Help (advice) with building a braiding machine?

I've been working with braiding plastic shopping bag strips into rope, and by hand it's a slow and tedious process.  I know that braiding machines have been around for ages, so the patent on many of them has to have elapsed.  I've Google'd and Bing'd and Yahoo'd my heart out looking for how to build a simple one to no avail.  The only thing that comes back is Chinese sellers of a commercial braiding machine.

All I want is something that I can build, a hand crank mechanical kind, that can braid 7-10 strands into a larger rope. It doesn't even have to go fast, in fact I'm fine with it being slow.

Can anyone provide plans for one?

Ok so I think I have plans, but now I could use some advice with how to go about fabricating the sprockets.  One idea is to purchase a premade sprocket and modify it, then use it as a master for a mold to create more.  I was thinking of either doing the whole dissolving styrofoam with Acetone then pouring the plastic in the mold thing, or possibly adapt the Oogoo instructable.  Thoughts??

Update 2:  My latest brainstorm leaves me thinking that I could use a bicycle sprocket (gear) as a master and then make a mold from it, then make duplicates from the mold.  Thoughts???

Picture of Help (advice) with building a braiding machine?
zigo310 months ago

About how the spindle pass from a gear to the next I was thinking on this image
If P1 is the lever and the circle close to P1 is the fulcrum (hub) ,
the lever could be simply linear, could be forced by an elastic/spring
who push/pull her to the right to a stop point and long enough to be
intercepted by the spindle who arrives on the left gear (it could be simply something like that or similar )

. At this point
the spindle push the lever to the left until the spindle finds the new
housing on the right gear, the lever force it to right and when the
spindle goes ahead the lever return to the initial position.

zigo310 months ago

Thanks to DrPeper and everybody: a couple of links , another point of view and this at min 0,35 .

rammstein21 year ago
Would it be any easier for the whole sprocket system to move (rather than each sprocket spinning)? The opposing rotational direction of each group of sprockets can then be implemented using an inner-outer ring system. A bit like the diagram at page 2 of :
Also this cool video ( hints(??) at maybe another way of designing the sprocket system. This auhor of this page( is similarly building a braiding machine.
Thanks for sharing these information with us!
I will keep in touch with your blogreading..
Stumbled your URL…
have a great day
JEEPBOY521 year ago
I have not read all the comments but have you thought about making it out of wood? Some of the first looms were wooden.
DrPeper (author)  JEEPBOY521 year ago
Yes, I have considered that, and that's probably the way I will go. I just got access to a laser cutter and a 3d printer, so I'll be moving forward on this project after the new year.
3D printing. google 'reprap mendal90'. I was directed to this page looking for ideas to make exactly this with a 3D printer.
DrPeper (author)  bryanhodson1 year ago
OOOH! OOOH! So are you making one?? I haven't had the time...
I'm gathering the parts, and learning as much as I can about the tech. I was planning on using a planetary gear set-up to make it work, but now I'm noticing that the teeth don't mesh in the image above. Either way, there is a long list of things I want to print.
Hey I just started with the same idea :D I want to build an OpenSourceBraidingMachine (OSBM) which is 3D printable. I just started on sunday. Now I googled and found that thread. My concept is a little different and orientates on commercial braiding machines. I hope I will find time for this project (next to the other stuff ;) ).

bryanhodson: Do you have already built something?
DrPeper (author)  MakerDogg1 year ago
I'd be very interested in an OpenSource Braiding Machine project.
tiojhnm22 years ago

my braiding machine have been fabricated.but when i test it, the braid is not compact..
the braiding angle is too small..the ratio of rotational speed of the spindle to take up speed is 2.5..

take up speed is 20 RPM
rotational speed of spibndle is 50 RPM

can someone help me? do i need to make the take up speed slower?

DrPeper (author)  tiojhnm21 year ago
So can we get any pictures of it???
tumidaj1 year ago
It's uncommon!
Cameleer2 years ago
Hello tiojhnm2,

Your take up speed is likely to fast. One factor that contributes to the tightness of the braid is the take up speed. They call this - picks per inch - on a standard New England butt braiding machine. On this type of braider the picks per inch is controlled by a set of different size gears that u can change out on the take up wheel.

To change the braiding angle u need to have an adjustable mandrel (a flat piece with a hole in which the braid runs up through to the take up wheel). This piece needs to adjust up and down and it helps set the the braid angle.

Hope this info helps. Good Luck!
DrPeper (author) 3 years ago
And here's yet another design which accomplishes the same thing.
tiojhnm DrPeper2 years ago
good day DrPeper, i was just to fabricate a braiding machine too..i will only use, three strands of thread to braid..but my design for the machine is not yet finished..i dont know how the spindle will transfer from the first sprocket to another one.can you explain me?does the centrifugal force has something to do with it?.i am thinking of creating an interchangeable path like in the railways to guide the sprocket to the second sprocket and vice versa, but it is too complicated..

thanks in advance..
DrPeper (author)  tiojhnm2 years ago
I've had to put this project on the back burner for a while. And I probably won't be able to get back to it until after the holidays. But I think we are both on the same path here. My prototype is going to have two rotating sprockets and three spindles. But I'd *love* to see pictures of what you have so far, and offer any help that I might be able to.
tiojhnm DrPeper2 years ago
i have just read the answer to my question. here it is,

using a waggler is the solution..

i cant post pictures or diagrams of my prototype here due to personal sorry..

another problem that arises is the design of the bobbin. i cant imagine the principle of the tension principle in the bobbins used for braiding machine that are available in the net.
like this one 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
DrPeper (author)  tiojhnm2 years ago
Well I'm gonna have to take a closer look at that "waggler", because I don't understand it from the image. Also the image you attempted to post about the bobbin tension-er didn't work. But that is a concept I've thought about. I was hesitant to post any diagrams of my ideas until I can see what works. But the professional bobbins don't seem to me to be too difficult to understand.
tiojhnm DrPeper2 years ago
the waggler acts like a course changer, the spindles rotate the waggler as they pass through it..

i have realized the principle in the takes me some time to realize the principle behind it.the spring in the bobbin plays the important role there..when the lever, attached to the spring,which is also attached to the thread lifts, the other end of the lever triggers the bobbin to rotate.

here is the other problem..the bottom of the spindle is being in contact with the platform..the spindle will move around its path..there is a friction between the bottom of the spindle and the surface of the i need to add lubricants to it?

tiojhnm tiojhnm2 years ago
These plans look similar to existing braiding machines. Why don't you look around the market for a 2nd-hand braiding machine, rather than re-invent the wheel. I have bought them myself in Australia for around $5000 each - but make sure you get a model that uses good capacity bobbins. Some of the bench mounted machines have bobbins that would be too small for your needs. You will still need to build a winder for the bobbins if you still want to build something - but a winder is a lot simpler than a braider. I suggest a 16 carrier machine. Easy to load ( than a 24 carrier) and can still make a good sized rope depending on your initial strand size. Don't forget you will still need to twist 'S' and 'Z' for a braided rope product - Good Luck !
DrPeper (author)  Braiderman3 years ago
Um well the main reason for not buying one would be that I don't have a spare $5000 to just throw away! Not to mention it completely misses the point.

And I'm completely confused by your "s" and "z" comment??!
Please look up S and Z twist in Wikipedia.
DrPeper (author)  Braiderman2 years ago
Actually S and Z twists, I wouldn't technically consider braiding. But thank you for your input!
For a balanced final braid you will need to load half your bobbins going in one direction with, for example an S-twist strand, and a Z-twist strand on the bobbins that are going in the other direction. As such you will also need a twisting machine for preparing your strand / a winding machine for loading your braider bobbins, and a creel for housing your primary cheeses.- So just having a braiding machine is just the start of it. Good luck !
Toga_Dan2 years ago

That's the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

Research galore. Enjoy.
xenoputtss2 years ago
I'm not sure where you made it with your project here, but according to the documentation that you have it looks like you are down to figuring out how to pass the spindles from one sprocket to the other (and alternating directions).

Stealing this idea from i came up with a slightly modified version.

At the interior intersection of 2 sprockets you will have a (almost) triangle wedge mounted so it can pivot left and right. (this will be used to move the spindle from one sprocket to the other). The shape of this piece is has to do 2 things, 1) move the spindle from left to right, and 2) once the spindle is moved, "hold on" to the spindle for a little bit to "flip" the piece over (so that it will move the next spindle in the opposite direction.)

Of course your spindles will have to reach below the sprocket (which you have in your design)

Just thought about this a little more, the triangle will not always be on the interior, but will be on alternating sides depending on the gear it is on.
If you are looking at the diagram you have above, and going clockwise starting with the gear labeled "M" (M1 = "M", M2, M3,...) the intersection of M1-M2 is inside, M2-M3 is outside,....
DrPeper (author) 3 years ago
I haven't forgotten about this project. It's always a matter of time and other projects taking priority. I just ordered some axles and gears (lego) so I'm going to start out with a 3 strand braiding machine as my first prototype.

However I did run across this rotary braiding machine in lego that I think does the same thing but uses a different mechanism, which I find quite intriguing.
DH19813 years ago
DrPeper (author)  DH19813 years ago
I've actually found this one before, however it isn't as smooth as the versions that I am attempting to replicate.
DH1981 DrPeper3 years ago
well i would like to see some clear plans if pos when you get it finnished. :)
good luck.
DH19813 years ago
take a look at this it has diagrams of the movements of the bobbins & sprokets + Bobbin carriers + Bobbin Move Arms

hope it helps
DrPeper (author)  DH19813 years ago
Food for thought, thank you!
DH19813 years ago
kelseymh4 years ago
The very first hit on Google ("hand-crank knitting machine") didn't help?
Googling is becoming a lost art.
DrPeper (author)  Jayefuu4 years ago
Yeah, considering I'm a Senior Network Administrator and Web Designer for a very large company, I'm pretty sure my Google-ing talents are unmatched. Thanks.
The hard part is figuring out the right keywords, and also having enough information up front to construct a good search.

"Multistrand braiding machine" actually returned a site with two different LEGO machines, but since the links and videos on the page didn't work, it wasn't very useful :-(
How about braiding machines for hair? Similar? I tried to google but our network's playing up. Grrrr.
DrPeper (author)  Jayefuu4 years ago
Yeah, I looked at those but the ones I found were only 3 strand and one that I found really just twists, it doesn't braid.
Dr Peper - have you got any further on the braiding machine. I am debating the same issue but I need to braid specialized wool braiding for reproductions of War of 1812 military hats. Lots of small quantity but different colour combinations. My own braiding machine would solve a lot of problems. Have you figured out how to pass the spindles around? Thanks
DrPeper (author)  reenactor4 years ago
Unfortunately I haven't gotten any further on this. I've had to put this project on a back burner for a while. Mostly because I don't have any lego technics or erector/mechano sets to build a prototype with. But also because I have entries that I'm preparing for all the contests lately.

As for passing the spindles between sprockets, I was just thinking of a small strip of material (like a plastic strip) to act as a guide to kick the spindle off of one sprocket to the other.
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Jayefuu DrPeper4 years ago
Sorry, we get a lot of questions asked in "Answers" that could be easily solved by googling. I had just spent a frustrating 5 minutes reading a lot of such questions and came here all pent up and took it out on you, who's question make a lot more sense than most we see.

So here's a free bump in the hope that someone more helpful comes along!

(WOW at the antique braiding machine video you posted! That's some great engineering)
DrPeper (author)  Jayefuu4 years ago
Isn't it though?! Unfortunately I can't find any closeup pics to decipher exactly how it's working because some spools go around in a circle before moving the the next spinner and some spools follow a circular sine wave pattern. As near as I can tell they were patented around the 1890's so the patent should have run out long ago.
DrPeper (author)  DrPeper4 years ago
oh, cancel that. All the spools run in two counter directional circular sine wave formation. So each pair of spools is on 7 or 8 (it's hard to count with the video) counter rotating wheels. I guess it would have to be an even number of wheels because if it was odd then you'd have two wheels next to each other spinning in the same direction.
DrPeper (author)  kelseymh4 years ago
No that's not exactly what I'm looking for, that's single strand knitting. I'm looking to build a 7-10 strand braiding machine.

But thanks for the effort!
tipaklong3 years ago
Hello DrPeper :)

Here's a video I found:

In the video, while the machine is on low speed, as the spindles are passed, i hear a clicking sound. Also, the top part of the spindles point to the direction they are going in. I would assume that the bottoms of the said spindles are shaped in a certain way. I just cant seem to wrap my mind around how those spindles are passed around. I am thinking some mechanism is grabbing or flicking the spool from one group to the other.

DrPeper (author)  tipaklong3 years ago
Good video! I've got the basics of the machine already mapped out, and I'm ready to start my first prototype. I'm going to start off with a simple 3 strand braid with two gears. I just trying to find some kind of cheap (preferably repurposed) gears to use.
here is another link on a "rope making machine" the movement has break stops that shuffle the spindle up the braiding progression .
I too want to begin building one for myself mostly to create custom cable braided harnesses for Audiophile AV systems
This is a good Thread and I too want to see that prototype
How big? I know that AllElectronics, Electronic Goldmine and a few others carry gears from time to tome.
DrPeper (author)  Goodhart3 years ago
Oh I was thinking of something around 2-3 inches (50-75mm). I think I'm going to try lego technic gears for the small proof of concept.
Oh ok, I knew though that All Electronics had some 2 inch and smaller gears; and a 5 inch and smaller set from the Goldmine :-)
Oh by the way, after alot of sketches on my notebook about this machine, I kinda had a lightbulb moment lol.

I believe that the spools are transferred to the other group via momentum. I think they are seated on well lubricated tracks under the plate. The momentum from spinning from the circular disc throws the spool from one group to the other, wherein it is caught by the other spinning group. That may be what the clicking sound I'm hearing in the video. The track intersection between groups may look like interconnected "infinity" symbols, where the round areas on the north and south parts are closest to the spinning wheel, while the "X" part may be slightly farther away, separating the spinning groups.

I'm just brainstorming here. But the idea that I came up with may not be viable for a hand cranked model.

I'm looking forward to your prototype if ever you will post it :)
DrPeper (author)  tipaklong3 years ago
I think you and I are thinking exactly alike, that sounds like the transfer mechanism that I have in mind.
livntoasty4 years ago
Hi. I was wondering if you managed to make this machine. I have been trying (off n on) to make one for over a year. I have read some great comments and brainstorming. I am so glad this info was here. Thnx
DrPeper (author)  livntoasty4 years ago
Unfortunately no, I have not. I've been unemployed and have been forced to pursue other projects. However, I am quite surprised that you have found this little thread. It is my deepest desire that this, at the very least, inspires you to do something wonderful!
Well, I'll tell ya, it sure did inspire me. I have been watching (studying, really) this particular You Tube video titled The Braiding Machine. This is the link If you find time to take look please do but, if you're anything like me you might want to rely on your OPD (Obsessive Pause Disorder) skills between the time markers :26 and :30 seconds. This is where you get to see the main mechanics of the machine. And, I think the guy who did this vid wanted to tease ny1 who might want to try n build one of these cuz during this same time frame the side that gets the most attention appears to be the left side of the machine which doesnt show the transfer of the spindles. I sat down last night with cardboard, expendable cd's, things to poke holes with and cut circles. I have come to the conclusion, thus far, that the stationary plate at the very top must stay stationary. You mentioned something about magnets. I, too, thought the same thing. If I were to use Powerade-like caps with the tops bolted against each other (one on top and below stationary plate and will carry string spindles. The caps should be wide enough to carry the spindle onto the next stationary plate. At time marker (approx.) :26-:27 (if you're using ur mad OPD skillz) u can see that the gears have a bolted triangle on top of it. The spindles r attached to this and will move in that straight line needed so it can transfer in its figure-8 formation and still turn in a circle so the braiding can happen. Anyway, this is what I have deducted so far. Thanks so much for posting your thread. It's the boost I needed to go forth! Take Care, Christopher
DrPeper (author)  livntoasty4 years ago
Ok.... WOW! I never found that video, and it totally has me thinking. I'm intrigued because the double spindle thing makes sense. It would want to go in a straight line and probably make the handing off to the receiving circle easier. The other thing that intrigues me is that this 3 strand braid would be a better baby-step to my 8-16 strand braiding machine.

My biggest stumbling blocks for proceeding with this project was fabrication of parts. Ideally, I'd want to design parts and have them 3d printed or laser cut. But your ideas of using CD's and Powerade caps has me back on the track of using (re-purposing) trash items. I was actually thinking of using bicycle sprockets.  Actually your Powerade caps idea is simply BRILLIANT!

I'll have to watch that video and obsess about it for a day so that I can break it down in my mind and fully Grok it.  I don't fully understand the triangles yet.

AHHHHHH fudging Marmoset Nuggets!  Now I'm obsessing about it again.  My wife will have some choice words for you, as I put down my current projects to work on this again.

And, as far as your wife goes. I completely understand. I actually had a project work out from beginning to end around Thanksgiving time and would you believe I have had some encouragement since then?! :)
Ok. I had to slow my mind down. For me, I have to separate the thoughts (which will be marked as T).

T1: STATIONARY PLATE: We covered this but for completeness-sake...the very top plate must not move. Main axle is attached to this.
T2:SPINDLES: Ea. spindle will need 4 caps. Instead facing flat end (top) to each othr i think it might be best to face the hollow ends to each othr. I'm going to try hot glue to attach 2 caps side x side (it canbe eithr top or bottom of spindle platform) The ridged sides should give a wee bit more adherence/adhesion and strength since these bad booys will be getting a lot of action. Of course, each cap has a holr drilled out in middle for spindle axle. I'm thinking this spindle is the half the key to the transfer.
In "The Braiding Machine" vid and at approx. time marker :27 a spindle makes an arc motion as if it were pushed in that direction. This is not the easiest thing to see in the vid. Hang in there with it :) This arc motion can also be seen at marker :30/31. U will see blue spindle make an arc motion (transfer motion). Appears that something is definitely guiding that spindle underneath. Do you think this is the gear itself? If so, then the gears will most definitely need a chain and the gears will have to have a precise position so the transfer is continuously smoooth.
T4: TRIANGLE: In the vid, pause between marker :26 and :29 See the chain sprocket? Now, see that flat plate going across one "side" of the sprocket? These arms which look bolted to the chain sprocket make a triangle. Looks like 3 separate arms? At marker: 27 or :28 u can see a spindle spinning atop one of these bolted ends. ~~~My son gave me his inline skates. I got 8 bearings from them. My brain is telling me bearings work in this project. I just haven't figured that out yet.
Ok, well, these are a few of my thoughts on this. Would love to hear what your thoughts are.
Oh, one more thing, about the laser cutting for the gears...I found these instructibles. Was wondering if you thought these ideas would help simplify the laser cutting issue or havingto pay someone to cut.
Check them out:
How to Build Working Gears from Junkmail and Cardstock
by Riblets

Foam Cutter Table by FoamCrazy
livntoasty4 years ago
Also, I'm heading to the garage now to see about some bike sprockets. :)
jeff-o4 years ago
Here's a gear template generator:

You could cut the gears from wood, using a scroll saw. Or, export the gears and have them cut with a CNC machine or laser cutter.
DrPeper (author)  jeff-o4 years ago
Thank you, I hadn't found that one yet! I'm going to look at it a bit more over the next few weeks. I appreciate any help and advice!

I've been using Inkscape (openSource equivalent of Illustrator). I made the sketches with it.

The problem is I REALLY want a CNC machine (or someone with one that's willing to do a sprocket for me), and I don't have a scroll saw (or access to one at this point). I'm looking to build a CNC machine, I have several scanners and printers to use for parts. I'm just stuck on the whole controlling a stepper motor part.
jeff-o DrPeper4 years ago
There's probably at least one stepper motor driver for the Arduino if you want total control over it. Otherwise, there are dedicated stepper motor driver ICs out there that you could use. I'd bet that all the major IC manufacturers (National Semi, TI, Fairchild, Maxim, etc) have one. And, each will have a datasheet that should show you how to use it. I'm sure that there's at least a few out there that you can control using nothing more than a clock signal (from a 555 timer) and a few direction controls.
DrPeper (author)  jeff-o4 years ago
I have an Arduino (duemilanove), but with a 3d CNC machine I'll need to control at least 3. Don't I need a separate stepper motor control board for a stepper motor for the Arduino? Do I need 3 Arduinos?

It's funny you should mention 555 timer IC's, I remember doing things with it for my ECE class. I hadn't thought of using it to control a stepper motor.
jeff-o DrPeper4 years ago
Just one arduino, and a stepper motor shield (or breakout board).

Here is one that can handle all three channels:

And here's one from Sparkfun that will do one stepper (of course, you'll need three of these):
DrPeper (author)  jeff-o4 years ago
Thanks for the information!

I *think* I have one (one motor) motor shield, but I had to put all my stuff in storage and I'm not sure where my electronics box is. I'll have to go through the storage unit and look for it all. Trouble is at my new place I don't have a dedicated space for projects anymore, space is tight and I like a lot of room for projects.

I like the 3 channel motor controller, but I think at this point I'd rather buy one pre-made. However, money is tight.

jeff-o DrPeper4 years ago
Well, Sparkfun is running another Free Day soon, maybe you can get what you need then!
DrPeper (author)  jeff-o4 years ago
Well I put it on my calendar, did my research, and waited but I was unable to get any free stuff this time around. I'll wait for the next one I guess.
DrPeper (author) 4 years ago
Slurping Marmoset Nuggets!! I think I've figured out that smooth braiding machine. UUUUUUGGGHHHH!!! I'd sell body parts for a laser cutter or 3d printer right now!
DrPeper (author)  DrPeper4 years ago
Thank you all for the brainstorm session!

If anyone is interested, I have created a rough drawing of how the braiding machine works. The cool thing (I THINK) is that you are not limited to any set amount of spindles, you could use 8 to 16, or possibly more.

The only thing missing is some sort of mechanism to kick the spindle into the next gear. Plus I was thinking of a stationary magnet to attract the spindle to the next gear but the rotating gear would pull it off the magnet. Of course I'll have to figure out exactly how many indentations to put on the gear so that two spindles can never collide on the exchange point.

Now I don't suppose there are any fabricators out there?
DrPeper (author)  DrPeper4 years ago
Here is some more design idea sketches for the smooth braiding machine.
The different "cords" would need to be fed in gears opposite one another, AND they would need to be 'left and right of each other also (wider gears), and one more thing, something to cross them back and forth as they clear each gear.
DrPeper (author)  Goodhart4 years ago
Well I'm not sure I understand all your points. But I think I understand the first one about the "strands/cords" being opposite one another on the gears, which I thought I represented appropriately on the sketches. So please tell me if I'm wrong?

The second point, I don't think I understand.

The third point I think is about passing the spindle between gears?
Well, when I envisioned it in my mind, I saw the alternate ones running into one another, unless they were offset by a little, and then "moved" from side to side. as well as pulled into the machine. Maybe I should think about it more tomorrow when I am more awake :-)
DrPeper (author)  Goodhart4 years ago
Seriously, I REALLY appreciate you taking the time to look into my little project. I DEFINITELY appreciate your input! Thank you!
You're welcome. I love doing "thought experiements" :-)
DrPeper (author)  steveastrouk4 years ago
Yes, I did see that one, as well as the ones like it made from Lego Technic (see below). The Meccano and the Lego ones are a little clumsy in how it hands off spools. I found a video of antique braiding machine that was smooth and sexy. I was (am) aiming for that kind of smoothness.

Why oh why did they have to switch Meccano/Erector to plastic?
Ha ha ! Another meccano fan ! Salutations.

Why ? Because plastic is quicker to assemble, and is cheaper to make.

We should bring it back in Instructables.

Smoothness is only going to come from precision gears I'm afraid.

Did you delete and repost this comment? I thought I saw it yesterday, but the time stamp is just two hours ago...
DrPeper (author)  kelseymh4 years ago
Yep, I updated the diagrams, so I thought it would be best to delete and repost.
You could also edit the forum topic text directly.
its not braiding but the boy scout manule from 1968 has a badge build for rope making.a very simple maching that runs on a crank that could be drill powered .it is a 2 man/woman job.
DrPeper (author)  bikerbob20054 years ago
Yeah that's probably the rope twisting machine that seems to be all over the internet. It's quick and simple and would make a fine boyscout project. Thanks for the input!
caitlinsdad4 years ago
try "rope laying machine" or "cable laying machine", google images may help you find it. Good luck.
But don't those just "twist" rather than "braid"?
I guess depending on one's needs, one has to compare the tensile strengths of the twisted vs braided rope, dynamic and static loading and see if either one fits the bill. Repurposed shopping bag rope may not be up to par for pulling a tank out of mud but it'll sure hold your tent down. Just offering another approach that may help in the search or maybe an alternate method that may work.
"yarn braiding machine" "thread braiding machine" "cable braiding machine" etc.
DrPeper (author)  kelseymh4 years ago
Yeah, Image Google-ing for "rope laying machine" brought up pictures of the rope twisting machines, not the braiding machines I'm looking for. "cable laying machine" brought up bridge building machines or cable burring machines, or deep sea cable laying machines.

I think I have the braiding machine figured out, it's just an even number of counter rotating gears (say 8 for example), what I can't figure out is how to pass the spindle from one gear to the other.
DrPeper (author) 4 years ago
I was (finally) able to find this little beauty built with Meccano (Erector).   There's a YouTube video of a 3 strand brading machine made with a Lego NXT set.  Which is rather sweet, but only 3 strands.  I was hoping to find something as smooth as this.
Wow. That makes my eyes hurt... For something "smooth," you'll probably have to pay some money. Have you tried checking in person at your local kitting or quilting shop? They might know of resources that aren't as easy to find online.