Winding pickups can be a painful, frustrating experience.  It can go horribly, horribly wrong.  I found out first hand!


The recycled fan motor rescued from Gordon Crom's trash failed on the first winding session.  It got so hot that I was sure it was going in to full meltdown.  Remember:  just because it is free doesn't mean it is the optimal solution.

I bought a new fan, cannibalized the motor, and mounted it on the winder.  Note strap from motor to frame for extra rigidity.   Also note that I saved and mounted the fan's speed control.

The original cam design is intact, but I didn't take the reciprocating mechanism apart this time.  Good decision.

I just wanted to be a fan....

A bobbin mounted on the winder.  Yes, more Gatorade bottle caps.  I mounted the bobbin between two caps using a humbucking pickup height adjustment screw.  It is very rigid, and easy to use.

Gatorade caps to the rescue!

Here we go -- the winder is ready for a test run!

It's alive!  It's alive!

The enemy -- a 5 1/2 pound spool of 42 AWG wire.   This was very intimidating to me, and it proved to be a worthy adversary.

TIP 1:  This wire breaks very easily.
TIP 2:  This wire is very difficult to see when off of the spool.
TIP 3: This wire will happily entangle itself on anything within reach.
TIP 4:  It is possible that this wire has an independent thought process!

Other than these four things, the 42 AWG wire worked out great!

The horror....the horror....

After several hours of misstarts, cutting wire from the bobbin, cutting wire from the winder, filling a brown paper bag full of cut wire, and general frustration, I broke the code and produced this lovely pickup.

It is a PAF size bobbin, and reads about 4k ohms resistance.  I didn't take but a few minutes to wind -- once I got everything working!

I recommend starting slow, and progressively  build up the winding speed.  When the wire gets away from you, it is a 20 minute job to get working again!

But what does it sound like?

The bobbin above validates the design changes I made to the winder described in Jason Lollar's book.  I believe the changes I made can make the winder even easier to make for pickup makers.  Many scoffed at my Gatorade caps, but they worked out great, and make working with the winder very simple. 

There is much to learn about winding pickups, but we finally have a winder that works.  Keep checking back for more pickup information.

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