We’re still working on getting Maryam talking to my laptop. It turns out she needs the controller card replaced, which means changing out the back beam because the strain gauge built into the back beam, which controls the warp tension, is not compatible with the latest generation of controller cards. (Maryam is one of the early-model TC-2 jacquard looms, and many design changes have taken place since.)
I’ve ordered the parts (Tronrud generously offered a discount on them, which was nice of them!), along with a kit for upgrading the beater and some small replacement parts. Shipping from Norway is so expensive that if a package is to be shipped, I want to pack as much as possible into the package!
Dave (the electromechanical wizard who put together the loom) also came by yesterday to discuss some changes to the vacuum tube pumps and wiring. We want to try wiring up both vacuum pumps to Grace in an effort to give her more thread-lifting oomph. At the moment, she has a tendency to leave some threads down when opening a shed, and we think that’s because she is right up at the maximum number of modules they recommend for a single pump – 12 modules. So she may not be outputting enough vacuum to pull up threads that have more friction. Attaching a second vacuum pump might help with that.
Of course, attaching a second vacuum pump creates some logistical problems. For example, now we need to run two vacuum pumps at once, which means putting in a second 220-volt electrical circuit to the garage. It also means wiring both pumps up to Grace AND one pump up to Maryam, and figuring out how to flip switches appropriately. And it means figuring out a system of hoses and valves such that two pumps’ worth of vacuum attach to Grace and one pump’s worth attach to Maryam, but not at the same time.
None of which are impossible, but which I’d have to do a LOT of digging to figure out, as I am not electromechanically inclined. So I am grateful for having both a spouse and a friend who understands these things.
Dave came over yesterday to discuss all this and to sketch out the design for the hoses, valves, and wiring, so I grabbed the opportunity to take a proper photo of the two of us with Grace and Maryam:
The delay in starting up Maryam isn’t really going to delay my weaving on her, though. It will take about a week to get parts from Tronrud and get them installed, but that’s fine – it will take me that long to prepare the warp to go onto her, anyway. I’m going to do a pretty complicated pair of warps to go onto her, which I will talk about in my next blog post.
The warps are for the painted warp class I’m developing for 2020. I bought Maryam because I can develop my color samples infinitely more efficiently on her – I can change weave structures and color striping very quickly using her ability to control each thread individually – and I’m very excited to see what our future will bring.