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Domanoff Workshop Planetary Ropewalk

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    This is a mini review of Alexey Domanoff's Planetary Ropewalk.  First, let me say I'm very pleased with the ropewalk and how well it works.  I've made a few changes that suite my needs, more on them later.  Mine took about a month to arrive from Belarus.  Alexey said that normal shipping is seven to ten days, I think the X-mas holidays slowed it down.  The machine comes in a flat pack and is to be assembled.  I spent about an hour on the assembly of the machine, wanted to be sure not to mess it up.

 

    The machine consists of a base plate that is 15 1/2" long, 5" wide, and 5/16" thick, made of Plexiglas.  A Plexiglas pedestal 1 1/2" long, 3/4" thick, and 3 1/2" high.  The pedestal supports the main shaft which is fixed and is of steel 1/4" diameter by 5" long.  Two 'Solar' discs 5 1/8" in diameter, and 5/16" thick are mounted to the main shaft with ball bearing races.  They trap the gears between them and are the heart of the machine.  A 'Sun' gear is pre-pressed onto the main shaft and does not move.  This 'Sun' gear has three 'Planet' gears that mesh with it. They act as idler gears that then mesh with the 'Moon' gears.  The 'Moon' gears are pressed onto the hollow whorl shafts that support the bobbin holders.  The whorls rotate twice in the direction of twist for each rotation of the 'Solar' discs.  Depending on thread size and the speed of the take-up spool, the thread moves from the bobbins to the guide bar in about ten rotations.   Two all-thread rods, 4mm X 10cm pass through both "Solar' discs and support the guide bar which is made of 3/4" wide, 4" long, and 3/16" thick Plexiglas.  A 12v variable speed motor with a rubber drive button spins the discs via contact with the outside diameter.  The take-up is by a 12v variable speed motor  with a gear reduction head,  Both motors are independently controlled.  A steel shaft is fitted to the take-up motor shaft, on which a take-up spool slides, and is fixed with a set screw.  The control box has a main power on/off switch, an input for the wall mounted transformer, adjustable  speed pots for each motor as well as a direction switch for each.

 

The first photo is a overall view of the machine and a few samples of the early attempts of spinning thread into rope. these samples are of cotton and linen that was on hand.  They started as "Z" or right twist.  So they were spun into a "S" or left twist and wound onto bobbins to then be spun into a "Z" twist rope.

 

 

   

Bob Wescott

 

To Be Continued

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Thanks for the review, Bob. The rope walk looks well designed but practical experience is important. Looking forward to further impressions.

 

Lou

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Part 2

 

    This photo of the disc that faces the take-up spool, it shows one of the mods I did.  I added two 4mm X 30mm bolts to even the clamping pressure on the discs.  These are circled in red and have the original white plastic spacers installed.  As supplied there is one bolt shown circled in green.  The yellow circles indicate where the all-thread rods pass through the discs to support the guide bar, I made two spacers for these rods.  The machine worked just fine, but there was a wobble of the discs.  The disc were not parallel,  and this annoyed me.

 

 

    The next photo shows my method for winding bobbins.  A 1/4" dowel is chucked in my 9 X 14 mini lathe which I run in reverse.  Bobbins are a press fit, if not a piece of thread is used to between the bobbin and dowel. The black rod is a length of Fiberglas from the scrape box.  It just rests on the switch panel and the cross slide, and is free to pop off if the need arises.  Also the dowel has a split cut into the end to secure the thread. Once started for a few turns I can run the speed up about 2000 RPM to fill the bobbin.  I guide the winding with two fingers just before the black rod.  The shows three threads being wound on one bobbin.  The thread is 140/2 Egyptian Cotton for lace making.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Part 3

 

    This shot shows more of the mods I've made.  I chucked the main shaft in the 9 X 14 mini lathe and bored a 3/32" hole in the length of the shaft about 3" deep.  This was then met by a perpendicular 3/32" bore, circled in green, so it would be possible to feed a fourth thread without it spinning, or a small gauge wire for wire cored  rope.  Next is the spool holder, circled in blue, for mounting the spool of thread or wire.  It's two 3/16" Plexiglas plates glued wit MEK substitute that support a 0.225" styrene rod.  The yellow circled items are new guide bars.  They are fitted with styrene buttons that I turned as winding guides.  The feed side of these buttons have a 60° chamfer that helps in the winding.  The red circled button has a bore of 0.046", the one on the bench has a bore of 0.081", and the one without a button has a 0.081 hole. These guide buttons really seem to keep the point of winding from jumping around.  Last I made a simple holder for the included threading tool, circled in purple.  this tool makes it a breeze to thread lines through the whorls.  The photo also shows the take-up spool fixed in place with a couple of toothpicks. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Like seeing what you have done to this rope walk, especially the provisions for an un-spun center wire or line. Now you have a completed rope walk. You will probably be continually  making improvements, but you now have a machine that represents what you should have received in the first place.

jud

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Part 4

 

    Here is a close up shot of spinning wire-cored rope.  The thread is 140/2 Egyptian Cotton which come out as 0.008 rope. Shown in the red circle is the wire going into the shaft, while the green circle is the wire exiting and passing into the guide button circled in blue with the thread wrapping around it.  This wire is from Orvis, extra small (x sm), for fly tying.  I plan on buying some small gauge wire to test this further.

 

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Bob, you mention that the moon gears turn once for every turn of the solar disc, I think that the sun gear would have to be the same diameter as the moon gear for that to be the case. It look to me like the moon gears turn twice as fast as the sun disc because the sun gear appears to have 28 teeth and the moon gears appear to have 14 teeth.

 

I could be wrong would not be the first time.

 

Michael

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Michael, You are correct! 

 

    I did not count the gear teeth or do anything fancy.  The whorl was viewed from the top with a mark on one of the felt spacers that center the bobbins on the whorl shaft.  All I did was rotate the disc by hand and watch the mark while checking the direction of twist.  MY BAD,  the mark does move from the outside of the solar disc at the top to the outside of the solar disc at the bottom of the rotation and back to the outside as it returns to the top.  The whorl is making two turns for each rotation of the solar disc.  The twist is tightened as the thread moves to the guide bar.  So if one is applying the wrong twist to the thread it actually un-winds as it moves to the guide bar.  To check the movement of the line I just marked it with a sharpie and counted the turns of the solar disc it took to move from the bobbin to the guide.

 

Thanks for picking that up.

 

Bob Wescott

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Part 5

 

Thread

 

    Most sewing thread is 'Z' twist or to the right.  To make rope it first must be spun with a 'S' twist or to the left,  and then spun again with a 'Z' twist to the right.  I've found that thread for lacemaking is mostly of  a 'S', twist because lace made from 'Z' twist will curl.  One can purchase lacemaking thread in Linen, Cotton, or Silk.  I have tried Linen and have not had much success because it still has clumps even in 120/2 size.  Also, I used some 'IRISH' Linen that I obtained off of eBay many years ago (5,000 yard cone).  My guess is that it's 160/2, but it too has clumps.

 

    The Egyptian Cotton is very fine with some fuzz, and can be had as small as 240/2.  A larger number is smaller in diameter, the second number are the plies.  I have tried 100/2, 140/2, and 170/2, they all worked very well.  I'm waiting on some 36/2,60/2, and 80/2, just to see how they sin up.  If it is listed as 'gassed' it means that it has been passed through a gas flame to remove fuzz.  The only drawback  is that it only comes in white or maybe ecru.  Which means that it will need dying.  Using 'RIT' brand dye I tested a few ropes to see just how it works.  One must use Kodak 'Photo-Flo' as a pre-soak to wetting agent on the thread.  The dying is not a problem.

 

    I buy the lacemaking thread from;     www.finethreads-vermontlace.com/thread.html

 

    Also from;     www.vansciverbobbinlace.com./2Threads.html

 

 

 

Summary

 

    Overall I couldn't be more pleas with Alexey's Ropewalk. It works as advertised, and is simple to operate, with excellent service.  The only reason I modified the machine is to add features I needed.  With full bobbins of 100/2 thread it may run for over an hour hands free.  Once the spinning is set the only adjustment is to reduce the take-up speed as the spool fills and forms a larger diameter.  Thank You Alexey for a great machine.

 

 

 

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First of all: THANK YOU VERY MUCH, BOB, FOR THIS REVIEW !!!

 

And let me explain some ideas I used in this ropewalk (sorry for my english...).

 

1. Ratio of "sun" and "moon" gears have a value, "Planet" gears are used only to reverse rotation of "moon" gears and their size may be any. sun:moon = 2:1. Why? Take a look at pic:

 

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Because thread is not wire, it's non-deformable. You have to "unwind" each thread while they wind one around another. Otherwise there will be tension in final rope which will try to unwind. How many turns? Two for one turn of all threads (look at the picture).

Now if you put mark on spool holder and make one turn of all system you'll see mark makes two turns. One around "moon" shaft + one around main shaft. That we required.

 

2. Central core. Thank you, Bob, for good idea! Can I use it in my future machines?

When do we need central core? Let's take a look at pics:

 

This is 3-strand rope. You may see - everything is ok, all strands lay in their places. You may need central core (made from very thin wire) if you'd like to "form" rope as you like. Diameter of this core shouldn't be more than 0.155 * R.

 

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This is 4-strand rope. You HAVE TO add central core, otherwise strands will try to be in "center" of the final rope.

 

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3. Quality of the resulting rope.

Quality depends on angle in which strand goes into resulting rope in "wind point".

Big angle (red) - tight rope, small (blue) - loose. Should be around 45 degrees (green).

 

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"Wind point" position depends on takeup block speed.

BUT. There is one trick...

 

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Using cross bar (guide bar) you may make this "wind point" at any distance from ropewalk! Look at pic. You may see, 45 degrees angle depends not on position of guide bar but on... hole in guide bar! Even not on hole as it is but on the front point where strand "breaks"...

You may see on photo - I use different types of guide bar:-)

 

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4. Quality twist, without whorls. It depends on how even strands leave spools... If one goes jerky - wind point jumps and final rope has whorls.

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I have been asked via a PM from Len about the use of Kodak 'Photo-Flo' and RIT dye for the coloring of line. 

 

I borrowed the idea from the online article by N. Roger Cole, Alert Provenence and Construction

(www.craftsmanshipmuseum.com/Cole.htm), that Greg Herbert. linked to.  Mr. Cole stated he obtained the colors of RIT from Walmart.  My two local stores don't carry it in their sewing departments.  I ordered the RIT colors from amazon along with the Kodak 'Photo-Flo', everything came from different vendors.

 

It seems that RIT has changed some of their colors, I couldn't find gold, only a yellow gold.  This is way too strong as yellow.  So I tested the mix until I obtained a good match to the Hemp color of Coats and Clark Dual Purpose polyester thread.  

 

Here is the blend  I came up with for running rigging:

 

          2 teaspoons of Tan

          1/8 teaspoon of pearl grey

          1/8 teaspoon of golden yellow

These are added to 16 ounces of hot water and mixed until dissolved.

 

Mr. Cole's blend for standing rigging looks to be on the chocolate side, I haven't as yet tried to correct this.  Here is His blend for standing rigging:

 

          1/2 teaspoon of Cocoa Brown

          3/4 teaspoon of Dark Brown

          3/4 teaspoon of Black

These are added to 16 ounces of hot water and mixed until dissolved.

 

 

The Kodak 'Photo-Flo acts as a wetting agent.  It comes in a 16oz. bottle. The directions call for 1 part of 'Photo-Flo' in 200 parts of warm water, I added half a capful to 16oz.of water, works just fine.  I put a 20ft. hank of line in the 'Photo-Flo' solution and let it sink to the bottom for 5 min.  Remove it, and while still dripping wet place it in the dye blend.  It only takes about twenty for the dye to work.  Remove it a place on paper toweling to drain and dry,  which I leave over night.

 

 

In a few days when I've done more rope making and testing I'll post some photos.

 

Hope this Helps

 

Bob W

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Bob,

 

I think your last post about dyeing thread should be it's own topic in the rigging area.  I've seen more and more posts about how to get thread colors "right" and I think your post would be a great topic starter for this.  Please consider it and your follow-up testing also.

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OK Mark,  But, how do I do a cut and paste to a new subject in the rigging topic?  I can't even get a hyper-link to work.

 

Bob W

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Bob,

 

I have a gut feeling that you're using IE11.  For copy/paste where the "paste" option doesn't show up, use Ctrl-V. 

 

Otherwise, start a topic, call it something like "Dyeing Thread"... drop one line in it about info to be copied in.  This will be a placeholder and I'll copy/paste that post into it for you.  That way, your name is on that post instead of mine.

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Part 4

 

    Here is a close up shot of spinning wire-cored rope.  The thread is 140/2 Egyptian Cotton which come out as 0.008 rope. Shown in the red circle is the wire going into the shaft, while the green circle is the wire exiting and passing into the guide button circled in blue with the thread wrapping around it.  This wire is from Orvis, extra small (x sm), for fly tying.  I plan on buying some small gauge wire to test this further.

Sir, I am interested this machine please send me feed back.

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With all the talk about miniature rope, how it's made and what it's made of, I still need to know how to measure the finished product.  With all the different size threads, how do you respond to a plan that calls for rope scaled to .008, for instance.  I have no problem converting 1:1 to any scale but how do I know when I have achieved the desired size.  I have top of the line calipers and micrometers but don't they have a tendency to crush the rope?  Everyone seems to talk of sizes as though there's something I seem to be missing out on.

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It's very simple to measure rope diameter:

I make 10-20 turns around pen and measure whole length then divide by number of turns. :--)

 

post-1538-0-46686800-1434435420_thumb.jpg

 

How to know which threads to use to get desired diameter - download user guide in right "download" section. You may find answer at the end of the manual.

http://shipworkshop.com/products/tools/ropewalk-planetary-3.0

 

 

 

 

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