Open source hardware: Fibers to Fabric#

Autonimity and Design#

> "[...] freshwater is a remarkably finite resource that is not evenly distributed everywhere or to everyone. The number of people on our planet is growing fast, and our water use is growing even faster. About 1 billion people lack access to potable water, and about 5 million people die each year from poor drinking water, or poor sanitation often resulting from water shortage[1] – that’s 10 times the number of people killed in wars around the globe."
O Ecotextiles

Reflections and Objective#

As consumers and even as designers we are significantly removed from knowledge of how fibres, yarns and textiles are really produced.

We seldom take into account that the textile industry offers poor working conditions and minimum salary or compensation to its workers.

We also tend to overlook the amount of pollution and waste produced by the textile industry, which approximates in 2.5 billion tons of wastewater and 26.2 million tonnes CO2 yearly.

Waste water from textile mills comes from the following:

Sizing (caboxymethyl cellulose (CMC), polyvinyl alcohol (PVA).
Desizing (mineral acid)
Scouring (Caustic soda, soda ash, detergent )
Bleaching(sodium hypochlorite (NaOCl) or hydrogen peroxide (H202))
Mercerizing (caustic soda solution)
Dyeing (vat dyes, developing dyes, naphthol dyes, sulfur dyes, basic dye, direct dyes etc.)
Finishing (starches, dextrines,natural and synthetic waxes, synthetic resins)"
- Textile Learner

Building machines for a custom purpose allows us as designers, makers and consumers to take charge of the parameters of how much material is actually needed to be produced, how it is being manufactured and the quality and characteristics of the final product.

Open source:The idea of making the Hilo machine is to simplify yarn production for designers in sustainable and local way. The Hilo machine is an open shource hardware spinning machine, which allows better control of the qualities of yarn being produced with on demand materials.

Circular production: Making personalised yarn for textile constrution reduces waste as the user is in charge of the amounts needed to be produced for a singular project.

Incorporating technology: Hilo also offers an open source software which produces effects on yarns for a woven surface depening on the thickness of the yarn, controlled by the amount fibres being selected as the machine spins the yarn through code.

Hilo Spinning Machine DIY#

HILO: Materialität und Binäre Codes from Studio HILO on Vimeo.

Spinnen mit selbstgebaute Spinnmaschine from Studio HILO on Vimeo.

Hilo Spinning Machine from Catherine Euale on Vimeo.


Hilo Spinning Machine: Rhino Files for Laser
Fritzing Hilo Ciruit

Files for the spinning machine can all be found on Fritzing

Laser Cut Loom#


I used this Laser-Cut Plywood Table-Loom Instructable for loom assembly and warping (threading).


Laser Cut Loom: Zip File
Files for the loom can be downloaded through Thingiverse

Tapestry Weaving#

  1. Cut the length of thread you want for your tapestry
  2. Tie your thread to the front beam’s teeth
  3. Alternate between threading through the top and bottom heddles (slits) in the shaft (closed comb-like piece)
  4. Once you have done this with each thread, group the long threads at the back and spread evenly into the back beam’s teeth to keep tension in the thread
  5. Rotating the back beam away from you, roll up the long threads as if rolling up a scroll
  6. Make sure the warp threads are quite tense and in place before begining to weave in the weft
  7. Use a stick to pull on the warp lifting alternating threads to create a pattern
  8. Thread the shuttle with the yarn through leaving a lead thread to secure the seams (edges) of your tapestry once you’re finished
  9. Pass the shuttle through from one side to another alternating the lifted threads (odds and evens for example)
  10. Use a comb to press the weft toward you and secure it in place
  11. Experiment with knotting, boucle, bunching, fringing to create various effects