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Swift Saga: a long and (Wool) Winding Road

“What do you want?” we asked my friend Brielle.  “A swift and wool winder!” she answered, without a moment’s hesitation.

[Swiftly Googles, surreptitiously, “what the hell is a swift?”  See video of“how to use a Swift and Wool Winder”].

“Oh, that’s what they call that thing!  OK. I’ve seen those.” “And I want it to be a rainbow swift and winder,” she said.

So, Dana and I went looking for some rainbow filament at our local 3-D print store (https://3dprintorlando.com/), found some great filament:

(Zyltech 3D Printing Filament PLA, 1 kg, filament color “New Rainbow;” outside diameter: 1.755 mm).
(Zyltech 3D Printing Filament PLA, 1 kg, filament color “New Rainbow;” outside diameter: 1.755 mm).

…and set about making a Swift.  We started with this Swift.  We ended up using this remix, because it cuts the arms in half, to make them fit on the bed for a Prusa Mini, which is what we are using.  

When we went to the Winder, there was a link at the Swift page for a Winder that works with this Swift, and that, itself, was a remix of this other Winder, that has a lot more pictures on it, which helps putting it together immensely.  The remix we used includes a list of materials and hardware that you’re going to need to put it together, once you’ve printed all the 3-D printable pieces.  However, there aren’t any step-by-step instructions for how to put the Swift or the Winder together, at any of the links.  (I plan to contribute that, when I post my Make).

The Swift was easy enough to figure out from the pictures.  The Winder was more difficult, but we finally got it, thanks in large part to the help of everyone at the 3-D Printing Hangout at FamiLab (Monday evenings from 6-8 p.m.).  I’m going to write out a full set of assembly instructions to go with my pictures when I post my “Make.”  I also want to put together a video, showing how the pieces of the Winder get put together.  (I’ll post a link to that Make posting in a blog post here, as well).  

In future posts, I want to get into detail, and discuss some of the issues we had with our 3-D printer, printing the pieces.  Those included getting a lot of webbing (we had to change the extruder settings), prints that failed (putting pieces that were too tall on a print bed with other pieces), and issues we had with finally putting the whole thing together (some parts have zero tolerance for printer differences that slightly change the size of bearing holes); but Brielle’s Swift and Winder came out beautifully!  

Swift in rainbow filament
Brielle’s Swift
Swift in rainbow filament, side view
Brielle’s Swift side view
wool winder in rainbow filament
Brielle’s Wool Winder

I’m looking forward to getting into more detail about the issues we had putting this all together, without instructions, and with the printer, and showing how we got to the finished product, so you can build something like this, too (with less trouble than we had, hopefully!)  Happy printing!


I started in fiber arts with knitting, when I was 8. Over more than 4 decades since, I've added crochet, embroidery, applique, needlepoint, quilting, machine sewing (including costuming), spinning (with a drop spindle), weaving (with a table loom), and other skills. Dana recently got me into 3D printing, and one of our first projects together was the swift and winder for my friend Brielle that I will be blogging about. Next, I've found the files for a 3D printed spinning wheel I want to make. Brielle wants a 3D printed sock machine, next, so we may end up starting our own fiber-processing cottage industry! >D

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