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Topic: Building a PVC spinning wheel  (Read 28406 times)
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« on: February 24, 2009 11:27:49 AM »

So, after a really nasty experience of getting scammed while trying to buy a wheel, I've decided to look into building my own. I think the concept behind the Babe wheels is great, but as a starving student, I really can't afford the $200 price tag.

I've done some research and I think I have a good idea of what to do to make my own PVC wheel, but one part I'm having trouble figuring out is the flyer and the bobbin (i.e. how do they interact/attach to each other). More specifically, I'm not really sure how I would do the tension for the bobbin. Also, what cheap material could I use as a bobbin/use to make a bobbin?

Just to give you an idea of my resources here, I'm trying to keep the price under $100, and I don't really have access to any heavy duty power tools (nothing for woodworking).

Any advice or info here would help. Thanks everyone!  Smiley
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« Reply #1 on: February 24, 2009 12:47:45 PM »

I'm sure I will get accused of being too negative, but I'd say don't do it. Use a $5 drop spindle or save up for a $200 Babe. (I paid for my first wheel with money I made from drop-spindle yarns that I sold on the internet.)

This may be one of those frustrating chicken-or-the-egg situations where if you had a working knowledge of how a spinning wheel works, lots of experience in mechanics and a workshop, you might be able to build one, but if you already had that, you probably wouldn't need to build one.

Imagine not being able to afford a bicycle and trying to build one with no tools and a shoestring budget. You could make something that had a seat and two wheels, but as for sturdiness and use-ability, you're better off buying a commercially made bike. Well-oiled machines are hard to make from scraps.

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« Reply #2 on: February 24, 2009 12:51:19 PM »

I have to agree, the idea of trying to make your own is tempting but in this case not necessarily wise.  I think you'll outgrow anything you cobble together pretty darn quickly and then you'll have wasted 100$ that could have been saved towards a wheel you could spin on for years and years. 

Dye some roving, sell some spindle yarn, etc.  Do whatever you have to in order to earn the money.  You won't regret having a nice wheel Smiley

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« Reply #3 on: February 25, 2009 12:05:42 AM »

If you're too strapped for cash you can try looking on something like craigslist or freecycle. I was given not only a spinning wheel by a woman on there, but also two huge boxes of wool, accessories, and a homemade loom. It is amazing what wonderful gifts people are willing to give to help out a fellow artist.
« Reply #4 on: April 08, 2009 07:03:52 PM »

If you like fiddling with machinery and tinkering with mechanical stuff, then try building your own wheel.  Depending on how good a scavenger you are, it will cost way less than $100; my current project has only cost $20 so far.  You might try making a charkha or a spindle wheel, neither of which involve bobbins or much tension adjustment.  If you want to be able to make a lot of yarn very fast, it is possible to make an electric spinner from a sewing machine engine but that's super fiddly.  I can't really recommend using PVC unless you have a lot of industrial grade stuff laying around.  The plumbing grade is not as sturdy.

However, if your goal is immediate spinning gratification, stick with a spindle.  It's not fiddly at all.  You might also see if anyone near you would be willing to rent you a wheel or time on a wheel while you save up.  For example, I have a spinning guild in my area so I can usually borrow or rent time on a wheel from the guild members.  I've tried five different kinds of wheel so far! 

Links to DIY spinning tools:
http://kero1au.tripod.com/id32.html  If you only visit one of these links, this is the one!  Several DIY wheels etc.


« Reply #5 on: April 08, 2009 10:08:47 PM »

I too am creating a spinning wheel. I'm making it for my sculpture project as an assignment and I'm creating it out of found materials. If my project is successful I'll be sure to post my final results! I found that searching for spinning videos on YouTube to be really helpful for my design process. Searching specifically for "spinning wool" produced the most helpful vids. Also, the glacialwanderer link, though kind of confusing and vague in its instructions is quite helpful as well in terms of figuring out the bobbin and flyer. Good luck!

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« Reply #6 on: September 26, 2013 07:31:14 AM »

I am in the same boat as the person that posted this. Although my boyfriend and his dad are really good making thing with wood and scrap.  I started researching the internet and have found several sites.  Here is a link to several other sights that I have found http://theshortlink.com/622363
Would be interested to know what you ended up doing
« Reply #7 on: January 03, 2014 07:39:40 PM »

I ran into the same issue myself, so i made my own pvc wheel, it actually worked out really well. I even made up a tutorial for how to make it. Basically i used some things i found around my house, like a knitting needle, a paper clip, and a bike wheel. I think theres even a hair tie in there too somewhere. Lol. Anyways, if anybody wants the tutorial i can send it to them. Just need an email address, its in google docs.
« Reply #8 on: February 25, 2014 07:29:01 PM »

It might not work quite as well as a commercial wheel, or be as sturdy, but I think building your own will give you an understanding of it that you just can't get simply using something. (And for me, it's one of my life's principles to never buy anything I can make, especially if I can build it from recycled parts! It forces me to slow down and really think about whether or not I need something, which I usually don't. I'm a recovering craft hoarder, so this has been a good practice for me.)

I'm grateful to everyone who shared DIY links on this thread. I'll be building a wheel sooner rather than later!

I carry a bag that says FREE KNITTING LESSONS on my daily transit commute, & give a little hands-on tutorial to anyone who asks. They get a starter kit with needles, enough cotton yarn to make a plain dishcloth and a set of instructions. Swaps/donations for materials welcome!
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