64 oz User Guide

Written by Ashley Martineau, Providence/Boston area SpinOlution Dealer (2015)

The 64 oz Setup was designed after several spinners requested that Mike Pauly make a head that could ply two 32 oz bobbins together, or handle extremely bulky yardage for large boutique-style yarns for knitting. This is the largest bobbin size available in the spinning wheel market today, and is not for beginner spinners.

The 64 oz is compatible with the MACH III and the Firefly. It was originally designed for the Firefly, as the weight and momentum takes a lot of effort to treadle on the MACH III to get up to speed. All the prototype test spinners agreed that they would use this setup more on a Firefly than on a MACH III. 

There are two whorls on the back of the 64 oz setup. The smaller whorl is for the MACH III, and the larger whorl is for the Firefly.

Every 64 oz setup is custom built by Mike Pauly and meticulously balanced by hand. 

Assembly

To assemble on the MACH III: First, have the drive band around the base wheel. Then, place the head into the neck of the MACH III base and screw in securely into the back. Loop the drive band over the front of the setup and over the back of the flyer head. Loop the drive band around the base wheel and then place in the smaller whorl.

To assemble onto the Firefly: First, loop the drive band over the handle of the 64 oz head so that it is hanging from one of the whorls. Then place the Head into the Firefly base and screw in the back to secure. Loop the drive band over the motor and place it into the shiny silver groove of the motor. Then place the drive band over the larger whorl at the back of the setup.

Treadling the 64 oz on the MACH III

Due to it's heft and size, this bobbin is slow to start when treadling. It takes some effort to get it up to a preferred speed. You may need to wait with your fiber pinched in your leader thread loop for several rotations before there is enough twist and speed to take it up onto the bobbin without losing the leader. Once you get up to speed, spinning becomes much easier. As you build speed, you also are building powerful momentum. You will need to use both brakes on the MACH III base (right above the treadles) to stop the bobbin at higher speeds. And stopping will take a couple seconds. I recommend having all your fiber at hand, and ready to spin, so that as you power thru the first few treadles up to speed you are prepared to spin a large quantity of yarn without stopping. Every time you stop, building up momentum will take effort, and that may be tiring for some spinners.

This setup was not designed for fine detail work, like embellished art yarns or tail spinning. It is simply too fast and powerful. It is also not designed to spin fine weight yarns, it is simply too bulky. The finest yarn I was able to spin was a worsted weight. And that took too much treadling power to be comfortable over a long period of time. The purpose of this setup is to spin production bulky weight yardage. I was able to fill up the bobbin with about 14 art batts. I set the batts beside me in a tidy pile and spun them back to back. I fit over 600 yards of super super bulky thick and thin yarn on this bobbin. 

Using the 64 oz on the Firefly

The Firefly takes all the work out of spinning on this setup, but this doesn't necessary make it easy. When you turn the speed knob on the Firefly to a low/medium speed, the 64 oz will begin to crawl into motion and slowly build momentum. If you are just starting to use this setup, do not increase the speed too quickly. Wait at least 15 seconds before increasing speed one or two notches at a time. Be cautious. If you turn the dial knob up to medium/high - you will find spinning a breeze at first - but before you realize it the momentum will build and build into a near frightening pace.

The first time I spun with the 64 oz setup on the Firefly, I had no idea the momentum of the head would make the speed so fast and powerful. My experience was breathtaking, like spinning yarn on a roller coaster. The opposite of the relaxing, meditative experience I prefer when spinning yarn. Here is what I did wrong: I turned on the Firefly, dialed the speed knob up a bit, and after a few too-slow rotations, I cranked it up to top speed (thinking, it was so heavy that it needed as much power as possible to get to the speed I desired). I soon found myself sweating like an astronaut on Apollo 13 returning to earth, trying to turn the device off without losing an arm. I was thread-wrapping as well, with the Firefly at an angle using the tube orifice, and in the blink of an eye, I lost control of the thread and the flyer grabbed it and the momentum threw the cone out of the room, around the corner, and down the hall. I began to shout and remembered I could use my foot to switch the base to "off". The setup came to a stop almost immediately, and looked at the mess I made by being impatient. I still have remnants of gold thread wrapped around the back from that day. 

Don't repeat my mistake. Take it slow. Give the setup some time to build up to speed and wait until you're sure it's stopped building up speed before you add more speed.

Troubleshooting

  • Spinning is sluggish
    • Plug in the Firefly Base into the wall electrical outlet. It is possible your battery charge is a little low and the 64 oz requires a lot of power. If you are using the foot pedal, that also requires power from the battery - so you will get best, consistent performance keeping this unit plugged into a wall at all times. 
    • Add more speed, but only after you know the momentum has stopped building at the speed you have chosen.