CLAY GUN INSTRUCTIONS
Our Super Duper Clay Gun is a fun and simple tool for making handles, coils and tile trims of many shapes and sizes. Learning to use a clay gun can significantly improve the quality and consistency of your work and ‘wow’ your customers. We hope you enjoy!
Basic Operation – Clay Gun / XL Clay Gun:
Step 1: Remove the BLACK END CAP (1) from the BARREL (2). Using your thumb, depress the PLUNGER RELEASE TAB (4) and pull the T BAR PLUNGER (3) back.
Step 2: Load SOFT CLAY into the front end of the BARREL (2). The more clay you load, the more you can extrude. Pinch off the excess clay near the opening.
Step 3: Select your die profile and stick it to the clay at the end of the barrel. Carefully thread your BLACK END CAP (1) back on. You are now ready to extrude!!!
Step 4: Find a comfortable position to hold your clay gun. Tip: Try holding the clay gun vertical to avoid creases. While holding the HANDLE (5), squeeze the TRIGGER (6) to begin extruding clay in a pumping-action.
Once completely expelled, repeat steps 1-4.
Over-advancing the plunger results in a build-up of pressure and causes the clay gun to jam. This could be a pain if you are on a deadline. This problem typically occurs when the user does not realize they are out of clay. If this happens, carefully tap the PLUNGER RELEASE TAB (4) with a hammer to relieve the pressure.Using hard clay will break acrylic dies and end caps. Remember to always use soft clay!
WALL MOUNT EXTRUDER INSTRUCTIONS
Find a 2x4 stud in the wall (they are generally 16”or 24” apart, center to center) and screw a 2x4 the same length as the backbar to the stud in the wall. This will give you the back spacing you will need for future accessories (ie: expansion box). Then use the provided tag screws which fit into the holes in the backbar to attach the extruder to the mounted 2x4. Mount your extruder on the wall at a height that will allow you to see down into the barrel.
Next connect the plunger to the handle. We have provided a hardened grade 8 type bolt with lock washer and nut. Use the provided brass pins to hold on the extruder cap. Please observe that the pins 90 into the holes at the bottom of the barrel. The downward pressure of the plunger and clay will keep the cap on if the pins are in the holes.
To keep the handle and plunger out of the way while loading and changing dies, screw a 3" long screw into the wait next to your extruder to use it as a hook for your handle and plunger.
Any clay is usable for extruding, but property pugged and de-aired clay works the best. Coarse clay with a high percentage of grog, if de-aired, works fine. Clay that is too soft and poorly wedged may tear and have air bubbles in it as it is extruded. Trying to extrude clay that is too hard through a small hole will put stress on the extruder and will cause damage. Make sure you use soft clay.
LOADING AND USING YOUR NEW EXTRUDER
- Remove the handle and plunger from the barrel
- Remove the pins holding the cap on the bottom of the barrel
- Put a die in the cap and replace the cap and pins in the barrel
- Form a fat coil of soft clay, to fit the size of the barrel
- Drop the coil in the top of the barrel
- Place the handle pin into the top notch of the backbar bracket
- Gently pull the handle down. When the handle is depressed to its lowest point, remove the handle pin, ratchet down the backbar one pin space. and gently pull the handle down. Repeat.
- When using the inner die holder, do not put the handle in the last notch on the backbar, this will cause the inner die holder to break.
When making extrusions, use ﬁrm, slow pressure to pull the handle down. If you have to use the full force of your adult weight on the handle, the clay is too stiff or the size of the opening in the die is too email. If the clay is too stiff, remove it from the barrel and use softer clay. If the size of the opening in the die is too small, drill additional holes in the die.
MAKING HOLLOW EXTRUSIONS
We use a unique, 2-part system for making hollow extrusions. Scott Creek Pottery's extruder uses a floating inner die holder which makes it possible to easily change the thickness of the extrusion‘s wall as well as the inner and outer shapes. (Most dies are fixed, meaning the inner die is a permanent part of the outer die) Our unique floating die system allows you to combine dies that are different in size and shape. For example, you could use a square outer die and a circular inner die to form an extrusion that has a square exterior and a round interior gap.
The challenge in using the floating dies is keeping the gap between the inner and outer die fixed until the clay is forced through the inner die. A simple solution is to gently load the clay into the barrel, and slowly depress the plunger. Once the clay is compressed around the inner die holder it will not move until you want to switch dies. Another solution is to create wooden shims that are the same thickness as the wall in your extruded shape and use them to hold the inner and outer die.
Here's how to use the shims: Looking up into the extruder from the bottom opening, wedge 3 or 4 shims between the outer and inner dies. This will keep the inner die in place until the clay is compressed around the dies. When the clay is compressed between the two dies. remove the shims. At this point, the clay will keep the ﬂoating die in a fixed position.
Ali dies that are sold for the extruder are made of 11‘8" aluminum. These will not bend but are easy to cut with a simple carpenter's coping saw. Simply draw your design on to the die , drill a pilot hole in the center of the design. Cut out with the coping saw. Finish the shape with a file, and you have a die that will last indefinitely.
You may out several small shapes from one die and block out the ones you don't want to use with a stiff piece of plastic or metal.
SLAB MAKING WlTH THE EXPANSION BOX AND DlE KITS
(ie: 4" Exp. Box slab die kit)
Using the hollow round die, extrude semi-soft clay into a pipe form approximately 36” long. Place the extrusion horizontally on brown craft paper and cut one side in a straight line. Open form cutting down the long way to produce a 17" slab, 36” long. Place paper on the surface and extrude another, using the paper as a separator.
We think extruded slabs are superior to rolled ones, perhaps because particles are aligned in a different way. In any event, they seem more stable.
CLEANING YOUR EXTRUDER
The standard steel extruder is welded to the backbar. The best way to clean it is to let the clay dry in the barrel, knock out the dry clay, and use a sponge and some elbow grease to wipe the interior clean from the top down and the bottom up.
The aluminum extruder is easier to clean because you can remove the barrel from the backbar mounted on the wall.
Here's the recommended way to clean the aluminum extruder:
- Let the clay dry out in the barrel
- Remove the barrel from the backbar and knock out the dry clay.
- Drop the barrel into a 5 gallon bucket of water. Wait 5-10 minutes until it soaks clean.'
- Use a sponge to scrub any excess clay left inside the barrel.