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HansenCrafts LLC
710 East Park Ave
Port Townsend, WA 98368

(360) 747-7746

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People, especially longtime spinners, often ask us, "What ratios does it have?"

The answer is, "Ratios are meaningless on the miniSpinner - or any other e-spinner."

What!!??  Meaningless?!!  How can that be?  Well, let's think about it a little...

Flyer speed

What is a ratio?  In a nutshell, it tells you how many times the flyer will revolve for each revolution of the drive wheel.  

So, if your wheel has a ratio of 10:1, it means that every time the drive wheel goes around the flyer will go around 10 times.  If your ratio is 20:1, the flyer will turn 20 times for each revolution of the drive wheel.  

Note:  Actual flyer speeds are always less than the theoretical speed derived from the ratio because of belt slippage, which can be quite significant at higher ratios....  

Why is this significant to spinners?  Well, the most obvious is that a higher ratio causes your flyer to turn faster.  Many spinners, however, think it results in a higher-twist fiber, which is only partially true.  But, we're getting close to the heart of the matter.

Treadling and drafting

I have observed that spinners tend to treadle at a specific rate they find comfortable.  Treadling speed rarely varies much, regardless of what you're spinning.  I've also noticed that spinners tend to draft in a rhythm that's synchronized to their feet.  Therefore, both the treadling rate and the drafting rate tend to remain constant.

Now, what happens if you switch your spinning wheel to a higher ratio?  Your treadling rate (and drafting rate) remain more-or-less the same, but the flyer turns faster.  It's pretty obvious this will result in a higher twist because you're feeding in fiber (drafting) at the same rate as always, but the flyer is turning faster and therefore putting more twist into the same amount of drafted fiber!  Not obvious to you?  Go back and re-read this paragraph carefully, and think about it a little bit.

Back to ratios and the miniSpinner...

OK, so why doesn't ratio matter on the miniSpinner?  Because you simply turn the speed control knob to vary the flyer RPM.  Which, come to think of it, is all you're doing when you change whorls to set a different ratio on your traditional spinning wheel!  

The difference in spinning on the miniSpinner

Beginners typically find it much easier to learn how to spin on the miniSpinner, because they can focus on the fiber instead of coordinating hands and feet, starting and stopping, and making sure the wheel is turning the right direction.  

On the miniSpinner you just start it with the foot switch, set a comfortable flyer speed, and then concentrate on drafting and watching the twist.  You still have a constant drafting rate, but your feet don't have to be thinking about treadling.  How good is that?

This is one of the first exotic wood miniSpinners I built.  It's bloodwood and maple.  I like the contrast between the two woods, plus it allows me to install a matching WooLee Winder, which is only available in maple and cherry.

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Site updated:  January 16, 2015

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