10 Reasons Why I Dove Into the LC Machine In A Mammoth Way
by Joey Barnes
I love polymer clay. The breadth of its possibilities is endless. Over the past several years, I have learned the value of mixing my own colors, leaching clay so its consistency is the same across colors (vital in cane making), and what fun and camaraderie have come from my clay experience. But I was forever frustrated by my pasta machine.
So travel along with me as I began the search for a better way - and found it - with the LC Machine - Mammoth Style.
In my early days of polymer, I purchased a really good, really expensive pasta machine. I wanted something that would be durable and a work horse, as I anticipated my need for something solid, dependable. I cranked with a handle. I spent hours conditioning clay, working towards deadlines to deliver product. I was exhausted from the effort (seriously) and a bit discouraged that it was so much work just to get to a point where I could begin to build a cane. Often, I am sure, my clay was not properly conditioned because I just couldn’t get there.
Then I discovered a motor. Oh! Life was good! It became essential. And then I volunteered to teach a clay class at an elementary school for their career day - the day in the life of a polymer clay artist. I needed to condition and sheet 9 pounds of clay, so the night before my pasta machine and motor were working like crazy. And then the motor broke. Fortunately, a friend volunteered to help and we were able to have the clay ready. But I was despondent that the motor was so fragile and that I was so dependent on it.
I got another motor. It was loud. Really loud. Maybe louder than the first one.
And, as I used my pasta machine and grew as a polymer clay user (artist, clayer, craftsman), I realized I needed to mix my own colors. I took classes, I learned from the best. And my pasta machine would dutifully work away. It created blends that were wonky because the rollers were not evenly spaced from one end to the other. I wasted clay. I wasted time. My hearing was affected by the noise of the motor. I was growing disinterested.
All of a sudden, LC Tools began talking about a real polymer clay conditioning machine. Wow! I already used and loved their Czextruder and Lucy Slicer, and I was a fan of their work ethic and the materials they use in production. So I knew they would come through with something special.
Because I am not a professional artist who is producing polymer clay objects day in and day out, I thought the LC Machine - Elephant would be the perfect fit for me. But I didn’t want to wait, so I got the Mammoth instead. And here are 10 reasons why I now realize what a perfect choice the Mammoth was for me:
Number 10: In Texas, we say “Go Big or Go Home”. Like a big Cadillac, the Mammoth is big and luxurious. It is wide enough to hold a huge amount of clay and sheet great quantities or not. I wish I had had this for Laurie Mika’s class where we sheeted clay and then added sheet to sheet and dealt with bubbles between layers.
Number 9: It’s Easy to Crank. Really. It’s effortless. Especially when you compare this to a regular pasta machine’s little crank that constantly falls out of the hole. No more picking up the crank off the floor, no more using bits of stuff jammed into the hole to try to hold it in place. And that crank goes around smoothly. My shoulder appreciates this a lot.
Number 8: I can still add a motor if I want. And I may decide to do that. But right now, I don’t need it, so my workroom is quiet (except for the music, which I can now hear). I like the flexibility of choice that the Mammoth gives me. My ears appreciate it, and so do the cats and the husband.
Number 7: Plenty of Room underneath for the cat. Seriously, he blends right in if I could get him to stay in one place. And since he won’t I can use the space to store things when my Mammoth is not in use. When I am using it, it’s easy to reach under for the clay coming through. No jamming my hand against sharp edges of that old pasta machine.
Number 6: Sturdy Base. Good legs on a solid base mean Mammoth isn’t walking around while I am cranking. I love it. The sticky tape is my method of choice for holding it in place, and that also means I can replace it as needed or if I decide to move Mammoth around.
Number 5: Adjustable Rollers - whether you want them parallel or not is up to you, not the machine. Jana Roberts Benzon uses a little C-clamp to keep one side of her pasta machine tight so her clay is more uniform side to side. Mammoth doesn’t need a little C-clamp, or any other clamp for that matter. The design allows you to adjust each side, ensuring a parallel set of rollers, or if you wanted to make the sides different on purpose, you can adjust for that as well.
Number 4: Adjustable Width - Take it from really skinny to really fat. No other machine on the market can do this. It’s glorious to produce the thinnest of thin sheets. No crinkles, no corrugation, and no trying to wrap your clay in lots of layers of plastic to get it thinner. Mammoth is my friend.
Number 3: Easy to Clean - no need for one machine for whites and another for color. No need for little tools to stick into spaces to try to get those bits out. No need to douse the rollers with alcohol in hopes of dissolving errant clay particles. No rolling white when you think the rollers are clean just to have a spot appear. Hate that.
Number 2: She’s a Workhorse. It will do anything I ask of it. Big blocks of clay, old clay, weird clay, globs of scrap clay. Quick work to get to a perfectly conditioned state. And clay in combination with a texture sheet is amazing. Just check out what John Cosenza has done. He’s documenting his efforts on Facebook and suggests doing a head-to-head comparison between your old machine and LC Machine. I think he is giddy with excitement over the results.
And the number one reason I love the Mammoth Conditioning Machine…
Customer service. It’s all about the relationships to me. Anything mechanical has the potential to have problems. My car does. But really, it’s about responsiveness. It’s how the problem is fixed that is important to me. And the LC Team has never let me down.
I’ve names my Mammoth “Molly”, and she is looking forward to the arrival of her siblings - Elephant and Constrictor. Aren’t we lucky to have LC Tools in our corner?
LC Tools has created a community within the polymer clay world. We share common interests and goals and excitement about our LC Tools. I see a group of people who are building equipment for us, and these people work hard and care about the quality of their products. We could all learn a lesson from this work ethic. Thanks LC Tools!
Review of Lucy Clay Machine (Mammoth)
by Marketa Machalkova
I had the chance to try the newly developed LC “pasta” machine first hand and the experience is just great. Those of you who are used to working with the ordinary pasta machines available on the market know that there are many downsides to operating them. They creak, are difficult to properly fix to the working table, their handles fall off, their range is too small and the rollers not wide enough.
I was really amazed at how well designed the LC Tool is. The first and most obvious thing you notice is its size. It`s about twice as wide as a regular pasta machine, the rollers are thick and strong, and you can adjust the space between them from as thin as a paper to as wide as your thumb. Also operating the handle is so smooth and effortless that it`s a real joy to work with. And if you wonder how come there are no grips fixing it to the table the whole thing is magnetic! It sticks to the surface as if it was part of it, and yet you can “peel” it off simply and with only a mild effort.
When working a large amount of clay or trying to blend some colours really well together I had always wondered if someone would think of making the machine automatic. If you know the Czextruder you can guess that indeed they had thought of that. So you can attach an electric drill or screwdriver instead of the handle and let it do all the hard work for you. Neat!