Friday, 6 November 2015

New Loom > Old loom

This is my old tablet weaving loom. I guess calling it a loom is a bit of a stretch as it's basically a plank with a couple of bits of wood nailed to it to mount another bit of wood as a rudimentary cloth beam.

Anyhow, it served it's purpose fine and all, but I only used it the once to make some particularly intricate bands from silk. It's a bit on the bulky side, and I need more bulky crap like I need a hole in the head.

So I made a new one. I wanted to make a tablet weaving loom that was no bigger than it needed to be, that allowed one to weave a long warp, that had a spacer (helps both with combating twist and with keeping a consistent cloth width) and that most importantly could be made in pieces, shipped across the world in an A4 packet and put together without any nuts, bolts or glue.

This loom also combines the technique I've found most helpful in tablet weaving (the spreading board) with the basic technology of a handloom. One of the benefits that occured to me earlier the day of this is that if someone were to learn tablet weaving on this, without realising it they'd also be learning some of the fundamental basics of handloom weaving, making and beaming the warp, with the spreading board playing the part of a raddle.

In fact, there's really not good reason why this thing couldn't be turned into a shaft loom now I think of it. It just needs an add-on for that. Or for inkle weaving, or rigid heddle weaving, even jacquard weaving (now that would be an EXPENSIVE upgrade ;-).

But hey, the intricate patterns you can make with this setup are practically infinite anyway, so you don't really need to bother with anything else.

So this is the loom. It's made entirely out of 6mm laser-cut plyboard. It all just slots together. I've had this idea in my head for quite a while, now I've finally managed to extract it thanks to the tools at Dundee Makerspace, specifically the lasercutter. This is a bit of a rough draft like, There's a few things I'd change.

Firstly, I didn't really think through the ratchet and pawl thing properly. By the time I'd drafted all the parts it occured to me I hadn't considered where to mount or how to attach the pawl. I suspect I'll have to cut a hole for it into the main board and attach it with a narrow nail or something like that.

Also, I allowed the ratchet teeth to come to a sharp point, which means that some of the teeth have been cracking at the end as I'm using nails as pawls right now. 

The beams turn pretty well, considering they're not actually round. 

I really should have put a raised lip at the edges of the warp beam on the inside of the mount in order to bracket in the warp. If a person had a very long warp that would be an issue.

The spacer at the back is going to need something on the top to prevent the prongs from breaking. It only has 12 spacers just now, but if it had more it would get exceedingly fragile. It's also the part that takes longest to cut so it's an issue. It may make more sense to cut it from acrylic instead. It may actually make sense to cut the entire thing from acrylic, I just have to make sure I can get an appropriately tight fit.

If i did make it from acrylic it could be all sorts of funky colours.

The bit at the front is completely over-engineered and I don't think needs those wee slots at all.

The middle joining bits need to be longer and lower. The board bends slightly under tension and when you've advanced about a third of the way up the board, the joiners get in the way of your hands somewhat.

It would be helpful to be able to get the cards actually resting on the board if one wanted in order that 2-hole patterns could be made. I know you could just stick a wee book there, but that's not the point.

Also, what it really needs is a way of making the warp on the loom. I jury-rigged a rough solution but it's not acceptable in the long run. I think a couple of arms with warping posts sticking out that slot onto the sides would be nice. They could be stabilized above and below in order that they don't bend out of shape.


I kind of want to manufacture and sell these. Do you think I should do kickstarter or something?