Vintage Workshop
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last update: 11/2002

Recently I got heavily side-tracked. Due to my experiences with various magneto specialists I thought why not have a go at this myself?

When there was an old coil winding on ebay I jumped at it and bought it.

Next step was finding out what exactly I had bought. A little research told me it is a Frieseke&Hoepfner FH88 built in Erlangen, Germany in the 1950's.

The history of this firm is interesting. They started building aviation radio equipment before the first world war, and I guess this is how they came about building a coil winding machine. They always did some kind of precision engineering, but the scope varied widely. I understand their main products were the gamma radiation counters FH39 and FH40, a left-hand and right-hand version of a 35mm cinema film projector called FH66 and FH77 respectively , and the coil winding machine called FH88. These days they are still making radiation measuring equipment, but were bought out by an American firm.

This is how it came. A bit neglected and rusty, tailstock and motor missing, and all the electrics have been discarded.


I has a counter for the turns you have wound onto your coil, and a continuously variable speed gearbox for driving the lead screw which is supposed to lay the wire in nice layers.

And a little catch to clip your notes to!


This is the wire feed unit. Behind the wire guide wheels you can see the knurled quick and fine adjustable stops for the winding width.

Whenever the wire feed unit hits the left or right stop, the rotation of the lead screw is reversed.

This is how it looks from the inside.

The spherical drive disc is swivelled around the main spindle, with a friction wheel taking the drive into the reverse gear unit laying behind it.

This gearbox reverses the feed screw drive whenever the wire feed unit hits one of the two adjustable stops.

(sorry for the mess in the background..)


This is the said gearbox. It has two ratios and two senses of rotation.

On the extreme right you can see the differential gearbox driving the feed rate display dial face.
10 revolutions of the button are giving 1 rev of the dial!


You can see the whole thing must have been extremely labour-intensive to produce.

The quick-release lead screw nut consists of no less than 22 bits already...

I rebuilt the machine and made a tailstock for it. I fitted a motor and a frequency inverter giving me a spindle speed range from 5 to 2000 rpm.

Now, this is the machine in action, doing the primary winding of a LUCAS magneto.


I have now described this adventure on a separate page....



Any kind of feedback to is appreciated
(sorry, this is not a clickable 'mailto:' hyperlink. If you want to write me, please type my address in your mailer. )

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