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Thread: Wire Winding Machine

  1. #1
    Supporting Member BuffaloJohn's Avatar
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    Wire Winding Machine

    Some years ago, I had the need to wind up all of the wire from the fields that I used to raise animals in. I could have purchased a machine to do that, but that looked like an expensive proposition and I needed it to be pretty flexible.

    I first thought of a spool with a crank handle, actually a spinning jenny with a handle. I rolled up a few thousand feet that way and quickly decided that my arms and shoulders wouldn't survive the at least 140,000 feet left to go.

    So, I decided to build my own wire winding machine.

    The basics of the machine are that it is made of simple parts that I could get and work with. Secondly, I needed a rotary force, so I would use a 1/2" drill I had. Power to the drill was from a portable generator, because I had a lot of wire to roll up (140,000 ft is about 26.5 miles or 46.6 kilometers). Third, I needed to mount this thing to the bale spikes on the front of the tractor, so I would need a way to make that work (remember there is a lot of wire to roll up). Lastly, it needed to be pretty robust since I was going to try to get 1,000 to 2,000 ft of wire on the spool if possible (that is about the longest run before there were turns or tighteners which made natural break points for the wire run).

    This is not a step by step build, but rather some photos I took when I last used the machine to clean up about 400ft of fence with the machine.

    This first image is the overall view of the machine in operation. The frame is build from strut. On the left side you can see the blue drill which is connected to a shaft which turns a small roller chain sprocket. That shaft is the smallest I could get for the 1/2" shaft which runs in pillow blocks. The first sprocket connects to a larger sprocket on another shaft toward the right of the first and that shaft has another small sprocket and chain that runs to the the last sprocket in the middle of the image. That last sprockt has the winding frame attached to the back side of the octogonal aluminum plate which has a sprocket mounted to it (drilled and tapped). All the shafts and sprockets have keyways in addition to set screws. Continuing toward the right, there are a couple of right angle strut brackets and a rod of all thread used to hold a spool of wire used to tie off the wrapped wire. That wire worked fine, but on short runs, it was quicker to use zip ties, I got a pretty good deal on bulk ties. Furthest to the right are some cross strut pieces which hold a funky assembly which is used to guide the wire onto the wrapper. That assembly is made up of a bunch of pipe and pipe reducers and has some length to cause and keep the wire to wrap in the middle-ish of the wrapper. I didn't have a lathe to make that, so it was much easier to go the the hardware store and reduce from 2" to 1/2" that way.

    Wire Winding Machine-ww_overallview.jpg

    You can see the yellow extension cord which goes to the back of the tractor where there is a carrier for tools, scraps, the generator, etc.

    Here are some more images showing other views of the machine.

    Wire Winding Machine-ww_frontview.jpg

    Wire Winding Machine-ww_frontviewcloser.jpg

    Wire Winding Machine-ww_spoollegdetailclosed.jpg

    Wire Winding Machine-ww_spoollegdetailopened.jpg

    Wire Winding Machine-ww_wrapperbackside.jpg

    Here are some dimensions images

    Wire Winding Machine-ww_tubinglength1.jpg

    Wire Winding Machine-ww_tubinglength2.jpg

    Wire Winding Machine-ww_twistedflatbarlength.jpg

    Wire Winding Machine-ww_flatbarlength.jpg

    Wire Winding Machine-ww_guidelength.jpg

    Wire Winding Machine-ww_wrapperspooldiameter.jpg

    This next images are a closeup of the hub before pulling the hair pins, pulling a pin, all pins pulled, and rolled wire extracted and put on the bale spikes. The hair pins have a nut mig-welded to them to make a stop to keep the hairpin from going in too far. There are 3 fixed Spool Legs and 5 Hairpin legs. I did it that way so that ther could be no way it would not loosen enough to get the tightly wrapped wire off the wrapper. Usually, I only needed 4 to get the wire off, long runs took all 5.

    Wire Winding Machine-ww_closeupwrapperhub.jpg

    Wire Winding Machine-ww_pullinghairpin.jpg

    Wire Winding Machine-ww_pulledhairpins.jpg

    Wire Winding Machine-ww_wrappedwireextracted.jpg

    Wire Winding Machine-ww_viewwrappedwireonbalespikes.jpg

    Then I put a Hairpins back and the wrapper is ready to go again, so we load a new wire through the guide, bend it to a J, and insert the J into one of the tubing arm ends that is NOT held together with a Hairpin

    Wire Winding Machine-ww_puttinghairpinsback.jpg

    Wire Winding Machine-ww_wrapperreadyfornext.jpg

    Wire Winding Machine-ww_guidecloseup.jpg

    Wire Winding Machine-ww_wirebenttoj.jpg

    Wire Winding Machine-ww_bentwireinserted.jpg

    Cycle time from wrapped to ready to wrap again is pretty quick.

    Finally, to put the machine away, loosen the set screws on the key for the wrapper hub sprocket and slide the wrapper assembly off, remove the chain holding the machine to the tractor, and put the frame on the handtruck to wheel it to storage.

    Wire Winding Machine-ww_chainholdingmachinetotractor.jpg

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Wire Winding Machine-ww_machineonhandtruck.jpg

    I did bend the shafts a little (maybe 1/8" out of true) -- full speed on the drill with that reduction means there was a bit of torque. This happened when the wire got caught on something. Could have been a tangle, could have been a tensioner I missed, could have been a wire crimp joiner (thus the large bell reducer to minimize those from snagging), could have been I forgot to do something. However, I have rolled up the 140,000ft of wire and the roll chain let me have some misalignment. I learned to roll at least two fence post spacings of wire before I ran the drill at full speed. I always stood near the drill, so I was out of the way. The wire was high tensile wire, but I have rolled up other wire as well. Never had the wire break, not enough torque. Once the end got close, the drill was stopped and I went to the other side of the wrapper and hand turned the wrapper to get the end through and then fastened the spool (either wire or zip ties).

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    Last edited by BuffaloJohn; Jun 27, 2021 at 07:29 PM. Reason: one of the images didn't transfer

  2. The Following 12 Users Say Thank You to BuffaloJohn For This Useful Post:

    baja (Jun 29, 2021), bruce.desertrat (Jun 29, 2021), GedB (Jun 29, 2021), Inner (Jul 4, 2021), Jon (Jun 28, 2021), luvmygto (Jun 29, 2021), nova_robotics (Jul 2, 2021), rlm98253 (Jun 28, 2021), Scotty1 (Jun 28, 2021), Sleykin (Jun 29, 2021), that_other_guy (Jul 2, 2021), uv8452 (Jul 3, 2021)

  3. #2
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    Thanks BuffaloJohn! We've added your Wire Winding Machine to our Farm and Garden category,
    as well as to your builder page: BuffaloJohn's Homemade Tools. Your receipt:

  4. #3
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    Tried to thank BuffaloJohn but kept getting an error. Regardless, nice work!

  5. #4
    Supporting Member BuffaloJohn's Avatar
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    Oregon, USA
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    BuffaloJohn's Tools
    Quote Originally Posted by luvmygto View Post
    Tried to thank BuffaloJohn but kept getting an error. Regardless, nice work!
    Thanks! Hope folks find it useful.

  6. #5
    Jon is offline Jon has agreed the Seller's Terms of Service
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    Congratulations BuffaloJohn - your Wire Winding Machine is the Homemade Tool of the Week!

    A busy week around here, but this is a useful and well-documented tool.

    Some more good builds from this week:

    Bolt Holding Method by Frank S
    Lathe Bed Levelling System by th62
    Bandsaw Coolant System by th62
    Mill Scale Removal Method by engineer steve
    Crankshaft Seal Installation Tool by Frank S
    Toe Jack by darus627
    Alignment Drift Punch by Frank S
    Heavy Mill Rolling Method by Frank S
    Pinion Shaft Seal Install Tool by Frank S
    Lathe Coolant System by th62
    Brick Tongs by orioncons36
    Side Drag Rigging by Frank S
    Wire Feeder for TIG Welding by markgyver
    Dolly With Crane by fawabros
    Milling Head Installation Tool by mylilmule
    Disc Grinder by h7eh7e
    Multifunction Track Guide by Didpoolhall
    Wood Lathe CNC Conversion by winkys workshop

    BuffaloJohn - we've added your tool entry to our All Homemade Tool of the Week winners post. And, you'll now notice the wrench-on-pedestal award in the awards showcase in your postbit, visible beneath your username:

    You've also been granted free lifetime Supporting Member status. I've stopped your paid recurring subscription, so you won't have to pay for membership again.

    And, you'll be receiving a $25 online gift card, in your choice of Amazon (US-only), PayPal, or bitcoin. Please PM me your current email address and award choice and I'll get it sent over right away.

    Nice work!

  7. #6
    Supporting Member ncollar's Avatar
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    Oct 2012
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    Quote Originally Posted by BuffaloJohn View Post
    Thanks! Hope folks find it useful.
    Buffalo John, I feel your pain because I had a quarter acre garden with 4 wires running a hot wire to keep out animals. At the end of the season I used a spool with a crank to take the wire down. I was a lot younger then but now it would kill me. But winding all that wire was a pain.
    Very nice job on your success.
    Nelson Collar

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