Category: Production Tools

Wire Cutting Machine

I needed to cut a lot of wire to specific lengths. At first I did this manually with a different colour wire as a reference, but after a few wires it gets annoying/boring quite fast. So, time to automatise it. Off-course there are machine’s that can be bought to do this, but they are rather expensive, therefore I decided to try and make one myself.

The first version I build did not work very good unfortunately. It was made on top of an old power supply enclosure and made with thin wood. This made it all a bit too flimsy.


For a test version I made a video:

After this attempt I bought a 3D printer (not specificity for this project), and made a second version with 3d printed parts mounted on a thick base plate.

To measure the cable length and feed the wire at the same time I made an assembly based around a stepper motor. The wire is fed between 2 rubber rolls. One is scrapped from an old VHS recorder and the other one from an old HP printer.

After the rollers the wire is fed trough a tube to the cutter., this way the wire is fed correctly trough every time.

To cut the wire I used a cheap side cutter and a geared DC motor to operate it.

With the old version the wire spool was just laying on the floor. This made the wire twisted when it got to the rollers. I bought a big bearing at a radio flea market in Eksel, this bearing I used to make a spool holder.

To driver everything I made a microcontroller board that contains a H bridge to drive DC motors, also it contains a stepstick stepper motor driver. For putting in the parameters I reused the front panel from my PC clock project since this was no longer in use.


When I wrote the firmware it turned out that it was not very convenient to set the wire lengths etc with the 5 buttons. Therefore I replaced them with a keypad.

The bipolar stepper motor used above was not  strong enough to move the wire reliable. I therefore replaced it by another one I had laying around, this one was a unipolar model. This meant that I could no longer use the stepstick, so I replaced it by a unipolar stepper driver I made before.

I also made an attempt to make a automatic spool winder, to putt the wire in a nice bundle again. However this did not work as expected, and after a few attempts I decided to cancel this part.

The final result can be seen here:

In the last couple of years this project has cut a few kilometres of wire for me.


The circuit diagram I can not share because of the undocumented changes. The code can be found here.

Wire Twisting Machine

I needed a lot of twisted wire and I could not find it anywhere in the correct thickness / colour.  I could have it custom made, but this would be too expensive. I could hand twist it with a drill, but that would limit it to 10 meter at a time. So I decided to make a machine to twist wire.

At this time I got a motor, belt and bearing assembly from a washing machine. This makes a good base to build something on. I mounted the assembly on a wooden board and made a round disk on the tub mount.

Next I mounted 2 spool holders on the disk, they use a M12 al-tread axle with 2 conical clamps. At first I used bearings to make it easier for the spools to turn, but after some experiments it turned out it needed some resistance, so I replaced them with 3D printed blocks. Above the spools I made a funnel to make the wire always exit in the same spot.

Next I made a spool winder with a gearbox motor:

Next I made an arm above the machine to guide the wire:

To control the 2 motors I used 2 motor controllers and a DC power supply for the 12V motor. These I build into a box:



I have written a small tutorial on how to drive a washing machine motor with this controller:  Link

The machine in action:

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