How to Coil the Wire for a Homemade Generator

••• Jupiterimages/ Images

A generator will produce an electrical current that can power a variety of devices. Generators make good backup power sources in outages. They use a process that converts mechanical energy into electricity. The mechanical energy causes a magnetic change within coiled wire, which then conducts the electrical current. Create simple generators at home with some copper wire and a wire holder or spool. Part of the process involves coiling the wire after you create the wire holder.

Making the Coil Holder

    Place the felt-tip pen into the pen holder of the compass. Turn the screw on the holder clockwise to lock the pen in place.

    Draw a circle on the cardboard with the pen in the compass. Place the point of the compass on the cardboard, and drag the pen in the holder in a circle around the point. The circle needs to be 2 inches in diameter. Cut out the circle with scissors. Follow the pen line you created with the pen and compass. Repeat this process to create a second circle.

    Insert a pencil into the center of one of the cardboard circles. Slide the cardboard down the pencil until it is approximately 1 inch away from the eraser.

    Secure the cardboard in in place. Wrap three to four layers of insulated tape around the pencil in the area between the cardboard and the eraser.

    Wrap 3 to 4 inches of insulated tape around the pencil approximately 2 inches from the pencil's point.

    Insert the pointed tip of the pencil through the center of the remaining cardboard circle. Slide the cardboard circle down on the pencil until it rests on the insulated tape approximately 2 inches from the pencil's point.

    Secure the second cardboard circle in place with insulate tape. Wrap three to four layers of tape around the pencil above the second cardboard circle and the pencil's tip. The tape should be touching the cardboard circle.

Coiling the Wire

    Slide the remaining pencil through the hole in the center of the spool of copper wire.

    Place the pencil with the spool between your knees. The spool should still be able to spin freely on the pencil.

    Pull approximately 6 inches of wire from the spool. Bend the wire at the midway point toward the pencil that is between your knees.

    Tape the bent portion of the wire to the pencil with the cardboard circles with insulated tape. The wire should sit on the pencil at the point just above the cardboard circle nearest the eraser.

    Wrap the wire around the pencil starting from the cardboard circle nearest the eraser and working your way up toward the cardboard circle nearest the point of the pencil. Each turn of wire around the pencil should sit atop and touch the last turn. Do not cover the loose end of the wire. Allow it to stick out from the coil.

    Pull approximately another 6 inches of wire from the coil. Cut the wire from the spool at the 6-inch mark with scissors or wire cutters.

    Things You'll Need

    • Black felt-tip pen
    • Compass
    • Cardboard
    • 2 pencils
    • Black insulated tape
    • Copper wire, 1 spool, #28-gauge, enamel-coated
    • Scissors or wire cutters


About the Author

Kim Sarah has been a writer since 2000. Her work has appeared on NECN, WCTR-TV3 and in the "Torch" university newspaper, among other publications. Sarah received a Bachelor of Arts in communications from Worcester State University and a Master of Arts in journalism from Roosevelt University. She is also studying nursing and computer science at Indiana State University.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/ Images