Polymer clay pasta machines have been a priceless addition to the polymer clay community and I don’t know what I’d do without one, however they do tend to cause their fair share of frustration.
Choosing the best pasta machine for polymer clay is mind-boggling enough, but when your beautiful, shiny, new machine starts pulling stunts on you and doesn't do what you expected it to, it's enough to make you want to go back to blending and rolling by hand.
In the first article of my pasta machine series I talked about some of the more common problems people face with polymer clay pasta machines. This article will cover the other painful glitches that tend to crop up more often than we would like.
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Scratches in your clay are usually caused by one of two things: marks on your rollers or inclusions, such as glitter or buffalo snow, being stuck on your blades. So the first thing to do is to give your machine a good inspection.
If your rollers are not scratched:
You likely have something rough or sharp stuck to your scraper blades. This is easily rectified by giving your machine a good clean.
If your rollers are scratched:
If your scratches are not too deep, you can try burnishing your clay to remove them. Cover your clay with a piece of plain paper and rub your acrylic roller back and forth across it using a rubbing motion. Don't roll.
If the scratches or marks are too deep there isn’t much you can do. Once the machine’s rollers are scratched the only real solution is to buy a new machine, but you can prevent a re-occurrence of this problem by treating your new machine very gently.
Scratched rollers are normally caused by metal scraping against the rollers when you clean your machine, or something in the polymer clay gouging them. So:
This is one problem that many people have encountered, and we could all do without it, because it's such an absolute mission to clean up. Your polymer clay basically sticks to the rollers and won’t come off no matter how many times it passes through the pasta machine's blades. And, in addition to being really annoying, your blades end up getting damaged because clay ends up stuck behind them.
This problem only happens with really sticky and soft clay, so the best way to avoid running into the problem is to check if your polymer clay is mushy before sticking it into your pasta machine. The softer brands like sculpey III and Premo are the biggest culprits especially in very warm weather.
What To Do If Your Clay Is Mushy:
As mentioned above, your best bet is just not to use it, but there are a couple of other options.
Black streaks happen when the metal on your rollers oxidizes. This leaves oily streaks all over your clay. It’s not all that visible on the darker colors, but on the lighter colors it can ruin your project.
This won’t happen if your rollers are made of aluminum or Teflon, so this is something to bear in mind when you are choosing from the many polymer clay pasta machines available.
This may seem like a trivial matter to some, but the clanging of the handle falling out of my polymer clay pasta machine used to be my biggest pet peeve. Unexpected crashes at random times throughout the day resulted in a regular rush of adrenaline for anyone within hearing range. Well no more! I have beaten my nemesis!
This is what you need to remember:
Remember that when it comes to polymer clay pasta machines, prevention is better than cure. Many problems can be avoided by choosing the best pasta machine for your circumstances, and by learning how to care for it properly.
None-the-less, fiddly little problems do tend to crop up. I hope that the information in this article will help you to overcome the everyday annoyances that come with these otherwise marvelous machines. Don't forget to check out part one in the series as well and leave me a comment if you have any questions.
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