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Pottery Wheel Troubleshooting Tips – Handy Guide

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by Emma Sullivan  • Updated: September 26th, 2022  •  7 min read    Pottery Guides » Pottery Wheels

When you have spent hundreds of dollars buying a pottery wheel, you don’t want anything to go wrong with it. However, this isn’t realistic because numerous problems could occur that need a solution.

The solutions, on the other hand, aren’t that complicated, so regardless of the issues you’re having with your pottery wheel, the solutions, in most instances, are very simple and inexpensive. So in this article, we’ll concentrate on five common pottery wheel problems and then describe the solutions to those problems.

1. Your Pottery Wheel is Noisy

When it comes to pottery wheel troubleshooting problems, a noisy pottery wheel is not all that uncommon. If you turn on your pottery wheel and the noise prevents you from concentrating on your work, don’t panic because you have easy solutions before you.

All pottery wheels make some noise, and the amount of noise depends on the particular brand and model that you’ve chosen. But while some noise is normal, other noises, such as knocking, thumping, or growling, are not.

How To Fix A Noisy Pottery Wheel

The thing is that that noise you’re hearing can come from numerous things, so if it happens to you, check out the following possibilities:

  • A bat from the bat pins is loose (solution: replace the bat)
  • The splash pan is too far off-center (solution: place it more in the direct center)
  • The belt on the wheel has gone bad (solution: replace the belt)
  • The bat pins themselves are too loose (solution: tighten up the wing nuts)
  • The bearings on the wheel are faulty (solution: replace the bearings)

Some of these solutions are inexpensive, while others cost a bit more. For example, if you’re looking to replace the bearings on the wheel head, it could cost you $75 for each of them. But first, you should look at the underside of the wheel head because if there is clay caked on the wheel head, it can produce a sound similar to faulty bearings.

If you have a Brent pottery wheel, then check out this video by Amaco on how to replace the drive belt.

2. Your Pottery Wheel Might Have Mechanical Issues

There are several different types of pottery wheels, and the electric ones are more likely to have certain mechanical problems. As with many other items, the best way to take care of mechanical issues with a pottery wheel is to prevent them from happening in the first place.

To start with, always ensure that the wheel is thoroughly cleaned each time you use it, and regularly check all of your drive rings and belts. If something looks worn out, you should replace it before it gets any worse.

This being said, unless it is just simple issues you’re dealing with, it might be better if you trust the repairs of your pottery wheel to the professionals. At worst, you might electrocute yourself if you try to fix the wheel yourself, and at best, you might make the problem worse or not solve the problem at all.

If you’re going to pay $600 or more for the perfect pottery wheel, you certainly don’t want to do anything that makes the problem worse. For these reasons, it is simply best to trust your repair jobs to the pros.

3. Your Pottery Wheel Doesn’t Turn On

If your pottery wheel won’t turn on or isn’t running right, there could be numerous solutions. If this happens to you, ask yourself the following questions:

There are other potential problems if your pottery wheel no longer turns on or works properly. In reality, how you care for your wheel daily has a lot to do with problems that might happen in the future.

For instance, if you unplug the wheel each time you use it, its exposure to power surges is greatly reduced. You can also use a power surge protector, but this is not always as effective as unplugging the wheel.

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4. You Have a Problem With the Foot Pedal Speed

Problems with the speed of your foot petal often occur, including the speed being slower than it should be, a wheel that won’t stop spinning, or you push the pedal all the way back, yet the wheel keeps moving very slowly. For these problems, you’ll have to check the plate at the bottom of the foot pedal in order to adjust it to the right speed.

There are usually four screws inside of your pedal with two adjustment screws. Of those two screws, one adjusts the top speed and the other ensures that the pedal is positioned correctly when the wheel stops.

Sometimes there is only one screw that adjusts the speed. Regardless, playing around with the screws could very well tell you what the problem is and how to correct it. But you can only do so much by yourself. If nothing works, you’ll have to hire a repair person, which will usually only cost around $100.

5. There is a Blown Fuse in Your Pottery Wheel

If you plug in your pottery wheel and immediately hear a popping sound, it could mean you blew out the fuse. But first, you should check to see if it’s something else. For instance, if you hear this popping sound, it might mean that the connectors are fried.

Or, it could mean that the controller board has a failed capacitor. However, if the wheel doesn’t work and there is no power whatsoever, it is usually the fuse, and all you have to do then is replace it.

Never play around with an electric pottery wheel if you think the fuse is the problem. Regardless of what you think the problem is, it’s best not to take a chance but hire a professional instead.

Since a pottery wheel that isn’t working could be caused by numerous problems, it’s often best to let the pros handle the situation. Of course, it’s always better to be safe than sorry, but at least now you know what to look for when you hear a popping sound from your pottery wheel.

Conclusion

While other things can cause your pottery wheel to not work properly, these five are some of the things you might want to consider first. Don’t think of your pottery wheel as something you can just forget about and still expect it to work right.

Regular care and maintenance are important, and most of the care you give to the wheel isn’t time-consuming or expensive. In the end, however, it can help you keep a trouble-free pottery wheel for much longer than you might expect.

Emma Sullivan discovered clay at school and became completely captivated with it! She's been researching, producing pots, and teaching pottery to beginners for the past 15 years. Outside of the office and studio, she enjoys reading, cooking, hiking and just hanging out with her family.
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