|TurtleMade 3D printed Turkish spindles. Photo courtesy of Jen Kemery.|
The addition of twist into loose fibers to create a strong, unified thread is a vital and ancient technology. It's also an evolving technology, and many people within our handspinning community look for ways to incorporate modern materials and design into our craft.
Recently, fiber artist Jen Kemery of TurtleMade teamed up with her husband, Scott, to develop spinning tools created using 3D printing technology. With Scott's background in design and programming and Jen's spinning expertise, the TurtleMade 3D Turkish Spindle was born. These wonderfully bright, plastic spindles quickly caught on and Jen is struggling to keep up with demand. She is looking forward to adding even more colors and widening her range of textile tools. There are four current Turkish spindle models, the largest being 1.2 ounces (25 g), with a 7 inch shaft and spindle arms that are 5 inches. Jen posted a video recently—see it here.
How does it work? The printing process involves long filaments of plastic that are melted and extruded in layers by a special machine to form a three-dimensional object. Jen says that the arm surface is quite smooth and the final spindle is rigid, but just a bit flexible.