How to Build a Pottery Wheel

    by eHow Contributor

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    Ceramics can be an expensive hobby with the cost of clay, supplies and other equipment, especially if you are starting a studio. However, you can cut some of the costs by building some of your own equipment. Instead of spending anywhere from $60 to $75 for a pottery wheel, try building your own using an old motor, some plywood and hardware tools.

    Things You'll Need

    • Front wheel assembly
    • Electric motor
    • Heavy industrial plug
    • Wooden 2-by-4's
    • Plaster
    • Drill
    • Nuts and bolts
    • Plywood
    • Wooden 1-by-2 for pedal

    show more

    Purchase a front wheel assembly from an auto junkyard. Ask someone there to cut the front wheel assembly right behind the mounting bracket that would have connected to the front of the car. This will be used to mount the pottery wheel, where you will have the rim but not the tire.

    Find an electric motor from the junkyard with a horsepower ranging from one-fourth to three-fourths. Then, get a heavy industrial plug with metal clamps from the hardware store. Secure the plug onto the motor's drive shaft using the metal clamps.

    Use four 3-foot-long wooden 2-by-4's to build the frame for the bottom of the wheel, leaving space for a 2-inch clearance around the wheel. There should be existing brackets attached to the 2-by-4's around the frame. Mount the front wheel assembly to those existing brackets on the right side of the pottery wheel frame.

    Attach two more 2-by-4's on each end of the frame so that the wheel is raised from the floor. Then, put plaster on the top of the front wheel assembly to add some weight for pottery placement.

    Add a 2-by-4 across the bottom center of the pottery wheel's frame, making sure it is aligned with the back of the front wheel assembly. Get a 12-inch square of plywood to attach to the center of the frame next to the front wheel assembly. Next, mount the motor on top of the plywood using the mounting brackets already attached to the motor. Or, you can use metal straps from a hardware store to put the motor in place if it doesn't come with brackets.

    Position the motor so that there is an opening at the bottom of the wheel for the heavy industrial plug. Drill a hole at the end of the frame that is directly aligned with the plywood square that you used for the motor. Using two nuts, add one long bolt through the frame, then add loosely a 3-foot-long 1-by-2-inch piece of wood, creating a pedal at the bottom of the wheel. This should be placed so that one end of the pedal lever will be under the plywood mentioned in Step 5, while the other end will stick out on the right side of the wheel so that you can control the speed of the pottery wheel with your foot.

    Build or find a plywood box with a top opening to place around the pottery wheel. This will allow you to sit over the wheel while you work on your creations.