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Pres

Power caulk gun to extruder conversion

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So my whining on another thread about dealing with "infirmaries" brought on a suggestion for extruding by Min.

 

@Pres, how about using an electric caulking gun? Ryobi makes an inexpensive one ($40 in Canada)  500 lbs of push force. I know the battery and charger would be expensive but if you already have those?

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After about a week of thinking about it and researching, I spent part of an afternoon at a lumber/hardware store and came up with what I hoped would be a solution.

I purchased the following:

  1.  Length of 1 1/2" inside diameter plastic pipe. 
  2. Reduction collar
  3. Electric Caulk gun sold without battery
  4. One battery and charger kit

At home, I cut the pipe to 81/4 ", as a standard caulk tube is 8 1/2 inches. I also cut off the end of the reducer, which gave me a collar to add to the end of the pipe. I also used a 1 1/2" hole saw to cut a Plexiglas plug to fit between the end of the plunger and clay,as a caulk tube has a plastic plug on it to keep caulk from getting to the plunger.  

I then removed the plunger end from the toothed rod with the center screw, and then the screw that held the backing plate and the plastic plunger end together. Using my dremel with my drill, I set up a bit to grind/sand the metal and plastic to the 1 1/2" diameter extruder tube. Then replaced these back on the toothed rod.

Well wedged clay was placed in the assembled extuder, the die on the end of the tube, the collar over top fitting on to the tube, then the clay( well wedged and rolled out to fit), and lastly the protection plate for the plunger with a little space in the end of the tube. Lastly the entire thing was placed into the caulk gun/clay extruder and within 3 minutes I had the three and a half lengths of handle around 8" long. So smooth, no cross lines from short pumps of the manual type handle, and so easy on my hands. Once again, Thanks to MIN!

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Caulk gun with battery

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8 1/4" X 1 1/2" diameter pipe, handle extruder die, collar made from reducer coupling, end for plunger of caulk gun

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Only change on Caulk gun was to grind/sand plunger end to fit into 1 1/2 ID pipe

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Plunger has a metal backer for plastic front, I separated both by removing center screw and side screw-simple.

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Set up for drill to change diameter of any pieces needed to be ground, cut smaller.

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Full tube of new power extruder gave me these teapot handles till the plunger was at the end of run

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This is getting a bit of use. I have more teapots to do, and 60 more mugs to finish up. I have also been looking at some design options with added on decoration and some hand built galleries for altered thrown forms. This because of the rise in the center walls when squaring a thrown bowl for lid. Lots of thinking to go yet. I have also heard from some that intend to do the same as they are running  into similar problems.

best,

Pres

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You gave me a great idea!   I have a metal cookie press set that has heavy duty components,   I think I can convert it to be used with with the power extruder.   If I have trouble with it I will just show it to my husband.  He loves to figure things like that out,  he is disappointed when I do a project like this without his help.   Denice

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The good thing about the caulk gun is the wide toothed drive system with no exposed area to the clay. I have found clean up to be simple, take the extrusion tube out of the gun after retracting the drive rod then put pieces in bucket of water to soak until clean. Have used this now for 60 mugs and 10 teapots. . . so much easier.

 

best,

Pres

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I have been extruding handles since the 80's-stronger handles-less time and always the same.

I use a die in my extruders as I have so many handles per week. 3 sizes of handles for all my size mugs

Glad to see you embrace this everyone. Used to be more critics due to the lack of taper thoughts. Never was an issue for me.

Edited by Mark C.

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I find that I have been using the power extruder now for white and a darker hazelnut clay. Have been taking great care a cleaning the tube and end collar out well, but realized I still have some pipe left over, and a new collar is cheap, so I built a second one for the white clay. Oh yeah, and the collar is made from a 1 1/2" trap adapter part number Everbilt C9000 a google search will find them all over.

 

best,

Pres

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HI folks,

This month the article that Min and I wrote about modifying and using the power caulk gun as an extruder is in Ceramics Monthly, March issue. Titled Tips and Tools: extruder conversion, page 62 & 64. I hope that those of you having some of the same problems I have had will find it helpful. 

 

best,

Pres

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Nice idea! Makes me think of another DIY inspired tool. There is a sausage stuffer that is made using PVC pipe, and a water pump; Its called the Kirby Cannon..a little google searching will show you in all its glory. Would more than likely have enough power to force out clay instead of meat. It would probably cost more to make than the powered caulk gun, but you could make a tube which would allow you to extrude 20-30 pounds of clay at a time....could be useful for large extrusions, and would be cheaper than commercially manufactured power extruders.

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17 minutes ago, hitchmss said:

Nice idea! Makes me think of another DIY inspired tool. There is a sausage stuffer that is made using PVC pipe, and a water pump; Its called the Kirby Cannon..a little google searching will show you in all its glory. Would more than likely have enough power to force out clay instead of meat. It would probably cost more to make than the powered caulk gun, but you could make a tube which would allow you to extrude 20-30 pounds of clay at a time....could be useful for large extrusions, and would be cheaper than commercially manufactured power extruders.

Pnuematic sausage stuffers would work, I just havent had time and money to order one yet.  I use a standard caulking gun extruder and the key for me to not get pump marks on it was to get the cheap style, not the dripless style.  Dripless caulk gun will pull back a little when you let up on the handle, a cheap one stays in place so you don't get a line.  

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@Pres Id have to guess that if one were to make a nice size Kirby Cannon extruder it would cost in excess of $2-300. Those big pvc tubes cost a fair bit. The caulk gun is a great idea for small extrusions!

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Another nice thing about the caulking gun extruder is the charger and battery for the brand Pres used can be used on any of the 18V products that Ryobi makes so the battery and charger can be used for far more than the caulking extruder gun alone. Brings the actual cost down substantially if the battery is used for other tools.

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11 minutes ago, Min said:

Another nice thing about the caulking gun extruder is the charger and battery for the brand Pres used can be used on any of the 18V products that Ryobi makes so the battery and charger can be used for far more than the caulking extruder gun alone. Brings the actual cost down substantially if the battery is used for other tools.

Or if you're handy and cautious a pair of alligator clips and any 16-20v tool battery and you're all set!  When I was looking for powered caulk guns I saw a Makita and it was 200+!!! Would be way cheaper to get the Ryobi and just jump it to my Makita batteries. 

Disclaimer: don't attempt this, would be pretty easy to shock the crap out of yourself or start a fire.  When I mean handy and cautious I mean stupid and carefree (which is a dangerous combination)

Edited by liambesaw

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so, who among you is going to be the toolmaker we can all hire, i am not doing business here but suggesting that you think about it.    successful tool makers started somewhere.

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Someone just needs to make a kit with the end of the plunger already sized, the barrel and the collar. maybe a die or two. 

Talk about dies, I was in at HS where I taught, a new tech guy there will be teaching with laser cutter and 3D printer. Took me to his lab, and he made a handle die on the computer, cut it with a laser-center and inside cut. in less than a minute! 1/4 inch plexiglass.

 

 

best,

Pres

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