In July, 2014, I was lucky enough to spend three days working with Digital Weaving Norway’s TC-2 jacquard loom, as part of my effort to compare the two major brands of jacquard looms (the other is AVL’s Jacq3G). (While I have done my best to verify the accuracy of this article with Digital Weaving Norway, I can’t guarantee that everything is accurate – especially since loom features and pricing change over time. When in doubt, check directly with the manufacturer.)
If you are wondering what a jacquard loom is, Wikipedia has a helpful article here.
For my comparison of the TC-2 and Jacq3G looms, see this page.
The TC-2 in a nutshell
- 220 heddles per module
- Cost per module as of July 14,2014: NOK (Norwegian krone) 18,000 (at exchange rates of July 31, 2014 this is approximately $2,863 ““ but check the current exchange rate)
- Cost of base model (29″ weaving width, 2 modules, 440 ends): NOK 192,720 (equivalent of USD 30,668 as of July 31, 2014 exchange rate ““ but check current exchange rate)
- Cost of 1,320-hook configuration, 43″ weaving width, one beam, 6 modules: NOK 291 120 (equivalent of USD 46,314 at July 31,2014 exchange rate)
- Plus shipping from Norway to U.S, which runs circa $2500-4000 (as of July 31, 2014) depending on loom configuration and shipping method chosen
- Setts of up to 180 epi in units of 15 epi
- 1 or 2 flanged warp beams (sectional beam under development, but not available at the moment)
- Computer controlled warp tension
- Sensor controlled auto-advance with increments set by computer
- Vacuum pump as thread lifting mechanism
- Wireless or ethernet connection to computer
- Electrical input for loom frame: 110-240V, 16A, single phase
- Electrical input for vacuum pump: 208-240 VAC 16A, single phase or 3-phase
- If more than 16 modules, either add a second pump, i.e. 2 x16 A
- Or, use a bigger pump on 400 VAC 3-phase pump
- No fly shuttle
- Sliding beater
- Can use regular temple; rolling temples not available
- Requires a reed with square top and bottom (available from Digital Weaving Norway)
|Weaving width||Max # of modules||Height||Width||Depth (front to back)|
|28″ (2 modules wide)||24 (5,280 hooks)||61 inches||48″||58.5″ for 1 warp beam67.5″ 2 warp beams|
|43″ (3 modules wide)||36 (7,920 hooks)||61 inches||63″||58.5″ for 1 warp beam67.5″ 2 warp beams|
|56″ (4 modules wide)||48 (10,560 hooks)||61 inches||78″||58.5″ for 1 warp beam67.5″ 2 warp beams|
Setting up and using the TC-2
Getting the right sett
- Each module has 220 ends, sett at ~ 15 epi, about 14.5″ wide. To weave wider than 14.5″, arrange multiple modules side by side in the frame. To weave at higher setts, arrange one module behind another until you reach the density you want.
- Once the modules have been set up, you can thread at the density you want, up to the number of heddles in the modules.
- To adjust the sett down while weaving, use the Cast-Out function to instruct the computer to leave the “extra” ends down, so they don’t weave in. This wastes some warp, but saves a lot of time, since you don’t have to cut off and re-sley.
- Sett cannot be adjusted up after threading.
Warping the loom
- The flanged warp beam can be beamed back to front using the motorized warp beam and a foot pedal (there is no warp beam crank). The warp beam has flanges to keep the warp edges from falling off, so no packing sticks are needed.
- Threading can be done either by treadling the threading , which lifts the correct next pick automatically, or by beaming on and tying the new warp to the old one.
- The TC-2 can also be used with an industrial type knotting machine.
- Set warp tension for each warp beam using the TC-2 Loom Controller software ““ enter numeric value or use up/down arrows to increase or decrease tension
- (optional) Set advance unit for the auto-advance and the beater advance position using the TC-2 Loom Controller
- Load a JPG, TIFF, BMP, or WIF file into the TC-2 Loom Controller software. (All non-white pixels will be raised.) You can set colors in the software as well.
- Start weaving!
- The computer (connected to the loom through a wireless or ethernet connection) opens a valve for each heddle that needs to rise. The vacuum pump sucks air from the tubes above the heddle, bringing the top of the heddle up. This raises the correct set of threads.
- Can weave forward, reverse, or tabby.
- With one shuttle, my max weaving speed was approximately 960 picks per hour with a single shuttle (the loom was the gating factor). With four shuttles, I wove at approximately 700 picks per hour. The loom wasn’t the gating factor.
- Warp beam capacity: quite high. Vibeke (who heads up Digital Weaving Norway) reports having beamed on 150+ meters of 20/2 cotton at 60 epi.
- Auto-advance via sensor rather than mechanical action
- Warp tension set via sensor/computer setting rather than mechanical means
- Vacuum pump lifts heddles for up to 16 modules, reads 85 decibels standing right in front of pump ““ but five feet away can easily talk w/o raising voice. Vacuum pump can be put up to 60 feet away from the loom.
- Motorized warp advance using foot pedal ““ no need to crank the beam
- Flexible silicone tube seats into groove on warp beam to ensure a perfectly circular beam (needed to make the auto advance work properly). Multiple sizes of groove to accommodate different thicknesses of yarn.
- Moving parts (except for heddles) are covered in metal cases (for safety reasons) but casings can be removed by undoing a few screws
- Wireless connection between computer and looms
- One hose connecting the multiple modules
- Choice of one or two warp beams
- No sectional warping option (though one is under development); must be warped back to front or front to back
- No place to mount rolling temples, though regular temples can be used
- No way to mount a fly shuttle
- Changing sett by rearranging modules requires rethreading (not too difficult, can treadle the threading)