Picture of Coil winder with automatic counter
(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 :)

macosta-31 month ago

How many times did you wrap the coil?

mykiscool1 year ago

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.

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?

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?
sgt_rock2 years ago
I love this too! I think instead of the electronic counter you could substitute one of these to simplify things:

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.
vincent75202 years ago
simple, easy to understand … what more can you ask ?

where should I vote ?
aprzy15 (author)  vincent75202 years ago
Wow, thanks a lot for the support!
Stone_UFO2 years ago
this is really cool
swaaag2 years ago
The project is great! I will try it out maybe but I won't make it so complicated
Ugifer2 years ago
Great project!

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?

I'm looking for an easy way for a bunch of 8-year-olds to make small coils, and this might just be it!

aprzy15 (author)  Ugifer2 years ago
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!
rtw17012 years ago
Pretty cool.
profpat2 years ago
genius idea!

i did one, using a push counter. but this is better.
FoamboardRC2 years ago
Wow, awesome use for a pedometer!
rimar20002 years ago
Clever idea!
aprzy15 (author) 2 years ago
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.
SHIFT!2 years ago
Great first project! I think I'll have to build this for my garage.
frapedia2 years ago
hahahaha that's what i call creativity, well done!
love it!