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I want to retire my old Pfleuger from my dipping tube and put it out to pasture for stud. Yes, I want it to live out it's last days as a fishing reel and not as a hoist. It really is a nice old reel, with a round line guide and sculpted pillars, etc.

ANYWAY, I've been using this reel for pulling rod sections out of the tube for years since my high end stepping  motor took  a crap. I found an old sewing machine motor and with a little imagineering will hook up a pulley the right size to pull a section out of the tube (as he rests from his long winded sentence)

THE QUESTION! You'se guys with electrical smarts, is there a switch, I can buy and install somewhere on this gadget to make the motor turn the opposite direction when I want it to.  (Mike Shay)

    Only if it's a reversing motor in the first place. If it ain't made to go both ways, it won't, no matter how you hook it up.  (John Channer)

    Yes, it is possible to install a switch to reverse direction.  I just finished  doing this to a sewing machine motor I had lying around.  Took about an hour for disassembly/re-assembly and some fairly intricate soldering inside the motor, but works like a charm.  Intermediate to advanced tinkering skills are required.  If you (or anyone) would like schematics and instructions, you're welcome to e-mail me direct. One thing to keep in mind.  These motors run at  7000 rpm,  so you'll  have to cut that down.  A half-wave rectifier and dimmer switch should do the trick.  (Tim Preusch)


There was a recent post about what motors were being used for pulling in a dip tube. For those that are looking to make one, I have an idea that you might use. I recently made up a pulling system for my dip tube, used a 12 VDC gear motor that is used in some equipment that I work on, and being a technician of course I used a AC transformer, bridge rectifier and speed control board to make this work.

I was told that this motor was basically a windshield wiper motor from a Mercedes, so for a motor you might want to check out the local junk yard or auto parts store, for the power supply and speed control I found a  Radio Shack AC adaptor in my junk box that is adjustable from 1.5 VDC to 12 VDC. On the 1.5 volt setting it will go slow enough to give you 3 to 4 inch per minute and at 12 volts gives you the speed to drop the section into the tube. Put in a double pole switch to reverse polarity for your up and down, attach some kind of spindle and you have a pulling motor.

I wish I had figured this out before I spent all the time and money on the other system.  (Gary Jones)


What type of motors are  some of you guys using in dip tubes? Also, how fast are you pulling them out?  (Dave Henney)

    Our IS service people are  located in the same building and I've been eyeing the pile of junk printers out back for a while, thinking that there must be something useful in the pile.  The motors that drive the paper  feed are not conventional motors but are stepping motors.  They  "step" in small increments, maybe 1/10 degree, driven by 5 VDC pulses generated by the computer software.  They seem to have adequate torque and could give very precise speed control.   Has anybody tried this approach ?   I could design the control circuit with a few nights of refresher (with refreshments) study, but if somebody has already done it ???  Beginning construction on the new shop shortly after being without for over a year, so will have the opportunity by summers' end.  (Carey Mitchell)

      Take a peek at Todd's site under contraptions (here). My stepper motor and controller are shown there. Some controllers are made to microstep, and might yield 1/10 degree per step, but most of the common motors out there are 7 degrees per step. The stepping action induces a bit of movement in the braided line that some people find disconcerting. I have had pretty good luck with it though.  (Larry Blan)

      I love stepper motors. I have used stepper motors extensively in designing blood infusion systems for open heart patients. They are very accurate and highly reliable electromechanical devices.

      The distance or angle that a stepper motor moves from one pule sequence (typically four digital control lines) is determined by the specific motor design and is fixed for that motor. That is, the number of phases and the number of pole pairs per stator-coil section. for example, a two-phase motor with 12 pole pairs per stator would move 48 steps per revolution or 7.5 degrees per step.

      Typical step angles available are: 3.6 degrees, 7.5 degrees, 15 degrees and 18 degrees. Additionally, these motors are available with gear heads (which mine has).

      The nice thing about steppers is the range of control and after the stepper motor has been sequenced to the next location, it stops. I mean it literally stops in its tracks. A DC motor requires a circuit referred to as "dynamic braking" to stop the motor in a specific location even after the voltage has been removed. The stepper motor does this inherently due the the "holding torque" of the motor being greater than the running torque.

      The down side to stepper motors  is the complex drive circuit required. There are generally two types of stepper coil design. One is "bipolar" and  the other  is "unipolar".  Bipolar motors have higher low-speed torque but requires very complicated drive and switching circuits to control the motor. Unipolar designs use a much simpler drive circuit but still requires a rather complex microprocessor   system.   The  unipolar   designs   have    lower low-speed torque, but this is not a problem for raising and lowering rods. Drive voltage for stepper motors varies anywhere from around 5 volts dc upward. Mine uses 12 volt dc drive at about 125 ma.

      I designed, built and programmed my own control system to use in my dip tank. I have a Motorola mc68hc705p6 microprocessor, a geared Hurst abs-3008-003 stepper and I used an Allegro Microsystems ucn5804b stepper motor driver/translator (the ucn5804b is a unipolar translator/driver with built in flyback diodes to kill the inductive kick from the motor coils). Motor speed and direction is indicated by led displays. When I stop my motor, the displays show the "pause" time. Therefore, I automatically know how long I have stopped the rod at any location, say around guides.

      The motor shaft is coupled to a 3/8 inch threaded rod (that contains the cord) by a spider coupling and the other end of the threaded rod (about 6 inches long) runs in a nylon bushing.  Using this design, I can lower the rod into the dip tube very fast and pull out at any rate I want.

      A little over-engineered I suspect but, the nice thing about building my own control circuit was that I also incorporated National Semiconductor LM34 precision temperature sensors (with required op-amp circuits) so the micro can process and display tank varnish and chamber temperature.

      For those who do not have the  resources to  build your own controller,   Jameco   Electronics   (800-831-4242)  and  Digi-Key (800-digi-key) are good sources for steppers and control circuits.  (Dave Alexander)

        Unipolar designs use a much simpler drive circuit but still requires a rather complex microprocessor system.

        Sorry, have to disagree with the above. A variable clock, bidirectional shift register and a Darlington driver IC give you the basic direction and speed control for a small to medium-sized unipolar stepper motor.  One can breadboard the circuit in 5 min. or so with a 555, 74HC194 and a ULN2003, plus a few resistors,  capacitors, and a switch or two.  Scrounge an old PC power supply for all the power (5V to the controller, 12V to the stepper motor), and you've got a bidirectional variable speed motor to run your dipping setup.  [:-)] You can get as fancy as you want from there (limit switches, etc.).

        Hope someone finds this stuff useful!  (Todd Enders)

          My gear reduction drive dc motor run off of an old HO train transformer seems positively stone age by comparison!  (Brian Creek)

    I use a 1/4 HP motor that is 1725 rpm stepped down with pulleys that go into a 900 to 1 gear reducer.  The result is that I withdraw at about 1.2 inches per minute and use full strength Interlux Schooner or Stoppani.  This is very slow, but I see no downside to it being slow.  I can even ignore blowing out snake guides and I won't get a run.  If I had a wide enough tube, I could dip all three sections at once and it really does not matter that guides are in different locations.  I usually use a Champion rod tube for a dip tube, although the Stoppani is in a piece of PVC with one of those screw expando stoppers at the top.

    My motor and rig is strong.  I made a similar rig for my Mom's house, with a bigger motor and 15 to 1 gear reducer, so that my Mom can pull rowboats out of the lake with a flip of a switch. 

    I found the 900 to 1 gear reducer when a coffee shop was closing down.  The gear reducer was beneath the rotating cherry pie at the cash register.  Gear reducers are expensive, except on eBay, where they are relatively plentiful and cheap.  (Chris Lucker)

    I have the simplest possible setup. I use a 4 rpm rod drying motor. I took the center mandrel from the plastic rod chuck (that thing that costs twice as much as the motor itself) and center drilled it. Then glued it to the motor shaft. I have a wood spool that fits over the mandrel. It is held in place by friction, but you can pop it free to lower the rod into the tank. I did turn the spool diameter down on my lathe to slow the pull rate. And I put one of those in line switches on the cord to start and stop the thing as the guides hit the surface.  (Jeff Schaeffer)


Can anyone tell me what the name of the company that has stepper motors used for dip tanks. I had the url in my favorites but I lost it.   Also was there anyone special I talk to on phone.  (Dave Henney)

    There is link to that company at the RODMAKERS site. But before you order, think about using a 4 rpm rod drying motor. I did it the expensive way- I attached a rod turning chuck to the motor shaft, put in the arbor that comes with the chuck(for graphite rods), and jammed a wooden spool on the arbor. I pop the spool loose to lower the rod, then jam it back on to raise it from the varnish. you can put a little in line switch in the motor power cord to stop it at the guides. This ended up costing about the same as the stepper motor I ordered that came with an incomprehensible wiring diagram and required a bunch of assembly, and never did work correctly.   (Jeff Schaeffer)


What are you guys using to extend the shaft out on the stepper motors??  (Dave Henney)

    I used a piece of threaded brass rod, drilled a hole to be a light press fit and shoved it on. If that isn't secure enough, you could add a bit of Loctite, or even drill and fit a small grub screw.  (Larry Blan)

    My stepper motor has a 1/4" shaft. I use a 3/8" diameter threaded rod to wind/unwind the cord to raise and lower the rod (I believe Larry Blan originated this idea). I coupled the shaft to the threaded rod using a "spider coupler". I placed the threaded rod into my drill press and used a file to dress one end of the rod down to 1/4". The coupler then couples the shaft of the motor to the 1/4" end of the rod. I got mine from Jameco Electronics for about $1.50. Just about any hobby electronics mail order company will probably have these. Another option is a plain direct coupler.

    What motor and controller are you planning on using?  (Dave Alexander)


I have a stepper motor from HerBach Redman and I was wondering what is the withdrawal speed are you guys using?  Also sometimes the motor gets stuck anyone have this problem?  (Dave Henney)

    There are two things that will cause a good stepper to stall. Either the control is set to low, so the current is below the threshold required to turn the motor, or it is set to high, which causes a stall condition. The motor will "buzz". Other  than that, it should turn. If it isn't either the motor or the controller is damaged.

    Mine is set to about 3 1/2" per minute, but that will vary depending on viscosity, and you might want to play with the speed a bit to eliminate some of the vibration from the stepping action. Depending upon your controller, you will have the option of running in 1/4, 1/2 and full step modes. Some controllers offer a microstepping function too. Experiment with each mode to find the one that works best for  you.  (Larry Blan)

      As Larry suggests using steppers is a matter of balancing the viscosity with the speed of extraction. the finer the steps the less stepping on the finish. I have recently gone to a .9 degree stepper running with a microstep driver and a threaded rod from the hardware store, made my own half nut. a real kludge. But I finally got rid of the varnish steps on the rod. extraction speed is around 1 in per minute. 

      The H&R kits have a vary narrow power/speed range. I use one of those on my wrapper. they are also 7.5 degree steps, which makes for some real interesting designs if used for a dip tank.  (Jerry Foster)

        Hmmmmm..... talk to me about this half nut. I am using a threaded rod. I think there are pics on Todd's site. I just let the line wind into the threads. What does the half-nut do for you?

        Ah, I see you have had experience with the wave-linear finish too!  (Larry Blan)

          I have tried everything with this stepper motor, I can get a much smoother finish just but hand turning about 3 to 4 inches per minute. There just seem to be all kinds of waves in finish by using the stepping motor. I'm using the same motor that Larry Blan has on Todd's web  site.  (Dave Henney)

          You rascal, I see you caught me in a 1/3 truth, he he.

          Well, my threaded rod is vertical. the whole thing is like a vertical mill, a cheap mill. 2 steel rods on either side and a shuttle cut out of aluminum, brass bushings. the half nut (brass also) is mounted underneath and as the screw spins it extracts the rod, when it is at the top I open the nut and let the shuttle free fall down (after I remove the rod). of course I try to catch it before it hits the dip tube. I doubt it was worth the trouble to build, but it was fun.

          An analog solution, dc motor with a speed control and a reverse switch is probably a better solution but that was way too easy. Actually that was the way I built my first one.

          I think I have some pics someplace. If you are interested I have a convoluted solution to an easy to resolve issue.  (Jerry Foster)

    I tried the stepper motors, and then switched to a rod turning motor (4 rpm). I turned a spool for it and messed with the diameter until I got about 3 inches per minute. I am much happier with it because it pulls smoother with no bumping.  (Jeff Schaeffer)

    I use a geared stepper motor. I use one from Hurst, run at a higher speed. This eliminates any pauses between the motor steps.  (Dave Alexander)


I finally got my CNC dipper running with no jaggies. Changed to a .9 deg nema 17 and put  4 tompson  linear bearings on the carriage.  Smooth, no steps in the finish. Programed it to run at 1"/min and  slow to 1/4 "/minute through each guide,  then speed up again, then stop  after it has cleared the tube by 1". Now I can walk away  while it is  running and go check on it later and cap the varnish. Fun stuff.  (Jerry Foster)

    Heh, very cool. Mine isn't CNC, although it is programmable. I'm using a .9 degree NEMA 17 motor and a microstepping controller, giving me something like 52,000 steps/rev. No movement on the line at all. I'm in the process of putting one of the same motors on my binder.  (Larry Blan)

    That's heresy!   We're automating parts of the rod making process?  Goodness, Garrison must be turning over in  his grave.  Cool idea!  (Mark Wendt)

    FWIW I run mine at 4 inches a minute (stop at the bottom of each guide for up to 1.5 minutes) with no sags.

    The one drawback to mine is that I can't run away and watch an old episode of Laverne & Shirley while dipping.   (Martin Jensen)

      4" a minute is kind of the de-facto standard, I guess.  The slower you  go, the thinner the coat. Kind of opposite to logic. It gives the  surface tension more time to wick away the varnish from the rod. Or,  however you properly say that.  (Jerry Foster)

        By the way, if anyone is interested in teching up your stuff (just  for the fun of it), there are a couple of people on the list who  would be more than willing to answer any questions. (Wrappers,  binders, etc.)  (Jerry Foster)

          Pick me! Pick me! LOL Always a sucker for new and improved methods. Seriously, I would be very interested in a parts list, supplier, etc, for a dip tank pulling set up that would let me walk away while it did it's thing. I pull from the varnish tube up into another tube so I don't have to worry about contaminates. Instructions for assembly or operations would be helpful as well. I would suspect any number of people on the list would also be interested.  (Wayne Kifer)

        Really.... I didn't know that. I'm all for a thin coat. I will have to rework my gearing solution to slow it down.  (Martin Jensen)

          Let's see, a spindle 1" in circumference, turning at 1 rpm, should pull the string a 3.14" per minute.  I guess a 1/4" spindle at 4 rpm's would give the same rate.  Same with a 1/8" spindle at 8 rpm's.  I find it easier to change spindle diameters than gear ratios. (Harry Boyd)

            One of the benefits of having software between me and the rest of the mess. I can just reprogram the controller. Jerry, on the other hand, can tweak the code, and then go have a cup of coffee!! I really like coffee, I'm jealous!  (Larry Blan)

              While I get to make a new pulley on my lathe. I think "I'm" the lucky one.  (Martin Jensen)

                I use a 4 rpm rod turning motor, and jam a wooden spool on to the graphite arbor that came with it. I put an in line switch in the cord to turn it on and off. I like it a lot ...

                I was concerned that the constant starting and stopping at the guides would screw up the motor, but it has lasted a long time.  (Jeff Schaeffer)

                  Think about the average life of a barbecue rotisserie motor, running right next to hot coals all the time. I think they are pretty rugged motors. Also if they do go out, I pick them up for a dollar at garage sales all the time.  (Martin Jensen)

                Heh, this is beginning to sound like the Three Stooges - Jerry, Harry, and Larry...   ;-)   Interesting Jerry.  Is your G-Code single axis?  (Mark Wendt)

                Yes, I only use one axis in the G code (X).I'm running Mach 3 which  is the same software JW uses on the mill.

                It's kind of neat 'cause I can strip it down with a screen designer  module and make the screen only reflect what I need.   (Jerry Foster)

                  I've been playing around with EMC2/Axis built on a Linux box for the machine I'm designing.  Software seems to be pretty nice.  The beveler is going to use 2 axis G-Code for it's operation.  I still have to build the driver board and power supply for the machine, as well as finish up the drawings for the machine itself.  Not in any huge rush to get it done, since I have to save my allowance shekels to buy all the parts.  (Mark Wendt)

            Actually that's what I would do to. I just used the words gearing because I couldn't think of anything else.  (Martin Jensen)

    Actually this is what I did:

    I have a barbecue rotisserie motor that turns at,...I don't know what. I connected a string to a spindle on the motor and turned it on, then measured the rate of movement. This was several years ago but I seem to remember it being 4 times too fast so it must have been moving at 16 inches per minute. (I got my figure of 4 inches a minute from Ray Gould, our recently self-removed member from this list ) I did a little math and made a dual pulley wheel, one side being 4 times the circumference than the other. The motor has cord wound around the larger pulley, while the dip cord has cord wound around the other pulley, the end result being 4 inches  a minute.  (Martin Jensen)

      I also use a BBQ rotisserie motor but a slightly different solution to the extraction speed problem. This solution is shown by Ray Gould in his book. 

      I have a 1/4" brass rod (any material would do, I just happened to have this around the workshop) about 8" long and have filed the end a little square so it fits into the BBQ motor turning bit. (I am sure it has a technical name but I do not know what it is) The other end is inserted into a small hole in the side of the cabinet.

      The string is attached to the rod and as the motor runs it winds around and along the rod providing an even rate of extraction. I experimented with two or three rod thicknesses to get the right rate of extraction as it may depend on the speed of your motor.

      This is a very easy way to do the extraction.  (Ian Kearney)


Can anyone tell me what extraction motor to buy through All Electronics?  Is it this one? .30 RPM TIMING MOTOR, 120 VAC CAT# ACM-105  Can you recommend a motor that would work or guide me to the right one for the job.  (Geoff Pieroway)

    At various times in the past they have had 1 and 4 RPM motors which I have bought from them, however lately they have only had the higher RPM motors like you mention which I think is to fast for our application. MicroMark sells a 4 RPM motor complete with cord, plug, and on/off switch. There may be other sources out there as well.  (Larry Puckett)

      Micromark is indeed a good source for slow rpm motors. Put ANIMATION GEARMOTOR in the search and it will come up with a 2.5 rpm electric motor already with cord and switch.  (Darryl Hayashida)

    There are many different motors that will work for dip tubes.

    You can buy them with different RPM, with or without the power cord or switch.

    To get the extraction rate you want you will have to make yourself pulleys. I have my dip tube setup to pull 1", 2 1/2" or 4" per minute in three steps by changing the belt to different grooves in the pulleys. I use 1"/minute most of the time for thinner coats. I make the belts out of 1/4" surgical tubing joined together with super glue.  (Don Schneider)

    I just purchased a 3/4 rpm motor for my finishing system from the Surplus Center, here is the link:

    They have others as well.  (Scott Bahn)


I'm looking for a motor to extract the rod from the rod dipping tank.  Any suggestions regarding type and source will be greatly appreciated.  (Steve Milsaps)

    All you need is a low RPM AC gear motor. Something in the range of 1/2 - 4 RPM should do.

    Here's a place to find one, very similar to the one I've been using with good results.  (Mark Shamburg)

      Do you realize that they want $8.00 to package that gear motor plus another $2.00 shipping.  Too much  for a $4.95 motor. (Jack Follweiler)

        True, but $14.95 ain't all that bad.  (Neil Savage)

          I still think it is too much for a $4.95 motor.  (Jack Follweiler)

            Depends on your point of view I guess.  If you find a similar motor locally, say at your friendly appliance repair shop, I'd guess you'd pay about $30 for it.  I try to look at total cost for such an item and decide if it's worth it to me.  (Neil Savage)

    I got mine here with a tip from another person on the list (sorry I forgot the name!)  Works great for my needs.  (Scott Bahn)

      Might I suggest you also consider a DC motor.

      With a 12V 12amp wall wart this will allow you to reverse directions  (with a toggle sw.) You can also use a speed control.

      Also consider some kind of escapement so you can release the  mechanism and pull the string down without running the motor.  (Jerry Foster)

      That motor Scott recommended along with a 1.25 to 1.6 inch diameter pulley will give you a draw rate of between 3-4 inches per minute.  (Al Baldauski)

    I favor the DC gear motors.  You can vary the voltage to them without a noticeable loss of torque (this will vary the speed).  If you hook them up with alligator clips then you can reverse them by swapping the leads.  (Ron Larsen)

    Here's another DC motor that might work for you. It is 6.8 rpm at 12v, so a 6v or so wall wart should give you 3-4 rpm.

    I've ordered from MPJA many times and always had good service.  (Rob Holland)

      If you decide to use a DC motor like this you can use a variable controller like one used for toy trains this will give you an infinite range of speeds. I use this set up for turning my rods when I varnish the wraps.  (Joe Arguello)


I'm giving up on the drain tubes for now.  I can't get the varnish to pop in the guides consistently.  That's creating problems that I wouldn't have to deal with in a dip tube.  So I made my dip tube today.  Now I've got to figure out which contraption to use to pull the rod.  Someone posted a link to detailed directions for a low speed motor and the electronics required to run it a couple months ago.  Does anyone have that link handy?  Any other simple solutions would be welcome.  (David Bolin)

    I just used a 3 RPM motor out of the turn table from a microwave oven.  I put a 5” X 1/4” machine  bolt into a collar onto the motor drive shaft (thread winds neatly into the grooves on the bolt) which gives me a withdraw rate of 1 7/8"/minute which seem to work OK - bubbles in guides always pop on their own.  The switch is simply an inline rotary on-off switch/cord available anywhere.

    This is all portable as I must dip in the dining room (vaulted ceiling) when SWMBO will allow.  Hope this helps.  (Darrol Groth)

      How do you reverse or unwind the pull string?  (David Dziadosz)

        That's the only drawback, I guess.  I have to unwind it by hand - small concession.  Still less nerve wracking/tedious than using a brush.  (Darrol Groth)

    An old cheap fly reel with a functioning clicker works fine, I dipped my first 2 dozen or so rods with one. The clicker on most reels is strong enough to hold most butt sections in place. The main thing is to try to reel it in evenly and slowly, I mounted mine on the side of the cabinet my tube is in and just turned it with my thumb, keeping a consistent cadence to the clicks.  (John Channer)

    Check out the stepper motors at Herbach & Rademan.  (Frank Drummond)

      There ya go! A CNC controlled dip tube.  (Will Price)

        Nah, that's just a speed controlled dip tube...  ;-)  (Mark Wendt)

      Be careful with the H&R stepper kit. It is a great kit for learning about stepper motors but motor has a 9 degree step angle. You will probably get steps in the varnish. I couldn't get mine to work properly until a found a .9 deg stepper and a microstepping driver.  (Jerry Foster)

    I found a 12V DC reversible motor on eBay for 20 bucks - it was brand new odd lot item but you can easily find another one in the cyberspace.

    Then, I purchased an "HO" model train controller for 40 bucks or so online; it's reversible and has a variable speed control for both ways. Output is 12V at MAX -

    Model: Railpower 1370;

    Manufacturer: MRC

    I found the lowest price on Amazon for $28.00

    This setup is neat as I can easily move the rod up and down the dipping tube at any speed - wouldn't do it any other way.  (Jimmy Chang)

      Thanks to everyone for all the ideas.  I working on Jimmy's suggestion.  I hope to pick up a model train controller tomorrow.  And I've found a source for 12v DC servos.  But which servo?  ServoCity has several different gear motors from 1 RPM to 303 RPM.

      With a quarter inch shaft, the rod would pull at about 3 inches per minute at 4 RPMs.  But it would take forever to unwind running in reverse after the rod is removed with a 4 RPM motor.  The maximum RPMs would need to be about 60 to unwind 48 inches of line in one minute.  I could work with that.  I assume I would be able to run a 60 RPM motor at 2 or 3 RPMs using the model train control.  Does that sound reasonable?  (David Bolin)

        I made my winch from the gear works from a VAV controller and mounted it near the bottom of the cabinet to the front. I made a spool that I can disengage from the shaft and let it unwind. Having a variable speed winch that would run in reverse, fast enough, sure would be NICE!!  (David Dziadosz)

        I use a 1rpm motor that's not reversible, I just unwind the string with my finger to let the rod down(turn the motor backwards by hand for the last few inches), cost me I think 4 bucks somewhere online. It may not be state of the art, but works a little smoother than the old fly reel and doesn't work my thumb to death.  (John Channer)

        I am not sure you would be happy with that arrangement.  With a DC variable voltage control, you can theoretically get any speed between 0 and 12 volts,  0 to 60 rpm in your case.   The problem is that if the top speed is selected too high, the low speeds get jerky and unreliable.  You would have a hard time getting a repeatable low speed.  You can probably do an 8:1 ratio but not much more.

        I would try to get a motor so that you have an adjustable dipping speed range from say 1 to 6 inches per minute then maybe rig some type of slip clutch so you can just pull the line out to lower.

        I just went through all of this a few months back.  I ended up with a stepper motor that I can vary between 1" and 60" per minute forward and reverse but I had to build my own controller.  If you are electronically inclined, contact me off list and I would be happy to share details.  (Rick Hodges)

          I have a BBQ motor connected to a round wooden dowel which winds the string evenly along the dowel to withdraw the rod section from the varnish tube. To unwind I merely pull the wooden dowel out of the BBQ motor socket and pull the hook back down tube and the string unwinds rapidly from the wooden dowel. When the hook is positioned over the varnish tube in the right place I put the wooden dowel back into the BBQ motor socket.

          This is very low tech compared to a variable speed reversable motor and therefore  contrary to the usual rodmaking philosophy, but works fine.  (Ian Kearney)

            I found an easy solution for this.  I purchased a 1 rpm motor from Edmund Scientific.  They come in various voltages.  I decided on a 12 volt as you can then get a train transformer that puts out the same voltage.  Most of them have a rheostat, an on/off switch, and a reverse. I got an Atlas transformer as it was reasonably priced. When the rheostat is turned down the transformer delivers less than 12 volts so the motor goes even slower.  At slightly higher voltage, it will go more than 1 rpm.  If you make a bobbin with a 3 inch circumference the 1 rpm will give you a draw rate of  3 inches a minute.  (Ron Kubica)

              I used a 1/4" threaded rod, over which I put a copper tube just large enough to not bind.  At either end of the tube a washer, a spring, another washer, then a tightening nut. These are tightened enough to keep the tube from slipping, but when you want to bring the wound thread back down they act as a slipping clutch.  (Henry Mitchell)

          I have a rotisserie motor.  Unfortunately it automatically reverses every time you turn it on.  I'll have to see what I can find at the flea market.  I might buy one of those $11 disco mirror balls at Walmart and use the motor.  It appears that most of them have a 1 RPM motor.  But they probably don't have the torque of a rotisserie motor.  I suppose I could hang the disco ball in the shop.  Maybe it would scare the mosquitoes away.  (David Bolin)

        The nice thing about using the thread spool on the rotisserie spit is that for “reverse,” I just pull the spit end out of the socket on the motor so it’s not connected to the motor.  TI discover that gravity can, if asked, unwind the cord at 9.8 m/sec2, given the half-ounce egg sinker on the end of it, but I normally hold on to the handle of the spit as the kite cord (80#) unwinds.  (Steve Yasgur)

    Here is what I did.

    Part's aren't that big of a problem.


    Power Supply

    Variable Speed Control

    In addition to that all that I needed was a double throw / double pole toggle switch to make the motor reversible. By using the Variable speed control I can easily control the speed from less than 1 RPM up to "full speed."  (Jim Brandt)

    I just bought a rotisserie motor at the local box store and whittled a square end on a small dowel to wind the string onto. Has a switch and reverses as well. Pulls a 48" section in about 15 minutes, very slow and guides always pop. Works very well and puts the layers on very very thin.  (Barry Janzen)

    I stole the rotisserie motor from the grill. Thacker land probably has one if you don't already. You are welcome to stop by and take a look at mine. I'll be home any time the little yellow car is in the drive. I should be dipping the ST-4 later this week. You are welcome to watch, but I'll warn you that it's only slightly more exciting as watching the varnish dry.  (Larry Lohkamp)

    A picture of mine is here.

    If you want a close up picture of the motor, I can send it.  The whole thing cost me something like $10 total as I had the other stuff laying around.  (Scott Bahn)


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