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I should know better.......Sewing Machine!

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  • I should know better.......Sewing Machine!

    I've been playing guitar most of my life and repairing them for about half my life. Red Rhodes was a good friend of mine in L.A. and I would watch him wind pickups..... I finally decided to start winding them here recently and found a used sewing machine to practice the coil winding learning curve. So far I've used two different types of wire [42 G enamel and 42G heavy build Formvar] and the wire broke every time. It appears that trying to go the "cheap route" is only paying out in frustration. I kept hearing about people having success with the sewing machines but...........

  • #2
    Originally posted by Brian W. View Post
    I've been playing guitar most of my life and repairing them for about half my life. Red Rhodes was a good friend of mine in L.A. and I would watch him wind pickups..... I finally decided to start winding them here recently and found a used sewing machine to practice the coil winding learning curve. So far I've used two different types of wire [42 G enamel and 42G heavy build Formvar] and the wire broke every time. It appears that trying to go the "cheap route" is only paying out in frustration. I kept hearing about people having success with the sewing machines but...........
    Sounds like you have a tension problem.
    nosaj
    Binkie McFartnuggets‏:If we really wanted to know the meaning of life we would have fed Stephen Hawking shrooms a long time ago.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by nosaj View Post
      Sounds like you have a tension problem.
      nosaj
      I have been feeding the wire with my hands and have tried all kinds of varying degrees of tension with the same results.
      Being a newbe lends itself to all kinds of possibilities that I'm not aware of yet. The bobbins have had their leading edges smoothed out so no wire is catching on them.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Brian W. View Post
        I have been feeding the wire with my hands and have tried all kinds of varying degrees of tension with the same results.
        Being a newbe lends itself to all kinds of possibilities that I'm not aware of yet. The bobbins have had their leading edges smoothed out so no wire is catching on them.

        nosaj
        Binkie McFartnuggets‏:If we really wanted to know the meaning of life we would have fed Stephen Hawking shrooms a long time ago.

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        • #5
          Some things to check:

          Are you using something to assist getting the wire off the spool cleanly ?

          Have you tried to lower the speed you are winding at ?

          Have you tried to use a felt pad to grip the wire with so that it doesn't have friction against your skin ?

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Lyrebird Steve View Post
            Some things to check:

            Are you using something to assist getting the wire off the spool cleanly ?
            The wire is coming off the spool cleanly and easily
            Have you tried to lower the speed you are winding at ?

            Have you tried to use a felt pad to grip the wire with so that it doesn't have friction against your skin ?
            Wire is coming off the spool freely and easily
            Yup, tried very low up to medium speed
            No felt pads yet. Although, the wire is always breaking in mid-air close to the bobbin.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Brian W. View Post
              ... the wire is always breaking in mid-air close to the bobbin.
              Ok, almost certainly a tension issue.

              How close to the pickup are you holding it ?

              Are you using a guide ?

              Click image for larger version

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              • #8
                Hello Brian
                Two things, Firstly if you are going to use that bar to guide the wire make sure it's completely smooth and polished as it could be damaging the wire. Secondly try and raise the guide bar if you can so that the break angle is less. You could try two upright bars as side to side guides and not use the the cross bar. You will get a feel for the wire tension after some practice.
                Cheers
                Andrew

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                • #9
                  My hands are about 6" away from the bobbin.

                  The spool is at my feet on the floor and the wire passes through my hand onto the bobbin.

                  I am also feeding the wire from the bottom of the coil.....maybe I should try feeding from the top [?]

                  Thanx for the help so far!
                  Last edited by Brian W.; 03-24-2020, 02:49 PM.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Brian W. View Post
                    My hands are about 6" away from the bobbin.

                    The spool is at my feet on the floor and the wire passes through my hand onto the bobbin.

                    I am also feeding the wire from the bottom of the coil.....maybe I should try feeding from the top [?]

                    Thanx for the help so far!
                    Update----

                    I changed to feeding the wire from the top of the coil and I'm getting better results. So far I finished a Telecaster pickup. The coil is a bit uneven in parts and reads out to a little over 9 K. with 42 G Formvar. I guess not too bad for the first one!
                    I'm waiting on more wire before I'm able to wind another complete pickup. As it stands, I'm feeding the wire from the spool directly on to the bobbin with my hands.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Brian W. View Post
                      Update----

                      . As it stands, I'm feeding the wire from the spool directly on to the bobbin with my hands.
                      Get your self a wire guide. That will help even out the coil. I spent many years with a sewing machine motor. I still have that winder as a backup. It takes practice no matter how you do it.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by StarryNight View Post
                        Get your self a wire guide. That will help even out the coil. I spent many years with a sewing machine motor. I still have that winder as a backup. It takes practice no matter how you do it.
                        Thanx!
                        Yup, I figured I'd need to ad a few features to this monster. Did you make your own wire guide or buy it somewhere?
                        Something else I'm wondering about is modifying the footswitch. It tends to speed up quickly and I'd prefer more control at the beginning.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Brian W. View Post
                          Thanx!
                          Yup, I figured I'd need to ad a few features to this monster. Did you make your own wire guide or buy it somewhere?
                          Something else I'm wondering about is modifying the footswitch. It tends to speed up quickly and I'd prefer more control at the beginning.
                          I made many different wire guides. Some more successful than others, lol. One way might be to get some nylon dowel in two diameters. The larger dowel cut into two 3/4" pieces and drilled so the ID fits the smaller dowel. Then you could put set screws on the sides of the two larger nylon pieces and use those as guides. Many ways to skin this cat.

                          I got rid of the foot pedal and wired in a dimmer switch. Had better control.

                          Here's one that's I'm currently trying to work on, although I'm thinking of getting one on ebay.
                          Click image for larger version

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                          • #14
                            HHmm.... dimmer switch......

                            That tensioner looks very cool......better then 2 chopsticks!

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                            • #15
                              Just wanted to thank everybody for their input ! This "grasshopper" has posted some results of my first official wind in the Beginners section.

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