Thursday, September 25, 2014

New Automatic Bobbin Winder For Cowboy CB3200

I don't like the bobbin winder on the Cowboy CB3200 so decided to come up with an alternative.  The problem with a typical commercial sewing machine bobbin winder on a machine set up for leather is that it winds while the machine is engaged in stitching or, if not stitching, the stitching mechanism is running. Leather machines run rather slow and it takes too long to wind the bobbin and it seems like a lot of extra wear and tear on the machine.  Also, if left unattended, the bobbin doesn't wind with the thread evenly distributed on the bobbin spool.

I looked at several dedicated bobbin winders and found the Luis Sew model on ebay for $35 new including shipping.  This machine typically sells for $80 so I snapped it up.

Upon running it for the first time, I discovered that there is no speed control and the thing runs at warp nine... no control of the thread winding.  The tension discs are also too close to the bobbin which leads to uneven winding on the bobbin spool.

I decided to install a PWM (pulse width modulator) speed control which can be had for around $10.  The advantage of a PWM is that it maintains full torque while reducing the speed of rotation.  It also doesn't heat up the motor like a typical fan-type dimmer switch.

The machine also has a lot of vibration which creates excessive noise during operation.  I decided to make a new wider platform from 1/2" 9-ply baltic birch plywood.  I also mounted the motor on rubber washers.  The unit is now virtually silent.

So now the unit runs quietly, there is no vibration, the speed is variable down to zero RPM.  I can help the winding process manually to keep the threads winding evenly; it winds pretty well unassisted.  I have added nylon knee-high stockings to all of my spools of thread to keep them feeding consistently as well.

This unit works on type M, as well as residential type bobbins.

Hope this helps anyone looking for a better bobbin winding solution.

Here are some photos of the finished product.

Scroll to the end for Links to products discussed in this article.

The control knob on the top is the PWM.


  1. What a great idea. Thank you so much for posting this and the links. I have a Cobra class 4 and always just leave a bobbin in to wind on the machine. But changing colors is a pain. I don't like to leave that needle going up and down while winding a fast bobbin. This is a much better solution. I am so grateful to you!! I also have 2 other commercial sewing machines with M bobbins.
    So I just bought the Luis winder and ordered the PWM from the link you posted and it is on its way. I am now going to put the winder on a wood surface as you did and put rubber feet on the winder. That is no problem for me. Only thing is I hope the PWM comes with directions on where those wires will go on the inside box of the Luis winder. Or hopefully I can contact you for directions.
    Thanks again,

    1. Katy,
      I got your email and have sent you photos and a description of the wiring. Hope it helps.

  2. I like you idea and have noted the supplier for the controller. However, I haven't found a current seller for the basic power unit (Luis Sew). Have you by any chance noted a change in source for this item? Thanks, Steve Hammatt Mount Vernon WA USA

  3. Follow up:
    I did find a new source for the older style Luis Sew bobbin winder. It should arrive here this week. Same with the PWM board. Looking forward to getting everything mounted and working. A copy of the information you sent Katy (see earlier posting above) would be most helpful. Thanks for any assistance with how to connect the wiring would be appreciated.

  4. Sorry........