Making the decision to purchase a pug mill is one of the hardiest yet easy decisions to make it really boils down to if you need to deair or mix dry clay. Then a mixer model with a deairing vacuum may be best for you. I always believe stingy person pays most and you should always get the best you can afford.
There is the reality of what are your studios practices for me the best solution for how I work was the Nidec-Shimpo. NRA-04S Model. The S stands for stainless steel. Most pug mills come with either aluminum augers or stainless steel augers both work equally as well but the stainless steel will not pit from porcelain as aluminum sometimes will. Remember you may not use porcelain now but a pug mill with last for ever if taken care of and whose to say in 15 years what your clay body will be.
I plan on still reconstitute my clay as mentioned in a previous blog. (I’ll repost and update in next blog.) The NRA-04S comes with a double auger as opposed to the single auger that others have with a 1/2 HP motor that can pug 800 lbs. of clay in an hour, so it has the muscle to do the job. It also gives me the opportunity to run clay though twice for any concern with mixing. I have seen this model in use and it seem to dear as well as my wedging ever could. It’s also more than a thousand dollars less expensive then a deairing/mixing model.
I purchased mine from The Ceramic Shop . The reasons being:
A: I get almost all my supplies from them both because of price and their customer service can’t be beat.
B: There is free shipping on most major equipment (most clay companies do offer this as the manufactures ship from the factory.
C: they give you the option for 40 dollars extra they ship with a truck with a lift gate for studios with out a loading dock or on residential street where a 18 wheeler may not fit
Here are the links to the manufacturers and the pug mill page for The Ceramic Shop.