Alternative energy devices require generators with many small copper wire coils: These coils are tedious and difficult to make.
The Coil Winder! It’s an automatic wire coiling device that takes the stress out of creating those difficult little coils.
The final coil winder consists of a free-wheel wire stand, the coiling mechanism, and a controll panel that resets the system, turns it on and of, and adjusts the speed. In about one to two minutes, you have a perfect coil. All you have to do is put a piece of paper on the coil taker, and enter how wide a coil you want (in mm) into the program and run it.
At the beginning of our studio there was a presentation on the rudimentary workings of motors, generators, and magnets. We learned that in order to have a successful generator, you need these tightly wound copper coils in order conduct the current that pushes the electrons through the system. We thought to ourselves that it is far too tedious a process to create these coils by hand or not accurate enough to do with a drill. So we decided to make something that the whole studio could use in the making or their generators for the alternative energy design. The original plan was actually to have this be a side project but we soon realised that it was impossible to give this the full attention necessary and still create the kinetic energy generator we originally thought up. We thought about the process of “hacking” that Sean had mentioned in the presentation. Hacking is simply taking something that does most of what you want it to do and modify it so that it is tailored specifically to the job at hand. Sean showed us a fantastic open source device called the Egg Bot, a stepper motor and servo system that makes designs on eggs and other oddly shaped objects. We saw an excellent opportunity for a hack. After printing out the open source DXF in foam we assembled the structure and began to think about what changes needed to be made.
We took an extra copy of the back panel and place it closer to the front so that the two motors could parallel to each other on opposite sides. This allows one motor to wind the coil while the other guides the wire up and down the parallel spool. After we were sure of our idea we took the next step which was to cut the structure out of wood.This proved to be easy enough and we set up the steppers in the formation we wanted.After that the challenge of programming came. As a complete novice to the world of programming Alex stepped up as an invaluable part to this. We measured out how many “steps” it would take for the motor to move our threader back and forth along the spool. We then figured out how many steps it would take to move the spool one mm, and made a 2-variable system so that the distance the spool moves could easily be changed. We ended up 3d printing our own custom joint after much difficulty making an effective one conventionally. Alex then, with minimal help from Sean, Jacob, and me, successfully was able to run the motors in harmony so that when the thread reached the end of the spool, it would reverse and was able to make a solid, tight coil. After a trial with fishing wire we were able to move onto copper wire.This marked a major landmark in our journey and after that we assembled the whole thing. It uses a system of a thin slip of paper wrapped around the motors shaft to easily slip off the finished coils. We cut out two small plastic disks to house the coils and after some tweaking were ready to move into coil production.I addressed the all important issue of how to hold up the actual copper wire that was being coiled and ended up going with a simple triangular tower design after some aid from Sean.Skateboard bearings were used to spin the wire as it was fed into the coiler. After that we simply sanded the whole thing, bolstered the design with extra glue, and added aesthetic touches, like a control panel. After returning from a brief time spent helping out the bike power group I was able to help Alex assemble the final product.
The coiler is powered by an Arduino and a motor shield with a series of switches and levers that control it.
If we had more time...
Our plan for the future is to compile all our design files into one single dxf that is completely open source. We want someone else to be able to find the same simplicity that we did with our hacking and also be able to create duplicates if necessary.
The coiler is a great alternative to...
- Buying pre-coiled wire
- Making your own coils with a drill
- Making your own coils by hand