I set out to build a pottery wheel for my 7 year old daughters Christmas present. She saw a toy pottery wheel at a local craft shop and had to have one. Knowing that these "toy store" units do not actually work properly, I did not want her to be disappointed. Now we have a quality pottery wheel that the entire family can use and enjoy..

Step 1: Step 1 Acquiring a Motor

     I did some online research and learned that treadmill motors work well for powering pottery wheels. The motors on most treadmills are DC motors which are able to operate at variable speeds. After asking friends and relatives if they had or knew of any old treadmills, I resorted to Craigslist. I was able to purchase a used treadmill for $35 . I'm sure I could have found one even cheaper, but I was in a time crunch to be able to complete this project in time for Christmas. 
     After bringing the treadmill home, the first thing I did was to disassemble the unit and remove the motor and all wiring and electronics that were needed to operate the motor. On the treadmill control console was the speed control knob, ( I purposely bought an older treadmill that used a rotating knob to adjust speed,  versus push buttons ).  Inside the base of the treadmill was a circuit board and a coil (referred to as a choke in the manual). I also removed the on board circuit breaker that was used in the treadmill. Once all the parts were removed , I tested them to make sure everything was still operating properly. 

<p>I just put one of these together with some massive help from your instructions. It works great and I made a few tweaks to help with portability and space saving. Thanks for putting this out there!!!</p>
<p>Well Done! I'm on a very tight budget, but I figure I can afford to build a unit like this! Plus Building it yourself allows you to make it the way you want! Thanks for the inspiration!</p>
<p>Hi! Your wheel looks great! I was wondering, did you get any further with the pedal idea?</p>
This is great! I want to make one for myself but I was wondering if you have come up with a way to make a foot pedal? I would appreciate if you could let me know if you have and, if so, how? Thanks
Oh Wow! Very cool! I've been wanting to build my own kick wheel for some time, but this is top notch! I never would have considered using a tredmill motor. Genius idea!
Thanks mygibzone...
Oh wow, I wish I had you as my mom to make me a pottery wheel hahaha Congratulations with the Holiday contest!!! This is incredibly cool. Now we just need a DIY kiln instructable next
Thanks for your comment Julianne.. I have begun to research the possiblities of building my own kiln. We will see.
Thanks for your comment Julianne.. I have begun to research the possiblities of building my own kiln. We will see.
hi <br> I made one before using aluminum pulley, and am not really happy with it. I was hoping to buy an automotive wheel hub assembly...but I am not sure how to make a shank/spindle if I don't have a machine shop.....do you have a better suggestion? thanks
Wow! I've been been working on a homemade wheel for over a year now and this is by far the best tutorial, and plans I've seen so far. I'm very inspired by your hard work and all for your little girl! It just doesn't get much better than that! Great work!! :)
Thanks for the comments innerlight...it was a rush job too...I decided to build it on Dec 10th after looking at some other instructables...I was able to pull it together in 2 weeks in time for christmas. How far along are you on your project? are you using a treadmill motor also?
Amazing way to go.
Exciting that you were able to build this for her
his is a great how-to. Very clear, awesome pics. What a wonderful gift for a very lucky girl!
Great instructions and it looks like a very happy Daughter! The project is wonderful! I have always wanted to have my own Pottery Wheel and I believe now, I can!!! Thank you and make sure you post your daughters (and Family) projects.<br> You have my vote!
Thanks for commenting and good luck with your own pottery wheel project.
If you like my instsructable, please vote for it, its entered in the gift contest...Thanks
If you need a pedal to hold a potentiometer. Look for a used guitar effect pedal. <br> <br>I'd be interested in your minimum/maximum rpm at the wheel. <br>
Yeah I am thinking about using a Wah Wah pedal.....Some one else also asked about the wheel RPM...I do not have a tachometer at this time to know accurately. We ruc the wheel between 1/4 and 1/3 throttle on the control dial..
I would not be surprised if you don't start to get orders for these. Perhaps you should go into full time production.
LoL, Thanks..........send the orders my way, I'll see what I can do.....
very well done looks likes you daughter is having fun&nbsp;
Thank You, she LOVES it..
nice work <br>
Thank You
Loved it.
Thank You
Nice job. First class ible, another one for my to do list.
Thank You
Really nice. You could sell them and get rich. I have always wanted to make one with the big foot powered flywheel on the bottom, but a motor would be better and easier to store. What is the fastest RPM of pottery wheel?
Im not sure what the maximum R.P.M. is.. WAY faster than we need to throw clay...I usually run it between 1/4 and 1/3 throttle..
Fantastic job. Great quality decisions. At some point (machining) I said Oh well.. In fact this is a fully pro wheel, except the wah-wah pedal yet to come, and it makes me think the store-bought models are not overpriced.
Thanks for you comments. Dont be discouraged by the machining. There is always another way to do things. I chose machining because I have the tools available to me, but I have seen other methods used..be creative and expect to fail...
what was your total cost for making it?
Hi Cricket, <br>I was just figuring the total cost out today. Here are the things I purchased to build this project. Everything else I already had, ie. Plywood, Melomine top surface, misc lumber etc. <br> <br>Used Treadmill ( 1991 Sears Lifestyler) $35 <br>Wheel Bearing Hub Assembly $35 <br>Motor Pulley $ 9 <br>48 &quot; V-Belt $ 7 <br>2- 14 &quot; Oil Drain Pans $ 6 <br>Nuts and Bolts $ 6 <br>electrical boxes and switch plate $ 8 <br>Total $ 106 ish,,,
Could you have heated up the pulley to expand it and slide it on the motor shaft?
Heating the pulley cherry hot may have expanded the pulley enough, but also possibly warped the pulley in the process. It would also be difficult to remove later if needed. Boring out the pulley was not too difficult on the drill press with a decent vise to hold the pulley square.
Well done! I was a bit concerned until I saw you use the GFI. I've only used hardboard bats in my work, how do your home-made Corian ones do?
No problems with the Corian bats so far....
I wish you were MY Daddy!!!!!! <br> <br>Better hope that NEXT Christmas she doesn't want something complicated!!!! Waiting for the next 'Ible--How to Build a Kiln! <br> <br>One way to make a variable speed control that works well for little kids and grown ups alike is to use an old school KNEE PEDAL. This was a common way for commercial sewing machines (and some home models) to be made--there is a flat or padded piece of metal to the side of the housing that the user pushes their knee or leg against. Accomodates different heights and leg lengths better than a pedal does in some uses. Also avoids the dreaded &quot;Foot Cramp&quot;!!!! I don't know how to build one but I am sure you can find this info! You might be able to scrounge an old sewing machine controler for this, <br> <br>Some one asked about the old style kick wheel---for pottery this needs to be fairly heavy --think concrete in a round &quot;pan&quot;---and textured so you get traction. You have to have the center post--that drives the actual pottery wheel----exactly centered so the wheel bats are centered---not that difficult but you do need to be dedicated to precision. You also generally have the seat attached to add to the stability and so you can get the proper throwing angle. There are books out there and surely on-line resources. <br> <br>Avoid washing machine motors--you might think they are ideal for this but they are NOT made to spin with any precision and can make for havoc when they refuse to spin in a circle. IF you don't &quot;believe&quot; this go stand over a top loader---- plug the little &quot;safety&quot; clutch with a chop stick or something so you can open the lid--and SEE for yourself just HOW ecentric the orbit is! And no you can't fix it---they are just not made the right way. The treadmill idea is a really good one! <br> <br>You can cast plaster bats out of regular household plaster and pie pans--if you do this you can use a dry pen or similar to mark concentric circles to gauge how big you want your base to be--the plaster also helps to keep the thicker base section dry and cure properly. If you want more durable ones for kids use some sort of cloth and pour a layer about half way up the pan; let sit til a bit thick. lay cloth strips down (avoid the edges) and pour the final layer. <br> <br>Just by looking around your kitchen and workshop you will find an amazing number of &quot;tools&quot; for clay work! Almost any utensil or even plastic &quot;silverware&quot; can be used--one thing you will NEED (if you don't have it already!) is a seperating wire---this is a guitar wire sort of thing with a wood dowel &quot;T&quot; handle at each end---this not only is used to cut the finished pot from the bat or wheel but also to cut clay into blocks while getting what you need off the hunk and to check for consistancy while &quot;wedging&quot;--the process of pounding and working the clay to get bubbles etc out before working it. Simple to make and prob only a few $$$ to buy. Can't remember what I paid for mine! <br> <br>I have a grand daughter who has been using actual knives and the wire cutter and real tools with--gasp!!!!--an EDGE to do clay for the past 3 years---she is six now! My &quot;adopted mom&quot; was a professional potter and all of her kids and me and her grandkids all learned this way at tender ages and we all still have all of our fingers. No reason to &quot;dumb down&quot; these things for kids as long as they are supervised and taught how to handle tools. <br> <br>Thanks for posting this! Saving it!!!! <br> <br>
Thanks for all the info Valkgurl...My daughter is having a blast with her pottery wheel..
very cool... now, is that your shop or where you work? if its your shop, can I just tell you I am extremely jealous? And if its where you work and you get to use the equipment for personal projects can I still just tell you I am extremely jealous? lol The wheel looks like it works really great too!!
Thanks ! Most of the shots are from my wood shop at home. I used the engine lathe a work to machine the Main shaft...and did some welding too. <br>
Great Save from Landfill ! I am wondering if that motor will work in our old Butter Churn, having a challenge finding a motor to fit. Your Pottery Wheel has a Good Pro Finished look ! Maybe i can just build this with a Butter Churn in Mind?? lol
A treadmill motor may be a good choice to power your butter churn...Id try to find a larger treadmill with a 2 or 21/2 HP motor though..

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Bio: Im just a guy who likes to ride skateboards and enjoys building things that I can use....
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