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The Electric Eel Wheel is an affordable electric spinning wheel that spins fiber into yarn.
This Kickstarter has ended successfully.  You can find more info about getting the EEW5 here:
This Kickstarter has ended successfully.  You can find more info about getting the EEW5 here:
428 backers pledged $92,201 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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Electric Eel Wheel 5

$92,201

428

The Electric Eel Wheel 5 (EEW5) is an affordable electric spinning wheel that is revolutionizing the fiber world! All the parts from the flyer to the motor controller are designed based on feedback from the spinner community.

If you're interested in purchasing the EEW5 after the Kickstarter campaign closes go check out our website for more information.

Here are some of the most popular EEW5 features:

  • Small and lightweight design makes it very portable
  • New sliding hook system is easy to use
  • Three different orifice hole size options accommodate thin lace weight to super bulky yarn
  • Not having a treadle means you can use it in more places such as in your recliner
  • Switching between spinning and plying yarn is quick and easy
  • Foot pedal allows hands free starting and stopping of the wheel
  • Magnetic orifice hook holder helps prevent lost hooks
  • Economic price compared to other spinning wheels

The EEW5 is on Kickstarter to help fund our first batch of production.  The retail price will be around $250, and you're getting it at a bargain of only $179.

Front, right, back, left, top, and bottom views
Front, right, back, left, top, and bottom views

Stretch Goals

Stretch goals reward backers with extra features if this project is funded to certain levels.  We pick stretch goals that are useful to the community, but don't delay production.  It will be amazing if we reach the first stretch goal we added!  If backers have ideas for more stretch goals we'd love to hear about them in the comments for this project.

  • $25K (GOAL MET) - Every EEW5 comes with a car power adapter
  • $50K (GOAL MET) - Every EEW5 comes with a spare parts kit (extra belt, extra tension band, 2 extra slider hooks)
  • $60K (GOAL MET) - Every EEW5 comes with a bobbin bit (See this video for more info)
  • $75K (GOAL MET) - Every EEW5 comes with a WPI tool (See this video for more info)

The more of your friends you tell about the EEW the more likely we are to hit the stretch goals.  So spread the word in your knitting groups and on your favorite social networking website.

Noise Level

One of the important considerations when choosing an electric spinning wheel is how much noise it makes.  The EEW5 is the quietest spinning wheel we've ever made.  At lower speeds it is very quiet so it works great when watching TV or while conversing with friends.  At max speed it makes a white noise at about the volume of a person talking.

A more scientific description of loudness is to describe sound levels in decibels.  We use a sound meter to measure the noise from the EEW5 at 20 inches.  We use 20 inches because it is about the closest distance your ears get to the spinning wheel in normal usage.  At slow speeds it measured 45 dB. At max speed it measured 63 dB.  Below is a video where we compare the EEW4 and EEW5.  This video has a more in depth discussion of audio.

Hand Painted EEW5

One option is to get a hand painted EEW5.  This is a beautiful option for those looking for a gorgeous painted wheel.

The way this reward works is you select this option now.  Later when we're collecting your shipping information you can select from the four different designs below.  Additionally you can request some color changes if you want.  We're really going to work with you to make you happy with this premium option.

This reward comes with the following.  I am not allowed to update a reward after creating it so I'm adding this clarification here.  Sorry for the confusion.

  • Hand Painted Electric Eel Wheel 5
  • Foot Pedal
  • Bobbins (x11)

Here's a video where I discuss this new option:

You can see the 4 different styles here (Thistle, Dogwood, Celtic, Butterfly).

This is the Celtic style.
This is the Celtic style.

 Manufacturing the EEW5

We include more detail about how EEW5 is made than you would normally get for a product.  This is part of our commitment to be open to the community.  We also think this might be interesting to some of you, and even if you aren't interested in these details this should help increase your confidence that the EEW5 is far along in it's development and will be coming to you soon.

The plastic parts (flyer, flyer brackets, slider hooks, slider bars, and orifice bushings) are injection molded using several different types of plastics. We use a low friction plastic for the flyer brackets, and a very durable plastic for the flyer. Other parts which didn't have such special requirements are made from more general purpose plastics. For these injection molded parts we work with Ken Young and Plas-Tech Mold & Design in Plainwell, Michigan. We have been extremely happy with Ken's work and without his expertise in mold design and plastics the EEW5 wouldn't exist in it's current form. These parts are made in Michigan, USA.

Images of the three steel molds created for the EEW5.  Left are the flyer brackets.  Middle are flyer and slider bar.  Right are slider hooks and orifice bushings.
Images of the three steel molds created for the EEW5. Left are the flyer brackets. Middle are flyer and slider bar. Right are slider hooks and orifice bushings.

We designed the wooden case.  It is laser cut from cross laminated bamboo veneer.  We worked with a company called Ponoko for the laser cutting of the cases.  These parts are made in California, USA.

The motor controller is a complete redesign from previous versions.  This new circuit board was co-designed by Bob Dillon of North Eastern Design & Development in Pennsylvania and us.  We're extremely happy with this circuit board design as it's much quieter, cooler, and more efficient than previous motor controller designs.  The manufacturing of the motor controller is done in China.

Motor controller PCB and foot pedal
Motor controller PCB and foot pedal

Final assembly and testing of the EEW will be done near our home in Massachusetts, USA by our production expert, Ray.

While doing the design and assembly in the USA is more expensive than overseas assembly, it offers more control and a quicker turn around time when assembly issues are found.  We believe paying a little more for a better product is a great trade off for the quality of the EEW5.

Spinning Wheel Price Comparisons

Why include a quick pricing guide to different classes of spinning wheels here?  It's because the EEW5 fills a big need among spinners and we want people to know what their options are so they can pick the one that best fills their needs.  We're confident for a lot of people the best option is the EEW5.

The most basic type of yarn spinning is done with a drop spindle. Anyone who has tried one knows that there is a steep learning curve.  It can be time consuming.  Drop spindles are the cheapest option and cost $10-$70.  You can even make your own.

Images of drop spindles.  Pschemp - CC BY-SA 3.0
Images of drop spindles. Pschemp - CC BY-SA 3.0

 A step up from the drop spindle is a foot powered or treadle spinning wheel. This is the most common type of wheel today and is the sort of spinning wheel you'll find in fairy tails like Rumpelstiltskin. These spinning wheels generally range $400 to $1000.

Electric spinning wheels use an electric motor to replace foot power. You might expect electric spinning wheels to be affordable because of the low cost of electronics and motors these days. That is not the case.  These are typically $800 to $1600 for quality electric wheels. There are also some for around $250 on auction sites, but our experience is that these are low quality and are not recommended by most of the people who have used them.

This lack of affordable electric spinning wheels in the market is part of the inspiration for the Electric Eel Wheel. The first version of the wheel was created because we knew how to design something better than my wife's garage sale treadle jalopy wheel. That first Electric Eel Wheel turned out quite well and a lot of her spinning friends were asking if we could make them one, too. Each generation of the Eel Wheel has had improvements on the previous generation.

Press Kit

If you want to post to your news site, blog, Facebook page, forums, email your friends, or tell people about the EEW5 then we put a press kit together for you.  Feel free to use any of the images or text from this Kickstarter page or our press kit to help tell others about the EEW5.

Our beautiful cashmere goats and fiber being spun to yarn on the EEW5
Our beautiful cashmere goats and fiber being spun to yarn on the EEW5

 

Risks and challenges

The version we are testing is close to the final version. We have working injection molds for many of the parts already. This means the design risk is pretty low.

Another risk that remains is production scale risk. This risk goes up if this Kickstarter sells many more units than expected. While a blessing in some ways, it could also be a problem because might cause us to adjust manufacturing plans and that could lead to delays.

It is always possible for things out of our control to delay shipping such as one of our suppliers going out of business, but these risks are minimized since we have been working with our major suppliers for years. If this does happen the parts for the EEW5 are not so specialized that we couldn't find alternative sources so this rare scenario should only delay release.

This is not our first product so we know about a lot of the pitfalls and have worked hard to avoid them. If you look at our previous Kickstarter it shipped on time even though we exceeded our goal by 10x. That said, we will always choose to delay the project over shipping something we know isn't up to the high quality standards we set for ourselves and that our backers expect.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00

    Support Us

    Support and track this project. Thanks!

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    Pledge $179 or more About $179

    Electric Eel Wheel 5

    The standard EEW5 package.

    Includes:
    • Electric Eel Wheel 5
    • Foot Pedal
    • Bobbins
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    Pledge $219 or more About $219

    Electric Eel Wheel 5 Bobbin Lovers

    The standard EEW5 package plus extra bobbins.

    Includes:
    • Electric Eel Wheel 5
    • Foot Pedal
    • 11× Bobbins
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    Pledge $419 or more About $419

    Electric Eel Wheel 5 Hand Painted

    A hand pained EEW5 plus extra bobbins. You get to choose from the Thistle, Dogwood, Celtic, and Butterfly options.

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    Pledge $880 or more About $880

    Electric Eel Wheel 5 - 5x

    Five of the standard EEW5 packages. This is great for distributors or clubs who want to save on shipping.

    Includes:
    • Electric Eel Wheel 5
    • Foot Pedal
    • 15× Bobbins
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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $1,080 or more About $1,080

    Electric Eel Wheel 5 Bobbin Lovers - 5x

    Five of the EEW 5 Bobbin Lovers packages. This is great for distributors or clubs who want to save on shipping.

    Includes:
    • Electric Eel Wheel 5
    • Foot Pedal
    • 55× Bobbins
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Funding period

- (28 days)