Saturday, January 03, 2015

Shelves and hooks

Some folk talk of shelves, but some folk talk of "material handling systems".  A material handling system includes shelves.  It also includes conveyer belts, girls on roller skates, folks with hand trucks or forklifts, or these days, little robots whizzing around.

A hook is like a shelf.  A heck array is a material handling system! On a flyer, the heck array transports the yarn from the point of twist insertion (barrel of flyer) to the bobbin for storage. The heck array does this without creating undue tension that would break the yarn or undue slack that would allow the yarn to tangle.  A hook is an object, but a heck array is a yarn transport system.

If I take a class of elementary school kids on a tour of a warehouse, I will point out the "shelves". Depending on the level of their study, I might or might not use the term,"material handling system". If I am teaching a class on Value Engineering to a group of Bechtel professional engineers, then I will certainly use the term "material handling system".  One chooses one's vocabulary depending on the audience.  Many modern hand spinners may know words such as "heck", without understanding subtleties of the concept. Spinning teacher and authors know this and do not use words/concepts that their students do not fully understand. Heck is a word that a hobby spinner is not going to fully understand, and thus it does not get used until the student demonstrates an understanding of the concepts.

If one thinks of a heck as just a "hook", then there is no reason to put a heck on a Lazy Kate, NONE! And if you look around, modern commercial Lazy Kates do not have hooks (or hecks) on them.  I think Will Taylor's Lazy Kates are beautiful, but they do not work at all for the fine, high twist singles that I use.  Peter Teal had that problem of fine, high twist singles tangling, but his tubing solution is not practical for making 5-ply.   Likewise, the various "tensioned" Lazy Kates change the tension as the effective diameter of the bobbin changes, so all bobbins must be of the same type and must have the same amount of yarn on them to start, and still must continuously adjusted as the bobbins empty.  This is not practical for my projects.

However, if one thinks of a heck array as a material handling system to transport yarn at a controlled tension, then one does put a heck array on one's Lazy Kate.  I do!!

I went through generations and generations of "yarn guides" of all kinds in various trials of various kinds of lazy kates. Yarn guides as "yarn guides" do not work very well for avoiding tangles in yarn coming off bobbins in a lazy kate.  What does work with superb effectiveness is a set of  yarn guides designed to control tension and avoid tangling - a yarn transport and management system - a heck array.

The lazy kate that I use these days has a "heck array" that controls and delivers up to 5 singles with uniform tension, regardless of the kind of bobbin or the effective diameter of the bobbins. It works for grists in the range of 2,000 to 22,000 ypp. Yesterday, I plied some 1,500 yards of  sport weight 5-ply using this lazy kate. Yes, this heck array does have 2 hooks, but it is defined by its function - transport of tensioned yarn, rather than by its mechanical shape.  At this time it is optimized for the blocked singles that I use for warp.  Unblocked singles require another row or two of dowels /hecks to increase tension and reduce tangle.

I think that the reason we do not have commercial lazy kates with a yarn transport and management system (heck array) is because, in general, modern hand spinners in the mood to buy do not think in terms of functional systems - they want something that looks like a fairytale decoration.  And, they like to make fun of spinning tools that are functional and actually work effectively. (Yes, YOU!, Rubbernecker!)

This version of my lazy kate will hold 2 Ashford jumbo bobbins, and is actually easily convertible to 8, 10, or 12 ply, if I use the small bobbin size shown lower left. The pix is of the device is as it was used to make the 1.5 pounds yarn that I need to finish a sweater. I stopped when I emptied a bobbin, which got tossed in the "empties bin".  This morning's empties bin and long wool 10s to refill.

Note that each skein is a hand spun hank of 560 yards.

There are 18 hanks, so that is ~10,000 yards. Yesterday's plying consumed another 8,000 yards of those singles, so yesterday morning there were 18,000 yards of worsted -spun,  lace weight singles from that batch of long wool.  When I started that sweater back in October, I had plenty of the 5-ply on hand, based on the   ~ 5 lb / 50 hanks / 28,000 yards of these singles that I did for Spinzilla.  That was all I had from Spinzilla because because most of the Spinzilla week was spent driving my wife around the Eastern Sierra, Bodie Ghost Town, and Mono Lake. (We  were the last campers in Buck Eye Campground for the season, as in, camping in the high Sierra was starting to get cold.) Then, my wife took me shopping, and while she shopped, I knit ski socks and used up a couple of pounds of handspun 5-ply. Thus, I am down to the last third of the singles spun during Spinzilla. The advantage to being a hand spinner is that this is not a problem.


Purl Mary said...

Totally disagree with your idea of using 'simple' words for people who don't understand a concept. The best way for them to understand is to use the word and to define it. It will enlarge their vocabulary, probably cause them to research the specialty at hand and make them go to bed having learned something. Otherwise, they see so many thingamajogs and thingamabobs they need a file cabinet in their head just to contain the million possible meanings of those two words. Very cumbersome.

By the way, "material handling system" is present in my favourite terminology data base and is a term in itself. Darn! And there you thought it was just a generic for ingnant people!

Aaron said...

Some words are symbolic for concepts that may take weeks or months for a particular student to understand.

I do not distinguish between equations and words - both symbolize concepts, and people that understand the concepts, understand the symbols for those concepts.

It took me a while (in 1970-1972) to understand all the concepts symbolized in that paper.

If I use those symbols here, it will mean nothing to most of my readers. Yes, you can look up the meaning in your calculus text, but it will take a working with the concepts for a substantial length of time before you fully understand them.

Aaron said...

If everyone understands the Feynman Lectures, why do not spinners use the concepts to make better wheels.

Why did I have to make my own wheel?

Why can't I buy a fast wheel from Carolina Homespun or the Woolery?