When making modern ceramics, the easiest way to get a piece’s symmetry to match properly is to create it while it’s spinning, which is why a spinning pottery wheel are so popular among pottery makers. For anyone that’s looked into buying a brand-new pottery wheel, they will know that they can often cost hundreds of dollars, which means a second hand one might be a better option.
But those same people will also quickly discover that even a second hand one can be quite expensive, especially for those that are only starting out and aren’t sure if it will turn into a more permanent hobby. Fortunately, and like many things in life, the best method is to make it at home, and it’s relatively easy to create a pottery wheel at home using some items lying around.
Using a Treadmill
Treadmills are fairly simple machines, having a set of controls that tell a motor to spin at different speeds, and second hand and broken treadmill motors make the perfect way of keeping a pottery wheel spinning without too much fuss. There are a myriad of different ways of turning an old treadmill into a wheel, with the most common being stripping the motor out of the body, adjusting the speed, and building it into a new, wooden shell. Another advantage of this method, apart from the low cost, is that the housing of the shell that the motor will sit in can be shaped to the maker’s liking, meaning that it can be made to fit in with the surrounding décor if necessary.
An Old Ceiling Fan
Another good option is an old ceiling fan, one that still has an intact motor that can be powered on and off. Most ceiling fan motors do not produce a lot of torque, making them a more than adequate option for keeping a pottery wheel spinning at a slow but consistent speed for long periods of time. There are a lot of guides on how to do this online, but the easiest is to simply mount the motor into a bucket, with the wiring coming out of the one side. It’s important to try and keep the bucket as watertight as possible to prevent any excess liquid from draining down and either rusting the engine or shorting it completely.
A Used Washing Machine
Last but not least is an old washing machine motor, one that has been removed from the washing machine’s casing and disconnected from the drum. Washing motors generally only have two or three speeds available, and it’s easy timenoguy to simply wire it so it spins at a particular speed. Old washing machines can be found in abundance at most scrap years, so it should not present too much of a challenge to find the right one.
Pottery at home can be fun and easy to accomplish once a home-made pottery wheel has been put together and is working as it’s supposed to.