Loom Upgrades – Cloth Winding Drum

Whilst we’re all in the position that we need to reduce social contact due to COVID-19, I have taken the opportunity to work on a couple of aspects about my Weav3r loom that I felt needed attention. I have definitely solved one of them and hope, when I can buy some parts, that I have solved the other.

Clicking Gears

This is the problem I hope to have solved, but don’t yet have conclusive proof. Whilst working on the problem of the concentric drive I found that the mesh between the usual 12T gear and the 60T turntable was not particularly good. Looking at the image below it can be seen that the teeth of the 12T gear approach at quite a shallow angle to the 60T. This can be seen at the 11 and 1 o’clock positions – the teeth of the turntable appear to “dig in” to the 12T gear. This causes the mesh between these gears to sometimes be very rough.

When working on the concentric drive I found that the 20T gear is a much better mesh, but this requires a 1/2L offset which really just didn’t work for the loom. The other issue with using a bevel gear to drive the turntable is that the tension in the warp thread could feasibly be high enough that as the turntable rotated it would be pulled up and away from its drive gear which could also produce the same clicking problem.

The change to the gear chain has been to have the worm gear driving the turntable. This is a great benefit as the worm drive is a much smoother mesh and, also, it is not possible for the turntable to lift off the worm. To drive the 60T turntable with a worm gear I will need to use the newer 1L type – this is the part I don’t have, but have rebuilt with the intent to use.

The existing gear chain was: 1 • 20:12 • 1:24 • 12:60 => 1:72. This used one of the old 3L worm gears, halfway down the gear chain. To use the 1L worm at the end, with the same axle paths from the large motor, the gear chain is now: 1 • 20:12 • 24:24 • 8:16 • 1:60 => 1:72, so the same ratio. However, the additional 24:24 will have reversed the direction, so I must remember to adjust my code to reflect that.

The new turntable drive now looks like the image below:

Detachable Drum

The original build’s drum was locked in to the structure. This meant that to remove the scarf, at the end of a day’s show, the whole thing had to be run in reverse for around 3m. This would take a remarkably long time, and was just extra wear and tear on the mechanism that could be avoided. So, another design criterion for this change was to make the drum removable, but at the same time retain its strong connection to the worm gear. This has, happily, been achieved.

The drum has a 5 x 7 open centred frame at each end which locks in just above the worm gear. In the image above it’s possible to see two 4L axles with stop either side and behind the worm gear. These lock in to the bottom of the drum’s end frame preventing any misalignment. The frame is locked in to place by two bush pins inserted from behind.

The drum itself has also been altered. The original was somewhat flexible and the pins along one “side” had a gap in them. The inner “hexagons” inside now have two pulley wheels inside to support them, making the drum more rigid. The structure has also been reworked to remove the gap in the pins. An added benefit to that is that there are 33 continuous pins, which equates to 32 slots between them, one per warp thread. An intermediate render, I’ve changed things a little since I made it such as the black bush pins are in the wrong place now, is shown below:

The entire front structure that encloses the drum is removable for transportation, i.e. for DHL to take it abroad 🙂 This has had some attention at the back of it, but that is more cosmetic and tidies a few things up. One humorous thing is that when I’ve detached it recently I’ve partially dismantled a section – I’d totally forgotten I’d built it so that I pull out 4 bush pins and the whole unit lowers down and forward!

Renders of the final structure with the drum installed, and removed, are shown below.

An animated render of the structure is below:

For those that may be interested, I’m posting the LDraw model. I don’t intend producing a PDF of BIs, but this model is in steps, so should be easy to follow. This work is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International licence.


More Loom Models

As in my previous post, I’ve been modelling parts of my loom. This update covers the two most recent.

Pinch Rollers

At the back of the loom there is the pinch roller mechanism. This is used to control the tension of the warp threads from the back of the loom towards the front. High tension is needed when weaving, but it prevents the lifter bar (referred to later) from lowering properly. Using the pinch rollers, the tension in the loom can be dropped by moving the warp threads forward at the back of the loom. Then when the pattern has been set and the lifter bar raised, the tension can be reintroduced by winding the cloth up at the front.

Pinch Rollers

The bobbin frame support structure, in the previous post, connects to the back of these rollers. The bobbin winder, also in the previous post connects to the lefthand side of the pinch rollers as shown.

The LDraw model for this can be found at: http://jander.me.uk/LEGO/loom-parts/Pinch%20Rollers.ldr

Adding the pinch rollers, bobin frame and support, and bobbin winder all together, the over-all model now looks like:

Lifter Bar

Whilst the back of the loom was off – I had to remove the pinch rollers to work out how I’d built them originally – I decided I’d model one of the most important parts of the loom, since it was visible. This is the lifter bar. It is one half of the mechanism that provides the Jacquard ability. It has 32 pins in it, that when one is engaged into the bottom eyelet of a heddle allows that one to be lifted up. There is an equivalent static bar at the front which holds the heddles down if needed.

Lifter Bar

This mechanism slides up and down along some long axles. These pass through the holes in the ends of the bars, and through some of the holes in the frames. There are gear racks at the back and sides which provide the lifting force. The lifting mechanism has to be offset away from the pins as the pin setting mechanism rides along underneath the whole Jacquard structure.

The LDraw model for this can be found at: http://jander.me.uk/LEGO/loom-parts/Lifter%20Bar.ldr

What Next?

Well, I’m going to put the loom back together, and check that all my new parts actually do what I wanted them to. It’s still loaded with wool from the Mytholmroyd show at the end of January, so I’m going to run that through and then empty the loom.

I’ve then got a little bit of coding to do, to support the bobbin winder – i.e. change the direction of the motor. There’s no need to use the pinch rollers to wind the warp threads on to a drum anymore, so I can repurpose that function to the winder.

I’ve got some other things I need to focus on, and this 3D modelling is quite intensive, so I’m going to take a break from that, and will look to model some more parts in a few weeks time.