[Clayart] mixers/puggers

Vince Pitelka vpitelka at dtccom.net
Thu Jul 13 12:18:11 EDT 2017

Hi Jonathan -
In my experience, the Soldner mixer is extremely reliable and practically indestructible.  It's not a pugger, of course, so the decision depends partially on whether you plan to pug your clay.  Our standard practice is to mix the claybody in the Soldner, and then run it through a no-deairing pugmill.  We wedge the clay anyway, so for us, the primary advantage of pugging is that it makes it easy to bag the clay in uniform amounts.  

If you look at the handout "Claybodies and Soldner Mixer Load Amounts" on my website, you'll see that I give amounts for full, half, and third loads, and the latter is a little over 100# mixed.  The mixer does just fine with that amount.  I am trying to imagine a circumstance where you would want to mix only 50#.  If I had a specialized claybody and wanted to mix only 50#, I'd mix it as a slurry in a 5-gallon bucket with a drill-impeller mixer and stiffen it on plastic sheeting.  As you know, that produces the most plastic clay, but it does get cumbersome if you want to mix a lot of clay by the slurry method and don't have proper facilities for blunging and stiffening the clay.  
- Vince

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

-----Original Message-----
From: Clayart [mailto:clayart-bounces at lists.clayartworld.com] On Behalf Of jonathan byler
Sent: Wednesday, July 12, 2017 10:36 AM
To: Clayart international pottery discussion forum <Clayart at lists.clayartworld.com>
Subject: [Clayart] mixers/puggers

I am looking at buying a mixer for the studio at work, and was wondering if people had strong opinions one way or another about soldner mixers vs. peter puggers?  We are looking at the “professional” soldner, and both the peter pugger VPM-60 and the PM-100.  I’m interested to hear folks’ thoughts on these machines and perhaps any others that we should be looking at seriously.  We tend to use about 200lbs a day or so under normal circumstances, sometimes more, sometimes less depending on what classes are offered, and when.

One question I have about the peter puggers, is what is the smallest batch size these can do effectively?  The big PM-100 does up to 250lb, but can it also do small batches of only 50 lb  effectively?  I’ve noticed that our soldner mixers both are happiest and most effective right at the limit of their capacity, and that mixing too little makes it difficult for it to mix the clay quickly.

Thanks in advance,

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