Monday, October 13, 2014

Using a Clay Extruder with Metal Clay

An extruder allows you to make different shapes of even thicknesses in clay very quickly. It's also great for making clay tubing. Use the tubing for hollow bails, hinges, stone settings, or anything else you can imagine.

This is an aluminum extruder that is anodized with green paint. It is not advised to keep the fine silver metal clay in the extruder for very long, as this can cause a reaction with the clay. A very short amount of time; however, does not cause a reaction.

Note: These extruders also come in a stainless steel version.

The tubing attachments include a circle disc and a strange looking disc with a protruding nose (here, the Makin's ClayCore Adapter.)

Choose the disc with the circle large enough to allow space for the clay to extrude around the tube disc's nose.

The order in which the parts fit into the extruder is: the cap, rubber ring, circle disc, tubing disc, clay, and the extruder body.
Note that the tubing disc's nose points through the circle disc.

The Steps:

Twist the extruder's handle counter clockwise making the plunger slide into the body of the extruder. 
Roll your metal clay by hand into a ball so it fits inside the extruder. 
Place the tube disc into the extruder.

Place the circle disc in the cap and attach cap to body.

Extrude the clay into a tube by holding it perpendicular to the table and evenly twisting the handle clockwise. If you start and stop while twisting, the tube will not be even or uniformly shaped.

If you are creating larger pieces, the ClayMill Metal Clay Extruder is a great tool to use.

Until next time, have fun claying around!

by Janet Alexander 
Technical Adviser


Roxanne Coffelt said...

I always wondered why it was ok to use the aluminum extruder with the metal clay when we are not supposed to use aluminum with it. Thanks for sharing that!

Caroline said...

Is it true that the extruded part isn't very dense? I would have thought that it was compressed quite well coming out if this tube, but I read that it's not.
Thank you for explaining more about it/sharing your experience please ;)!

Kim Paige said...

I've never used the rubber o-ring in the cap & it seems to work fine for me. What do you find it useful for? I thought it was a replacement O-ring for the plunger. If you take the whole thing apart to clean you can see a rubber ring set into a groove around the plunger disk.

Janet Alexander said...

Hi Roxanne, I did a test on metal clay's reaction when exposed to Aluminum. You can read more information about it on my blog.

Janet Alexander said...

Caroline, I haven't head anything about it not being very dense. Maybe the person who said this was thinning the clay with water so it would come out of the extruder more easily. Then it wouldn't be as dense.

Janet Alexander said...

Hi Kim, I just went to the Makins manufacturer page to check this out. You are absolutely right! All these years I've been working it as in the above photos. Thank you for the correction!

Kim Paige said...

Lol Janet - well thanks for confirming for me as that was just an assumption on my part! We both learned something :)

Janet Alexander said...

Kim, I always say to my students, there is more than one way to do something. Its which ever way works best for you is the correct way! I think your way is best! I changed the photos! Thanks! I always want to hear everyone's opinion.