Both manual and electric tamale machines have cylinders that hold masa and meat filling, either side by side or nestling, and use usually involves filling the cylinders and operating a plunger that presses the mixtures through an extruder. Refer to your tamale-maker owner's manual for safety precautions and instructions specific to your model.
The Tamale King TK157 is a tamale maker with nestling cylinders. Pack the masa mixture in the large cylinder until halfway full. Add the tamale meat in the small cylinder using a large spoon or rubber spatula. Don't compress the masa or meat, but don't leave any space, either. Leave 1 1/2 inches of space at the top of each cylinder. Set the small cylinder in the large cylinder; the large cylinder will have grooves and notches that help guide the small cylinder into place. Attach the cylinders in the machine stand and place the plunger in the assembly. Press down the plunger to extrude the tamale onto the center of the husk. Fold the husk around the tamale, set it aside and repeat.
The BE&SCO 31TC is a tamale maker with side-by-side cylinders. Fill the manifold block with filling, and secure it to the tamale machine; wipe away excess filling. Fill the large cylinder with masa and the smaller sylinder with filling; leave about 1/2 inch of space at the top of each cylinder. Slide the cylinder assembly onto the frame and fill the large cylinder with meat and the smaller cylinder with filling. Lower the plungers into the cylinders and turn the tamale machine on. The tamales will exit the extruder on a moving belt, which transfers them to a cutting wheel. Place the cut tamales on corn husks.