Picture of Controlling Hand Drill with Roboduino / Arduino to Spool Solder
This will explain how we re-purposed a hand drill to re-spool solder using a roboduino (arduino compatible), two servos, and a DIY encoder.  While one could use TRIACs to play with the AC power going into the drill, just using a servo to control the throttle is simple and avoids the pesky high voltage.

Hand drills are pretty strong, hopefully this instructable will help others integrate it into other projects,... maybe some guitar pickup winders...

We also talk about using home made optical encoders, which can be used for all sorts of robot applications.




* Hand Drill
* Arduino Code
* uController, arduino / roboduino, something to control servos
* (2) servos, one for throttle, one to guide the solder (we used HS-311s)
* (3) Flanged Bearings These are nice because the bearing can swivel in the flange, eliminating the need for precise alignment
* Various metal shafts--you can get hardened precision shafts from mcmaster, which fit exactly into the bearings. Getting a precisely sized, hardened shaft is more important if there are actual loads in the system (not here!) since the bearings will wear out otherwise. Don't try to hack saw these babies--you'll just be grinding down the teeth. Dremel required. A 1/2" shaft was used for the bearings and a 1/4" shaft to fit into the drill chuck.
* Shaft Coupling - this is the key to avoiding any hard-to-do precision setup.  If you look at the pic, the drill is off angle from the encoder shaft, but the rubber webbing in the shaft coupler makes this a non-issue.  It also converts between the different shaft sizes.
* Double Sided Tape - this worked great to hold the drill in place
* Laser Printer to make encoder wheel and an opto interrupter to count the ticks as it turns.
* Masking tape to increase the shaft size to hold the solder spools
* LCD Screen, Female-Female wires, bread board, angle brackets, wood


* Hot Glue gun!
* Drill, Saw, Screws (machine and wood), Screw Driver
* Dremel

mickeypop11 months ago

i like your design, it would fit well with my needs but separate question.

Where do you get your spools?

mykiscool2 years ago
Love the diy optical encoders. I use optical encoders all the time. I've used them on a robot that I got first place in the world for programming.
minyot2 years ago
can i get your program ?
minyot2 years ago
can i use arduino dumeilanove for the controller ? i'm newbie
weldor2 years ago
I have seen couplings made out of hose and hose clamps and they actually worked out pretty decent. Just depends on what you are doing. They will give you the ghetto look you are going for as well! keep up the good work.
just might use this for stripping and rewinding fishing reels!
Armandur4 years ago
I make chainmaille as a hobby and as such I wind a lot of coils (that look like long springs) using mostly stainless 316 welding wire. Dou you think that this could be configured to wind coils like that?
I think you could leave out the servo that moves the wire and instead have a servo/motor that pushes the spool and the "feeder" along some rails.
You would insert the wire into a hole in a metal rod and then wind the wire on the rod instead of a spool.
static5 years ago
A great project and instructable. No doubt some may find a way to adapt this to their needs. To that end cold rolled round stock from the local machine shop should be good enough for  shafts in most low load applications. For lthe same applications brass or delrin bushings on Oak wooden block may work well enough, even using the Oak itself as the bearing might work. Lovejoy couplings work well  for coupling shafts, but care should be used in alignment in applications than will run a lot. In time misalignment will wear out the spider and put wear on the metal parts that will wear out the replacement spider even faster. That has been my experiance in maitaining oil field equipment that use them for several years. I see this was picked up by Hackaday. So far positive comments there. As of yet no comments deririding instructables and the arduino. Your control method reminds me of the control method ladyda use to  control the heat of an electric skillet used for solder reflow in SMD circuit board assembly.  She too thought 120 VAC,  high voltage, too pesky to work with. Comfort levels vary :)
PKM5 years ago
Seems like this could be popular with wind turbine builders who need to make sets of coils each with a set number of turns... would magnet wire be too fragile for this application?  If the "firmware" allows you to set the speed, I'd guess it's just a matter of experimenting to find how quickly you can run the machine without breaking your wire.
static PKM5 years ago
No doubt that this would be very adaptable to winding coils from magnet wire, but I don't see the DIYer making 1 or 2 turbines going through the effort. Most wire coils need to be removed from the bobbin to be used.  Anyone requiring a volume of coils may decide to contract that work out to a motor rewind shop.
CuriousInventor.com (author)  PKM5 years ago
I'd guess the magnet wire would be fine... it doesn't take a lot to break the .02 lead solder, and the machine only breaks it occasionally at the fastest speeds.