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Stephen's Power Winder
Article © MAIL User: Stephen

So you want to power wind those pesky coils? Don’t want your fingers pulled into wire? Then you need….

The All New and Improved Coil Winder!
Just $29.95 or 5 easy payments of $9.99 an month!
Don’t wait! Get yours TODAY!

I always wondered about the “New and Improved” phrase. Either something is new, OR it is improved. Never both. Still, its fun to say, and some of us are more easily amused than others…

But you are here for a coil winder. But you want a Power Winder, right? And you don’t have the shekels for a lathe, even a cheap one. Well, that’s what this is all about.

In this case, I improved my previous hand winder. My version handles 3 sizes of mandrels. It’s easily adaptable to handle more or less, depending on your personal tastes. The sizes I offer to most people when I make them is ¼, 5/16, and 3/8”
Image: sideview.jpg

Image: endview1.jpg

The mandrel:
This mandrel is allowed to move in the winder fixture. In this picture, you can see about 3 inches of mandrel. Be assured, the mandrel is 3 feet long.
The wire feed plate is a piece of 22ga with holes punched in it. You can use anything to feed the wire through. Wood, if you desire. The important part is, you never touch the wire once it starts on the mandrel. (The reason that this plate has 5 holes punched in it, is because it started life as a lamellar plate. Really, it only needs one hole!)
I have drilled a hole through the mandrel, then Dremeled a slot into the end. The slot lets a 14ga wire easily slips through it. The hole is larger then the slot, this locks the wire in place until you remove the coil by sliding it right off
Another way to make the slot involves hand tools. But you still need the drilled hole. Pit the mandrel in a vice. Use a hacksaw to make the slot, and then use a thin file to widen the slot. It takes time, but it does work. Use a new file sharp file and it goes fast.
Image: endview2.jpg

The Frame:

This frame does work nicely for a hand winder as well as power winding. This unit does take some care in assembling because the mandrels are very close to the steel wear plate. So take your time. I’ve made mine from 1x4 pine. This has lasted me quite nicely. The Steel wear plate is spaced slightly more than 14ga away from the mandrel

Image: winder1.jpg
Ok, so it’s a crude picture, but it will suffice for our purposes.
The brown is the 1x4 pine. They gray is (surprise) steel.
The steel plate is what saves your fingers. This is excellent for hard metals i.e. Stainless and Tungsten. This plate on mine is 16ga. It doesn’t need to be that heavy, but it needs to be rather stiff. I tried 22ga and the stainless wire ends tore it up quickly.
If you are winding Aluminum, try it without the plate as well as with the plate. If the mandrel makes the Al scrape on the plate, it flattens it fast.

This frame works with any length of mandrel. If I wind 3’ welding rod, I use a mandrel about 1-foot long. For most winding I use a 3-foot mandrel. It all depends on how far you are willing to move your arms.
Important! C-clamp this puppy down! Don’t use this in your lap, guys… Put a mouse pad under it if you have to save a tabletop, but think safety here. C-clamps are cheap.

Wire Holder:
Holding your spooled wire needs some thoughts too. After all, you don’t want the wire spool falling off the table. It needs a feeder of some sort.
I made a simple A-frame. This allows a fairly stable platform. Again, its 1x4 pine with a ¾ dowel for the spool to hang on. If you can, C-clamp this down. It is possible to flip the A-frame if the spool hangs up slightly.

Image: winder2.jpg
Using these two items together allows one hand on the drill, and your other hand to move the wire spool or tension the wire if needed. Usually, I just keep the off hand well away from the spinning bits.

This project will take a little creative thinking on your part. Assembly time is usually an afternoon. It takes 1) 6 foot 1x4 pine board. 1) Small package of 1-1/2” drywall screws. And whatever size mandrels you desire.
Tools used were
10” Chop saw
4” angle grinder w/ cut off wheel
1/16 drill bit for pilot holes,
1/8 drill bit for wire catch in mandrels
¼, 5/16 and 3/8 wood bore bits for the mandrel holes
Dremal, w/cutoff wheel for slotting.
Thin file
16ga steel plate (approx)

Tools needed.
Straight edge
All the drill bits above
Thin file
Steel plate

Image: winder1dem.jpg

I welcome feedback and wish to hear if you make one. Have fun!

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