(If you like this project, consider voting from me in the make to learn contest, and the up! 3D printer contest, thanks.)
Coils are used for an abundance of projects, but are not very easy to make. Often, coils require 100's and sometimes 1000's of turns. Doing this by hand is extremely difficult, so I made my own coil winding jig that uses a pedometer to automatically count how many turns the coil is. (NOTE: I used MY Solidoodle 3D printer to manufacture many of the parts used to build this jig. A 3D printer is not necessary but will make the project easier to build. I will also include the 3D files.)


What did I make?

I made a manually operated coil winder that takes advantage of a cheap pedometer and a micro switch to automatically count how many turns are in the coil.

How Did I make?

This project came about when I was creating my science fair project ( a windbelt) and realized that I needed some custom coils. For me, the best way to solve this problem was to create a jig that would make winding coils easier and would automatically count how many turns are in the coil. A plus was that I did not have to buy any parts. Everything in this project can either be found at home, or bought really cheaply.

Where did I make it?

I made the coil winder at my house. Since I needed more space for this project I had to use my basement as a workshop and my ping pong table as a work table. Some members of the household dislike my use of the ping pong table, but I told them that science takes precedence over ping pong :)

What Did I Learn?

Well, there are many things to learn in this project. 3D printing precision parts is challenging with a $500 3D printer, but my Solidoodle held up great!  I learned very quickly that it is important that you put glue on the coil as you're making it, or else it may fall apart in the end. I also learned that you do not have to sacrifice functionality for style, to the average person it may look like a machine, but to me it's a piece of art :)

Step 1: Materials

4 - 1.5in x 3/4in x6in stanchions
1 – 3/8in hex bolt
1 – 3/8 hex nut
1 – 3.5in x 3/4in x 13in wood plank
8 – 1/8in wood screws
2 – 1/16in eyebolts
2 – rubber bands
5 – 1/8in x 3/4in screws
1 – low cost pedometer (very important, must be a cheap pedometer)
As needed – electrical wires
3 – 1/16in bolts
3 – 1/16in nuts
1 – micro switch (other switches/ buttons may also work)
1 – 1/4in x 6in bolt
5 – 1/4in nuts
1 – 1/2in wde x 1/2in tall metal spacer (size depends on how tall you want the coil)
2 – 1.5in OD 1/4in ID washers (size depends on how wide you want the coil)
1 – 1/2in washers
1 - 1/2in ID washer
Copper enamel wire
Assorted printed parts
(http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:56493 All the printed parts can be found here!)

Step 2: The Coil Side

These steps are taking directly from my science fair project so they might be a little overly complicated.

1. Pre-drill two 1/8” holes about 3/8 of an inch from the bottom a stanchion so that the holes are next to each other.
2. Repeat step one for each of the four stanchions.
3. Drill a 3/8” hole in the middle of two of the stanchions 3 ½” from the bottom. These will be the back stanchions.
4. Insert two 1/8” woodscrews into the predrilled holes in each stanchion and fix two of the stanchions to one end of the base board.
5. Fix the other two stanchions to the other side of the baseboards, about 1” from the end.
6. Attach two 1/16” eye bolts to the baseboards ½” from the side of the baseboards, and about ½” from either side of the stanchion.
7. Print out part finalweight4.gcode
8. Attach rubber band on each side of printed part and secure the other end of each rubber band to the eye bolt.

Step 3: Front Side

9. In the front two stanchions drill a ¼” hole in the middle of the stanchions 1” from the top.
10. Print out wirejig3.gcode
11. Insert a 1/8” washer onto an 1/8” screw. Insert the assembly through the top hole in the printed part.
12. Insert a 1/8” washer onto the other side of the screw, then rotate the printed handle onto the screw. The handle should move freely.
13. Slide the wire jig handle assembly onto the ¼” bolt.
14. Slide the bolt through one hole of the front stanchion, but not both.
15. Rotate a ¼” nut onto the bolt so that it is 1” away from the stanchion.
16. Print out Cam2.gcode
17. Slide the cam onto the bolt so that it is next the nut.
18. Drill a 1/16” hole about 1/8” from the center of a 1 ½” diameter washer.
19. Slide the washer that is not drilled onto the bolt so it rests against the cam.
20. Slide the spacer onto the bolt so it rests against the washer.
21. Slide the drilled washer onto the bolt so it rests against the spacer.
22. Rotate two nuts onto the bolt so that they both rest against the drilled washer.
23. Slide the bolt though the hole in the other stanchion.
24. Rotate a nut onto the end of the bolt so that it secures the bolt against the stanchion.

Step 4: Switch and Stand

25. Print out part lever2.gcode.
26. Drill a 1/16” hole through the handle of the lever.
27. Insert the lever over the micro switch so that the holes line up.
28. Insert a 1/16” bolt through the lever and the micro switch and place a nut on the other side.
29. Open up the Pedometer to get a look at the inside.
30. There should be two distinct metal contacts and a lever that can connect and disconnect them.
31. Remove the lever and solder a wire to each of the contacts.
32. Solder the end of one wire to the “common” on the micro switch, and solder the other wire to the “normally open” on the micro switch.
33. Print out switchstandnew5.gcode.
34. Fix the Switch to the stand by drilling two small holes in the plastic and inserting two 1/16” bolts through, and securing with two 1/16” nuts.
35. Position the switch stand on the baseboard so, when turned the cam pushes down the lever on the switch.
36. Insert four 1/8” wood screws into the slots on either side of the switch stand.
37. Set the pedometer into the box on the switch stand.

Step 5: Make Some Coils!

38. Slide the coil of wire onto the 3/8” hex bolt, and tighten the nut on the end.
39. Pull the wire though the hole in the washer and pinch it between the two nuts.
40. Set the pedometer to 0 and start winding away!

And if I haven't mentioned it before, the plastic arch like piece is designed to fit over the coil of wire and apply pressure to it to keep the wire taught. have fun!
<p>Next improvement for this would be to add a drill motor! Even better, use an arduino with motor controller to power drill motor and have it automatically shut off when it goes far enough (specified number of turns either programmed or by user input) by detecting turns with a magnetic reed switch.</p>
<p>A stepper motor might be a better way to turn it. Then no counting is necessary, as the Arduino will have rotated the coil the require number of times. It wouldn't take very much torque, probably can use a stepper motor pulled out of an old dot matrix printer.</p>
I've done this before with a cheap calculator, magnet, and reed switch. You must first type in 1++ and then the reed switch is connected to the = key.
<p>How many times did you wrap the coil?</p>
Have you tried gearing up the winding handle so you could get multiple wire wraps for each turn of the crank? I think that'd be a huge upgrade. Thanks for sharing this.
I'm working on wind-belt project. This is really helpful. Thanks so much!
Considering the cost of the material, how much on average does it cost to run your 3d printer? <br> <br>PS Great instructable. I will be making one of these and adapting it to wind onto PVC pipe for making shake flashlights. How do I vote?
I love this too! I think instead of the electronic counter you could substitute one of these to simplify things: <br> <br>www.spiderpic.com/stock-photos/dreamstime/6211119-hand-with-analog-counter <br>
A hand counter would not make it simpler, but more complicated. Seems to me that it would be very difficult to secure it in place and automate the button press. Making the electronic counter out of a step counter is very easy and simple. Then he used a simple button switch that can be easily pressed automatically. I would have used a reed switch that is activated magnetically.
simple, easy to understand &hellip;&nbsp;what more can you ask ? <br> <br>where should I vote ?
Wow, thanks a lot for the support!
this is really cool
The project is great! I will try it out maybe but I won't make it so complicated
Great project! <br> <br>When you use it, do you need to control the wire direction so that the coil lies flat, or do you find that the width of the wire itself is enough to make that work? <br> <br>I'm looking for an easy way for a bunch of 8-year-olds to make small coils, and this might just be it! <br> <br>Ugi
It is a good Idea to guide the wire direction with your hand, but after the first layer or two it becomes impossible to get the wire to lay perfectly flat. So yes, I would recommend guiding the wire.
This is a great tool--wonderful work!
Pretty cool.
genius idea! <br> <br>i did one, using a push counter. but this is better.
Wow, awesome use for a pedometer!
Clever idea!
Thanks for the support guys, This project is actually part of a larger project in which I am building a Windbelt wind generator. I will be putting that up as a separate instructable soon.
Great first project! I think I'll have to build this for my garage.
hahahaha that's what i call creativity, well done! <br>love it!

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