Ring Weaving 

Ring Weaving

Whereas most sorts of weaving are performed using open-ended strands, ring weaving is performed using closed loops.

Here's a "3-in-1" ring weaving pattern:

Hexagonal "3-in-1" fabric

The main application of ring weaving currently appears to be making chainmail fabrics.

Classical "4-in-1" fabric

Becasue of its historical significance various possibilities for weaving out of rings have been studied extensively since ancient times.

Soccer ball

The above sphere is woven using the pattern of a soccer ball. It has 12 pentagons and 20 hexagons.


Dodecahedron II

The above sphere is a woven dodecahedron.

A fabric composed of many small rings typically has quite different properties from one produced using triaxial weaving.

These designs are related to the other woven spheres which I have constructed.

Those spheres use a more conventional sort of triaxial weaving - but are also made entirely out of rings.

Soccer ball

Pros and cons

Traditionally, weaving with rings has been employed when a flexible fabric is needed - but the individual elements need to be strong.

Chainmail a good example of this.

Another advantage to weaving with rings is that the edges of the fabric have no sharp edges.

As an example of another application where strength, lightness, and a lack of sharp edges can be useful, consider bottoms of baskets.

Large-scale structures

The digrams illustrated here appear to be very lightweight for the area they enclose - perhaps even more so than triaxial weaving designs.

Also they have a pleasing modularity - as the "dome" illustration suggests.

They also have some aesthetically pleasing properties.

However there are some major drawbacks compared to the triaxail woven designs:

Materials are usually available in straight sections - not rings. A material needs to be flexible to be bent into a small ring - and that flexibility is usually incompatible with structural strength.

In the case of small rings, you can buy pre-formed washers, split washers and split rings as construction materials - and these are designed to be round. However on larger scales such pre-formed round materials are not so conveniently available.

As another drawback, when flat-section materials are available bending them into small loops is easy to do in one direction and hard to do in the other. The more difficult direction is the one the material would need to be bent into for the result to look like a flat washer. If the material is bent in the other direction, the flat section fails to lie in the same plane as the resulting fabric - and the material strongly resists the weaving process.



Large scale ring weaving links

Rick Flowerday
Geodesic Beyond
Geometry Of Fullerenes

Chainmail links

MailleArtisans - very comprehensive list of existing ring fabrics
Armchair Armoury
Chainmail Curved Spaces
Article on making chainmail

Ring resources

BraidDirect - split rings (UK)
Berkley - flat rings (UK)
Armchair Armoury chainmail rings (UK)
worthco - split rings


Radiolaria - which illustrate a similar pattern

Tim Tyler | Contact | http://hexdome.com/