Monday, August 16, 2010

Tumbler trials

My wonderful husband is always looking for ways to assist in making fiber production easier. Currently we do everything at our home, which makes it truly hand produced. But, it is time consuming. While I love spinning yarn and knitting up items, I'm not as fond of the flicking of fiber and skirting of fiber. J read about a way to make a fiber tumbler from a dryer. You only need the dryer to spin, no heat (heat will make the fiber felt). He found a dryer on Craig's list that was very cheap, because it only heated half of the time. Since we won't hook up the heat, it's perfect for us. Even more neat, it's a fairly new dryer (I was expecting an ancient dinosaur of a thing), so it's light (easy to transport home), and looks nice too. Not that it matters, it's in my fiber room:

We plugged the electric in so the dryer will run (tumble).  We did not vent it outside since it is not hooked up to heat (which for us would be propane), and because it is in a not quite finished part of our basement.  You could vent it outside and then the extra dirt and debris would go outside.  But if you do that, be sure to clean out your vent frequently.  We just let it vent into the room and I sweep it up frequently (that way there is less chance of a clogged vent).  Some of the debris goes into the lint trap, so I make sure to clean that out after every tumbling load.

To make it into a fiber tumbler, Rare Earth Magnets are glued to the end of nails (he used epoxy to attach the nails to the magnets).  Nails and epoxy were found at our local home improvement store.  The Rare Earth Magnets were the most expensive purchase for this fiber tumbler and those he had to find on-line and have mailed to us.

Epoxy is used to attach the nails to the Rare Earth Magnets and then placed inside the dryer at regular intervals:

That's it!  We load a batch of fiber in there, and tumble it for about 20 minutes.  Then it's ready to use.


Dena said...

I have alpacas and llamas (3 llamas, 12 alpacas) and this sounds like a great idea.
How well did it work, would you do it again, what would you change?

oak haven alpacas said...


It works great! I am so glad we have it. It totally changed how I process fiber at home. I was doing it all by hand, now I have this tumbler to help me out :)


Mom's Mourning said...

I have to ask-why did you put magnets in instead of just attaching the nails directly to the walls of the dryer? What benefit is there to having magnets instead of just the nails, or even just a metal washer of some size instead of the magnets? Would love to know. Thanks.

Lucie B. said...

How many pound do you put in the dryer??

I bought a small machine dryer for my alpaca raw fleece.

Thank you.


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