The 'Designed2Wind' Gallery

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Example Image The machine that started it all for me - my 'Treadle Winder'- 600 r.p.m. with footbrake. Built 1996. Often I was asked, 'Why build a treadle powered machine?' I used to joke that I wanted to be able to wind pickups on the long cold nights in my tent when I went hiking or snow camping. I fear that at least one or two people actually believed this explanation! With efficient gearing and hefty flywheel mass, this machine worked well until I eventually went 'electric'.

My original 'Tailstock Winder' adapted from a drill powered  wood lathe accessory kit. The machine was completed with the addition of a second drill clamp to support the mainshaft, bearings, sewing machine motor, limiters, handrest, counter and pulley assembly. It was on this model I developed my handrest design, brass shelf support faceplate 'stops' (to prevent the pickup 'freespinning') and my limiter assembly.

stopsCut-down, self-locking, shelf 'pins' stop p/up 'freespinning' on the faceplate. The photo shows the operative 'stop' set  firmly against the *trailing edge of a clockwise rotating 'theoretical' bobbin base plate. (*i.e. 'stop' set-up should take account of wire feed and rotation issues to enable full inter-locking action at all times). The dual radii of the 'shelf' pin provide a positive engagement - the larger bracing outer half circle (and overlaid bobbin plate) working with the smaller inserted dia. pin to prevent slipping inwards or outwards. A *snug fit and precise set-up along with periodic checking in use is advised. (*Pins are available in ¼" and/or 6mm. pin sizes. Drilled holes should allow for a firm press fit - avoid sloppiness on insertion.) Assorted pins can be interchanged to fit different p/ups. Moderate winding speeds recommended.

This medical flask shaker cost $15 at a trash sale - all up the winder cost - less than $50. Although heavily modified, the major work was providing rigid support  for the hand rest (see expanded view from thumbnail). The variable speed motor is stock - somewhat low in torque, but adequate for the task. A solid (weighty) unit.

The 'Model 5' (my 5th Winder) is both simple and solid. It can accommodate elec. and mech. counters, and is a joy to use. While the Tailstock winder above is no less functional in engineering terms, there is no substitute for the rigidity and solidity of cast iron. Mind you, I prefer the aluminium unit for snow camping trips???  ;-)

The 'Woodshop Winder' reveals a simple solution to coil winding at the novice level. Here, a 12 volt DC. rechargeable drill does the winding at 500 rpm. The drill is also reversible. Picture shows first pickup wound on this unit. For construction and further details please consult Stewmac, October (Autumn) Catalog, 2000.

The counter reed is soldered to eyeletted fibreboard which can be adjusted on 'x' and 'y' axes. The removed flywheel is shown (lower right) with inlaid magnet. This is but one mounting idea - other alternatives exist, such as fitting the magnet on the drive spindle, and relocating the reed. Testing and trialing is required for best results.

This shows an alternative reed set up where the reed is angled to the magnet 'sweep' rather than offset. Why? Well, such strategies can avoid a 'double count' where 'push/pull' effects on a single pass can occur. This effect is not always evident, but  these solutions may help in such cases (magnet flywheel removed in this photo).

Here is an assortment of jigs and spacers used in making and winding pickups. The sheetmetal clamping 'pliers' hold fiberboard plates and jig for drilling on a drill press. A magnet 'pressing' jig is shown at bottom right. This assists with correct depth setting and spacing of magnets. Other jigs are used to hold, space and brace pickups (like a shaped washer) on the winder. Some capture the magnet ends, others are for special applications.

The Model 6 is based upon earlier ideas and some variations as well. It was inspired by a 'found object' - an industrial furniture bracket which was made into the headstock. I had acquired the bed and tailstock previously and put them to use. You can view the component parts at the 'Designed2Wind Workshop' page. Have fun! I hope there's some interest and encouragement there for you?

Since the Model 7 is not a tailstock type winder, the coil bobbin is secured with an extra long 2.5 mm. metal thread, or very fine bolt. The steel faceplate spindle is centre-threaded accordingly. This mounting method relies on centre-holed bobbins, or one has to resort to other methods (such as industrial grade double-sided adhesive tape) for a 'holeless' or non-centre-holed bobbin. Sometimes an off-centre double screw mounting method is possible.
The 'headstock' on this machine came from a 16mm. movie projector with full  bearing assembly (detail here).
With this winder, the motor was not connected to the power supply by a motor plug, but came 'hard-wired'. To provide safe and sound protection for the power leads and keep them away from drive belt and pulley, I made a wiring conduit using 5/8" pvc pipe combined with a fabricated pvc. block. The 'contoured' cable exit (detail here) was achieved by drilling a 1/2" hole in the pvc block then inserting a router rounding over bit with a 1/2" guide bearing into the pre-drilled hole. A drill press (set at moderate speed) rather than router proved quite adequate, for this relatively soft material. Such drilling operations demand the work is clamped for safety - not hand-held! The conduit was then inserted and glued on the block's reverse side where an enlarged diameter stepped hole provided a firm-fitting recessed joint. The PVC conduit passes clean through the aluminium motor bracket to clear the wires of all metal contact and any sharp edges. Result, - sound protection for power leads. A close look will show taping of the wires at the exit point to further protect against abrasion.
Always plan for electrical safety!

The 'Model 8' represents my most advanced winder with full auto traversing, 'hands-on' traverse adjustment and set-up mode (LED assisted). Additionally, it features manual over-ride of auto-traverse, and synchronized (to the winder's movement) or non-synchronized modes. Speed of winder and traverse are independently variable (in non sync-mode). A parallel port is also available for full CNC programming, but I feel the direct 'hands on' approach is more expedient and intuitive. Powered by the ubiquitous sewing machine motor, drive is achieved with a stepped timing belt and stepped pulleys. The base box houses three circuit boards and extensive wiring. With technical assistance this machine was completed in Nov. 2003. More details of the control features appear on the R & D Lab. page.

Winding CaddyWinding Caddy - rearPickup restoration work can require a clinical and exacting approach. When I have a 'patient' in the 'surgery' and I am striving to resuscitate a pickup without any pulse, I like to have my specialized instruments close at hand. Shown here is my rotating utensil holder using a 'lazy susan' bearing for swiveling the unit through 360 degrees (just like some retail merchandise display units). The lift-out plastic boxes are of the type readily available in hardware stores and different dividing layouts allow for a variety of components. The PVC pipe sections enable a range of tools to be stored ready for use, and an inner box/cavity stores tapes and bulkier items. One of the three plastic boxes is reserved for the components of the particular pickup I am currently working on. The holes at sides are 'handles' for lifting and easy transporting of my 'surgery assistant', and the pin-hinged beech lid at rear (above my magnifying visor) lifts up for easy access to my stencil knives.
This unit allows for flexibility and further storage to be added at a later time if required, and could be built in a modular form to suit more specialized needs.

pickup tester thumbRecently I found myself with some old discarded parts and a few spare hours in the workshop. The result, at left, is my short-scale single chord (tuned to A major) pickup test rig. The 450mm. (18 inch) body is made from poplar with a rock maple 'skunk stripe'. The 22 cm. (8.5+ inches) scale length terminates with a bridge at each end. The control plate offers two binding posts for bared pickup lead ends and an output jack. Some shielding of the control cavity is provided. The stop tail piece has been string-grounded and the ferrule holes of the 'LP' type bridge and tailpiece have been drilled fully through the body to allow for easy removal by tapping out from the reverse side if required. The more meticulous observer may detect that the machine heads are installed for reverse winding to that which is commonplace (to raise or lower pitch), but it suited my purposes in the larger scheme of things, including headstock proportions and the use of available 'real estate' (i.e. space). The pickup under test is connected, inverted, and held above the strings as they are plucked. I had thought of a pickup supporting device here, but manual handling of the upturned pickup allows for quick, easy adjustment and relocation. This unit generates a more 'soprano' tone since the string length and tuning account for limited bass compared to the tone potential of a full-size guitar. In this regard, this device is NOT intended to assess pickup tone in detail, but rather to indicate the general functionality of the pickup. Having said that, it offers a simple and portable laptop test bed solution. It is not an essential workshop tool, but a fun project just the same! Please click on the thumbnail for a larger image!

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