DIY: pickups

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Thread: DIY: pickups

  1. #1

    Join Date: Oct 2008
    Location: Seekaaahhhk, MA
    ME: Bugsy
    MA: Cane
    Rig: Bias

    iTrader: 2 (100%)

    DIY: pickups

    Since I posted a pic-story about making a pickup winder, I guess it's about time to post a pic-story about making pickups. Most of the stuff required to build a pickup is shown below. 3/32" thick fiberboard (from McMaster) for the bobbin top & bottom plates, paper templates of the pickups, AlNiCo 5 rod magnets & appropriate size drill bit, neo-magnets for charging the rods, two types of double sided tape, foil tape for shielding, brass eyelets and eyelet setting tool, drill and tap for height adjustment screws, a wood block for magnet installation help, a large black magic marker and a ruler.

    Cut the fiberboard to the size of the templates.

    Use double sided tape to hold everything together so the holes will be aligned in all of the pieces.

    Drill the holes using a guide block to keep the holes aligned.

    Separate the single coil bobbin bases, s.c. tops & humbucker bobbins and the wooden block.

    Cut and sand the pieces to their final dimensions and separate them all.

    If you don't like grey bobbins, grab a marker and start marking.

    Install the brass eyelets.

    Install the pole pieces in the base. I use a small arbor press, but you could use a hammer and block of wood or plastic.

    Cut the wood block along the hole centerlines...

    ...and use it to help keep the poles in place, and set the space between the bobbins, while installing the bobbin top.

    Finished bobbin.

    The humbucker bobbins are screwed to the base plate, so locate the screw holes to avoid the poles and wire.

    I cut off the screw tips (but didn't take a picture).

    Loop the wire a few times in and around the brass eyelet.

    Use heavier double sided tape to hold the bobbin in place.

    Wind a dozen or so turns by hand to check the guide limits on the winder.

    If doing a humbucker, wrap and solder the magnet wire to a lead wire.

    Then stick onto the winder.

    Wind an appropriate number of turns.

    Loop the finish end through the other brass eyelet, then solder. If doing a humbucker, use another lead wire similar to the first one.

    Wrap the coil with foil...

    ...insulating between the foil layers with electrical tape. The foil should not touch itself.

    I then did a complete wrap with electrical tape, then another foil layer which then gets grounded. According to Stew-Mac, the first layer (not grounded) helps

    to reduce hum. Guess I'll find out if that's true.

    Most rod magnets arrive un-magnatized. To magnatize them, you can pass them between two strong neo-magnets. I made a simple jig to hold the magnets.

    Pass through about 10 times. Note that the "N" side will give a South charge to the rod, and the "S" side give a north side charge.

    Attach the hookup wires and it's ready for installation!

    Hope you enjoyed the story!

  2. #2

    Join Date: Sep 2008
    Location: Somerville, Ma
    ME: Suhr Modern 7
    MA: Martin MC16-GTE
    MB: Dingwall Afterburner 5
    Rig: Mesa Roadster, Recto 4x12

    iTrader: 5 (100%)

    Kickass! I can't wait to hear clips.
    "They can kill you, but the legalities of eating you are a bit dicier." - David Foster Wallace

  3. #3

    Join Date: Sep 2008
    Location: Ohio
    ME: Schecter Loomis 7
    Rig: Boss GT-8

    iTrader: 0

    Very cool!

    One question, are you going to wax pot these pickups?
    The only proof he needed for the existance of God was music.
    Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

    Without music, life would be a mistake.
    Friedrich Nietzsche

  4. #4

    Join Date: Dec 2008
    Location: Pennsyl-tucky
    ME: 87 Ibanez RG550
    MA: Wasburn D12 6
    Rig: ADA MP1 / Spider II

    iTrader: 0

    Holy shit dude that is awesome.

  5. #5

    Join Date: May 2009
    Location: Southern Virginia
    ME: Swampcaster
    MA: Fender Sonoran
    MB: Squier P Bass
    Rig: None :(

    iTrader: 6 (100%)

    Hmmm..... I might try this. Know where I could get rail bars? Wouldn't mind trying a mini humbucker with 1 rail in my Texan.

    RHLC East Coast President

  6. #6

    Join Date: Sep 2008
    Location: Kitchen/Laundry Room
    ME: Ironing Board
    MA: Laundry Mangle
    MB: Cascade Dish Detergent
    Rig: Washing Machine

    iTrader: 2 (100%)

    I built a pickup winder a while ago but got hung-up on getting a descent system for calculating the number of winds accurately at full speed. I might have to dust that project off and give it another try.
    Argbadh - RHLCİ

  7. #7

    Join Date: Oct 2008
    Location: Seekaaahhhk, MA
    ME: Bugsy
    MA: Cane
    Rig: Bias

    iTrader: 2 (100%)


    I was dragging yesterday and didn't finish installing them, so, hopefully that'll get done tonight. Clips to follow for sure.

    I was going to wax pot them, even got all the stuff required, but after considering I rarely play louder than bedroom volume, decided it wasn't worth the effort. I'll crank it up though just to see what happens.

    For a rail, I don't think that is the actual magent, rather just a piece of steel with the magent(s) mounted beneath. That's just a guess on my part though.

    Counting the winds was a stumbling block for me too. I decided to go low-tech and use a mechanical push button counter. It works well up to about 600 rpm, then it tends to jam. 600 rpm is plenty fast for me though.

  8. #8

    Join Date: Sep 2008
    Location: Kitchen/Laundry Room
    ME: Ironing Board
    MA: Laundry Mangle
    MB: Cascade Dish Detergent
    Rig: Washing Machine

    iTrader: 2 (100%)

    What part of the machine do you have making contact with the clicker on the counter?

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