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10. Open Source Hardware - From Fibers to Fabric

A new week, a new challenge, a new experience! For this week, I had the group task of building Hilo’s spinning machine 2.0.

The Hilo 2.0 machine was developed in 2018 by Studio HILO HILO Spinning Machine

Research & Ideation

Searches began with documentation of the process of processing wool, as our grandmothers and great-grandmothers used to do.

I present below how the process of wool processing takes place in our Republic Of Moldova. In this way, wool was processed in the past, the tradition being preserved in some regions to our days.

From the beginning, the sheep are shorn, then the wool is washed.

Then the wool is scratched. Scratching is carried out by hand or with special tools, such as a "dagger" (a kind of comb for wool). Scratching with dung is also called"dung".

Shaggy wool goes for the torso. But what was left in the dumpster is not lost either. That material, called" We know", is used for cords, clothespins or stockings.

Then the scarred wool is pulled to the machine and made a veil, being ready to spin.

The wool from which the spun thread or druga is drawn, whether on the fork or from the hand, is called "caier". Wool Caier. The word" scramble " also comes from here, leading us to think of the tangled texture of the caier.

Following the torso and the tug, the tug and the druga, respectively, arrive on the spindle.

The wool that made scul is washed, squeezed and dyed. After dyeing, the wool is put on the ball and ready to be used for weaving and braiding. It is a long and arduous route of wool that reaches from the sheepfold to the spindle, and from here to the ball used for weaving and braiding. But it is precisely this long road that makes us appreciate even more the work done, as well as the result that is reached in the end.

I also place here a video with a wonderful lady who purrs wool, Stefana Chiminet from Valeni.

Source Torsul și îndrugatul

References & Inspiration

For the construction, the main source of inspiration for me was the page Olatz Pereda

... and also these images


As I mentioned at the beginning, the construction of the machine was the group task for our entire team. The roles were distributed as follows:

Elena Bannaia - gathering of the materials, laser cutting;

Elena Rotaru - photo video documenting;

Elena Florea - improvement of the pattern in rhino, parametric change;

Valentina Frunze - circuit connection;

Aliona Raru (I) - preparing of the fibers to spin;

All - assembling together.


Our colleague Bannaia Elena was responsible for the purchase of the necessary materials.

The pattern in rhino, parametric change

The existing drawings of the pieces were modified as necessary by our colleague Elena Florea-Burduja - responsible for this task.

There is a photo taken from page Elena Florea-Burduja

Laser cutting

Responsible Bannaia Elena helped by the local instructor.

The machine settings and the parts obtained are shown in the following picture.

Circuit connection

Valentina Frunze aided by the local instructor was responsible for creating and connecting the circuit.


Assembly part-the most awaited! The entire team, helped by local instructors, participated in the assembly stage.

The parts were glued together and fixed with special instruments. The parts of the rotating part were glued, the base of the machine was glued, the engine with the entire circuit was fixed on the base of the machine, the parts of the machine were assembled among themselves.

From the photos taken by Elena Rotaru, I made a short video that shows the whole process of assembling our Hilo’s spinning machine 2.0.

Thank you Elena Rotaru for photo!

Preparing of the fibers to spin

Image Source Wool | Manufacturing Process of Wool

I was responsible for the preparation of the fibres for the spinning.

Guided by the documentation and the scheme in the picture above, I set out some steps necessary to have a wool thread ready for our spinning machine.

Wool goes through a multi-step process to clean it, regularize it, and transforms it into soft yarn. Although machinery can make the process much faster today, in most ways the process is the same as how people have been preparing wool for centuries.

  1. Shearing the Sheep Every year, at the end of winter, sheep farmers shear their sheep, using an electric tool similar to a razor that removes all of the sheep’s fleece in one piece. A single sheep’s annual fleece can weigh over 8 kilos, although most are around 3-4kgs.

  2. Cleaning the Wool A simple step of washing the wool with removes dirt, other contaminants, and natural oils from the wool.

  3. Carding the Wool Next, the wool fibers go through carding, a process that pulls them through fine metal teeth.

  4. Spinning the Wool into Yarn Spinning turns the wool pieces into a material that’s usable.

Preparation of woolen thread for our Hilo machine included:

  1. Cleaning the wool from the remaining impurities.

  2. Brushing the wool - wool cleaned of impurities I brushed it with a metal brush. .

  3. Creating thread that can be put through the machine the wool - for this I divided into threads and gently rotating it I reeled it on a wooden stick so that it was easy to put in the spinning machine.

The process of preparing wool for the Hillo machine is shown in the following photos and videos.

Putting the machine into operation and spinning the wire is shown in the video that follows.


The obtained thread is good for carpets. To get a thinner, finer thread, good for knitting clothes, I recommend:

  • equipping the machine with a spinning fork, so that it is possible to spin from the fork, not from the hand, which allows obtaining good yarn for clothes.

Fabrication files

Last update: 2023-04-24