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Wheel Issues

wheel potters wheel wobbly wheelhead

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#1 adkspr

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Posted 08 April 2014 - 09:38 AM

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?



#2 GEP

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Posted 08 April 2014 - 10:19 AM

This is all hindsight so you probably cannot take this advice now. But in the future when you receive a delivery in a damaged box, you need to address it immediately. If it came by UPS, the driver is required to stick around while you inspect the contents of the package. You can officially tell the driver that you think the contents may be damaged. The report goes into the UPS system. Then contact the seller right away to let them know it was delivered in a damaged box. That way, if you determine that the wheel is toast, the seller has a clear path for getting reimbursed by UPS.

 

I think your best option now is to locate a Shimpo repairman who can visit you in person.


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#3 Stellaria

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Posted 08 April 2014 - 10:49 AM

I get that little "bump" with mine more often than not, too. I just figured it was my bats not seating fully (speedball - I literally have to whack them over the pin sockets with a hammer to seat them fully.) Maybe it's not, though.
I'll pull the pins and throw without a bat for a bit and see if the bump is still there.

#4 schmism

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Posted 08 April 2014 - 11:02 AM

throw some small 1lb cylinders directly on the head and see if you still have issues.

 

do you have videos to share?



#5 Colby Charpentier

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Posted 08 April 2014 - 09:09 PM

Have a knowledgeable individual take a look at the wheel. Your wheel should be evaluated without clay or bats on it, using a fixed point of reference on multiple points on the wheel head and a level as well. The wheel is a piece of equipment, and it's either functioning properly, or its not. Its performance has nothing to do with what takes place on it. I mention this because even a flawed wheel with a wobbling wheel head can be used to produce perfectly round pots. That being said, you should in no way accept a flawed piece of equipment if that is the case....



#6 neilestrick

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Posted 09 April 2014 - 12:33 PM

Put a bag of clay on the wheel table next to the wheel head. Stick a needle tool into the clay so that the end rests just above the wheel head at the outer edge, like 1/16". Turn on the wheel and see if it runs at a consistent level from the needle tool. If not, then either the head is not flat (which can be tested by putting a straight edge on it), the head is not mounted properly, or the main shaft is bent.


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#7 Benzine

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Posted 09 April 2014 - 07:15 PM

I get that little "bump" with mine more often than not, too. I just figured it was my bats not seating fully (speedball - I literally have to whack them over the pin sockets with a hammer to seat them fully.) Maybe it's not, though.
I'll pull the pins and throw without a bat for a bit and see if the bump is still there.

 

Yeah, I just bought a dozen Speedball bats, for my classroom.  They work well enough, but even brand new, they have a slight "up and down" wobble to them.  Most of the students don't even notice.  The more astute pick up on it though.


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#8 Stellaria

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Posted 09 April 2014 - 08:38 PM

It's freakin' IRRITATING. Ugh. Makes me doubt my centering.

#9 potterbeth

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Posted 10 April 2014 - 07:59 AM

If the bat is not completely flat on the wheel head, that may be the problem. Once the bat is on the pins, use your fists to pound the top of the bat directly over the bat pins. Then, spinning the wheel at medium speed, hold your finger at 6 o'clock on the top edge of the bat as it revolves. If your finger moves up and down, the bat is not level. Some people can compensate for this, but it makes many struggle. I've had some bats fit so tightly on the pins it made them difficult to put on AND remove. Most bats eventually wear enough to solve the problem, but on one wheel we had to replace the bat pins to solve the problem, so maybe we had a slightly large pin?

 

Also, is your wheel on a level surface? That can also be problematic. Use a level to check the wheel head AND the wheel table. If they are not on the same level, your shaft or wheelhead may be damaged.

 

The suggestions to try throwing without a bat are an excellent way to diagnose. Sorry you're finding frustration when you should be happily spinning clay!







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