I want a spinning wheel. I don't need it, but I want it.
I've tried drop spindling, and it makes my hands ache from the twisting, and then I have trouble writing; drop spindling is not for me. My mom offered me her wheel as a loan. It is a traditional style Canadian wheel, but the orifice is 17" off the ground. I have to sit on a 6" stool to spin. That was great when I was 10 and learning to spin, but I can't do that now with the way my hip keeps deciding not to work, or my knee creaks. It is a great wheel for her, though. There is no way I can talk the man into a spinning wheel made of wood. The least expensive one I have seen is about $600, and it goes up from there. I also prefer the centered wheel style of wheel, like a Kiwi, or a folding wheel, like the Ashford Traveller ($800 to $900 where I am). Definitely not in the budget with the older one going to university in the fall.
So, in the spirit of "Can Do" that I grew up with, I started gathering bits and pieces and making plans to make my own wheel. This is a record of my process; I don't know it if will work or not, but, hey, it is worth an experiment or two. Right?
I've done a lot of research online. There are not a lot of diy wheel plans, except for the great wheel style. The great wheel is a spindle based wheel without a foot pedal drive. It works well for cotton and fine yarns, but it takes up a fair bit of space. The chakra spinning wheel is a smaller version of this wheel. There is a more traditional style plan, available from a wood working site, but, well, I'm not going to talk anyone into turning a wheel for me. And, the wood alone is more than I want to invest. The electric spinning wheel here is a great plan, and those who have made it love it. But, I want to have foot pedal power that is not dependent on electricity. My goal is to make a babe inspired wheel. I like the idea of their wheels, and the cost, and the light weight, but two or three hundred dollars is still out of my budget. Eventually I will get one, with a woollee winder. Right now, I want to try and make a wheel of my own.
You can make everything for a spinning wheel, including the flyer head and the bobbins. The most reasonable plans for a flyer and bobbins I've seen are included with the electric wheel plans. But, after looking a long time at the electric spinner, I decided that I was not going to make the flyer and bobbins. Maybe with the next spinning wheel, or as a variation of this one. I purchased an Ashford Traveller fly assembly and three bobbins, for about $85. The assembly came with a drive band, a brake band and an orifice threading hook (yeah!). The only problem with the Ashford flyer, though, is that the drive wheels are on the front of the flyer, and all of the pvc style spinning wheels I have seen have the drive assembly at the back of the flyer. It was a small set back; my original plan had to be changed a bit. Well, a lot. The good part about this style though, is that the issues with the flyer head popping out of the front of the PVC holding pipe will probably be eliminated, since I'm expecting that the drive band will hold it down.
The frame of the wheel will be made of 1" plumbing pipe--the cream coloured incredibly hard pipe that is very sturdy. The short sides are cut 13" (so far); front long side is 18"; the back sides are 8 1/4" on either side of the T connector to fit the upright. I've cut the upright 22 inches, and marked the hole spot for the wheel an inch above center. The wheel is a 17" plastic wheel rim for a bmx bike, that cost me $20 at a second hand bike shop. Including the glue and the pipe cutter, I've spent about $70. (Yeah, I know--I could have bought a babe for that; but now it is the challenge of the thing, right).
Next--to figure out how to put together the flyer assembly, and the line it up with the wheel.