Saturday, 10 November 2012

Frankenstein

Meet my first spinning "wheel", Frankenstein. 

Obviously he is named after the inventor of the monster and he is my homemade e-spinner.  My boyfriend made him for me following instructions from "Build Your Own Electric Spinning Wheel".  We have been working on it for about 18 months now, tweaking and improving the design and it is now probably time for Frankie: Mark2.

Right from the start it worked pretty well, but we had trouble finding the parts mentioned on the website in Australia so there was quite a bit of trial and error.  We bought a lot of the parts from Small Parts including the bearings and motor and drive band.  The drive band gave us the most problems.  It was hard to find a combination of pulleys/band that wouldn't slip or derail.  We ended up using a toothed band so it really can't slip at all.  We built a speed controller from a kit from Jaycar that has a soft start feature (so the fibre doesn't get yanked out of your hands when it starts up) and allows the speed to be adjusted from barely moving to faster than human hands can draft.  There is also a switch to change the direction of the motor for plying.

Boyfriend built the flyer assembly and bobbins from scratch and they both work well.  The bobbins easily hold 4oz of spun yarn.  The spinner works on scotch tension which was surprisingly easy to set up and control - it's just a bit of brickers twine tightened with a screw mechanism.  We originally had the flyer running straight on the wood but it was causing a bit of friction and noise so we added bearings.

Lots of people make electric spinners.  Many use parts scavenged from sewing machines and it would be easy to use a ready made flyer assembly from a traditional spinning wheel.  There is a good thread with pictures here on Ravelry.  Our next version will just need a bit of cleaning up so that all the parts are positioned neatly.  The box that houses the components is completely unnecessary and just makes the electronics hard to access and the machine really heavy.  Instead we will probably mount it on top of a small base that contains the motor.  Although the motor is not that noisy some shielding would make it really quiet.

This is the first yarn I spun on Frankenstein, and a more recent laceweight:




There is much discussion about the advantages and disadvantages of espinners, I personally think they are awesome.  I also have an elderly Ashford Traditional that I enjoy,  I'll introduce you to her later!

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