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Mr. Oni Guitars
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
After the single coil making effort a while back Soopahmahn took a fancy toward a humbucker size variation of a Strat style pickup, which I agreed to make happen. Initially I'd intended to make a silly thread of the making process, potentially involving cat litter and a vegetable garden. Instead, I decided to document a little of the fannying about that happens when you do a one-off project :smoking:

So to start with, I'd already made the basic coil last time I needed to cut some of the material (I'm using FR4 PCB material instead of Forbon, it's much stiffer and stronger). Big thanks to ******* for sending the stuff to me :wub: The assembly was similar to the singles I made earlier, so I used some of the alignment tooling I'd already constructed. The eyelets that the coil wire connects to are meant for thicker material so I had to shorten those to fit. In all, a little fannying about but no big deal because I'd already worked out the process earlier. Here's the result -



That's the basic coil form, 2 flat plates with alnico slug magnets separating them. Making them involves designing in 2d CAD, working out a way to hold the material, toolpathing and cutting. Assembly involves pressing the magnets into one flat plate, then pressing the second piece on. Things have to align, so I've made a pair of spacer/magnet guides that slide out sideways once it's all together. The hole size has to be just right - too small and the magnets won't go in, too loose and they won't hold on tight enough. The FR4 material is a little less forgiving than Forbon in that regard, but more stable and less prone to deforming.

By deforming I mean flaring at the ends due to the tension on the coil. If you hold a straight edge on top of a lot of pickup coils you'll find the ends bend up a little. The bigger the coil, the worse the problem will be. I realised that this design would have a problem with flaring unless I could make the assembly more solid during the winding process. I also realised I'd neglected holes for screwing the assembly to my winder. Even if I had have used the same mounting method as I used for the S style singles it wouldn't allow for clamping the assembly as solidly as I want. The next step becomes one of drilling four holes, very accurately, between the polepieces of the assembled pickup. Doing this on the drill press is asking for trouble because I can't centre punch this material in it's assembled form, and I don't like the chances of it holding still on a press anyway. Back to the CAD and CNC...

The simplest solution is pretty much a disposable MDF jig, one of the many :lol: Here is the MDF held in place.


Selecting the program...


Cutting....


And done...


And here's how the pickup slots in


I rather stupidly neglected to take a pic of the hole drilling, but the result is 2 holes on each side of the pickup, in between the outer pairs of polepieces (B/E string and b/e string). You can see them later in the final photos.
 

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Mr. Oni Guitars
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1,366 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Next up is the clamping plate which, like I said above, will serve to reinforce the top of the bobbin during winding. Again, it's CAD and CNC, this time from 1/4" FR4. There's two pilot holes drilled for screws, plus a shallow channel for the slightly protruding poles.

Cutting...


Done, just needs the pilot holes deepened on the drill press...


And here's the assembly mounted on the winder...


At this point I had a couple of vodkas, and a lengthy Sunday chat in the metalguitarist chatroom :yesway: Unfortunately I then forgot to take photos of the actual winding :noway: You can find tons of winding pictures and videos with google. I taped off the poles to ensure the wire doesn't short to them, then wound 8600 turns of 42 AWG wire. No big secrets there, and it was the quickest part of the process so far. In fact, I spent more time finding the right combination of screws and washers to mount the thing on the winder.

End result -


Lead wires attached -


Soaking the pickup in urine... I mean potting in paraffin and beeswax.


After that I wrapped black paper tape around the thing and gave it another quick dip in the potting wax. Here's the final product -



As mentioned in the first post, I wanted to show what can be involved in doing a one-off product. Through the production of an entire custom instrument similar circumstances can arise many times over. Huge chunks of time are spent designing things, then designing and making jigs and templates to be able to accurately produce the things in the initial design. As soon as you do something repeatedly the time spent in preparation starts to pay for itself. Make quantities in the thousands or tens of thousands and the preparation time almost becomes irrelevant. This is the difference between production and custom work - time!
 

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Mr. Negative Pants, ,
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Wirelessly posted (Only Chris cares about this ->: Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; CPU iPhone OS 5_0_1 like Mac OS X) AppleWebKit/534.46 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.1 Mobile/9A405 Safari/7534.48.3)

Sweet.
 

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NSLALP
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13,286 Posts
Hell yes. :D

But didn't I mention I wanted green galvanized Torx slugs? Is it too late to change? I'm not paying extra for them either, I know you can get those at Australian hardware stores easily; my friend Jose did last summer.
 

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Is Actually Recording
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That's both a cool idea, and a cool execution :yesway:
 

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Premium Member
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9,388 Posts
That is awesome, sir. :yesway:

Is that one of those home deep frying units you're using to wax pot the pickups?
 

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Mr. Oni Guitars
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1,366 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Hell yes. :D

But didn't I mention I wanted green galvanized Torx slugs? Is it too late to change? I'm not paying extra for them either, I know you can get those at Australian hardware stores easily; my friend Jose did last summer.
Oh, my mistake. I'll have those custom made from alnico right away, and also refund you and throw in an additional pickup of your choice. I'm Mr. Customer Service, and the customer is always right, even when they're wrong and being an ass :yesway:

That's both a cool idea, and a cool execution :yesway:
Thanks Drew!

Is that one of those home deep frying units you're using to wax pot the pickups?
Sure is. Some of the bigger small pickup makers are still using them. They work, and are cheap.

Is that urine of the finest quality, extracted from hookers by spooking them with drop bears?
Hell yes! And only after a long nights work without a toilet break

If it's not, I'm returning it.

Still waiting, this tracking number doesn't work. :noway:
That's not a tracking number, that's how many times you can GFY :yesway:

:wub:
 

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Mr. Oni Guitars
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1,366 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Hmm interesting.

This is some very nice work you've done here. Very impressive!

Would it be possible to do an EMG sized 7 string high output humbucker?
Thank you sir! Was just looking at your panel mounted tone stack, very nice too!

Re. the EMG size pickups, they're something I have done, and I've finally got a good process to do them, but there's a fair bit of more complex machining involved. If you're reeeeally interested it is possible, but they'd have to sell for $200 each.
 

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I am Groot
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