Instructables
Picture of $50 Drum Carder (for combing fibers)
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A drum carder is an efficient way to card wool to make a batt from which you spin.

I bought a piece of 120 TPI (teeth per inch) 8" x 8" carding cloth from a vendor on etsy.com for about $30.  I often spin angora and alpaca, but for recommendations on TPI for other types of fibers, see the comments below.

These supplies cost about $20 from a home improvement store:

(1) 2" PVC pipe (2ft)
(2) 2" PVC end caps
(1) 1/2" threaded rod (3 foot)
(1) 1/4" threaded rod (1 foot)
(9) 1/2" nuts
(6) 1/2" lock washers
(2) 1/4" nuts
(2) 1/4" lock washers
(1) small paint roller
(1) tube silicone adhesive

The "licker in" brush is a "regular" hand carder with maybe 72 TPI that I had on hand.
 
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Step 1: Prepare the Drum

Picture of Prepare the Drum
I bought a 2' length of 2" PVC pipe. To cut it to length, measure inside the end caps and mark it on the drum.  Don't actually put on the end caps; if you do, you'll have a heck of a time getting them off.  : )

Lay the 8" x 8" carding cloth next to that line (making sure that the margins devoid of teeth are on the outsides and not where they would overlap).  Mark the length of the other end cap and cut.  Drill holes about 1/2" in from the line to aid in sewing the carding cloth to the pipe.

Trim the carding cloth if it overlaps more than 1", but know that a layer of the silicone adhesive will add 1/16" or so in diameter to the pipe.  Don't panic if the ends don't meet completely; you can fill in the seam with more silicone later.


bonnaw10 months ago
is it possible to use a large pvc pipe to make a larger amount of batting at a time? say 8" pvc roller for this project....
meralgia (author)  bonnaw10 months ago
It might be possible. I know they sell many sizes. At the time I was unable to afford much more than an 8" x 8" square of the carding cloth. That stuff gets quite pricey!
Devrimm1 year ago
Hi !!!

I just was looking for this !!! Thank you. Good work !!!
But, I don't think if I can find the stuff which has small teeths on. The one, you covered your work. What if I use very very thin steal wire?
meralgia (author)  Devrimm1 year ago
you can buy the carding cloth from the howard brush company online.
ssanny1 year ago
This is SO cool!
flyingpuppy2 years ago
Thank you so much for this tutorial! I needed it. BTW, I wanted to rate your 'ible but can't find where the stars went to. 5* when I can actually rate it.
PS1182 years ago
I've wanted to build a carding machine for ages!  I love this! (5 stars from me!)

Even if you someday went crazy and made a full carding machine, this drum could be re-used as a boffer, stripper, or intake drum!

Where exactly did you get the carding cloth tho?  (I haven't been able to find a cheap source)  Also, what kind of wool are you carding and how many teeth/inch is the carding cloth?

Finally, what are you using for the "slicker"?  Is that a pet brush or an actual carding brush?
meralgia (author)  PS1182 years ago
Thanks for your reply!! I went on etsy.com and typed in "carding cloth". The teeth per inch available are generally 54, 72, 90, and 120. I generally spin alpaca and angora rabbit, so the fine carding cloth is recommended. They don't have a very long staple length, so the 2" PVC pipe is all I need. If you use a longer staple length, you may have to purchase a longer carding cloth and use a 4" pipe.

This is according to https://www.woolery.com/store/pc/Selecting-a-Carder-d11.htm
"Selecting Carding Cloth
Coarse: 45-54 teeth per square inch (tpi), used for more open fibers.

Regular: 72 teeth per square inch, Can be used for coarse and mid-range fibers such as Cheviot, Romney and adult Mohair. Useful for carding wool such as Border Leichester to get a deep batt. NOT recommended for fine fibers.

Fine: 90-120 teeth per square inch. For most fibers, again NOT recommended for fine fibers.

Extra Fine: 190-255 teeth per square inch. For ALL fibers, especially very fine varieties. Can be used for Cotton, Merino, Llama, Alpaca, Cashmere, Dog Hair and other exotics.

Tpi stands for teeth per square inch. It is used in reference to the carding cloth used on your drum carder, hand carders, or flicker. How many you need depends on what fiber you want to card. Keep in mind that not one set will work perfectly for every fiber but, for the most part a pair ranging from 72-112 TPI will work on most wool."

I used a regular hand carder for the "licker in". I believe this is a 72 TPI cloth. I use a dog slicker comb as a separate burnishing brush before I take off the bat.
PS118 meralgia2 years ago
Great information!!!
So is that store where you got the carding cloth?