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Cleaning the Atlas Pasta Machine

Technique by Leigh Ross
Text by Sunni Bergeron
Photos by Stephen Ross

Everyone who has a pasta machine is going to need to clean it eventually. Some of us are blessed with mechanical ability and can figure it out. Many of us aren't blessed and need all the help we can get. So before you get frustrated, give up, and run to get a new machine, please take a minute to go through the tutorial. We hope you will find this tutorial clear enough to make life easier for both the novice and the more experience clayers. So go forth and clean and do so with success!


Here are the tools you will need:

  • #1 Crosstip Screwdriver (small Phillips)
  • 1/3 inch Crescent Wrench or an Adjustable Wrench
  • Wooden Skewer
  • Chunk of Mud Clay
  • Paper Towel
  • Rubbing Alcohol
  • Wax Paper
  • Cotton Swabs
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1. A clean pasta machine with front plate installed.

2. Leigh's Dirty Pasta machine with the front plate removed for a better view of the gummed rollers. IMPORTANT! Set your rollers to the THICKEST setting (e.g. #1) NOW!

3. Place the pasta machine in front of you with the front facing you. Using the small Phillips screwdriver, remove screw on right side of the machine.
(Click picture for detail)

4. Lift right side away from machine and set it aside.

5. Find the two nuts on the bolts.
(Click picture for detail)

6. Using the 1/3 inch or adjustable wrench, remove the nut on the left.
(Click picture for detail)

7. Now remove the nut on the right.

8. Grip the top of the right side plate while bracing the machine and pull away. Everything will pop loose.

9. This will separate the rollers, the front and back top plates, and bottom scraper plates from their holders - remove the front and rear top plate and two bottom scrapers.
(Click on picture for detail)

10. The 2 bottom scrapers, now removed and shown here, acquire a LOT of stray clay. On some machines they are made just the same, so they're interchangeable. On others, one end has a longer tab. Please note which one is which so you don't mix them up.

11. Begin by pulling clay off the bottom scrapers with your fingers and/or the chunk of mud clay.

12. Here Leigh uses a bamboo or wooden skewer to scrape clay off the bottom scraper (don't use anything that might scratch the rollers or plates as it will then texture your clay forever!)

13. Make sure you clean into the crease of the bottom scrapers and pay close attention to the sharp leading edge.
(Click picture for detail)

14. After scraping clay off, moisten a paper towel with plain rubbing alcohol...

15. ...and then thoroughly clean off the remaining clay residue from the bottom scraper. Dry and polish with a dry paper towel. Repeat with the other bottom scraper.

16. Pull back on right side and use skewer to remove clay that has gotten into the junction of both rollers and the side wall. Use a chunk of mud clay to blot and wipe up leftovers.
(Click picture for detail)

17. Do this on the LEFT side also. (NOTE: The main roller, where the turn handle goes, doesn't pull out from left side, while the back roller will about 1/4 inch or so.)
(Click picture for detail)

18. Now, if you have any clay on the rollers, use the wooden skewer and the chunk of mud clay to scrape and wipe the clay off of them.

19. Make sure you get any remaining clay out that you may have knocked into the junction with the sidewall.

20. To clean more in the left side junction of the front roller, fold some wax paper and slip it in between the roller and sidewall.
(Click picture for detail)

21. Use your left hand to push the roller to the right, to making the insertion of wax paper easier.

(Click picture for detail)


22.
Pull the roller back toward the left or brace it against your body and saw the wax paper back and forth, making sure it stays in contact with the roller, to remove clay residue.

23. Pull the right panel out and push the rollers firmly up so they are above the holes. Use the skewer to dig the clay out of the crack between the plastic interior and the outer metal casing. Use the scrap of mud clay to blot and wipe up leftovers.

24. Once all surfaces are scraped, get alcohol and some cotton swabs, then...

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