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New Pickup Winder


thegarehanman
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Hey guys. I built a pickup winder a couple of months ago and used it for a while, but I got tired of its speed limitations and the massive wobbling of the faceplate. It was an ok design, but the reed switch counting from a magnet on the faceplate was no good, it limited rpm's to around 200.

Anyhow, a couple months later and I decided to do a slight redesign. Below are pictures of the finished product. Basically, I switched from using a single, long bushing to support the main shaft to using two sealed bearings. I added a 25:1 gear reduction to the counter, and I changed the way the face plate mounted to the main shaft.

So far I've run this at about 2500 rpms without problems. There's a 2:1 gear reduction between the drive motor (a $20 vsr drill) and the main shaft, and I think I could probably safely spin the faceplate at 3000-3500 rpms, if the double-stick tape could handle it. All the parts for this amount to between $100 and $150. The counter is just a cheap (and I do mean cheap) calculator. I just punch in "0," "+," "25," "=," and wind away. The advantage to using a calculator for this application is that it's really simple to subtract windings from the counter if you need to take any wire off the bobbin due to a snag or whatever.

The plastic covering the drive chain is lexan. I'd rather not find out the hard way that my design needs a chain tensioner :D .

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Some P90's made on the new winder and fresh out of the crock pot. I pot my coils once immediately after winding (before applying friction tape) and then again after the whole pickup is assembled. I also put a few drops of wax in the cover and press the pickup into it, when I put the cover on.

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A shot of the "counter," speed controller (a ceiling fan rheostat), the wire travel limiters (nylon bushings with thumb screws), and the face plate (a 3" diameter polypropylene pulley from mcmastercarr)

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The gear reduction for the reed switch. The gears are from mcmastercarr. I had to tap the ends of the 1/4"-20 threaded rod to accept a 1/8" bolt (the smaller gears have a 1/8" ID). This is a most unpleasent experience when in the absence of a metal lathe.

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Full shot of the back

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Full shot of the front. That vsr drill is from lowes. It was $20. I picked it (because of the price...and) because it has a speed limiting knob. So while the rheostat allows me to vary the speed as I wind, I can limit the top speed of the winder by adjusting the little knob on the drill trigger.

peace,

russ

Edited by thegarehanman
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Nice winder Russ

One thing that come to mind is: Do you have anywere to rest your hand while winding? A small issue one might think, but after winding pickups for an hour it is a nice reliefe for the neck and back to have somewere to rest the arms/wrists. Ergonomics might not be the first thing that you think of when designing a winder but if you get into this for real it might be something to consider. Might also think about moving the reostat. It is right under were your hand(s) will be.

I usually don't run my winder at over 2-3000 rpm (althou I can run it as fast as 10000 rpm) so this will probably give you all the speed you need.

I will try to post some pictures of my new winder when I get home.

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It looks good. My second one was a hand drill version. I ended up forking over the cash for the stewmac one and you'd have to pry it out of my cold dead hands to get it away from me.

I heard the stewmac one is underpowered. Plus, it looks like it onlycounts up and there's no way to take windings off the counter.

If I was going to spend $300 on a winder, I think I'd just build it myself. With $300 into it, you could have it winding multiple pickups at once, build in a tensioner and an oscillating wire guide so that it's hands free.

SwedishLuthier: That's a good point about the hand rest.Right now I sit on a stool while I wind, and I can actually just put my hand on my leg. The way the rheostat cover is positioned, the curved top edge of that plate acts as a wire guide, so I don't have to hold my hand up as high. I may eventually move the rheostat like you suggest, but right now, I don't have much of a reason to. I only touch it about 3 times per pickup. Once to start it and get it up to speed, once mid-wind to stop it and check the coil for problems (which I've been fortunate enough to avoid all-together), and then finally to stop it.

I think I will put the oscillating wire guide feature on it though, just to save myself the trouble. I think I will probably make a few different cam profiles for each type of pickup, so I can vary the amount of scatter winding as well. I've found you can really tweak the high-end on a pickup just by adjusting that (the amount of scatter winding).

peace,

russ

Edited by thegarehanman
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It's goes fast enough for me. Much faster than a hand drill and you'd snap the wire on it before bogging the motor on it. I've wound a lot of pickups with it and it's already paid for itself. I really like the optical counter. Using the click counters will not be accurate at the speed I wind. I burnt through one in a matter of minutes with my hand drill counter.

To each there own! I'm all about making things to save money but after two lack luster winders I felt the StewMac one was best for me and it's proven to be an excellent money maker.

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It's goes fast enough for me. Much faster than a hand drill and you'd snap the wire on it before bogging the motor on it. I've wound a lot of pickups with it and it's already paid for itself. I really like the optical counter. Using the click counters will not be accurate at the speed I wind. I burnt through one in a matter of minutes with my hand drill counter.

To each there own! I'm all about making things to save money but after two lack luster winders I felt the StewMac one was best for me and it's proven to be an excellent money maker.

I hear you about the fused read switch. That's why I put a gear reduction on mine. I will see how long the switch lasts, but with its now very low cycle rate (think, at 2000rpms, it's only cycling about 1.3 times per second) and lower number of cycles for pickup, I expect to get at least 50-100 pickups wound before worrying about replacing it.

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