TOOLS How to narrow the pasta machine's width

Here's a quick & dirty project for you do-it-yourselfers who like making their own jigs. This one will narrow the width of the opening on a pasta machine.

Why on earth do that?

If you desire to make narrower Skinner blend strips, this will do nicely. Or you just need to roll out a narrower sheet of clay? Again, this will fit the bill!

This project involves scrap clay and some disc magnets.

Picture to the right shows a stack of disc magnets on their sides, a gray block of clay and a ruler for reference. When ready, I'll slide the gray block to the left to rest against the magnets. The space to the right of the gray block is where the clay gets fed in.


  Making a home made jig for a pasta machine

Supplies:

  • scrap clay, amount equivalent to about 2 blocks of clay.
  • a stack of magnets , approximately 10-20 pieces that can stack and rest securely on the pasta machine
    • my magnets are round so they rest quite nicely on the pasta machine

1.

Condition the scrap clay.

Roughly form a block of the following dimensions:

  • 3.5 inches wide
  • 1.5 inches long
  • 1.5 inches high

Drape pieces of plastic food wrap over the pasta machine rollers and bracing bars. You will be pushing the block of scrap clay right into the pasta machine, molding the clay to the contour made by the rollers and bracing bars. It will be important that the clay not stick. If it sticks to the pasta machine, the precise shape may distort when trying to remove the clay for baking.

 

 

2.

Set the pasta machine dial so the rollers are somewhere between the widest and narrowest setting.

Push the block of scrap clay onto the top of the pasta machine, forming and shaping it so the block extends beyond the bracing bars, partially fills the gap in between the rollers and partially fills the gaps between each roller and its companion bracing bar.

This may take a few moments. Periodically lift the block out, to make sure you can easily remove it. If the clay wraps around the bracing bars too much, you will distort the block when removing it.

Don't worry if you made the block too long or wide, since you can cut and trim the baked piece.

 

3.

When you are satisfied with the shape, remove the block and bake. Bake 1-2 hours, since the block is pretty thick.

After baking and cooling, return the block to the pasta machine to see how it fits. Trim the block until it rests securely on the pasta machine and rests solidly against both sides of the pasta machine.

At a minimum, sand and buff the block on the side(s) where the raw clay will brush past. It should be as smooth as possible.

Sanding grits I used: 80, 120, 220, 320, 400, 600, then buffed.

Looks kinda like a SUV without wheels, doesn't it?

 

4.

So this is it. An oddly contoured block of scrap clay and a set of disk magnets. Narrow skinner blends, here I come!

 

 

  What's cool is the number of magnets can vary so the block can vary in its position on the pasta machine, so the width left for the clay to pass through can be easily adjusted!
 

A 5 disk stack pushes the block a little ways

An 10 disk stack pushes the block a little more, to help make a nice skinny strip of clay.


There's nothing better than having a great home made jig.

Enjoy,
Desiree

Last update to this page:4 Jan 08. Send comments, questions or suggestions to Desiree McCrorey.