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Pam S

Is Anyone Using Speedball's Wheels?

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My studio partner and I are looking at wheels that can be used standing. Neither of us throw more than 25 lbs of clay and price is a huge consideration. The Speedball 1/3 HP is intriguing. Any input? Thanks!

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I like that wheel for what it is. I've thrown 10 pounds on one before and it worked well. You've got to put it up against a wall though, so you don't push it around. I wouldn't try to center much more than that on it. It's got a hand dial for speed control unless you invest in the foot pedal (which isn't a great pedal), which can be kind of annoying since it's not in plain sight. If you're desperate to get a wheel right now, it's good. But it's a small wheel that is meant to be portable, not a daily workhorse. I would recommend saving up for a full size wheel that won't limit you. You can put it up on cinder blocks if you want to throw standing up.

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I think of this as a demo wheel-fits in your trunk ( I do not own a trunk/car) but if I did it would fit and easy to move around.

Its on the low end of wheels. I feel your money would be better spent on an upgrade and as said above placed on blocks or table so its high. Having a speed control on side is a setback for anyone learning to throw.

Mark

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When I bought my wheel, I had been looking to buy one of the little Shimpo Aspire's. Very lucky for me, I found a brand new Shimpo VL Lite on Craig's List for less than half of what a new one would cost. I still pinch myself over that deal. I've been very happy with mine, as it was a lot more wheel than I figured I'd ever be able to afford to start with. Keep your eyes peeled for similar bargains. They are out there, and I'm living proof that they do exist! ;)

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I use the Speedball Artista wheel at home in my basement studio. It is set up at counter height and I throw standing. It cost me $348 at Clay King with free shipping about a year and a half ago. I didnt buy the optional foot pedal because I find that I change the speed very litte when throwing so the hand knob is sufficient for me. It is portable so I can bring it out to my backyard in warm weather and set it up on a bench and it is easier to clean outside. I havent thrown anything larger than 6 or 7 pounds on it because I usually don't make very large pieces but I know it can handle larger work if needed.

 

Paul

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Sold our Lockerbie. So there is the major portion of a new purchase. Yes, we sold a Lockerbie. Between my bad knees and my partner in muds bad back the Lockerbie just wasn't working for us. Neither of us could spend more than an hour working on it. We are both short and couldn't get comfortable on it.

 

It went to a good home. It was purchased as a birthday gift to wife/mom by a dad and daughter. Small world, the mother and daughter are taking lessons from an old acquaintense we met 20 years ago when we were first taking lessons. Good karma.

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for a grand u can buy just about any of the mid tier wheels give or take a hundred or so and they all seem to have their following for one reason or another. I'd read a lot of reviews and make a list of what's important to you and your partner. I think throwing over/under 25-30lbs will be the main thing to consider and noise or the ability to reverse the wheel motion might be others. I get the impression that most of the wheels from the main suppliers are built well.

 

If you guys both throw forms that are most always under 25lbs then you might even consider a couple of clay bosses for about $1200 combined with free shipping and you both will have a wheel to work for the price of one and a backup if one is having issues. These are pretty rugged wheels and very mainstream.

 

http://www.bigceramicstore.com/speedball-clay-boss-pottery-wheel-formerly-creative-industries-clay-boss-with-splash-pan.html

 

We had one in the studio for a year and it seemed just fine but we only throw under 25 so really can't discuss the torque when throwing large. We now have 2 Shimpo whisperers and a Brent and I think all three of those were in the 1000-1200 range delivered.

 

Me, if I only had $1200 to work with I'd go for the 2 CBs. Even if you don't throw at the same time it is really nice to have the option and it allows trimming to be independent of your throwing wheel as an added bonus. Most likely having that 'better' wheel that cost twice as much is really not going to outweigh the benefits of two good wheels for a 2 potter studio.  

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Are they still using the plastic pedal on the Speedball wheels? From photos I can find it look like they are. Make sure you try out the pedal before you buy a Clay Boss or any other model from that line. The plastic pedal takes some getting used to if you're used to a heavy cast metal pedal like other brands use.

 

Back when Creative Industries still made those wheels, I was working as a tech for a clay, glaze and kiln manufacturer. I think it was around 2002, and CI came around and talked with all their distributors at NCECA, and asked us what they thought needed improving on their wheels. I told them I dislike the lightweight plastic pedal, and they said everyone else said that, too!

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For the money, I recommend the Clay Boss/Big Boss wheels. I have 12 in my teaching studio and they get used quite heavily. I have never had an issue with any of them. I have used my original Big Boss almost every day for over 5 years with no problems.

 

Regarding the pedals, they are made of metal, however, they are not as heavy as other brands nor are they as sensitive or reactive.

 

Having owned both the big boss and the clay boss, I don't see much difference throwing with either. The clay boss has a 1/3 horsepower motor verses the big boss with the 1/2 horsepower motor. Personally, I would spend the extra and purchase the big boss with the larger motor for everyday use.

 

I have thrown on Shimpo, Brent, Pacifica, etc. They are all good.

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Be aware of the guitar jack the Artista wheel uses for a pedal plug: it is an exposed metal part on the side of it, between you and the spots to rest your water bucket. Not a great spot, as I managed to contact it with a wet sponge: easily the worst I have ever been shocked! The weird part is the HUGE yellow warning label on the side was not warning about this possibility.

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I got all of my stuff... pottery and welding, including my wheel, on craigslist at a fraction of the retail cost. It's all worked very well and is top quality.

 

I'm kinda scared of Craigslist, but another potential source for used (sometimes very lightly used) equipment is your local school system. Check out the bulletin boards and instructors in College, Jr. College and even High School Art/Ceramics departments for the "leavings" of discouraged or upgrading students.

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