The lab commissioned its TC2 digital weaving loom in January 2020, the first of its kind in New Zealand.
The loom combines digital warp selection with manual weft insertion making it an ideal research and development resource for producing modest quantities of innovative woven materials. It is our intention to run workshops from mid-2020 onwards to enable interested parties to learn the processes after which they will be able to book time on the loom to carry out their own fabric development work.
In the meantime, we will be happy to receive any enquiries for woven fabric developments which we could work on collaboratively. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
The TC2 loom enables us to develop a wide range of woven materials for a multitude of applications using varying yarn types and counts including conductive, spun, mono-filament and multi-filament. It can produce sample fabrics up to 70 cm wide and up to around 5 metres in length making it ideal for sampling, rapid prototyping and product development.
The loom has been designed with simplicity and versatility in mind to enable everything from the weaving of simple plain weaves and twills to more sophisticated designs whereby photographic imagery can be integrated into the material.
Plain weaves, oxfords and other conventional woven structures can easily be programmed using the loom's integral Loom Controller software. More sophisticated jacquard designs and photographic imagery are initially manipulated in Photoshop before being processed by the Loom Controller programme, which correlates pixels with the digital motion of the warp yarns.
In most instances, our R+D clients and research students want to weave using their own specific yarns, which need to be sourced and delivered to the lab so warps can be prepared on the lab's warping mill. It is essential that warp yarns are strong enough to withstand the tensions applied during the weaving process.
Once the warp has been prepared, it can be inserted in the loom in readiness for weaving. It is worth noting that the warp preparation can be a lengthy process depending on the number of ends required and the length of the warp itself. Weft yarns are manually wound onto a pirn and inserted into a traditional shuttle.
Once the warp has been drawn into the loom, the operator activates the warp shedding motion by means of a foot pedal. The weft yarn is manually inserted by the operator and beat up to begin creating the fabric. The process is then repeated until the required length of fabric has been produced.
Most woven fabrics will shrink when subjected to washing and drying due to the stresses placed on the yarns in the spinning, winding and weaving processes. It is therefore advisable to wet finish and dry fabrics to calculate the degree of shrinkage before making up the final product.