This One Rocks!
Sorry about the title, I couldn't help myself. It's made from an old rocking chair, part of a ceiling fan, lawnmower grasscatcher bag frame, a couple of beads from a toy, a short piece of scrap 2x4, some leftover plywood, and a deer bone for the handle. I've been wanting to try out the ceiling fan motor for an axle for some time because it has built-in bearings. It works beautifully, although it was a little bothersome taking off the copper wire, and I had to use plywood for the wheel because of the spacing between the bearings on the rod. I had hoped to use spokes from the rocker to make the wheel but it would have been too thick.
I didn't get my usual process pictures taken because the camera was away for the weekend, but would be happy to answer questions.
This one is quite large - the wheel is 16" diameter, the overall length is 34" and it stands 31" tall. I have to sit beside it on the floor to spin on it (or clear off the dining room table), and it's heavy enough to not need clamped. The wheel turns so well that it will make 38 to 41 revolutions after letting go of the handle, when the tension is low and I'm not spinning. While really spinning, it will continue for enough revolutions that I can lift the tip of yarn with my right hand and wind on without stopping and reversing. I've only tried it a little bit for mechanical testing. I still have to grind the point of the spindle and then put on the flange, and then it will be finished.
The steel rod for the handle and spindle came from the frame of a lawnmower grasscatcher bag. It was so hard to cut with the hacksaw that I thought I might have trouble bending the handle, but I did what I've seen my father do many times and it worked like a charm; I put the rod in a large vise, placed a 3' long heavy steel pipe over it and pulled.
The little spires on the tops of the post assemblys at either end came about because I needed to put the cap on the long wheel posts to keep them spaced properly at the tops - they wanted to pull in. I added another to the maiden posts to balance it. I thought it looked chopped off, so I added the spires.
The tensioning device is an idler pulley near the center of the base. The handle is a piece of carved deer leg bone that I had on hand because I make these to use as a basketmaking tool. I figured I could spare this one for the wheel. The bearings for the spindle are made from scraps of masonite because I needed something sturdy enough to support the weight of the heavy spindle.
Finished just in time to give myself for my birthday!
Updated 1/21: I needed to make some improvements and I also had unused parts left from the rocker, so I made a reel and a cone rack which attach to the wheel by a simple notched arm. The spindle works as a bobbin winder so the cone rack can be used both for plying and holding cones for winding bobbins. Both attachments use the same arm, and the arm can be easily positioned to line up where it is needed. I also changed the spindle assembly to nylon bearings held in place by small pieces of leather and pegs. A small peg under the front bearing gives it the support it needed. This works really well. I didn't like the look of the bolts I used for the masonite bearings, and I didn't like the noise they made when they vibrated. I have included a picture of the wheel next to my Louet to give a size comparison. After changing the spindle assembly I had to make a new belt and the new one doesn't let the wheel turn as freely as the first so I'm now having to reverse the wheel to wind on. I'm going to make another belt and hopefully get it back to spinning as freely.