Wednesday, March 9, 2016

New Leach Treadle Wheel

I had started to make a treadle wheel using scrap maple as a frame, but discovered that the finger jointed and laminated pieces of maple I was using were very susceptible to splitting if exposed to moisture (of which there is plenty in a pottery studio), so I scraped it.

Coming around full circle, I have now made a Leach style treadle wheel almost entirely from steel. It is composed mainly of 3" square tubing and 1.5"x3" rectangular tubing. When finished it will be powder coated, making moisture almost and non-issue.

Here is the initial framework:
Here is the frame with diagonal support added and temporary shaft with bearings aligned:
The shaft was fabricated from two pieces of 1" solid bar stock and two pieces of 1/2" plate. I tack welded the plates together to drill the 1" holes in them so that they are perfectly aligned. Once the two shafts are welded in place the center section of the main shaft is cut out. Doing it this way keeps everything perfectly straight and aligned. You don't want a wobbly oscillating wheel head!
More to come...

Hybrid Korean Style Momentum Pottery Wheel

Being inspired by videos of English potter Jim Malone throwing, I have come up with some plans for a similar type wheel, which is a hybrid of a traditional kick wheel (or Continental Wheel) and a traditional Korean wheel.  Here are the cut away plans...very simple design that can be adapted to any size thrower. In the case of Jim Malone, he has raised the wheel head up maybe 6" or more using blocks of wood attached to the wheel head, making it a more comfortable height on the back.

Essentially, this wheel can be made at any height by lengthening the center portion of 1" solid steel rod and the 3"I.D. steel tube.

Rather than fabricating a top point from hardened steel, my solution is to adapt a "live center" with built in bearings from a metal lathe, cutting off the morse tapered shaft. They are cheap, made with extremely high tolerances, and are hardened steel = perfect! The receiving cup should be simple to fabricate for a piece of the 1" steel shaft, drilled with a counter sink on the drill press, heated up to red with a torch and dropped into water to quench (to harden the mild steel). This cup is then welded back on to the top of the shaft.

I envision the flywheel being in the 30 pound range, with compartments so that weight could be added. It could also easily be poured concrete for more weight, but I think the flexibility would be better.

Here is what a "live center" looks like...three bearings inside. Just cut off the shaft and mount the body into the wheel head. Can be bought for as little as $10.