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Eyvind

Using Tile Extruder Machine (Peter Pugger)

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I have recently begun using a medium sized Peter Pugger tile extruder machine, with an accompanying tile cutter table. I have been working to get straight extrusions with usable edges that dry to tiles with straight sides with 90 degree corners. I have had problems with the edges expanding outwards when drying so that I get arcs for edges instead of straight lines. (I am making tiles 9" square, wet-clay size.)

 

I know there are fluid dynamics issues with extruders that need to be compensated for with die design and maybe extrusion speed. Any advice on these or other possible issues would be welcome.

 

In addition, Peter Pugger has recently introduced a "manual tile cutter table." This is a neat concept with some practical issues. Wet clay does not flow across the plywood surface, even when oiled. I have developed a workaround which I will be happy to share if anyone has interest, and would be interested in sharing any other ideas (like the oil I use) if there is some value in doing so.

 

Thanks to all!

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I'm not sure this is something you're going to fix, Eyvind. I'll be interested to see what people have to say. It may help to try a different clay body with less shrinkage/more grog/sand. I have a Peter Pugger and have considered using it from some extruding, but I'd build a tile press if I were going to make a lot of tiles.

 

Presently, I make tiles from slabs. They don't have to be perfectly flat as I only use them for coasters or for wall tiles. To keep them from warping, I dry them between sheets of plaster board (wall board/gypsum board/sheet rock). I wrap the edges of the plaster board with duct tape to keep it from crumbling into my clay. Of course, if your tiles are high relief, this won't work for you, but otherwise you might give it a try. You'll need a weight on top.

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On 4/1/2010 at 4:55 PM, Eyvind said:

I have recently begun using a medium sized Peter Pugger tile extruder machine, with an accompanying tile cutter table. I have been working to get straight extrusions with usable edges that dry to tiles with straight sides with 90 degree corners. I have had problems with the edges expanding outwards when drying so that I get arcs for edges instead of straight lines. (I am making tiles 9" square, wet-clay size.)

 

I know there are fluid dynamics issues with extruders that need to be compensated for with die design and maybe extrusion speed. Any advice on these or other possible issues would be welcome.

 

In addition, Peter Pugger has recently introduced a "manual tile cutter table." This is a neat concept with some practical issues. Wet clay does not flow across the plywood surface, even when oiled. I have developed a workaround which I will be happy to share if anyone has interest, and would be interested in sharing any other ideas (like the oil I use) if there is some value in doing so.

 

Thanks to all!

Hey Eyvind. I am wondering how does the Peter Pugger tile extruder work for you now. Do you still use it? Did You overcome those issues?

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50 minutes ago, Yomama said:

Hey Eyvind. I am wondering how does the Peter Pugger tile extruder work for you now. Do you still use it? Did You overcome those issues?

You may have better response sending a personal message as this post is dated.

Click on the E this'll take you to her profile. I think there is a p.m. option there.

 

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On 8/5/2019 at 8:24 AM, Babs said:

You may have better response sending a personal message as this post is dated.

Click on the E this'll take you to her profile. I think there is a p.m. option there.

 

Just sent it. I hope it gets to her. 

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Thank you for your inquiry.  Indeed I do still use the pugger and it is a very reliable part of my business.

On the extrusion issue I mentioned 9 years ago: no, I haven't found a perfect solution to that tendency for the clay to shrink in a slight curve, except to  keeping the extruded ribbon of clay as dry as possible.  I agree with one responder who said this may not be totally fixable, since I am sure it is related to the different densities and pressures created by the auger.

I recall that a smaller pugmill (Bailey's, I think) was available with twin augers to reduce the bias in the clay created by one auger. Peter Puggers are not available that way.

Just to be sure I was clear: the shrinkage into an arc was not warpage: the tile stayed flat but the edges of the tile did not stay straight.

My corrective actions are mostly sanding. I acquired a down draft work table with a HEPA filter (not cheap but worth it if you do a lot of sanding and don't want silicosis). I use drywall sanding screens on the greenware edges: it quickly sands off the corners that have shrunk into a gentle arc.

I don't know of another workhorse piece of equipment that is as large and reliable as the Peter Pugger, so I have no regrets. However, if I was to buy another one, I would opt for stainless steel. The non-stainless units react with stoneware and porcelain clay when it is stored for more than a month or so and hard crusts and nuggets form along the pugger walls. This ruins a smooth clay extrusion and can plug up a tile die, requiring a complete pugger cleanup and lots of clay waste. 

Are you a PP user or prospective buyer? I am happy to share any other experiences if you have interest.

 

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11 hours ago, Eyvind said:

 Just to be sure I was clear: the shrinkage into an arc was not warpage: the tile stayed flat but the edges of the tile did not stay straight.

First of all: thank you for responding and sharing so much info. 

About the upper quote. This was in cases where you used the whole width of extruded clay - this edge arching. So only at the sides this happens?

Currently I am a prospective buyer and I turned to this forum for info since PP customer service isn’t responding to my e-mails. 

 

I’ll try to respond here to the info from the other post you answered as well. 

You wrote your methods of keeping flat tiles flat. So low moisture, slow drying equally fast on both sides and adding grog to the clay. This all makes sense to me :)

You also mentioned formulating your own highly grogged clay. Did you mix it and extrude it in PP tile extruder? I wonder how much damage does the grog do to the pugmill with time?

If you buy powdered clay you can add less water and mix it and extruse it through this PP machine. That’s also very usefull. 

I am also on the lazy side so I would love it if I could manage to create a process where I would simply mix and extrude a suitable clay, cut it to a desired shape and leave it to dry on a wooden or wire shelf without any extra handling for the drying process :)

How does it extrude porcelain? I have a very tricky porcelain for wedging and rolling. It is sticky and little plastic but it has great white fired color and high translucency. What is your experience with PP tile extruder and using it with porcelain?

And also can I see you work anywhere on the internet? Any websites, fb/instagram page?

Thank you again. 

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3 minutes ago, Yomama said:

I am also on the lazy side so I would love it if I could manage to create a process where I would simply mix and extrude a suitable clay, cut it to a desired shape and leave it to dry on a wooden or wire shelf without any extra handling for the drying process :)

You might be interested in this item from over at the Ceramic Arts Network.

Flat Tiles The Easy Way https://ceramicartsnetwork.org/daily/pottery-making-techniques/making-ceramic-tile/flat-tiles-the-easy-way/

It recommends 8-12 hrs on  drywall and then a wire shelf.

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2 hours ago, Yomama said:

First of all: thank you for responding and sharing so much info. 

About the upper quote. This was in cases where you used the whole width of extruded clay - this edge arching. So only at the sides this happens?

Currently I am a prospective buyer and I turned to this forum for info since PP customer service isn’t responding to my e-mails. 

 

I’ll try to respond here to the info from the other post you answered as well. 

You wrote your methods of keeping flat tiles flat. So low moisture, slow drying equally fast on both sides and adding grog to the clay. This all makes sense to me :)

You also mentioned formulating your own highly grogged clay. Did you mix it and extrude it in PP tile extruder? I wonder how much damage does the grog do to the pugmill with time?

If you buy powdered clay you can add less water and mix it and extruse it through this PP machine. That’s also very usefull. 

I am also on the lazy side so I would love it if I could manage to create a process where I would simply mix and extrude a suitable clay, cut it to a desired shape and leave it to dry on a wooden or wire shelf without any extra handling for the drying process :)

How does it extrude porcelain? I have a very tricky porcelain for wedging and rolling. It is sticky and little plastic but it has great white fired color and high translucency. What is your experience with PP tile extruder and using it with porcelain?

And also can I see you work anywhere on the internet? Any websites, fb/instagram page?

Thank you again. 

Hi,

Learned it all the hard way!

On clay: A consultant made a clay formula , and Laguna Clay in Ohio did the custom mixing and packaging. One ton minimum, unfortunately. The important thing really was a relatively large amount of grog, like you would find in many existing clays labeled "sculpture." Clay for throwing has a lot less grog.  I have tried standard clays by Laguna made with more grog, including sculpture clays, and the resulting tiles did dry pretty flat.  I assume other clays like Standard or Highwater (etc.) also have good options.

Your sticky porcelain sounds like it is suitable for throwing, but maybe less friendly for tile. I do not have direct experience with porcelain in the PP, only stoneware, but I've read some on the subject. I think the PP use with porcelain is mostly for mixing and recycling to make a workable clay, not for extruding specifically for tile. How the sticky, plastic clay works in the pugger is unknown to me.

Grog damage to the pugmill seems to be minimal to the stainless steel portions of my pugmill.  The aluminum parts may have wear but I cannot tell: the surface has always been a bit rough.

I agree that PP contact by email is not responsive. I have learned that any request, even for purchase, needs to be by phone. And then even so...

My website is www.arcanatileworks.com . 

Good luck and happy experimenting!

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20 hours ago, Eyvind said:

Hi,

Learned it all the hard way!

On clay: A consultant made a clay formula , and Laguna Clay in Ohio did the custom mixing and packaging. One ton minimum, unfortunately. The important thing really was a relatively large amount of grog, like you would find in many existing clays labeled "sculpture." Clay for throwing has a lot less grog.  I have tried standard clays by Laguna made with more grog, including sculpture clays, and the resulting tiles did dry pretty flat.  I assume other clays like Standard or Highwater (etc.) also have good options.

Your sticky porcelain sounds like it is suitable for throwing, but maybe less friendly for tile. I do not have direct experience with porcelain in the PP, only stoneware, but I've read some on the subject. I think the PP use with porcelain is mostly for mixing and recycling to make a workable clay, not for extruding specifically for tile. How the sticky, plastic clay works in the pugger is unknown to me.

Grog damage to the pugmill seems to be minimal to the stainless steel portions of my pugmill.  The aluminum parts may have wear but I cannot tell: the surface has always been a bit rough.

I agree that PP contact by email is not responsive. I have learned that any request, even for purchase, needs to be by phone. And then even so...

My website is www.arcanatileworks.com . 

Good luck and happy experimenting!

Ok great. Tnx again for the info.

I remembered another question. When you extrude through this tile nozzle - what do you put under the extruding exit hole? Or on what support does the extruded clay land on? Do you extrude straight on the wooden boards, drywall? It would be best to extrude on the surface where you can cut into shape and also leave it to dry without moving...

I’m glad that you where able to stay in this business for this long. I would say it is a good sign also for me  :)

Keep up the good work

 

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There is a potter  in my town who makes encostic tiles.  The highly grogged clay is extruded then pressed in a hydrolic press..It is then dried between weights.  you may want to try using a press to highly compress the clay.

Jed

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1 hour ago, jrgpots said:

There is a potter  in my town who makes encostic tiles.  The highly grogged clay is extruded then pressed in a hydrolic press..It is then dried between weights.  you may want to try using a press to highly compress the clay.

Jed

Thanks for the advice

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FYI, as somebody has mentioned hydraulic presses ...

These tile-makers considered making the DIY press described in Handmade Tiles by Frank Giorgini,
but instead added press plates to a cheap commercial press.
https://createniks.wordpress.com/2010/04/24/hydraulic-tile-press/
... less powerful/cheaper presses are available!

Two addenda on their first tile mould.
https://createniks.wordpress.com/2010/05/13/first-mold-for-the-tile-press/
https://createniks.wordpress.com/2010/05/20/our-tile-press-rocks/
tile.jpg?w=500&h=332

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My son and daughter in-law asked me to make them a fountain to fill a space in the outside of the house.   The previous owner had sheet rocked inside,  put some siding where the window use to be.  It was a brick house,   I made a mural/fountain out of B-Mix with grog, the tiles were made from plaster press  molds taken off of elephant ears.  Every single tile cracked along a natural line of the leaf during the glaze firing.    I decided to go with it and just put a grout line in,  I am glad I did.   It looked great,  I matched the grout to the brick mortar and the brick ledge made a perfect frame.  I decide to make another elephant ear mural but I tried Flinthills buff,  same process, firing and glaze,  no cracks.   Denice

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11 hours ago, PeterH said:

FYI, as somebody has mentioned hydraulic presses ...

These tile-makers considered making the DIY press described in Handmade Tiles by Frank Giorgini,
but instead added press plates to a cheap commercial press.
https://createniks.wordpress.com/2010/04/24/hydraulic-tile-press/
... less powerful/cheaper presses are available!

Two addenda on their first tile mould.
https://createniks.wordpress.com/2010/05/13/first-mold-for-the-tile-press/
https://createniks.wordpress.com/2010/05/20/our-tile-press-rocks/
tile.jpg?w=500&h=332

Thank you. 

I came across this website some time ago. I found it very interesting with lots of good info. 

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On 8/14/2019 at 7:05 AM, Yomama said:

Ok great. Tnx again for the info.

I remembered another question. When you extrude through this tile nozzle - what do you put under the extruding exit hole? Or on what support does the extruded clay land on? Do you extrude straight on the wooden boards, drywall? It would be best to extrude on the surface where you can cut into shape and also leave it to dry without moving...

I’m glad that you where able to stay in this business for this long. I would say it is a good sign also for me  :)

Keep up the good work

 

Here is the method I devised on offloading extruded clay ribbons and then cutting them. I was amazed and dismayed when I bought the pugger/extruder that so little practical information exists for this necessary operation.

First, I did buy the PP manual tile cutting table. It had a wooden surface then: they have since changed to some synthetic resin or plastic. It also has some pizza cutter blades attached to a spindle that you can use: see their website. This is all gravy. What you need is a table the same height as your ribbon of extruded clay, or just a bit lower, with a relatively smooth surface.

Wet clay sticks to everything. So I use a strip of window screening material as the underlayment. These strips are 12" wide by 4 feet long. I start the extrusion and immediately place the leading edge of the clay on top of the the 12" wide leading edge of the screen. The clay and screen attach and then about 4 feet of clay can run out onto the table, made "slick" by the use of the underlying strip of window screen. When the strip of screen is all used, I stop the PP, cut off the strip, and process the ribbon of clay. Because it is on a solid surface table, it can be smoothed, cut, stamped, etc just fine. The pizza cutter with an oil coating is the best straight-line cutter: it doesn't make a messy edge like a needle tool but it does create a slight gap (a "kerf") between tiles that prevents the wet clay from healing back together as it dries.  The pizza cutter also is not so sharp that it will slice up your window screening.

A second long narrow table is used to load the cut tile onto the wire shelving for drying. You pull on the exposed window screening, not the clay, and the whole 4 foot long length of clay slides from table 1 to the top of the shelf sitting on top of table 2. The table tops need to be the same height to do this without flexing your wet clay.

A roller conveyor could be used for supporting simple pugs of clay, but it will not do the job for tile processing.

You could use your wooden boards or drywall as the support surface under table #2. However, I use the window screen and the wire shelf to create a pathway for air drying on the underside of the tile. My shop makes hundreds of square feet of tile for many orders and this is the only production efficient method I have found so far. 

By the way, the wire shelves are stacked on bakers racks, sourced from a restaurant supply store. These are much less expensive than ceramic ware carts.  If you use boards or drywall, you will just need to see if the bakers rack dimensions can work for you, or if you need to buy the trays for the rack that would work as shelves. 

Hope this helps, and let us all know if you find any other tile making efficiencies. 

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On 8/19/2019 at 9:46 PM, Eyvind said:

Here is the method I devised on offloading extruded clay ribbons and then cutting them. I was amazed and dismayed when I bought the pugger/extruder that so little practical information exists for this necessary operation.

First, I did buy the PP manual tile cutting table. It had a wooden surface then: they have since changed to some synthetic resin or plastic. It also has some pizza cutter blades attached to a spindle that you can use: see their website. This is all gravy. What you need is a table the same height as your ribbon of extruded clay, or just a bit lower, with a relatively smooth surface.

Wet clay sticks to everything. So I use a strip of window screening material as the underlayment. These strips are 12" wide by 4 feet long. I start the extrusion and immediately place the leading edge of the clay on top of the the 12" wide leading edge of the screen. The clay and screen attach and then about 4 feet of clay can run out onto the table, made "slick" by the use of the underlying strip of window screen. When the strip of screen is all used, I stop the PP, cut off the strip, and process the ribbon of clay. Because it is on a solid surface table, it can be smoothed, cut, stamped, etc just fine. The pizza cutter with an oil coating is the best straight-line cutter: it doesn't make a messy edge like a needle tool but it does create a slight gap (a "kerf") between tiles that prevents the wet clay from healing back together as it dries.  The pizza cutter also is not so sharp that it will slice up your window screening.

A second long narrow table is used to load the cut tile onto the wire shelving for drying. You pull on the exposed window screening, not the clay, and the whole 4 foot long length of clay slides from table 1 to the top of the shelf sitting on top of table 2. The table tops need to be the same height to do this without flexing your wet clay.

A roller conveyor could be used for supporting simple pugs of clay, but it will not do the job for tile processing.

You could use your wooden boards or drywall as the support surface under table #2. However, I use the window screen and the wire shelf to create a pathway for air drying on the underside of the tile. My shop makes hundreds of square feet of tile for many orders and this is the only production efficient method I have found so far. 

By the way, the wire shelves are stacked on bakers racks, sourced from a restaurant supply store. These are much less expensive than ceramic ware carts.  If you use boards or drywall, you will just need to see if the bakers rack dimensions can work for you, or if you need to buy the trays for the rack that would work as shelves. 

Hope this helps, and let us all know if you find any other tile making efficiencies. 

Eyvind thank you for this. That is much better than anything else I could find on this topic on my own. High quality info. 

I see you have it figured out with probably no optimization left possible.

I really hope that one day I will be able to afford a PP. Fingers crossed.  

Until then thank you and the best of luck with your business  

 

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