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rakukuku

What's A Good Extruder?

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Anyone use an extruder much? We have an old junky one in our studio that I would like to replace but not sure whats a good one.  Espcially interested in one thats easy to clean out.  Any ideas?  We make extruded mugs alot.   rakuku

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My top requirement: stainless steel barrel. Second top: the quality of the dies. If you have made custom dies and want to keep using them, then you'll need to find a new extruder that works with them (or remake you dies to fit another extruder). If you are only using dies that come with the extruder, you have more choices. The bridge used to keep the dies in place is also important; some work better than others.

 

I have a 4" square, stainless steel Northstar and use it regularly for part of my product line. I use both the Northstar dies and dies I purchased at Mud Tools. The zipper bridge at Mud Tools is a dream -- but costly. But if you lose any wares due to seams splitting, that bridge will take care of the problem and pay back in a relatively short time. The studio I use to work/teach at had a Brent; did not care for that one.

 

None of them are easy to clean. You can minimize cleaning by putting clay pugs in a plastic bag (the ones newspapers come in are handy) and insert open end down. Spraying barrels with WD-40, Spam/aerosol cooking sprays, etc. might make the clay less likely to stick to the barrel, but then you've got clay with oily stuff on it. I make enough stuff from the extruder at one time to justify the time spent cleaning it; it is not a tool for making one cup at a time.

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I just wrap the whole extruder in a plastic bag at night if the shop will be warm-We use one almost daily and have two set up always.

I like extruders that hold more clay 10#s is the minimum .I have a brent and a old scott creek-Brent has a great twist off cap scott creek has a good handle system-I have modified each.

Mark

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It depends where you live rakukuku! Would you mind filling in your profile and telling us if you live in the States or in Europe or elswhere?

 

I use a Roderveld Extruder and I'am happy with it. Very good quality and lots of discs and spare parts for a resonable price. But I'am living in Switzerland and I don't know whether one can buy Roderveld extruders all over the world.

 

Evelyne

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I second Scott Creek. They are well built, and easy to clean. I prefer the "ladder" system they use for leverage, over the "yoke" system Brent, and others, use.

 

I've only had the Scott Creek in the classroom. But it was really easy to clean. I just told the students, that if it wasn't cleaned after use, I would hide the plunger, and they'd have to hand roll coils. It always stayed magically clean that way...

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I have the large 5" square Scott Creek, took me a while to figure out how to stabilize the hollow dies, but now it works well. I chose large because I already had the hand held and wanted the option of making bigger  extrusions, without going to an expansion box. With the big square, I can get 4 1/2" straps by going across the diagonal  There are times I wish I had the smaller 4" round, but can't buy everything, and larger one can make smaller extrusions, but smaller one can't make larger extrusions, if you get what I mean. If I am in 'extrusion mode', I wrap it tightly with plastic and use it again next day, when done, I push out left over clay and leave the box open to dry out, then tap it with a wooden mallet and dry clay falls out.

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The brents extruders are the toughest in open studio/school situations. Our Local collage has only busted thiers a few times over the years.

I like the brent cap system-twist on /off. They have a newer ladder system which is easier than the yoke system.

The thing is they cost more which most folks avoid due to cost.

Mark

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Yeah, Brent's cap/ collar makes more sense, than Scott Creek's three pin system.  I (and by "I", I mean my students) almost lost one of the pins more times than I can remember.

But I preferred Scott Creek's ladder system with the plunger, over Brent's yoke.  

 

It's interesting that Brent has the ladder system now.

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I also have and love my Scott Creek. I use white clay exclusively so got the aluminum version. I make TONS of boxes and have not had any issue with seams splitting. If I am using it over several days I leave clay in it and wrap it in plastic. It's very easy to clean just remove the plate and handle get all but the thin bits out let it dry over night tap it with a stick... All Clean!

 

To stabilize my hollow extrusions I use pool noodles for the rounds and 3 foot long 2x2s for the squares, I am working on something to help support the triangles.

 

I am seriously thinking about getting the expansion box... Want to try the hexagon plate and since I make so many boxes it might speed up my medium boxes which I currently assemble from slabs.

 

T

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Terry, how big is your SC? I have the 5" and the 3 largest dies, I use the hexagonal one often, and the round, but I'm having trouble getting the square, 4"" a side, come out and or stay straight enough to make boxes.  Any advice?

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I have the standard 4" aluminum SC. I want to get the expansion box so I can make hexagon boxes...drool... But have to sell some stuff to buy the expansion box and the plates.

 

To get the square shape to stay square measure the inside of a wet clay box (or just use the interior plate of thie extrusion) and cut a piece of wood a bit smaller than that, wrap in a piece of plastic and as you pull the form feed it onto the support "beam". I do this with the smaller square boxes and leave the extrusion on the support until after I have used a rubber rib the give it a super smooth surface (this also compresses the surface a bit as well). I leave the extrusions on the supports until they are leather hard then I measure and cut each box off. I have my supports cut into 3 foot lengths and always make sure to leave enough of the beam sticking out to support one end on the table and hold the other in my hand then it's just a matter of rotating it as I work with it never having to touch the clay itself to support it (so no finger dents when least you expect it).

 

You might be able to use a cardboard support beam instead of a wooden one especially if you support the inside with wadded newspaper. You would measure, cut, duct tape the support together, stuff rigidly with newspaper so it won't crush or shift with the weight of the clay then cover the whole thing with a piece of plastic. Then just feed as if it were wood.

 

Oh and you don't have to use 3 ft lengths that is just what I found I can pull, lift and maneuver around.

 

I hope this helps.

 

T

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WOW!  Thanks.  I was thinking you cut each box off as it's length was extruded, never thought of extruding the longest square I can handle and standing it up until firm to cut into sections!  Question, why the plastic? if the goal it to get the 3 ' section to firm up?

 

About those largest 3 SC forms for hollow extrusions , the side walls are a good bit thicker than the other hollow extrusions in the several shape set. Makes heavier, slower drying shapes, but thick enough to heavily carve or stretch to another shape.

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Clay lover,

 

I cover the wooden supports with plastic because at times the clay will stick to it by the time it gets to leather hard and be really hard to slice and slip off the end. Using the plastic you just cut then slide the whole length down, plastic and all then slip the cut piece off. I do not cover the extruded forms with plastic unless I have to leave them on the supports overnight, usually I pull 25lbs worth of extrusions in each hollow die shape (square, round, triangle), rubber rib them, set them out for firm up to leather hard, then measure, cut and put the cut pieces under plastic to add the tops and bottoms to the next day. I have extruded as many as 150 boxes in a matter of hours so it all takes some planning to get everything tended to at the correct stages.

 

I was worried about the thickness of those bigger extrusions but still want to try them. If I find they are too thick I might go to a local metal shop that does custom gates and such and see if they can cut me metal plates with thinner walls, have a feeling that will be expensive but it's the back up plan if I find them too thick. I have been hinting to hubby that I have a great idea for our tax refund check, not sure if he will bite or not but if he does plan to buy the expansion box and plates.

 

T

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Sounds like you have quite a few center wooden supports for each shape you extrude?  Did you get someone to rip cut 4x4's for the triangles? 

Wow, you really have this figured out, thanks you for sharing, I am always looking for ways to make my work more efficient.

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I have a stack of each shapes support and have found I can pull a whole 25lb bag of clay before I run out. I usually pull a bag of each shape when I set up the Extruder and do all of them at once to make things go quicker. Oh, except for the triangles those I don't have a proper shaped support for yet. For now I am just feeding a flat board in on one side and hanging the extrusion between 2 tables to firm up (if that makes any sense lol) I have a table saw but I need to figure out how to use it and once I do I will be cutting myself some triangle supports! For the round shapes those pool noodles work perfectly. I cut each noodle in half so it was a length I could handle.

 

I sell loads of boxes so have had to figure out how to make the building stages go faster so I can spend more time on the decorating and still keep them reasonably priced.

 

Still working on getting the expansion box.

 

T

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