Reviews. Resources. Specifications.

Tools For Building Coils

I have been in conversations where we end up discussing tips, techniques and tools. I've promised before to post some pictures of what I use.

Most that follow this site know that I am not in favor of dumping cash into buying the latest gizmos when I have something around that can handle the job. Especially when the "something" is ideally suited.

So, here's what I use:

I use a round wooden toothpick to wrap coils. It's the toothpicks with the pointed ends and that doubles in making it easy to take away from the wrap and reinsert in the wrap. The wood is sturdy enough to use and reuse. At the right is a picture that shows one of my builds (on an Ehpro Squape) using one of those toothpicks. There is another advantage to the toothpick – the ones I use are 0.9 mm. The "ideal" size is 5/64" with  most people recommending that. A 5/64" drill bit to be specific. 5/64" is 0.98 mm. So, the toothpick is actually a bit smaller, meaning a lower resistance coil (less wire being used). Toothpicks are inexpensive, you can get a boxful for about $2.

I use flush cut wire cutters. There are several types of flush cut wires, make sure you do not end up with the type that cuts soft metal like copper wire. The ones at the right are hardened steel and designed for hard metals like Kanthal coil wire. They are also very pointy and can get into tight areas. (I don't like the idea of using finger nail cutters – they just are not hard enough metal and get dull awful fast.) I bought the flush side cutters at Princess Auto for $4.79.

When twisting wire, I resist using a drill. A drill does not make it any faster, you still have to set up the drill and use either a paper clip or some other retainer to hold one end of the wire. To me, it's just as easy to use a pair of vice-grips with a screwdriver to keep the loop at the top from spinning. The process works well, the vice-grips will "break" the wire when it is twisted enough, so it is reasonably automatic. It is also basically cost-free since we all have vice-grips hanging around with our other tools. The vice-grips also have the advantage of weight so that it keeps the twisted wire taut while twisting.

Finally there are the tweezers that I use. I've watched others try to use regular tweezers while their coils are glowing, only to have to to release the tweezers because of the heat transfer. I found these reverse squeeze tweezers at a local electronics store and have been using these. I did modify them slightly by trimming off the pointed end a little bit (with a Dremel tool) so I would have more room to grasp the coil. These work the reverse of regular tweezers where you apply pressure to hold the object. These, you squeeze to grasp the object and then release the squeeze to hold the object in place. You can then move your hand further away from the object to prevent heat transfer. The reverse squeeze tweezers cost me $6. at the local electronics supply store.