Ons verhaal van de koordmaker

Our story of the cord maker

Origin of the idea

Ultimately, there is someone in every family who is involved with technological things, such as 3D printing. In my case, that was me... I see 3D printing as a "now you can do anything", including replacing and repairing plastic pieces, gadgets that make life a little easier and the like.

A long time ago when I went to visit my parents, the subject of crocheting and knitting came up. Obviously I have no knowledge of this, let alone how to knit a simple scarf. When suddenly the eyes were on me, the question came from a family member: "Hey, can't you help me with your 3D printing?" Of course that is a general question. But how can 3D printing help crochet and knitting? Plastic must be melted and not processed with a needle (I thought at the time).

The problem was clear: threads that can be used in ply-split braiding still have to be twisted or woven. Usually by hand, or one by one with a hand drill. As I understand it, that takes a massively long time. After watching some videos of people using handmade cord makers, the verdict came: "will you make me one of those?". "Sure!". It immediately became clear to me that there was a lot of demand for this and that it was hardly available anywhere, but it wasn't about the financial aspects for me. I wanted to be the first to help people with this so that they could continue with pleasure.

I knew immediately, I would be working on this for a while. I honestly have no idea how tight those cords should be, or how long. What I am strong at is solving problems with 3D printing!

The first designs

3D printing is done as a secondary profession. My main profession is a teacher in secondary education. Once I was on the train on the way to school, the first sketches came.

The 3D drawing, simulation and checking took about a week. It had to be PERFECT ! People should be able to use this as a tool, and it should be smooth and easy to use! The first test prints were made on the machines, and the first problems immediately appeared:

  • The production time was enormous, as was the material used. My price was too high to ask customers
  • The hooks were too far apart. It was a "clunky thing" back then.
  • The cord maker was unstable and shook enormously when turning
  • The back was not shielded and therefore dangerous for rotating parts

But hey, a first prototype is never good right away! The problems were easy to address. First I decided to print the white plate myself. Originally I was looking for someone who could CNC mill the plate for me from Teflon, but that price was just ridiculous. They asked almost EUR 150 for one simple plate in which the hook screws would be attached.

I was able to easily shield the back with plexiglass that was cut to size with a laser machine. I still have those pieces made. Thank you Wijnand, who I found after a long search! You should contact him for all custom laser work. See Facebook https://www.facebook.com/wijnand.bles .

After weeks of testing and tweaking, I published the first version online and it was ready for sale.

Ready for sale!

The asking price is still the same as today, EUR 120. It is often overlooked that it takes a while for such a cord maker to be fully ready. The total time required to print the cord maker on the machines is 16 hours. I wanted the prize lower without cutting into my own skin, but how? I couldn't afford the materials I needed, and I also had to make a profit. Then the idea came to offer the cord maker as a construction kit. People can build it themselves at home, because I have already seen that through videos.

To this day, this item remains one of the most successful sales. I have already received a lot of feedback from customers about things that could be improved, and it has always been neatly processed. I keep tweaking the design here and there to improve it even further. It should be a useful tool, not a frustration ;-)

- Robin De Jaeger

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