An 8th grade student at Chualar School had mentioned the idea of building a pottery wheel. The idea was to have access to more art activities. The idea caught the imagination of a few youth in neighboring Gonzales and Watsonville and so they decided to give it a try.

Soldering fresh wires to the motor
The motor has wires, now it needs a frame to hold it tight
Learning to cut metal with a hack saw
Filing down the edges of a freshly cut piece of metal to make them nice and smooth
The frame is solid, we need some other pieces
A trip to the hardware store for some parts
Created a wood model first before making the frame with metal
Welding the metal frame
The metal frame looks about right, cleaning up the welds with a wire brush
Welding the entire frame needs a real pro, luckily one of the days used to work as a welder and has skills
Ashley learning how to safely use a power drill
Pedro teaches us how to weld properly
It’s starting to look like an actual frame
Everyone, however young, can help play a role in manufacturing
Chrissy shows the kids how to make a wooden box to cover the motor, wires, and frame
The frame fits inside perfectly
The box is ready
Before being painted the frame travels to Watsonville to be ground down by Paul. The idea is to remove sharp points and edges that can cut a finger
Back to Prunedale, the box is being finished to make it water resistant
Drilling pieces that will hold gears and pulleys
Bolting the motor on to the frame
The frame and motor are done. It actually works when you flip the power on!
The frame is painted and a disk is attached.
The kids take the pottery wheel to show the Principal, Mr V.
Mr V is pretty good, he actually knows how to use the pottery wheel and gives suggestions for how the design can be improved in version 2
Back at home, neighborhood kids are invited to use the pottery wheel. Each kid gets 15 minutes and they can keep what they make.
Even little kids are welcome to try 🙂
Categories: GonzalesSTEM