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Thread: Something you can make and sell...

  1. #1
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    Something you can make and sell...

    It's ages since I have been here. Long before that pesky virus. Almost before that crazy, but amusing, President. I wonder if Sandy is still around?
    I've just had to make something for my wife. She is a ceramicist - makes stuff from clay. She's increasingly being asked to make plate sets, which requires rolling out sheets of clay to a desired thickness and then cutting out the shapes. The rolling is pretty labor intensive by hand - big rolling pin with timber depth guides.
    She has been looking for something called a slab roller. They hardly every come up second hand and new they can cost $1,000, which is crazy because they are a very simple thing. They are a few different basic designs, but essentially it's like an old fashioned mangle, the things people used to press the water out of clothes they had washed.
    Some have two rollers - one of which has a crank handle or wheel to turn it. The clay is passed between the rollers and the space between the rollers can be adjusted to make the clay the desired thickness. Another design has a single roller with a table that moves under it - that's the one I'm doing.
    I put mine on wheels so there is storage under, but many are table top things.
    It's made mostly from stuff I had hanging around. Angle of various sizes, 90mm pipe for the main roller, a 20mm rod for an axle, two drill press vices mounted vertically to raise and lower the roller.
    I know that when my wife posts it on her Instagram and FB pages, there will be people asking whether I can make one for them.
    Some of you skilled blokes who might need a bit of cash could knock one of these up in a day and sell it for good money. I think you would be surprised at the demand - there would be a lot of ceramicists over there.
    Just a thought.
    I would be curious with your ideas on the mechanism for adjusting the gap between the rollers - I just used what I had, but it looks pretty clunky.
    Scott
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    Yeah, I carry.

    House keys, wallet, some change, usually a newspaper, maybe a pen.

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  3. #2
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    Re: Something you can make and sell...

    Those small rollers will have a 25mm thick piece of ply on them. The clay will sit on that and can pass beneath the adjustable roller. I want to avoid having a wire that draws the ply back and forth because my research tells me wires can become problematical.
    Also on the table is what I had to make to turn the roller. I was sure I would be able to find an old steering wheel or big valve handle or something. Nope. So I had to make that.
    The last thing I need to do is put a 20mm hole into each end of the roller so I can pass the axle through it. I will then spot weld it in place. I'm nervous about being able to centre the holes. If the axle is off centre, the clay sheets will not be the same thickness all the way.
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    Last edited by scott brunsdon; 09-21-2020 at 07:13 PM.
    Yeah, I carry.

    House keys, wallet, some change, usually a newspaper, maybe a pen.

  4. #3
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    Re: Something you can make and sell...

    For adjusting the roller , this is what I would use. Use 2 of hem and connect them by an axle between them

    https://www.mcmaster.com/screw-jacks...screw-jacks-5/

    Hope this helps

  5. #4
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    Re: Something you can make and sell...

    Hmmm. Jack screws. I'm sure there is a version of that I could use. Just need to find someone not too far from me who will be happy to deal with someone who just wants a few of them. Thanks.
    I got a bloke down the road to make my 20mm holes for the axle - he has a drill press with a longer leg. I'll pick it up tonight and give him some beers if he got the hole right.
    This weekend, I'll put it all together and test it - and then inevitably have to change something.
    When I get time, I might make a table top version as a test. The tricky bits are the mechanism to raise and lower the roller and get the hole through the roller dead centre - I'll have to think of a way to fit the axle where I don't need to weld on end caps and then try to centre a hole.
    I reckon I could do a robust table top version for $200 in materials if asked and probably sell it for $6-700, not that I plan to go into business making slab rollers. But for someone with modest skills who wants to pick up some pocket money, it would be a good thing to try.
    Yeah, I carry.

    House keys, wallet, some change, usually a newspaper, maybe a pen.

  6. #5
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    Re: Something you can make and sell...

    All done and delivered - well, wheeled into my wife's ceramics studio next to my shed. It even works, which is good. Pretty rudimentary tool, which is why the price they sell them for seems over the top.Name:  slab roller finished 1.jpg
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    Yeah, I carry.

    House keys, wallet, some change, usually a newspaper, maybe a pen.

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  8. #6
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    Re: Something you can make and sell...

    I built a plate roller some time back and used a different method for moving the roller positions. I telescoped a 2.5"X2.5"X1/4" tube over a 2"X 2"C 1/4" tube as shown in the image. The jack screw setup for height adjustment could still be used. My main difference is I pushed the bottom roller up against a fixed top roller.
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  10. #7
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    Re: Something you can make and sell...

    It's a dough sheeter!
    This is the final version I believe. The whole series is quite good.


  11. #8
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    Re: Something you can make and sell...

    Yep. Same principle. Needs to be a bit more robust for clay vs pastry, but not as robust as something for steel. I looked for a broken plate roller to see if I could cannibalize it, but gave up.
    Yeah, I carry.

    House keys, wallet, some change, usually a newspaper, maybe a pen.

  12. #9
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    Re: Something you can make and sell...

    what do you use to turn the rollers? Are they hand powered or motorized?

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