Or does anyone know someone who has? I'm wondering how they compare with the Ram Press studio presses. They're a lot less expensive and push 5 tons less but all I'll be pressing is a pizza stone so no really fancy molds and I only need to press about 12 tons anyway. I'm also wondering if you've ever compared slab results from a press to those from a slab roller (assuming they were pugged first). How much more dense are those from a press? Thank you in advance for your help.
P.S. I am a complete newbie to anything ceramic and am only beginning to learn. I will be limited to pizza stones (maybe casserole dishes some day) and pressing clays like petalite, mullite, etc. along with a small amount of ball clay for plasticity and a mix (good plasticity in its own right) containing iron for a red finish (iron) made by my clay supplier.
I haven't tried their studio press, or anyone else's, but I have had a Peter Pugger pug mill for several years, and LOVE it. I use a North Star slab roller for tiles and slabs. I was very pleased with Peter Pugger's customer service and my pug mill just chugs along. The only part I've had to replace was a blown fuse.
If all you're gonna do is make pizza stones, I don't really see the point in spending over SEVENTEEN THOUSAND DOLLARS (don't forget shipping for that two-thousand pound monster!) for a Peter Pugger Studio Press. Now if you were independently wealthy and wanted to invested the time to make your own models and dies, that's MIGHT be another story...
I used one when I was at RISD getting my BFA in Ceramics. The machine is incredible. It's perfect for making LOTS of bowls and other flat or mostly-flat objects FAST. It would take you some time to make your model and then the dies - maybe a month or two if you only worked on it on the weekends. But once the dies are made, you'd be able to pop out hundreds of the things. You'd be able to pop 'em out faster than you'd be able to clean them up.
Sorry to bust your Newbie bubble, but keep working/playing/experimenting with clay - and contact colleges with ceramics departments in your area. There's gotta be one that has a ram press on campus, and the school might offer a class. If the school has a press but doesn't offer a class, contact the head of the ceramics department - and maybe they could "work something out" - but you'll have to be completely serious to convince them.