This is the second post in a series, highlighting bits of equipment that I love. I have paid for all of these items, they're not ones that I have been given. If I've bought them at a show I may have received a slight trade discount, but it's never been one I've asked for, and in all cases I've been prepared to pay the full price. If you're not a guild member it can sometimes to be hard to get a sense on what it's really like to use a piece of equipment. I'll be scrupulously honest, if I like a piece of equipment I'll say so and explain why. If other options are available, and I've tried them I'll explain why I don't like them.
Bobbins usually come along with any wheel you purchase. It used to be you were stuck with the bobbins that came with your spinning wheel, or would have to ask a wood turner to make a copy. However, the new 3D printing technology now means it's possible to step outside of the ones made by the manufacturers.
I've owned a Schacht Matchless for a number of years now, I bought it second hand and it came with the standard 4 bobbins. I wanted more bobbins to allow me to spin for a bigger project, without having to stop and wind off singles on to storage bobbins. Schacht bobbins in the UK are eyewateringly expensive compared to the bobbins of other wheel manufacturers. It's got slightly better now they have the brown plastic ones, but they're still a lot of money for a piece of moulded plastic.
I'd come across Akerworks bobbins on Ravelry, and thought how great they looked. Then I costed out buying them... with the exchange rates of 8 years ago it came out at the same price for me to order 3 bobbins from Akerworks as it was to have 3 original wooden Schacht bobbins, even taking in to account international postage and customs fees.
As a bonus they would be in the colour of my choosing, and they'd be lighter (better for spinning fine yarn), and they would breakdown and be easier to store when not in use.
If you have a wheel with slightly less eye wateringly expensive manufacturer made bobbins then Akerworks probably are more expensive, but they are lovely to use and definitely easier to store when not in use.
The ends are 3-D printed and then rotate and click on to a shaft, they spend a lot of time testing bobbins, so they're a really good fit on the flyer shaft, definitely no rattling!
Because the ends have missing sections the bobbin is really lightweight, which makes it much easier to spin finer yarn as the bobbin has less momentum. You also get the very cool effect of seeing your yarn build up in layers of different colours.
If Akerworks aren't in the budget then there are now quite a few open-source files to 3-D print all sorts of spinning wheel bobbins. You can either look for a local Makerspace with a 3D printer, or there are companies that will print files for you on places like Etsy, or there are links on Thinngverse to companies who will print the files.