I went through a really rough patch with this project for some reason. It was difficult to put it together and the end product wasn’t really easy to work with either. I guess to look at the bright side, there’s a lot of lessons I can learn from this project.
It was hard for me at first to understand how a loom actually works so I was looking at other people’s documentations and doing research online to figure out a basis for this kind of design and work on top of that. A few things that I had in mind when I was designing my loom on illustrator:
- Make the teeth where one hangs the yarn flat instead of having it standing on the edge. I thought that this way, it’s impossible for the yarn to slip up and down or even out.
- Make the heddle part as easy to control as possible. I was thinking about a more complicated mechanism for a long while but decided it would be too hard for me to accomplish. So I just made a handle on top of the heddle so one can easily control the heddle with one hand.
- Make the shuttle more practical with two functions: storing excessive yarns and also one can easily flip through after each time the weft goes through.
- Raster something that actually matters. I always forget the different weaving patterns so I thought it would be helpful to raster the patterns on the loom so one can check at anytime.
With these ideas in mind, I made the following design in illustrator:
The laser cutting part didn’t really go well for me. I was trying to use thicker cardboard first to make it stronger. However, the cardboard was too thick to cut through operating the standard power. At the end of the session, it was hard to take the parts out even using box cutter.
It worked the third session when I tried a thinner board.
Multiple problems came up when I finally get to assemble the loom together. And turn out that some of the design ideas I put in originally to solve the problems I predicted turned out to cause more problems :(((
- The two board at the back and in the front wasn’t enough to provide sufficient support for the weaving board. It actually works better with only the board at the back. But still it’s pretty unstable, especially when using the heddle. I glued the boards to another cardboard, which works a little better, but still I should have think of it when I was designing. Especially, if I have done a prototype after the illustrator design, I would have seen the problem too. Guess sometimes it’s really not enough to just think with your mind.
- This might be even worse than the last point. the weaving board which is too long for its width. Also with this flat design instead of what many traditional design go for(and I thought it would be better), the weaving board needs to take much more weight. Considering these two points, and with the material adding onto it, the board bended while I was weaving.
- This is comparably a minor point but I could have shorten the heddle a little. It works ok now. But when it’s going down, I think I could’ve made it shorter so that the distance between the warps would be greater, thus easier to weave.
- The shuttle could have been improved too. The main purpose of it is to go through the warps. And based on that, I think the most efficient design would have been having only one part pointing out instead of two like what I have right now, which can stuck to things more easily, especially for people like me who are less handy.
I think if I were to conclude one most important lesson from this project, is that one should always do a prototype, especially when the topic is something really unfamiliar. The prototype does not necessarily need to work fine, but the process of putting something on mind/paper into actual work itself can help smooth the process and identify potential problems.