Sep 30, 2010

Broken Polymer Clay Extruder Solution

I have two Makin's extruders for my polymer clay. I find Premo polymer clay the easiest to use with it because it tends to be much softer and less stressful on the extruder than some of the other brands. Makin's used to make the aluminum barrel one with an aluminum plunger and these broke very easily, so Makin's now makes them with a brass plunger that has an o-ring washer around it.
Here you can see the newer plunger above and the broken one.

Photo 1
The aluminum disc, where the plunger screw rod broke off, is still inside the barrel...and there was no way I was going to risk trying to get it out as the barrel / tube edges are very sharp.
Photo 2

The kits now also contain an extra washer that some are using for an unusual technique which is again putting unusual stresses on the Makin's and one would be better off using the stainless steel extruder for that. Also it could make your warranty void by using in a way than otherwise intended. But I digress. This topic is on fixing or making your broken extruder usable. While I do have a new extruder I had orginally kept the broken one just in case I needed the barrel, or whatever other part. I now use my broken extruder for dark clays and the newer on for lighter colours.
So how does one use a broken extruder? Remove the threaded end from the end where the broken disc is closest to the edge, like in Photo 2.
Next attach the wider screw cap over the threaded bolt unless it's already on there (photo 3). Insert threaded bolt onto broken aluminum disc.
Photo 3
Photo 4
Wind the thick screw cap down and fasten to the barrel.
Photo 5
Photo 6
Fill the other end with clay and attach extruder disc and narrow screw barrel end.
Photo 7
Extrude your clay!
Photo 8
Photo 9
When completely extruded your threaded bolt will be like above photo. Unscrew barrel ends and repeat process from photo 3 thru 9.
You could also use your broken extruder for unusual techniques instead of risking your good one...
Happy extruding!


Barb Alexander said...

You are so clever Tina! I guess not being able to go to a store and buy a replacement will do that for ya. My green extruder broke the same way yours did so I'll have to see if I can follow your instructions to fix it. I also have a small stainless extruder but the screw-on end (where the dies go) never did go on smoothly and now is misaligned and stuck. I emailed Makins but they're off-shore somewhere......... Groan. $50 for those babies.

Cadisch said...

Brilliant guide, thanks for sharing it.

Ruth Shapiro said...

Great fix! I have a question: my extruder came with a silicone O-ring, which arrived broken into 2 parts. Unfortunately, after a few uses, one part would no longer stay in place, and the other one is getting ragged. Any idea where to get a replacement? Hardware store O-rings are too fat and won't fit in the barrel.
I bought my extruder on Amazon and they are no help.


Agustina said...

Hello! I just got my extruder and I'm really struggling with it. Really working on conditioning my polymer clay, making it warm and soft. Everytime it goes through the extruder, goes out totally broke, not integrated. I don't know what to try anymore!! Thank you for reading.

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