Wednesday, July 09, 2014

The competition flier with the accelerator

The #0 flier that Alden made for me is back on-line with 50 mm whorls and the accelerator.

Reasonable bobbin speed is 3,800 rpm.  This allows easily spinning  spinning  560 yards of worsted 11,200 ypp single in an hour. The test was done with 60 count fiber, but I would bet that I can also do it with 30  count Cotswold.

To get these speeds, I have to control whorl diameters to about1/32".  That is ok, wood turners have been working to that kind of precision since the dark ages.  Any wook turner that could turn a spigot (that does not leak)  for a wine barrel can also turn spinning whorls with the necessary precision.  Yes, there are some jigs and tools that have to be made, but woodturners know how to do such things.

It is starting to look like a hank (560 yards) of 10s or 20s was about an hour's  (or AA's golden 48 minutes) work for a competent professional spinner.  Shirting and hosiery singles are closer to 2 hours work. Hanks of  fines  (more than 30,000 ypp) would be closer to 3 or 3.5  hours work.

It is clear that properly setup and maintained DT/DD spinning wheel can sustain spinning speeds many times higher than anybody admitted when I bought my wheel some 5 years ago.

When I was at Bechtel, productivity was something we had to get correct.  In modern hand spinning, it is a taboo subject.  Spinners talk about the size of their stash, and how many wheels or spindles they own, but nobody talks about how fast they actually spin.

Five years ago, none of the experienced spinners correctly stated the productivity that I could expect.  AA and HC limited the potential speed of their wheels by installing only one treadle.  Ashford sells DT wheels, but slows them down with big heavy flyers that vibrate at speed. Others limited drive ratios or whorl swept area to limit speed.  Nobody seemed to have a wheel that would insert twist faster than 1,600 rpm.  I was told, over and over, that if I want to spin at higher speed, I should buy a commercial mini-mill (the ones suggested cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.)  Instead, I bought an Ashford Traddy, and later a couple of fliers from AA and modified them to run at 3,800 rpm.  A minor change to the accelerator will allow even higher speeds.

In particular, nobody was selling differential rotation speed (DRS) wheels, and very few spinners seemed to be using a wheels converted after market to DRS, despite the fact that the conversion is only a matter of a couple of millimeters.

DRS opens up different styles of drafting to produce styles of yarn that cannot be produced by other spinning techniques.  On the other hand, HC and AA stopped selling DRS wheels for very good reasons. There is a lot that can go wrong with a DRS wheel.  It takes skill to get a DRS wheel running, and more skill to keep it running.  My feeling is that the skills were common among textile workers  from the 14th through the 18th century.  However, these skills were not brought forward to spinning activities of Queen Victoria's Court.

As far as I am concerned, DRS is half the craft of spinning. It is a very powerful tool for wool, cotton, silk, and linen.

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