Automated Pickup Winder

This project is an automated winder for making custom pickups for a guitar or a tonewheel organ

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The project consists of an Arduino Uno, a couple of stepper motors, and a homebrewed linear stage. It all rests on a laser-cut base plate.

Build Video:

ino - 5.30 kB - 12/13/2020 at 16:29


step - 12.81 MB - 12/12/2020 at 17:44


Standard Tesselated Geometry - 332.21 kB - 12/12/2020 at 17:44


Standard Tesselated Geometry - 121.18 kB - 12/12/2020 at 17:44


Standard Tesselated Geometry - 374.30 kB - 12/12/2020 at 17:44


View all 10 files

  • 1 × Arduino Uno
  • 1 × CNC Shield
  • 2 × NEMA 17 Stepper Motor
  • 1 × OPB815 or Similar Beam Break Optical Sensor/limit switch
  • 2 × LM8UU Linear Bearing Ball Bearing or Polymer Type

View all 20 components

  • 1

    - 3d Print the Motor bracket, Linear stage brackets, Carriage top and Bottom, and Line-holding/guide pieces.  NOTE: Use opaque, dark material for this (i.e. black PLA, and NOT the semi-clear material I have here).  The flags for the limit switch will require tape if you don't use an opaque material.

    - Grind or Cut off a piece of the acme threaded rod/lead screw to be about 105mm long.

    - Using a laser cutter, cut out the dxf pattern on 1/4" (or thicker) acrylic plate.  

    Note: You can also print this out onto several sheets of 8 1/2 x 11paper, arrange and tape to the acrylic, and then hand-drill, but this might be time consuming.  The large holes are meant for a 1/4-20 tap, and the small holes are meant for an M2.5 Thru hole. (Though they could be used for an M2.5 tap, depending on what type of hex standoff you have).  If drilling by hand, verify that the drill bits used are the correct size.

  • 2
    Placing the Heated Inserts

    Using a soldering iron, press the M3 heated inserts into the top of the carriage, and into the Linear Stage Bracket (where the optical sensor will be mounted)

  • 3
    Assemble Carriage

    - Slide 2 LM8UU linear bearings onto the 8mmx150mm rods.

    - Partially thread the brass nut onto the lead screw

    - Press all three into the carriage bottom (this was a tight fit for me w/ my printer - you may need to tweak the design a bit)

    - Attach the carriage top using M3 screws w/ Hex Nuts.

View all 9 instructions

Enjoy this project?



crux800 wrote 11/06/2021 at 00:20 point

Very nice build. Well thought out.

  Are you sure? yes | no

fouad.elia wrote 03/03/2021 at 05:36 point

I have a question where did you find that style lead screw nut and what size lead screw did you use.

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Lightning Phil wrote 12/12/2020 at 19:08 point

Made a few pickups with a drill and a lot of patience.  This looks way more sensible!  Good work :)

The goal was to see how well narrow neodymium magnets would work.  Other than working, not convinced they had any extra magic.  Also looked a bit "experimental", so put the stock ones back.

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TheMixedSignal wrote 12/12/2020 at 22:39 point

The hand-drill winder is an absolute classic!  And cool idea with the neodymiums - I've played around with single pole neodymium pickups for organ tonewheels but I've never actually done a comparison with alnico or ceramic... May have to experiment with those options a bit

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Lightning Phil wrote 12/12/2020 at 23:29 point

The idea with needle like neo magnets was to make the field a bit less uniform.  That way as the string wobbles through it, there should be more character - ideally making the note sound a little more interesting.  Perhaps this should be revisited for a weekend project.

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Dan Maloney wrote 12/11/2020 at 17:31 point

Cool project. I'm writing this one up for the blog!

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TheMixedSignal wrote 12/11/2020 at 18:20 point

Hey! thanks a lot! - let me know if you have any questions. Going to be getting all the files together here over the weekend and pushing up some more detailed notes on the build

  Are you sure? yes | no

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