Inside that grate section there is a large stainless steel screw which slowly grinds around and squeezes all of the air out of the clay while compressing it into a long tube of clay.
It is a very handy piece of equipment to have especially when making sculptures because I need to hollow clay out of forms after they have hardened a bit and by then the clay is too stiff to use. I don't like to waste it so I soak it and drain it and when it is just right it can be fed into the pugmill.
The similarity to bodily functions of this machine is an endless source of amusement to small children and grown men alike. And just like the human body, rubbish in causes problems. My pugmill is unwell and constipated. I pug clay for other people and groups and sometimes things in studios fall into clay buckets. Something is stuck inside and blocking the big screw from turning.
And now after operating on this end
as well as pouring endless bucket loads of water through the top and recycling them, my back is also sore. I will have to wait for Andrew the magical technician because I can do no more.
But like all potters, backs seem to be a constant source of problems and I decided I need to understand what is always failing. I found a great site
The green arrows show muscles called psoas. We don't generally have conscious control of them so when they are out of condition and we make a careless movement they can cause other muscles to stretch painfully and tear. The exercises provided on this site give good scientific explanation of the muscles and apparently raise a conscious awareness of the muscles in order to call them into action. I have found the site especially helpful because even though I love yoga and understand it is beneficial, I need to visualise the mechanics , not just go with the vibe of it.
While I have been resting away from clay I have played a little with some technical stuff(Stop Motion Studio app) which is all new to me so if you go to my facebook page
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Cranky-Ceramics/364393763660769 you can see some of my first clumsy attempts with stop motion.