Friday, March 4, 2011

Kicking the Tires on a Pasta Machine

Recently I have bought a number of inexpensive pasta machines with an aim to give classes, where I would supply the equipment. I found that many of these machines were not wel assembled and would not be serviceable as clay machines or for pasta for that matter. Here is my check list for buying an inexpensive ($35 or under) pasta machine. Most of the machines that I bought were Amaco, some of which I had to take back, because I had not checked them thoroughly enough in the store.
So here we go. Don’t be shy. Get the sucker out of the box and put it through its paces:

    1. Does the knob to adjust the thickness settings to move smoothly and
    click into the setting notches? I found this a common problem and a
    number of machines didn’t pass this test.

    2. Are the rollers parallel? Check just by looking, or slide a piece
    of card or a coin back and forth between the rollers to see if they still
    seem parallel on all the thickness settings.

    3. Are the rollers smooth, without dents or pits that will transfer
    to the clay? I didn’t find any machines with this problem, but I have
    heard of it.

    4. Are all the little rubber feet on the bottom of the machine
    accounted for?

     5. Does the crank turn smoothly without difficulty? To test this,
    find a little counter space and hold the machine down with your left
    hand and crank it with your right. This is the step I missed the
    first time around.  When I got home and tested the
    machines clamped to the table, I found that one sounded little a handful of
    sand was a major component in the assembly and the other refused to
    crank at all. You might be able to live with the sound of sand but
    the other was completely useless.

    6. Keep your receipt because your never know! 
So that’s the list. If you can think of something to add, please comment and I will revise.
If you find a machine in a thrift store, lucky you. If this is an older machine it may be better than the ones that are being produce now.

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