Pasta Machine for Clay – Maintenance and Buying Tips

Pasta Machine For Clay

Vid #008: The Polymer Clay Pasta Machine is a tool that even beginners should purchase almost right away.

However, if you like to add inclusions of spices, flower petals, or any type of fiber into your polymer clay, remember that these materials can be abrasive. You may want to think twice before putting them through your pasta machine and possibly scratching the rollers. Once a roller is scratched, it will leave marks on any new clay you put through that machine in the future. Not so good.

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The full version of the “Pasta Machine” preview video shown above, is included in my Polymer Clay Bead Making Fundamentals Course[SEE Video #8 of 39].The pasta machine is not just for making pasta anymore. It is now also used around the world for conditioning polymer clay and making beautiful beads. In this video I discuss various maintenance tips including how to clean the pasta machine rollers and blades using rubbing alcohol. I also compare different machine brands such as Amaco, Atlas and Makin Ultimate.

  1. Cindy Lietz, 30 March, 2008

    Do you love your pasta machine as much as I love mine? What do you like most (or least) about the brand that you own.

    Although my Amaco machine has been good to me, one complaint I have is that the handle often slips out when it shouldn’t.

    Cindy’s last blog post..Polymer Clay Lentil Beads – Making Them Can Be Very Addictive!

  2. Beverle Sweitzer, 08 December, 2009

    Cindy:
    I couldn’t get my clay/pasta machinc back together. It has spring/wire clips that hold the scrapers in place and I just could’t fit them all back together. I bought an Amaco and noticed that it also has the clip thingies but they looked a little different. I called Amaco and they said not(!!) to take the machine apart. That the only reason it gets clay in the scrapers is if you crank backwards. They recommend using waxed paper around your clay whenever it is put into the machine. I don’t think I have ever cranked mine backwards, and while I haven’t tried the waxed paper I can imagine that it would get tedious real fast. I have looked everywhere I can think of on the internet and haven’t seen any mention of the spring clips that hold the scrapers. Could/ would you comment on this? Thanks.

  3. Sue Grinlinton, 06 March, 2013

    I ‘m new to this artform & trying to learn as much as I can, so have been reading many blogs. Today I read where someone put the fingertip of a rubber or latex glove on the tip of her handle before inserting it into the machine & says it “never” falls out. Sounds reasonable.

  4. Cindy Lietz, 30 June, 2008

    This question came to me by email today:

    "What pasta machine do you recommend? I am a beginner at cane work and my amaco does not work well – slips gears while cranking. Thanks so much!! Jen"

    ANSWER:

    Jen – I have been using an Amaco Pasta Machine and it still works well for me. I’m thinking your gears probably got stripped, perhaps trying to force hard clay into it. Especially if it’s only put into one side of the rollers.

    A lot of clayers use the Atlas 150 but it is much more expensive than the Amaco. You could also consider the Ultimate clay Machine by Makins Clay, I have been hearing good things about it.

    Michaels Arts and Crafts Stores carry the Ultimate Makins line and it would be a great deal with one of their 50% off coupons!

    Hope that helps.

    Cindy’s last post..USA Clay Cane Designs Absent From Fimo Nail Art Trends in Google

  5. Carol P, 18 December, 2008

    Very nice site! I saw your comment about the handle slipping out of the pasta machine. I found some super strong magnets and placed them around the handle area on the machine. I find the handle doesn’t fall out as often. What bugs me is the black streaks that appear sometimes on the clay after running it through the rollers. I know the machine is clean so i’m convinced it’s some sort of “chemical reaction”. I think it’s the rollers reacting with the clay. It’s an Amaco purchased at Michaels. I tend to mix different brands of clay together and sometimes add powders, glitter etc to the clay. This could be the problem. I can’t figure it out!

  6. Sue Nash, 14 June, 2011

    @Carol:
    Hi Carol,
    I have the same problem with black marks on my clay from my CLEAN paster machine. If you find out what is causing it please let me know.

    Thanks, Sue

  7. Linda K., 14 June, 2011

    @Sue Nash: I’m having the same problem with my Amaco machine (7 settings). I’ve taken it apart a couple of times and cleaned it, but I still get black marks immediately after taking it apart for cleaning. When I run a baby wipe or a paper towel soaked in alcohol along the rollers, I find that the black stuff seems to come from the edges… makes me think it’s oil in the works, especially because it seems to be worse if the PM sits for awhile without being used. Also because I haven’t used a dark-colored clay for some time.

    Somebody in another blog on this site suggested keeping a piece of white clay to run through the pasta machine to clean out the black marks before running the new clay through. This seems to help somewhat. I keep that piece of white clay in a ziplock bag next to my PM so I can re-use it.

  8. Sue Nash, 14 June, 2011

    @Linda K.:

    Hi Linda,
    I just sent this note to Cindy – I haven’t yet sorted out how this messaging works. Think I might have it right this time, I hope so.

    Thank you for taking the time to answer. From what I read on the internet a lot of people have this problem of dirty streaks from their machines, and the clay is not cheap.
    This morning, in desperation, I took my old machine to pieces and cleaned it. I left the covers off, and the scrapers, so now I just have the rollers and the two rods which hold it together. I must say working out how to put it together again was a challenge!
    I cleaned the rollers with alcohol [rose spirit I use in cake decorating] and although they seemed to be clean, the spirit took a lot of black off. I have since run white Cernit through a number of times and it comes through clean. I hope it stays this way.
    I am not sure whether to put the scrapers back on, as they do seem to collect clay inside them. Without them it just means I have to unstick the clay from the roller as it starts to come through, but if the clay stays clean this is a small price to pay.
    If I think I can take it to pieces and put it together again!!! I might do the same with my new machine, then I will have one for black and one for light colours.
    I must say clay is a lot harder to work with than icing, but at least it will last, and I won’t have any trouble with it dissolving in the humidity in summer.
    Sue

  9. Bully N, 14 February, 2013

    I have a Sculpey brand and I took off ALL the bumpers/guards and scrapers off mine and it no longer makes streaks and is a breeze to clean. I found that the streaks are coming from the actual metal to metal rubbing/scraping action of the scrapers on the rollers. As for the problem with the clay sticking to the rollers when the scrapers are absent, I run the clay thru a few times (maybe 4-6) sandwiched with wax paper to get it “started” and once it starts holding together a bit I put it thru the machine by itself. I find it much easier to do this way. Cleanup is just with a baby wipe. My white clay has never been so easy to condition and stays so clean!!

  10. Cindy Lietz, 15 June, 2011

    @Sue Nash, Carol and Linda K.: The black streaking is a common issue that seems to be caused by a reaction between the clay and chrome finish on the rollers. Wiping the rollers with rubbing alcohol will help clean them. I also find that a wipe with some baby oil or mineral oil will help as well.

    Ultimately I would like to see a pasta machine that is made specifically for polymer clay that is priced at a reasonable cost for consumers. There is a machine available that is supposed to be a ‘dream’ but the cost is over $200 for just the machine and over $600 with a motor. (And believe it or not, you still have to buy the clamp separately! At that price, a handsome assistant should come with it, to help you feed your clay into it! LOL)

    I keep bugging Polyform and Amaco to make one for us. If they don’t, I am going to have to figure out how to get that done myself!

    Sorry for the rant. Anyone who has been around here for awhile will know this isn’t the first time this need for a better pasta machine has been discussed. Click the link by my name to read more.

  11. Linda K., 16 June, 2011

    @Cindy Lietz from Pasta Machine Rant: AHA! A reaction between the chrome and the clay makes sense. I constantly clean my rollers with alcohol and sometimes with baby wipes. I’ve never tried using baby oil, but I’ll try that next. Thanks!

  12. Sue Nash, 16 June, 2011

    @Linda K.:
    I have just been playing around with my machine again this morning! The clay was coming clean now after taking the scrapers and top guards off, so I cleaned the scrapers well with rose spirit, gave them a quick look at a Vaseline jar, then put them back on – more dirty lines, but only on the top of the clay, so I removed the front scraper only and put my new toy back together once more – CLEAN CLAY!
    I now only have to release the clay if it sticks to the front roller as it comes through. I can’t work out why the front scraper was causing trouble, it could only be the metal on the edge of the scraper.

  13. Linda K., 18 June, 2011

    @Sue Nash: Yup, it’s the metal on the edge that causes my problems. I’m not sure I want to deal with a PM without one of the scrapers, but that is a possiblity if I can’t control the streaks.

  14. Sue Nash, 14 June, 2011

    @Carol:
    Hi Carol,
    It’s Sue again. After reading all about cleaning the pasta machine – mine is NEW! I bought it because I was having dirty marks using an old machine a friend gave me, even though I had cleaned it well, but the new machine has made no difference.
    I am new to polymer clay, and this makes me want to give up.
    I hope I can get some help from someone.

    Sue

  15. Cindy Lietz, 18 December, 2008

    Carol, That’s an interesting tip about the magnets. Thanks for sharing.

    Now about the streaking issue, I have the exact same pasta machine as you and have used several different kinds of clay without any problems… so I am pretty sure it’s not a chemical reaction issue.

    Have you taken the machine apart to clean it or just cleaned the rollers from the top? Lots of clay can get trapped behind the scrapers as well as where the rollers meet the edges of the pasta machine? Cleaning these areas can only be accomplished if take the machine apart.

    It can be tricky to take a pasta machine apart so I just filmed a video on how to do that. It will be in the Polymer Clay Tutor Members Library very soon!

    If you want to find out more about becoming a member, you can click the link by my name.

    Happy Holidays!

  16. Sherry Westeen, 26 April, 2009

    I have two pasta machines. One for dark colors and one for light or white only. I have to clean them each and every time because clay gets stuck on them [See pic below]. I do not know if the rollers themselves are in need of something or if there are tips I am unaware of. I appreciate your time Cindy. I want to be able to clay like you but it takes so long with sticky rollers and cleaning the machines all the time. Do you have to clean yours all the time or does your clay not stick? It does not matter what kind of clay I use either. In the pic below, it is Kato clay. Thanks again.

    PS: I have joined your beadvideos members library and absolutely love it! Thanks for your time Cindy. You rock!

    Kato Clay Sticking To Pasta Machine Rollers

  17. Cindy Lietz, 27 April, 2009

    Sherry, thanks for sending in the photo, that makes a tremendous difference in helping me to understand and see the type of problem you are experiencing.

    The way the clay is sticking to the roller like that, looks like a huge pain. No wonder you are frustrated!

    I am curious… when you say you clean your pasta machine, are you just wiping down the rollers, or are you taking the whole thing apart and cleaning the scrapers inside?

    I’m wondering, if there is a whole bunch of old clay stuck behind the scrapers that are forcing the blades out and therefore not properly scraping the rollers when you pass the clay through.

    Your rollers don’t appear pitted or damaged in any way and since it is happening to all brands of clay, that is my suspicion.

    Taking apart a pasta machine (and more importantly, putting it back together) has to be done a certain way. I have created a video on exactly how to do this, which is in the back issues of the polymer clay tutor library [See “Cleaning-Pasta-Machine” Link by my name above].

    If it isn’t old clay in the scrapers, I’m not really sure what it is, but maybe someone else here does. Don’t worry, we’ll get to the bottom of this! :-)

  18. Sherry Westeen, 29 April, 2009

    I am actually taking the whole thing apart. I have only wiped it down with dry paper towel. My husband said it could rust if it stays wet for long periods of time so I have only used dry cloths. I do see all the clay at the bottom of the rollers and take it out before switching colors. Also, I keep it covered if I am not using it for long periods of time. It always seems to get a gray line of something, almost like metal dust, on the clay if it does not get used enough. Weird?
    Just FYI: One of my pasta machines is the same as yours and the other was a find at a rummage for $3.00. It is an Ampia made in Italy. Works awesome but rollers are not as wide as the Amaco. It has three rollers, two are for cutting pasta. If you have one of these, “have fun taking it apart and putting it back together.” It has so many springs and parts inside. Unless you know where they go, you are in trouble by taking the first screw out! Thanks for your help Cindy. I will try taking the top parts off and see how it goes.

  19. Cindy Lietz, 01 May, 2009

    Sherry that sounds very frustrating! I am not sure what is happening with your machine. I have been trying to do some research on what it could be but have not found anything yet.

    The biggest problem with the machines is that they are made for flour dough and not clay. There could be some compatibility issue here. but I’m not sure.

    I will continue to keep an eye out for a fix for this problem. In the meantime, I hope someone here has an answer for you, since currently I am stumped! Sorry about that. :-(

  20. Joan Howell, 28 July, 2009

    Hi Cindy, I know you have suggestions on purchasing a new pasta machine-cannot find it. I would be looking for machine in North Van or Vancouver. Thanks, Joan

  21. Cindy Lietz, 28 July, 2009

    Hi Joan – there’s pasta machine purchasing tips on this page. By using keywords like “pasta machine” and “conditioning” in the search box at the top of every page at this blog, you will also find lots of other related articles that may be helpful for you.

  22. Kim Hale, 01 October, 2009

    I love your website! I look forward to Friday videos.

    I looked all over the sight and could not find the answer to my problem, so I am asking.

    My pasta machine is leaving grey marks on my clay. I have cleaned it and that helps for a time. This is not an old machine I’ve used it for about a month. I did buy it second hand. Is this normal?

    Thank you for your time, Kim

  23. Cindy Lietz, 01 October, 2009

    Hi Kim – glad to hear you are enjoying the site and the Friday videos.

    The link by my name will take you to a conversation I had with someone else at another post. Have a look at that and feel free to post any follow questions you have here at the blog.

  24. Kim Hale, 06 October, 2009

    I am embarrassed to say I fixed my problem by turning the machine over and cleaning the gunk off the bottom!!!! I had been cleaning it from the top and running the baby wipes through it. There was still some build up that was not coming off by just cleaning machine that way. My white is now staying white!
    .

  25. Cindy Lietz, 06 October, 2009

    Yay!!!! Thanks for reporting back here. It helps to show everyone that where there is a will, there is a way :-)

  26. Cindy Lietz, 08 December, 2009

    Oh Beverle that sounds like such a pain for you! I have never heard of springs inside of the pasta machine like that, it must be a new model. I agree that using wax paper would be a huge problem. Not to mention the wrinkles and stuff you would get every time you ran clay through it.

    That is just not true about the clay getting behind the scrapers only when going backwards! Tons of clay gets behind mine and I never go backwards!

    Why can’t these guys design a pasta machine with easily removed blades at a reasonable price? It is not exactly rocket science. Polymer Clay Express made one but since they are such a small company, they can’t manufacture in any kind of volume and the price is pretty high IMO. Especially for a beginner just trying the medium out.

    And another thing that bugs me, is these things are originally designed for food. What kind of food machine can’t be taken apart to clean? It’s bizarre! Any way, sorry for the rant.

    I don’t know what to say as far as what to do. Hopefully someone else has some ideas that can help. Can you tell us the make and model so we can warn people not to take it apart? That would at least help others from having the same problem.

    Sorry I can’t help you more. :-(

  27. June Frederick, 10 March, 2010

    I haven’t seen this problem come up with clay and was wondering if anyone knows how to handle it. How do you keep all the clay pieces from falling on the floor at your pasta machine? I have been doing a lot of claying learning how to do quilt pieces and I have a mess on my floor. Grant you its in the basement, but it still is a mess. Does anyone know how to take care of it? Thank you.

  28. Phaedrakat, 10 March, 2010

    @June Frederick: Hi June, I have had a stray piece or two land on the floor, and then I pick it up, dust it off, and put it in my scrap jar (unless it’s a big piece, then I try to clean it off with alcohol and use tweezers to get any stray fibers.) But I’ve never had clay landing all over the floor.

    I usually put my hand under the rollers, so that the clay rolls out right into my hand. If it is crumbly, some pieces end up on the table, some in my hands. (This is where a stray piece lands on the floor sometimes.) I keep the table & pasta machine base clean in-between colors with baby-wipes. This way I can just pick up these pieces and stick them together again. Then I keep running them back through the PM again & again until they stick together in a sheet. I’ve never had the stuff go all over the floor, though. Are you working with really crumbly clay or something? Or is there not much table under your pasta machine to catch the clay?

  29. Rebecca (Becky) Chisenhall, 17 June, 2011

    @June Frederick: June, this post from you was from a while back so you may have solved your problem, but I had the same problem with “crumbs” on the floor. I read somewhere online that someone solved the problem by putting her pasta machine inside a tin or cardboard box lid (shallow) and then fastened it to the table, thus kept them contained and could scoop them up to put in the scrap pile easier. Also, I just used a paint scraper, held at an angle, to carefully scrape up the clay on the floor. Carefully, as you don’t want to gouge the floor if it is “gougable.” Lol.

  30. Sue Nash, 17 June, 2011

    Great idea, thanks. I am going to get a tray for under my machine to keep my computer desk tidy – it is the only place in the house I can set my new toy up.

  31. Jocelyn, 04 July, 2011

    @June Frederick: Just spent I wonderful Saturday down on my hands and knees scraping the kitchen floor clean. Started with a small window blade scraper which broke. then moved up my arsenal by grabbing the BBQ rack scraper, which has a can do blade on the top, and some wire brushes if needed.

    HUD housing so standard linoleum floors. Took elbow grease and some applications of alcohol and paper towels for bled spotting, but all in all, came up like a dream.

    Acrylic carpet is another story. Leave a bit on there too long and it eats a spot out of the rug, plus adds a little blop of color, very not needed on a beige carpet.

    Try to keep the entire area on a tarp or easy to fold up rug, and empty the little bits before they migrate….but, alas, the best made plans of mice and men…..LOL!

  32. j frederick, 11 March, 2010

    my pasta machine sits on a bench it is the only place i have to clamp it to
    and my clay some of it is really crumbly i think some of it from the stores is probably old i use mix quick and a clay softener but it really takes awhile to get it to the right stage in the mean time putting it thru the pasta machine even with my hand under it i can’t catch all the crumbly pieces
    my craft room is in my basement and this time of year the furnace doen’t run as much so its a little cool.is there anything to use to get it off the floor. i know rubbing acholol working for some things but you would need a lot for a floor.

  33. Phaedrakat, 11 March, 2010

    @j frederick: I would use baby wipes or swiffer or some kind of damp, disposible cloth to get the majority of it off the floor. If it’s really spread out, you might need to use a dust broom or something first to get the scattered pieces. Go over it with the wipes until you’ve got all but “resistant” spots. Then, use something like alcohol (or acetone? depending on your floor-type) to get just the bits that don’t want to come up with the baby wipes or whatever. Actually, I would imagine that after you get the loose bits of clay up off the floor, you could go over it with anything that your floor type could handle — bleach, pine-sol, vinegar & warm water, etc.

    I’ve never seen this topic anywhere, so I’m just saying what I think I would do. What kind of floor do you have in your basement? After you get it cleaned up, you might want to put some kind of plastic tarp or something under your bench to protect it. They have those acrylic office mat-type things that might work, too. Just so that when you get a lot of clay on it, you could gather it up and shake it into a bin for easier clean-up next time.

    Hopefully, someone else has some better cleanup suggestions. I’m sorry I can’t be of more help! The only other thing I can think of is to try to put something at the base of your pasta machine to catch the clay (not sure what, though – I’d have to see the setup to get my brain working on it!) Good luck with this unique problem!

  34. j frederick, 12 March, 2010

    thanks for the help have scraped it up off the floor am scrubbing it next
    and a new paint job when thats done its cement ive put an old carpet
    by the machine.

  35. Phaedrakat, 13 March, 2010

    @j frederick: Maybe you should try using a food processor for conditioning, so you can avoid the super-crumbly stage (and most of the mess!) I hate to think of you having to clean up all of that clay!

  36. Sue F, 13 March, 2010

    @j frederick: I use Kato clay which is reknowned (notorious?) for being crumbly as you start to condition it. Perhaps the way I deal with this will also help you avoid all the crumbles with your clay. Here’s what I do, which is my variation on a process I saw at Over The Rainbow (polymerclay.com.au/polymer-clay-kato-polyclay-c-21_446_493.html):

    1. Cut a slice from the block that’s just a bit thicker than the thickest setting on the pasta machine.

    2. Feed it through the pasta machine at the thickest setting (#1 on mine).

    3. WITHOUT FOLDING THE CLAY, set the pasta machine one setting thinner (e.g. #2 on mine), and feed the clay through again.

    4. Repeat the “one setting thinner, feed it through again” process WITHOUT FOLDING THE CLAY until it’s getting quite thin. For really crumbly Kato I go down to setting #7 (out of 9), but for normally-firm Kato I only go down to setting #5 (out of 9).

    5. At that stage, fold once and feed through the pasta machine at that thin setting, then repeat this “fold and feed” process a few times.

    6. After a few folded passes through that thin setting, back the machine off a couple of settings, fold and feed a few times, then back off again until you get to a medium thickness (e.g. #3 on my machine) where you can finish the conditioning process. For example, for really crumbly Kato that I’d started folding at #7, I’d back off to #5 for a bit, and then back off again to #3 to finish the conditioning; for normally-firm Kato that I’d started folding at #5, I back off once to #3 and condition there.

    The other thing which I occasionally did before I discovered the above method was to take the unopened packet of clay out to the garage and beat the living daylights out of it from all sides with a mallet until I could feel it “moving” and deforming smoothly, at which point I’d slice it and finishing the conditioning as normal. (This is often referred to as the “Jana Whack” method.) When using a quantity of clay cut from a large block, I’d just use one or two layers of extra-heavy-duty ziplock bag.

  37. j frederick, 13 March, 2010

    thanks for the jana whack method that one sounds like a winner to takeout all my frustations ive already done the food processor with the clay softener and that seems to help thanks for the input everyone.

  38. streya, 14 January, 2011

    I had the same problem as Beverle Sweitzer. with the amaco pasta machine and the guy said NOt to take it apart. our only option was to put it together as best we could and exchange it.

    Now with our new one we find that there are no thick settings and on settings 1 and 2 for the thinest setting it crinkles the clay. im not sure what to do. and it is getting very very frustrating.

  39. streya, 14 January, 2011

    Oh the pasta machine i use or rather atempting to use is the amaco craft pasta machine. thats all the info i can find on the box and info sheet. also it states no where to not take it apart.

    any tips very much appreciated.

  40. Cindy Lietz, 18 January, 2011

    @streya: Hi Streya, Amaco has changed the way they manufacture their pasta machines, since the making of this video. If you have a model that has 9 settings instead of the 7 settings, like the one in my video, than it should not be taken apart because it will not go back together properly. It’s too bad they changed it, because I actually preferred the older model. Newer isn’t always better. If you have the new one, just clean it on the outside without taking it apart, underneath where the scrapers are, as best you can with a baby wipe or paper towel soaked in rubbing alcohol. Hope that helps.

  41. fran, 15 June, 2011

    Cindy Lietz -you mentioned wanting removable scraper blades in your rant. It appears that at monakissel.com/toolspasta.html they are making that easier on the Atlas machines. Maybe doing something about the rollers could be their next project.

  42. Cindy Lietz, 17 June, 2011

    I LOVE the camaraderie that is happening in this thread. Thanks everyone for going the extra mile by offering support, suggestions and resources. You guys are the reason why this community is such an awesome place to hang out and talk shop :-)

  43. Jocelyn, 19 June, 2011

    Wonder if you could use PMS fixative spray on the rollers to prevent the reaction?

  44. Linda K., 19 June, 2011

    @Jocelyn: Might be worth a try. That’s another item I still don’t have yet. I need about $1000 to buy all the clay-related stuff I want!

  45. Sue Nash, 19 June, 2011

    I have not had any marks on my clay since removing the offending scraper, it is working great, and I am now getting some creativity flowing. The problem took some working out, but I’m very happy now.

  46. Jocelyn, 19 June, 2011

    Wooohooo, Sue!!! Cindy, could you please do another video showing us how to remove those devil scrapers, threw out 2 machines (ATLAS, at that!!!) because once I took them apart…..well…..you know.

  47. Sue Nash, 29 June, 2011

    I don’t know what make my pasta machine is as there are no marks on it. It was an odd one a friend gave me.
    I have since bought an Atlas, and from the outside it looks similar to my old one. The scrapers on my new Atlas look as if they are made of some type of hard plastic or nylon, not metal, and I am going to keep it for white clay only. The other one I will use for other colours and black as it is now so easy to clean.
    It might pay to get an old machine from a second-hand shop to take apart and use for dark colours, and keep a good machine for white.

    With my old machine, the round cover [inside where the numbers go around] kept falling off so I could see inside, and as the machine was making so much mess of my clay I had nothing to loose by dismantaling it and trying to fix the problem.

    I undid the four screws underneeth; and a screw at each end [on the flat ends.] Took the round bit off by the numbers, then undid the nut inside which holds one of the rollers tight. I took the spring out and took the bit with the numbers on off, and the two ends off.
    With the two ends off, the guards and scrapers came away. Now the fun of putting it back together. A bit fiddly, but do-able.

    With my new Atlas, the round bit, fitted in the numbers part, is in tight, and that needs to come out – I think. On second thoughts, just getting the flat end off the other end should be enough to release it and get the guards and scrapers off.
    Hope this helps, get your screwdriver out and experiment! Have fun, Sue

  48. Jocelyn, 30 June, 2011

    @Sue Nash: Thanks for the tips Sue!!! Great advice, thanks for sharing.

  49. Angela M, 02 July, 2011

    Hi, I hope I’m doing this comment right so all can see it. I saw an older post about trouble with the turn handle falling off the pasta machine. I solved this by cutting open a rubber band and putting in on the part of the handle that goes into the machine. Not around the handle. Lay the band at the bottom 1/4 to 1/2 inch side of the handle, let if follow across the bottom and back up the other side. Then hold the rubber band in place while inserting the handle back in the hole. It will be a tight fit, but once in it won’t fall out again until you are ready to remove it yourself. I found that a slightly wider rubber band was better than a thin one.

  50. Jocelyn, 03 July, 2011

    @Angela M: Great advice! When
    I am not using the motor, I get my excercise bending to pick up that stupid handle, LOL. This trick will work perfectly, thanks!

  51. Amy R, 01 August, 2011

    I am new to polymer clay and the pasta machine I bought as well. I am having trouble with my clay wrinkling on the thinnest settings. It won’t come out smooth on the last couple thinnest settings. Am I doing something wrong? Any help as to why it would be doing this would be most helpful. Thank you for your time

  52. Cindy Lietz, 03 August, 2011

    @Amy R: Hi Amy, Yeah that wrinkling that happens on the thin settings is pretty common. One thing that can help is to gradually go down in thickness rather than jumping straight to a thin setting.

    For example, if your thickest setting is a #1 and your thickest is 7 or 9 (each machine is different), then start at 1, then go to 2, then 3, etc until you get to 7 or 9. This way there isn’t so much clay being forced behind those rollers and the sheet shouldn’t wrinkle up so much. It won’t necessarily be perfect, but it will be much smoother. Hope that helps!

    BTW there is tons of free information here at the blog if you want to use the search box at the top of the page. There are also many paid tutorials and even a Beginner’s Basics course that will help you along your way with polymer clay. For info on the course, click the link by my name.

  53. Cherie H, 20 June, 2012

    I’m having problems with wrinkling; really bad at the 5 setting and on. I roll from thickest gradually so I don’t know why that is happening. I need a thin, flat sheet and it’s so frustrating!

  54. Cindy Lietz, 21 June, 2012

    Hi Cherie, wrinkling can be a real pain in the butt, can’t it? Were you having problems before, or is this something new? If it is new, it could be that your machine needs some cleaning. There could be clay behind the rollers, kind of tugging at the sheet as it is rolling out.

    Also, since it sounds like your pasta machine only has 5 settings, it could be that the difference between thicknesses may be too great. Even though you are starting at the thickest setting and going down one step at a time, that the jump could be just too big at the thinner settings. What you could do is try rolling the clay with your acrylic roller, in between settings, to coax it down to the thinner settings more gradually, and hopefully avoiding that frustrating wrinkling.

    In the Ink on Crackled Leaf Tutorial, I do show a trick for rolling ultra thin sheets of clay using parchment paper and file folders which should help, if you want to check that out. Hopefully that solves you problem. Do let us know how it goes.

  55. Cherie H, 22 June, 2012

    I have the Makins clay machine with 9 settings. Used to happen occasionally on the very thin settings #7 and up. Now I can’t get it thru #5. Can this machine be opened?

  56. Cindy Lietz, 22 June, 2012

    Hmmm I think your machine is indeed dirty then. I don’t know whether or not it can be taken apart to clean though. Or if it can be opened, whether it will go back together. Some of these machines are a real pain. I have had success in the past with using a folded over piece of file folder to get up under the scraper from under the machine, and then scraping out the clay from there. But since I have not worked with that machine before, I don’t even know if that is possible. I would email the manufacturers and see if they have a suggestion for you. DO let us know what they say. It helps everyone when you do, since most of us encounter the same problems as everyone else.

    PS: Please have a look at the info that Doug provided for you today, about some issues with your email account.

  57. Sue Nash, 16 August, 2011

    I roll it as thin as it will go, while staying flat, then roll it out like I do with icing. Roll it on clingfilm, this way you can roll it very thin and it peels off easily.
    Just peel it off the plastic each time you roll it to release it, then smoothe the plastic and roll it out again.
    A piece of plastic pipe would work for a roller, or get one from a cake decorating website.

  58. Cherie, 26 June, 2012

    I emailed Makins and they called me the next morning – Saturday. I explained my problem about the ripple forming across the sheets. He asked me some questions and figured out it was not dirty. He said if it was dirty I would have streaking or color over color. The problem seemed to be over conditioned or over soft clay. It’s been extremely hot and I conditioned it. He suggested I pop it in the refrigerator for about 3 minutes and also when rolling to keep turning the clay 90 degrees for each new setting – turning would not work for a skinner blend. It seems to have solved the problem; it’s not wrinkling any more.

  59. Cindy Lietz, 27 June, 2012

    Thanks Cherie for the update!! It has been pretty chilly in my studio lately, so it hadn’t occurred to me that your clay was to warm. Glad to hear Makin’s offered a solution that worked for you!

  60. Rita C, 04 November, 2011

    I have an AMACO 9-setting pasta machine. The handle is stuck and will rotate only about 45 degrees. I’ve cleaned everywhere I can see with a bamboo skewer and wipes with alcohol. I used a hat pin to pull clay bits from between the side of the roller and the side of the machine. (That space is wide enough only on the underside of the machine.) The machine is almost new. What else can I do?

  61. Cindy Lietz, 11 November, 2011

    Rita, it sounds to me like there is something caught in the gears or the ring that holds the gear mechanism together has popped off. I would see if you can return it or get it exchanged. If that is not possible, you may need to remove the cover from the pull and turn thickness dial.

    Disclaimer: Only take apart your machine like this if it is a lost cause and you would have to throw it out anyways. Once you start taking stuff like this apart, you will never be allowed to return it, and it may not go back together. So only do this as a last resort!

    You might scratch it up a bit, but you can usually pop off the cap on the dial with a screwdriver. Once the dial is open you can remove the nut and washer from the dial and slide it off the machine. Then you can remove the housing from the side of the machine. There you will see the gears clearly. It should be reasonably obvious why the handle will not turn, once you can see it all open like this. Fix the problem if you can and put the machine back together. You won’t have to put the housing or the cap back on if you don’t wish to. That way if it happens again you can fix it without taking it apart.

    Now if you are not mechanically inclined, find someone who likes to tinker with stuff like this to help. Since it was broken anyway, there isn’t anything to lose by trying to fix it. Good Luck and let us know if you succeed!

  62. Cyndi N, 08 January, 2012

    Thanks so much for replying so quickly Doug!! I am so very new to this that I am not good at getting around the site yet either….I’ve read through this thread but haven’t found my solution just yet…..I will continue looking and if anyone has a suggestion once they’ve ready this–please let me know–I am anxious to get rolling :)

  63. Betty B, 28 October, 2012

    About the streaks on the clay… that is such a puzzle! I have an Atlas 150 pasta machine that I bought ~15 years ago. I have had a problem with the streaks from the beginning and thought it was some kind of lubricant migrating onto the clay as it is always worse at the edges. I have searched your blog as well as the net and find several theories, but no definitive answer to the issue. I’ve also seen a number of solutions, most, if not all, of which don’t solve the problem!

    In my searching, I learned that the problem comes from “black rust” and and that the solution is… ammonia! I haven’t tried it, but if it continues to be a problem, I will hold my nose and give it a try! At this point, I figured if it really is rust, then what I need to do is keep the rollers as dry as possible and since the plasticizers in the clay can apparently cause it (that reaction with the steel rollers!), then it must be cleaned when I finish using it and not left to sit with clay residue on it.

    I had left it sit without cleaning it the last time I used my pasta machine and then, I didn’t work with my clay for several days. When I went back to do some claying, I had black streaks… all the way across, but worse on the edges. I started cleaning, as well as searching for answers! That’s when I found the above website, along with a few others.

    Pasta Machine Black Streaks On Clay

    On the Etsy forums, someone said “I actually folded up a paper towel, and held onto one edge and rolled it part way through the rollers, and kept rolling so that the rollers basically wiped themselves clean. lol It worked for me.” It worked for me, too! I had cleaned it and dried it and yet I noticed the black reappearing on the edges of the rollers as I worked. I ran some old clay through and just kept getting streaks, but when I cleaned it as described with the paper towel, the streaks were gone. Here is a picture of the clay with the streaks on it so you can see just how bad it really is!

    When I finished using my machine that day, I made sure to clean it and dry it thoroughly. I haven’t run any clay through since then, but I don’t see any evidence of streaks on the rollers. I’ll keep you posted on how it goes, as well as if I decide to use the ammonia!

    Thanks again! Hope my discoveries are of some help!

    Betty

  64. Bertha A., 25 November, 2013

    Clay conditioning (pasta) machine sale, US $9.99 at Jo-Anns Nov. 29-Dec 7. (Outside US? Keep reading) Regularly $29.99. I think it is the Sculpey model. Sculpey III and Fimo clay is also $1 per 2oz block. (For some reason, they rarely have Premo on sale?!?)

    There are several other items on sale that could be useful to a clayer but some sales are one or three days only so read & plan your shopping carefully. They also have a nice variety of good coupons over the next 2 weeks, and they often let you combine coupons and sale prices. But the sales info and coupons are spread across their newspaper supplements and direct mail flyers so you may need to check their site or visit the store to see everything. And, though I cannot tell for sure what prices are store only or also online, the online variety is usually as good, if not better.

    I have an Atlas machine that I got from friends who no longer make pasta, but I have been watching for sales and coupons on machines because 1) I don’t like transporting my nicer machine to clay days at the local guild or to workshops, 2) It’s a pain to unclamp and pack up my nicer machine, 3) Other clayers recommend having a separate machine for translucent and white to avoid contamination, and 4) I just ordered mica powders and glitters to experiment with inclusions and that should be done on a separate machine to make cleaning less painful. You can probably think of other reasons to have an extra machine or two, or three.

    For non-US readers, starting the day after our Thanksgiving holiday is when retailers offer the big sales to entice all the Christmas shoppers. However, I have found a possible source for clayers in other countries without easy access to good retailers of polymer supplies. A TV channel in the UK called “JewelleryMaker” (note British English spelling ;-) ) also broadcasts from their website and on YouTube. I found them while looking for some jewellery making techniques. Their main focus is, of course, selling products, but they have people doing demos of techniques and whenever they focus on polymer they offer good or even great deals on supplies, including Premo. I have seen them offer “clay rollers” i.e. pasta machines, for as low as GBP 6.95. And their shipping is really low. An entire order to the US ships for just $5.95. I ordered a machine on sale just to see (along with other items I haven’t seen here) and it is the same as what I got at JoAnns. (Premo is still cheaper here when on sale, but their prices may be good compared to typical European prices.) Add .com for their website to see if they can ship to you, or add UK to the name for their YouTube channel.

    (I know so much about them because I am an Olympic level procrastinator and their many hours of programming have helped me avoid a lot of work. Sigh!)

    BTW, Cindy, thanks for your nice comment about my posting clay sales at Michaels. Just wanted to make sure I wasn’t wasting valuable comment space and bandwidth on the site. :-D

    Sorry this is so long, but one more thing. The issue of black streaks is well discussed in this topic. When I got a machine at JoAnns I checked the rollers before I used it and could see streaks. Took a bit of time to get clean, and I’ll see how long it stays clean. So I think it has something to do with manufacturing and the problem could vary for each person because it’s not a quality control item that’s checked and even the manufacturing might change on a regular basis to keep prices low.

  65. Lena S, 02 July, 2015

    The c-clamp on my pasta machine is broken. The plastic part spins so you have to tighten with a pair of pliers on the threads above the plastic. I could buy a new one for $20 – but it seems like maybes something would work better or cheaper. I considered trying to rip the old handle off and re-glue it – but I’m not sure how they are put together. Oh! I wonder if I could bake a polymer handle on it?

    Thought maybe this had happened to someone else. Any ideas?

  66. Cindy Lietz, 03 July, 2015

    Hi Lena, I have fixed my C-clamp using epoxy resin clay. Polymer clay isn’t strong enough… nor is Sugru… tried them both… they broke off. But the resin clay worked great! Will have to do a video on it when I can get the chance. Will put it on the list!

  67. Lena S, 06 July, 2015

    I should have known you had this exact problem and a solution. Glad I asked! Thank you!

    Did you just break off the old handle and make a brand new one with the resin clay? Also, can you get resin clay at Michaels or Joann’s? Or should I just order it from Amazon?

    I am full of hope! Thanks again! (:

  68. Cindy Lietz, 08 July, 2015

    Sorry for the delay Lena, yes I just broke off the old handle and fashioned a new one with the epoxy clay. The resin clay I used was at Michaels and was a Martha Stewart product but I don’t think it is in production anymore. Any of the two part epoxy clays (putty) should work. It gets rock hard and sticks to anything!

  69. Lena S, 09 July, 2015

    Too bad I dried out my mostly unused Milliput years ago. LOL. I will happily go find some new epoxy clay. Thank you SO much for the clarification.

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