Tuesday, December 6, 2011

My Dream Machine Has Arrived!

I finally received my Dream machine and said I would share with you what I thought.  I was hoping for something that would be much stronger and larger than my Atlas but also affordable.  Even though the machine is still quite expensive, with the amount of work we do we decided it was time for something to help increase production.  



There is a little wrench included with the machine (for removing the blades for cleaning) and since I am always misplacing things I used a magnet to attach it to the one end so it is handy when needed.



I'm also still going to use my "modified" Atlas machine and have moved it over to my side counter.  I plan to use it only for my transluscent clay when I'm in the middle of a project and do not want to stop to clean the blades on my Dream machine.


I made a list of things that are unique about the machine and have put them here in point form:


- The machine is very heavy and solid and because I purchased the motor as well, it does not need to be clamped down.


- The motor has two settings -- regular and reverse -- this I really like!


- The thickness settings are different than my Atlas where the #1 or thickest setting is a little thicker and the #2 is somewhat equal to the #1 on the Atlas.  The first thing I did was to run my clay through at the various settings to familiarize myself with them.


- The dial to adjust the sheet thickness is quite unique as you can turn it in either direction or keep going all the way around in the same direction.  In other words, when you are at the # 1 setting no matter which way you turn the dial, it is switching to #2, #3 and so on.  I'm assuming that would mean less parts to worry about that can break down.


- I tested out all the settings and have found the #8 setting to be very thin.  There are still two thinner settings going up to #10 which caused my clay to ripple quite a bit.  I don't  see a need to use those two settings, however, as I found that the eighth setting was about as thin as I would want it.


- Cleaning the scraper blades is not as easy as they make it out to be.  I found removing and cleaning the blades on my modified Atlas machine much easier and quicker to do.  


To remove the scraper blades, there are two bolts to unscrew on each side which are very awkward to get at.  They provide a wrench (the one that I showed earlier) but the space is so narrow you can hardly use it.  After I managed to get the two bolts off I unscrewed the three other bolts and then pried the scraper blade off for cleaning.  Then to put it all back again and replacing the two side bolts again was the most difficult.  Then you go through it all again to clean the scraper blade on the other side.  This is definitely not an easy process and I do not want to do this very often.


*** Update: ***
Thanks so much to Sue who left a comment here, I discovered you do not have to take out the side bolts like they show in the instructions.  As a matter of fact I couldn't believe how easy it really is.  I removed both blades to clean in a matter of seconds.  I also found it was best to not tip your machine over but leave it standing upright when you do this.  Hope this helps.


So all in all, I am really happy with my purchase and since I have the motor, I should notice some relief in my shoulder pain and hopefully make working with my clay more productive.

9 comments:

ChasinRainbows2 said...

Hi, unless they have changed it drastically, it shouldn't be that hard to change your blades. I do it in a matter of minutes. When you say bolts "on the side" to you mean the side of the machine? The only things I remove are the nuts on the front of the blade area on each side and then slip the blades down from behind them. I use a 5/16 socket on the end of a socket driver (looks like a screwdriver with a socket on the end). It honestly only takes a couple minutes at the most. I hope this was some help to you, if you need any clarification, please let me know. Smiles. Sue C

ChasinRainbows2 said...

I just went and looked at my DREAM machine and I think I see the 2 bolts you are removing on the sides. You don't have to undo those, the blades will slip down behind those 2 bolts when you undo the 3 on the front. It's still easier to use the socket driver than the wrench, though. Smiles

2 Good Claymates said...

Thanks so much Sue! You are sooo right. I followed the instructions that came with it and then I tried your way and it was sooo easy! As a matter of fact, it works best to not even tip your machine over on it's side but when you undo the 3 bolts the blades slips out so easily! Thanks again and I will update my blog post!

Claire Maunsell said...

Aren't people helpful? Love that...
Am so envious of your machine and thank you SO MUCH for the review. WIll have to become wildly successful to afford such a one!
Just to update you on the COnservator's wax from Lee Valley. It is OK, but not great...doesn't have as hard and waxy a sheen as the Ren. wax. Much less smell though...I re-ordered the Ren. was (and received it NEXT DAY!) from Sculpture supply in Toronto, just so you know. They sell a 3 litre container for 115$, so if you ever want to divide some with me ( and about 10 other people...), just say the word. I bought the 200 ml, should last me about a year.

Barb Alexander said...

Carolyn, I can't think of anyone who deserves this more than you do! I'm so happy for you. Now there is NO STOPPING YOU!! :)

Kathleen Stocker said...

I just discovered your work and it's gorgeous! I'm also envious of your DREAM machine...maybe one day.

Will someone enlighten me on Ren. Wax?

2 Good Claymates said...

Thanks so much Kathleen,

Ren.wax is Renaissance wax and you can read about it on another blog post I wrote here:

http://2goodclaymates.blogspot.com/2011/11/polishing-your-polymer-clay-pieces-with.html

Feel free to e-mail us if you have any more questions and I will try my best to answer.

SuziCQ said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
SuziCQ said...

Oh, I love my dream machine! I received it as a Christmas gift the Christmas before last. I have to admit though, that I hardly ever clean the blades even though it is very easy. For my style of work, a little color transference just isn't that big of a deal! And yes, Sue's way is the best. :)