[Clayart] Pugmill

Vince Pitelka via Clayart clayart at lists.clayartworld.com
Sat Aug 16 00:28:43 EDT 2014

Randall Moody wrote:
"I have recently acquired a Bluebird 440 de-airing pugmill and have a couple of questions.
1. It did not come with the vacuum pump so does anyone know where I can purchase one without having to sell an internal organ to pay for it?
2. Can you run a de-airing pugmill without using the pump with no ill effects on the machine? (intuitively I think yes but...) 3. There is a hard rubber or plastic bushing in the shaft area that is looking a bit old. Where can I get a replacement if/when I need one."

Hi Randall - 
When I built my Harry Davis deairing pugmill in the late 70s I initially tried a refrigeration compressor converted to a vacuum pump, but it did not deliver enough "oomph."  I went to Barnes Tractor Supply in Ferndale, CA and purchased a used rotary-vane vacuum pump from a milking machine for $35, and it continues to work great today, almost 40 years later.  If there are dairies in your area, then check with your local farm/tractor supply and see if they have any used vacuum pumps, because otherwise high-quality rotary-vane-type vacuum pumps do tend to be frightfully expensive.  A milking-machine vacuum pump is overkill for a 8" pugmill, but better that than underpowered.

Generally, deairing pugmills do not do a very good job without the vacuum pump functioning.

Regarding the replacement bushing, be persistent with Bluebird. From what I know, they are good people.

This morning I woke up in a campsite on Calf Creek in Grand Staircase/Escalante National Monument, and now I am in a motel in Limon, Colorado, on my way home from my summer workshop tour out west.
- Vince

Vince Pitelka
Appalachian Center for Craft
Tennessee Tech University
vpitelka at dtccom.net   

More information about the Clayart mailing list