Ok, I wind my own pups, I've done about 10 singles and 6 humbuckers so I am no expert, but I do get the overall picture, and each time i learn something new. My very first try worked better than expected, i was shocked with the tone and power, I tried it, it squeeled like a pig at higher volumes, then I potted it and it was fine.
My pickups sound better with each new effort. It's not rocket science, and anyone here could have success winding pickups.
The cost savings for a few "sets" of pickups really will pay for a winder, or your time and effort to build one.
As for the amount of time invested in making one pickup, less than half an hour, ready to install. I'm sure i could go faster if I had a dedicated space for it. I have used the stew mac kits, those are a good way to start, the problem i found is the bobbins are not large enough for the number of windings I like. So now I even make my own pickup parts.
The stew mac alnico needs to be "charged" not a big deal, i use rare earth magnets, and unlike CB's suggestion, i place the magnets directly onto each end of the pole piece. So far no problems. The pups sound great.
As far as the value of your time to make them, some people say that their time is money and not worth winding a pup.
I can go work for someone else for three hours to buy a $100 pup, or I can sit in my living room with a beer, watching "According to Jim" and wind my own pup. The only reason I still buy pups( and I do) is to reverse engineer them so i can make more.
One last note to all pup winders here, the term "scatter winding" means that you criss cross the windings quickly back and forth, the reason for this is to create an air gap throughout your windings, that will then be filled by potting wax. Theres no other reason for scatter winding than to allow the potting wax to penetrate well, and it really makes for a nice quiet coil. Electronically speaking, the electrons could not care less how the wire is wrapped.
Hey TT looking forward to some magnets and an IPA, oregon city mcminamins?