Sourcing parts (for Winding machines)
    This calls for resourcefulness and persistence. I have recycled various components to make my machines including a medical flask shaker, discarded castings, and a wood lathe (- the latter, for my  first Tailstock Winder which is still very operational - see Gallery). Some devices such as the counter and a speed controller were built from electronics kits. Motor power in most cases is provided by the ubiquitous sewing machine motor. To this end, 'garage' sales, second-hand machinery outlets, and trash markets are a good source of supplies and ideas. Access to a metal lathe has been crucial in allowing me to turn junk into something useful. Aluminium ('Aluminum' to U.S readers), copper and brass offcuts are available from appropriate trade outlets. Bearing suppliers will offer bearings, blocks, transmission equipment and belting. Subject to regulatory authorities, charity or second-hand stores can be worth checking for that discarded sewing machine and other components, but it is important that all 'pre-loved acquisitions' be checked for safety and suitability to provide ongoing service. Bolt and screw suppliers can yield that unusual but usable fitting or fastener (I've even acquainted myself with boat chandler and fishing rod components as used in the wire feed path). Counters? I originally acquired some secondhand mechanical counters, but have recently become a convert to the digital electronic counter.

    I have devoted space to this component in particular, since locating counters appears top be a frequent concern to constructors. Please note that ready-made counters by numerous manufacturers can be located on the Web. I feature this particular unit because it is one with which I have direct experience. This 4 digit Up/Down counter (homebuilt case and power supply not included in kit price) is triggered by a simple reed switch, and powered by a 12VDC. wall outlet plug pack.

This kit ( K-129 - short form only) is available from
but should not be confused with the K154 Downcounter (with which I have no experience) from the same supplier.
Update Note: The K-129 counter and the K154 Downcounter are featured in the May 2001, edition of 'Silicon Chip Magazine' (Australia.). Intending K-129 users may be interested to note I had the 'debounce' re-programmed by the designer  to 1 m.sec. for reed switches as illustrated on this site. These were measured to have a 'contact bounce' of 0.2 m.sec. This corrected earlier miscounting and 'freezing' where the previous software setting (10 m.sec.) was unsuitable for these reeds.
Other switch types may require different debounce settings which can be software configured by the designer/supplier.

Micro reed switches (about the size of a 1/4 watt resistor).

A note on reed switches: These are activated by a magnet. Both reed and magnet can be set up in different ways to 'count'.
i.e. the magnet could be shaft or pulley mounted and the reed placed on, or off axis.
I found some experimentation was necessary for best results, and the closer to centre of rotation, the better.

Mechanical Counters:
For those interested in using a mechanical counter (example shown below) issues of  rotation and drive train (pulley ratios) will come into play. In selecting a mechanical counter I would want to ascertain that the count rotation suits the winder design, and that an efficient reset feature is available. Bi-directional counting (up/down) can be advantageous in the case of backwinding too.

mechanical counter
A mechanical counter made by the Veeder Root Company.

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