Introduction: Pasta Machine Replacement Clamp - Use Mini Bar Clamps Instead!
I have this old pasta machine my mother gave me when I was a cash-poor student. It's a really solid machine but the problem I have with it, and have always had really, is the damned clamp that came with it. Not only was it always weak and flimsy, allowing the machine to "walk" even when tightened to the breaking-point of both machine and counter-top, but it is not deep enough to accomodate modern counter-tops which are a lot thicker than they were when this machine was made. And I am not alone in having these two problems. The 'net is alive with the same complaints. I was all set to buy a new machine until I read the many negative reviews, on Amazon, of the pasta machines now being made by the 'big 2' makers. Apparently they have cheapened the quality of materials and the quality control. Complaints abound about the plastic gears that break, the cheap thin aluminum rollers, and noodle cutting blades that don't fully mesh so the noodles don't separate. No thanks… My machine has sturdy metal gears and solid steel rollers. I know because I took it apart to give it a badly needed cleaning and lube job--NOT recommended, it was a bear reassembling it. And the noodle cutters produce SEPARATE noodles, even the thin 'angel hair' blades. So I decided not to get a new inferior machine for $60, and instead, to find a way to solidly clamp mine down.
I found on one forum, a suggestion to use these large expensive one-handed clamps on either end of the crank side of the machine but I could not find one small enough to give clearance to the crank handle. I tried traditional C-clamps but the handle would not clear the upper 'hump' of the clamp. I even bought materials to make a portable mounting board that I could clamp down to the counter-top. As luck would have it, while I was looking for clamps for the intended board, I found really interesting ones, at Lowe's, that I had not found previously:
They're really nice. They adjust instantly, unlike C-clamps, and have soft plastic cushions on the jaws, to protect the surfaces of the base.
I bought all the materials for the intended mounting board but, when I got home, I couldn't resist trying out these nice clamps, attached directly to the pasta machine itself:
Note that the clamps are off to the side, as close as possible to the counter-top, just hanging on by their tips. This is necessary to allow the crank handle to clear the tops of the clamps on the rollers and the noodle blades. Note also that the edge of the machine is even with the edge of the counter-top for the same reason:
Video showing how easy this is:
The results were so good that I still haven't gotten around to making the mounting board (another Instructable maybe). Now the machine is clamped so firmly, it's like a new machine. It was never this solid. It will not move, even with the stiffest driest dough. Really fantastic. Now my wife and I use it regularly, not once every two years like before. We made 5 dozen raviolis for Thanksgiving and we make noodles all the time, and sometimes, Chinese dumplings.
I know many people are in the same boat as we were so I hope this inspires them to breathe new life into their old pasta machines, and even their new ones, and get to use them more often. There is nothing like fresh-made pasta. Nothing… ;)