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Wire-wrapping is a method to connect wires to pins that requires no soldering. Wire wrapping tools can be expensive. I just discovered a way to make decent wire wrapping without purchasing the expensive tool.

Step 1: Materials

  • Empty ball point pen ink cartridge. The one I used has a outer diameter of 3 mm and inner diameter of 2 mm.
  • Utility knife
  • Anything that has a needle on it.

Step 2: Cut the End

Make sure the end of ink tube is smooth. If not, cut it.

Step 3: Pierce.

Pierce on the wall near the end of the ink tube. The hole size needs to allow the stripped wire pass through.

If you want to use this tool on a electric drill, cut the tube to appropriate length.

Your $0 wire-wrapping tool is done!

Step 4: Wrap.

lock the tool into the chuck.

Pass the stripped wire (about 1 in long for AWG 24 on 2.54mm spaced pin) through the hole you pierced from inside of the tube to outside. Make sure some of the insulated part is in the tube.

Put the wrapping post (the pin) in the center of the tube. Push the tube/pin all the way in.

Put the drill in forward. Pull the trigger. Or twist the ink tube by hand.

The wire should be wrapped on the pin.

Step 5: Bugs

Wikipedia said the copper part needs 7-9 turns, which is easy to accomplish with this tool and proper stripping length. However the insulated part needs 1.5-2 turns, while my tool can only do 0.5 turn (maybe you can manually wrap the insulated part before inserting the wire into the tool). But according to my experiment, bare metal part is unlikely to touch anything else even if the posts are adjacent.

Another problem is the short life of the tool. After about 20 wrappings, the hole will become a wide crack. But all you have to do is cut off the worn out end and pierce a new hole.

You could use Hobby brass tubing also...
<p>Nice, going to try that!</p>
<p>A good idea. I might suggest using aluminium tubing on the basis that it is even more resilient than brass. Also, less expensive.</p><p>Just a thought though.</p>
<p>all you have to do to correct the whole breaking is use a different method to make a loop for the wire to be held in...(for instance, make a loop that sits at the end like the eye of the needle that is attached somehow to the rest of the tube)...then us that loop instead of cutting the ink tube).</p>
Wish I would have read this before bought the 26 dollar tool. Lol
<p>revelation </p>
<p>Good instructable. I'll keep this in my chest of useful ideas and hope I don't ever need it. You know, I am here on this site for a reason, so I doubt that will ever happen!</p>
<p>Great idea! =D</p><p>Never tought of it!</p>
To be honest, I'd make it out of metal! :) No wear anymore. <br> <br>Good use of the tube though, but be sure to make a version that really adds a piece of insulation into the curl because you don't want shorts. Also, when you manage to do that you can add heat-shrink on top of the copper twisted around the pin to make is more insulated and if your circuit works well and you want to keep it as-is you can even solder the wires on and then use some heat-shrink on it for a permanent connection.
<p>This is overkill. We used wire wrap to wrap thousand of connections on a telephone switching system while I was in the Air Force in the 70s. Insulation isolation was never a problem. The spacing of the pins is sufficient if you use the right size wire. Mechanical connection is as good or better than soldering. The connection are easily removed for repairs or rerouting, soldering would only complicate that. A good wire wrap should only last a few hundred years or so.</p>
<p>You need a metal tube for very long life.</p>
<p>i just made a couple but im using a nylon shaft from a printer roller ground down to about 3.3mm at the tip and it has a grove in it for the wire i dont know if it will hold up or not yet but i made around 10 pin header raps and one 3 cm long rap on a paper clip to test the tool i think it was 9 inches of phone hookup wire and i dont see were on the tool i still want to make it out of brass tubing </p>
plastic lollipop stick have the propriate size and also the hole you need....I use years now lollipop sticks for my solder wire (its more handy)
Next time I'll try it with a lollypop stick!
Genius! Tnxx
thanks for this it will help me get less cuts on my fingers =]
Hey I must say this is super, sweet and simple. Great idea!
Just so you know, the correct tool has two holes bored vertically in the nose. The wire gets stuck into the offset hole then the bit is placed on the pin &amp; spun. There is a lot more to wire wrapping than just starting out with a few turns of insulation. Just as important is to get the wrap tight enough because if you don't the wire will loosen. An easy test is to unwrap one. The wire should not want to release from the corners of the square pin but should pop off because the copper pin corners &amp; the copper wire will be fused from the pressure.
This tool it is very useful but try with something harder in order to last longer. I use it for years and worked. <br>Very nice for let others know...
smart idea..
Yeah! Great! I used to do exactly this at college in 1993! Great idea and really nice to see that I was not the only crazy guy to do that! I used to use two sizes, those tubes from pens and also thinners from Cotton Swabs when necessary. I guess they didn't last only 20 wrappings. Maybe you are using a wire too thick. If I am not mistaken there are appropriate wires for wire up, thinners than usual network cables, for example. I am just about to use this thing again with arduino! <br> <br>I am also thinking about isolating them with heat shrink tubing (http://dx.com/p/1m-black-heat-shrink-tubing-five-size-pack-0-8-1-5-2-5-3-5-4-5mm-23450) but didn't test yet and don't know if will be necessary.
Good idea and really cheap tool but I am not sure your tool apply the proper torque to make a reliable wrapped connection. <br>To verify it is a reliable one, when you unwrap the wire you should see the marks made by the corners of the square pin onto the wire. This is where the connection takes place. If the corners don't enter the wire sooner oxidation will make the connection of poor quality. <br>The 2 turns of insulated wire at the beginning of the wrap is not for insulation is for mechanical strength of the connection under vibration.
Nice. I have a ww tool for the thin gauge wire, but this would work with thicker stuff.<br> <br> The suggestion to use a metal tube is a good one. Hobby craft places usually have small steel and brass tubes...
Brilliant !&nbsp;&nbsp; Could the tool have a longer life if constructed from styrene plastic tube, (from model/ craft/DIY shops) ? &nbsp; Or any metal tube ?&nbsp;&nbsp; Some pens have a brass or aluminium refill tube.&nbsp;&nbsp; Brass might be strong enough to require only a notch rather than a hole.
excellent job the close up photos, not to mention your resourcefulness of materials. Thanks.
Already started to make my own jumper cables from my arduino using scrap pins pulled from old cd drives.Hang on for the instructable <br>
Wallah ! Great !
Genius!
awesome idea!

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