3D Printed Braiding Machine Brings Back Some History

Mechanizing the production of textiles was a major part of the industrial revolution, and with the convenience of many people are recreating the classic machines. A perfect example of this is [Fraens]’ 3D printed braiding machine, which was reverse engineered from old photos of the early machines.

The trick behind braiding is the mesmerizing path the six bobbins need to weave around each other while maintaining the correct tension on the strands. To achieve this, they slide along a path in a guide plate while being passed between a series of guide gears for each section of the track. [Fraens] cut the guide plate components and the base plate below it from acrylic and mounted them together with standoffs to allow space for the guide gears.

Each of the six bobbins contains multiple parts to maintain the correct tension. The strands are fed through a single guide ring, where the braid is formed, and through pair of traction gears. All the moving parts are driven by a single 24 V motor and can produce about 42 cm of a braided cord per minute, and you can even set up the machine to braid around an inner core.

This braiding machine is just one in a series of early industrial machines recreated by [Fraens] using 3D printing. The others include a sewing machine, and a power loom, and a generator.

Continue reading “3D Printed Braiding Machine Brings Back Some History”

A 3D-printed maypole braider can produce woven tubes of rope, yarn, or whatever you've got. Al dente spaghetti strands, maybe.

3D-Printed Braiding Machine Will Show You The Ropes

A maypole braider, aka a circular braider, is a type of horn gear braider that makes braided tubes, like one of those woven finger traps or that lovely bit of gutted paracord that’s jazzing up your otherwise boring DIY USB cable. They are called so because the action mimics the motion of a group of maypole dancers bobbing and weaving around each other in an intricate choreography that results in an equally intricate pole decoration job.

A 3D-printed model showing the motion of a maypole braider. Maypole braiders like [kmatch98]’s are responsible for all kinds of ropes, cords, and other braided goods like fly-fishing lines. They use three or more bobbins, each loaded up with a single strand of yarn.

One of the most important parts of braiding anything, including hair, is maintaining tension on the braid as you go. Here, each bobbin rides inside a bobbin carrier, which performs a number of tasks — it holds the bobbin in place, releases yarn when it’s supposed to, and maintains tension on the yarn while skating a figure eight around the track.

This mesmerizing machine consists of spur gears, a frame with a figure 8 track, a pair of horn gears, and a foot — a guide on the bottom of the bobbin that rides along in the track. Early on, [kmatch98] made a fidget spinner version to visualize the basic function. He studied pictures of commercial bobbin carriers and managed to not only reverse engineer them, but improve the design by eliminating one of the two springs and replacing it with gravity. The remaining spring is used for the bobbin release.

Surprisingly, this isn’t the first plastic braiding machine we’ve featured. Here’s one made of freakin’ LEGO.