15:09:03 PST
While writing "the Bicycle Wheel", to conclusively determine what
effect tying and soldering of spoke crossings in a wheel had, I asked
Wheelsmith to loan me an untied pair of standard 36 spoke rear wheels,
on on Campagnolo low and high flange hubs. I had an inner body of a
freewheel machined with flats so that a wheel could be clamped into
the vise of a Bridgeport milling machine while the left end of its
axle was held in the quill.
With the hub rigidly secured, with its axle vertical, dial gauges were
mounted at four equally spaced locations on the machine bed to measure
rim deflections as a 35lb weight was sequentially hung on the wheel at
these positions. The deflections were recorded for each location and
averaged for each wheel before and after tying and soldering spokes.
The wheels were also measured for torsional rigidity in the same
fixture, by a wire anchored in the valve hole and wrapped around the
rim so that a 35 lb force could be applied tangential to the rim.
Dial gauges located at two places 90 degrees apart in the quadrant
away from the applied load were used to measure relative rotation
between the wheel and hub.
Upon repeating the measurements after tying and soldering the spokes,
no perceptible change, other than random measurement noise of a few
thousandths of an inch, was detected. The spokes were tied and
soldered by Wheelsmith who did this as a regular service. The data
was collected by an engineer who did not know what I expected to find.
I set up the experiment and delivered the wheels.