Droogs, there's a book by David Bryant on making spinning wheels with full plans for about 5 different styles, along with carders and looms. ISBN 0713448288. Well worth a look although Sawtooth's design looks more streamlined and less 'fussy' than the ones in that book
Having spun and then plied your fibre, the next step in the process is to unwind the spool into a skein.
The skein is then washed and wound into a ball ready to knit.
Most skein winders are a stand alone unit and most commonly of the "umbrella" type. These are quite large, unstable and a nuisance to store.
The ball winders are usually a swinging arm type and are clamped to a table. There is a fundamental limit to the number of cross overs - which is important when you are dealing with very fine fibres.
The "horizontal" ball winders available have never worked well, again because of poor cross over.
The challenge was to design and build a combined skein winder / ball winder which was easy and convenient to use and would handle very fine fibres.
The aim was to use stainless steel and Australian timbers.
After several failures and lots of learning ( to overcome lack of skill ! ) ..........
I gave quite a bit of thought as to the best way of making the wheel adjustable in diameter. Finally decided on using an external scroll. The scroll engages with pins set into the spokes and protrude through the spoke carriers ( set into the hub ). Rotating the scroll moves the spokes equally in or out. The scroll design took a bit of thought to get right.
I cannot take credit for cutting the scroll. My equipment and lack of experience made cutting a scroll in 4 mm thick stainless steel plate a bit beyond me ! So I had the scroll cut using a cnc water jet cutter.
The wheel shaft is supported at each end in double sets of sealed stainless steel ball bearings - giving really smooth winding action.
The design of the ball winder was a challenge !
Having never built a gearbox before, I decided to buy stock stainless steel gears ( module 1 ) and mount the gears on posts - all open for easy cleaning and I like being able to see the mechanism in action.
The distribution arm is driven via a set of mitre gears
The gear ratios were calculated and the winder built.
It was time to do the first test wind
What a complete failure !
Only two cross overs and no ball integrity !
My focus on gear ratios was wrong, standard gears simply lay the fibres on top of each other. What was needed was to gradually index the winding positions.
I really thought that I would have to ditch the whole ball winder concept.
I spent some time thinking about this problem, until the simple answer presented itself.
If I replace two of the standard gears with prime number gears I would get the indexing required to form a stable ball. This is the principle used to reduce wear patterns in high speed precision gearboxes.
Problem was that nobody could provide stock stainless prime number gears.
So the only solution was that I would have to learn how to cut the gears myself.
After the two prime number gears were fitted, it was time to do another test wind.
When double strand ( or pattern ) knitting there is a problem with the ply of each strand becoming over twisted or un-plying. Also the two strands become tangled.
With double strand knitting, this problem is so acute that historically double strand knitting was usually reserved for small items such as sox and gloves. Sometimes the sleeves of a jumper were done, but not a whole garment.
About eight years ago I built a set of "whirling" bowls to overcome this issue.
A ball is placed in each bowl and by spinning each bowl, the ply is re-balanced.
If you withdraw the arm locking pin then the two strands can easily un-tangle.
What a wonderful story. You are a very lucky man to have a supportive wife who appreciates you and the wadkin. The spinning gear is quite unique and I too would certainly be interested in seeing drawings. This is the type of project that would be nice on just display even if it’s never used. Wonderful! From the states.
I was never happy with the use of needle bearings in the original, so I re-made the bearing housings and shafts with an improved bearing configuration
The first pic is the updated version. The second pic is the original version.
There is some tricky machining required for the fitting of very small ball bearings.
The timber here, is Tiger Myrtle from Tasmania
Herself has a real obsession with twined knitting, it produces a hard wearing yet soft garment which holds it's shape.
She does not use any patterns, simply having a design in mind and measuring a garment with the right fit. Then a test patch is knitted with the proposed needle size to determine stitches and rows per inch.
When I look at workmanship of this calibre I feel somewhat inadequate LOL. I know you know this, but I’ll say it anyway. You’re both very clever,
exceptionally intelligent people with exceptional skills in particular areas of activity. Genius springs to mind. ‘We’ll done’ is an understatement. I’m in awe.