An expert Lego Technic builder, Nicolas Lespour has turned what many consider child’s play into a full-fledged career. Latest among his toys? An automated mechanical loom that weaves fabric from multiple bobbins of colored yarn. Presented on Monday at Fana’Briques 2012, a convention Lego enthusiasts organize annually in Rosheim, France, Lespour’s invention comprises 20,000 individual Lego components, including a fly-shuttle mechanism that delivers the weft into the warp with little human intervention.
“The system is very simple,” writes the French engineering student in a blog post. “A lever rotates on the primary shaft and makes contact with a cam one time per revolution. When this cam is pushed, it pulls on a rod which operates the main pushed system (green beam). This device allows the system to push the shuttle during the overall crossing through the threads. Even if the slider is a bit smaller, the reed is a bit wrong placed or the threads are a bit not enough tight, the shuttle is forced to pass through. Thanks to that, the system is always in contact with the shuttle, resulting in a significantly increasing of reliability.”
Lespour’s invention comprises 20,000 individual Lego components, including a fly-shuttle mechanism.
Not that his loom will amount to anything more than a diversion, of course—at least, in its current permutation. “After two days of weaving, 70 meters of thread, the result is a 8×40-centimeter fabric, not enough for a sock.”