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Why would anyone build their own pickup winder?  There are plenty of reasons, but I think having the capability to rewind broken pickups is a great thing to have in your "repairer's toolbox".  I bought the Jason Lollar book, now available from Stew-Mac, and read the entire thing one night when I was on duty.  It is pretty well done, but like any technical writing, there are some confusing passages.  If you have the book or are just curious, keep checking back here.  It may take a while to build, but this project lends itself to "tinkering" and finding new techniques. 
German engineering at its finest.  I bought this machine at a Trödel Markt (German for "Flea Market") in Wegberg for DM 30 (about $15 US).   It was a shame to dissect this noble machine because it ran so smoothly and was so well made.


The key parts from the sewing machine.  This included the motor, the drive pulley, and several steel rods.  I also kept the thread guide.  This is a key point:  you'll have to use some judgement on what you keep from the destroyed sewing machine.  I recommend taking the thing completely apart and keeping everything.

We can rebuild him...make him better...

Picked from Gordon Crom's trash, this Korean-made fan had seen its fair share of abuse but still worked.

Sell 'em on eBay...someone will bid!

The motor from the fan would serve to drive the wire guide.  I sawed the fan shaft with a regular hack saw.  The reciprocating mechanism is seen on the right side of the motor. 

CAUTION:   If you take the reciprocating mechanism apart, be careful!  Many of these feature small ball bearing and springs that can get away from you!

Dude...what size is that motor?

I've been experimenting with the reciprocating mechanism.  This will guide the wire from left to right on the bobbin.  I'm trying to make a simple, functional mechanism based on the Lollar model.

Tip: The caps from Gatorade bottles are pretty good bases for the cams mentioned in the book.  The caps from the Ocean Spray Cranapple and Crangrape bottles have flatter sides, and are suitable for the drive mechanism.  I plan to coat the outside edge with Teflon tape.  Check back for results.

Let's see...1/8" minus 3/16" is..uhhhh...

I received the box from Woodcraft , and this cool polishing head was in it!   It is part number 01T31, and costs $26.99.  It already has the bearings, comes with a 1/4" chuck, and has an additional drive pulley (great for a counter).  I think it is superior to the design in the Lollar book, and really simplifies the project.

A black Plexiglas wheel is chucked into the winder on the right side and the sewing machine's wheel on the left side.  The black wheel is a 3M sanding disk with the foam rubber pad removed.  NOTE:  It already has a flat face and has a 1/4" shaft installed.

But will it run?

This is the Plexiglas wheel shown above with a threaded bottle top installed.  This is the device that will allow me to attach a pickup bobbin to the winder.  The threads will accommodate a wide range of caps.

What I did:  I cut the threaded top off of a Gatorade bottle just below the flat flange on the neck of the bottle.  I filed and sanded the plastic until flat (within .001") all the way around.  I then epoxied the top to the black Plexiglas wheel.  Be careful -- the plastic is amazingly tough and difficult to cut.

A crop circle?

The Gatorade cap solution is a simple, quick way to mount bobbins on the machine.  Standard Gatorade and Crangrape juice caps will fit.  I can easily tape or use hardware to mount the bobbin on the cap, then screw the cap on to the base which is mounted on the Plexiglas disk.  Once all is secure, I can chuck the wheel into the winder.

Pre-assembly family photo.

On to Page 2!


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