osloom :: an open source computer controlled loom


OSLOOM is is a project led by Margarita Benitez aimed at creating an open source electromechanical thread-controlled loom that will be computer controlled. It will include basic software allowing anyone to simply weave a photo thru a web browser (twill/satin), import weave ready files from other software (such as Bhakti/Alice photoshop method), and then post the software on a repository for others to further develop or customize. In addition, all the loom blueprints will be placed online for anyone to build.

A loom is a device used to weave fabric. The loom itself will be a Jacquard style loom. Jacquard looms allow for the individual control of each thread which in turn allows for photographic imagery to be woven. Jacquard looms like this exist commercially but they are very expensive (upwards of $30,000) which puts them out of reach for individuals and small educational facilities.

The OSLOOM could be produced way more economically than that and truly revolutionize what the studio weaver could accomplish. The idea of a DIY open source loom is one that not only artists could benefit from but many individuals and learning centers could gain a resource by building one of these looms as well.

OSLOOM would have an impact on (but not limited to) the following communities/sectors:
studio weavers
institutions (large and small)
textile designers
developing countries

This project is inspired by MIT’s FabLab concept and other open source hardware projects such as the RepRap and Fab@Home 3D rapid prototypers and the many DIY CNC projects available already.

Margarita is currently working on making available some cardboard tapestry loom plans for lasercutting. Keep an eye on osloom.org for more information!

PS: I’m already imagining textile circuits weaved with conductive thread/yarn :)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *