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Tabletop Wheel vs ?

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#1 ThisIsMelissa


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Posted 01 March 2012 - 08:32 PM

So, I'm down to 2 wheel considerations:
The Shimpo VL Lite and the Speedball Artista.

I wasn't even considering the Artista until I was at MN Clay last weekend and saw one. It's about $200 cheaper than the Lite and that's kinda a big deal. It was set up on some optional legs, which initially I would probably not invest in, but will be around $80+shipping later, if I decide I need them. It had reasonably good torque and I wasn't able to stop it with my hands. The pedal, would be about the same amount. Ad this $160+ to the wheel cost, and it'd be nearly the same cost as the VL-Lite.
It has a 25lb centering ability, same as the Shimpo and I seriously doubt I'd ever want to consider throwing more than that.

Here's what I found about use of bats: More importantly the Speedball Artista Pottery Wheel was designed to actually accommodate those LARGE pots. The motor housing, seen rising at the rear of the wheel, is well set back from the full sized 11" wheelhead, thus accommodating industry standard 12-13" throwing bats with the splash pan in place or 14-15" throwing bats with the splash pan removed. The smooth sloping shape of the motor housing allows LARGE 16" diameter platters and even WIDER bowls to be easily thrown on the Creative Industries Artista Pottery Wheel.

Here are my thoughts....

Artista Pros: $200 cheaper to start, compact design-easy to store, lightweight to move-not sure if this is a big deal for me yet,
Cons: Limited throwing space, foot pedal and legs extra-not sure if this will soon become necessary; use of a bat larger than 12" will probably require removal of splashpan.

VL Lite Pros: 12" Aluminum Wheelhead, built-in table, foot pedal included
Cons: Price, not portable, more difficult to store

I'm not really interested in entertaining other options at this point.... it's really down to these 2.

If you've used a table-top wheel....
Do you think I will quickly wish I'd have bought the fixed wheel?


#2 neilestrick


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Posted 01 March 2012 - 08:42 PM

The Artista is a WONDERFUL wheel. Lots of torque. Beautiful design. I've thrown a 15 pound pot on one with no problem. I wouldn't buy the legs. They're not great. Instead, I would build a small table just for it, at exactly the right height for you, with a backsplash to keep the wheel from sliding. Something simple with 2x4's and plywood. It will be more stable. The pedal is not awesome, but functional. The hand dial works great, and honestly once you get used to throwing without changing the wheel speed a lot it's not a big deal to have to reach down and turn the nob every now and then. Go Artista.

Neil Estrick
Kiln Repair Tech
L&L Kilns Distributor
Owner, Neil Estrick Gallery, LLC

[email protected]

#3 Bill T.

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Posted 01 March 2012 - 09:45 PM

The Artista was the first wheel I bought using the same thoughts as you are having. It worked well for about a year and a half until I just really wanted a fixed wheel. I have plenty of space so that is not a problem. I still use the little wheel for demos and programs at clubs. Added a foot peddle to it. Only point I don't like about it is that it is very sensitive iin speed control. I throw somewhat slow so it takes me a little while to become accustomed to it. I also built a short table 2x4 etc with a large top for tools. It breaks down and I carry the whole thing to demos. Bty the fixed wheel I added is a Clay King. Very pleased with it after about 6 years.

#4 Marcia Selsor

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Posted 02 March 2012 - 07:13 AM

I got an Artista as a second wheel for taking demos and for trimming. I use it a lot when I don't want to change clay bodies on my main wheel which is a Bailey and I have had it for about 14 years. I have it on a heavy duty cart at the right height for standing. I use it for production of smaller pieces or trimming. I just use the knob for speed control, no pedal. I think they are very handy. I am not familiar with the Lite wheel you mentioned.
Marcia Selsor, Professor Emerita,Montana State University-Billings

#5 ThisIsMelissa


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Posted 03 March 2012 - 09:04 PM

Well, I bought the Artista today!

My local supplier matched the price I'd seen online for a floor model he had.
I haven't tried it yet.

No legs, no pedal. I'm going to try throwing standing up. If that doesn't work for me, I'll set it up on a small end table, or build something.

I figured that if I decide I want a fixed wheel instead, I can always re-sell this one and recoup most of what I've invested. Or I can make it a trimming wheel.

#6 Dinah


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Posted 04 March 2012 - 06:55 PM

I use a Thomas Stewart Legend -- long story short -- bought extension legs around Christmas and it's great! I was soooo skeptical when I saw the connecting allen screws etc. Love standing! Still can throw big. Tall pots I've always thrown composite using sections anyway. Also bought a wheel extension so that I can leave the splash pan on, extension presents bat above the edge of the pan and throw/turn really big pots 15-17lbs. Which I do in three lumps centering each one and dealing with shape as it pertains to the piece I want to make. I can't center that amount of clay in one go any more. Used to use a wide, wide leather belt deal which went round the big lump to help center where I controlled each end until some semblance of order had been achieved, then go at it manually. But wrists are 70 years old now. In increments. And softer clay. I also throw on bats which I've made from marine ply and spar varnished. I don't swim in water when I throw, and a splash pan keeps studio clean up to manageable levels. Except turning....

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