Pic(kup)story

Discussion in 'The Sevenstring.org Workbench' started by dpm, Jan 7, 2008.

  1. dpm

    dpm Oni Guitars Contributor

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    I noticed the camera in a convenient spot as I started work on this and thought, "hey scoob, this might make a groovy picstory". Scoob didn't reply, but regardless, here's Part One.......

    A bit of background

    Vulcanized fiber is traditionally used for single coil pickup flatwork (the top and bottom of the coil), and generally used for odd custom pickups because the construction method lends itself to small shop fabrication. Traditional humbuckers use injection molded coil forms, something which is very expensive and involved to get set up. Having made a few pickups from vulcanised fiber I've decided to abandon it in favour of genuine wood and carbon fiber. This is the first unit made in with the new ingredients. Laminated carbon fiber holds a few advantages over the other materials I could think of - it's very stiff, thin, and relatively easy to work with. I laminated the carbon myself for this one because I happened to have some. I'll get some better looking prefab stuff for future projects.

    Here we go...

    This is the old vulcanized fiber, notice how it's not flat? That's one problematic aspect of it, especially with long coils like what I'm winding. It's not very stiff either.
    [​IMG]

    The picstory thing didn't occur to me until after machining the flats. Here's the results in ebony and carbon, along with some custom polepieces.
    [​IMG]

    Assembled. Those white sleeves on the end polepieces are styrene spacers. They bond nicely to the flats and insulate the poles. Most guys tape off the polepieces but that doesn't give any structural support.
    [​IMG]

    The headstock of the winder. Laser cut acrylic with a central notch to mount the bobbin.
    [​IMG]

    Coil mounted to the winder, ready to go....
    [​IMG]

    A few slow winds turning the wheel by hand to get things started, check alignment etc.
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    A few hundred turns in, checking progress.
    [​IMG]

    Halfway there...
    [​IMG]

    Coil wound.
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    Closer...
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    Two coils wound..
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    Potting the coils in wax...
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    This is cool. Check out the little plume of air bubbles coming through a pore in the ebony.
    [​IMG]

    Carbon baseplate and finished coils.
    [​IMG]


    Part 2....

    Here we have the coil and magnet assembly. I use multiple 1" and 0.5" magnets end to end because of the various lengths of coil I have to make. This one uses steel bar between the magnets and polepieces.
    [​IMG]

    Because I'm not using a conductive base on this I'm using copper tape to earth all of the polepieces. Cable is attached.
    [​IMG]

    The four conductor cable all tucked in. There are wooden shims either side to support the coils. The shim on this side is cut so that it clamps the cable in place when the base is attached.
    [​IMG]

    Everything taped up and ready for final potting. This is the end!
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  2. Michael

    Michael Forum MVP

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    Very cool. :yesway:

    Do you have to do all 5000 by hand?
     
  3. FortePenance

    FortePenance SS.org Regular

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    cool beans! is that paraffin wax ye be usin?

    I heard Van Halen potted his pickups with wax from Roxy. :lol:
     
  4. Apophis

    Apophis Banned

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  5. dpm

    dpm Oni Guitars Contributor

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    The winder spins at 2000rpm, which is very fast for a pickup winder. I limit the speed by applying load to the pulley with one hand whilst tensioning and guiding the wire with the other. There's two lateral limits (traverse stops) which aren't visible that stop the wire from travelling outside the bobbin. The process is known as 'handwinding' but in reality it a machine wind with hand coil pattern guidance. What people refer to as 'machinewound' is an entirely automated process.

    The wax is a blend of beeswax and paraffin.
     
  6. Apophis

    Apophis Banned

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    :yesway: my Roter/Melin pickups are also handwind :agreed: In this technique pickups have better sounds imo, cause every pickups is wound the same, but always slightly dirrerent :)
     
  7. ohio_eric

    ohio_eric Contributor

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    :yesway:

    That's pretty cool.
     
  8. HighGain510

    HighGain510 Contributor

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    Those look really cool Dan! :wub: I think they would be interesting with the carbon fiber side up too! :metal: You should wind 7-string singlecoil pickups for the guys on the board looking for some.... :idea: :lol:
     
  9. technomancer

    technomancer Gearus Pimptasticus Super Moderator

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    Pretty cool :yesway:

    Will the pole pieces be cut down to be the same length as the thickness of the pups or will you drill the body to accomodate the pole pieces?
     
  10. JBroll

    JBroll Hard-On For Freedom™ Contributor

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    Literally hand-winding pickups takes a long fucking time. No fun. Some people will pay good money for it but it takes a good amount to really be worth it.

    If you're interested in doing this, the simplest way to go is to grab a cheap electronic motor from some place like Radio Shack and using that as a drive. I'd measure out the right length first, as counting the turns is a little annoying to do electronically if you have no prior experience, and then set the motor to go, 'scattering' the things around just for the whole 'authentic' hand-wound sparkle.

    Jeff
     
  11. scott from _actual time_

    scott from _actual time_ grumpy old man Contributor

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    very cool stuff, there! do post more pics when you get a chance.
     
  12. ibznorange

    ibznorange Chief Officer/RHLC © Contributor

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    hrmmmmm.
    i've got a motor. maybe i'll wind my own single 7 pickups... :scheme:
     
  13. technomancer

    technomancer Gearus Pimptasticus Super Moderator

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    Hmmm wait, are those the two coils for a humbucker? If so then the pole pieces make perfect sense as the magnet will sit between the two rows of pole pieces :idea:
     
  14. JBroll

    JBroll Hard-On For Freedom™ Contributor

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    Right-o... light-bulb moments may feel odd, but these things make a lot more sense than people think.

    Also, if you have a gap between the polepieces and the magnet, you get a different sound. Experiment with that if you want a more 'airy' or 'open' sound (*hint hint nudge nudge*... don't want to give away any trade secrets or anything)...

    Jeff
     
  15. Durero

    Durero prototyping... Contributor

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    Awesome to see Dan :yesway:

    The wood covers look real classy too.

    Love to see more pics of the process completed :agreed:
     
  16. ibznorange

    ibznorange Chief Officer/RHLC © Contributor

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    like the Dimarzio air buckers perhaps? that they announce all over the faq? :lol:
    i like the airyness personally, but it definately cuts output, but oh well. Dude, dual slug poles? is this a humbucker or a single?
     
  17. amonb

    amonb Les Pauls forever Contributor

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    I have never seen that process before in such depth, cheers Dan :yesway:
     
  18. dpm

    dpm Oni Guitars Contributor

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    Cheers all! I thought this might be a cool thing to see in detail. I was initially very tentative about getting into this pickup thing because of the lack of real information available, it's all shrouded in mystery mojo bullshit. Turns out I already had a decent understanding of the basic principles involved. It's not that different to cooking, once you get an idea of how the ingredients interact you can predictably alter the end result.

    I'll get some pics of the rest of the construction and post them up asap.

    I'll make some carbon topped versions when I have the prefab sheet. My quick home lamination isn't pretty enough for that.

    7 string singles are tempting. I'll probably get the templates ready for them when I do the first standard 8 humbuckers.

    Exactly right!

    That 'technology' is patented. Have I played around with that kind of thing? I can't recall. Who knows what's going on under the cloth tape? Mind like a sieve, y'know? ;)

    It's tricky to use screw poles with this construction method. Might be possible using styrene tubing instead of the poles... certainly something to ponder. These particular coils are a little taller and obviously longer than usual and they don't have a metal baseplate, all of which adds up to a brighter tone, which in turn allows me to put more iron in there to roll that off a touch and increase output (assuming a given wire gauge and number of windings).
     
  19. amonb

    amonb Les Pauls forever Contributor

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    Looking forward to more pics :yesway:
     
  20. Alpo

    Alpo ... Contributor

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    HighGain510 likes this.

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