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Rachel @ CRAFT found this LEGO automated yarn ball winder, which resides at Twisted yarn shop in Portland, OR. Now that’s the kind of MAKE/CRAFT synergy I like to see!

The ball winder was born out of boredom and concern. A good friend of Emily’s is an out-of-work engineer, and he was in the shop, visiting us one day. We were winding a ball of yarn for a customer the old-fashioned way, and he was appalled – why were we expending so much energy to wind a ball of yarn!? So, he took an old winder home with him, and a month or so later, came into the shop with Mr. Roboto, version 1.0. We have since had an upgrade, and we absolutely love it!

He sent some technical info about the ball winder:

The Lego apparatus serves to electrically crank a Royal brand manual winder. Two 9V Lego motors, fed by an AC/DC power supply, drive the crank. On/Off and winding speed are controlled through a power button and potentiometer housed in an electronics project box. The entire assembly is mounted to an acrylic cutting board via zip-ties.

Our customers, as you can imagine, absolutely love it.

Becky Stern

Becky Stern

Becky Stern is director of wearable electronics at Adafruit Industries. Her personal site:

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