Intro: Make a Quick and Simple Pottery Wheel
Just grab a 360-degree rotating mop bucket and you'll be done in 10 minutes, using few items from around the house. It is inexpensive and works just as efficiently as any pottery wheel. I'm now able to centre, throw and turn quite well with this mop bucket pottery wheel. After fixing the wobbles, centering is now automatic thanks to the concentric circles on the pot plant tray.
Inexpensive, light-weight, portable and takes up little room. What's great it is there is no soldering involved and no heavy machinery and is run by foot-power. The best part is no electricity necessary.
Here is a short compilation of all my videos after learning to throw on the mop bucket pottery wheel after 50 throws in 14 days.
Step 1: Grab Your Materials
What you need is:
360 degree mop bucket
Plastic pots or bins to raise the height of your throwing wheel
Plastic pot drip tray
Strong glue such as polyurethane glue or hot glue gun
Here's a video of the first day of construction and throwing attempts on the first design.
Everything was wild and wonky until I had some help with how to fix the wobbles.
Step 2: Glue Everything in Place
Glue all bucket and throwing trays in an suitable size order. Use a spirit level to check everything is level. Unless you intentionally plan to make wonky items - sometimes they have more 'personality' to them.
This pottery wheel contraption may be re-designed in many ways. Its up to your personal taste. You need to find buckets and flowerpot trays that will reach the height you feel most comfortable pedaling with. If you need to readjust your design the hot glues are easy to remove by spraying some lysol spirit and a pair of pliers.
If the wheel is below waist level, you can use leverage and your body weight to assist you when lifting the walls. This way it places your whole body more ergonomically and avoid back pain.
Step 3: Start Throwing - Examples
I removed the buckets and arranged the buckets differently and placed small stones and sand in the inner spin bucket. Now everything is more stable. The wobble is still there especially when going too fast - however my throwing is improving and it is working quietly and such a pleasure to throw with (day 14).
I used pliable and prepared brown stoneware clay from the pottery supplier to practice throwing the second time on the mop bucket pottery wheel. You may wish to dig for your own if its readily available in your backyard - here's avideo about preparing found clay the easy way.
Step 4: Coil Throwing Method
The Coil Throwing Method:
1. Roll or hammer a round slab on the wheel
2. Join a very thick coil pot - about two rounds.
3. Spin the wheel slowly and begin to throw this way.
Below is an example of how I threw a biscuit jar lid and cup (Day 3).
I started with a coil pot and pinch pot and throwing on my mop bucket pottery wheel.
Step 5: Firing Your Clay
A couple of inventors have sucessfully used a clay rocket oven to fire bricks. A Rocket Oven uses little fuel yet is capable of maintaining temperatures up to 1200F (and greater) degrees.
There is little smoke and your clay creations will become durable. (You could probably make this by lining clay in a bbq that has a hole in the bottom).
Watch below for how you can make aRocket Oven and use it as a kiln. (Notice that the inventors placed a deflector plate between the flame from the rocket stove below inside the cooking chamber to prevent scorching food).
A New Zealand Potter (named Peter) built seven different wood-fired kilns before finding success with design number seven. The first reached over 1000 degrees celsius within two hours, exploding all his pyrometric cones with the rapid firing.
Another option if clay which some might like to try is theRocket Barrel Bread Oven which can easily be used instead as a kiln. The materials include a metal rocket stove below a metal barrel and a chimmeny. It combines theInstitutional Rocket Stove chamber which uses very little wood to reach 1100 degrees celsius - hot enough for a glaze and bisque fire. (Watch how it's made here)
An extremely high powered gasifier type stove by Vuthisa (click on the Blog, then scroll near 3/4 end of page) which reaches 1300 degrees celsius (within 10 minutes) cone 8-10 fire stoneware! please wear eye protection, at this temps difficult to peer inside cooking chamber. The firebrick is made of grog, light coloured refractory clay, Al2O3 Aluminium_oxide / alumina, Fe2O3 iron (III) oxide, SiO2 silicon dioxide, also known as silica, Calcium oxide (CaO), quicklime.
A third idea might be using a collapsible metal camp oven over a bbq or rocket stove to bisque fire small items.
A fourth idea is a barrel type kiln using sawdust and another example here
The heat chart is below for reference taken from here
Step 6: Top Clay Tips & Techniques
Its a time-saver where you can print out all the videos and glance at them in minutes rather than having to watch hours of video.
It's helpful for visual learners as well.