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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Anyone here wind pickups?

Been looking at Arduino and making a pickup winder... seems simple and cheap enough to build. Programming... never tried Arduino, but seems to be a good group/forum for it so, should be able to figure it out. Lots of free scripts out there to copy/paste.

I have a few Squier single coil pickups and thought be a good cheaper way to learn by just recycling what I have and swapping the wire/magnets.

Winder wise I know what's needed... Found a few sources for wire, though nothing in Canada yet... what else is needed? I remember watching someone wind them once who, when done, passed them through something but can't find that video again to see what it was... magnets? A lot of how-to's that I found stop at winding and don't show much after like wax potting and such.

Anyone have any good resources for materials? how-to? equipment?

Advice?
 

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raw wire holder ... run wire thru an old bait casting reel ( to move the wire back and forth ) and act as a tensioner ...
the winder ... an old calculator ( to automatically count the turns for you )
a couple of rare earth magnets ( to polarize the pole pieces if necessary )

why go fully automatic ? you going to go into business ?:)
 

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You wind the pickup, gauss the magnets if they are non magnetic when you buy them. You can then pot them in wax or not...

Magnets have a strength rating. An A2 magnet is weaker than an A5 magnet with an A8 being the strongest of the 3. But a really really old A5 magnet could degauss itself over the years and be in the range of an A2. So you "charge" the magnets to your liking. Each one has a range.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks... looking online at diagrams and DIY's... and that Arduino stuff is so cheap... $15 for a board, and a $5 HALL sensor, $10 for a motor speed controller, $10 for a motor and $10 for a decent display... asked on the Arduino forum if sounded do-able and consensus was basically the hardest part of the build would be the box. Definitely cheaper than what StewMac sells for. Even found a few posts with the code done already for reading the RPM.

I think the main thing I'll need help on is the code for entering in a number (ie. 8,000 winds) and having the Arduino count the rotations/winds and auto-stop when the number is reached. I suspect sitting there holding the wire while it winds, will make your eyes glaze over and probably mentally drift off. Having an auto-stop function seems a good plan. :D
 

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You can always 3d print a box or have one printed or just buy something off the shelf

Tons of arduino pickup winders on youtube
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Gaussing... that's what it was! Hard to Google stuff when name is on the tip of the tongue and can't recall what it was.

Automating wise... Arduino parts are cheap enough. I'd say about as automated as an old reel except a powered motor vs handcranking.

Business wise... maybe. Building a CNC this year to make bodies with. Those I plan to sell. If pickup winding goes well... maybe.

If I try winding pickups and enjoy it, I'd like to find some people on here willing to test them out, send them along to the next guy to test, etc until they come back to me and use the feedback gathered for adjustments. I'm sure a few folk here would be down for that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
You can always 3d print a box or have one printed or just buy something off the shelf

Tons of arduino pickup winders on youtube
Oh god... don't get me started on 3D Printers. I debated between a 3D Printer for Boxing Week or a CNC since the summer... decided CNC which went from a cheap Amazon $300 unit, to researching and deciding to build one that's much bigger and pricier. I'm afraid if I go back to looking at 3D Printers, I'll go from $300 to $1500 by the end of the week... :D

Probably just make one with 1/2" MDF. I don't have much skill/tools for metal fabrication. 3D printed by someone would be an option, but would need to make mockups with wood first anyways.
 

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You can get something printed on Thingiverse. I have had a few small projects printed for me through them
 

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I'd say about as automated as an old reel except a powered motor vs handcranking
the winder pulls the wire thru the bait caster ( wind the wire in over the spool and out the line leveling mechanism )
it moves the wire side to side and the spool puts tension on the wire .

or just use the mechanism from an open faced reel ( moves the winding spool in and out for a level wire wind )
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
the winder pulls the wire thru the bait caster ( wind the wire in over the spool and out the line leveling mechanism )
it moves the wire side to side and the spool puts tension on the wire .

or just use the mechanism from an open faced reel ( moves the winding spool in and out for a level wire wind )
Yup, I understand how it works, saw few YouTube videos and DIY sites using those or sewing machines. Just as much work making something from a fishing reel and old calculator as something from an Arduino and shields, IMO.

With the Arduino, I'd have more control over varying the winding patterns of the wire where with something like the fishing reel, the back/forth rate of the spool is set and can't be varied.
 

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I use an old-fashioned hand drill, with the coilform secured to the chuck, and the drill itself clamped to the benchtop, with the wire spool sitting on the floor and fed upwards. Is it efficient? Not at all. I suppose I could put together or buy some sort of mechanized device and automatic wind-counter, but am I in business? Not at all.

I get about 4.25 turns of the chuck for every turn of the handle, and can get about 60-80 handle-turns a minute, or roughly 250-340 winds per minute. If I could simply keep going and had an automatic counter, that could technically make it possible to hand-wind a Strat pickup in 20 minutes. But, you get hand cramps and need to stop and shake your hand a bit, as well as write down how many turns you've added since the last stoppage (I usually go for 200-300 hand cranks at a shot), so a full Strat pickup takes around 35 minutes in total, barring any wire tears. Most definitely not fast enough, nowhere near reliable and repeatable enough to run as a business, but as something I do for myself maybe 4-6 times a year, it's enough. It would take me at least 45 minutes to get in the car, drive to the nearest music store, spend $80 on a Seymour Duncan or DiMarzio pickup, and drive back home again. Sometimes my results fail to impress, and sometimes they are as good as the best out there. And for the time and money it costs me to wind a dud, it's a loss I can easily live with. I lucked into a great supply of quality magnet wire from #36 through to #43 at a local wreckers, for $2/lb, so I now have more wire than I can ever possibly use in my lifetime. I don't have an endless supply of polepieces, flatwork, or bar magnets, but more than enough to occupy me. Occasionally, people on the pickup-makers forum at MEF will post that they bought more polepieces of a given type than they needed and offer them for free or for sale.

Pros will pot using a vacuum process. I simply lay the finished coil on its side and melt wax onto it from about 8" away, with a heat gun, and use low heat to further melt the wax on the coil to let it seep in, repeating the process on the other side. The windings are generally tighter on the inside of the coil and at the ends, so potting the outer 40% on each side won't make it absolutely microphonic-proof, but reduces noisiness by at least 80%, if not more. Once potted, I use teflon plumber's tape to further tighten up the coil, as well as protect it from the adhesive of whatever tape goes on the outside of the coil. Works great.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Ya... will also say I gave my fishing equipment away to my nephew. I doubt he'd be happy if I took back the reel and dismantled it. :D

Arduino stuff has interested me for a while so, project was also an excuse to buy some of the stuff and see how it works. Couple of really cool HiRes FLAC audio player projects can be done with small tube pre-amps and such I'd also like to try. Cool nixie tube projects too....

... hmm, could make a cool steampunk winder with nixie tubes as a counter! (I won't)

 

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Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
@mhammer some good info there... and that's how I see it. Price of buying new brand names is just too much.

I was looking at IronGear pickups and reading reviews and someone made a good point... they're as good as Seymour Duncan, but the reason half the price is because they make and sell direct, where SD makes them, sells to a wholeseller, who tags on 25%, sells to a retailer, who tags on 25% then sells to us. The price makes you think they're so much better than anyone else, but really, it's mostly markups.

Figured, for $50 to make my own winder... if I can make something comparable, I'd be happier than spending $100-$150 per pickup.

Rewinding, same deal... keep the cheap plastic bobbin and such, but replace the magnet/poles.... be better than what you had and cheaper than replacing. Probably. :D


So... how'd the local wreckers get wire that thin? We get a lot of old motors and such here, but, fairly heavy gauge wire (old appliances... fan motors, washer motors, etc)
 

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@mhammerSo... how'd the local wreckers get wire that thin? We get a lot of old motors and such here, but, fairly heavy gauge wire (old appliances... fan motors, washer motors, etc)
Beats me. I would frequent there looking for useful metal, copper shim sheets, and 8" ceiling PA speakers. Then one day I spotted two big industrial cardboard bins of wire spools, dove in, rummaged around and salvaged what looked relevant and usable. They were just selling it as scrap metal. A big part of why I can't use a motorized system is because the spools are of varying sizes and shapes, and often quite heavy (e.g., 5lbs), making it difficult to fabricate a feeding mechanism that would be tear-proof for all sizes and shapes. The biggest share of what I got was#42, but I got a nice spool of #41 and #43. #41 provides for decent coils with a minimum of tearing, and a modest reduction in DCR. #43 will let you pack more in. I'd really like to attempt something like a Filtertron or Dynasonic this coming year.
 
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