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A One-speed Lab or Studio Slurry Mixer

Section: Testing, Subsection: General

Article Text

A one-speed lab mixer used at the Plainsman Clays lab/studio. This can be made for much less money than buying a commercial unit. However, remember that this is single speed. Check the pictures below to see how it is made. Using a powerful mixer like this you can slurry a 20 lb batch of porcelain powder in minutes and it will be smooth as silk, no lumps at all. Then pour that onto your plaster table (see link below to make your own 350 lb plaster table) and you can have ready-to-use clay in hours.

To make a unit like this, print the pictures here and take them your local equipment supply outlet, hardware store, or even farm supply store. They will have, or be able to advise you on where to source each part. For safety's sake, do not take short-cuts, especially with the water tight switch and electrical.

Warning: This is a very powerful motor and there are no guards on this unit. You can be seriously injured using this mixer if you are not diligent. Here are some guidelines:

The mixer mounted on a steel pole. It is adjusted so the shaft is at an angle (rather than straight up and down) to pull less air bubbles into the slurry. It can mix up to 5 gallons of viscous glaze or body slurry. The motor is very powerful, so amounts of less than about 2 gallons of slurry can splatter quite a bit. The 1/2 inch shaft is 22 inches long.

4 inch propeller mounted on a 1/2 inch stainless stell shaft. It is not mounted right at the bottom, this is done to prevent the blade from contacting the bottom of the bucket during mixing. By googling the identification you see on this prop(Taiwan 4x4 316 propeller) you whould find the site of the manufacturer (http://www.tonson-motor.com/e/p004.htm).

An aluminum C-clamp adjustable-angle motor mount secures the mixer motor and mounts it to the custom-made arm extending from the steel pole. The switch also mounts to it. This may be so easy to find, but if you show a picture at a hardware store they should been able to recommend an alternative mounting strategy.

Rear view of how motor and switch attach to aluminum mount.

Mixer motor specifications label. Show this at an equipment supply store and they will be able to give you this exact motor.

Wet location sealed switch used on mixer. The electrical-in is sealed using silicone.

The coupler used to mount the 1/2 inch stainless steel shaft to the motor shaft. It uses 4 Allen set screws to hold it tightly onto the shafts. The two shafts are not the same diameters, so you may have to have this made at a local machine shop.

Can you mix all this powder into that little water?

Can you mix all this powder into that little water?

This is 568cc of water and 1400 grams of Polar Ice porcelain casting clay. Amazingly enough it is possible to get all that powder into that little bit of water and still have a very fluid slurry for casting. The volume will increase to only 1065cc. How is this possible? That water has 13 grams of Darvan 7 deflocculant in it, it causes the clay particles to repel each other such that you can make a liquid with only little more water than is in a throwing clay! All it takes is 15 minutes under a good power propeller mixer (in a bigger container of course).

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By Tony Hansen

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