The Electric Eel Wheel Mini 2 is an affordable spinning wheel in a travel-friendly package. Its smooth operation will help you spin gorgeous yarn.
Where can you spin?
- In your comfy chair at home
- At work during your lunch break
- While binge watching your favorite show
- With your knitting group
- At a fiber retreat
- In the park
- (INCLUDED) $150K - Add a spin card
- (INCLUDED) $200K - Add second color option for the Electric Eel Wheel Mini 2
- (INCLUDED) $250K - Add a spare drive belt and tension band
- (INCLUDED) $400K - Add a third color option for just the bobbin
Good for New and Experienced Spinners
This design is great for people learning to spin because it is easy to use and is the least expensive spinning wheel available these days. This means you can learn to spin quickly without spending a fortune. Many people find the Mini has everything they need in a spinning wheel.
Mini users have found that it is exceptionally well suited to use during travel or for teaching children to spin. Many experienced spinners report using the Mini for spinning in places they never could before, and some have completely switched over to the Mini for all their spinning.
This project was originally called the "Electric Eel Wheel Mini 2" and towards the end of this Kickstarter the name changed to the "Electric Eel Wheel Nano". Both of those names refer to this project.
One of the first things you might notice about the Mini 2 is its beautiful and stunning open design which serves an important purpose during spinning. It allows the spinner to see the yarn being wound onto the bobbin from all angles. This was one of the features the beta testers really loved about the new Mini.
I'd like to give a special thanks Caitlin Youngquist, an industrial designer, who volunteered her time and efforts to make this design possible.
This new design is much quieter, thanks in large part to the addition of ball bearings which reduce friction and vibration on each end of the flyer. The much lower sound level of the Mini 2 makes it a joy to use when you're out with friends or spinning in public places.
Many useful features have been added to the new design:
- A switch to change the direction of the flyer. There are three positions: clockwise, off, and counterclockwise.
- Slotted holes in the flat bottom allow screw or clamp mounting options.
- Roving slots hold your roving so your singles don't untwist between spinning sessions.
- Magnetic orifice hook holder to help prevent lost orifice hooks.
Electric Eel Wheel Mini 2 is the base unit. This lets you spin the fiber into yarn. A standard power supply and orifice hook is included with the base unit.
Bobbins store the yarn you spin. Each bobbin holds over one ounce (30 grams) of yarn. The beta testers are fitting 1.4 to 2 ounces on a bobbin, but it could be less if you're spinning bulky yarn.
USB Power Cord lets you spin from a USB battery pack. There is a section below that explains this in more detail.
Orifice Reducer is plug that goes into the front of the flyer, which helps reduce the wobble when spinning thin singles. Some spinners really like feature. However, others don't care to use it, so it's a personal preference as to whether you want to use it or not.
This section has been updated.
Initially I was planning to only have a single color. However, I got a lot of requests from backers for another color option. Thanks to the overwhelming support for this project I was able to negotiate a fair deal with my manufacturer and now there will be two color options for the base and three color options for bobbins.
The base colors are purple and charcoal.
The bobbin colors are purple, ivory, and teal.
You will select your color choice when I collect shipping address information from all the backers next year.
The power supply that comes with the standard package plugs into the wall. It works with voltages around the world, and it has a Type A plug. If you don't have Type A plugs in your country, you would need to provide a physical adapter to convert from Type A to the plug type you have, or you use the USB power cord.
To make this spinning wheel ultra-portable get the Plus option, which includes a USB power cord. With this cord you can use a USB battery pack and be independent from your wall outlet. It is easy to buy USB battery packs online or at your local big-box store. Even the small and inexpensive 10000 mAh USB battery packs will provide well over 20 hours of spinning on the Mini.
If you are a techie and are interested in making your own power cord or using some other power sources, the Electric Eel Wheel Mini 2 has a 5.5 x 2.1 mm barrel jack and expects 9V at 1A.
Plying yarn is when you take two or more separate singles you have already spun and twist them together. To do this you must twist the singles together in the opposite direction than you have spun them. The Mini has a switch on its side that lets you reverse the direction of the flyer, which makes plying on this wheel very easy.
Here is a quote from Tanya one of the beta testers: "I was very pleased with just how well the Mini 2 handled chain plying. Plenty of take up, even at slow speed, made this task quick and easy."
Ease of Use
This spinning wheel is easy to use. With drop spindles or treadle spinning wheels you can be distracted by the extra movements of your hands and feet. With the Electric Eel Wheel Mini 2, you can put your focus on drafting and feeding the fiber onto the bobbin. With the Mini, you can focus on the fun!
Getting it setup to spin is also very easy. The speed control is a dial, and tension is controlled with an elastic band. The metal sliding yarn guides are a breeze to use. Overall the design is simple and intuitive.
Learning to Spin
The best way to learn to spin is to either find someone, perhaps at your local knitting group, or watch some online videos. Finding someone with spinning experience is great is because you can more quickly learn from their first-hand knowledge. On the other hand learning from videos is convenient and works for many people. There are many free online videos about this. I have even made a spinning tutorial using a previous version of the Electric Eel Wheel, and I hope to make updates in the near future.
Overview of the Controls
The switch on the Mini turns it on and controls direction. When the switch is forward it spins clockwise. When the switch is backwards it spins counterclockwise. When the switch is in the middle the wheel is off.
The speed control dial (Figure 1) controls the speed of the motor from completely stopped to full speed. The max speed of this spinning wheel is about 600-800 RPMs. This is similar to a medium speed standard foot driven spinning wheel. Many experienced spinners will spin near the max speed and new spinners can select a slow speed with the dial until they get more experience.
The tension band fits in a groove on the bobbin. In general, it is best to spin with a light tension on the Mini. To increase the tension pull the tension band (Figure 2) down through the groove. Increased tension will increase how firmly the wheel pulls the yarn onto the bobbin. If you let the fiber out of your hand more quickly it will give the yarn less twist. If you let the fiber out of your hand more slowly it will give you more twist.
The orifice hook is used to help thread the fiber on the flyer. There are magnets on the base of the Mini that hold the orifice hook securely.
When there is a buildup of yarn on your bobbin stop the flyer, and slide the yarn guide over (Figure 3). Then start spinning again. This is how you can evenly fill the bobbin. The slide arms on the Mini's flyer have a triangular shape to prevent the yarn guides from rotating.
Changing the bobbin on the Mini is easy (Figure 4.) Take the drive belt off the front of the flyer and the tension band off the back part of the bobbin. Then slide the flyer out of the braces and remove the back bearing and the bobbin. Put the new bobbin back on the flyer, and then replace the drive belt and tension band.
There are grooves in the case near the front. This is where you place your fiber there when you're done spinning so it doesn't untwist between spinning sessions.
Compared to Other Spinning Wheels
It is important to realize the Mini is a new category of spinning wheel. It is faster and easier to use than a drop spindle, and it is available at an amazing price that no other spinning wheel on the market approaches. Its design makes it great for new spinners and more experienced spinners who want an affordable travel-friendly wheel. However, the Mini is not meant to work as a production spinning wheel. If you are an experienced spinner who wants a lot of speed and big bobbins don't expect this to replace your primary spinning wheel.
Electric Eel Wheel Community
One of the aspects that makes this a great spinning wheel is the online social community. Spinners frequently share their latest yarn projects and there are always some helpful and positive reviews. This community is also the place where people discuss new ideas for spinning wheels and other fiber related tools. I frequently post ideas long before they go public. For example, I've been posting information about the Electric Eel Wheel Mini 2 for over 6 months to this community and received valuable feedback that has helped me make it much better than I could have by myself.
If you want to join there are two places people have gathered so feel free to join either one (or both.)
Quotes and Pictures from Beta Users
I have had several people beta test the Electric Eel Wheel Mini 2. I'd like to give a huge shout-out to Tanya Cunningham, Sheryl Giles, and Joel Hall who all gave great feedback during the beta testing phase. Here are some quotes from the beta testers and images from them.
Tanya Cunningham said:
"I normally spin very thin singles, so I like quite a bit of speed, and a light touch on controlling the tension. The Mini 2 steps right up to that task and makes it a joy to spin lace weight singles. It also handles spinning a much heavier weight of yarn."
"I love how easy it is to change bobbins. The half-open bearing cradles allow you to very quickly and easily lift the entire flyer, remove the smaller bearing and slide one bobbin off and another one on."
"The unique base design has insets with keyholes. You can either clamp the wheel to a table, or easily create a custom base with screws that use the keyholes to secure the wheel to a weighted base."
Sheryl Giles said:
"Much quieter. Great for people who like a carry-a-long craft project. Some spinners carry knitting or a drop-spindle because those travel well - now you can take your spinning wheel along! This sturdy little wheel is my new take along craft project. It's light, fits easily into my backpack and sets up in seconds so can spin wherever I go."
"As current owners know, one of the best selling points for Electric Eel Wheels is the company that makes them. Maurice is committed to local production, affordable pricing, product development that is responsive to customer feedback, project transparency in the creation process and excellent customer service. Put another way, Maurice is really great to work with and is a perfect example of the advantages to buying from small businesses. So I not only love my EEW, I also feel great about supporting Dreaming Robots!"
Risks and challenges
I have done a lot of testing with this version of the Mini and several beta testers have also tested it. The results have been very positive so I'm happy with the current design, and I don’t see a reason to make any significant changes to it for this Kickstarter.
There is always some risk when building hardware. The major custom parts for this wheel are the plastic case, the motor, the circuit board, and some custom bent wires. Everything except the plastic has final samples and a manufacturer is ready to make them, and the risks for these are low.
The plastic parts used in all my prototypes are 3d printed parts. The final plastic parts will be a combination of milled and injection molded plastic. I have used an injection company for over a dozen parts in the past. These are the most complex set of parts I've ever done for injection molding, but I have a good relationship with this manufacturer. They have already suggested several changes to my model which I have already incorporated into my 3d printed parts. They assure me now that they can make plastic parts from these 3d models and have already given me their estimates. This is certainly the area of biggest risk for delay, but I feel all my experience with injection molding and having a company I have used before for this kind of work helps mitigate the risk for serious problems or delays.
Final assembly is done by several contractors close to home near Boston, Massachusetts. There is a risk that this assembly process becomes a bottleneck and causes delays if the orders far exceed my expectations. However, because assembly of this spinning wheel is faster than any of my previous spinning wheels that means each assembler will be able to make more units per hour. Still if the number of backers on Kickstarter is very large it could cause delays. If the number of backers on Kickstarter is extremely large then I might need to look at other assembly options, which would lead to delays.
It is always possible for factors beyond my control to delay shipping, such as one of my suppliers going out of business, but these risks are minimized since I have been working with all my major suppliers for years.
This is not my first product, so I know about a lot of the pitfalls and have worked hard to avoid them. If you look at my previous four Kickstarter campaigns, you'll see three on time and one is still in progress, but it’s also on track. That said, I will delay shipping if some issue with quality is found. I would rather delay shipping than ship a defective product. Still it is my goal to get you this product on time.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (35 days)