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Saturday, May 2, 2020

A Toroid Winder from the Wizard of Wasilla -- Paul KL7FLR

Paul KL7FLR has been sharing tribal knowledge with us for several years now.  He recently provided insights on how to tap threads into metal.  In 2017 he told us about his Alaskan road-kill microphone.  And in the midst of the current quarantine he built this really neat toroid winding tool.   Winding coils is often a show-stopper for would-be homebrewers;  Paul's device should help then get past this perceived impediment. Thanks Paul! 

Paul writes: 

A few weeks ago I needed a way of holding a T37-6 toroid to wind an LP filter coil. Being of the fumble fingered crowd I slapped together a quick and dirty holder using a crudely tapered ¼” wooded dowel. As fate would be, I soon needed to wind some other coils of a larger diameter and my wham bam holder wouldn’t do the job. Time to make a holder for more than just one size with the materials I had on hand.

I measured the id of the smallest toroid and the largest toroid I had and plugged them into an online taper calculator. https://www.easycalculation.com/shapes/taper-degree-calculator.php. Calculated taper was 6.65 degrees so I settled on an even 6 degrees with a length of 1 1/2”.  The final of the taper was extended to 3”.  Using my small 6” metal lathe I set the compound to 6 degrees and chucked up a 4” piece of a ¾” wooden dowel. I would have liked to have an ash, maple or other hardwood dowel but I used what I had on hand. Then I turned the 6 degree taper for 3” until the smallest end was 1/8” making the large end almost ¾”. Some sanding with 320 grit sandpaper followed by some ultra-fine 400 grit made it ready for a coat of clear sealer and a quick stain.

Moving over to the milling machine, I set the 6 degree angle with a 6 degree parallel in the vise.  Positioning the mill spindle to the center of the dowel I used a #0 center drill to mill a slot the entire length of the taper to about .015” deep as I didn’t have a 1/32 end mill.  This slot also can be accomplished with a rotary tool or a hobby knife and a steady hand.

I had a couple of 6-32 wood brass insert nuts in the hardware bins. Believe I bought these at Lowes and the Hillman part #880546 is what I used. Drilling a 3/16” diameter hole ½” deep I screwed the insert in until it was flush with the bottom of the dowel. My previous toroid holder had a wooden base but it proved to be too light and easily moved around on my bench.  I dug out a scrap hunk of ¾” steel about 2.5 inches square.  I then drilled a hole through the base using a #27 drill. Now the toroid holder can be mounted on the steel base using a 6-32 machine screw about 1 ¼” long and removed for a different size spindle when necessary. A wood base can also be used with appropriate length wood screw. Be sure to drill a pilot hole large enough in the spindle to prevent from the wood screw from splitting the spindle. A #6 wood screw long enough to pass through the base and into the spindle about ½” would be adequate.

Winding consists of passing the wire up (or down) the slot, lifting the toroid up and rotating slightly and back down on the spindle for the next winding. This has proved to be a very useful fixture when needing to wind some toroid coils.

The picture at the top shows a T-37-6, T50-2 and a T68-2 top to bottom. Will also fit a up to a T-106. Any larger toroids would require a larger spindle to be made.

Enjoyed your YouTube “Quarantined Receiver”  and all the doings from Pete.



  1. That's a really cool device. I think this would turn out ok using 3d printing.

  2. Boatload better than chopsticks for those of us with Uncle Arthur's eyetis around. Nice!!

  3. Jim, W0EB, published the directions on Thingiverse to 3D print the spindle.


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