STRAUCH DRUM CARDER Facts
TThe True Facts About the Components and Methods I Use To Produce My Drum Carders (by Otto Strauch - Manufacturer of Strauch Drumcarders)
There is a lot of misinformation out there. Being an engineer, I fully understand design parameters and wish to correct those misleading statements pertaining to the Strauch carder and make sure folks have accurate facts.
Drum carders take a lot of abuse and mishandling. Hence, my carders are designed to be not only attractive but strong, durable and easy to maintain. All machines, even the sophisticated space shuttle, need periodic cleaning and maintenance; this is why I keep the components of my carder easily accessible and made of materials that are durable. For instance, the feed tray is made of galvanized metal so it won't break, warp or crack like wood.
Remember, the more complicated a drum carder is, the more prone it is to breaking down--just ask any sports car or boat owner.Lifetime Guarantee--
There may be other carder manufacturers that don't stand behind their products--but I do! I built my reputation on that. All my drum carders have a lifetime guarantee. I am always available to assist my customers and when older Fricke carders come back to me for upgrades, they leave my shop looking and functioning like new.
The Unique Lickerin drum--
The purpose of the small drum is to transfer fiber to the large drum. If you put pins on this drum, the tendency is for the fiber to hold on--that's what card cloth is supposed to do! Curt Fricke realized this and developed the original "slicker-licker" blade style cloth in 1991 which has become synonymous with Fricke/Strauch carders. In fact, this is one of the main reasons I purchased the carding portion of Fricke Enterprises in March 2000. It's a truly unique drum carder.
This special card cloth has smooth, straight teeth which give a more gentle carding action to the fiber. The very smooth blades tend to pre-align the fiber and make transfer to the large drum more complete with virtually no fiber buildup on the small drum. Beware of other carder manufactures copying this design.Special Drum construction-- The hi-tech thick fiber core (NOT cardboard!) and MDF ends make our drum core assembly stable, strong and light weight. Older, obsolete solid wood cores were susceptible to warping, splitting and they were very heavy. Customers often return their old heavy drums to me for replacement with the lighter ones!
Regarding Drum balance--
Getting fiber wrapped around the drum shaft does NOT cause an imbalance. My 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 my chain drive carders are so well designed and constructed as to be "free spinning," Give it a good spin and the drums will keep turning on their own for 5-6 turns.
Card cloth installation--
I 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. The cloth can be removed from the drums WITHOUT damaging the core. The entire drum does NOT have to be replaced. Older Fricke carders are often returned to me for reclothing.
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 use no fiber will get onto the chain, sprockets or bearings.
The chain on the Fricke/Strauch carders is NOT troublesome and dangerous. 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 it far less complicated than counter-rotating gears.
Why My Bearing blocks--
There are obvious advantages of the modern solid aluminum bearing blocks. Aluminum won't warp, slip or crack like the older and obsolete wood or plastic. The oil impregnated bushings never need additional lubrication. They don't wear out. Even the original Fricke carders have been using them for the past 10 YEARS and no one has complained that the drum shaft started "flopping around".
Ball bearings are an over-kill. Unlike the wheel of a spinning wheel, the drums of a drum carder do not rotate continuously and at a high speed. The impregnated bushings I use are more than sufficient and do not have moving parts like ball bearings. Remember the comment I made above regarding complexity.
Purpose of Different drums--
You DON'T need different drums with the Fricke/Strauch carder. The "05 Extra Fine"-128 TPI is used for ALL fibers, especially the very fine varieties. With care, can be used with Merino, Llama, Alpaca, Cashmere blend, dog hair and other exotics.
Different drums are offered for those with special needs--like felters who want a thick batt with fibers not precisely aligned.
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".
For convenience and easy batt removal, the brush swings out of the way of the large drum.