Like you, I’ve heard the buzz about the Czextruder and couldn’t help but wonder. It’s pretty expensive. Is it worth the cost? Is it really better than an inexpensive extruder? About a year ago I visited Clayaround in the UK and had the pleasure of playing with one. I was able to see that it is very sturdy, works beautifully, and had the stamp of approval from my husband for having “excellent engineering and superior build quality”. That’s man talk for “it’s pretty” (she said as she petted it and knew it wasn’t in the budget). We do love our toys, don’t we?
Well I had to leave that one there. But Diane Bruce of VanIsland Jewels, the Lucy Tools Supplier in Canada, recently made my day when she sent me one of my very own to play with and review, promising to share my findings with you. So here’s what I’ve found out. I still think “it’s pretty” and I even agree with my husband about the build quality and the engineering. It’s a really neat extruder. I received the Czextruder XXL, an LC Vise, an LC Tile, and several disks. Here’s a bit more about what that means, exactly.
The Czextruder XXL
As you can see in the above picture, the Czextruder comes with a tube, endcap, a “plug” with O-rings, the plunger and screw rod assembly (with top cap), a crank handle, a drill adapter, a cleaning brush, and a small tin of lubricant. It also includes a little wrench that fits all the hex nuts.
The metal parts of the extruder itself are all zinc coated steel with smooth threads, no rough edges, and a substantial feel. They’re not fragile and I can’t imagine how you could break them with normal use. They will rust, though, so treat them with the same care you give all your tools. The instructions do recommend to use the lubricant sparingly on all threaded parts to keep them smooth-running.
To use the extruder, you insert the “plug” into the tube. The plug, for lack of a better name, is a little white hard piece of plastic that has two O-rings on it. This is what actually has contact with the clay inside the extruder. The “plunger” on the end of the screw rod doesn’t contact the clay, rather it pushes against the plug. In fact, it rotates on the plug, allowing the screw rod to turn with little resistance and the clay itself doesn’t end up turning inside the cylinder. After you push in the plug, you then add your clay to the cylinder. Then choose your disk and put it in the end cap. Now insert the plunger into the other end and screw down the cap. When you crank the handle, the excess air will be pushed out and the clay will start extruding.
The Czextruder comes with a special adapter that allows it to be used with a drill. You just remove the crank handle (it screws onto the end of the screw rod) and screw on the adapter instead. The adapter fits perfectly into the chuck of a drill (it doesn’t have to be cordless, but it’s sooo much nicer if it is). This means you can extrude with the power of the drill and save the wear and tear on your hands. I find that cranking the Czextruder isn’t so hard, but holding onto the smooth tube is. The tube rotates with the drill, but you have to hold it still to extrude. So that takes some strength. I found that wearing a glove with rubber grippers on it helped immensely. But a far better solution is to put the tube into a vise. You can use any vise (being careful to cushion and not crush the Czextruder), but the Lucy Tools people do sell a solution.
The LC Vise and LC Tile
I had trouble figuring this out at first because it seemed kind of silly. But soon I realized that the LC Vise allows you to attach the Czextruder for hands-free operation. You just attach the Czextruder to the LC Vice and clamp the LC Tile to the table. Then you can crank easily without having to hold the tube of the extruder. This is a really good when you are using a drill because the whole thing is stable and you can have one hand on the drill and the other to attend to the clay coming out of the extruder.
I find that this small LC Vise isn’t very stable for hand cranking. But I do see now that the most recent LC Vises are larger and have two attachment points to hold the Czextruder, which is really pretty necessary for the XXL version that I have.
Czextruder XL vs. Czextruder XXL?
The Czextruder XL is listed as being 12cm long (4.75″) and the Czextruder XXL is 20cm (just under 8″) long. The only difference between the Czextruder XL and the Czextruder XXL is the length of the tube. Otherwise they are identical.
The XXL’s actual tube is 7″ (18cm) long, though it measures 8″ (20cm) with the caps on. I don’t have a XL here to measure, but I’m expecting that it’s about 4″ (10cm) long, when you measure the actual length of the tube.
Because the plug and the plunger take up volume inside of the tube, you can’t fill the entire tube with clay. When fully extended for maximal volume, the Czextruder XXL gives 6″ (15cm) of usable capacity. I am going to therefore assume the Czextruder XL has 3″ (7.6cm) of usable capacity.
I don’t use the full capacity of the XXL extruder every time. But I do think that the XL isn’t quite long enough. I would most definitely go for the XXL. If you’re extruding things that you want to be one long piece, it’s really important that you have a large capacity extruder.
What is Czextruder HD?
*UPDATE* I have now received the Czextruder HD and the large LC Vise. You can see pictures and read my thoughts in that article here.
You might notice that the newest Czextruders are listed as being HD. No, they’re not high definition, rather this refers to being heavy duty. The newest models are being shipped with a redesigned thicker screw rod. Mine is not HD.
One of the reasons they made a design change is because of a small design flaw in the original Czextruder. Because the screw rod was all the same diameter, it was possible to extrude too far and jam the lock nut into the top of the cap. Because the cap is recessed, there was no way to get tools in there to loosen it back off. The new HD rod and cap eliminate this issue. If you have one of the old models, just make sure that you don’t crank it down too far and you’ll be fine.
Cleaning the Czextruder
After you extrude all the clay from the Czextruder, you just unscrew both end caps, flip the tube around (end to end) and put clay in the other end, reassemble, and keep going. Yes, you heard that right. You don’t necessarily need to clean the tube between each batch of clay. Especially if you’re working with a scrap clay technique, a little cross-contamination won’t hurt a thing.
But when you’re all done, or if you need your colors to be pristine, the Czextruder is very easy to clean. Just unscrew the caps on both end. The plunger end, since it never touched the clay, won’t need cleaning. The little plug with the O-rings will have some clay in it, but you can just wipe that off with a baby wipe (which works really well). The design disk cleans with a quick wipe as well. The only thing left to clean is the tube, which will have a very fine layer of clay on the walls of the tube. This, remarkably, is removed brilliantly with just a few strokes of the brush. But do hold it over a trash can while you do it, as little specks of clay will fly everywhere.
The LC Disks
The Czextruder doesn’t come with any disks (dies). But there are 8 design sets available. The LC Disks are stamped metal disks with small round cutouts in them. There are 8 dies per disk. Each disk comes in a little plastic case, just like a small CD. Each of the 8 dies must be removed from the disk before you can use it. Just rotate it around and around til it breaks free. There will be two little “nubs” on each side that need to be removed. Just use an old pair of nail clippers to nip them off.
One of the coolest things about these design disks is that some of them are designed to work with each other to form multiple parts. So in the red disk, you have a die shaped like a heart and you have a die shaped like what’s around a heart. Just extrude a heart and two “surrounds” to get a square heart cane.
Some people like to store their extruder disks (dies) on magnetic sheets. The LC Disks, while they are slightly magnetic, won’t hold very well to a magnetic sheet. I’m assuming it’s because of the paint on them. So you’ll have to find a new way to store them. For now, mine are in a ziploc bag. But I’m totally open to hearing your solutions, post them in comments so we can all learn!
Other Extruder Disks and Dies
The LC Disk dies are a standard 5/8″ diameter and therefore work beautifully in many other brands of extruder such as Makins and Walnut Hollow. And that also means that you can use other commercially available extruder dies with the Czextruder. If you’re upgrading from one of the other extruders to a Czextruder, rest assured that your disks aren’t going to sit idle. You’ll still be able to use them.
I was thrilled to find that yes, my Makins extruder dies work just fine in the Czextruder. And that means, of course, that the LC Disk dies will work in your Makins extruder too! Yes, if you’re dying to have the design disks but don’t want to splurge for the Czextruder, you can purchase the disks only.
There are more extruder dies on the market, too. Cynthia Tinapple has two sets of quite complex designs, one of which is brand new on the market. The designs are particularly unique and work well to create the complex ethnic style designs that Cynthia has been favoring lately.
Quilted in Clay
Jennifer Patterson has a line of jewelry based on quilt designs called Quilted in Clay. And she sells the extruder disks that create the specific angles and shapes that she uses in creating these quilt canes. You can find them in her Etsy shop as well as a tutorial explaining the process.
Hollow Core Extruder Dies
These deserve a separate post, but for now just know that you can extrude ANY shape with a hole in the middle of it. Yes, you can extrude polymer clay tubes. To do this, you need these core adapters by Makins. I took one look at these and wondered where they’ve been all my life. Seriously.
Who Makes the Czextruder?
The Czextruder is made in the Czech Republic by the Lucy Tools Company. A man named Jiri Strunc designed a line of very nice polymer clay tools to help his daughter Lucy Struncova with her polymer clay designs. The company is now distributing worldwide.
Where to Buy the Czextruder?
There seems to be a lot of confusion about where to buy the Lucy Tools. Luckily, the company is addressing this issue and you can now buy any of the Lucy Tools from their website at Lucy Clay Store. Click here for the EU store, and click here for the USA store.
But if you prefer to deal with a supplier directly, there are partners all over the world. Diane Bruce has been very approachable and available for those of us in North America. You can buy from her shop on Etsy, which is called Van Island Jewels. If you’re having difficulties finding a supplier in your area, feel free to contact one in another area and they’ll be happy to help. In the EU, check out Maria at Happy Things in the Netherlands.
Things I Learned using the Czextruder
- Get a 1/2″ wooden dowel that’s longer than your extruder tube. You’ll need this to push the “plug” to the right location inside the tube. If you leave too much air between the plug and the clay, this will be expelled during extruding and cause an interruption in the design. Your favorite 6 year old will giggle about intestinal gas analogies.
- Decide if you’re going to use the drill or crank before you load the extruder. Trying to switch the handle with the plunger inside the extruder isn’t going to work. Trust me. (Many swear words.)
- A Czextruder XXL will hold about 3/4 of a block of clay.
- You can use two extruder dies to get an even more specialized effect. Use one shape to partially block another one, allowing you to extrude part of a design.
- Use nail clippers to remove the little spurs on the sides of the dies.
- Having a vise of some sort to hold the extruder is really helpful because holding the tube to keep it from spinning during extruding is hard.
- You need a variable speed drill with a reverse feature to use the drill attachment. Don’t drill too fast and slow way down at the end so you don’t jam the lock nut into the cap.
- Baby wipes are great for cleaning clay from the extruder parts.
- The extruder is pretty useless without the little plug with O-rings, so make sure you keep it in a safe place. Replacements can be purchased, but who needs the hassle?
- Clean your O-rings and lube them before storing your extruder. Take care of them, they’ll last much longer. Also, remember to lube your screw rod.
- Documentation is a bit poor for the Lucy Tools products. I think the company is suffering from some growing pains and they are working on producing the manuals, videos, and documentation after they release the products. There are also outdated videos and a lot of dead links. They’re struggling with having to do everything in both Czech and English, so there are two sites for everything (which are not updated equally) and that gets really confusing. So if you have any unanswered questions, feel free to ask one of the suppliers who carry the products.
So…is it worth the extra cost to buy a Czextruder? Maybe. It depends on your needs. I’m a frugal kind of person normally, so I never want to spend unnecessary money. If you’ve never extruded before, or aren’t sure you’d use it for more than doing pixel canes, then perhaps spending a small amount on a Makins or Walnut Hollow extruder might be a wiser choice for you. The Czextruder is an expensive piece of equipment. But if you’re an extruder fan, and you’ve blown through the cheap ones like they’re toys, then you really shouldn’t hesitate. The Czextruder most certainly is worth the cost. But do spend the extra money and get the Czextruder XXL, though. The XL version holds even less clay than the Makins. So go for the big boy.
The construction is sound, the quality is excellent, the user experience is wonderful. I am thrilled with my new Czextruder, I really truly am. If you’re serious about clay, the design and artistic options that you gain by having a high quality extruder are totally worth it. Treat yourself and get a Czextruder XXL. You really will love it.
What Can you Make with an Extruder?
I only had time for a few things, and I’ll write another article about these techniques and creations more specifically. But for now here is some eye candy.
Disclaimer: Diane Bruce of Van Island Jewels graciously provided me with a Czextruder for review and I’m very grateful for the opportunity. I hope you have have enjoyed reading my thoughts and impressions of this really great tool. Please know, however, that all my opinions (of which I have many) are my own. And I really like this thing. 🙂
43 thoughts on “The Czextruder: Is it worth the cost?”
I bought the XXL extruder and all the discs that were available during 2016. The extruder tip, where you screw on the handle was rusted when I received it. I have tried to scrub off the rust but it’s shot and makes using the extruder almost impossible. Took me a very long time to get the handle off so I could pack it away so I haven’t tried again. Since it was shipped from overseas I’m not sure how you’re return it. I love the different discs but they are a problem to use in the beginning. You have to clip off the metal edges and I have ruined a few nail clippers and one wire cutter in effort to remove that metal edge from the disc. I have clipped off the edges as I’ve gone along. I will say it prevents me from wanting to use my discs. I have put all of my discs in a coin collecting book that I found at Walmart for 1.99. It holds 100 discs. Currently I use some of the discs with my makins or walnut hallow extruder.
Have you spoken to the folks at Lucy Tools about this? Also, have you tried my suggestion to rub the disks against an abrasive surface to remove the nubs? A sidewalk works great.
Ginger, thanks for your concise review of the CZExtruder. I ordered the XXL with the tile, vice, and several disks and I love it. I have have the Walnut Hollow and Makins extruders but never used them much because they were hard on my hands. Using the CZExtruder with a drill makes extruding a snap. My very first extruder project, a large chunky bracelet, was very professional looking.
My question is, do you know of any design guides for the endless combinations of dies? Some are obvious, like the heart and heart outline, but others will require a glass of wine and some serious thought. I have seen some design guide images on Pinterest, but they are rather limited. Maybe this is a no-brainer for some, but putting puzzles together visually is difficult for me.
I’ve decided that if I can’t find what I’m looking for, I’ll just use different colored scrap clay, extrude some shapes and see how they fit together. That way, I can take notes and smush them up when I’m finished and I won’t have wasted “good” clay on a bad design.
Thanks for your time.
I’m pretty sure there are “look books” put out by the Lucy Tools people. You can see many of them on their Issu account here: https://issuu.com/lctools
Ginger, thanks for your prompt reply.
Hi Ginger — based on your reviews I recently bought one of the LC packages — the slicer and the all-in-one HD extruder kit. I am finding the lack of documentation on assembly more than a little frustrating, I have to say. I needed some of your photos to make sense of the way the extruder assembly is supposed to work. Here’s a question. You wrote: “Clean your O-rings and lube them before storing your extruder. Take care of them, they’ll last much longer. Also, remember to lube your screw rod.”
It’s silly but I’m quite anxious about how much lube to use. Just a thin coat on the whole length of the screw rod would probably use up the whole small container included in the kit, no? Or am I missing something? Do you lube the rod after every use?
I’m going to write to the LC people to suggest that their instructions include illustrations of each little piece with a name under it. When the instructions say ‘insert Widget 1’ I need to be able to identify which widget they mean, and as it stands that’s not always possible. Even the videos don’t help much.
I think once I manage to get everything put together and working I will be very pleased with these tools as the quality is really excellent. But this stage of the process — so far about three hours invested — is not much fun.
When the Lucy Tools company started, they didn’t speak very good English and some of the documentation was sparse. It’s better now. But still, it can sometimes leave you with questions. As for the lube, it just needs a dab. I just put some on my fingertip (similar to the amount of vaseline you’d use for chapped lips) and put it on one spot on the threaded rod. Then just turn the crank and run the rod through the cap. That will spread the lube along the threads. It doesn’t need to be gloopy, just a super thin coating.
If you’re still having trouble putting it together, send me an email and I’ll try to help.
I’ve got it working now. Thanks for the details about the lube, that’s exactly what I needed to know.
Thank you for fast answer.
I have Sculpey extruder. I bought when I start with Polymer Clay.
It is true about Sculpey extruder. This is reason why I very rarely use extruder.
Now I want to buy better.
I’m looking for some good comparison between Makins, Steadler and Sculpey on Internet. I notice that Staedtler extruder in USA nobody use.
I did not decide yet between Makins or Staedtler?
Nobody uses Staedtler in the US because there aren’t any distributors here. The craft stores here sell Walnut Hollow, which appears to be the same thing. Which one should you buy? I think you’d be happy with either, really. I have, and like, the Makins one. The discs from the Czextruder fit into both extruders, I believe.
I am in the UK,and have the Staedtler one. I have been looking to see if other Dics like Makings and LC tools fit the Staedtler , but very little inforamtion is availablre.
I am pretty sure that the Staedtler one is a clone of the Walnut Hollow extruder and therefore uses 5/8″ discs like the Makins and the LC Tools. But you could always contact Staedtler for a more definitive answer.
Do you have any experience with Sculpey or Staedtler extruder?
I found that your articles have lots useful information.
Thank you for your time.
The Sculpey extruder, the one that is sort of like a syringe, is very difficult to use with polymer clay and I don’t recommend it. That design was originally used with pottery clay and it works great for that, but polymer clay is too thick and it’s very difficult to use. The Staedtler extruder, I am pretty sure, is the same as the Walnut Hollow extruder. I do recommend using it.
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I removed all dies from a disc, used a large adhesive tape on the back side of the disc and now all the little dies stick in their hole……
Now that’s easy peasy and uses what you already have. Excellent. Thanks!
Several comments. I have had my XXL extruder for sometime now. It was just before the HD was available. I really didn’t feel that I needed an HD. Quality has been very good. I did buy 5 plugs with O rings. I felt this would be the weak point. Like you, I push my plug with a wooden dowel. I agree on the tube length. It seems awful long, but you only need to use the clay you need.
I ordered the ‘all in one’, so have the drill adapter. I did use it once to check it out. Really, I have found that the extruder works so well in the vice that I haven’t felt a need to use a drill. I do like the beefier vice of the HD, but have no trouble using the vice. Being the mechanical person I am, I didn’t like having the extruder just ‘hang’ from the vice. I simply put a block of wood the right height under the tube to stabilize the extruder in the vice.
I didn’t realize the dies could be combined to make other patterns. Looking at them now, I see it all over the place. Thanks so much for opening up my eyes. Also, I had the hollow core dies for some time and never warmed up to them – I couldn’t make them work. I will have to get back to them. Several things I tried before worked better with the CZextruder.
One thing I did that I love everytime I use the extruder is put a revolving handle on the supplied handle. The supplied handle is threaded for a handle, but one is not supplied. Where to get it? I googled ‘revolving handle ebay’, and there is a good assortment. But…………..I can’t tell you what size screw to get, because I lost the paperwork for mine and I’m not sure where they measure. I don’t want to take it off to measure. But, here’s what you can do. Take your handle to the hardware store and find a screw that fits the threads on your handle, and order a handle with the same screw threads. I believe, and don’t hold me to this (go to the hardware store) that my threads were 8mm.
The revolving handle is a very good upgrade, and very cheap from Ebay. I paid a lot for mine, and ended up buying twice because I ordered the wrong size screw.
I would certainly buy mine again. But, there is a bit of adventure to this and ‘figuring it out’. Get it when you have a little time to devote to it.
It is M8 thread size inside crank handle on both size.
Most excellent. That helps immensely. Thank you!
What a brilliant idea to make a crank handle! Leave it to you, Boni, to come up with the most creative solutions!
Thanks again for such a detailed review. I got my extruder for Christmas and ordering it directly from LucyTools proved rather difficult for my husband as it was all mostly in Czech. He bought me the whole kit – with vice, but I have to double check which one I have, the longer one or shorter one. I have yet to actually use it – other things just got in the way. I just love the dies ( I actually bought two additional ones as I love the puzzle one) they create – so many possibilities and they look very sturdy. I have used a Makins until recently and it is really painful on the hands, so I hope this will be much easier and less painful to use.
Yes, the Makins is very hard on the hands. Any extruder can be, but at least this one doesn’t fight you like the Makins does.
After breaking every other extruder I have owned, I say spend the money. It’s worth every penny! And with the power drill you can get a mile of materials extruded in minutes!
Ginger, I love my czechstruder when it’s in use, but have you or anyone else had trouble with undoing the end caps and/ or the nut that connects to the drill after use? Long discussion on the London Polymer Clay Group facebook page here…
We don’t seem to have solved this problem yet… no amount of lubrication seems to help. And it seems to be a problem for both the old and the new versions.
Someone at the group came up with the great idea of storing dies in those A5 or A4 clear pockets people use for coin collections… makes them easily visible so you don’t have to sort through 64 of them to find the one you want!
Ruth, I’ve had no problem with the end caps or nuts on the XL or XXL. I couldn’t read the London PC Group discussion without joining Facebook so can’t add any thoughts as to why it’s a problem other than are folks tightening them too much?
I tried the coin pocket pages before I thought of rare earth magnets. Put the pages into a binder but the little dudes slide out if I didn’t pick it up straight 🙂 No good for taking to clay days at the guild!
PS anyone have a use for ten barely used coin holder sheets LOL.
Oh darn, that’s a closed group, so I can’t see the discussion…I’ll apply for membership and see if I can find it. That’s worrisome that it’s an issue for the HD as well. Have you contacted Jiri Strunc about it? Maybe they have suggestions? I like the idea of the coin pockets…but I’m like Chrissie…I’d dump it. Hmm…might have to find one that zips shut. Ooh…ideas!
Thankyou for a very thorough review Ginger. I have had the XXL for quite some time now and just love it. You’re right about how well engineered it is.
Love your review. I have both CZ extruders and the small one I use for small jobs and mostly with Premo clay. I love the big XXL HD and have been using it a lot lately. I store my many sets of dies in separate tiny boxes that come in a larger box from Harbor Freight. They are plastic and can be written on with a Sharpie to designate Lucy #1, Cynthia #2 etc. I have all the Makins sets of disks and store them more in the way of circles, squares, etc. Also have a great set of acrylic discs from Lynda Gilcher of Artistic Haven in Cincinnati. There are 24 or so discs in her set and she has others to make roses, daisy type flowers and there are more to come. Her discs all fit the Makins and CZ extruders – I have done this. You can find her at http://www.artistichaven.com.
I had never heard of Linda’s store before. She does have a make-your-own disk kit that sounds fascinating. The link is here: http://www.lyndasartistichaven.com/cart/polymerclay
Thank you so much Ginger 🙂
For a while I have been playing with the idea of buying one because I wanted the discs that come with it 🙂 I have a Walnut which I love and Dad is looking at making me an adaptor for it so I can use he cordless drill her bought me for Christmas 🙂 yep I get hardware from both my Dad and Hubby 🙂 they know me so well 🙂
After reading your report on the Czextruder XXL HD its on my list of wants I know that there is a company here in Oz that sells the old one so will check if they have the new one 🙂
I bought the hollow tube bit a few weeks ago still have to get around to using them and I still have to buy the smaller one as I bought the larger of the two first 🙂 as I have some beads tubes I need to make first so I can make my beads with ease without the need of the bead needles which I find hard to use as they do put a dimple in my beads :-/ heace the tube makes bit 🙂
Now that I know the discs from the new extruder will fit 🙂 I can at least buy them now and when I have saved my pennies I can then upgrade my extruder later 🙂
As for a bench vice I bought a little mini bench vice many years ago because it was cute 🙂 at the time it was the look of baby cute that made me buy it 🙂 and when Mum was with us she just loved it because it was so cute 🙂 and it only cost me $5AUS so not a waste 🙂 but I have since Mum passing have used it for a number of my projects and now it will be used with my Walnut Extruder to save the ware and tare on my hands 🙂 I have screwed it to a small piece of off cut wood wich I can screw to my work station that Dad and I made a few months ago 🙂
I like my Walnut Extruder because of the rubber coating it has on it which makes it easy to hold for small jobs 🙂 this was the reason why I bought that one over the Makins.
What I like about the new extruder that you have reviewed is the fact that the disc used to pushing the clay is NOT attached to the shaft 🙂 I have found that I have had to place a plastic disc in mine so that they clay does not get twisted inside of the tube and muddies the clay.
As to storing the discs like you I have mine in a ziplock bag at the moment and I kept the plastic box that the Walnut came in so all the extruder bits are in one place, but I do have some rare earth magnets which are on my clay oven for the want of some where to store them 🙂 bought mine of a site called “Mini in the box” handy site for cheap things but the take weeks and weeks to get things sent to you 🙁 so have to be very patient with them :-/
So to Chrissie thanks for the tip on the magnates 🙂 I will be gluing mine onto some card stock so that it will fit just to the right hand side of my box and thus making it a tidier solution to my problem 🙂 my magnets are only a 1/4 inch wide and are only 1mm thick so they won’t take up much space 🙂 but yep not looking forward to pealing them apart 🙂 already snapped one in half when it whipped back to the rest of them tuff little suckers that’s for sure 🙂
Thank you again Ginger 🙂 I have learn so much for you and from those who also share in your wisdom 🙂 we’ll have to run Rambo my ever loving kitty wants his lunch and I had have my toes nipped at when he’s hungry 🙂 I hope you had a great Easter 🙂
Aw Angie, you’re always so enthusiastic. I love hearing about your adventures. And yes, buy the disks now and upgrade the extruder later. The dies are soooo much fun.
Thanks for another concise accurate review! My experience over the past several months is exactly the same. I experimented with other small extruders and they did not hold up. As my husband pointed out, the expense of replacing them & the hassle of limiting what you do to accommodate their weaknesses is not a true savings. I’ve used a standing vise since making my purchase last fall and am extremely pleased. I find myself extruding much more frequently … and frequently flip the tube without stopping to clean until I finish a project. The dies are the sturdiest I’ve seen and a great addition to my collection 🙂
Yes, exactly. I haven’t ever been much of an extruder person, but now that I have this, I can think of tons of ways to use it. It opens up so many new design avenues.
It’s been on my wants list for a long time… I have burned through about 5 or 6 of the cheaper extruders and had wondered if the bolt in LC one held up better than the WH or Makin’s extruders. So, I was glad to read your review… now I just need to save up my pennies!… 😉
I don’t have the WH one, so I can’t compare, but I do have the Makins. I should have taken a picture of them side by side. They’re not even close. The Makins is like a toy compared toe the Czextruder. It’s not going to break. It’s just not the kind of materials that do, if you see what I mean.
Ginger, thank you for your usual unbiased review. I agree with you totally!
I had bought the Walnut Hollow and Makin’s silver extruders when I first became interested in extruding. They worked fine but then I bought the Lucy XL model some time ago and found it to to be the best extruder I had used. Then along came the new XXL HD. Can I say “Wow”? It is a wow of an extruder and leaves the others in it’s dust! I bought the extruder and LC Tile from Diane Bruce of Van Island Jewels and I cannot speak more highly of her and her excellent customer service. It is a pleasure to do business with her. I don’t believe that new HD thread will break unless I take a sledge hammer to it (fat chance of that happening LOL). I use it with the LC Tile with the two clamps. It’s so good I can hand crank and don’t need to use the drill any more. Unless I am extruding miles of clay and then I would :-)) And as for the the dies? They are very strong and unlikely to bend in use as some thinner dies can do. I am developing a way to make Photoshop custom shapes of all the dies so I can design canes but that’s another story and I won’t bore you all now with details.
As for storage I thought long and hard about this. The Makins dies store easily on magnetic sheets inside DVD cases but the Lucy dies are enamel paint coated and the magnetic sheeting is not strong enough to hold them. Enter the rare earth magnets! I bought half inch magnets and glued them with E6000 to cardboard cut to fit inside a DVD case. I bought them from Applied Magnets in Texas. They come packed with small dividers between each one. If I am careful I can slide a magnet off the stack one at a time. If I am not careful (don’t ask about my torn thumbnail from today’s experience LOL) the little dividers fly merrily around the room and the magnets stick together like a clutch of clams!
Is it worth the money? Yes, in my opinion it is. If you extrude a lot it is good value. It will outlast less sturdy extruders and the range of inter-usable (is that the right word?) dies makes it so very versatile.
Excellent review! Seriously, you mentioned things that I forgot to say. And your idea about the magnets is intriguing. Though they’re so weakly magnetic that I hesitate. But it’s all good ideas to help spark the “right” idea for each person. Thanks!
I bought the original XXL and loved it! Stands up to Kato clay!! Have since purchased the vice and HD and love it even more. Bought all my LC tools (I have the slicer too) from Kim Idalski who is the US rep and she’s wonderful to work with!!
I don’t think there’s any clay the Czextruder can’t push out. The hardware is super tough.
I agree with you about Diane Bruce, she provides great service. I only have the discs right now and was saving to purchase the extruder. Thank you for the article because I wasn’t sure which to purchase. I store all my discs, from Makin’s, walnut hollow, Cynthia Tinapple, and Lucy in a round pill plastic container.
Pill container…good idea….compact and simple. Thanks! Yes, save up for the Czextruder…so worth it.
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