Pottery Studio

  • Member

    My March 28 class only has one spot left! Sign up soon! clay.chimera@gmail.com

  • Design Lab

    Archive photos of Pottery Room development
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  • @Vaughn

    Can you give me a general idea of the dimensions of that rolling pin cylinder? Length and diameter would be plenty. Working on sketches for a rotary axis for the laser now.

  • Design Lab

    @pierre i’d like to source an inexpensive wooden rolling pin blank that allows for experimentation and failure on the cheap. Patterns could be confirmed on paper before committing to wood cylinder.
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    But one wonders whether a dowel would suffice - Im skeptical, as a convincing repeating pattern needs at least 1-6 aspect ratio in terms of width to repeat to be effective. Unless you’re Escher. So, a 10" wide cylinder would need to be 2.65" diameter min, which is big dowel.


    While we’re here, I should point out that the Community Arts grant application for the Pottery Studio includes $1000 for a rotary tool, and 10 hours integration labour. The current plan is to purchase this gear from Wilke (whom we purchased the laser from) - Makerspace techs could potentially satisfy this requirement in-house (such as was done with the water chiller and vent cabinet for the laser, good job @Grant-Fraser , @arasbm ).

  • There appear to be two types of rotary head available that are directly compatible with our laser cutter. The “Friction Roller” models, and the “Chuck” models.

    A friction roller unit consists of either two or 3 pieces of dowel or other roller surface, a stepper motor, a belt, 3 or 4 gears, an idler, and a frame that could be easily laser cut from plywood.


    This type of unit works with any uniform diameter part that will sit on the rollers (when they add a third roller it is to make a small gap for much smaller parts and a bigger gap for bigger parts…)

    I’d suggest that we could build any number of frames for whatever size parts we want to make using the rubber drum platens, steppers, gears, belts and steppers out of printers that we’ve torn down.

    The chuck type units appear to be the exact same stepper/belt setup, but with the shittiest possible chinese metal lathe chuck mounted on the output shaft of the gear, and a “tailstock” that consists of a post and spike to sit in a divot on the back of the work piece. This is broadly the same arrangement used for rotary indexing on a milling machine, but built to not withstand cutting forces, because that is not needed on a laser cutter. For less than $1000 we could get a real worm-driven CNC rotary table, made of quality parts that could also be used on the milling machine to cut steel parts. I could likely get the nicest of the small US made ones for those prices.


    Note that I’m suggesting mounting it on the tilting table, because it vastly increases the number of effects that can be achieved with the setup. It’ll mount lathe chucks, or a milling vise bolted on with T-nuts. You can also mount the vise in the tilting table without the rotary head, which lets you setup for some tricky cuts.

  • Member

    This rotary laser tool is so exciting, I wish I knew more about the process. Fingers crossed we get the grant!

  • @amanda_e Getting the grant is cool. There will be a rotary indexer on the laser regardless of grant status. The wiring is already in place in the laser (the only part we might consider ordering is a nice connector so we don’t have to splice it in), it just needs a stepper motor and some hardware attached. Probably half the people in the building at any given time could fabri-cobble it in an afternoon using stuff on the shelf in the hack room. The critical dimension is the diameter of the rollers you want to burn. Because the length will be defined by the lesser of: Length of the X-axis on the laser cutter, or length of the rollers we use for the friction drive…

  • We have a rotary for our laser. There isn’t much to it; I’m sure you could build your own that would be better than a purchased unit. If you do, let us know. We could provide a few tips from our experience about what does and doesn’t work.


  • Design Lab

    @BrianB the immediate goal is to etch a repeating pattern in a wooden rolling pin - I’d like to start with a pattern that incorporates the Makerspace logo, so we can make fundraising objects and prototype the process for the Potters.

    If we got the rolling pin and I make the vector, could you help etch it with your rotary?

    Thank you - come down on Weds for a tour of the massively upgrading Makerspace!

  • Is anyone going up to RTS soon? I need a 16-mm diameter 4-pin connector. It looks like this:


    Plugs into a port on the laser that looks like this:


    I’ve confirmed that unplugging the cable from the unit lets you re-purpose the Y-axis in RD works to drive the rotary axis. So all we need to do is make a vector drawing where X is normal, and Y is scaled to wrap around our target object.

    If you are in that area, please PM me.

  • @Vaughn Sure. Bring up the bits and talk with our guy Tom.


  • Looks like @Grant-Fraser is going to see if RTS has any 4-pin Aviation connectors for me. That will let us design and build several interesting laser-cutter add-ons I think. More capabilities, more fun.

  • Design Lab

    Fundraiser Workshop:

    Enchanted Clay with Janet Whitehead and her Faery Cohort!
    $75/parent child team
    Max 4 parent and child registrations (8 people)

    To register: email janetwhitehead12@gmail.com and make arrangements.

    Join Janet Whitehead and her cohort of Faery Helpers for an enchanting evening of shared creation! A pottery and faery lovers delight!

    Janet has a history of being inundated with faeries and other enchanted beings in her pottery studio - to the point of now having a published memoir ‘Beyond All Imaginings’ that tells that crazy, but true, story. Adults are invited to bring a child and each sculpt their own personal magical character. Your artwork will then go through the drying and kiln firing process, ready for you to pick up and finish with paints, stains, or leave as is.

    A Makerspace FUNDRAISER for the development of The Clay Space pottery studio. Please sign up now and help make it happen!

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