Fraens' 3D-Printed Automatic Power Loom Blends Modern Tech with 1700s Fabric Production Machinery

Inspired by 18th century weaving equipment, this 3D-printed project is aimed at "advanced makers" up for a challenge.

Gareth Halfacree
18 days ago3D Printing / HW101

Semi-pseudonymous YouTuber Fraens has put together an automated power loom for fabric production, created using as many 3D-printed parts as possible and targeting "advanced makers."

"The power loom is a 3D printed machine for advanced makers," Fraens explains of the project. "It is driven by a 12V geared motor. There were some problems to solve in it. One of the main problems is the high torque needed to shoot the shuttle. This could only be solved by a chain drive," which was not 3D-printed.

Another problem was in the unwinding of the thread from the shuttle, which flies back and forth: "This had to be weighted down with brass plates so that it would not get stuck at the slightest thread resistance," Fraens explains. "The shape of the eccentrics made it possible to increase the opening time of the shafts. This gives you a little more time to shoot the shuttle through."

This mostly-3D-printed power loom produces fabric as it would have been as far back as the late 18th century. (📹: Fraens)

The majority of the loom's parts are 3D-printed, including the aforementioned shuttle. Like its predecessors, which date back to 1786 and Edmund Cartwright's original design, Fraens' device takes thread and weaves it into sheets of fabric — and, as an automated machine, does so without human intervention, so long as nothing gets jammed.

While Fraens has published the 3D print files for the loom, however, the project comes with a warning: "If you want to build the power loom," Fraens writes, "be prepared for a longer project."

More details are available in Fraens' demonstration video, while the 3D print files are published on Thingiverse under the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial license.

Gareth Halfacree
Freelance journalist, technical author, hacker, tinkerer, erstwhile sysadmin. For hire: freelance@halfacree.co.uk.
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