Equipment Plans

Warping Reel

Electronic Counter

A warping reel is used for weaving. More specifically, it is used to measure the yarn or 'ends' in preparation for warping the loom.

1 circular bearing 12" diameter (lazy susan)
1 3/4"x4"x4" plywood (choice of wood)
2 @ 14" x 14" squares, 4 legs 5" high
1 1/2 x 3/4 Oak, Maple or Popular
To make 4 cross members 25" long
2 warping peg holders 20" long
2 cross members 26" long (center brake)
1 1/2 x 36" dowel (warp pegs-6" long x 6)
4 1"x36" dowel
Make 2 pieces square-14"x14"
Mount bearing between squares (sandwich)
Cut Flat legs (shape optional 5" x 12"
Cut cross members 26"--Use 1/2 laps to make cross
Bore 1" blind hole in each end of 2 crosses
Bore 1" thru hole in ends of third cross
Bore 1" thru holes in end of warping peg holders (2 holders)
Bore 3 1/2" holes in each warp peg holders for warping pegs
Cut 1"dowels to desired length-4 even
Be sure holds in cross members are equal and matching. Assemble with 1 warping peg board at top and 1 at bottom. Center cross member between top and bottom. Glue and screw all joints. Finish as desired.

Mount reel assembly on lazy susan platform.

Enjoy and have a great time.

Plans provided by Sally & her husband

An electronic beam counter is also used for weaving. This is used to keep track of the number of revolutions of a sectional warp beam when winding on the warp.

You will need:
soldering gun, electric solder or conductive solder
calculator (more on selecting later)
Radio Shack magnetic reed contact switch cat. # 49-496 (costs three or four dollars)
fine insulated wire (we used very fine wire so that the calculator case would still close with the wires hanging out, but you could use heavier wire)


The magnetic switch is wired into the equal sign on the calculator. One magnet is placed on the beam, the other in a corresponding position on the loom. Every time the beam rotates the magnets pass, and the calculator counts the rotation.

SELECTING THE CALCULATOR: Test your calculator by entering "1" then "+" then "=". The calculator should now read "1". Now enter "=". Do not press a number. The calculator should read "2" and should increase by one every time the equal sign is pressed. If your calculator won't do this you can't use it. Make sure you can remove the back of the calculator. Some backs cannot be removed. Most calculators will automatically turn themselves off after about 8 minutes with no activity. This has not been a problem for me. But if you worry about it select a calculator that has no on/off switch and runs on solar cells. They are always on. We used a Sharp 243 twin power calculator (about 3 or 4 dollars at Wal-Mart). We would have used the Texas Instruments TI-7000 II (because it is always on) but the back seems to be heat melted on and we couldn't open it.


Notice where the equal key is located on the face of the calculator. Then lay the calculator face down and remove the back. CAUTION!!! Keep the caluclator face down. The key parts are held in by the back and will all fall out if it is turned over. After you take the back cover off you should see a circuit board. Carefully lift it up (removing any screws) and lay it to the side face up. It will still be attached at one end to the rest of the calculator. Locate the position on the circuit board that corresponds with the equal key. The caluclator works this way: when a button is pressed it contacts the circuit board and "shorts" across two lines on the circuit board. Look at the space on the circuit board for the two lines. ( The pattern of lines on the circuit board are called traces.) These two lines (traces) will intermingle at each key location but will not be touching. My DH says sometimes they resemble forks, combs, etc. On ours the lines look like small intermeshed combs. Remove the insulation on the end of two pieces of wire just enough to solder to each line. On our circuit board there are small circles where each line leaves the key position and my DH soldered the wire on the circle, one wire for each line.

Close up the caculator. Remove the insulation from the other ends of the wires and attach each wire to the wires on the magnetic switch. Use connectors or insulate with tape.

Now test the calculator. Enter "1" then "+", then pass the end of the loose magnet by the end of the one you have attached to the calculator. They are designed to work within .8 inches. Every time you pass the magnets by each other it operates the equal sign. The first pass should read 1, then 2 and so on.

Look at your loom and decide where to mount the calculator where the magnets can pass closely. I have a 30 inch Norwood loom. I used sticky back velcro to mount the calculator on the right side (looking at the warp beam) on the inside of the back vertical side brace and taped the attached magnet to the horizontal side brace. I taped the other magnet to the end of the sectional beam (hereafter referred to as beam magnet). The ends of the magnet pass less than 1/4 inch from each other. The magnets can be inserted in 1/4 inch drilled holes but I haven't found it neccessary. Tape down any loose wire to keep it out of the way. NOTE: decide where to put the calculator first and make sure you attach the proper length of wire. I will probably use an electrical plastic tie to attach the beam magnet more permanantly, although it's been taped on for months and I haven't had any problem even with all vibration from the beater. I do remove the calculator and the other switch after warping on the beam. My four-year-old son can't resist it so I remove the temptation. We looked for very tiny plugs so that the calculator could be removed by simply unplugging the switch wires but couldn't find anything tiny enough to insert in the case. If anyone finds something like this please let us know.

When starting to warp on move the beam so the magnet is just past the magnet attatched to the calculator. Enter "1" then "+". Now wind on the warp for the first section. The first time the beam magnet passes the other magnet the calculator will read "1". The second time it will read "2", and so one. After finishing each section clear the calculator and re-enter "1" then "+".

Last updated: February 8, 2003

Webmaster: Nancy M McKenna.