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Pug Mills :)

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Okay, I can dream, right? :3

 

But seriously; which of you fine folks have a pug mill? What brand is it, and would you recommend it? Is it a de-airing model?

 

I'm thinking of busting out some serious art to get my guinea paws on one. I wish they weren't so bloomin' expensive, though...geesh. But, I know my hands would thank me for it! ^_^

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guinea, i have a bailey A-400 and got it when it first came out years ago.  they are improved today but i do not know how it could be improved except to make a slightly larger opening for the pug of clay to come out.  this one is not as large as 3 inch diameter.  i have it because i use white clay and did not want to have rust in my clay.  i originally had a small venco.  it had a larger pug of clay but it was made of steel and rust got into my clay.  

 

i have consistently misused this poor machine and it just keeps on working great.  one thing you need to take into account is that it can be hard to pull down the handle at times.  i had a very hard time for one summer.  i found that i had somehow dropped a very large fender washer into it and a chamois as well.  funny thing, it kept working fine.  just became VERY hard to pull the handle.  once i pulled out the junk that had stopped at the strainer, it worked like new again.

 

there is a video of a man who made a foot pedal for his pugmill.  bruce, who works magic on the internet, can probably find it.  may have been among the tool entries a few years ago.  your very handy man could probably rig one up.  when i bought mine it was on a special sale for about $1900 or so.   bailey makes really good equipment and backs it up, too.

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Oh man, that sounds great! I saw a video of a Shimpo one and it had a fat pug pooper--just what I'd be interested in. I like the idea of cutting down pugs to fit my intended piece size. :3 Yours sounds like a real workhorse, though! ♥

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I have a Bailey A-400 too -deairing. I take it apart and clean it after using. It has a cast aluminum body. I got mine in Portland at an NCECA. It was a floor model. I paid about $1900 too, if I remember correctly. I had a used Peter Pugger, really old and abused. It had a lot of rusted metal and I'd get big chunks of rust in my clay. Bad news there. It was an early model.

 

Keep looking for used puggers. They are out there. Put consider your back too. Pugging can be a lot of work.

 

Marcia

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I've got the Bailey stainless deairing MSV 25. I absolutely love it, wish I had bought a pugger years ago when I first started production work. I don't find it hard to operate at all. The biggest job is if you have to take it apart to clean it out, that takes me a couple hours and the barrel is heavy (if you are little like I am). They are pricey, like around 4700 but health reasons got me to buy one. I did have an aluminum one first, not a good idea for porcelain. Jim Bailey also said he has been seeing problems with the high talc low fire bodies in the aluminum ones also.

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I think I'll need all the luck in the world to just get my paws on ANY de-airing pugger, haha! I thought this topic would help others out, too. :3 Man...if I could start a little ceramics studio out here in my podunk little farm town, that'd be great. I might be able to get enough money to get one if I start offering lessons! ^_^

 

So, the Bailey ones are having trouble with high-talc lowfire whites? Uh-oh. I work in lowfire white...you think other puggers might have the same problems? :o

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So, the Bailey ones are having trouble with high-talc lowfire whites? Uh-oh. I work in lowfire white...you think other puggers might have the same problems? :o

 

When I talked to Jim Bailey a couple years ago he said he has started seeing problems with the aluminum ones, not the stainless. I seem to remember he thought the problems started when the talc supply changed around then. Won't just be the Bailey ones, he was just being honest.

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Um, stainless doesn't rust. There are some alloys that will corrode but the vast majority of stainless doesn't rust, that's why it's used in sinks, for pots and pans etc. Call Bailey's and ask to speak with Jim or Mike Serfis and ask them about what they would recommend. They are both really knowledgable.

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I have easy access to a Peter Pugger VPM-30 in the clay studio at school. It is a stainless steel model that does miracles with slop and dry materials.  I think it is probably close to $6,000 and wayyyy out of my budget, but I trade off mixing clay for the school with re-claiming my own mix. I would have to be a serious production potter to justify this sort of expense, but I don't think I could do what I do now without de-aired clay.

 

-Paul

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Stainless doesn't rust. The old Walkers were in perfect condition after 25+ years of use. 

I clean out my Bailey because I use different clays, raku,  several types of porcelain, etc. It is easy to clean and the aluminum is still in good shape. 

Marcia

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Lou, a good Walker, is hard to find, but I have seen a couple come up for sale. One was a state away, and went for under five hundred. I still kind of kick myself, for not jumping on it, for my classroom. I just really, don't have the space.

 

They are a great, well built machine though.

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I too, would love to even just find a used pugger for sale locally. My concern would be about the quality of a used machine. Would it need any parts? If so, how available are parts for older machines? Not having a whole lot of experience with pug mills (I've only seen the one at the studio in use twice) I'd be at a loss to repair one myself if the need should arise. Just how complex are they? What is the most common failing of any make or model? Which parts are most likely to wear out?

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That's a really good buncha questions. I'd like to know the same! I think the closest place we could get a pugger would be Clay Art Center. Clay Connection could order one, but why bother with them, given our not-so-good service history with that place...I know CAC has a great selection on site, too. The trouble is the cost and the fact they're over 200lbs...hngh, our backs! Better grab the fellas!

 

(For the record, Amy and I are practically neighbors, heehee!)

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Oh man, that sounds great! I saw a video of a Shimpo one and it had a fat pug pooper--just what I'd be interested in. I like the idea of cutting down pugs to fit my intended piece size. :3 Yours sounds like a real workhorse, though! ♥

HEY! My Pugs say they are insulted! They are not "fat pug poopers" they only fart rose petals and never poo at all.

What pile Mom? That pile? Oh that pile well it wasn't me I never do that.

 

"Cutting down pugs" positively grisly! I had no idea you had violent tendencies! Now the poor things are hiding under the bed waiting for a Guinea monster to show up with a hatchet to cut them to size.

 

LOL But seriously one day I would love a Pug mill as well but it's going to be awhile before the equipment fund is up to that. Thanks for bringing up the subject Guinea and I hope you don't mind the teasing.

 

T

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I can CERTAINLY ATTEST that pug farts are NOT rose fluffs, baaaahahaha!! My old pug could drop a bomb of mustard gas that'd clear out Spokane County! :D I had no idea something so small could smell so bad.

 

Still looking for a pug mill that makes real pugs. ^_^

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Pugging can be a lot of work.

 

Marcia

 

I've never seen a pug mill and don't know anyone in my area that has one.   My situation is:   We use 800 to 1000 pounds of clay a week.   All slab rolled.  One type of clay.

 

-  Could we just throw all the pieces in a plastic container and pug them to the original box size?

 

-  How much "work" would this be? 

 

-  Do you think it would save time over refurbishing the clay pieces?  Typically we roll a 25 pound piece and then re roll it 3 times, throwing small leftovers in a box.  At the end of the day I rework the scraps and make these flat pieces.

 

I was told my someone that it would be cheaper to just throw away the scraps because clay is so "cheap" ..... And I would not recoup the cost of the machine. 

 

The machine that most interests me is this one.  http://www.baileypottery.com/pugmills-mixers/baileypugmills.htm

The 400.

 

Just guessing, I would have 8-10 pounds of scrap on a 25 pound piece of clay, just rolling one time.   On an average week 20-21 boxes of clay used so 40 -42 rolls. I suppose this number would increase if we stopped reworking scraps?    so just say we would have 400 pounds of scraps per week ... that would be one hour spent using the slab roller.  I'm trying to put a number to the increased weekly production.   Would we do 10% (4-5 more rolls).

 

Any thoughts on this?

 

Watched the videos and the clay comes out completely compacted, no bubbles .. just like new right?

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Probably a couple ways to look at this for your situation.

 

If you are only thinking of only recovering clay, then you would need to recover an equivalent of about 174 boxes (50 lbs each) to hit break even. That is assuming you buy at a bulk rate of about 30 cents per pound for mid-range stoneware. To recoup $2,615, you'd need to recover about 8,700 lbs of clay. In that sense, clay is cheap and that is a lot of reclaim. Add to that your cost of labor for time spent reclaiming.

 

For your work (high volume production), where it might become more interesting is the potential of using the pug as an extruder -- notice the special deal for the tile extruder die. If you can reclaim and pug to a form that does not require re-rolling on the slab roller, you are saving labor and possibly increasing productivity. Not sure how many $$$ of product you aim to get from a box of clay; but look at the 174 boxes of reclaim clay not as clay, but as items made. Let's say your goal is $500 of gross sales from a box of clay; recovering 174 boxes equates to about $87,000 in sales -- sales you are missing now because it is potential scrap being tossed. Against the sale potential, the investment looks rather affordable -- especially if your are doing production volumes. In that sense, the addition of a pug to not only recover clay but also produce product can make this more interesting to your operations. And, if you make lots of flatware, you could have custom dies made to suit your product line, thereby growing productivity.

 

Disclaimer -- I was really bad in economics. So, I apologize for any faults in logic.

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dirt roads, the nozzle size is important.  no, you will not be able to pug clay to the exact size it was when it came out of the box.  it works beautifully, i have used it for years.  if your pugs are cut to the length of your slabroller width, you can slap down one of them and then slap down a second one overlapping the first so you have a wide amount to roll. your slab roller will produce the same kind of slab as you did with the fresh out of the box clay.  

 

i am making some assumptions here, thinking you work the same way i do.  i roll a large slab and cut several things from it leaving the scraps for small things.  sometimes i roll the scraps thinner and sometimes i lay several scraps next to each other and roll out one larger slab.  you do the same??

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Probably a couple ways to look at this for your situation.

 

If you are only thinking of only recovering clay, then you would need to recover an equivalent of about 174 boxes (50 lbs each) to hit break even. That is assuming you buy at a bulk rate of about 30 cents per pound for mid-range stoneware. To recoup $2,615, you'd need to recover about 8,700 lbs of clay. In that sense, clay is cheap and that is a lot of reclaim. Add to that your cost of labor for time spent reclaiming.

 

For your work (high volume production), where it might become more interesting is the potential of using the pug as an extruder -- notice the special deal for the tile extruder die. If you can reclaim and pug to a form that does not require re-rolling on the slab roller, you are saving labor and possibly increasing productivity. Not sure how many $$$ of product you aim to get from a box of clay; but look at the 174 boxes of reclaim clay not as clay, but as items made. Let's say your goal is $500 of gross sales from a box of clay; recovering 174 boxes equates to about $87,000 in sales -- sales you are missing now because it is potential scrap being tossed. Against the sale potential, the investment looks rather affordable -- especially if your are doing production volumes. In that sense, the addition of a pug to not only recover clay but also produce product can make this more interesting to your operations. And, if you make lots of flatware, you could have custom dies made to suit your product line, thereby growing productivity.

 

Disclaimer -- I was really bad in economics. So, I apologize for any faults in logic.

 

cost of labor for time spent reclaiming.

 

^ This is what I would be saving.   I do reclaim (that person told me it would be cheaper to just throw away scraps but I don't do it ... I reclaim 99% of clay)

 

more interesting is the potential of using the pug as an extruder -- notice the special deal for the tile extruder die. If you can reclaim and pug to a form that does not require re-rolling on the slab roller, you are saving labor and possibly increasing productivity

 

^ Now this is something I haven't even considered.  I have a manual North Star extruder and never use it.

 

if you make lots of flatware, you could have custom dies made to suit your product line, thereby growing productivity.

 

I do make lots of flatware ... this might be a real boost in productivity.  Thanks for this suggestion.   I don't know anyone that uses one.  I have the room for the Bailey 400 on the portable table.   I think I would have totally overlooked the tile extruder die.  Going to do more research on how this works.

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It's more than just the time savings of recycling clay if that is the reason for buying one.

 

-they save a lot of wear and tear on the body than manually recycling the clay

-you tend to not think twice about wasting time trying to rescue a piece, into the pugger it goes if it's a little wonky

-blending clay bodies or adding grog / sand

-getting the clay to the consistency that you need it for specific forms

 

I kind off think of it as being similar to a car hoist, yes a mechanic can use car jacks but it is so much easier to use a hydraulic lift. It's a tool and I love tools that save time and effort. Yes, you can just toss the clay scraps but if you have years and years of clay work in front of you I can't see not having a pugger.

 

Is the one you are looking at stainless and with a vacuum? Is was hard to tell from the Bailey page.

(I've got the MSV25 Stainless with vacuum and love it. I have used it with a handle die that I just clamped onto the end, it makes a really good extruder too)

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dirt roads, the nozzle size is important.  no, you will not be able to pug clay to the exact size it was when it came out of the box.  it works beautifully, i have used it for years.  if your pugs are cut to the length of your slabroller width, you can slap down one of them and then slap down a second one overlapping the first so you have a wide amount to roll. your slab roller will produce the same kind of slab as you did with the fresh out of the box clay.  

 

i am making some assumptions here, thinking you work the same way i do.  i roll a large slab and cut several things from it leaving the scraps for small things.  sometimes i roll the scraps thinner and sometimes i lay several scraps next to each other and roll out one larger slab.  you do the same??

 

your slab roller will produce the same kind of slab as you did with the fresh out of the box clay

^ This is exactly what I wanted to know!

 

you do the same??

I roll a 25 pound slab.  I have an extended area where I roll the entire slab and then run it back through (gets all wrinkles out).   I don't roll thinner scraps but do piece some together.   Most of the scraps and pounded back together and re rolled, leaving some bubbles.  We use a styles to burst these and then run it back through again.  I think this is too time consuming.

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It's more than just the time savings of recycling clay if that is the reason for buying one.

 

-they save a lot of wear and tear on the body than manually recycling the clay

-you tend to not think twice about wasting time trying to rescue a piece, into the pugger it goes if it's a little wonky

-blending clay bodies or adding grog / sand

-getting the clay to the consistency that you need it for specific forms

 

I kind off think of it as being similar to a car hoist, yes a mechanic can use car jacks but it is so much easier to use a hydraulic lift. It's a tool and I love tools that save time and effort. Yes, you can just toss the clay scraps but if you have years and years of clay work in front of you I can't see not having a pugger.

 

Is the one you are looking at stainless and with a vacuum? Is was hard to tell from the Bailey page.

(I've got the MSV25 Stainless with vacuum and love it. I have used it with a handle die that I just clamped onto the end, it makes a really good extruder too)

 

Yes I can see the advantages of a pug mill now.  The 400 has a vacuum and they do have a stainless option.  I looked at the MSV25 just now.  I'll have to weigh my options but it seems I need stainless and a vacuum for sure.

 

Did you just attach that handle die or is it a special attachment for the pug?

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