Using an old printer to create organic pottery
June 2nd, 2022—
Traditional pottery has been around for many thousands of years and is known for the mixing, shaping, and baking of clay in order to create artful items. Tools such as the pottery wheel and kiln are iconic, and Guillermo Perez Guillen wanted to make a pottery wheel of his own that would not only be inexpensive, but also work with organic cornstarch-based mediums instead of clay.
Guillen started his project by finding an old printer and removing the exterior and paper tray, leaving just the horizontal rail and base. From here, he added a potentiometer on the side that enables the user to control how fast the wheel below rotates. In terms of electronics, the platter was taken from a CD player and its motor is driven by a single TB6612FNG dual-motor driver. On the back is an Arduino Mega 2560, which is responsible for reading the analog output of the potentiometer and mapping it to an 8-bit speed that can be outputted via a PWM signal to the motor driver.
The “clay” Guillen came up with is a mixture of cornstarch, water, salt, and glue that allows it to hold its shape when being formed and while drying. To see some of the creations he has made so far, you can watch the demo videos below or take a look at his write-up here on Hackaday.io.