What to look for in a pasta machine?

We drew my sister’s name for Christmas, and she’s thinking she’d like a pasta machine. She found this one on Amazon, but I see from the reviews that some people really like it and some people don’t. Has anyone had occasion to try out more than one kind of pasta machine, and what makes it work or not work?

This is probably not what you’re looking for, and probably more than you’d like to spend. But I’ve owned two electric Pasta Machines, and I’ve also owned the pasta making attachment to the KitchenAid mixer.

For the electric Pasta machines, both of the ones I had first mixed up the pasta ingredients in a tank, and then reversed to extrude the pasta out through a disk with holes in it. The first machine was the Simac, I think, and it lasted quite some time, and I became addicted to eating fresh pasta. The achilles heel of that machine was the clutch mechanism that changed the direction of the motor so it could start extruding. My Ex changed it without stopping the machine and fried it. The second machine used plastic gears which just weren’t up to the rigours of extruding pasta dough.

The attachment to the kitchenaid mixer worked well, but the machine was underpowered and I found myself getting quite worried that I was going to burn it out, I think I had the weakest model that would work with the Pasta Attachment.

What to look for in a pasta machine?

Pasta. :wink:

I have several pasta machines, but you first need to know that I don’t use them to make pasta. I work with polymer clay and the pasta machine is an indispensable tool for me. That said - I like the Atlas Pasta Queen. Mine gets way more use than any normal person’s, so I can attest to its durability. It’s low-tech, simple to use and makes nice sheets of dough in seven different thicknesses. The pasta cutter part slides onto the back of the rollers, and all you have to do to turn your sheets into strands is run the sheet through - there’s both a spaghetti sized cutter and a fettucine sized cutter on the same attachment. The one that you linked to is VERY similar, and you’ll probably find that most manual pasta machines have very little difference. The Atlas is about $40, but I have gotten them for as little as $20 on sale at housewares stores. I often give them as gifts to fellow polymer clay people, and keep two extras on hand for when I have students. My original machine is ten years old now, and has been used almost every day of that ten years with dough much heavier than pasta dough, and only just recently has it started to leave grooves in the clay because it’s been overloaded and I’ve bent one of the rollers (this is not even a problem for pasta, but it makes things annoying for me.) One thing, though: it’s easy to keep clean in general - you just wipe the rollers off - but heaven forbid you ever have to take it completely apart - you need five hands to put it back together. I only had to take it apart once, because I (again) overloaded it and got clay stuck inside the little “guard” that goes over the rollers. Again, this wouldn’t be an issue for pasta dough.