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Should I be able to stop wheelhead with my hands? Should I buy this used Brent ie?


aampere1
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Hello, I am looking at a used Brent ie wheel (1/4hp, centering capacity 75lb) that is a low price. <$200. I inspected the wheel with my limited knowledge. Wheel powers on and spins fine without noise at correct speeds that vary with pedal position. Great!

However, I am able to stop the wheel with some effort using my hands when it is spinning at low-medium speed.

  1. Does this matter? Should I be able to totally stop the wheel from spinning with my hands?

  2. Can you diagnose this issue, suggest a likely fix? I have googled as much as I can. It seems the issue could be anything from simply reseating/replacing the belt to replacing the motor ($270).

I would love your input about whether I should by this wheel, and whether the issue is diagnosable/fixable. Esp from wheel mechanics experts! Please consider that in Dec 2020 Brent ie, B, C, CXC retail for 1400, 1350, 1450, 1550 respectively, and used wheels are scarce/pricey. In my city I have seen three brent Cs of questionable condition go for 700, 800, and 1100 on facebook marketplace/craigslist. --I don't wanna hear how you got your Brent C in 2006 for a nickel and a handshake, haha... ;)

Thank you in advance for availing me of your generous expertise! :D

Edited by aampere1
Edit: apologies, I posted this in the wrong forum. Reposted in "Equipment"
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Hello, I am looking at a used Brent ie wheel (1/4hp, centering capacity 75lb) that is a low price. <$200. I inspected the wheel with my limited knowledge. Wheel powers on and spins fine without noise at correct speeds that vary with pedal position. Great!

However, I am able to stop the wheel with some effort using my hands when it is spinning at low-medium speed.

  1. Does this matter? Should I be able to totally stop the wheel from spinning with my hands?

  2. Can you diagnose this issue, suggest a likely fix? I have googled as much as I can. It seems the issue could be anything from simply reseating/replacing the belt to replacing the motor ($270).

I would love your input about whether I should by this wheel, and whether the issue is diagnosable/fixable. Esp from wheel mechanics experts! Please consider that in Dec 2020 Brent ie, B, C, CXC retail for 1400, 1350, 1450, 1550 respectively, and used wheels are scarce/pricey. In my city I have seen three brent Cs of questionable condition go for 700, 800, and 1100 on facebook marketplace/craigslist. --I don't wanna hear how you got your Brent C in 2006 for a nickel and a handshake, haha... ;)

Thank you in advance for availing me of your generous expertise! :D

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If you can stop the wheel head with your hands, then it doesn't really have a 75lb. centering capacity. But that's no necessarily a problem or necessarily a sign of it not working properly. If the belt slips when you grab it, the belt can be tightened or replaced. If the motor is stopping when you grab it I wouldn't be surprised because it is not a very powerful wheel, and replacing the motor won't help. The Shimpo Whisper wheels are the same way- not a lot of torque- but thousands of people use them. If you don't make big pots then it'll work just fine. For most potters who make a range of work and sell it, the vast majority of what we make uses under 3 pounds of clay. If you plan to make a lot of 15 pound jars then it's not going to be a great wheel. But for the occasional 10 pounder it'll be fine, and for all the smaller stuff it'll be great. And at $200 you can make do for a while if you actually need a more powerful wheel.

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Thanks Neil & Liam for the replies! I do enjoy throwing a bit bigger, but perhaps a bargain is worth compromising while I wait and watch for a better wheel :)

The motor did not cut out or made weird noises when I grabbed the wheelhead.  Or, if the noise it was making changed, it was not dramatic.  Would you expect the motor to cut out? or just "fight itself" internally? When I released the wheelhead it resumed spinning.

Thanks again.

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If the C’s are online for $700, see if you can get them down to 4 or 5, depending on what’s wrong with them. The list of things that typically go wrong with them is short, and generally not very expensive to fix. Those suckers last forever. Full disclosure: I am a C model owner, and I bought it brand new in 2003. The most I’ve had to do is wipe it off. 

The ie only has a 20 lb centring capacity, not 75. It’s the tabletop baby of the family, so to speak, so stopping it with your hands is unsurprising. It’s a perfectly fine model for people who don’t intend to make large pieces or necessarily go into production.

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That's a great point Bill. And niel that's a good point too about how the wheel may just be weak by nature and it's performing just fine.  If anywhere in my area had brent ie's in showroom stock I'd go compare, but alas. Thanks yall for egging me on, I'll try to nab it.  A replacement belt is only $30 too, which sounds like a lucky fix if anything would help.

I may be back in here with my wheel woes in a couple weeks...! Thanks yall. Aaron

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less than 200 for an ie seems like really good deal! one of those nickle and a handshake deals. the studio that i worked out of before covid had mostly brent ie wheels and some shimpos. they work great and held up to the rigors of a community studio with classes and members.

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I have a CXC that I bought new back in the 80's. I t has never had more than cleaning done to it, and still runs like the first day. I have never been able to stop it, and in my earlier days did throw 25-30# pots on it. I still throw off the hump, 15# at a time, great for chalice bowl and stem throwing. It really depends on what you think you need, how you expect to throw and sadly, how fit you are. You don't need a beast of a wheel to throw, but the larger the pieces get, the easier it is to have a beast. Others will tell you that the Brents are noisy and therefore choose other wheels. My advice to you is to check out lots of wheels used and otherwise. Then buy what feels right, no questions asked. In this case, the fact that you asked about being able to stop it. . says NO.  Your choice IMHO.

 

best,

Pres

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14 hours ago, aampere1 said:

Thanks mark. All the brent manuals say "self tightening belt mechanism" or some such, but I figured there was probably some way to tighten it up, or ratchet up whatever spring thing is on that mechanism. Thanks for the tips.

Maybe plan on getting a commutator stick and cleaning the commutator.  A typical way to lose horsepower is to have weak or inoperative fields. The torque part you can figure out most likely with the belt situation. Obviously grasping and stopping the wheel will begin to overheat the windings of the motor so best not to do this too much or too often as a test.

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