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Technical Information About Drum Carders

The True Facts About the Components and Methods We Use To Produce Our Drum Carders

There is a lot of misinformation out there. Being an engineering oriented company, we fully understand design parameters and wish to correct those misleading statements pertaining to the Strauch carder and make sure folks have the facts.

Regarding Durability

Drum carders take a lot of abuse and mishandling. Hence, our carders are designed to be attractive, strong, durable and easy to maintain. All machines, even when the sophisticated space shuttle was in service, needed periodic cleaning and maintenance; this is why we keep the components of our carders easily accessible and made of materials that are durable.

Remember, the more complicated a drum carder is, the more prone it is to breaking down--just ask any sports car or boat owner.

The Unique Licker-in Drum

The type of infeed drum on a carder is important. It greatly influences how the fiber is initially processed. All Strauch drum carders use a special carding cloth on the in-feed drum. This unique Slicker-Licker uses very smooth blades instead of the conventional pins. Years of use has shown that these blade-like teeth are far superior to the pin style for feeding fiber to the large drum.

The purpose of the small drum is to transfer fiber to the large drum. The blades "push" their way through the fibers, grab them and flick them onto the rotating large drum. The very smooth blades pre-align the fiber and make transfer to the large drum more complete with minimal fiber buildup on the small drum and most importantly, no damage to your precious fiber. If you put regular carding cloth on this drum, the tendency is for the fiber to hold on and wrap around, not what you want the infeed drum to do!

Since all other manufacturers use standard card cloth on BOTH drums, fiber wrap around is a constant issue.

Special Drum Construction

The hi-tech core (NOT cheap cardboard!) and MDF ends make our drum core assembly stable, strong and light weight. Older, obsolete solid wood cores, used by other manufacturers, were susceptible to warping, splitting and were very heavy. They were more difficult to turn because of their weight.

Fine Cloth on the Large Drum

The function of the carding cloth on the large drum (the take up drum) is to hold on to the fiber. The initial carding action takes place in the space where the two drums are closest. It is the counter rotation of these drums that cause the fiber to be separated and straightened. This is why the choice of the carding cloth of both drums is critical.

We have evaluated many different styles and pin densities of carding cloth on the Strauch carders and found that the 128 teeth per inch (#05 fine) carding cloth is the best and most versatile for carding all the various fibers now available to hand spinners.

Regarding Drum Balance

Getting fiber wrapped around the drum shaft does NOT cause an imbalance. Our carders do not require additional lubrication. If the operator uses the carder properly and does not grease anything there will be no fiber build up on the axle.

All of our chain drive carders are so well designed and constructed as to be "free spinning." With the Brush Attachment up, give the crank a good spin and the drums will keep turning on their own for 5-6 revolutions. You will also notice that the machine is quiet! The teeth of the drums do not intermesh.

Card Cloth Installation

We adhere the cloth to the drums with special adhesive to keep the cloth from shifting and puckering during carding. Furthermore, users tend to doff the drum quite severely during cleaning, which requires the cloth to be attached securely. If damaged or worn out, the cloth can be removed from the drums WITHOUT damaging the core. The entire drum does NOT have to be replaced. Old Fricke carders are often returned to us for reclothing.

Chain Drive

The chain on a Strauch carder is safe. It is protected by a guard and positioned such that there is no way any part of your body including your hair can be caught by the chain.

It is a simple, trouble free method used for the past 30 years and is far less complicated than counter-rotating gears.

The chain is not lubricated nor should it be. There are NO adjustments necessary. It's designed to run dry so that fiber will not stick to it. Furthermore, with proper care while carding, no fiber will get onto the chain, sprockets or bearings.

Special Bearing Blocks

There are obvious advantages to the modern solid aluminum bearing blocks. Aluminum won't warp, slip or crack like the older, obsolete wood or plastic. The oil impregnated bushings never need additional lubrication. They don't wear out.

Ball bearings are an over-kill. Unlike the wheel of a spinning wheel, the drums of a drum carder do not rotate continuously at a high speed. The impregnated bushings we use are more than sufficient and do not have moving parts like ball bearings. Remember the comment we made above regarding complexity.

Placement of Brush Attachment

The best position for the brush is where the fiber is just being picked up by the large drum. The brush is to immediately push the fiber into the drum's teeth. With very fine fibers like angora rabbit, placing the brush too far away will allow the fiber to "fly away".

The brush swings out of the way for convenience and easy batt removal.