FAQ CNC Guitar Pickup Mini Coil Winding Machine

Find below common questions that are asked about the CNC Guitar Pickup Mini Coil Winding Machine.
The questions are in no particular order and no summary menu at the moment. We will add to it as we go along and try to organise it in some sort of order as we get time.

If you prefer to view the FAQ on one page, rather than collapse menus as below then Click Here!

Answer: To check the shipping for your country and to see if any taxes apply, first add the Mini to the cart on the online shop.
Next go to View Cart and click on Estimate Shipping and Taxes. Enter your Country and apply the shipping. The total will be updated with the shipping and remove taxes where applicable.

Some Countries governments will charge an import charge when goods are purchased and  imported by the end customer. This is not us charging you but your government and usually the courier will collect it on behalf of your government when they deliver. 

Custom import duties or taxes payable are the responsibility of the customer and not included in your invoice.
So please check this before buying if outside Europe.


Answer: No, at the moment we only sell direct to our customers.
We are a small company based in the UK, but have shipped all around the world.


Answer: No, our skill set is designing and making low cost, accurate machinery for automating tasks.
We do not wind coils ourselves and the CNC Mini Guitar Pickup Winder came into design with requests from various guitar pickup winders around the world, who were looking for a low cost automatic machine.
You can find very knowledgeable pickup winding guys (luthiers) from various resources on the internet.


Answer: We supply a 24v DC power supply with the Machine that supplies power to the motors. This power supply has a wide working range voltage and can work with a Input Voltage:100-240V Input AC Frequency:50-60Hz
We supply a IEC power lead that is fitted with a UK lead, so you will need to either cut the plug off the lead and fit a plug to suit your AC wall socket or use an existing IEC lead that you may have already.
The controller board is powered with 5 volts from your computer via the connecting USB lead that is supplied with the Mini.
The controller is opto-isolated from the motor driver control lines for safety reasons.

Answer: Yes the machine is CE Certified and a copy of the Declaration Of Conformity can be found in the setup manual.

Answer: All the plates on our machines are made out of aluminium and treated with an oxidisation treatment, this is also known as hard anodising.

Answer: The coil winding market is a very small niche market and we build our different machines in small batches of usually 25 machines at a time. Because of the small quantities of custom plates and components that we get made, we struggle to get the price lower and our machines are very low cost compared to commercial machines out there that do not give the control options we offer with the free software we supply.

Also it is a bit of a strange market, some times we make a batch of 25 machines and they will sit on the shelf and slowly go out over 6-8 months and another time the batch can sell within 1-2 months.

So it is very difficult to predict how many machines we should build and stock and only being a small company we have other products that can sell a lot faster and we sometimes need to tie our money up in stock for those instead.

Answer: To keep the price down we have fitted dual stepper motors onto the Mini.
Stepper motors have higher torque at low speeds and torque decreases as you increase the speed.
So what speed you can get to is a combination of tension you are applying to your wire that is being wound on the pickup and also how square you have mounted your pickup onto the bobbin plate.
If the bobbin plate is not mounted square then when getting to higher speeds it will create vibration and stall the motor.
Also with stepper motors you need to ramp them up to speed and this is handled for you in the software.
We recommend that you wind at a max of 800 RPM, but a lot of people are going up to 1500 RPM with no issues.
Please check out the software manual for more information on ramping to get higher speeds

Answer: The main reason for the small noise in stepper motors is higher harmonic resonance that they are driven with. Stepper motors are driven by square wave current, which must contain a large number of higher harmonics, thus sometimes producing vibration and noise.

On the 200mm Coil Winder we use Closed Loop Motors.
With the Closed Loop motors also you will sometimes hear a slight squealing while standing still and this is due to the built in encoder always monitoring where the shaft is and correcting itself. You will notice if you try to turn the motors they will self correct back to the position they were in before and also you will hear the noise change when doing this.

Answer: The bobbin plate we supply with the machine has various hole spacing for some common pickups.

It has multiple spacing of M4 threaded holes on the Bobbin Plate, to accommodate most Guitar Bobbins out there and also pockets for magnets.
We no longer supply the magnets, but for anyone wanting to fit their own, the pockets are 10mm diameter and 2mm deep.
The magnets are handy if re-winding a pickup that already has the slugs inserted.

The plate was design was based on the feedback from guys that wind pickups on a daily basis.

If you have a pickup that does not match any of the hole spacing then a lot of guys tend to make there own adaptor plates that have the hole spacing for their pickup and a set of holes that match the bobbin plate.

Here are some examples from our customers.


Answer: The DXF file can be download on the following link

Answer: As the wire is very small and can easily snap, most people will mount their spool vertically on the floor and allow the wire to be pulled off.
Here are some renders below that show the wire path.

Answer: We sell wire tensioners and the MTCS model covers the wire range for most common wire sizes used on pickups.

Coil Winder Tensioner

Coil Winder Tensioner

Replacing the felt pads for the pulley kit is recommended if using a tensioner.

The pulley can be left to free wheel or a extra washer can be placed the bold head side to fix the wheel in place and let the wire slip over the Porcelain on the wheel.

Answer: Here are some renders below that show the wire path.
As you can see we replace the felt pads with a pulley.

Answer: There is a 5 pin jack on the controller box that has inputs for limit switches and emergency stop. This is because the same controller is used in our bigger 200mm Coil Winding Machine that we do a Emergency Stop and Limit/Homing kit for.

This kit will also work on the Mini but it is bulky and your other option is to install a simple micro switch that is normally open contacts and wire between GND and Left limit input . This can be wired into a Jack plug or the connector blocks on the controller pcb.

By default limit switches get turned off when the software detects the Mini but you can still go into Settings/Diagnostics and turn it on. But next time you run the software it will un-tick it again, so you would have to keep setting it.
If you wanted to stop the software doing this then there is a jumper on the ARM Controller MKII that will set the controller as a custom machine. The software will then allow you to set up the machine as a Custom Machine and save the settings you put in.

You can set the Mini to be a custom machine and see how to wire the limit switch into the controller is shown on this page

Also here is a quick run down on how you can wire in a low cost micro switch to act as a Homing switch.


Answer: We only support the winding of pickups on the Mini and the main reason is because of the very small wire that is used on pickups.
But in saying that we have had a few customers that do wind other bobbins with success that also use small wire and don’t mind winding at slower speeds.

Answer: The feeder resolution is 0.0125mm and the resolution of the bobbin movement is 0.45 degrees.

Answer: The machine resolution is 0.0125mm so you need to take this into consideration when setting your height of the pickup.
For example, 0.1mm wire would be okay as 0.1/0.0125=8 which is an even number.
But it you were trying to use 0.12mm then 0.12/0.0125=9.6 which is not an even number and out of range of the machines resolution.
You will see that the software checks for this and changes the calculated wire to 0.125mm as it have rounded the 9.6 to 10.
Next the software will check the pickup height and make sure that the wire size calculated will fit against the amount of turns and the wire size chosen.
It will adjust the height of the  pickup to suit.

Answer: The build up of wire on one side can be caused if you do not have your Zero set correctly.
When testing , we placed a thin metal ruler in between the felt pads, jogged the feed to the edge of the bobbin and set zero.
If you are happy your zero is set correctly then either reduce the height of the pickup or decrease the wire size.
Wind a few layers to test and see if it is shaping up as you require.
Some people using the ruler will first set their zero and then jog the feeder to the right hand side of the bobbin, make a note of the feeder position and set this as the bobbin height in software.

Also one thing that catches people out is that they do not allow for the coating on the wire that can make the wire diameter larger than what is written on the wire spool. As rule of thumb allow 10-15% for the coating when setting your wire size.

Answer: Yes! 
This is now standard from version2.4 upwards of the software. Please check the link below for more information.

Answer: The software we supply free of charge with our machines and all future releases will remain free to download.

The latest software can be downloaded from our website

Answer: The software has been written to run on a PC with Windows operating system. It will happily run on low spec systems and will work on windows XP and upto Windows 10.
Minimum Screen Resolution for the software is 1024 x 768 or larger.

We have also written a Beta version for the Raspberry pi. More information on this can be found on this link

As with most CNC machines it is recommended that a dedicated PC is used with no other applications running that could affect the USB communications.
We also recommend that the dedicated PC is kept off the network to stop Windows Updates interfering with anything and also disable real-time anti-virus programs that could affect the PC.

Answer: The firmware is the code installed for the processor on the controller board.
The software communicates to the firmware via the USB lead that is connected between the computer and the controller box.
Commands are sent from the computer to the controller board and the firmware code will process those commands and control the motors and monitor sensors on your machine.

If you have just purchased a machine then it will have the latest firmware already installed on it and you will not have to worry about updating it.

If we release a new version of firmware to fix some bugs that are found or to suit a new release of the software then we will release it on the downloads page

To update the firmware you will need to open up your controller box and use the JTAG programmer that would of been supplied with your machine.
The instructions for uploading the firmware can be found on the download page also.

Answer: When you install the software, it will also install a PDF file called CNC Design Coil Winder Software Manual ARM MKII Vx-x.pdf

This can also be download from our website along with other manuals

Answer: There are a couple of ways to emulate scatter winding in the software.
Use the Scripting Engine to build up a script that does different TPL’s on each layers or use the Mixed TPL mode.
There is a section in the Software Manual on page 17 that covers this in more detail and can be download from our website

Answer: There are 28 pickups already defined in the software and these parameters for each pickup was supplied by experience pickup winding guys.

1950-1951 Tele Bridge
1950-1960 Tele Neck
1951-1964 Tele Bridge
1954 Strat
1955 Strat
1956 Strat
1957 Strat
1958 Strat
1959 Strat
1960 Jazz Bass Bridge
1960 Jazz Bass Neck
1960 Precision Bass
1960 Strat
1960-1970 Tele Bridge
1960-1970 Tele Neck
1961 Strat
1962 Strat
1963 Strat
1964 Strat
1965 Strat
1966 Strat
1967 Strat
Di Marzio Super Distortion
Gibson 1959/60 PAF
Gibson P90
Ibanez Super 70
Rickenbacker 4001 Bridge
Rickenbacker 4001 Toaster Neck

You can edit these pickups and re-save to update their settings.
Also you can save your own pickups to the database.

Answer: If you have a plastic enclosure then this will be the ARM Controller MKI or the original Pic controller inside.
If it has the black aluminium enclosure then it would be the ARM Controller MKII

Each controller has it’s own software and firmware. You can check the downloads page for more details

To double check, you can open up your enclosure and check.

The ARM Controller MKII will look like the picture below

The ARM Controller MKI will look like the picture below

The old Pic Controller will look like the picture below

Answer: Within the software under the Settings/Diagnostics tab you will find a backup button. Simply click on the button and it will launch file manager and ask you to save a Registry file with the name you require.

After saving the file you can then copy it to another machine and double click to install.

Now all your saved bobbins and settings should show up on the new machine when you have installed the software.

Answer: Replacing the felt pads for the pulley kit is recommended if using a tensioner.
To install follow the pictures below

The pulley can be left to free wheel or a extra washer can be placed the bold head side to fix the wheel in place and let the wire slip over the Porcelain on the pulley.

Click on pictures below to zoom in.

Above shows the existing felt pad assembly. This needs to be removed.

Remove the assembly as shown above.

Now insert the bolt, pulley and spacer as shown above.

Attach the washer and the nut to the left hand side.

This will now allow free movement of the pulley.

If you find you want a more rigid setup then you can also fix the pulley in place and let the wire slip over the Porcelain on the pulley.



With the tensioners you have the main dial that sets the desired tension, then you have the back tension which is controlled by the front dial.

Once the main tension is set, the back tension dial needs to be adjusted so the arm is always below the red line marking on the tensioner.

If you change speed and it moves above the red line then adjust again.

The tension is set in grams and depending on the model of tensioner you have the dial 0-10 is a division of the tension range.

For example the MTCS tensioner has a tension range of 10-120 grams.
So on the main dial if you wanted to set the tension to 120g you would set it to 10. To set it to 10g you would set the main dial to 0 and each increment on the dial would be a division of this range.

In the software we also have a tension calculator where you can enter the wire size you are using and it will calculate the tension for you.

Degaussing treatment

If you stop using for a long time or the damping wheel shakes or inconsistent tension, you must perform degaussing treatment before starting up: first adjust the tension clockwise to the maximum value, and then immediately adjust the tension to the minimum counter clockwise to complete it.

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We will be updating this FAQ with more Q&A sections as needed.