Winder of Wires




Wind up and bundle a lot of wires or similar materials using a motorized machine. Secret is my homemade winding reel. I made this machine in order to remove many tough galvanized wires, 3/16" diameter, from a neighbor's old vineyard, some wires 900 feet long. The wires retained their "curl" from when they were first manufactured and put onto a shipping reel, so if let go they would curl up and tangle. A fullsize tractor was used to pull a few wires out of the vineyard at a time into an open field, then my machine was used to wind them as my neighbor, who took most of these photos, kept the wires untangled and pulled off remnants of vines. To see my related Instructables, click on "unclesam" just below the title above or in the INFO box to the right. On the new page that appears, repeatedly click "NEXT" to see all of them.


Step 1: Winding Reel Is the Key

Reel is made of two 16" diameter plywood disks having three spokes attached to each. Hub is iron water pipe, small hole through it is for bolt that will engage drive axle of roto-tiller transmission. Hub assembly spaces plywood disks 4" apart.

Step 2: Removable Side of Winding Reel

Removing two wing nuts and washers allows one side of the reel to be removed once reel is filled with wound wire. Ends of spokes attached to each side of the reel poke through holes in the other.

Step 3: Winding Reel Innards

Hub is iron water pipe that has a piece of flat steel welded near one end and another welded a few inches from the opposite end that has the small through-hole. One side of reel remains bolted to the hub, the other side is removable. The edges of the spokes that the wire touches are tapered toward the center of the reel. The taper makes it easy to pull off the removable side of the reel and to pull the wire bundle off the fixed half of the reel.
Before a new wire is wound onto the reel, two wire ties cut from a roll of soft iron engineering wire (sold at home centers for tying together rebar) are placed into the reel and their ends secured by winding around the reel sides' bolt heads and wing nuts. When the reel is full and winding is stopped, the ends of the ties are loosened and used to secure the bundle of wound wire before the reel is opened.

Step 4: Opening the Reel

Hammer taps on the protruding ends of the spokes start opening the reel once wing nuts are removed. It was just luck that a professional high fashion model happened to wander through the vineyard and agreed to pose with the machine. Long stick in photo allows operator to stand to one side while machine is winding a wire and push the wire tension shoes from side to side to help reel fill evenly. Tension shoes are wood blocks at the ends of long limber pieces of thin plywood and having leather stretched across their faces, seen below left hand of fashion model.

Step 5: Reel Side Pulls Off

Once started, removable side of wheel pops right off. Is this guy a pro or what? He makes it look like he actually knows what this thing is all about.

Step 6: Machine With Reel Side Removed

View of the machine ready for wire bundle to be pulled off. Wire ties securing the bundle can be seen at 10 and 5 o'clock positions. Belt tension pulley and its operating lever came from roto-tiller.

Step 7: Wire Ties in Place

Note wire tie ends attached ready for winding. Reel slips over one end of the tine shaft of the transmission from a defunct roto-tiller. Motor, wheels and their struts, and belt takeup pulley and its operating lever all came from roto-tiller, all were mounted on a board to make trailer. The reel gets slow rotation at high torque. Three bolts and wing nuts attach a narrow piece of plywood to the back end of the trailer that has a foot that supports the fairlead and tension shoes assembly.

Step 8: Machine Backside View

Fairlead, supported by hinged foot, is a metal roller borrowed from a shop helper stand. Wire feeds through long slot in plywood to keep it from going astray as a result of kinks or twists. Tension shoes and their leather faces help wire wind compactly onto reel. Their supports are flexible enough that operator can push the tension assembly from side to side while wire is winding, using a long stick from a safe distance.

Step 9: Another View of Machine

Belt tension pulley engages and disengages transmission, but engine is also turned off whenever reel is to be opened. Many dozens of wires were wound and bundled over several weeks time.
To see my other projects, enter unclesam in the home page search box, scroll and advance pages to view them all.



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    10 Discussions


    Obviously great for fencing wire in agri/horticulture, but I'm tempted to build one for lure coursing. I'll have to scale up the wheel so it can keep with my hounds, though.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Not many people will need something like this but for those who do, it will be the answer to a prayer.

    Hum, I wonder what I could use it for...


    10 years ago on Step 4

    great 'ible - will use idea in conjunction with strip feeder (currently winding onto solid shaft making removal and strapping a bit of a mission) pity I can't find a fashion model to pose with mine :(


    Outstanding project. There is every bit of info one would need to replicate this tool in your post. You need to be able in your own mind fill in the blanks though.


    11 years ago on Introduction

    Item primarily being demonstrated is homemade knock-apart winding reel that could be used for other purposes. Exact dimensions are not important, anyone should be able to build something to suit their needs from the photos. How the reel gets turned depends on the application and the user. PTO pulley of lawn tractor was first attempt, with reel attached to front of tractor. Test with string suggested wire would be pulled too fast for humans to keep up with it. Defunct roto-tiller was scavenged to provide reel with slow turns at high torque, rig assembled so it could be towed by lawn tractor over large fields involved. 1/2 horse electric motor would have been sufficient for this job, so long as it was geared down to similar ratio provided by tiller transmission, which contains several chains running on many sprockets running on several jack shafts. Similar setup could be done from scratch, either with sprockets and chains or pulleys and belts and jack shafts. U.S.


    11 years ago on Introduction

    Needs more info like, how do you engage the idler pulley?I agree with mrmath,seems more like an ad than a DIY.


    11 years ago on Introduction

    Nice. Looks as though it is attached to a lawn/garden tractor at front but pictures cut it off so I can't tell for sure. I wonder about powering a thing like this from tractor PTO or by electric motor run from a generator. Would a 1/2 hp electric motor have enough power to pull the wire?


    11 years ago on Introduction

    Nice machine. Seems more of an ad for it than a how to build one yourself kind of thing.

    1 reply

    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    No this is definitely DIY, he just needs to add some more information.