The DIY Pottery Wheel Designs Any Prepper Can Make

Being able to create your own pottery that you could use yourself or sell to others can be a great in off-the-grid situations. Buying a pottery wheel can be expensive, so why not create a custom, DIY pottery wheel? Learn about some of the different types, the pros and cons of each type of pottery wheel, and how you can create your own. 

What is a Pottery Wheel Used for?

Pottery wheels are an incredibly useful tool in many situations. While a homemade pottery wheel is often used to create ceramics for recreational purposes, there are many situations where this can serve as a multi-functional tool. For example, in a survival situation, you might not have certain utensils readily available, such as bowls, cups, plates, pots, and pans. By constructing your own, you could be creating essential tools which are crucial to your survival. 

Not only can pottery wheels serve an essential purpose, many people find making pottery to be a fun, relaxing hobby. Many people take pride in their creations and even use the finished products in their everyday lives. If you are someone who genuinely enjoys making pottery, then creating a DIY pottery wheel is a worthwhile project to take on. And with so many potters wheel plans readily available, creating one has never been simpler.

Learn more about some of the different varieties of homemade pottery wheels and how to create them. 

Things to Consider When Constructing Your Wheel 

Making pottery is an activity people have enjoyed for hundreds of years. With history dating back to 4500 BCE, pottery throwing has held an important place in many people’s lives. And the pottery wheel has played a huge role in that enjoyment. Creating a homemade pottery wheel is appealing for many reasons.

It’s a tool that makes pottery throwing easier, creating greater dexterity and precision in design. Yet, a manufactured foot powered pottery wheel can be very expensive, retailing up to $1,000 or more. Fortunately, you can create a DIY pottery wheel for a fraction of the price, oftentimes spending $50 or less on your total project. But before you take on this project, here are some things you need to consider when constructing your DIY potters wheel: 

What Type of Wheel to Use

There are three main types of wheel you can use for your pottery wheel: 

  • Pottery Kick Wheel – a heavy weighted fly wheel that’s alternatively kicked into motion and slowed with your foot
  • Treadle Wheel – a wheel that uses the momentum of your foot swinging back and forth to keep the wheel in motion
  • Electric Pottery Wheel – which uses an electric motor to turn the wheel and speed control is maintained by a foot pedal

Other Considerations for Ceramics Work

  • What type of materials or other pottery tools do you have on hand? 
  • What components and technical skills do you possess? 
  • What speed do you want your pottery wheel to run at? 
  • How much manual labor do you want to put into running your wheel?
  • Will you install seating? If so, will it be adjustable? 
  • Will you install a hand rest? 
  • Will you install a splash pan? 
  • How much water usage do you need?  

Pottery Wheel Designs to Consider 

One of the greatest aspects of creating your own DIY pottery wheel is the variety of different potters wheel plans available, many of which only require household items you may already have on hand. Here are some of the most popular components used to create a DIY pottery wheel: 

  • Car Wheel- one of the most popular materials used to create a DIY pottery wheel. A car wheel pottery wheel is one of the easiest types to build. Car wheels only require hand spinning in order for them to function, and don’t fall under the treadle or kick wheel categories. This wheel choice is also recommended if you work outdoors or in a workshop, since car wheels can throw around a lot of water when they are spinning. Car wheels are abundant in junkyards, so if you don’t have one laying around then you have other options to source materials.
  • Kick Wheel – this variety of pottery wheel is highly popular in many Asian countries, including Japan, India, and Korea. The kick wheel relies on the weight of the bottom wheel to keep the top’s turntable in motion. This type of wheel is durable and highly efficient. If you need to create many projects in a short period of time, the kick wheel is ideal.   
  • Ceiling Fan Motor – if you are interested in creating a DIY project that’s budget friendly and uses many components you might otherwise throw away, then the ceiling fan motor pottery wheel is an ideal solution. Oftentimes, you can create this DIY pottery wheel with materials you already have at home, or can easily purchase at your local hardware store. On average, constructing a ceiling fan motor pottery wheel costs $50 or less. 
  • Wooden Potter’s Wheel – while constructing a wooden potter’s wheel might require the most technical skills, it is easily the most durable DIY option out there. While plastic can become brittle over time, wood maintains its structure and does not break down as easily with continuous use. You can either make a wooden potter’s wheel from scratch or use a kit to help you construct it. 
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How to Construct a Pottery Wheel Using a Car Wheel

Materials Needed: 

  • A Car Wheel (Ideally From an Older Model Wheel Assembly) 
  • A Wooden Base (Ex: A Tree Stump)
  • 2″ Cast Iron Floor Flange

How to Construct a Pottery Wheel Using a Kick Wheel

Materials Needed: 

  • Timbers (For Framing)
  • Solid Steel Rod
  • Cast Iron Upper Flange
  • Cast Iron Lower Flange
  • Thrust Bearing
  • Overflow Pan
  • Wood for the Frame

How to Construct a Potter Wheel Using a Ceiling Fan Motor

Materials You Need: 

  • Ceiling Fan Motor
  • Plastic 5 Gallon Bucket
  • 1/2″ Thick Plywood
  • Large Plastic Peanut Butter Jar 

How to Construct a Wooden Potter’s Wheel 

Materials You Need: 

  • 3/4″ 4’x8′ sheet of marine plywood
  • 2 3′ long 1″ oak dowels 1 1″ steel rod
  • 2 flange bearings
  • 1″ inner diameter 
  • Wood Glue
  • Screws

Final Thoughts

Whether you are in a survival situation or you’re deeply passionate about creating pottery, a DIY pottery wheel is an incredibly useful tool that will be beneficial for you for years to come. When making your pottery wheel, it is important to use the tools you have on hand, with the skills you already possess. In a pinch, my favorite method is using a car wheel, since it requires the fewest tools and technical skills, but any of these styles are beneficial in any situation.  

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