workshop

DIY a Pottery Wheel

In recent years the trends have favoured more ceramic wear, with mainstream media hyping up clay and ceramic cutlery, the aesthetic value of these items have increased. Individuals, especially teens and young adults have idealised the idea of making their own cutlery, decorative items etc. Spending time making a custom item is seen as an idea date and a thoughtful gift. 

However, not everyone has access to a pottery workshop and these workshops can be quite costly, through this article you will understand how you can DIY a pottery wheel at home.

Through this you are not only free from the limits put on you when visiting a pottery workshop but can also provide you with comfort, to be able to progress with your work at your own pace.  

Materials 

Plywood 

Pulley 

Flywheel 

Belt 

Motor 

Motor controller 

Shaft 

Ball bearing 

Step 1

A pottery wheel needs to have a motor that will spin it, this will help you shape your ceramic ware. The motor needed for the wheel should be of a lower RPM, you want to avoid the wheel from spinning too fast, while at the same time want it to have a lot of torque as you will be pushing down at it and have to consider the weight of the clay, you need to make sure that the motor can withstand all of this. If the motor you use has a higher RPM than needed you can slow it down with some pulleys. For this you will need 2 flywheels with a belt in between them, this should ratio it down to the RMP needed. 

You then have to mount it to the plate. You can do this by tracing and measuring the parts on a plywood. 

Step 2

You then have to connect the motor to the power supply, this will make sure that all the electronics are going to work. The power supply will go through a 18 volt transformer, the power supply comes with a directional chain, this is so that you can shift the direction of the motor and the speed controller. The controller should be a pedal so that it can be controlled with your foot while using the wheel.  

Step 3

Flywheel will be connected to the surface with a shaft. The shaft has to go through the plywood and fixed to a large bearing, the bearing should be placed into the hole made for the shaft and then the shaft should be fixed in it. You then have to attach the belt to the wheel and motor. You can attach the motor to a piece of wood to adjust the tension it creates on the belt. Once this is done you can check if the motor spins the wheel.

You can then temporarily attach all the other electronics onto the plywood, the plywood is the surface of a table, the legs will be attached later. The placement of the electronics may change, ideally a box can be made for the electronics that will protect them.  

Step 4

You will then have to make the legs for the table, the size of the legs can vary based on the size you want it to be, the table only needs 3 legs. Drill the legs onto the surface. When drilling the legs, make sure that all elements are on the hidden side of the table. 

Before you test it out you will need to build the piece that goes over the shaft. These pieces can be built with a 3D printer, the coupler and then attach the bat to the coupler. You then have to insert the shaft over the coupler and drill a nail through them to keep them in place. 

Step 5

To control the speed of the motor with a pedal, you can use a guitar pedal for this, a lot of volume pedals are built in a similar way. You can then solder the wires together and check if the wheel can be controlled through the pedal. Once the wheel is moving on command you will then move on to build the stringers for the legs, this is done so that the legs don't fold when the table is pushed forward. The shape for the stringer can be cut with the help of a band saw. You can drill pocket screws to attach the stringers to the table legs. You will need 3 stringers on all 3 sides of the table. 

You can then curve the edges of the surface plywood, this will make working on the wheel much easier. 

Step 6

Before you start assembling everything onto the surface, you will need  a basin that can catch the water and the clay, you can use a cake pan for this, make sure the cake pan is the right size of the wheel. You will then need to drill a hole at the centre of the baking pan, the hole is for the shaft,  you then mount it to the board and then start assembling everything on the inside of the pan. 

You will then need 3 ball bearing caster, place it upside down so that the bat can sit on them. Make sure to seal up any holes as you don't want any water leakages to take place. You then start assembling the coupler and the bat. You can change the bearing on the baking pan if the device gets too noisy. When you are done with your pottery wheel, you can add some more wood panels to cover up the electronics. 

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