Picture of DIY Pottery Wheel  (Using Treadmill motor)
    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

Picture of Step 1          Acquiring a Motor
2012-12-12 17.22.27.jpg
     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. 

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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!

HUCHUYSISA6 months ago

Hi! Your wheel looks great! I was wondering, did you get any further with the pedal idea?

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
mygibzone2 years ago
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!
VertDude (author)  mygibzone2 years ago
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.
cchen12 years ago
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
innerlight2 years ago
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!! :)
VertDude (author)  innerlight2 years ago
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?
saosport2 years ago
Amazing way to go.
miwi522 years ago
Exciting that you were able to build this for her
marnie132 years ago
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.
You have my vote!
VertDude (author)  naturalherbalco2 years ago
Thanks for commenting and good luck with your own pottery wheel project.
VertDude (author) 2 years ago
If you like my instsructable, please vote for it, its entered in the gift contest...Thanks
tenfingers2 years ago
If you need a pedal to hold a potentiometer. Look for a used guitar effect pedal.

I'd be interested in your minimum/maximum rpm at the wheel.
VertDude (author)  tenfingers2 years ago
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.
VertDude (author)  HandyMan19592 years ago
LoL, Thanks..........send the orders my way, I'll see what I can do.....
thebear12 years ago
very well done looks likes you daughter is having fun 
VertDude (author)  thebear12 years ago
Thank You, she LOVES it..
sylvain012 years ago
nice work
VertDude (author)  sylvain012 years ago
seigel2 years ago
VertDude (author)  seigel2 years ago
Thank You
Ninzerbean2 years ago
VertDude (author)  Ninzerbean2 years ago
oking2 years ago
Loved it.
VertDude (author)  oking2 years ago
Thank You
tjk19392 years ago
Nice job. First class ible, another one for my to do list.
VertDude (author)  tjk19392 years ago
Thank You
graydog1112 years ago
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?
VertDude (author)  graydog1112 years ago
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..
danzo3212 years ago
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.
VertDude (author)  danzo3212 years ago
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?
VertDude (author)  cricket3_20002 years ago
Hi Cricket,
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.

Used Treadmill ( 1991 Sears Lifestyler) $35
Wheel Bearing Hub Assembly $35
Motor Pulley $ 9
48 " V-Belt $ 7
2- 14 " Oil Drain Pans $ 6
Nuts and Bolts $ 6
electrical boxes and switch plate $ 8
Total $ 106 ish,,,
jtmcdole2 years ago
Could you have heated up the pulley to expand it and slide it on the motor shaft?
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