New helper in the studio

I traveled to the port at Nagasaki this morning to pick up my new studio helper, a Peter Pugger VPM-20. Once I got it home, it was a breeze to assemble and mount on the stand, and it was up and running in no time.

plugged in and ready to go

Excited to get it working, I grabbed a bucket of dry scraps and some softer clay, and started mixing. It took some time to figure out how to get what I wanted out of the machine, but I think I’ve figured things out for the most part. It really seems to need to be full to do its best work. Once I added enough material to the hopper, things really started moving along. The first pugged clay was too soft, so it got put in again with a lot of dry crushed sandstone and mixed. I just kept adding more dry sandstone until I got what I wanted.

the first time through was too soft and got run through again

I turned out still to be quite a light batch. After turning on the vacuum, pugging out the contents, then digging out the remainders from the hopper, I had a batch of almost 12kg. The beautiful thing was that because the whole batch had been de-aired, even the unpugged remainders were very easy to wedge by hand. In the past when I have mixed as much sandstone in as I did today, the clay has been largely unwedgeable by hand, being just too short and falling apart.

vacuum pump is working…

pugged clay next to what remained in the hopper

All clay bagged and ready to go

I think this machine and I are going to be great friends. It allows me to mix and process clays and other materials that were previously impossible to process just by hand. Oh, and it is very quiet, both the main motor and the vacuum pump are much quieter than I had been expecting.

4 thoughts on “New helper in the studio”

    1. Yes, the price. I agree that is the one short term drawback about these things. For me, just this last year my wrists have started to hurt from all of the wedging I was doing. I’m only 45 and could only imagine what my wrists would feel like in 20 years if I kept on doing the same thing. In the long run, and from the standpoint of saving my wrists, this machine is probably pretty reasonably priced. I intend for this machine to last my lifetime, at least.

        1. Actually, I am trying not to have to do that. I recycle and process similar clays, so there is very little unwanted contamination. When I eventually have to do it, there are about 8-10 bolts to remove to get the whole thing apart. It looks like it will be a simple process, but I wouldn’t want to do it often.

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