Author Options:

should i make an instructable on how to make a electric potters wheel? and possibly a kiln Answered

should i post an instructable on how to make an electric potters wheel?(and possibly a kiln) I am reluctant because there are no that many artists(that i have noticed)on this site, let alone potters. plus a kiln and potters wheel are EXTREMELY expensive to buy.(i use the schools kiln and pottery wheel, i clean all the wheels and floor and stuff and i recycle the clay i pick up and they let me use the wheel sand kiln with the clay i pick up because i am not enrolled in the ceramics class) the methods that i have in mind will cost possibly less that 150 dollars US. compared to +5 thousand dollars. also, i will be using my phones 1.3 mega pixel camera to be taking the pictures(unless i have enough money to buy a DSLR, i haven't checked my bank account in several months) if you would rather have me wait until i buy a better camera, or if you would rather have me not post please speak up. it will take atleast 10 people in favor for me to do it


lol ive started a long time ago, im just in search for my motor... im guessing a cordless drill motor would not work because its more speed orientated as opposed to torque orientated?

torque, ideally a good wheel NEEDS to technically handle 200 pounds

okay so i did bypass reading half the postings, but id like to throw in my two cents. i DID attempt to build a wheel and i would have gotten away with it if it wasn't for those meddling kids! well okay all i used was wood for the framework and one piece basin that i then caulked it and used polyurethane to waterproof it and make a smooth surface. then i was faced with an obstical that i couldn't pass, variable speed. the answers that kept coming up involved a dc motor with a variable speed control foot peddle so i gave up ... and just bought a wheel

Please make an instructable for both the wheel and the kiln. I for one would be definitely interested in downloading it.

One of the other comments mentions Kiteman's laws ( ta Weissensteinburg ), especially check out his zeroth law!

I would LOVE it if you would post a 'how to make a kiln' instructable -- raku especially, but any kind would be good. Many thanks in advance.


8 years ago

I would be very interested in making a kiln as well as the wheel, so please let us know all.
thank you!

I'd be very interested in the Potters Wheel!

 Oh the kiln, are you thinking electric or otherwise? I would love one that I could fire pottery in, but I can't really afford to be firing my glass kiln and a second one, unless it was maybe off propane or wood.  Ok, maybe the wood one is a bit antiquated unless you live out here in the southwest, but I would love to see one if you make it! 

howdy everyone. I made a wheel from an old washing machine,and it works pretty well. simple really. disassemble the washer and you will find a square panel,with a pretty hefty bearing ,motor mt etc.cut down the outer tub to about 5 in and roll the edge over. mount an old record player table on the part of the shaft that sticks thru and your in business.using the outer tub give you a drain for clean up and this is pretty handy.turn the thing over and make up a square frame to fit the square panel,and about 18 in high,or higher til you can work in comfort. take a pice of 1/4x4 x the size of your frame.the shaft is1in or at least the one I found was, extend the shaft from the bearing end and place a flange bearing directly underneath and dead center[this mod will give you more stability at speed. wire the motor to a foot control and away you go. using the brushes in the motor as a brake causes some wear,but they are reaitivly cheap,and last about a year.anyway this whole project cost me about $20. food for thought anyway--------see ya-------------shortguy

Hi I'm new here and I'm from Argentina. I would like to know if you already make that instructable, because I looked for this in spanish and I only found some ugly plans that I don't understand!! Anyway, if some things that I already have can be usefull please ask me and I'll send them to you. Hope that I was clear, my english isn't very good.


10 years ago

I would love to see those! I just saw an old-fashioned foot-driven potters wheel at the S.F. Dicken's Faire. Essentially just a big horizontal stone flywheel pushed with the feet. Anyone have any experience using a contraption like that, versus an electric wheel? I figure a flywheel should be relatively easy to make out of concrete...

I have a foot powered potter's wheel... only one problem, it dosn't have the wheel head any more. Do you have any creative ideas on how to create one. If I had a wheel head for it then I would be able to teach pottery lessons. (something I really really want to do). Thanks

if u need a head u can most likely cast one out of plaster. Plaster should work pretty good because the clay will stick. make a mold out of heavy paper or cardboard and pour plaster into desired shape and size. drill a hole bolt down and walah

you could get the wheel from a car(remove the rubber tire and stuff) insert a shaft, or stick it on the existing shaft, fill with cement leaving about an inch on the top and then fill the rest with bondo? or just fill it all the way with cement.

WOW I never thought of that. Have you ever actually made one like this? I do have a lot of spare wheels around (or at least I think so), will have to ask hubby which ones I can use! Can you use any type of cement- like quick crete?

yea, the only issue would be the height. i imagine they would be a bit taller then the ones that ocme on the proffessional wheels. you can get 2 small bolts about the same size as the pegs on the storebought ones to hold the removable part on. quickrete should work perfectly.

Thanks, as soon as it quits raining and I can get my kids to "steal" a wheel off the old car then I will give this a try.

We've got a pile. Take your pick. Off the rear of the black Honda would be best. It has shaft and bearings too!

yes, they are easy to make but horribly hard to use(for me atleast) because in order to center the clay you have to turn it really fast...

Have you ever tried to work a treadle sewing machine? That takes a lot of practice. Not as easy as the ole ax grinder I had that was foot lever powered.

no lol, but just the name makes it sound hard...

hahahahahahaha wow. thats high tech!

Actually, if you take one apart, it really is high tech. Only the power supply is manual. ;-)

alright i will make an instructable with an all wood frame probably an old car wheel for a table(the spinning thing, im not sure the exact name) a small engine(and possibly designs for a pedal powered one) i will start construction either july 4th or 5th(depending on whether or not Jock needs me to work on something and on how long the designs will take to make) and if possible, could you send questions via PM because on my homepage it only shows one comment per day in this topic and i obviously missed a couple questions. just try to bear with me a bit longer, hopefully your patience will be rewarded.

I am in need of instructions on how to rewire an electric potters wheel. I bought a used wheel for next to nothing but the wiring is messed up. I need help- husband is too busy so I need to figure this out for myself. (oh and I know nothing of electrics so I need detailed instructions) If anyone could help I would greatly appreciate. I also have a kiln that I need to get set up for use (it too I got for next to nothing) problem with it is that my house is not wired for it -big problem! Help me if you can please

Please show us how to make a potters wheel.

i will, i am currently on the hunt for a washingmachine motor. i have a 4 horse motor but it think that would be overkill.... let me know if it isnt lol

Craigslist has tons of free washing machines...maybe you could get one...


10 years ago

I desperately want plans for a potter's wheel...thanks

alright, sorta sidetracked but i am even closer to finding a motor as i am working with small(1/8 to 1/6 horsepower) motors almost every day. if i made the frame out of metal/did some welding would that be a problem for you? I can make it out of wood(in fact, i have already started) or i could make it out of angle iron and expanded steel(which would be easier because i have unlimited access to both) sorry, it seems like im procrastonating but i will get started on it ASAP

Can you make it out of wood? Pleease? I can't weld at all...

YES! I'd LOVE that! I take old clay from the backyard and make pots by hand, I'd absolutely adore anyone who made this!

please do. I want to build my girlfriend one.

I would love to see instructable on washing machine pottery wheel. My hubby and I are in the process of trying to make a pottery wheel right now. Using an electric motor from a razor scooter...think its going to work. but may not be strong enough? maybe not enough torque?

it would probly do just fine. also, is it the kind where you press a button/pedal/turn a handle to control the speed? if it is then keep that hooked up and maybe modify it to a pedal. that ways you would be able to control the speed of th wheel alot easier. currently its on hold because nobody will contribute a washingmachine and also i have to wait until the next time i go to my uncles house so i can fabricate the wheel and and all the other metal components. I mighnt even make the housing metal...

you mention fireplace bricks--these bricks may not be rated to the level of heat youll be exposing them to in a cone 10 woodfiring--in fact id be willing to be that they arent (i could be wrong)... find out exactly what KIND of refractory brick they are--are they soft brick? hard brick? soft refractory brick looses some heat naturally, but is quicker to heat up--hard brick tend to radiate more heat back once it reaches a certain temperature, but is harder to get to that temp--it is also much more durable (and thus preferable as a liner brick in a wood kiln.)... just some stuff to consider.

well, the clay i work with only requires cone 4. but i am not familiar with the whole cone system lol. i will have to ask him

well cone 4 is right around 2100 degrees F... so that'd have to be some pretty stout brick... also, if youre firing with wood to cone 4, unless you design a kiln around the idea of eliminating most if not all fly-ash (that is ash given off from the process of burning the wood that passes through the kiln, usually landing on work) youll end up with crusty looking pots and it may be tough to get any decent glaze results unless you fire all of your work in sagars to protect it... The benefit of using a clay body that is mature at cone 10 is that at cone 10 ash from the kiln melts onto the work producing (sometimes) really interesting "glaze" on its own--the ash acts as a flux with the minerals in the wood acting as colorants and opacifiers... finally (sorry to go on about this--im a nerd.) do NOT fire your cone 4 body to cone 10, youll end up with a bunch of ruined shelves and no finished work to show for your labor... It sounds to me like you havent done a whole lot of ceramic work, which is cool, im glad youre interested--I dont want to discourage you at all from building a wheel, kiln, or any other studio equipment, but I do want to make sure the experience is as painless as possible ;) If youre not familiar with clay-body formulation, the pyrometric cone system, and other concepts (like what does a kiln look like in reduction? what about oxidation?) you may want to check out a few books, take a class or workshop, and study up a bit before you invest the time and money into such an undertaking as this... Where in the country are you exactly? Based on that I might be able to reccomend people to talk to, places to go, and perhaps I might know some folks you could go fire a kiln with. -justanassembler

God I love replying to my own posts.. Anyhow, I just found thisthis as a link on the make blog--I remember seeing it a while back--its actually pretty close to the design of a couple commercially made wheels that I know of. The concept is fairly simple, its rudimentary, but itll work.... The main thing about building your own wheel is going to be getting the speed control right--might be a good idea to look at the foot pedals for a couple wheels on the market--brent makes a solid foot pedal that is relatively simple (ive rebuilt a number of them....) and Soldner wheels (manufactured now by conrad snyder i think...) are considered to be the cadillac by many--they adjust the torque of the wheel based on the resistance the potter is giving it (variable based on the amount of clay centered etc.) so yeah--there's more food for thought--enjoy!

hahahaha thats the exact same design i was going to use! i think i will hold off on the kiln lol, my whole reason for this was to have a wheel and maybe a kiln at my house over the summer so i can practice.

hey by the way, does the washing machine motor have to be two speed? or can it be just one speed? and how do you control the speed? I have a motor from a washing machine, but need a wheel I guess...

hahahaha that link should be the first thing new members receive when they sign up. even if a million people want me to do it it will be a long time before the instructable is completed, i just now began to look up techniques in creating your own and i realized i have most of this stuff on hand, plus i like pottery. so it will probably be a couple months before it is complete(especially if i do the kiln, i need a place to put it. i will probably clear a section of woods behind the house(and remove overhanging trees and all underbrush and possibly cover the area with rocks so there is little chance for fire)

I know I've already replied to this thread, but in regards to kilns, a few points.

-Someone noted above that kilns "cost a ton of money" when fired... This isn't always true--it depends a lot on the type of kiln (gas, wood, propane, waste oil drip, etc....) the location of the kiln (some areas of the world have access to cheap or free combustibles...), the length of the firing and the size of the kiln... I

-I believe the same person mentioned that their instructor built their own raku kiln... personal dislike for raku aesthetic aside, these are some of the easiest kilns to build---they can be constructed with little to no structural steel using fiber blanket as refractory. This can also be the model for an more easily transportable gas reduction kiln--the design is quite scalable.

-there are a TON of free or cheap kiln designs out there, a number of books on the subject--the following link is an amazon.com search for "kiln building" (here)(here)
it is also important to note that the cost of the kiln can vary quite a bit depending on where you have to source your refractory bricks from... If you are in an area that has a lot of old steel, glass, or ceramic industry in its history, you may be able to reclaim old bricks from businesses that retire them after a certain ammount of time--though they may be at the end of their life for industrial purposes, it is possible that they are still useful for our purposes... keep that in mind--some businesses are willing to make a deal for a local artist.
I think I mentioned it above, but I have experience building and firing a number of different kilns (as well as glass melting furnaces) and would be more than happy to answer specific questions on the subject as best I can.

it will be wood powered, and i live in the "country" with thousands of acres of undeveloped land about 50 yards behind my house so wood isnt a problem my best friends dad is a brick mason so i can get fireplace bricks really cheap. but i may not be able to build a kiln because our landlord may not want a kiln on his property... and if i put it off property out of sight it would surely be destroyed/stolen/or vandalized. but a potters wheel (electronic) is a definite

i have the plans and everything for the wheel, i just need the supplies :) if you could maybe give me a link to a blueprint of a wood kiln i would greatly appreciate it and credit you in the creating of the able(not like thats any great honor or anything lol)

Would love to see an instructable for a kiln.


10 years ago

I wouldn't mind seeing more basic instructables, like on how to USE a commercial kiln. Santa brought a nice little electric kiln LAST YEAR, and we haven't yet built up the courage to fire anything. (all our previous experience with clay featured a mysterious phase where things went away and were fired for us.)