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My Latest Winder


I decided I wanted a "tailstock" winder because of the ability to easily use top plates, and to get away from the double stick tape. The tailstock type is quicker and easier to setup and change bobbins.

For this winder I purchased a new variable speed wood lathe from Grizzly Industrial supply. Cost was $139.00. I purchased a Red Lion dual counter (programmable w/ switching output) and a hall effect sensor which triggers the counter.

The Counter will count in excess of 3000 counts per minute, and the sensor is triggered by an alnico rod magnet set into the edge of the faceplate. The sensor bracket and mounting allows for 2 axis adjustment of the sensor.

Instead of having the lathe it's full original length, and instead of cutting down the rails, I replaced them w/ cast UHMW Polyethylene (Ultra High Molecular Weight) rails 8 inches long. I used the toolrest bracket to mount a hand rest and integral winding guides made from more of the UHMW Polyethylene in sheet form, the guides are fully adjustable, and the hand rest slopes downward for comfort. I bent the UHMW Polyethylene sheet with a heat gun and clamping. I also installed a tensioning device at the front edge of the handrest as was used on the previous winder. It is not shown in these photos.

I added a reverse switch to the lathes wiring to allow reverse winding, and wired the counter into the same harness as well.

This winder is very sturdy, very accurate, runs very true, and will wind much more quickly than I need.

To aid in centering the bobbins and provide a secure hold so they do not spin on the faceplate I recessed the faceplate in the shape of the bobbins to the thickness of the forbon. The recess shape is a compilation of all the baseplate shapes, and holds them all securely. The deeper relief at the bottom of the recess if for the electrical eyelets.

To increase the durability of the faceplate I coated it with several layers of thin superglue.

One significant difference from the modified drill press winder is that with the tailstock winder design the wire must be moved side to side since the bobbin is stationary. I do this by pinching the wire between felt. This also allows me to add more winding tension as desired. If I have one complaint it is in the tailstock of this lathe. The bottom bracket is plastic and tends to flex if put under to much pressure. When it flexes the bearings are out of line and make noises. It's not a big issue since the pressure at which it flexes is more than what is required for winding pickups, but I'll be replacing the bottom plastic piece with a billet aluminum one shortly. I may replace the rails with billet aluminum as well eventually.

Total cost for this winder was just under 200 USD.


OK, I've had some interest and inquiries into the current setup so here's a current pic and details.

1. The winder itself, mounted to a 3/4" thick baltic birch plywood board 22"x12", carry handles at each end and the whole thing rests on 8, 1" dia rubber feet.

2. Fwd/Rev switch, now labeled CC and CW based upon the direction of wind.

3. Speed control which was original

4. Plates for the top of different bobbins; the live center pushes against these to help prevent warping.

5. Hot wire stripper

6. Dual temperature control soldering station, both 500-850*, one with fine point one with 3/16" chisel tip.

7. 100watt soldering iron.

8. Boxes full of different magnets in A2, A5, ceramic8.

9. Tensioning device

10. Magnet wire in a coffee can. I found that the 2# spools of wire fit perfectly inside the small cofee cans. The cans are the ones with the pull top opening seal and have no sharp edges. I screwed a dowel to the bottom of the can to keep the spool centered. The can keeps the wire under control as it unspools. When I want to change wire guages I simply put the lid on over the loose end of wire and that keeps the loose end in place. I label each can with permanent marker and it's a quick change, neat and organized way of working things. I open a drawer and set the can directly below the tensioning device on a "table" made from corian scrap; this "table" is also used to hold and cut tape. Very cool little setup. I was using a rack which held 3 spools for a while, but this works better IMO.

Also visible in the picture is the handheld LCR meter which is certified but inexpensive. A dremel with the heavy metal router base. Not visible is another dremel, the panaflex vise, arbor press, wax pot, Makita cordless drill/driver, spools of hookup wire, and assorted other minor tools cluttering up the worktop and filling the drawer.... This winter I will be remodeling the basement and setting up a proper workshop.

The only other tools normally used are a small bandsaw, a benchtop belt/disk sander, and a drill press with milling vise. These tools are not kept in the same work area due to the possible metal contamination of the pickups/ damage.