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sawdust aficionado
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
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!
 

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Premium Member
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32,765 Posts
Kickass! I can't wait to hear clips. :D
 

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Premium Member
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9,388 Posts
Very cool!

One question, are you going to wax pot these pickups?
 

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Señor Member
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12,297 Posts
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. :yesway:
 

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sawdust aficionado
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1,343 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks!

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. :D

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.
 

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

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sawdust aficionado
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1,343 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
What part of the machine do you have making contact with the clicker on the counter?
Well....ummm....it's this foot thingy....I think it was called the thread tensioner...I kinda butchered that sewing machine. :D



Super glue and wooden blocks can accomplish quite a lot!
 

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Señor Member
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Ah, I'll have to try something like that. I stripped down the "sewing machine" part of mine a little more, so I don't have the tensioner thing anymore.

Here's the original version:


and then the semi-current one:


...on the current model, the motor was moved to the middle of the shaft so that I could put another output on the other side. To do something like your design, I could probably attach a longer, rounded piece to contact a counter and just mount it to the base...?

Sorry for the derail, BTW. >.>
 

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sawdust aficionado
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1,343 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
...on the current model, the motor was moved to the middle of the shaft so that I could put another output on the other side. To do something like your design, I could probably attach a longer, rounded piece to contact a counter and just mount it to the base...?

Sorry for the derail, BTW. >.>
No worries about the thread derail. It's all good.

Both winders look really good. I think using a knob is better than a pedal. Setting the knob in one position and leaving it there is easier than trying to do the same with a pedal.

Yeah, you could probably mount some kind of lobe on the shaft to hit a counter. But that's going to kill the speed and smoothness of your winder. I remember someone using a calculator and some magnetic-type triggers to do counting. I'll try and dig up that link.
 

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sawdust aficionado
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1,343 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Well, the pickups work, and I was going to record a couple clips, but there's a buzzing issue I can't seem to chase down. It's really pissing me off!!! There is buzzing noise unless I'm touching the strings, bridge, volume knob or jack. While I'm playing, it's perfectly quiet. I checked, and there is continuity between the strings, bridge, volume knob, jack, cavity shielding, pickup shielding. From what I've read over at the guitarnuts site, I'm just a big bucket of noise, and the guitar is grounding me. But, they don't say what, if anything, to do about it.

Any ideas what could be the problem? I'm about at the end of my rope here....

Oh, and the pickups sound pretty good to my ears. I'll probably make another set with fewer winds on the single coil (to reduce the bass a little), and more winds on the humbuckers (to increase the bass a little).
 

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I don't like it.
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11,071 Posts
Is there buzzing on the humbuckers? I can understand it on the singles... Are there florescent lights around, or a tube type TV? Lots of factors can cause buzz...
 
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