Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Fabulous fabrication.

We have a regular (weekly, usually) session of "get excited and make things". It's a fixed day and time of the week, and most of the time, one or several friends drop by. They bring their projects and we all sit together and work on our things - knitting, sewing, woodworking, paper-related stuff. There's been miniature painting and programming done, too, as well as the very mundane task of mending socks and darning clothes.

Last week, our meeting went on an outing - into the FabLab in Nuremberg. Just in case you have never heard about a FabLab, it's short for "fabrication laboratory". Usually, a fablab is an open workshop where you can make things, for a very small fee.

Most fablabs have a set of tools for mechanical and electronic stuff, a laser cutter, and a 3D printer. You might also find a large drill, a CNC machine, a sewing and/or embroidering machine, a few computers, and some other stuff. Plus a stash of materials you can buy for your projects.

So, last week, I sat at the FabLab, designing new whorls and a new flyer and new bobbins for my little Finnish spinning wheel. I got that wheel back in 2012, and it's been running with the roughly tweaked flyer and bobbins since. They do work, but they are a waste of space in the spinning assembly, since the flyer is huge and the bobbin is tiny. (The wheel seems to be called the Varpapuu Toika, and someone else was so nice as to post a video of it.)

As you can see, the flyer is... less than elegant. A waste of space, and energy, and I am going to replace it with a lighter one, with longer wings to accommodate a bigger bobbin. I'll space the hooks closer to each other too, and fit it with smaller whorls. Someone at the FabLab has offered me help with the metal axle, and the rest... I'll laser cut wooden parts for the bobbin ends and the flyer, probably drill holes through some leftover dowels for the bobbin cores, and the whorl bits will be 3D-printed. (3D-printing takes ages, AGES, so as I'm an impatient person and want several bobbins, I will just print the whorl disks.)

If you have a FabLab in your region - go check it out. They are fabulous!

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