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How to Make Your Own Ceramic Slip - Part 2 The Mixer: Article or Project

Lesson Two in making your own low-fire ceramic casting slip.

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You will need a good mixer, you can make your own or purchase something professionally made such as those made by Lehman Manufacturing. When I first started making slip (you could not buy it ready made) I used an old Dexter wringer washer (this was some 50 years ago folks). It made a terrific mixer, but I have since found that you can make one out of a 30-55 gallon drum and a motor with a long shaft and mixing blade. You will need a strong motor and the shaft needs to be long enough to reach down into the container to within an inch or two of the bottom. The blade or propeller has to be large enough to agitate the slip at the bottom of the vat and the motor has to have enough torque to push the weight for long periods of time. Various motor manufacturers can advise you on the size you would need. If you are mixing 50 gallons, that will be about 725 pounds of slip. Slip should mix for about 8 - 12 hours.

First find your container. Set the drum on a platform about a foot off the floor. You want the edge of the drum to extend beyond the platform so you can install a spigot at the bottom and be able to drain the slip out into smaller containers. You may also want to procure a pump to place at the top to allow you to draw out the slip when its ready.

You will want to be able to suspend the motor and shaft over the top of the vat in its center but leave access or be able to move it so you can add your ingredients as needed. It will need to be secure enough that vibrations of its operation will not throw it off center.

If you mix your own in large quantity but find you do not use it very fast, I would encourage you to drain your vat and place the slip in smaller containers (air tight-5 gallon buckets or whatever is most convenient for you) for longer term storage, then use them as needed. If you do large amounts of casting, then you can leave it in your mixer and use it immediately. Each time you use the slip, however you will need to mix it thoroughly and give it some rest time so the air bubbles will release before you pour up your molds. . I would not leave it in the mixer if you are not able to use it up within about two weeks.

OK, so now you have your mixer and you are ready to get going.

 

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