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Soooo, Stupid Question, But How Do I Use This Pugmill?


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#1 g-bus

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Posted 18 August 2014 - 01:51 PM

I bought out a small home studio that came with a Bluebird 440 de-airing pugmill. I'm planning to sell the pugmill since I don't really need it (but would be great to have) and can pretty much offset the price of what I paid for everything by selling it. I want to make sure it's working properly so thought I'd run the clay I have through it, since I've been working on reclaiming a bunch anyways. Have already opened it up and cleaned it, so it's good to go as far as that's concerned. Thing is I've never used one, and of course I didn't get the manual with it. Can't seem to find one online either. I noticed a previous post about this on this forum, and there was some great info on cleaning it up and some maintenance, but can't find anything on actually using it. I've fired it up and motor on pump/compressor and pugmill work, but had a couple of questions before I actually throw some clay in there.

As far as the regulator goes, is it just supposed to sit on top of it's space on the barrel, or is the plastic plate supposed to be secured somehow? When I turned it on the regulator didn't register anything. Would it only do this with clay in the barre, thus sealing the barrel and creating a seal for the vacuum? I was thinking maybe once a seal is created and the vacuum action kicks in it would seal the plate to the barrel, and this is how the regulator measures the  negative pressure, but that's just me speculating.

And the valve that the pump is attached to, should this be closed (can't see the hole) or open? I know sounds pretty basic but I'm not real sure exactly how this confounded contraption functions. And does something go on the top side of this valve? The hose to the compressor is on the bottom side, but wanted to make sure I'm not missing something.

Lastly, the little lever attached to the spring in the chamber under where the regulator sits: what is the function of this? What position should it be in during use? When I turned on the pugmill I could see that the auger was hitting it as it rotated and flicking. Is it supposed to do this, or is some messed up/misaligned?

Any other info advice you think is necessary would be greatly appreciated. Thank in advance!



#2 GEP

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Posted 18 August 2014 - 05:12 PM

As far as the regulator goes, is it just supposed to sit on top of it's space on the barrel, or is the plastic plate supposed to be secured somehow?

I have a Bluebird 440, which I bought secondhand.

There should be a black rubber gasket around the bottom of the clear plastic plate. According to the manual, it should be enough to create a tight seal when the vacuum is turned on. If yours did not come with a a gasket, you might be able to buy one from Bluebird.

For me the gasket does not work, because the pugmill has some (I believe) limescale buildup on the lip of the barrel, the surface is not smooth enough to make a seal with the gasket. The person I bought it from said she would put a coil of clay around the lip of the barrel, in order to create a tight seal. If your gasket is missing or does not work, this would be a quick solution for you, if you only plan to use it a few times before selling it. In my case I wanted a more permanent solution, so I made a homemade gasket with silicone caulk. I wrapped the top of the barrel, and the plastic plate, with Glad Press-n-Seal wrap, squeezed a bead of caulk on the lip of the barrel, set the plastic plate on top, then waited a few days for the caulk to cure. Then I peeled off the Press-n-Seal wrap, and now I have a dry caulk gasket that makes a nice tight seal and lasts for a few years.


And the valve that the pump is attached to, should this be closed (can't see the hole) or open? I know sounds pretty basic but I'm not real sure exactly how this confounded contraption functions. And does something go on the top side of this valve? The hose to the compressor is on the bottom side, but wanted to make sure I'm not missing something.

Closed. And as far as I know, nothing goes on top of the valve. I don't think you are missing anything.

Lastly, the little lever attached to the spring in the chamber under where the regulator sits: what is the function of this? What position should it be in during use? When I turned on the pugmill I could see that the auger was hitting it as it rotated and flicking. Is it supposed to do this, or is some messed up/misaligned?

The spring-loaded lever will constantly open and close while the pugmill is on. I believe its function is to keep the opening that leads to the vacuum chamber from getting clogged with clay. I don't know if the auger is supposed to hit it, I've never opened up my pugmill that far.


Lastly, when I got the pugmill I called Bluebird (970-484-3243) and they mailed me the manual. They would probably answer questions on phone too.
Mea Rhee
Good Elephant Pottery
http://www.goodelephant.com

#3 alabama

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Posted 18 August 2014 - 08:20 PM

Hey,

    I bought a used Bluebird 440 several years ago.  I have never used the de-airing pump because we

used one at the college and I wasn't impressed with it.  I'd concentrate on the pug mill.

There is a motor, connection with rubber grommitt, a bearing with grease fitting, and the shaft

to the auger.

 

    Nothing should be hitting... so take off the cover and check for excessive play and while you're at

it give the bearing a shot of grease.  If you need a new rubber grommitt/spacer you'll have to take the old

one off by loosening the "holder" with a allen wrench and sliding it back.  Take the old grommitt to

a welding supply co. and see if they have them. (the company I use (Apel Mfg.) in Hanceville, sell

them for about $4.00.)  (The school bought 2 from Bluebird for $30.00 plus)  The black rubber

spacer can actually be used twice since only half of it is used at a time.  To do so, loosen the

"holder" slide it back enough to rotate the rubber spacer and slide everything back in place.

But don't wait until it is coming apart in pieces.

I tape the allen wrench and extra rubber spacers to the inside of the cover so I don't have to look

far.  You should be able to find a manual online.

 

If it is hitting, you'll have to find out why rather shortly since it won't take long for the steel auger

to wear thru the aluminum frame.

 

Hope this helps,

Alabama



#4 Marcia Selsor

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Posted 19 August 2014 - 08:23 AM

Personally,

If you are thinking of selling it, I would not use it because you'll need to clean it out. If you don't know how to use it, you may have difficulties taking it apart and cleaning it. That is unless it is not cleaned already. The lever is for pushing the clay down through the auger.

 

 

Marcia



#5 Biglou13

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Posted 19 August 2014 - 09:19 AM

pm me i might know someone who needs one


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#6 alabama

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Posted 19 August 2014 - 11:51 AM

 When I turned on the pugmill I could see that the auger was hitting it as it rotated and flicking. Is it supposed to do this, or is some messed up/misaligned?

 

 

Hey,

     I read it as the auger was hitting the casing!!!  Sorry.

Inside the vaccuum part is a lever that is pulled up by a spring and I guess pulled down by vaccuum or

a cam.  Thats normal.  Annoying, but normal.  My Bluebird pugmill's vaccuum spring is broken so I don't

worry about it. 

    

     Oh, the connector between the motor and the auger is called a "lovejoy" connector.  Maybe this helps

finding the rubber spacer, which I think is called a "spider" washer.  or spider gear...

 

Goodluck,

Alabama

 






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