Firefly User Guide

Written by Cari Jarman (2015) / Updated by Ashley Martineau (2015)

The Firefly is an electric spinner that uses state of the art components found on other SpinOlution spinning wheels. It is manufactured from warp resistant birch plywood by Wallace Wood Products in California. It was designed by Mike Pauly and is part of the Modular series of wheels that SpinOlution produces. Currently the wheels included in the Modular series are the MACH III and the Firefly. MACH III heads (8 oz, 16 oz, 32 oz, 64 oz) are interchangeable with the Firefly Base. 



The Firefly Base consists of a wooden box with 4 rubber feet for stability, a control panel, a 12 volt battery and an electric motor. To open the base, remove the head and flyer and the 4 rubber feet. The motor and battery are secured by the top. Lift the top while keeping the base upright so the motor and battery don’t fall out. All the components are wired with plugs, therefore all components can be replaced without solder. If it becomes necessary to replace a component, pull the wire by the plug. The switches push in. A small screwdriver will be needed to unlatch the switch as you push it out. The speed controller is held in by 4 screws. The other components are held in place by nuts.

Head & Flyer

The drive band drives the flyer on the smallest wood whorl. The others whorls are used by the Mach III for speed control. Some spinners find they like the other whorls better, so feel free to experiment. You will get more speed by using the smaller whorls if the drive band is snug enough.

Removing the Firefly Head.

The head and flyer are attached to the base by Head Lock Knob. To remove the head and flyer, turn the knob counter-clockwise and slip the drive band off the motor. Pull the head straight up by the handle. 

Removing the Flyer.

To remove the flyer from the head use a 3/16 – 1/4 inch straight screwdriver inserted between the E-clip and the shaft, twisting to move the E- clip laterally out of the groove of the shaft. Keep a finger on the E-clip to secure it during removal. To reinstall the E-clip, place the E-clip with the curve outward and push it with the Tension Lock top or the handle of a wooden spoon. The Tension Block will move in when you pull the flyer off, so it should be pulled out or removed before the shaft is slid back into the head.


Tension Block

The Tension Block is the brake that controls the strength of the pull (or take-up) of the yarn onto the bobbin. Turn the knob clockwise towards you to increase the pull, and counter- clockwise away from you to decrease the pull. Start spinning with the flyer turning at normal speed and the Tension Knob loosened all the way. Begin turning the Tension Knob clockwise in small increments until the take-up is at a comfortable level.

The Lazy-Kate is attached to the head by a cam lock on the back of the head.

The Orifice Bars are attached by magnets. The orifice hook bar should be attached with the hook facing down while the flyer pegs are facing up. Match up the flat side of the holes on the orifice bar with the flattened spot on the ends of the arms on the flyer.

The bobbins slide onto the 1/4 inch shaft by putting a little inward pressure on the tension block and turning the bobbin in order to seat it on the hex nut on the back end of the shaft. Changing the bobbin will not change the tension, however greater take-up may be needed to remain effective when the bobbin becomes full. The Firefly is compatible with SpinOlution 8 oz, 16 oz, 32 oz, and 64 oz bobbins. 

Control Panel

The Direction Control Switch is on the far left. It has three settings. The top position is for traditional spinning in the clockwise direction, for a Z twist. The middle is off, and is used to stop the spinning if the foot switch is not in use. The bottom position is for traditional plying in the counter-clockwise direction, for an S twist. Some people spin and ply in opposite directions. Just make a note to ply in the opposite direction from how you spin your singles.

The Speed Control Knob is used to set the speed of the flyer.

To use the Foot Pedal, plug the Foot Switch cord into the jack. Stopping the flyer by hand may cause the motor to overheat. The blue Direction Control Switch needs to be in the Spin or Ply position to use the foot pedal and the Power Switch needs to be set to On. Press the foot pedal to start the flyer spinning, and release it to stop the flyer.

Power plug is used to power the Fire Fly and to charge the Battery. The auto plug (12 volt) is a supplement the Battery. 

The white Power Switch on the far right should be set to Off when the Firefly is not is use in order to conserve battery life.

To charge the battery, plug the charger into the jack on the front of the base, and into an outlet. The light on the plug will turn green when fully charged.

To change the drive band: put the head on with the drive band hanging loose (not on a whorl). Look into the hole on top and loop the drive band over the drive shaft. You can use a crochet hook if you need help pulling it onto the shiny groove on the motor.

Changing the Head or Drive Band

  1. Tip the Firefly on its side, and slip the drive band off the metal motor pulley with a size J crochet hook.
  2. Return to upright position on a table.
  3. Remove the Head Lock Knob, taking care not to lose the washer.
  4. Lift off head off.
  5. Place drive band on smallest whorl on the flyer
  6. Insert head in the slot on the base, then replace the Head Lock Knob.
  7. Place drive band through slot in the top of the base, holding it as you tip the Firefly onto its side.
  8. Use the crochet hook to catch the band and place over the metal motor pulley, in the shiny groove.
  9. Return Firefly to upright position.

Lazy Kate

The Lazy Kate can be used independent from the Firefly, or attached to the back. There are holes for 4 rods, stored on the back with magnets. Place the posts in the holes on the top of the Lazy Kate at the desired distance. To attach the Lazy Kate to the Firefly, make sure the knob is horizontal and place in the slot on the back of the flyer head.

Push in slightly to depress the spring, then twist the knob vertically to lock into place.


The Firefly is compatible with 8 oz, 16 oz, 32 oz, 64 oz upgrades. You can order the Firefly in your favorite size, and order additional sizes later. The Package Deal comes with both the 8 oz and 32 oz upgrade. The 16 oz upgrade can be substituted for the 32 oz upgrade at no additional cost. The 64 oz upgrade was designed specifically for the Firefly.

Skein Winder

The skein winder can do both one and two yard skeins. The skein winder comes in two pieces (a). Hold the two pieces perpendicular to one another and slide together, lining up the grooves (b). To attach the skein winder, remove the flyer head as discussed above, and turn 180 degrees, reinserting into the slot on the base. Line up the grooves on the circular section with the arms on the flyer, sliding back onto the shaft (c). The wooden arms should be facing out. The base needs to be at the edge of a table, so the arms of the winder don’t hit the table. Insert the peg to tie the yarn on while winding. Turn the skein winder by hand to wind on.