Jason's Pickup Winder

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Re: Jason's Pickup Winder

Postby David King » Thu Apr 10, 2014 11:41 pm

The whole DCR thing is just a way of telling the customer nothing useful but making them thinks it's terribly important. It really gets picked up as being a critical factor that kids can discuss endlessly on the forums but it's like measuring the water level in your toilet. Yes you can do it at home and read all about in on line but it doesn't tell you much about anything.
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Re: Jason's Pickup Winder

Postby Jason Rodgers » Fri Apr 11, 2014 2:54 pm

:mrgreen: Hang on, are you talking about the water in the bowl or the tank? The bowl is self-leveling, but I like to keep the tank low to conserve water per flush. :mrgreen:

So, is it even worth it to use the calculator to enter bobbin dimensions and a target DCR to get an approximate wind count (because the wind tightness isn't predictable); or should I just take a guess - 4000-5000 per coil for the neck and 5000-6000 per coil for the bridge - and expect "satisfactory" results?
-Ruining perfectly good wood, one day at a time.
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Re: Jason's Pickup Winder

Postby David King » Fri Apr 11, 2014 6:55 pm

You *might* want to know ahead of time how many turns you can fit on a given bobbin. Of course you can also just fit what you can on the bobbin and call it good. The most useful information DCR can tell you is if you have internal shorts between layers which will result in a bad sounding pickup as I mentioned before. A better way to find internal shorts is to use a LCR meter but you probably aren't ready to commit to that level of investment just yet.
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Re: Jason's Pickup Winder

Postby Jason Rodgers » Sat Apr 12, 2014 12:03 am

Hey, I just noticed something in that coil calculator: if the winding layers value is red, does that mean the bobbin isn't big enough to accommodate the target DCR?
-Ruining perfectly good wood, one day at a time.
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Re: Jason's Pickup Winder

Postby Charles Faulstich » Wed Apr 23, 2014 1:03 pm

Jason: Be warned - I bought wire from the same manufacturer and found it to be defective. The coating was rough, causing it to snag multiple times on the felt I was using with a finger clamp to tension the wire. I tried using my fingers also to no avail. I eventually gave up and switched to the more expensive but apparently much higher quality wire purchased from S-M. I had no issues with the S-M wire. Maybe I just had a bad batch. Please post your experience with winding this wire.
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Re: Jason's Pickup Winder

Postby Jason Rodgers » Wed Apr 23, 2014 3:13 pm

Thanks for the warning, Charles. I've not yet wound any coils, as I'm still working on building the bobbins. I bought this brand of magnet wire mainly based on price (and also saw it on a list of pickup material suppliers posted on the Music Electronics Forum by David King), thinking that I'd probably end up breaking and wasting a goodly portion in my first attempts. It would suck if the whole spool was bad, though. I shall report back.
-Ruining perfectly good wood, one day at a time.
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Re: Jason's Pickup Winder

Postby Jason Rodgers » Tue Apr 29, 2014 11:53 pm

I added one more accouterments to my winder: a wire limiter, aperture, window thingy. I saw this on designed2wind and thought it might be an added bit of insurance to avoid winding wire off the bobbin.
winder complete with aperture RED.jpg


Speaking of bobbins, I took a little tangent to build a Myka Neck Pocket Jig (which I should post, too), but the laminate and steel bar "rail" bobbins are almost ready to assemble. Then, I get to find out if my elaborate winder setup actually works!
-Ruining perfectly good wood, one day at a time.
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Re: Jason's Pickup Winder

Postby David King » Wed Apr 30, 2014 2:41 am

The guides looks good, the trick is to get them in about .020" in from the flatwork so that you don't cause the coil to warp with the tension.Having too much distance will cause you get stray loose loops along the edges which invariable get cut when loading coils into their covers.
Stew Mac was selling respooled wire in smaller spools for a while and many were complaining that the spools were not unspooling smoothly with frequent breaks at the edges. I've also heard of larger spools that got dropped in shipping and where the wire layers shifted cause them to not unspool. I've never had a problem with the large spools from any of the manufacturers on that count. My main issue has been spotty insulation on one spool of Essex wire i got for very cheap off ebay.
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Re: Jason's Pickup Winder

Postby jason lollar » Tue Jul 08, 2014 2:55 pm

Good job on a serviceable winder that should last you tens of thousands of pickups!
A couple comments- the counter switch don’t discount a mini toggle switch triggered with a bump on the drive shaft like in my book, the arm on them is so light weight they can’t bounce and they will go well over a several million cycles before they need replaced- talking a few years to several of daily use. Only problem with those is you can bend the arm if you rotate the platen backwards by hand. It’s a really simple way to trigger your counter, cheap and easily replaceable.

Something probably not in that book- the farther from your coil your wire guide limiters are the more the wire will wander on its own, the closer your wire guides are to the coil the more accurately the wire will follow your hand guided motion- or machine guided and vice versa. This is something overlooked by people when they talk about how a commercial winder works.

Wire quality- there are lots of ways wire can get messed up- I have seen that rough insulation- it can happen with any wire regardless of cost or quality. Too much lube on the wire when they spool it can build up in your felt tensioner and you can lose your tension setting. As King mentioned if the wire gets dropped during shipping it can shift on the spool and get trapped underneath lower layers. It happens more often on spools with tapered ends! Designed to wind told me a trick years ago and that is if you lose the end of your spool take a single edge razor or exacto knife and cut all the way down one side of the spool from end to end as close to a consistent 1/8 inch as you can then start to un-peel all the loose wire. Eventually you’ll get 20 or 30 ends and you can hang the spool way up high- high enough the wire gets heavy enough to do most of the unraveling on its own. You will still have to help it along once in a while but on a 10 pound spool after about 30 minutes you should have 3 loose ends- then it’s a matter of continuing on while you pay more attention to how the wire is coming off- many times you can see 2 of the ends are a loop and you remove that and you are at the end of the wire again. Hopefully you have gone beyond the shifted wire that got trapped below the lower layer. I have never had it fail. I have only had to do this maybe 6 or 7 or 10 times since I was told about it probably 15 years ago and I no longer buy tapered spools but it has still happened but not as frequently.
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Re: Jason's Pickup Winder

Postby Jason Rodgers » Tue Jul 08, 2014 6:39 pm

Mr. Lollar! Thanks for looking in on my work here. This pickup winder project has been a TON of fun, and I'm very excited about my first set of humbuckers. Here is a separate thread about their construction...
viewtopic.php?f=10&t=3120
jason lollar wrote:Good job on a serviceable winder that should last you tens of thousands of pickups!
A couple comments- the counter switch don’t discount a mini toggle switch triggered with a bump on the drive shaft like in my book, the arm on them is so light weight they can’t bounce and they will go well over a several million cycles before they need replaced- talking a few years to several of daily use. Only problem with those is you can bend the arm if you rotate the platen backwards by hand. It’s a really simple way to trigger your counter, cheap and easily replaceable.

I think I've been slapped with a huge dose of beginner's-luck so far. While the bounce issue could be happening on a scale of fractions of a second - adding or missing a count here and there - I'm feeling pretty confident that my counter setup is working. One of these days I'll try to calculate the RPMs I'm getting, but it's not super fast.

jason lollar wrote:Something probably not in that book- the farther from your coil your wire guide limiters are the more the wire will wander on its own, the closer your wire guides are to the coil the more accurately the wire will follow your hand guided motion- or machine guided and vice versa. This is something overlooked by people when they talk about how a commercial winder works.

The distance from the guide bar to the bobbin is something I totally guessed (I suppose that's what I get when I try to hybridize winder designs). On my winder it's about 10"-11". In your book, the arm is something like 19"-20" long, but the actual traverse guide gizmo is right up near the platen: that's a differentiation I guess I didn't make. Next time I'll bring the guide bar in closer and see what that does for my layering and tension.

jason lollar wrote:Wire quality- there are lots of ways wire can get messed up- I have seen that rough insulation- it can happen with any wire regardless of cost or quality. Too much lube on the wire when they spool it can build up in your felt tensioner and you can lose your tension setting. As King mentioned if the wire gets dropped during shipping it can shift on the spool and get trapped underneath lower layers. It happens more often on spools with tapered ends! Designed to wind told me a trick years ago and that is if you lose the end of your spool take a single edge razor or exacto knife and cut all the way down one side of the spool from end to end as close to a consistent 1/8 inch as you can then start to un-peel all the loose wire...

Through 24,000 or so turns of wire, this spool has been great. I did it all with bare thumb and forefinger, no breaks or kinks, and while I could feel a little blip of something on the wire every now and again, it payed out very cleanly and didn't leave my fingers oily or sticky or anything. This spool-saving trick is a good one, though: I can't imagine unwinding a couple thousand wraps looking for the fresh end!

Thanks, again, Jason! I'm very close to having those humbuckers in a guitar and I'll try to post a video.
-Ruining perfectly good wood, one day at a time.
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Re: Jason's Pickup Winder

Postby Jason Rodgers » Sat Jan 03, 2015 11:54 pm

I am about to start another coil winding adventure, so I thought I'd show some updates I've made to my winder.

Here's the full picture, as she stands right now:
winder with new tension guide.JPG


Based on Jason Lollar's suggestion, I made a new attachment point for the wire guide bar. It attaches to the little hanger bolts that were originally intended for the failed guide window thingy. And though I have yet to try it, the whole tower is still reversible for a reverse-wound coil: the black background square and wire guide bar can trade places, the new wire tensioner arm can flip around, and the counter can pivot.
new guide.JPG


Just today, I assembled some bits and pieces from the hardware store to build a wire tensioner. It is made of some washers, adhesive felt discs, a nylon bushing, and a wingnut for tension adjustment. I know that I was not providing consistent tension on the five coils I wound for the 7-string project: inconsistent from 1st coil to last, as I got more comfortable handling the wire and applied more pinch; and inconsistent within the 10+ minutes of winding a single coil, as my hand fatigued over time. My hope is that being able to set-and-forget tension will allow me to focus on guiding the layers. A light touch with the thumb and forefinger is all that is needed now to traverse the wire (I want to try watching the counter to lay down some consistent turns per layer - TPL). Thanks to John_H on the MEF for giving me this idea.
new tensioner.JPG


Thanks for looking!
-Ruining perfectly good wood, one day at a time.
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Re: Jason's Pickup Winder

Postby Jason Rodgers » Sun Nov 01, 2015 9:39 pm

Hiya, folks! I've made another upgrade to my pickup winder. After seeing some cool solutions for an auto-traverser with a fishing reel over on the MEF (http://music-electronics-forum.com/t40279/#post400595), I got my Rube Goldberg on and gave it a go myself.

Here's a shot of the whole shebang:
photo 1.JPG


And here are two other angles with some labels:
Traverser labeled.jpg

Traverser labeled - wire guide.jpg

Over on the MEF, jrdamien used a separate motor and speed control to run the fishing reel. Another guy named John_H did some reductions off the main shaft to get the right speed. I wanted to use parts I had or could make, so that eliminated the extra motor route.

First, I had to figure out how many turns of the reel gave me one throw. Then, through some maths and the help of online pulley calculators, I figured out how to make the required pulley reductions to give me somewhere in the neighborhood of 90 turns of the bobbin per throw (known in pickup parlance as turns per layer, or TPL). The pulleys are made of MDF, and the belts are made of leather boot laces held together with a staple: it's fairly crude, but the speeds and torques are not high enough to cause problems.

Once I got that right, I had to come up with a way to transfer the reciprocating motion of the fishing reel piston to the wire guide. The pivoting arm links the fishing reel to a thin brass rod that moves the wire guide (made from a nylon bushing). There is an adjustable pivot point (black knob) that changes the width of throw, from about 1/4" to 1/2". The bracket with the two rods extending in front of the bobbin platen is actually the result of two other iterations of wire guides, and this evolution happened to work perfectly.

I have some bobbins on order from Mojotone, so I hope to have a chance to set up and wind a coil soon. I'll know it works if I get a nice, even coil, without excessive build-up on the flanges. Pretty crazy, huh? I turn it on, sit back, and just chuckle to myself!
-Ruining perfectly good wood, one day at a time.
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Re: Jason's Pickup Winder

Postby Jason Rodgers » Thu Nov 05, 2015 2:11 am

A little box from Mojo arrived in the mail today, with a handful of 6-, 7-, and 8-string humbucker bobbins. After the crew went to bed, I headed out to the shop to give the new fishing reel wire traverser its first test.
New traverser winding.JPG

And here is the first coil.
New traverser 1st coil.JPG

It's obviously not full: my lead wasn't secured and it popped up in the path of the wire, causing a bit of a mess. Not the first run I'd hoped for, as I actually hoped to use the coil eventually, but it wasn't the fault of the wire guide. (Actually, the problem happened as I was taking the picture! I put the pedal to the metal, grabbed my phone, snapped a picture, then stopped to check progress. Ack! Overconfidence!) I got about 3000 turns on there, though, and it demonstrates that it works.

I'll definitely need to fine-tune the traverse throw, as the top (right) of the bobbin had a bit of a bulge. In the time that I was able to observe the winding, I noticed a couple other general improvements that I need to make to my winder, too. The bobbin platen - the disc that the bobbin sticks to - runs pretty true... but it needs to be better. My local plastics store sells plexi discs that are probably cut on a water jet, and are very flat and round. Also, I might try just feeding the wire over the nylon guide, instead of under the nylon guide and over the bar (with the collar stops): I notice that the bar is not smooth enough, and the wire tends to pause every now and again, instead of flowing smoothly from left to right. This has to do with the little inconsistencies of the wire insulation, and I noticed it when I was feeding the wire by hand, too.

So, I'm a long ways from production, but with a little work, this will be a big step forward in the ability to wind coils with a greater degree of consistency and predictability. And that means I might eventually be able to A-B different sets of pickups and actually understand what the hell I'm doing!
-Ruining perfectly good wood, one day at a time.
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Re: Jason's Pickup Winder

Postby Greg Martin » Fri Nov 06, 2015 3:40 pm

anyone wound their own bobbinless pickups,(floating jazz style) Id love to get the process explained ?????
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Re: Jason's Pickup Winder

Postby Jason Rodgers » Sat Nov 07, 2015 3:52 pm

I don't know about that style of pickup, Greg, but if you post a separate thread, I'm sure there are folks around here who can point you in the right direction (lots of resources on the MEF, too).

I stopped by my local TAP Plastics on the way home from work yesterday and picked up a new plexi disc for the bobbin platen. I just got it attached, and spent a good bit of time mucking around to true it up. By shimming it with a little square of paper, and alternately tightening screws, I brought the runout down as best I could. The closest I could get it is about .0015" off of totally flat (wobble in and out, so .003" total), which I think is pretty damn good for my purposes. The original platen was flapping around by comparison, at about .004" end to end, or .008" total. Of course, this is a 1/4" plexi disc attached with tiny 8-40 screws to a repurposed sewing machine worm gear. The next time I bump it or sneeze in the general vicinity I'll probably lose that flatness, but that's what you get with this sort of level of DIY.
new platen.JPG
-Ruining perfectly good wood, one day at a time.
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Re: Jason's Pickup Winder

Postby Jason Rodgers » Sun Feb 21, 2016 4:47 pm

Here is yet another mod I've made to my pickup winder. One upgrade leads to another. For hand-guided winding, the sewing machine speed controller pedal made sense. But when I added the Goldberg-ian wire traverser, it seemed sort of silly to sit in front of the winder with my foot on the pedal. So, I pulled the speed controller out of the pedal and mounted it in the winder tower.

Cutting the cord, taking notes.
Cuttin the cord.jpg


I had to make some slight modifications to the small controller board, mainly extending the lever on the linear pot to extend through the 1/2" ply box wall.
Controller mod.JPG


And here is the latest version. I wish I had a reason to wind something to try it all out, but I'm between projects and don't have any particular specs to wind to right now. This will work well, though. The lever slides smoothly, and it will be easy to monitor wind progress and flick it off if problems arise or when the wind count has been reached.
Latest version.JPG
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