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Pug Mills :)

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I used a Walker for over 30 years at the HS I taught at. It was without a doubt a real time and money saver. Stainless steel, large hopper, reversible, Torque beyond description. Four 12" pugs would equal a bag. We always wedged our clay, even out of the box. The pugged clay was no different from the box clay, after a week or two of aging. I filled 50 gal buckets, always leaving one to age while one was being used. We mixed slagged down anything dry and mixed with wet to leather hard clay, and if the lugs were dog eared or broken ran through a second time. It takes a year to really learn how to use your pug mill well, and how to judge the clay coming out of it, but it is well worth it. I usually preferred the pugged clay over the box clay when doing demonstrations. Some of those went to completion.

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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?

 

 

The handle die I bought is actually for the larger sized Peter Pugger as Bailey doesn't have one to fit their puggers (might now but not when I bought mine). 

 

There are 4 bolt holes on the outer flange of the nozzle of the pugger, centers are 4 3/4" apart and the largest handle die I could find is only 4 1/2" outside diameter so I couldn't bolt it on. When I need a lot of handles I use small C clamps and there is just enough room to clamp it on. I don't block off any of the handles as there is so much force coming through the die. I only use 1 of the handles (the one at 12:00 o'clock) as the others are way to skinny and flimsy for what I want. The die also fits into my extruder, I use that when I only need a few handles.

 

As to stainless or not this is not something you can change later on, like adding a vacuum. I look at this similarly as to buying a kiln, buying for what you will need in the future not just for now.

 

I just reread the last bit of what I wrote and it sounded kinda preachy, sorry if it comes across like that, didn't mean too!  :)

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post-747-0-38632000-1434900818_thumb.jpg

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D. R.

Maybe cutting down the 25# block into smaller sections would produce less waste, even just cutting in half or quarters length wise could change the amount of waste. When I slab, I use a mallet to reduce the block of clay on all sides so there is minimal trim, and immediately re-wedge into some fresh clay, I avoid "reclaiming" at all costs as I have limited space - reclaim to me is letting clay go bone dry, slaking, drying, and wedging again.

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I for many years resisted getting a pug mill as I worked in Porcelain and my friends with them had issues with that clay . If I could have the insight of time I should have bought one when they came out with vacuum pumps. Since I bought a used one for just over 3K a few years back I can add some to this thought process.

1st if you are just thinking about payback in scrap clay it will take a long while as clay is cheap

but as Min said there are other reasons-she said-

(-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)

now I got mine first so wedging after wrist surgery was very hard on my wrist-the peter lugger solved this wear and tear-which I wish I had gotten sooner

as to clay mixing its a piece of cake-whatever you want the skys the limit-wish I had gotten this earlier

also to make clay firmer or softer its a breeze-wish I had gotten this sooner.

I was worried that the clay would be less than good for throwing and thats not been the case-wish I had gotten this sooner

Wear and tear like wedging-I use to love doing it now with a compromised wrist-I wish I had this machine sooner

 

Some things to think about before you buy one

get one that is made for what you plan to do years from now-a stainless model for porcelain for example

get a size that really works-I have a friend with the smallest peter pugger and its only does 25 #s which in reallity it only holds that much and pugs less-he wishes he got any size but this tiny one as it takes him so much time to process a few bags. 

My advice is the VPM 20 is a starting point its only a few hundred $ more than the small one.

Now as the factory is close to me i have been by and checked them out-for me I have been impressed with all parts of the Peter Pugger -no screens and absolutely a trouble free well thought out machine with decades of building behind them.If I lived near Bailey I may say the same about them.

Mark

 

The last note is if clay is a hobby than forget about this kind of expenditure unless you have money to burn. 

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On second thought, clay as a hobby being expensive? Try comparing the cost of a kiln, slab roller, potters wheel, and pug mill to the cost of fitting out a decent wood shop. Hmmmm, then if you include materials. . . you better financially with clay!

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Pres. - I agree pottery is no where near a super expensive hobby. Try sailing, or Porsche restoring or model trains, any one of those would blow the bank doors off compared to pottery. And in my opinion at least pottery is useful. LOL

 

I am seriously thinking about saving up for a Pugmill, in the long run think it is a good expenditure for me after reading through all the posts and especially Marks where he lists the benefits.

 

I have a question why a de-airing model? What does that give you? I understand a stainless version and would need that since I use Little Loafers but am unsure what the benefit is with the de-airing version.

 

T

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The de-airing vacuum pump is a must as it means no air bubbles or pockets in your clay -just like the clay you buy new in bags. Get the de-airing version

Like heavy truck without power steering on a 4,000 mile drive=you will wish you had it after the first few miles.

Mark

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On second thought, clay as a hobby being expensive? Try comparing the cost of a kiln, slab roller, potters wheel, and pug mill to the cost of fitting out a decent wood shop. Hmmmm, then if you include materials. . . you better financially with clay!

Yeahbut.....I gotta have Both!

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Reviving this recent thread on pug mills ... I've searched the forums and cannot find any mention of experience with Amaco Model B pug mill.  I've found one used but reportedly in good shape for $350.  Does anyone know anything about the Amaco pug mills?  They are not sold anymore and the amaco website doesn't have any manuals listed.

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On second thought, clay as a hobby being expensive? Try comparing the cost of a kiln, slab roller, potters wheel, and pug mill to the cost of fitting out a decent wood shop. Hmmmm, then if you include materials. . . you better financially with clay!

Pres, you are correct.  My woodworking shop which is a serious hobby, but still a hobby cost me around $60,000 to outfit over a 15 year period.  Pottery is (pardon the pun) dirt cheap.

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OldLady ... good advice as always!  I'm a child of customer service via phone and even letters delivered snail mail!  But professional life is all computers so sometimes I forget what you can accomplish with a simple phone call.

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On second thought, clay as a hobby being expensive? Try comparing the cost of a kiln, slab roller, potters wheel, and pug mill to the cost of fitting out a decent wood shop. Hmmmm, then if you include materials. . . you better financially with clay!

Pres, you are correct.  My woodworking shop which is a serious hobby, but still a hobby cost me around $60,000 to outfit over a 15 year period.  Pottery is (pardon the pun) dirt cheap.

 

kids stuff comapred to underwater photograpy-boats cameras-housings gear travel-gear boats tarvel gear-did I mention boats.

Clay is cheap compared to most other things-I will add I have no hobby experience-its even cheaper if thats your thing.

Mark

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The expense of clay work as a hobby, which often is perceived as being just for fun and thus less serious than having a career or full-fledged business, is relative to one's income and resources. If someone is living on very limited means (for whatever reason), comparing the cost of setting up a home studio to a high-dollar interest like fancy cars or sailing or whatever is irrelevant. Without a lot of money, and without the capacity to bulk-order clay or have the room for buckets and buckets of glazes (money-savers in addition to any aesthetic preferences) pottery as a hobby IS expensive. And if the money is hardly there, but the drive to do it is, then there is considerable material sacrifice involved in order to maintain that hobby.  I assume that those who make the sacrifice do so willingly, but it is still not cheap to do.  

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I bought an OLD bluebird for $150. It does not de-air.  But it has a lot of power and, at least, a four inch bore (aluminum). Can this rig be used to extrude. Would any air introduced into the clay during pugging be a problem?

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Well ... talked to an extremely helpful person at Bailey.  They answered all of my questions.    I've decided on the MXP 125.    Also, they are willing to put the pug and an electric slab roller aside and let me get in mid October so I won't have to wait a couple months after I place the order.    All I can say is customer service sells.  I couldn't get anyone to answer questions at another manufacturer.  I'm very confident in ordering this product now.  I'm interested in the extruding and 12 inch tile production.   I got a very specific answer to my questions about the tile extruded slabs.  :)

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Congrats Dirtroads! I like Bailey as well and their helpfulness is what decided my getting their wheel along with their excellent pricing of course! I looked up your pugmill model and its a nice one!

 

T

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I bought an OLD bluebird for $150. It does not de-air.  But it has a lot of power and, at least, a four inch bore (aluminum). Can this rig be used to extrude?

 

Hey,

I have an old Bluebird also!! I paid $1,200. for it but it came with a homemade customized table. The table has a canvas cover that rolls as the clay is extruded. It has the deairing pump but I've never turned it on. I used

the Bluebird deairing pug m.at the school and wasn't impressed. It's loud and annoying! You should wedge it regardless.

But did you know that only one half of the rubber grommet is used? So before

the rubber spider gear tears, rotate it one tooth and you'll have a new one.

And if you need a new one, go by the local welding supply and buy them for

about $3.75 each. If you order them from Bluebird, they're $7.50 each plus

$15.00 shipping....and that was 7 years ago!

Good luck!

Alabama

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I bought an OLD bluebird for $150. It does not de-air.  But it has a lot of power and, at least, a four inch bore (aluminum). Can this rig be used to extrude?

 

Hey,

I have an old Bluebird also!! I paid $1,200. for it but it came with a homemade customized table. The table has a canvas cover that rolls as the clay is extruded. It has the deairing pump but I've never turned it on. I used

the Bluebird deairing pug m.at the school and wasn't impressed. It's loud and annoying! You should wedge it regardless.

But did you know that only one half of the rubber grommet is used? So before

the rubber spider gear tears, rotate it one tooth and you'll have a new one.

And if you need a new one, go by the local welding supply and buy them for

about $3.75 each. If you order them from Bluebird, they're $7.50 each plus

$15.00 shipping....and that was 7 years ago!

Good luck!

Alabama

Very interesting stuff. The one I have looks like it may be the first one they ever made. (JK) It  has a 3/4 dayton motor and I guess a 6inch aluminum pipe with blades inside.  The pipe has a removable reducer on the end that has about a 4 1/2 inch output. Thing must way at least a couple of hundred lbs. What a hoss. Trouble is, it holds about 50 to 75  libs of clay that always stay inside, no easy way to clean it out. I could cut the aluminum pipe in half and flange both pieces. That might make cleaning it out easier, Still thinking about that one. I would love to use as extruder, just hate to leave that much clay in all the time. Any thoughts?   thanks, john

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I have a stainless Peter Pugger,de airing. Makes beeeeuuutiful clay. It's the smallest one. Holds 25 lbs.  EVERYTHING goes in it. Reclaim, new clay to condition, all scraps.  I never empty it and don't clean it.  It is easy to use. Without it, I would not be doing pottery today.  Much cheaper than carple tunnel surgery. I love it.

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The clay is wonderfully creamy and evenly damp. What I do is cut my pugs for the poundage I want and then turn them side wise on the wedging table, or sometimes just at the wheel, on the bat, and give them 3-4 quick wedges, to break up the spiral from the pugger.  I had been trying to throw with the pugs standing up on end, like a soup can,and they throw BEAUTIFULLY that way, but I was getting too many S cracks.  There was a topic on this and several people do throw that way with good bottom results, but I haven't been able to overcome the cracks.  Wish I could.  I think from that thread that Mea might have been one who did with good results.   For HB, I just flatten the pug on one side a bit with my fist and throw it in the slab roller.  I do rotate it several time as I roll it to the thinness I want.  I don't have any warping problems with that method.

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