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Pottery wheel is not balanced, wheel head is a little wobbly


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Hi everyone hope all is well. 

I just bought a pottery wheel and unfortunately the wheel head is not spinning evenly. There is a slight imbalance when it spins and I wanted to know how I can fix it. It was custom made and I bought it off a gentleman who had no use for it. Some information about it, the wheel head is made of cork and is fastened to a metal round frame  which sits on the shaft.  The motor is a 1/2hp Dayton Variable Speed Drive motor model 5k994 Single phase 60 cycle with a max motor rpm of 1,725 and rpm max of 4,230.  Could the issue be that the material is too light and the age has taken a toll on it? Would I need to replace the wheel head? I looked online and just the head sells from $150-$250 which is a crazy amount. Any suggestions would be more than appreciated. 

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Welcome to the forum. A video would help us see the issue-post a link to a video and you will get better answers. Cork is not a durable material.in which plane is it out?-the vid will really help

You have a one of a kind wheel and the cost of a real wheel head with bearing is 150-250$.

since the whole thing is custom made a new wheel head will not just boldt on to your frame as its all a one off so some thought about what you buy and how it will fit will take some work

Maybe you only need the head and your shaft diameter may be different than the head. shafts can be 3/4 inch or 1 inch. The brent head is all one piece with bearing and cannot be removed very easy also omes with short shaft . Make sure your shaft band hole in wheel head and attachment is all the same. This may be a custom deal at a machine shop as well.

Edited by Mark C.
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I uploaded three more videos to get a better visual. the clicking noise is when the shaft hits the center bracket but when the bearing is on it prevents it from being out of alignment. I may end up making a new head out of plywood and see if that works. I dont think i will be able to find a metallic one that would fit my wheel. 

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Ok so a few things-that wheelhaed is n=made from flake board or also whats called pressboard. . Not water proof material. If you redo it with wood make sure you use marine grade plywood or medix -both ate void free and hold up to water well.

The metal attached to wheel headlooks to be basically a pully  with that single screw down. The shaft seems to have some play in it as well. You will need to get this out for wheelhead to work properly. Most shafts are solid steel not a  hollow pipe. You could replace the entire shaft with solid metal and new bearings before working on the head part. I'm assuming you are after low cost overall so maybe this is a moot point. Even with a new head that pipe is not running true so fix that 1st. The shaft and head need to run true to make pots well. Start with the shaft and upper bearing. Graiger supply or McMaster carr have what you need or consider a used /free kickwheel for the shaft bearings  and head parts-around here folks cannot give the heavy old kick wheels away-you just need the parts not the heavu flywheel of concrete.

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Hi Mark thank you for the information. So for the head I went ahead and got a 15" round wooden top which i will seal with polyurethane. For the steel shaft, I can go ahead and order one from grainger but for the bearings doesnt it matter on which ones I get? Also in order to replace the shaft and bottom bearing I would need to remove the belt and take off the bottom wheel or would the shaft slide right through? do you think I should cut off that top metal bracket the shaft is striking and reweld it so its center?

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Hi Bill, thanks for the input. So i went ahead and placed a new piece of wood as a topper and centered it to the rim it attachs you, but noticed in the daylight that the rim itself is not in alignment and spins warped. I don't think it can be fixed because it is thin aluminum. I looked for a replacement, but had no luck because it is custom made. 

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1 hour ago, HungryHippo said:

centered it to the rim it attachs you, but noticed in the daylight that the rim itself is not in alignment and spins warped. I don't think it can be fixed because it is thin aluminum. I looked for a replacement, but had no luck because it is custom made. 

The rim is the equivalent of a large 5 spoked pulley or even a spoked hand wheel or maybe a spoked hub is a better description. There are a number of ways to do this but I am starting to wonder if just placing a new commercial wheel on it wouldn’t be better. Of course it’s likely starting to get costly.

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As bill said not a bearing-You really need to redo the shaft bearing and head to get a usable wheel.

Its going to cost some $ to buy it all new-my suggesting on robbing a cheap or free kick wheel is your cheapest option.

check craigslist for kick wheels-since you live in LA there are about a zillion cities to find one in should be pretty easy-when folks move they want that heavy kick wheel gone

Edited by Mark C.
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Thank you so much guys. You are really helping me out and reducing my stress levels. I have been looking for a wheel for a while and no one was posting a motorized one on craigslist/offerup   just the kick wheels you guys mentioned. (ebay was too pricey) In order to redo the shaft I would need to cut the bottom sleeve welds and maybe a little bit of the frame and insert the new shaft. It is 1" x 24" so would I put new bearings and sleeves as well? What do you recommend? Bill, For the wheel head I looked for some and the prices range from $200-$300 for a 14" wheel head. That is really pricey considering I paid $350 for the wheel, a day after I bought it someone posted another pottery wheel, what are the odds. (Creative industries Model HP pottery wheel) is that a good one (on a sidenote). I want to fix the one I have and I thank you all for the advice and help really means alot. 

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Yes you will need to cut the 1 inch solid  shaft down to your lenght and reatach that lower pulley (hopefully its 1 inch (you have not post shaft diameter I think) you can use the lower and upper bearings on the kick wheel shaft maybe or get new ones as they are common size.It will take some work but nothing big-the up side is the wheel will have a solid metal head that runs true already. Not one that is turning like the teacups at Disneyland

So mounting the shaft and cutting  it down to size and getting your lower pully fixed to it. (that pully can be machined out to 1 inch size at any machime shop for low dollars, or compare a new one the right diameter.

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If I search just wheel heads (without a bearing) I can find them for a hundred to a hundred fifty bucks.  If that shaft is reasonably true then you could simply fill it with cement to make it sturdier and reuse it with decent bearings. It’s not essential to have a solid shaft although they are more resistant to bending but a true (straight) hollow wall shaft is very sturdy and for low rpm use the old fill it its concrete trick is likely extremely effective.

Edited by Bill Kielb
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