Making a drop spindle is really easy and is a great way to get started with handspinning and below you can find instructions on how to create your own.
You can make an inexpensive DIY drop spindle with a CD or DVD as a whorl. But you can also make one out of a wooden toy wheel. (archive.org link)
Pros of a CD spindle:
- It has a hook
- the CD whorl can be moved up and down the shaft
- it’s easy to take apart for transportation
- the weight is adjustable (1 or 2 DVD/CDs)
Cons of a CD spindle:
- It can be wobbly (especially if you only use one CD/DVD of your grommet gets loose/old)
- Finding used/bum/upcyclable CDs/DVDs isn’t as easy as it used to be
- It can be difficult to set the hook in the end of the shaft (though it can be done – and without a drill, so persist!)
Make Your Own CD Spindle
Excerpted from the book Spin It! by Lee Raven, edited by Traci Bunkers (not an aff link)
My notes and commentary are in purple, and are not part of the excerpt)
- 2 recycled CDs or recordable DVDs (You can also do this with only one CD/DVD. It will work, but it will wobble less and spin longer with two.)
- 1 3⁄8 inch diameter dowel (you will be cutting this to 12 inches long)
- 1 eye hook (3⁄4 inch long)
- 1 rubber grommet with an inside diameter of 3⁄8 inch and an outside diameter of 5⁄8 inch (at the hardware store or from Amazon.)
- Drill and drill bit slightly smaller than the eye hook (optional)
- Small saw (optional, only needed if you use the drill)
- Ruler (optional, only needed if you use the drill)
- Safety goggles (optional, only needed if you use the drill)
- Needle-nose pliers (with no teeth) (optional, needed if you use the drill)
- Vise clamp (optional, only needed if you use the drill)
- Permanent ink marker
You can make a simple spindle using recycled compact disks, a grommet, a small eye hook, and a dowel.
- If your dowel is longer than 12 inches, use a ruler to mark a line 12 inches from one end.
- Secure your dowel so it doesn’t roll.
- Using the saw, cut your dowel at the place you have marked.
- Sand the ends of the dowel so they are smooth and have no burrs. (Especially if you’ve had to cut your dowel to size.)
- On one end of the dowel rod, find the center and mark it with a pencil.
- (If you’re using the drill) Wearing safety goggles, secure the dowel in a vise clamp and drill a starter hole for the eye hook in the center.
- Screw in the eye hook, then open it with the needle-nose pliers so that it creates a hook. (I leave mine as-is.)
- With the marker, draw a clockwise arrow on the top CD. Place the two CDs/DVDs together and insert the grommet through the center hole of the CDs/DVDs so that the CDs/DVDs rest inside the groove. (Personally, I don’t do this because I feel you should get to choose what direction you want to spin. This is your world.)
- Insert the dowel through the grommet and position the CDs/DVDs about 2 inches down from the hook for a top whorl spindle or 10 inches down for a bottom whorl spindle.
Test your spindle for smooth rotation and balance by placing the end with the hook on the table and giving the top of the shaft a really good spin. Try to keep it upright by loosely enclosing the top of the shaft with a circle of your pointer finger and thumb; allow it to spin freely.
Alternatively, take several feet (5 or so) of yarn and create a loop. Insert your the hook of your spindle into the loop and test your spin. Watch for wobble, and notice whether right or left handed is more comfortable to you. Keep in mind that you’ll ply your singles in the opposite direction.
You’ll need a bit of practice to get the hang of turning the spindle efficiently. If it turns smoothly like a top, you’re good to go. If you get a little wobble it’s still probably okay. However, if your spindle wobbles a lot or slows down quickly, consider making another spindle. You’ll enjoy spinning more with a spindle that works well.
A DIY drop spindle made from a CD or DVD is an easy, portable, and inexpensive way to get a new spinner started.
If grommets prove to be hard to find, here’s a tutorial using plasticine or Blu-Tac (that stuff you use to put up posters with without damaging them) AND it uses a pencil and duct tape to boot! https://qalballah2.wordpress.com/2016/02/22/drop-spindle-diy/
Christy R. Hall is the owner of Hand Cramp Crafts and fancies herself to be a String Wrangler, and an all-around fiber phreak. In her free time, she spins yarn (both literally spinning fiber into yarn, as well as, writing), crochets for charity, watches silly cat videos, looks at pictures of Corgis, and plays PC and console games. Her current (ongoing) favorites are Skyrim and Elder Scrolls Online.