EJR Beads

Author Topic: My new favorite tool! Arbor Press  (Read 7154 times)

Bonipie

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My new favorite tool! Arbor Press
« on: October 12, 2014, 12:30:42 AM »
So, I was getting ready to 'clay'.  But, I wasn't getting to ready to use the older, dry clay that I knew would take half of my time conditioning.  I had heard of compressing your clay to get it started conditioning might help.  Since I wasn't yet inspired to start conditioning, I thought I'd try squishing my clay in my 4" vice-that's how I impress my stamps in clay.  So, I made a clay sandwich-piece of wood, plastic deli wrap, clay, plastic deli wrap, wood.  And, put it in the vice.  The clay was slices about 1/8" thick.  Then, I squished the clay as hard as I could.

I wanted the clay to be the right thickness to go into the pasta machine.  I opened the vice and the clay was nice and thin, about 0 or 1 on the pasta machine (0-9, 9 being the thinnest).  I folded the clay and squished it again.  And, one more time just for good measure.  So, I did this with flesh and black Kato, both being very dry and crumbly the last time I used them.  And, I did this with Pardo transparent which was almost impossible to use the last time I worked with it-took a long time to keep it from crumbling.

On to the pasta machine.  All of the clay was about 0 or 1 on the pasta machine.  I started the clay on 1, rolled it through, then 2, then 3, and so on to about 5.  I folded it, and started at about 3, then 4, then down to 6 or 7...very thin.  I did this for each color about 3 times each piece.  All of it worked very well, none of it crumbled, and it rolled very thin.  The process for all three pieces took about 35 to 45 minutes. 

Squashing the clay before I started it through the pasta machine really made a difference.  The last time I tried to do the same thing with the same 3 clays, it took me nearly the whole afternoon.  I will be doing this for all hard to condition clays and old clay.  It's not difficult and saved time.

Now, I wanted to make the squishing part easier.  My Guy reminded me that my Arbor Press, put away years ago when I stopped setting snaps, could be easier to use than the vice.  It now has a permanent home.  It is firmly bolted to the top of my 100 year old sewing machine cabinet, next to my pasta machine.  I ordered 2 pieces of .250" thick steel to use as squashers.  Right now, I'm using a piece of wood on the bottom, and my precious bench block on the top (yes, I padded the bottom of the main squashing instrument so it wouldn't ding my bench block :o).  The arbor press works awesome, and I can really press with such a long arm on the tool.  (Actually, it really feels like I'm going to break something when I press the clay, but the arbor press is so massive, I really don't think so.)  Clay is a lot harder to press flat than you might think.  Now I know why I kept that big guy around for so many years.

Hugs, Boni  8) in Wonderful Yuma, Arizona

MelMcG

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Re: My new favorite tool! Arbor Press
« Reply #1 on: October 12, 2014, 11:27:45 AM »
That's such a good idea Boni!  You're so clever!!  You always come up with great ideas.

Mel  :)

Bonipie

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Re: My new favorite tool! Arbor Press
« Reply #2 on: October 12, 2014, 02:45:14 PM »
Actually, yesterday while researching what's new in arbor presses, I found one that's actually made for pressing polymer clay, in colors even.  It looked pretty good, but was a 1/2 ton press.  I have a 1 ton and the 1/2 ton press.  I decided that I wanted the beefier 1 ton.  I didn't know if the 1/2 ton would last over time or be strong enough.  I also really liked the power of the 1 ton  ;D ;D ;D.  On mine, the biggest challenge was mounting it to the sewing machine cabinet (and, finding the right hardware in a small town).  You really want it planted.  I found that the harder you squished the clay, the better this worked.  I have no problem with this 'big boy'  ::).

By the way, I found  nothing new in arbor presses (except pink and purple-you go girl-no link, couldn't find my way back).

Hugs, Boni  8) in Wonderful Yuma, Arizona
« Last Edit: October 12, 2014, 03:24:19 PM by Bonipie »

Karolina.S

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Re: My new favorite tool! Arbor Press
« Reply #3 on: October 12, 2014, 04:04:46 PM »
Looking good Boni :)
Timrċ in the north of Sweden. Always with my polymer clay eyes open.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/77424684@N04/ http://www.facebook.com/Hobbyrian

MilleD

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Re: My new favorite tool! Arbor Press
« Reply #4 on: October 24, 2014, 07:08:40 PM »
Hmm, now you have me thinking about our petrol powered 10 ton log splitter...

 :)

BBCrafts

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Re: My new favorite tool! Arbor Press
« Reply #5 on: December 16, 2014, 03:07:43 PM »
Looks like someone else was thinking the same thing-
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hKc3c14cnT0
Call Me Becka *Smiley Face*
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MilleD

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Re: My new favorite tool! Arbor Press
« Reply #6 on: December 16, 2014, 06:22:34 PM »
Ooh, wonder if Boni's idea gave someone else an idea  :o

Boni's post 12th October, Youtube vid 10th November.

Just saying.

 :)

Karolina.S

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Re: My new favorite tool! Arbor Press
« Reply #7 on: December 16, 2014, 09:27:06 PM »
Nope That machine was before Bonis.
Sorry.
Timrċ in the north of Sweden. Always with my polymer clay eyes open.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/77424684@N04/ http://www.facebook.com/Hobbyrian

Bonipie

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Re: My new favorite tool! Arbor Press
« Reply #8 on: December 17, 2014, 06:29:55 AM »
I would guess Karolina's right.   I started squishing my clay in the vice some time early in October, then proceeded to my arbor press very quickly after.  I thought it up in my sleep (where I get my best ideas) after spending the afternoon conditioning 3 blocks of clay.   I know a lady in our guild that bought one of the commercial ones (the only one I've seen) sometime earlier than that-maybe a couple months.  Actually, I saw hers at a meeting a few weeks after I started using mine.  And, I'm sure she had the idea quite a bit before I 'dreamed up' my method.  You could tell there was quite a bit of engineering involved before it was ready to be sold.   The commercial one really seems nice, well thought out, nice looking.  I think the price is even ok, considering the materials, labor, and design.  If you're not a person who can ramble around the house pulling out arbor presses (yes, I have 2), steel plates and blocks, 5/8" mounting hardware, etc., like me, this could be a good investment-especially if you are stubbornly using Kato and Pardo clay.  Actually, Kato has been saying to hammer their clay (yes, with a real hammer) before conditioning to get the process started.  (No, I never used a hammer-when I think of using a hammer, my fingers hurt :P-I just can't control the thing :-[.)

Funny story along the very same lines-Of course, you all know about my great Resinator.  I was reading our regional Radio Control Airplane Newsletter, and what did I see?  A fellow airplane builder using a rotisserie to help him paint and craft an airplane fuselage!  It looked like he was trying to paint a turkey on the rotisserie. ;D ;D  I located his email address and wrote to him, telling him about my Resinator.  He was fascinated, thinking about other possibilities.  It was not until I thought about it.  Was he going to try to produce this?  I wouldn't mind, but if he tried to make a legal claim of the design, would I be able to share the design with my clay friends?

Makes you wonder if you independently make a device for your use and to give to your friends, can someone later legalize it in a way that you can't tell others about it or even use it yourself?  Just wonderin'.  We're in a hobby where ideas don't usually go very far because we really are a small amount of people (in relationship to the whole world), in  a wonderful, but not that mainstream hobby.  There's just not that much money to be gained or lost in the area of design rights.  But, it does get yourself wondering in the middle of night when you have nothing else to think about.

Hugs, Boni 8) where I'll be squishing Pardo to make a mokume stack on Thursday

MilleD

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Re: My new favorite tool! Arbor Press
« Reply #9 on: December 18, 2014, 08:23:12 AM »
Makes you wonder if you independently make a device for your use and to give to your friends, can someone later legalize it in a way that you can't tell others about it or even use it yourself?  Just wonderin'. 



I suppose they could if they copyrighted the idea.  You would end up paying them royalties for your own idea.  Evil genius no?

Bonipie

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Re: My new favorite tool! Arbor Press
« Reply #10 on: January 02, 2015, 12:24:10 AM »
Makes you think about the 'no more mister nice guy' thing.  I share everything. 

Hugs, Boni

Bonipie

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Re: My new favorite tool! Arbor Press
« Reply #11 on: March 24, 2015, 04:36:35 AM »
I wanted to share this with you.  I use an arbor press to squash my clay before running through the pasta machine.  I think this is the same as the NoKnead, only mine is bigger and the NoKnead is more refined.  I had both sizes, but chose to use the big one (bigger is better, or so they say).  I've been using it for about a close to a year.  Now, I always press my clay 3-5 times before using the pasta machine.  Because...

I wanted to see how thin I could get Pardo translucent.  My Pardo is all at least a year old.  I don't baby any of my clay, just don't let it get too hot.  I took it out of the package, and pressed it 5 times in my arbor press.  I took it directly to the pasta machine, an Atlas 180, 0-9 thickness.  I put it through 5 times at 0.  Then, I took it straight to 9, one increment at a time.  No crumbles!  It took less than 20 minutes to go from pkg to #9.

It went all the way to 9 with very little trouble.  I had a couple holes in the clay-a bit of debris on my workbench caused them at about #6.  They didn't get any bigger as I went to #9.  I had to cut a couple inches off one end because it folded back on itself before I could catch the end.  I had to enlist hubby to crank.  When it got too long, I couldn't hold the top and bottom of the clay and crank at once.

One thing I noticed with the arbor press, the thin clay is much more stable than without using the press.  By the way, did you notice you can see my fingers through the uncured clay?  It is v e r y thin.

I have shared this information and photo with others, so if you see same, that's why.

Hugs, Boni  8) in Awesome Yuma, Arizona

FranOnTheEdge

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Re: My new favorite tool! Arbor Press
« Reply #12 on: March 31, 2015, 08:09:07 PM »
Wow, that IS thin, and very very long!  Lol!  No wonder you needed help cranking it through.
FranOnTheEdge