Since I work with clay a lot, I find a pasta machine almost as essential as an oven. It helps flatten clay to the even thickness, useful for mixing colours, assists with conditioning clay and so forth. There are millions of uses for one which is why I was excited for Amaco’s Craft Pasta Clay Machine.
I bought the Amaco’s Craft Pasta Machine (now known as Clay Machine) more than half a year ago to replace my Makin’s Ultimate Clay Machine. The Amaco Pasta/Clay Machine is a manual hand cranked “pasta machine” and has 9 different thicknesses setting and was $34.99 CAD without tax. The box states:
- includes pasta machine, handle, clamp for securing to table
- 9 thickness settings (settings #9 is thickest) : it ranges from .079mm (.003 inches) up to 2.269mm (.089).
- Sturdy stainless steel construction
- 5 1/2” wide opening
After I opened the box, I went to give the machine a quick clean. As I was cleaning, I could clearly see black streaks of grease oil and the strong lingering smell of it. It seems like my machine is not the only one with grease on the rollers because a quick search brings up a review on the Wal-Mart website dated 2010:
“I do a lot of clay work. My old pasta machine broke so I purchased this one. I have had nothing but problems with it. I have had it for about 6 years and have never been able to keep the black grease from getting all over my clay. It is very hard to clean between colors. I would not recommend this product if you want a clean piece of clay. You get what you pay for” [Source]
I tried using both water and alcohol to clean the pasta/clay machine and neither worked so I put it away for rainy day. When my other pasta machine broke, I decided to give the Amaco machine another try. Remembering the grease, I tried cleaning it again. This time I also ran a scrap piece of clay into the machine but I still got streaks of black grease even after running the clay through multiple times.
The rollers also do not have good surface for the clay to adhere to which means when you crank the handle, the clay stay in place rather than feeding into the machine. Even when I tried to use more pressure, it only helped occasionally. I have a few other little nit picks about the machine but these issues are quick fixes such as the handle grip being made out of hard plastic which hurt my hand after using the machine for a while. However, you can easily fix by wrapping bit of masking or painter’s tape to make it ‘softer’.
I sadly cannot recommend this Amaco item. I have other tools from this brand which have never given me problems. I especially like their Flexible PolyBlade which is tremendously useful for cutting clay. (Please be careful when using this!) But with the issues the pasta/clay machine gave me, personally, stacking books or cardboard and using a roller would have been easier.