Wire Wrapping Tool- CHEAP, QUALITY AND EASY!





Introduction: Wire Wrapping Tool- CHEAP, QUALITY AND EASY!

About: Maker, hacker, DIY guy who is really good at improvising. In case of apocalypse, i will be weapon maker! :D

Wire wrapping tool can be really expensive. But we are makers, makers hack, reuse and make new stuff outta old ones, so thats excatly what we are going to do in this instructable! :)

Step 1: WHAT IS Wire Wrapping Technique?

Altrough wire wrapping technique is really old, like from late 70' or something, i got in touch with it pretty recently. Its easy and nice way to prouce good connections for pins of various kind of boards (like arduino, breakout boards etc) with nice, secure and OCD friendly way. Tools for this are not so cheap, so even CHEAPEST ONE ON INTERNET ARE ABOUT 20$, witch is much, especially for me, who is coming from a country where you need to work for a two days straight to earn that. SO, LETS BUILT ONE! :) If youre one of thoose people who are perfectionist when it comes to making quality electronic, and you are making prototypes without pre-eached boards, or just enthusiast who wanna learn stuff, this is right tool (and instructable for you). Im reminding you all that im participating in "Build a tool" contest, so if you like my instructable, take a moment and vote for me, it would mean a lot to me :)

Step 2: Obtain Materials and Tools:

List of tools and materials is really short, from material you would only need:

-Some old, telescopic radio antenna

-Some wood, plastic, old pen (use your imagination) to make propper handle for this tool

From tools, you will need:

Hammer, pillers...some really basic tool witch you can find in almost any workshop. You would also need little bit of super glue and sanding paper

Step 3: Building Tool

Its really easy: break thickest part of antenna, and cut tip of it, to get out all smaller pipes. We will need thinnest one for our project. Sand it down for better glue applience and then use little bit of heatshrink, isolation tape or even a paper to make snug fit into handle. I 3d printed handle (i will upload file), but you can use pretty much anything, even some old pencil, to snug that pipe inside of it. Glue it down, taking care that HOLES ON ONE END OF PIPE ARE OUT, OTHER SIDE IS GOING INSIDE OF HANDLE!

i also wrapped whole thing in red isolation tape, for the sake of aesthetic and handling (i like my tool to be red, they are more visable on a full workbench

Step 4: Now, Use It!

Technique going like this: you strip maybe 2cm of thin wire, put stripped end like its shown on picture, put it on pin and just wrap it. Im sure that theres some standard in witch direction and how much wraps are required per pin, but its up to you. After few you do, you will figure out how much stripped wire you need per pin and turns of tool.

Step 5: Future Development and Ideas:

Theres lotta motorized and automatized tools like this on market, but they are doing pretty much same job. In future maybe me (or whoever need this more than me) can feel free to use my idea and develop wire stripper at one end of tool. Also its not impossible to use some stepper motor in combination with arduino and to make baterry powered version. Also, you can use cordless drill anytime.

Thank you for reading this instructable, it is my third one i ever maked on this site and im really proud on it :) I would also like if you can vote for me on this tool making contest, it would mean me a lot :) Thank you!



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    late 40's, not late 70's :) IBM were using that wire-wrap method in the 50s for production.

    1 reply

    ooh! i was sure that is something from time of apollo mission or something like that :) Thanks for info :)

    Cool tool, I've been using wire wrapping for years - for those hard to get to places on the board it's ideal, I also have the green kynar wire and the tool I have is literally 25+ years old!

    Cool instructable.

    Thanks for this interesting project! I, too, used wire wrap on my old computer boards. Now, this seems like a lost art. Try to find wire wrap sockets. They're on Ebay, but most are for dips. I'm doing Arduino things now that don't usually require dips. Still, the thought of using wire wrap is interesting because it is fast and reliable (if done well, even with the "hand" tool shown). Soldering small wires to pins is much harder than a wire wrap.

    4 replies

    excatly! not only that, but even if you apply solder over wrapped wires, it will surely hold more securely and reliably than just soldered wires to pins

    I got interested in maybe getting a 22 ga tool (for power). They are available, BUT, it looks like the diameter of the tools will not allow you to wrap pins on 0.1 in spacing which is what I mostly use now.

    Searching, I found that some had tried to make their own wrap tools out of ball point pens guts and by 3D printing tools. I have 3D printing capability and experimented a little. It didn't work out well.

    My (only) tool is for 30 ga. Looking at ampacity, it looks like 30 ga is good for about 0.9 amps. That would be good enough for most of what I do. There may be other considerations for high frequency work, for example, but, I don't do that.

    I had some concern about using my tool and 30 ga on the pins that I now would wrap to (not your standard wire wrap socket pins). But, the wraps seem "solid", at least for "experimenter" work.

    I have to also crimp wires onto connectors that attach to the same pins. Crimping a single 30 ga wire to a pin seemed ok but it pulled out easily. So, I "doubled" the wire before crimping and it seemed good.

    Bottom line, for now I'm going to use 30 ga for my hobby work. I'm not designing for something to go to Mars so it can't be any worse than what I'm now doing which is "lap soldering" connections. I need faster and wire wrap is faster.

    I found some T44 wire wrap Vector "component" pins on Amazon. About $0.15 each, but when you get older, you may think that swapping money for time is a good trade.

    It's probably too late to change technology, but wire wrap was certainly much more reliable than plugging jumper wires and resistor ends into protoboards.

    well, as a small entrepeneur, im aware that time is best you can get for money, so im aware how worth it is :D altrough, i love when everything is "in order" inside machine, i loved the most to open old army telephones, just to find all thoose hand wrapped wires, being in order as someone place it yesterday there. and all that without any advanced tools as we have it today

    The next Bill Gates ???

    you also may want to look into the less expensive jewelry making tools. They give you a higher level of control for less money. :)

    1 reply

    i searched also for that but all i found was some pliers

    Ah wrapping ! I made a lot of prototypes and even pre series in the mid and end of the 70s. I know a huge company involved in security and military defense that used wrapping machines with 4 heads. The operator wrapped one board and the machine followed his movements to wrap four additionnal boards. To be honnest, it's been more than 30 years that I didn't see a wrapped board. I thought it has disappeared in the modernity flow.

    2 replies

    Ooh, nice! I guess it work like thoose copier milling machines...I think its really ocd friendly technique, and mostly useful in parts witch you just cannot solder because high temperature. Especially if you have ordinary soldering iron.

    Tell mrsmerwin a witch is not necessary old and ugly, young gorgeous temptress witches exist for sure.

    WOW does this bring back memories. I use to make one-off circuit designs using wire wrap. But between the manual type and the electric tools, it was pretty easy to do. And amazingly, wire wrap was used in a lot of automated computer systems during those times as well. And the wrap would not come off like some would think. You had to carefully unwrap the wire if you needed to change the circuit design. Good job building your wrapping tool.

    1 reply

    i guess that only downside of this was actuall repairing of circuit, especially if its really complex :D Thank you!

    I enjoyed reading this. I have no need for the knowledge at this time but who knows about the future. I do have a habit of improvising when I don't have the right tool. Thanks for the ideas.

    Just for the record--and to make your next post even better. Witch is the old woman flying around on a broom. Which is the word you wanted here. I hate spelling in English too.

    2 replies

    Yeah, english is not my native language, so i guess i have lotta spelling mistakes, but, im sure that everyone would understand what i wanted to explain. I really tried to document everything well :) Thanks for feedback :)

    You did a great job.