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docweathers

Recommended electric potter's wheel

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My Shimpo M 400 just died. Repairing it may cost more than it's really worth. 

What are you folks liking in current electric potters wheels?  Just by raw specifications, the  Speedball Big Boss Pottery Wheel looks like a deal.  Has anyone used one?

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The big splash pan on Thomas Stuart/Skutt or Bailey keep the studio a lot cleaner. The 1/3hp TS/Skutt is plenty of power, they have a tone of torque and great controllers. I'm not a big fan of the pedal used on Speedball wheels- it feels really cheap. That said, you get used to whatever you have. Figure that your next wheel will last 20+ years, so get the one you really want.

Marcia Selsor likes this

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Direct drive as opposed to powered kick? I found that after several years of working on a powered kick moving over to a pulley drive wheel as most are today was not much of a difference once you got used to them.

Where as the powered kick went up to speed slowly, the pulley drive went to speed almost instantaneously. This was a bit of a problem the first time I was on one, as I was in grad school at Penn State, had just put a fresh bucket of water on the wheel, had a nice 15# ball of clay to throw, and stepped on the foot pedal-Whooops ball of clay hit the bucket of water, all of it landed on David Dontigny's shoes. Oh well, at least he didn't come around too often after that.

I have two wheels, the Brent CXC, and an old Amaco motorized kick. The CXC gets used all the time, the kick hardly at all. I really don't see myself throwing large unless in sections on the kick, but easily on the CXC. Brent did have a true direct drive used a transaxle set up years ago. Only direct drive I know of now is the RK Whisper, but then I really like a larger wheel head, and a separate foot pedal.

best,

Pres

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I think you mean direct drive electric vs belt drive? Both can work well or work poorly. It depends on the motor, controller, engineering, etc. The Shimpo whisper series are direct drive, but they use motors that have very poor torque. There used to be a wheel on the market called the Max, and it was crazy powerful. It felt different than a belt drive, though- took some getting used to. Belt drive has been the standard in US wheels for a long time. The old Shimpo wheels were cone drive, they had lots of power. I think Shimpo has sacrificed torque for silence in the whisper series. Alpine made a wheel a long time ago that was direct drive, but it had a gearbox or drive shaft of some sort. The supposedly ran well.

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I will definitely not go with the speedball.

I'm interested that no one has mentioned, good or bad. Shimpo Wheels like the whisper VL.  Has anyone used one?  The direct drive seems to be a good idea but I really don't know if it makes much difference, except for less things to go wrong.  There seems to be some concern about them not having enough torque if you throw really large.  I've never thrown more than  30 pounds of clay and see no reason to throw more than that.

It seems like Brent, Bailey and Skutt are the best candidates???? They look extremely similar to me. 

 

Thanks for all the info

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I have a Shimpo Whisper VL.  Love it.  Learned on Brents in a community studio that also had some old Shimpos and found the Shimpo foot pedal more responsive.  Direct drive means fewer moving parts to replace down the road.  Had I not gotten the Shimpo, I would have gone with either the Thomas Stuart (pre-bought out by Skutt) or the Bailey Pro. 

 

Pres likes this

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My friend and I have Pacifica's.  The 1/4 HP is fine for the 7-8# we throw. They make a 1/2HP also.  They are fairly quiet. Hers is 35 years old and runs fine. Mine is 5 yrs old and I like it very much.  Pedal is good and splash pan is a good size but not too big.  The table top is adequate to hold tools etc. And the price is  a bit more reasonable.  But we are not production potters.

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I have a vl whisper & bought a Skutt cause I was frustrated with the lack of torque on the shimpo & I don’t normally throw large pots.  I throw mugs & other smaller pots.   I do throw larger pots & am so happy with my Skutt that the shimpo is now my trimming wheel.

joy

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2 hours ago, Joy pots said:

 

3 hours ago, bciskepottery said:

I have a Shimpo Whisper VL.  Love it.  Learned on Brents in a community studio that also had some old Shimpos and found the Shimpo foot pedal more responsive.  Direct drive means fewer moving parts to replace down the road.  Had I not gotten the Shimpo, I would have gone with either the Thomas Stuart (pre-bought out by Skutt) or the Bailey Pro. 

 

The only criticism I have heard of the whisper VL is that it lacks enough torque.  What's your view on this?  How much clay do you throw? 

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2 hours ago, docweathers said:

The only criticism I have heard of the whisper VL is that it lacks enough torque.  What's your view on this?  How much clay do you throw? 

I am not a "big" thrower; on those really rare occasions when I do make a big item, I take the Tony Clennell approach and throw in sections . . . 8 to 12 lbs.  or so.  At those weights, torque is no problem.  Coning, centering, and throwing 25 lbs. or so takes strength I just don't have at my age.   I had an instructor who would occasionally throw a demo with 25 lbs. -- and he would collapse the ware at the end of class. 

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5 hours ago, Joy pots said:

I have a vl whisper & bought a Skutt cause I was frustrated with the lack of torque on the shimpo & I don’t normally throw large pots.  I throw mugs & other smaller pots.   I do throw larger pots & am so happy with my Skutt that the shimpo is now my trimming wheel.

joy

How big of a lump of clay can you easily center before torque becomes a problem?

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Over 6oo grams, i find it just doesn’t have the drive.  I used to have motorized kick eas wheels.  You just don’t feel the strength in the shimpo as you center & throw there is no problem with the skutt.

joy

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7 hours ago, Joy pots said:

Over 6oo grams, i find it just doesn’t have the drive.  

Are you talking about the Shimpo Whisper VL RK3E?   I've had one for a couple of weeks and have been throwing 2kg/4lb without any problems.   If I force my hand down onto the wheelhead while cleaning, it will drag my hand around. 

I don't think even my Aspire tabletop wheel had problems with 600g.  How old is your wheel?  I wonder if that might be an issue.

Here's the model I'm using:

http://www.shimpoceramics.com/vlwhisper.html

 

 

Edited by hantremmer

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I have a vl whisper, can’t tell you the model right now but it’s about 7 yrs. old.  I’ve thrown for over 40 yrs. & have arthritis so my strength has  diminished somewhat but I still find the torque in the whisper much lower than the Skutt.

 

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I have demo'ed on the whispers and they are super quiet. I threw small stuff and trimmed small stuff . I never threw more than 4#s so I cannot answer your how much is to much but there was a thread years ago on this where John Baymore stated this factor.

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Even if we say that the Shimpo has lower torque compared to other wheels - I'm happy to believe it - we're now talking about how much lower.

Certainly the wheelhead being affected with only 600g of clay seems abnormal to me. It's a 1/2HP wheel and  Shimpo says that it's supposed to handle 45kg/ 100lb being centred.  I know not everyone agrees with 'centreing weight' as way to understand a wheel's power, but that's way, way off.

Again, I got my wheel about a month ago and it was manufactured this year.

I cannot remember if I did the 'hold the wheel at full speed test'.  I think I did and it could well have slowed down or stopped.  I don't think it was easy or comfortable to hold though.  I remember the man who sold me the wheel said he weighed about 200lb and didn't have any problems leaning into the wheel and having it slow, but that could have been his patter.

I'm new here and I'm new to pottery, so it would make sense to pay attention to more experienced people.  But I can say that I had no issues with 2kg/4lb on my wheel.  At least that's a baseline.

EDIT

Got my numbers mixed up.  As as with previous post, I've thrown 2kg/4.4lb without issue on the VL RK3E.

 

 

 

 

Edited by hantremmer

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I have a VL Whisper and have been using it intensively for about 5 years.  Anything over about 5 pounds will slow down a little while centering if the slip runs out.  The slow down is minor and if there is enough water it is hardly noticeable.  I also center pretty aggressively so this might be even less noticeable to others.  I don't recall it slowing down while doing anything other than centering.  Even aggressive lifts on 15 pound bowls did not have any problems. 

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It's a gizmo that I built to fit on my old M 400.  I would be glad to show you a picture of it at this point, but it won't make much sense until I get it adapted to my new whisper VL.. Which should not be very long. I will send you a picture as soon as I get it mounted on my whisper.

 

It's basically a lever system that I welded up that pivots on a bolt in the wheel to hold a wooden rolling pin roller to the clay.  It's built  so I can use the calf of my left leg to apply pressure.  The only thing that I need to use my hands for is to apply a little bit of pressure opposite the roller to keep from pushing the clay off of the bat.  The thing is so powerful that it's very easy to put too much pressure to quickly.

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I have been using a bailey for almost 20 years. Changed the belts and potentiometer once each over that period. In my studio and home on the Border near the Matamoros dump, there seemed to be something that ate certain rubber material as in some shoe soles, rubber coated casters, golf bags, I attribute replacing the belts to this. I also had to replace the casters on my pug mill as the coating crumbled off. Happy to be back in Montana with clean air.

Anyway, I am happy with my Bailey. I had bents in my classroom in Montana. The pedal can't take the abuse many students dish out. They were always needing adjusting. I taught at UH Manoa for a semester. They had all VL whispers. Good wheel.  If you can, go to a supplier and try a variety.

 

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