Picture of How to build a variable speed pottery wheel.
1. I am not a pottery expert. ( heck Im no good at all truth be told. So if after reading this you want to learn more about pottery work your going to need to ask someone else.

2. We well be working with electricity that is going to be around water. Please keep this in mind as you build it as I will not be responsible for turning you into a light bulb.

3. I will be walking you through the steps that I did with the parts I used. That being said this is not a one size fit all instructable.

4. This is my first instructable and mean comments will probably make me pout.

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Step 1: Some goodies to gather.

Picture of Some goodies to gather.
Alright here we go. This is my basic parts list.

3/8 drill bit

Hand full of drywall screws
Old sewing machine pedal
Old drill
Some wire nuts
Silicone caulk
�carriage bolt and nuts
12 lazy Suzan ( I bought mine at target for eight dollars.)
Extension cord receptacles

Step 2: There is a hole in my bucket dear Liza !

Picture of There is a hole in my bucket dear Liza !
This is one of the easier steps as most five gallon buckets have a convenient mark where the center of the bucket is. Where the little moulding mark is drill a 3/8" hole.
Then about 3/4 of the way down the bucket drill a 1/2" hole for your cord to go though.

Step 3: Now for fun with the powered bit.

Picture of Now for fun with the powered bit.
Alright this is where things can go wrong.
The first thing you need to do is match the voltage and amperage of the drill and foot pedal from the sewing machine. The easy way to do this is look for the detail plates on them. Somewhere on there it will tell you this very important information.
Why is this important you may ask? Well if your foot pedal is rated at a lower amperage than your drill it is liable to overheat and release the magic black smoke from the peddle if not catch on fire!
In my case the peddle is rated at 25 amps and the drill is 2 amps leaving me a little wiggle room.

admin5 years ago
This is a great Instructable, but you need to add a main image of the final project to the intro step. Please do that and leave me a message when you have so that we can publish your work. Thanks!
beernut (author)  admin5 years ago
Thank you for looking it over. I have added the pic and have it ready to be published
wersed3 years ago
one.relic3 years ago
Curious question... If you put the silicon on the bottom of the lazy susan before attaching it to the bucket, how is the wheel spinning properly when in use?
beernut (author)  one.relic3 years ago
The bolt goes through the center to the top part of the lazy susan. Only the top part spins and the base is stationary.
Gotcha, that makes much more sense now. Thanks for clarifying!
valpone994 years ago

I'm a professional potter and I don't think your project, as shown, will have enough mass to overcome the friction of the hands on the clay. Try it, but don't use to much clay( 2-3lbs). Good luck
beernut (author)  valpone994 years ago
You are correct that it will only do a small amount of clay. I don’t know the weight that it will do per say but id dose a nice job for large size coffee mugs and 8” plates.
That's great. Have fun!
charlotte554 years ago
Fantastic Instructable! - it actually looks like a portable potters wheel that sells for over $400.  I think I might try this, but I've got an old stand mixer that I took the head/gears off of - it works great with the foot pedal I have - and has a shaft that I think I can make up some kind of spin head similar to yours...
I'll post whatever I end up with.

Thanks so much for posting this!!
simdude2u5 years ago
 How wide is the Lazy Susan and does brand matter?
beernut (author)  simdude2u5 years ago
 This one is a 11.5" kitchen Pro from Target. If you use a different brand you may need to rework the arbor.

Hopes this helps.
Modarius5 years ago
I believe that the title should be "let the fun begin" :D, just so 's you knows
That looks like an older non-double-insulated drill, that does require a 3rd wire for Earth, while double insulated drills don't need 3-pin power plugs. And as long as there is a GFCI, the best location is at the power point on the wall, so it protects the cable too, thats why such things don't get built into the power tool. But also, ensure there is the normal fuse or circuit breaker, as the GFCI does not protect you (or the motor being in short circuit) from being in circuit with the Phase and Neutral power wires, the GFCI can only detect current leakage to ground, for example, thru your body, its not going to save you if you have Phase in one hand, Neutral in the other hand, that it would see as normal, and it will try and drive your motor (Heart) faster, but Phase or Neutral in one hand, your other hand on a Earth, that will trigger a fault condition shut down. In NZ, its called a earth leakage detector, i.e power comes in on Phase, and if the same amount does not go back via Neutral, because its is going to Earth via your body, that is a fault condition, and it shuts down. If the body of the drill becomes live, and the Earth is disconnected somewhere on the cable, then the GFCI would protect you. The same if you cut the cable by accident, only if the GFCI is at the wall power point, will it save you from that mistake.
beernut (author)  Lateral Thinker5 years ago
Thank you for explaining that.
My neighbour who is retired, worked his whole life repairing power tools, for Black and Decker, he then went to Singer Sewing Machines, then to a place that did all kinds of power tools. I met him when I was a store man in a pantihose factory, and he was the mechanic keeping 5 packing machines running.

Tip, old power tools, keep for parts, somebody will always need a part, instead buy the new junk tools.

As an Aspie, I have almost a photographic memory for information.

I put the following on

Start collecting power tools, for example, a electronic speed controlled electric drill. Remove the noise making speed reduction gear box, but ensue you retain the cooling fan, or replace it with other means of cooling.

Without the noisy gearbox, use a pulley system to reduce the motor speed, and increase torque.

I did this once on an older B&D, by cutting off the front casing of the drill, keeping the handle part and motor casing.

The trigger on/off/speed-control became just a speed control, I wired in a separate switch.

But always remember, this modification destroys the safety of Double Insulation, so find a way to add a earthing wire, and use the motor with a RCD safety device

I used this drive motor, and various pulley system, to test home built odd ball generators for wind power.

Use such such a motor for a SMALL lathe, such as for ornamental pen making, and dolls house furniture.

Somebody, Anybody, Everybody, please feel free to create an instructable on such a motor. Try finding a way for universal mounting, so it applies to lots of different projects, with a very versatile speed/torque range.
JohnnyVegas5 years ago
How about a video of it "throwing" clay?!
beernut (author)  JohnnyVegas5 years ago
This one is being given as a gift hopefully I will be able to get a video of it being used. As a side not one of my friends was over and wants one to use as a cake decorating turn table.