I removed the cam that would normally disengage the winder when the [textile] bobbin is full to prevent interference with the bobbin. I then modified the small bobbin guide arm (top of picture) to hold a standard thread bobbin (the 'feed' bobbin) that is secured with a locking (neoprene insert) wing nut: this holds the wire to be wound on the bobbin. The feed bobbin is wound with a hand drill and then mounted.

Since I don't have access to machine shop tooling I used wooden dowels to adapt the main shaft to the core bobbin. The center of the dowel is drilled for an interference fit with the shaft, and the outside diameter of the dowel also reduced for an interference fit with the bobbin. A little tape helps fine tune this.

  • Reduced hand fatigue - the setup maintains tension on the wound bobbin so you can do other things like taping, lead attachment, etc. having to hold the winding in place.
  • Keeping the turns consistent & tight, particularly with multi-strand windings - one hand is used to turn the core bobbin, the other to guide the winding position.

I can't say that this tooling makes me any faster than winding by hand but I am still learning how to best use (I am considering adding a second winder in anti-parallel for the feeder bobbin that would double as a mount for 3" tape rolls).

Challenges / disadvantages:
  • Easier to mishandle the bobbins and break them (because they are firmly mounted and the tactile feedback you get when holding is lost).
  • Need a friction tab or other method to prevent wire on feeder bobbin from unwinding when cutting wire after core bobbin is wound.
  • Wobble in core bobbin sleeve can cause problems keeping turns aligned & when applying tape layers (no drill press - hand drill woes).
  • Have to make different core bobbin sleeves for each bobbin size.
  • Getting proper fit of core bobbin sleeve to prevent slippage.

Regardless, I won't go back to my old methods! I am curious as to how others have solved this problem - please post comments.