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New Shimpo Whisperquiet wheel head seems off center?


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Hello friends. I recently purchased a brand new Shimpo Whisper Quiet wheel from Clay King. I am newer to pottery so I don’t know much about wheel mechanics and all that.

No matter what I do, I can’t get anything to center. There is ALWAYS a wobble. When I turn the wheel on, it almost sounds like the electricity is surging or something...it doesnt sound like it’s running completely smoothly. So I don’t know if it’s just me and I truly can’t center, if I’m not wedging the clay properly....or if it’s the wheel. At first I thought maybe my bats just weren’t tight enough so I tried throwing directly on the wheel head and I got the same result; a wobble. Even if I turn it on high speed with no clay I can hear a subtle “nuhnuhnuhnuhnuh” instead of one smooth ‘swooshing’ sound.

What should I do? I imagine this can be easily fixed by tightening something. Any advice would be greatly appreciated! 

Edited by Melissa F.
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How about posting a video of the operating wheel thru some speed changes-you can post it to utube and link it easy to here.

Welcome to the forum 

one last note -to find out if the wheel head is off just place a lump of clay on deck and put a needle tool into the clay so that the tip is right next to head -turn on wheel and go thru the speeds -you should see the head staying the same distance from this fixed point as it spins( I hope thios is clear for you)

Edited by Mark C.
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Thanks for your reply Marc. I will do that tomorrow when I have some time. I played with it a little more last night and found that if I wedged each lump of clay for 2-3 minutes that I was having a better result, but still not totally perfect. I’ll upload a video of the wheelhead tomorrow as well. Thanks!

Edited by Melissa F.
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Hi Melissa...from what you describe, my guess is that the wheel is just fine. You said that you are new to pottery. As such, you can't expect to throw a chunk of clay onto the wheelhead and expect to instantly be able to center. It has taken some of us days, or weeks, or months to learn to center. Some never get the hang of it. Watch a few YouTube videos on "centering clay" if you haven't done that already, or better yet, take a ceramics class that deals with throwing. You will ultimately be able to learn what you have to do right to get your clay centered.

JohnnyK

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Thanks for your reply Johnny. I’m starting to get that feeling too. The reason I suspected it might be the wheel is because I’ve been doing pottery for about a year (only once a week classes though) and haven’t had this much trouble at class. But nonetheless it is certainly a learning process! I’m going to give the wheel a go pretty much all day tomorrow. If by the end of the day I’m still having issues I’m going to post a video as Mark suggested to see if anyone can trouble shoot. I know Shimpo is known for their quality as well, so I would be rather surprised if something was wrong with a brand new wheel. 

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Sometimes if your wheel isn't level it can feel like this too, at least with my old shimpo tank.  I just got used to it, but I used to level it every couple months as the normal use would cause the levelling foot to shake back down.

Could grab a level and check to see if it's plumb.  I'm going to guess it's just you adjusting to your new wheel though, congrats!

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Level doesn't matter. You can throw a pot with the wheel tilted to 20 degrees. The issue is if it's not running true, like it has a wobble. That will affect your centering. Hold a pencil about 1/8" above the wheel very steady, and see if the gap between the wheel and pencil remains constant as the wheel rotates.

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I know you say that out of love @neilestrick, but when I first got my wheel and it was on my porch with two wheels on a sunken board and 2 on a beam, I definitely could feel something "off".  Now that "off" feeling is gone and I can throw upside down, but at the time it was something I needed to eliminate in order to feel what centering is supposed to feel like.   My wheel has 4 legs though, which is a lot different than a wheel with 3.

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I have never leveled a wheel in my life-My old pot shop has unleveled floors for sure never been an issue -The new green throwing room(10 years new) is level but still I have yet to level a wheel. I demostrated on an unlevel parking lot last September and had no issues.I'm with Neil on level .

One thing that seems to run true is when you are learning to throw all kinds of things seem to affect ones throwing-espescially- Bats that are just a bit off .This is the 1# cause of many throwing issues I read about here.

Really just more throwing is needed about 99% of the time

Most issues are from clay that is to firm or to soft or sloppy fitting bats or poor seating or to cold air or room is to large or bugs are buzzing to close,room is on a slant or room is to level, motherin law is looking over your shoulder-its to sunny outside-I can hear the grass growing . Mother in law is moving in with us,Wheel is wall mounted and hard to sit sideways at. Had to much water to drink ,socks are to tight,shoes to loose -tie got stuck in spining clay wad.Velcro on shoes is worn out-laces on shoes are worn out. I cannot find my shoes,Husband is clueless, kids are playing with fire,Kiln is on fire, I'm to hot thinking about fire,Power is turned off a nd wheel will not spin ?? to much power and wheel is smoking-Oh its a kick wheel and has no cord. I kicked the wheel and bent the head, The clay is acting like mash potatoes, oh it is mash potatoes .What is clay and are potatoes related-they both come from the ground.

Ok I'm joking here but you get the idea-this orginal poster is having issues with the wheel maybe not acting right and the wheel head may be bent-lets see what the video shows as all the other reasons right now are moot.

 

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I get that you can throw on purpose at an off angle, I'm referring only to the feeling that something doesn't feel right.  My wheel hasn't been level for months now,  but I still have to adjust the feet a lot because the 4 points of contact keep shifting and my whole wheel will start bucking.  I throw on warped bats almost exclusively too haha, doesn't mean it isn't another source of "off"ness to someone who hasn't felt it.

Edited by liambesaw
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The wheel being slightly out of level shouldn't affect things significantly enough to make throwing difficult. The wheel rocking, slipping bats, etc, will be much more annoying. Even the wheel running slightly out of true won't be a big bother. New wheels feel different and it takes some time to get used to them. Even after 26 years of throwing, it feels weird to work on a wheel in another studio. Now if the head way out of true, then that could definitely be a problem. If the rotation isn't constant like the wheel is surging, that could be a problem, too. The video will tell us a lot.

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Thank you so much to everyone who has replied to this! I can’t post a video today because the winds are absolutely crazy here in MA and the windows in my studio are constantly rattling. Too loud to show what I need you all to hear. Anyways I’ve been throwing all last night and today and seem to be having better results. I checked the wheel w a level and it is ever so slightly off, but thats because the floor is slightly off too. (I live in a very old house, studio is in the attic essentially)

I do find that some of the bats I have are easier to work with than others, but they are all essentially brand new and that super dense cardboard type. 

Neil, that is really the only way I can describe what I’m feeling. Like the wheel is slightly ‘surging.’ As soon as the winds calm down here and there is some quiet in the studio I will post a video.

I’m off to my weekly pottery class now and eager to get back on the wheel I learned on. If I run into the same problems then I guess it’s just me working the kinks out in my beginning stages.  :)

Thanks again for all of your quick responses. Happy to be part of this community. 

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@Melissa F.

Since you mentioned the noise the whisper is truly super quiet and the bearing and motor pretty integralized so the likelyhood of a true wobble would be rare in the up and down direction. Now in the axial direction (side to side)  it could be possible especially using batts if the pin locations were drilled slightly off or the center hole is ever so slightly off. Testing for a wobble in the axial direction would be a simple pencil tip along the side of the wheel or the side axis of the batt. 

Unfortunately either of these conditions would simply be negated when you started throwing as your hands would simply recenter the clay in true center pretty much regardless of what the wheelhead was doing axially. So definitely pencil test for up and down though!

You mentioned a noise, which may be significant. If the motor is missing one pole (electrically)  then the slight speed change would be hard to throw through without significant practice. These wheels are usually uniformly dead quiet so when possible upload some good video with decent audio.  Let’s try and make sure that the motor and control board “sound right”

And the wind was ridiculously ferocious and consistent!

Edited by Bill Kielb
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On 2/24/2019 at 1:17 PM, Melissa F. said:

No matter what I do, I can’t get anything to center. There is ALWAYS a wobble. When I turn the wheel on, it almost sounds like the electricity is surging or something...it doesnt sound like it’s running completely smoothly.

I borrowed a vl whisper after coming from a motorised kickwheel and had this same experience.

There was even an old clayarts discussion about a similiar story. I couldn't find the original but this is a discussion of the discussion.

What I found was my wheel speed on centering with this shimpo was too fast - or at least slowing the wheel down while centering helped. I was taught to center as fast as the wheel would go. The kickwheel showed me this speed was not necessary and the slower speed agrees with a vl - at least in my experience.

I'm unsure if the sound the motor makes has anything to do with it but I definitely accused it as well.

I still don't throw as well on a vl whisper as I do on a nice fly-wheel but I get by well enough.

Edited by C.Banks
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@Melissa F.

Give me a day to send you back a video with audio. Listening to that wheel (with headphones), it does not sound right. It definitely has a periodic resonance as if the motor or drive for the motor is not  consistent.

For now check out the end of this video, (Especially the audio) I think you will notice a big difference, I am starting to believe this wheel is not rotating evenly.

 

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I am going to guess it's the controller, if it were the motor I think it would oscillate way faster, this sounds and looks like one person dancing to a count of 4 while everyone else is dancing to a count of 5.   Maybe a doofy pulse width modulator or something in the controller?

Edited by liambesaw
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