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I purchased a Shimpo VL Lite brand new about three weeks ago.
I also purchased some plastibats to go with it. I got it in and put together and threw on it. When I went to center the clay, it wouldn't center perfectly. I like my clay to center so my hands glide perfectly over it with no movement. When I centered on the wheel, there was movement in my hands, a bump, if you will.
My husband (who knows nothing about ceramics) noticed the wheel head didn't seem to be moving in a perfect circle--there was a gap between the wheel head and the bats. I assumed maybe I got bad bats, so I sent them back and bought Wonder Bats. I also had the company send me a new wheel head, just to be on the safe side. Fast forward a week. Same exact situation. The clay will not center exactly, and as I'm throwing, I can only go up about 4 inches before the clay gets so off center it flops. I'm really unhappy. I messaged the company, sent them videos, and to be honest, the guy from the company I purchased the wheel from has kind of disregarded everything I've said. I called Shimpo and on Friday, the woman I spoke with was convinced the wheel axle was bent, but she e-mailed me back today and said "there is nothing wrong with the wheel."

When the wheel was shipped, the box was badly beat up.

I was a ceramics major in college just a few short years ago. I have taken a few years off, but I know what a wheel should feel like when I'm throwing on it, and I'm just not sure what else to do.

Am I doing something wrong? What suggestions do you have for me?

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Hi Sunnyard.  I may be wrong about this so take with a grain of salt if it seems so to you. 

It sounds to me that the bumps you're feeling in the clay  may be  air bubbles.  Are you wedging well before throwing?   Coning up and centering down several times as you center?  Are you removing your hands very slowly from the clay as you work?  I center with the wheel at highest speed, then open and pull the wall up at a slower speed.  I think clay can be centered whether or not the bat or wheel head are perfectly centered.  I drilled holes for bat pins in one of my wheel heads and they are slightly off, so the bat sits annoyingly a bit off center, but I can still center, especially when I close my eyes and just go by feel.  

I hope this is helpful.  I'm sure other more experienced potters than me will weigh in and give you ideas too.  Don't get discouraged.  It's wonderful that you've returned to pottery!  It took me 35 years.

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