In an impressive impulse of brash “I know what I want” request for help, Dallas Makerspace member Cairenn Day posted an appeal to our Talk forum requesting assistance from “some woodworkers” to make inkle looms so she could teach inkle weaving classes. Among the requirements were small footprints for easy storage, and, of course, high strength so they can stand up to the rigors of the classroom. Several other members jumped in with support and ideas and the ball was rolling!
Twenty-eight hours later, based partly on photos in the link posted by Cairenn, a preliminary design was whipped up by DMS member (but not yet a weaver!) Walter Anderson.
The plan was to use sapele “scrap” from another project and etch the design using the Zing 16 laser with the rest of the cutout work being by hand.
With about 48 hours to “go time”, Walter continued to receive plenty of input. Sizes for pegs were discussed. Shuttles were requested, design hashed out, whittled, and delivered.
In typical evolutionary fashion, the design was tweaked. The most major change was moving from a rear-bias adjustment peg to front-bias. Rev_2 looked like this:
The “final change” was to move the heddle and adjacent pegs up for more clearance on the final warp winding.
Launch occurred as predicted. The project was begun with scrap sapele on the Zing. Fifty minutes later, the patterns were etched. (Patterns? Plural? Yep. While laying out the design, Walter found he had enough room on his scrap for 2 layouts, and promptly instituted the change). After cutout and drill here they are during the clean up and removal of sharp edges.
Upon first test and assembly, it was discovered that another peg needed to be included for maximum usefulness. Walter re-designed:
After drilling and cutting the existing backer boards for the new pegs, the first prototype was glued and screwed. Here it is awaiting cleanup and a couple coats of magic finish:
Preliminary figures suggest that these looms have a 66″ (5.5′, or 1.67m) path which should be able to make weaves slightly in excess of 48″ (4′, or 1.2m) length and up to 2.5″ (64mm) in width.
Ten days later, Cairenn and the Creative Arts Department at DMS have 2 prototype inkle looms as well as the digital designs for them, shuttles and even heddles included!
There are discussions surrounding helping students get started with their own looms regardless of their woodworking skill levels, by selling the plans, kits with the base board pre-cut, or even finished looms with proceeds assisting expansion of the program within Creative Arts. Other members are pitching in to convert the preliminary design to use the Multicam CNC router for the heavy lifting. Walter did his cuts by hand!
All because Cairenn asked nicely, and Dallas Makerspace is the best collaborative workspace in the world!