Sculpey Clay Conditioning Machine Update

Sculpey Clay Conditioning Machine - Polymer Clay TutorVideo #706: I’ve got some good things to say about this pasta machine… and some not-so-good things to say.

In today’s video I am doing an update on the Sculpey Clay Conditioning Machine.

About 6 months ago I did an unboxing and quick review of the New Sculpey Clay Conditioning Machine with the Stainless Steel Rollers. I said I would come back and let you know how it preformed, so that’s what I’m doing here.

I have both positive and negative things to say about this machine.

First the positive… the stainless rollers are definitely an improvement. There were no black streaks anywhere on my clay.

Also… this machine is sturdier than the previous models… there was no scraper build up… and the handle fits better and does not keep falling out.

Now for the negative… the gears started slipping after only about 1 month of use. Please note I am extremely gentle on my machines, so it wasn’t an issue of rough use. The slipping gear issue caused all the thinner settings to ripple to the point of being unusable.

I show side by side comparisons of polymer clay rolled out at each of the settings on both my Atlas 150 Wellness Machine ($100) and the Sculpey Clay Conditioning Machine ($40). You can see as I go through each setting, the difference in the quality of both the machine and the sheets that they are capable of making.

In conclusion, I would like to see Sculpey fix this gear issue, because all the other issues that the machines had in the past, have been solved with this machine. But as it is now, only the top 4 settings are really usable for the polymer clayer.

There is a big difference in the price of the two machines though. So if you are just a weekend polymer clay hobbyist, then the low price on the Sculpey machine and the fact that the top 4 settings are good, may be all that you need. But if you are going to be doing polymer clay for any length of time, or you like to spend money on quality tools, then definitely pay the extra for the Atlas 150 Wellness Machine (anodized aluminum rollers) because every setting will give you a good quality sheet of polymer clay.

Lastly, I think that the manufacturers of both machines should dial back the number of settings on their machines, to improve the meshing of the gears, resulting in higher quality clay sheets that are produced at all settings. I know it sounds fabulous to have more settings on your machine, but if some of those settings are going to be low quality, it would be better to have less settings… in my humble opinion.

Do you have any suggestions for videos on tips, techniques or products you would like to learn more about? Let me know in the comments section below!

My goal is to help you to learn quicker and easier ways to bring up the professionalism in your polymer clay art.

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Looking forward to hearing from you!

Cindy Lietz SignaturePolymer Clay Tutor
  1. Kate P, 02 November, 2015

    Thank you thank you thank you for doing this review. I actually have to go out pretty much today to buy a new one and am not yet ready to invest in a nice Atlas. My old one that I’ve had for ten years with some rough learning absorbed into it has finally become unusable with grabbing gears and shaking my entire work area when turned. I even took it apart and got great results turning the handle. . . as long as I didn’t put clay through it haha. It’s done! Gears are shot. I believe it says Nicole on it. I’m seriously looking at the Makin’s Professional clay conditioner at Hobby Lobby. Ugg today might be stressful ;).

  2. Chrissie F, 02 November, 2015

    Another improvement would be the addition of holes around the crank handle (as on the Atlas) so that an electric motor could be added. Just a thought :-)

  3. Cindy Lietz, 02 November, 2015

    That’s a good idea Chrissie, though they would need to fix the gears first, or it would really break fast!

  4. Chrissie F, 02 November, 2015

    LOL… too right! Those gears would be as smooth a baby’s bottom with a motor powering them :-))

  5. Michelle A, 05 November, 2015

    Great comparison video, thank you. I think I got my machine at ACmoore years ago, it’s a Fire Mountain Gems Polly-roller. I think I shoved too much hard clay in the first setting, so that’s a little wonky, but the rest of the settings work really well. I had to go run downstairs and try it, lol, and no rippling at the thinnest setting just some fine scratches that can easily be rubbed or sanded out. The handle is loose, but I’m used to that and like I said I’ve had it for years and it works really well. Also, I’m sooooooooo excited I just purchased the last two videos I needed in order to own them all and qualify to get in on the Studio Cam videos. Do I need to email you guys about that or will I just get access to them once my payment goes through? I’m soooooo excited…wait…I already said that, but it bears repeating, LOL!

  6. Doug Lietz, 05 November, 2015

    Re the Studio Cam Vids… your’re in! All 6 hours are ready and waiting for you.

  7. Michelle A, 05 November, 2015

    Hey Doug, yeah, I just click on one to see if it would work and VOILA, I’m in – YEA! Thanks Doug.

  8. Vanessa C, 06 November, 2015

    Great review! I need a much better machine than I have now but the Atlas seems too pricey. And then I think “Well, if I’m going to be spending too much anyway, why don’t I go all the way and get a Dream Machine?” The answer to that is obvious, that’s CRAZY expensive. And what if it didn’t even live up to my expectations? To that end I would actually really like to see your take on the Dream Machine, Cindy. I did a search of the website to make sure you haven’t done one before (I didn’t think you had.)

  9. Mitz Bartlett, 08 November, 2015

    When my Amaco finally died for good earlier this year, and the two machines I bought in the stores were broken and/or obvious returns (clay under the scraper blades and such), I broke down and went to Polymer Clay Express to get an Atlas. I don’t remember what question I had, but I wound up calling them. To keep the story short, the owner talked me into getting the DREAM machine. Honestly, it was a soft sell – I’d been lusting for the thing for years.

    I have to say, a little over half a year on… I do not regret anything! Easy to use, easy to clean, and has handled everything I’ve thrown at it, including my personal granite blend (lots of inclusion bits), though I try to be kind and only use that one infrequently.

    I did a quick test like the one Cindy did in her video, and didn’t start seeing ripples until settings 8, 9, and 10, and those were minor and easy to smooth out. I did notice I needed to clean it, which took about three minutes.

    Price wise, it is the Cadillac of clay machines… but with the heart of a working vehicle. I personally can’t say I know how long it will last, but I predict… that if you come back and talk to me in a decade, I’ll probably still have it going strong.

  10. Vanessa C, 08 November, 2015

    Thank you, that answer was helpful and everything I was afraid it would be. ;) I think I would set my sights on it in a big way if I clayed more than I do. Sometimes I do it for hours every day and sometimes weeks can go by when I don’t clay at all. Ah well, unless the price comes down by about 90% (yeah, right), it will have to stay in my dreams. I guess that makes the name pretty apt.

  11. Mitz Bartlett, 09 November, 2015

    I thought once about writing the Dream makers and suggesting they design a 5″ bed version, but my understanding is that the Atlas does a pretty good job of filling that niche already. Yes, it’s three times the price of the Sculpey machine, but it will probably last at least four times as long, so you save money in the long run.

  12. Jocelyn C, 09 November, 2015

    The Dream Machine.

    Those that own them, rave about them. In the past, they run contests and one was given away every year. If I am correct, one of the lucky folks is a contributing member here, Dixie.

  13. Cindy Lietz, 09 November, 2015

    I heard they had some problems with the most recent production run of the newest DREAM Machine model. Does anyone here have one of the newest ones that were shipped earlier this year? Just curious…

  14. Mitz Bartlett, 10 November, 2015

    I bought mine in June… and you saw my review above. No issues here. There was a tiny hitch on delivery, a typo on the zip code, but when I called to let them know that their package was on its way back, they sent a new one out that day, rather than waiting for the other one to get back to me.

    All in all, both the people and the machine have been fantastic.

  15. Cindy Lietz, 11 November, 2015

    That is great news Mitz!

  16. Lynn Galvan, 13 November, 2015

    Hi Cindy, I started this hobbie a little over a month ago. I bought the sculpy machine it worked ok in beginning then metal pieces began showing up in my clay then black streaks so I exchanged it same thing with second one. I decided to bite the bullet so to speak and buy the atlas I love this machine. It’s smoothe the handle does not fall out no streaks. To me your only as good as your tools, and it’s important to me not to be wasting clay. It’s not cheap. I’m enjoying everything I learn from you and am a paid member. Although I just started and wish I had all your videos so I could be a part of your special studio cam, I think it would be very helpful for beginners to see how you work and react to things. Thanks again
    Lynn

  17. Cindy Lietz, 16 November, 2015

    Thank you for your lovely comment Lynn. I am so happy that you are enjoying what you are learning here. Thank you for your feedback on the pasta machines! :)

  18. Aims, 15 November, 2015

    Maybe I don’t clay enough and so don’t understand why you can’t get the ripples out.

    Can you tell me why?

    I still use my Amaco that I bought about 6 years ago and then only problem I’ve ever had with it is the handle – it likes to fall out.

  19. Jocelyn C, 15 November, 2015

    Hi Aims!

    Just popped “ripples” in the search box and this is the first link that came up. Hope it answers your question…

    Why Pasta Machines Leave Roller Lines On Polymer Clay

  20. Aims, 17 November, 2015

    Not what I meant. I know why ripples form – was wondering why you can’t get them out as Cindy said.

    Any ideas?

  21. Cindy Lietz, 17 November, 2015

    Hi Aims, they won’t come out easily because they are actually thicker in the raised areas and thinner in the grooves. If you try and roll them out with a brayer or something, the sheet gets distorted and you can still see the lines on them. By the time you have them completely rolled out, the sheet is way thinner if not torn and sometimes has see through stripes on them. (Especially on those thin settings.) It is not as simple as the faint lines that you can just tug on to pull out.

  22. Aims, 18 November, 2015

    Thanks Cindy. I’m totally amazed really!! Good thing you showed us this!!!

  23. Jocelyn C, 23 November, 2015

    A thanks for trying to help would have sufficed nicely.

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