Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Card is Coming Together!

Numerous and many in-depth google and bing searches have convinced me that the woodruff keys I need are $30 to $35 each. Outrageous for a half moon shaped hunk of iron approximately 5/8" x 3.5" long.  So, being innovative (at least my Dad is), we decided to purchase some 5/8" keystock and make two keys. The keystock was a little over $12 and we could make THREE--count 'em--THREE keys from it. Only made two, for now.

Today was a very productive day. That isn't to say we've been slacking off since the last post--in fact, we continued to clean, repair and replace many parts on the carder. However, at the end of the day, today, I could see some real progress. The carder is finally coming together--literally.

Dad grinding down a key to make it fit perfectly

While Dad was grinding and fitting the keys, I adjusted the fancy. This is done by chalking an area under the fancy on the main cylinder, placing the fancy back on, turning it swiftly, then removing it again to measure the width of the area where the fancy brushed out the chalk.

You can just see the line where the fancy brushed the carder

The fancy is readily adjustable depending on the fineness of the wool being processed. I decided to set the width at 1" for medium wools. It started out over 2" wide and needed several fine adjustments to get it down to 1". 

While the fancy was off, we decided to check the distances between the main cylinder, the workers and the strippers. There should be about 15/1000" distance between each item. One stripper was way too close (we could hear the teeth on the cards interfering). We reset that stripper. The other workers and strippers were "close enough" for the time being. In actuality, the distance is supposed to be checked with the belt on. We were just doing a preliminary check.

Dad checking the distance between a worker and the main cylinder using feeler gauges

By mid-day, I was very chilled and Dad was ready for a nap. We agreed to meet back in the shed in a few hours.

Later in the day, we started to move the breast and align it with the card. 

The breast, on skids, is a fair distance from the card

Look familiar? Yep, back to jacking up a bit on each side to remove the skid without twisting the breast

The breast is on four steel rollers. Dad welded 1/2" square tubing onto 3/8" x 4" steel plates to make a track for the breast to roll on. The square tubing is a guide so that the breast will not fall off the plate. 

This shows the track that the breast will roll on

We set the rollers on the track and then moved the breast closer to the card. But let me back up a moment. When the breast was still on skids, we adjusted the steel pipes under the skids in order to align the breast with the card. Slight adjustments to the angle of the pipe and we were able to get a fair alignment.

This is where we left the breast for now. The bolt in the middle needs to line up perfectly with the card. We are about 1/2" out of alignment at the moment--plan to fix that using dueling jacks (one on each side of the breast to move is just a slight amount at a time). 

But the day was not over. The main leather drive belt was in the house warming up. When it was cold, it was about 2 3/4" too short. Warming it up gave us just enough stretch to get it on the card. The belt drives the main cylinder, the strippers, and the fancy. 

Success! The belt is in place. BTW, the fancy is the roller on the far right--it has much longer teeth than the other parts of the card and is the only piece that meshes with the card. 

Here's the other side of the card with another leather belt placed successfully

What a great day. It feels like the card is finally coming together.

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