Williams-Sonoma Imperia pasta maker - bad quality control
by Jim Nieberding
(Point Of Rocks, MD)
After making my first batch of pasta and cutting it by hand, I almost bought an Imperia knock-off at Bed Bath and Beyond, but decided on the "better" Imperia brand based on this site's review as well as others.
I think I might have been just fine saving 30 bucks and getting the knock-off. The best price I found on an Imperia (at a real store, not the internet) was $65; the BB&B copycat machine was only $35.
I was disappointed to discover that my Imperia did not come with the sheet cutter or the cleaning brush - a little disappointing, but certainly not a deal killer.
Although the machine itself is very solid, (the main unit is made of heavy gauge stamped steel and the mechanisms have a good industrial feel to them), the feeder tray for the main rollers is flimsy thin steel and is held on by a skinny folded-over flap and relies on gravity to remain in place.
This works magnificently well as long as you don't move the machine, blow on it, walk heavily near it, look at it funny, or, God forbid, actually use the machine. That blasted little shelf will fall off repeatedly from the slightest provocation and drive you absolutely nuts while you're attempting to feed your pasta through it.
Amazingly, it is still slightly easier than not using the shelf, and you'll never get your pasta this thin and uniform with just a rolling pin. I am seriously considering tack-welding the thing to the main body permanently.
The critical flaw in my machine was the crank handle: right out of the box mine wouldn't even fit in the slots for the mechanisms. The handle is made from cheap die-cast and electroplated metal and there was so much excess material on the ridges (leftover from the casting process) that it actually would not fit in the keyway for the pasta cutting mechanism. I had to use a bench grinder to remove enough metal from the ridges on the shaft before I could even use the machine! This is completely inexcusable when there are cheaper machines on the market.
If I hadn't already driven halfway across the county to get this machine, I'd have taken it straight back to the store!
Who knows? Maybe I got the last one off the assembly line from a Friday before a 3-day weekend? If you decide to get an Imperia pasta maker, I strongly suggest you actually go to a store, open the box and make sure the machine fits together the way it should before you hand over the cash.
However, while the feeder tray and the handle are borderline junk, everything else about the machine is spot on: the rollers are precise, the cutters are splendid, and fresh pasta is spectacular compared to the boxed stuff.
Thanks a million to the organizer of this website! Making my own pasta has been a rewarding experience and I highly appreciate all the time and effort you have invested to bring your experiences to the masses!