A PW* approach to making a pottery wheel …
haha, decided a week ago to see if I could make my own pottery wheel … and this is the result!
2 chopping boards, 1 rollerblade wheel (ABEC7), and piece of broken up furniture (to act as the axle) … and the vase I started to make on 24 March
(details of its making below … , and the 25 cm tall VASE! made with it on 25 and 26 March 🙂 )
Very happy with it as it works almost like the real thing (made out of metal, costs about $150 or so at Art Friend apparently) that we use in the pottery class at AMK CC.
Here is the story behind its making:
Our instructor, Mr Lim, advised us not to buy it until we were quite sure of our interest. So, I thought, “hey, why not try to make one instead … !”, and so over a few days, I considered possible objects/materials that could be used (Generation of ideas, GOI, haha) –
- mount a “plate-like” thing on a discarded/spoilt fan (fans can turn smoothly, right?)
- bicycle axle and ball bearing
- examined the skateboard/rollerblade
- looked around for disc like objects (circular drinks tray, round metal cake tin, shallow metal tray used in baking, chopping board)
Then, at Novena Velocity, at Sports Clements, spotted these big roller blade** wheels that were sold singly (ABEC7, one for $15) and suddenly, everything started clicking … attached something flat and round (i.e.the top surface) to the wheel, then mount it somehow on a heavy round chopping board.
So, I got the rollerblade wheel and went looking for a chopping board (the heavy one) … the “Octagon Shop” at AMK Central not only sold it (I got a small one for $15), but as luck would have it, they also sold a “light” weight round chopping board that came with a stand ($8) which I also bought, to use as the top working surface.
At this point though, I had not fully worked out how these various parts were going to be attached (see diagram below), nor what to use as the axle:
3 Attachment Problems to solve …
(A) wheel to top surface, (B) axle to the wheel, (C) axle to the heavy base. And to do so in a way that was very precise, so that, for example, the top surface would be horizontal and attached centrally to the wheel (for A), and for the axle to be very firm so that the whole thing would not be wobbly (for C). And what to use for the axle that can join to the wheel and also to the base????
Anyway, after analysis and evaluation (A&E), here are the solutions:
To test it, I tried to make a tall vase using the clay bought from the last lesson, and ta dah, it works!!!
1.5 kg worth of clay becomes a VASE!
And of course, the last thing is Insights and Reflections (I&R) –
1) the choice of axle – may not last very long as it is made of wood and the force fitted part is subjected to “shearing” forces when the top surface turns; probably better to use a “bolt and nut” kind of axle for durability.
2) some wobble of the top surface due to the wheel bearing – not quite clear how this can be overcome at this point, as the rotating parts of the wheel may need to be dismantled to examine this further; luckily, this did not affect the making of the vase much (although it became more apparent and more worrying as the vase got taller)
3) how to transport the vase when the clay is still slightly soft, to the CC, for the teacher to made fine adjustments if necessary??? (the taller the vase, the harder it is to move it around, even as it is sitting in a tall plastic container now) – current solution is to carry it very carefully in a bag, that fits the container very snugly so that it will not tilt.
And this completes a very long post (the written report, WR) !! LOL – truly a PW approach, if ever there was one, less the OP component! And I think deserves its own entry in “50 before Fifty”!!
* PW – project work. This is a subject taken by all junior college students in Singapore in their first year of study, and it comprises various components and assessed at the school level.
** afternote – on second thought, believe it is a skateboard wheel with ABEC 7 rating; rollerblade wheel may not be “thick” enough)