A total of 18 boxes and heavy (HEAVY) crates totaling 1800+ lbs arrived and it took a fork lift to get them off the truck- and even the fork lift struggled!
The new loom is an AVL IDL hand built in California. It took 3 days and a technician (our new best friend Aaron) from AVL to actually unpack and assemble the beast. While this new loom is technically called 'Industrial' I would describe it more as a semi-automated hand loom. The setup that is required to run any floor loom- big or small, is also required of this. Wind cone, beam warp onto the sectional beam, thread heddles, sley reed, and finally tie on and tension. All by hand.
The automated part comes into play when the loom is actually running. The dobby system (how the harnesses raise and lower to create your pattern), the fly shuttles, and the cloth advance are all run using an air compressor. While the loom should be able to run without supervision once it's set up, the shuttles run out of yarn and small weaving errors can occur making the loom not so self sufficient. So while the loom isn't being run using human power, it still requires a human to power it.
What we love most about the new loom is the ability to weave more fabric, faster than we could by hand. Not only that, anything we can weave by hand can be woven on this loom. We aren't restricted to one size or fiber content of yarn like most truly industrial looms are. There has definitely been a learning curve getting this thing up and running, we're about 4 warps in right now and finally feel confident she'll do what we ask of her.