How to Build a Kick Wheel for Pottery

Written by cl hardy
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As an alternative to the popular electric pottery wheel powered by a motor, some pottery enthusiasts opt to use a kick wheel. Kick wheels stand taller than electric wheels and are manually operated with the user exerting the energy of a kick motion to power the wheel and initiate the wheel's circular motion. Kick wheels are quiet, cost efficient and can be constructed for a fraction of the cost of a motor-powered wheel.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Saw
  • Power drill
  • One 30-foot 2 by 4 wood plank
  • One 14-foot 4 by 4 wood plank
  • Thirty-two 6 inch by 1/2 inch bolts
  • Eight 7 inch by 1/2 inch bolts
  • Two 1 inch by 12 inch by 30 inch plywood pieces
  • Sixteen medium weight 2 inch wood screws
  • One 1 inch flange bearing
  • One 1 inch pillow block bearing
  • Four 3/8 inch by 2 inch lag bolts
  • Four 1/4 inch by 4 inch lag bolts
  • One 1 inch by 36 inch steel stock shaft
  • Four 9 inch by 1/2 inch bolts
  • Epoxy glue
  • Compass
  • One 1 inch by 24 inch by 24 inch plywood piece
  • Building felt
  • Four 12 inch by 5/8 inch dowel rods
  • Two pulley wheels
  • Four 2 inch "U" bolts
  • 40.8 Kilogram of cement
  • Two 5 inch by 3/8 inch bolts
  • Four 5 inch by 1/2 inch bolts

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    Build the Frame

  1. 1

    Cut the 2 by 4 and 4 by 4 planks into 30-inch pieces. Use four of the 4 by 4 30-inch pieces to form a square.

  2. 2

    Attach an upright 4 by 4 plank to each corner of the square using your 6 and 1/2 inch bolts. Place another 4 by 4 plank lengthwise in the centre of the square. Use four small blocks to secure the centre plank. Lock the blocks in place using two 6 and 1/2 inch bolts for each wood block.

  3. 3

    Cut three of the 2 by 4 planks to exactly 28 3/4 inches. These pieces will serve as cross supports and should be set at a comfortable level for the user to rest his feet. Attach the cross supports with 6 and 1/2 inch bolts.

  4. 4

    Attach four of the 30 inch 2 by 4 planks to the top part of the front and back uprights using your 7 inch by 1/2 inch bolts. Attach planks to both sides and secure tightly, because these planks will support the seat and work table of the kick wheel. Attach one 30-inch plywood piece to the supports using eight wood screws.

  5. 5

    Secure the flange bearing in the centre of the bottom crosspiece using 3/8-inch lag bolts. Use a few remaining two by fours to make a support for the pillow block. Find the centre of the work top and centre the flange bearing. Drop the plum-bob to the centre of the bottom bearing. Insert the steel stock shaft through the bearings and fasten with your 9 inch by 1/2 inch bolts.

    Cast the Flywheel

  1. 1

    Find the centre of your 24 by 24 inch plywood piece. Draw a 23 inch circle on the centre point using the compass. This circle represents the base of your pottery wheel. Cut this circle out and drill a 1-inch hole in the centre.

  2. 2

    Bring your pulley 2 inches from the bottom of the steel shaft and attach it with the epoxy glue. Take the plywood circle you cut out and use two "u" bolts to secure the circle to the shaft. Let the glue dry for approximately 24 hours before proceeding to the next step.

  3. 3

    Drill four holes into the plywood circle no bigger than 5/8 inch. Position the holes so there is one hole in each quadrant of the circle. Mold the building felt around the circle and tack it to the wheel to secure it in place. Cut the excess felt so that the wall of the mould is no higher than 7 inches. Put the dowel rods into the plywood holes.

  4. 4

    Make sure your frame is secure and all pieces are supported, then mix the cement and pour 5 inches into the building felt mould. Keep the dowels loose by pulling them up and down as the cement firms. Once the cement is close to being set, replace the dowels with 5 and 1/2 inch bolts. Let your kick wheel set for at least 48 hours before use.

Tips and warnings

  • Select a sturdy wood to build your kick wheel. The cement will add considerable weight to the frame, so all pieces should be firmly set and able to support wheel weight.
  • Exercise caution when handling the saw and drill.
  • Keep children away from your construction area while building your kick wheel.

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