Sunday, 13 May 2012

Remembering to care for those tools

A few nights ago I sat down with two pieces of inspiration. A couple of starting points for pieces for not one, but TWO challenges this month. I like to get rolling by mixing up my favourite colour of the palette and work up from there, so I'll have clay at the ready for ideas.  I didn't get very far with that since I was distracted by a little mess and remembered I had a little test experiment underway that I could move on to the next step with.  So happy for the distraction, I grabbed that clay that I had coated with a few different brands and weights of nice quality acrylics to start running it through the good ol' pasta machine.  As I work my way down the size, one brand wasn't crackling at all, seemingly just stretching out... and pass, that paint decided to curl up on itself!  Yup, a few cranks too many and I new I had just clogged up my machine with acrylic - there was colourful clay, and colourful language. 

Then I got to thinking, when was the last time I cleaned this pasta machine? Pretty sure the answer was never.  Off I went to see if I could find the instructions I'd used before to disassemble and clean my other machine, but no joy.  (I did find a youtube video that spent way too long cleaning the outside with a baby wipe, then she proceeded to jam way too thick a piece of clay in to prove it was clean, oh the abuse!).  So I got started, and took a picture so I could make sure how it all went back together.  As I took the picture I thought hmm, I should really start thinking like a good blogger and document this better.  Truth is though that time was flying by and I figured a better web search than the 10 seconds I devoted would probably turn up better results than I could produce.

But for what it's worth, I'll share what I did.  Now, since I had no intention of taking apart my machine at that moment I didn't have any good grease to make this a real quality tune up, so consider this just the basics for rescue.

Here are the tools:
-Socket wrench, 10mm socket
-Phillips screwdriver
-Needle nose pliers (since the socket is too big to fit in the well of the foot, which you see removed above)
-Tongue depressor
-camera, helps to have a back up photo to reverse the process

(that metal thing on the right is the already removed foot and the hardware for it is scattered just to the left)

-See that screw the white arrow is pointing at? Take it off and you can wiggle that side panel off (crank side)

Look just above and you can see the foot still attached, those were the bits in the first picture. With the panel off you can get at the screws holding the foot on.  Those pliers are what I used to keep a hold of the nuts, on the underside, as I unscrewed from above.

Here's where you may find it helpful to snap a quick reference pic

It's helpful to have a good idea of how this all was together before it's in bits in front of you. Once you loosen and remove those nuts that panel can be taken off completely. Do this slowly, as the fenders, rollers, and scraper blades will all fall every direction if you just pull it straight off.

Now, here's where I was all surprised to notice that the scraper blades on this machine (Makin's) are actually plastic! My other machine, Amaco, they are metal and sharp. Having learnt my lesson on the old machine I had always had a delicate touch around these blades and I was shocked that I'd been so careful all this time and they really weren't sharp at all.  Anyways, let's get to the satisfying part, cleaning off those many layers of buildup.


Ah, so much better!

Be careful not to scratch or otherwise damage the blades with your cleaning.

Clean every other surface you can now reach with ease, I use 70% alcohol and baby wipes for this. Here's the tricky part that takes the biggest chunk of time. You have to hold everything together and try to line it all up simultaneously to pop the panel back on.  Inevitably as soon as you have most of it together something will fall out of place and you'll have to start again.  A spare set of hands would be really helpful for this stage.  There is one other way too where reassembly is easier and that's if you choose to leave off the fenders.  I have one machine set up like this and that machine is dedicated to just running thin sheets of translucent. Dedicating a machine means I never have to worry about little flavours of the past migrating onto my fresh new sheets.  But for this machine, my workhorse, I like to have my ShARK so I need to keep the fenders on.

So there you have it, a quick and dirty on reviving my mildly abused machine.  Now I really must get to some actual colour mixing.

Oh and Happy Mother's Day!

1 comment:

  1. I would really like to take my machine apart to clean it properly but I'm so afraid I'll never get it back together again!


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