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Suvi

Plastic Bat Issue

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Hello all! I am new to both the forum and to the craft. I recently bought a Speedball Artista wheel, and have been trying to center and throw a cylinder, but keep failing. I only got one small pot out of several days worth of practice - which I later ruined while trying to center and trim. At first I figured it was my technique, since I'm basically teaching myself how to do this. But then I noticed that the plastic bats I'm using have just a little bit of a wobble. They sit tight and flat, but seem to be just a tad bit off-center. The bare wheel head looks like it spins true. Is this small wobble going to be an issue, or am I overreacting? The bat pins are different sizes, and one slides out of the hole of the wheel head with just finger force, while the other pin needs removed via screwdriver. Is this normal? Does anyone have any experience with this? Am I doing it wrong? I just feel like I'm missing something here.

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Hi Suvi, I'm new to the forums too. I'm wondering if you've tried just throwing on the wheel head without the  plastic bats? You say it looks to be spinning true until you use the bat. I've never used bats, just thrown directly onto the wheel. I'm sure there will be many here who have used the bats, and they'll have advice for you.

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It makes 0 difference if your bat is off center or not. The center of the bat will just not be the center of the wheel, but you can just take a marker and turn on your wheel and draw a circle on the bat by placing the marker down as the wheel is going. The center of that circle will be the true center of that bat for your wheel. It might seem confusing that if a bat isn't centered, but really it doesn't matter as long as your wheel is true. Drawing the circle might help you visualize the center better as well.

 

If it is wobbling, fill in some clay in your bat pin holes(on the bat) to make a tighter fit and then see if the wobbling stops. This will only work for that one session cause as the clay dries it will crumble the next time you put them in, but it will at least let you practice.

 

I have have used wobbling bats before in a public studio when I was learning. It was super frustrating. 

 

Also you can order new bat pins pretty cheap. I think my spare ones were like 2.50$. Might be worth the effort to find some new ones to avoid the whole screwdriver thing. I can see a lot of warped pots in your future trying to get the bat off. 

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Thank you for the replies! I will mark the bat with a marker, and also try throwing directly on the wheel head. Hopefully after I gain a little more practice the wobble won't matter so much. :)

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Your wheel is a Speedball, are your bats?

 

I bought a couple dozen Speedball, plastic bats for my classroom.  The price was right, and I need quite a bit, since I have a lot of students.  The square bats are OK, but some of them have either warped, or the bat pin holes are already worn, and they have a tendency to come off, while coning/ centering.  I've had several students create a mess, because the bat, with the clay on it, flies off and knocks over their water bucket.  I've nearly had this happen myself.

I also have some larger, circular Speedball bats.  I noticed that brand new, they had a wobble, like you mentioned.  They do not sit perfectly flat on the wheel head.  They are "Centered", but not level.  So you can perfectly center with them, but the top of whatever you make, will be slightly off, from level.  The biggest issue is if you trim the bottoms, since the top won't be perfectly even, leading it to slightly wobble, when trimming.

 

It is a bit annoying to deal with, because as you mentioned, starting out it is difficult to tell if the clay is just not centered, or if it is just because of the wobbly bat.

 

As others have suggested, I would start by throwing off the wheel head directly.  Get a feel for that, as it should be true.  Once you get familiar with that, throwing on a bat that is a bit off, won't be a big deal.

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i am also self-taught.  the biggest thing i had to learn is that i was not always the problem, some were caused by too hard clay and the bat pins not being tight enough to hold the bat firmly.  i have never used that kind of bat but can say that if you are learning, you will want to learn the skill first before trying to produce a pot to keep.  

 

learn on the bare wheelhead.  when you are finished, cut the result in half to see what you actually did.  run a wire halfway under the clay and pull upwards, cutting half of (usually a mess) the clay off.  as you progress, you will notice that what you cut will be much more even in thickness.  seeing exactly what happens when you do certain things at the base or up the walls is a quick way to learn what not to do and what actually works. 

 

at this stage, you will not be saving more than the clay to wedge and try again, just have fun trying.  expectations are fiction, do not try to meet them until you can.

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I have an Arista. I think they are great. I have one plastic bat that came with the wheel.​ I use my regular bats for my Bailey on the barista and the little square bats the fit into the mother bat. New bats really have to be forced over the pins sometimes. If they are not sitting flat, they'll wobble. 
Marcia

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Plastic bats are not for me. I find it harder to get the pot off since there is no absorption-and I don't like wood any better. Plaster bats are great, and inexpensive to make, but heavy. For keeping my life simple, I have found that medex and hydra bats work really well for me. 

Pres likes this

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A few thoughts, Replacement bat pins may be purchase at your hardware store. All they are is Hex screws, can't remember whether 1/4 or 3/8.

 

The link to my blog site is a copy from the December issue of Ceramics Monthly-2016.

 

Wobbly bats are truly frustrating, as it is hard to center when the bat slips even a little. If this is a new plastic bat, I should think it would not be slipping, but try the blog site trick, it may help out.

 

 

best,

Pres

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Thank you everyone for the suggestions! I truly appreciate the help! I'll definitely take the advice about the bats, and will keep practicing until I get it right.  

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A few thoughts, Replacement bat pins may be purchase at your hardware store. All they are is Hex screws, can't remember whether 1/4 or 3/8.

 

The link to my blog site is a copy from the December issue of Ceramics Monthly-2016.

 

Wobbly bats are truly frustrating, as it is hard to center when the bat slips even a little. If this is a new plastic bat, I should think it would not be slipping, but try the blog site trick, it may help out.

 

 

best,

Pres

 

Bat pins are 1/4-20 socket cap screws. Get whatever length you need for your wheel head. Get stainless steel. And make sure you use the wing nuts to hold them tight.

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lots of good input. I may have missed someone say it, but you can also find some pads that go between the bat and wheel head. They are a thin spongy material that help the bat grip better. You can usually find them at any online pottery source or local shop...usually listed with the bats themselves. Pretty cheap too. Or I've heard people make them with similar material they had on hand.

good luck.

Keep at it. You'll get those cylinders down.

Marc

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