Delta Printer Morphs Into CNC Flat Coil Winder

Anyone who has ever wound a coil by hand has probably idly wondered “How do they do this with a machine?” at some point in the tedious process. That’s about when your attention wanders and the wire does what physics wants it to do, with the rat’s nest and cursing as a predictable result.

There’s got to be a better way, and [Russ Gries] is on his way to finding it with this proof-of-concept CNC flat coil winder. The video below is a brief overview of what came out of an intensive rapid prototyping session. [Russ] originally thought that moving the coil would be the way to go, but a friend put him onto the idea of using his delta-style 3D-printer to dispense the wire. An attachment somewhat like a drag knife was built, but with a wire feed tube and a metal roller to press the wire down onto an adhesive surface. The wire feed assembly went through a few design iterations before he discovered that a silicone cover was needed for the roller for the wire to properly track, and that the wire spool needed to be fed with as little friction as possible. Fusion 360’s CAM features were used to design the tool paths that describe the coils. It seems quite effective, and watching it lay down neat lines of magnet wire is pretty mesmerizing.

We’ve seen a couple of cylindrical coil winding rigs before, but it looks like this is the first flat coil winder we’ve featured. We can’t help but wonder about the applications. Wireless power transfer comes to mind, as do antennas and coils for RF applications. We also wonder if there are ways to use this to make printed circuit boards.

Thanks to [smerrett79] for the tip.

21 thoughts on “Delta Printer Morphs Into CNC Flat Coil Winder

  1. That’s clever if you need to make a lot, otherwise a cardboard former in the center of a mirror or other glass of nonstick surface, then every second turn a few drops of superglue until you have your coil. Made a few metal detector coils that way.

        1. True, but @jacques has a point. If you were going to do a lot of this, it might make sense to build a custom X-Y only gantry and leave the Z-axis out. Spring force on the roller could be taken care of by, well, a spring!

          Good point though, that really any 3D printer could be modified to do this pretty easily. It’s usually best to dance with the girl you brought, as it were.

  2. There was a machine in the 80s that laid down wires on a pre-preg board to make what was effectively a multi layer PCB. Once it was cured, drilled, and plated through it could be stuffed and soldered. I think it was called Multi-Wire

    1. Indeed, that’s what I was thinking, they had a trial setup in Perth, Western Australia late 1980’s with a bit of a fan-fare on the smaller stock exchange market (second board). I recall they had contracts for local naval base and a co doing high density memory boards. They achieved very sharp turns, I think by pressing down momentarily at point of turn. 3M supplied the boards with a layer of UV curable adhesive – is. Soft sticky at first, wire applied then UV cure to strengthen, then a conformal coating as it was discovered enamel micro cracks could allow corrosion, needed anyway for the naval contract – instrumentation boards for Stirling base at Gatden Island ie sea spray etc

      These days you can get very thick high current laminate and with benefit of cheap multilayer boards of many different dielectric properties make some interesting dynamic magnetic surfaces. The posted project is well done and efficient use of time qudos to him.
      Bit surprised suggesting watchers read some bible though and his ref to a bible contributor Luke. The tech seems intelligent so surely it would be obvious to him that if there were a god it wanted and achieved unequal suffering for all, so it’s evidently as if a diverse experimenter (with life’s chemistry) not some being that communicates better than a human ie not well at all or verifies any claim of it, in practice as a Devil causing religious conflict :/

    2. Years ago at IBM, we prototyped our designs using contractors who had Multiwire machines. The boards had multiple signal and power planes. The wires were sonically welded to the pads. In order to make an EC to the board, we used schematics that show how the wire was routed between the planes – so that you could drill down and break a wire. After the boards went through QA successfully, the PC boards were made.

  3. Really neat application and example of spare parts engineering! If you’re interested in pursuing this as a hardware or manufacturing startup, it’s worth 3 or 4 hours of additional customer interview calls to see who might be looking for a solution. Here’s a link to a market report suggesting it’s a $71B industry, poised for significant growth by 2025. I could see a dozen or so machines like this, of various sizes and configurations, serving the needs of small to mid sized mfg & enfineering shops in many fields. That’s a market of just under $100M given a 40% US share, serving just 1/4 of 1% demand, at current CGAR. We need coils like these for a few products, please contact me if you’re interested. Great opportunity!

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