Since it’s been a while since I posted an update on the winder, I figured I’d toss up a small update on it.

Currently the heat wave has chased me away from the garage* so I haven’t had too much an opportunity to work on it of late. Combine that with an unusually busy life, and it doesn’t make for the most productive TacoMagic. With yesterday’s weird hours (I had to be at work at 5am instead of my usual 8am) and my insomnia, now my schedule is all borked as well. Yay! All I’ve been able to make myself do this week is play Gemcraft Labyrinth and develop what I call my “Butt-kicking machine” within the game. I’ve almost perfected the butt-kicking machine, by the way.

Anyway, the current status of the project is as follows: The crank is done, aside from a final sanding and painting. The base is done, aside from sanding, painting, and drilling a 1/4″ hole. And, the primary spindle is now at about 70% complete. The primary spindle just needs me to attach the 135º angle brackets and extension arm to be finished… aside from the usual painting and sanding. However, my work on the spindle is pretty ugly and I’ve got some serious worries about it spinning straight. Should it fail to spin correctly I may need to redo the whole thing; but I won’t know if it’ll work until I assemble it.

After the spindle I still have to build the rotating spool, the tensioning belt, and the yarn guide. All told I figure I’m about 60% done with the project, so it’s all coming together. I also took some time and went over all my receipts to find out just how much I’d spent on the winder. I’d figured I’d spent about $20-22, and was delighted to find that I’ve only actually spent $18. Granted a lot of the hardware in the winder I already had on hand, so if you were to add that into the figure it would hit much closer to $25 (depending on how cheap you can find 1/4×20 hardware). This gives me tons of leeway to buy paint and still come in under my budget of $30 for the winder.

Here’s a quick lo-down on everything that’s gone into the winder; currently this appears to be the complete list, but there may be an addition or two if I run into something unexpected:

  • Scrap ply-wood 3/4″ thick and 1/2″ thick. If you were to buy the wood, you would probably be looking at about 2 2’x4′ pieces, which would run about $20 pre-cut.  Since I used scrap wood, my effective cost is $0. 
    • You can get free construction or shop grade plywood from construction dumpsters pretty easily or on freecycle/craigslist, so hopefully one would be able to acquire it free.
  • Hard-drive motor and platter assembly: $0.
    • If nothing else you could probably snag one from a swap-fest for a dollar or two.
    • You could substitute a Lazy Susan bearing for about $6
  • 1/2″ x 5″ hex bolt with 2 nuts and 3 washers:  $3.50
    • Sadly I bought this hardware about a month before I found exactly what I needed for free in a construction dumpster.  So if you get lucky this is an avoidable cost.
  • 2′ section of 1/4″x20 all-thread:  $1
    • Again, purchased and then found for free in a construction dumpster a number of weeks later.  Avoidable cost, but not a bank breaker by any means.
  • 1/4″x20 hardware.  About a dozen nuts, flat washers of varying diameters, and locking washers:  $0
    • I have a lot of this hardware just laying around because I work with 1/4″x20 a LOT.  However, I priced it out at the hardware store when I was there, for all the nuts, washers, and locking washers you would need to pay $3 or less.  You can also find a lot of 1/4″x20 hardware in construction dumpsters as it is an extremely common thread.
  • 4x 608z 8x8x22mm Skateboard bearings: $9 ($8.57 rounded up).
    • I actually got 8 of these for $8.57, but I always count whole cost against a project so that overstock retains a $0 cost for future projects. 
    • The 608z is a very nice bearing.  It is very quiet and smooth.  The only issue I have with them is that it’s pretty easy to damage them with shock, so don’t drop them from hight or subject them to a lot of perpendicular stress.  As they are going to be light duty (at most 4-5 pounds of perpendicular weight bearing) I foresee no issues using them in the project.
    • You could probably press out a set of bearings from a used skateboard or set of rollerblades; however stock bearings in these items tend to be fairly noisy and you have no guarantee that they will be of the desired size or even in good condition.  Since the project was proceeding far under budget, I think spending the $9 on good bearings is an acceptable cost.
  • 2′ section of 1/2″ schedule C PVC: $1.25
    • Most of the stuff in the construction bin was fairly grungy and I wanted something clean as it is being used as a handle and the yarn spool.  I just broke down and bought a hunk of it from the hardware store.  If I’d taken some time and cleaned up the free piping I could have done this for free.
  • 2x 2″ C-clamps: $3
    • These are for affixing the winder to a table top.  You may need bigger clamps if you have a thick table.
    • I don’t think you can really avoid this cost without adding a lot of extra construction time to the project.  But cheap-o c-clamps are easy to find and don’t really break the bank.  I snagged mine from Harbor-freight on sale for 1.50 each.
  • Wood glue: $0
    • I already have wood glue, so it’s cost was already absorbed in a previous project.  You can get a small bottle of glue for about $1 if you happen to need some.
  • 2x 90º angle brackets.  0.80
    • This cost could be avoided by doing something more complicated for the 135º angle of the spool, but the brackets were cheap and makes the whole thing really easy.
  • Screws: $0.80
    • If there’s one thing I have a lot of, it’s screws.  I only needed to buy one pack of #6×1/2″ sheet metal screws for the 135º brackets.  Otherwise I also used a set of 6 3/4 screws that would probably have cost $0.75 or so for a pack of 12.  There is also a screw that I’ll be using on the spool, which could come from that same pack of 3/4 inch screws.
  • Screw threaded hooks: $0
    • Again, left over hardware from previous projects.  You can usually find these for about $0.15 each.
  • Glue for the tensioning belt $0?
    • This is one of the question marks of the project, as it’s going to be the last step of the project.  I’m thinking I may just be able to use either rubber cement or Shoe Goo, which I have laying around.  Otherwise I’ll need to buy a tube of flex bond or vulcanizing rubber cement, which will range from $3-$6.
  • Paint ?
    • Haven’t purchased the paint yet, so I don’t have a cost here.  Most likely less than $10, and it’s a hugely optional expense.  The end product would be good enough if you just sanded it with a fine enough grit sandpaper to get it smooth.  At most you might need to do a little void filling with either glue or wood fill.

And that’s it.  Total out of pocket spending (ideal) is $19, no more than 30 when I get some paint… though I have a lot of spare house paint laying around that I might be able to use; though it might not look as good as using a spray paint.

Mandatory spending, if you were to buy everything you needed would be around $55; $65 if you paint it. Again, there are a lot of things that can be acquired cheap/free for this project, so utilize your inner scavenger to save over 50% of the cost of this project.

I’ve also had an opportunity to work on the plans some more.  I’ve got most of the writing done for the first two construction sections (base and crank) I just have to insert the figures and add the figure references to the text (Which is a much bigger job than one would think).  After I get some of my Library of the Damned workload finished, I’ll shift back to the yarn ball winder plans and see if I can squeeze out an update sometime next week.  Since it’s getting hot outside, I should have some more opportunities to do writing in the near future.

-Confusion is a state of mind, or is it?

*If the temperatures climb above 75ºF or so, I start sweating like crazy and become miserable.  My low tolerance for mildly high temperatures means that the months of July/August don’t often find me out in the shop.  I mow the lawn, do some gardening, and then retreat back indoors for a cold shower.

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