Saturday, September 27, 2008

My new large-heavy-platter flipper

I've been making some large platters for a couple of years, using a plaster mold to hold the shape while I impress designs of trees into the surface. You can see how I make the platters on my website here. While making the 25-inch platters, I've got to flip them three times, and they are quite heavy. My shoulder began bothering me so I came up with the following gizmo to help me out, thanks to Jeffrey Sheer, who came up with the idea of using an mechanic's engine stand. I bought it at Harbour Freight in Greensboro, NC, for $49. Basically, the engine stand is designed to bolt an engine onto it and be able to turn the engine at any angle to allow access to different areas on the engine. I stopped at a machine shop in Asheboro and had someone attach four metal tubes onto the part of the engine stand that you would bolt the engine to (see picture below). You can click on images for larger pictures.

This is the part of the stand that turns.
The machinist pounded the tubes into
the sleeves.
By loosening the bolts, I can adjust
the arms.

How I flip

I lay a board on two of the metal tubes, my platter (in its plaster mold) on the board, a foam bat on top of the platter and another board on top the foam bat, and adjust the top metal pipes snugly onto the top board. Jeffrey had the idea of a small inner tube laid down between the first board and the plaster mold. When everything's bolted in, I use a small hand pump to pump up the inner tube. This snugs everything up firmly enough to allow me to flip the entire stack of boards, platter, plaster.

Small inner tube. There's a hole
in the board so I can reach stem of
inner tube to inflate and deflate.

Plaster mold and my platter on top of inner tube

I use thick foam bats to lessen the weight.
The foam bat goes on top of the platter,
and a board goes on top of the foam bat.
Now, it's ready to flip.

After flipping, I let air out of tube,
then loosen top metal pipes and slide the top board off,
then the foam, and then the platter inside the plaster.


cookingwithgas said...

Thanks- I am passing this on to another potter.
I am giving you a "Working smarter" award!