Good Things Come To Those Who Wait…

I can’t say that I was all that patient but just as I was getting ready to use Plan B, a wee knock at the door alerted us that UPS guy had left a package. Sofia was none too disappointed after getting boxes of xmas presents from distant relatives to find out it was my replacement motor for the VL-Whisper. I got a wrench and screwdriver, watched the video on the Shimpo website called “Changing the Motor on the VL-Whisper” and headed to the studio. I’d like to make more of the complexity but, like many well-designed machines, switching out the motor couldn’t have been easier… a child could have done it. Here’s a haphazard step by step, 1st take the wheelhead off and then unscrew the 4 bolts holding the top plate (this has an o-ring about 6″ in diameter that keeps water and clay from getting down to the innards (I was surprised to see some debris in there but it was mostly aluminum oxidation)…

Next, turn the wheel over and support the top so the axle is not hitting the floor and take off the protective cowl…

Then make a diagram and detach the wires…

Next, remove old motor and set it aside…

Pop the new motor in…

Attach the bolts and secure the motor in place. It looks different than the old one but I was alerted to this ahead of time by Yoshke so I wouldn’t think I had the wrong one. Looks really high tech, no? Almost looks, what’s the word?… let’s see, since our culture doesn’t care about words or dictionaries anymore (said the curmudgeon), I’m gonna go with nucular.

Stand the whole wheel back on it’s end and tighten the bolts holding the motor in place and remember, always wear a condom…

Then reattach the cover plate…

Next, set the wheel back down upside down supporting the top so the axle doesn’t hit the floor and reattach the wires (consulting the diagram made earlier)…

I made a trip to the hardware store to get some new washers that had been corroded and picked up some of those wee plastic ties that police use instead of handcuffs when there’s a big bust (at least that’s what they do in the movies). So I got to neatly tie wires in clusters just like they were before…

Next, put the protective cowl back on and flip the wheel upright, a thing of beauty is a joy forever…

Finally, voila (<-french)…

I plugged it in, pressed on the pedal and I swear you could barely hear a sound, barely a whisper. This morning I’m sending the old motor back and giving Yoshke a call. Then either face the cold studio or stick to plan B until the weather breaks.


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18 Responses to “Good Things Come To Those Who Wait…”

  1. meredith Says:

    How pretty is that!?
    Me- I am doing office work while it gets warmer.
    I am such a sissy about throwing in cold weather!

  2. Ron Says:

    Totally Nuclear Dude!

  3. Gordo Says:

    Wicked job, Jim! It’s nice to be able to do things like that, isn’t it?

  4. Becky Jo Says:

    Awesome! I hope that I’m as capable if (when) the day comes that my wheel needs an overhaul.

  5. Ben Says:

    Good to know its an easy fix. I absolutely LOVE my whisper–haven’t had any problems yet. Looks like you did a nice job getting it all sorted out.

  6. Miri Says:

    Do you think that bookmarking this would be a jinx??? 😉
    Great step by step there. Shimpo should give you props!

  7. Alex Solla Says:

    Damned fine repair job. Pat yourself on the back and then go make more pots. A clean wheel is an ugly thing!!

  8. zygote Says:

    I am completely drop jawed know body asked about the condom yet! Was that part of the video on the Shimpo website?

  9. soubriquet Says:

    That looks a neatly made/designed machine.
    Nice photoset of the procedure too, which will help de-fright anyone else searching the internet for help.
    And there ya go!
    Top marks to Shimpo for not making a drama out of a crisis, isn’t that how we wish all companies would be.
    Just a couple of thoughts…
    That O-ring seal has been leaking a little. It would be good to replace that too, and the seal around the driveshaft. But if that isn’t possible, I’d suggest you go to your local plumbers-supply store and ask for a small tub of silicone grease.. (not silicone sealant, silicone grease is non-setting, and is used to lubricate o-rings and seals, and when assembling pipework with push-fit seal joints).
    Take that cover piece off once more and anoint all the seal area generously, and the shaft, make sure the shaft seal is clean, no clay in there, silicone grease that, oh.. also around the bolts and washers. The silicone will fill any little gaps and repel water, but it’s non-setting, and does not harm rubber/plastics/metal, Do NOT use ordinary grease or petroleum jelly!

    • jim Says:

      thanks soubriquet, glad you suggest this because i was going to get some caulk and i probably would have just gotten regular bathtub caulk and just put a bead around the cap that isn’t bolted down. The silicone grease is a much better idea.

  10. John Dorsey Says:

    Awesome illustrative photos – very clear. Hope I don’t need to use them for a while but when I do, that I remember to come back here…

    BTW, the cup I got from AKAR rocks! Good for holding that beer…

  11. andrew widdis Says:

    Good job.
    Now can you come and fix my wheel.

  12. ang Says:

    aahhhhh super work you the fixit man now then… lovely to be back to work or plan B…

  13. nancy pene Says:

    still using my circa 70’s Shimpo West cone drive, had the bearings done and it’s still as quiet as ever. My next wheel is the Whisper..sweet info on the switch mr. jim .. i love shimpo…period.

  14. eugene hon Says:

    I cant throw at all and I am no mechanic either – hate noise, hence the fact that I remained in the Ceramic Studio at University, rather than the welding, cutting, hammering metal workshop. I am not very technical either, no patience to determine the function of mechanical and or digital products. That Wheel looks awesome though – quite a number, agree with Ron it looks extraterrestrial to me with all the copper wire etc. All that, not to make the noise our studio wheels drum up. Very impressive indeed. May its silence and swift movement swirl out stunning new pots, mugs, bowls and what ever creative ideas you have planned for 2009. Keep well

  15. gary rith Says:

    Tres impressive, mon ami! <Franglish

  16. Andy Says:

    Hell I could have done that. And I’m not even a potter!

  17. Bowling For Vases… « Sofia’s Dad’s Pots Says:

    […] with sterling customer service when I had to replace the motor on my wheel some time back… in this post. In my mind, his name was Yoski because I had never seen it spelled out, but I finally caught one. […]

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