Whether you are looking to break into pottery for the first time, a teacher on the hunt for classroom accessories, or the professional looking for an upgrade, the Shimpo VL Whisper Potter’s Wheel is one to look out for.
Why? Because it is the quietest potter’s wheel on the market. Even at the best of times, potter’s wheels can make a lot of noise.
If that feature grabs your attention, then read on for our Shimpo VL Whisper review, as there is a lot more where that came from!
Here we’ll cover all the good and the bad, so you can decide if this wheel is perfect for your needs.
Shimpo VL Whisper Potter’s Wheel: The Details
- Weight: 150 pounds
- Dimensions: 6 x 27.6 x 22.8 inches
- Wheel Head Size: 14-inch.
- Centering Capacity: 100lbs
- Warranty: Five years
Designed to be customized for a variety of working conditions, the Shimpo B003CUVPCW comes with adjustable legs and a remote foot pedal.
The Shimpo is also built to remain unobtrusive and has a modular design that is good for easy storage.
Overall, this potter’s wheel is made of corrosion resistant materials that will stand the test of time.
The Shimpo comes with all the tools needed for assembly, as well as spare table-feet.
A two-part splash pan catches any stray bits of clay and run-off.
This is good for the busy potter that dislikes cleaning, or for classrooms with multiple machines going at once.
Brushless DC Motor
Considering its size, the motor is capable of providing a decent amount of power.
Also, due to its design, the DC motor runs near silent and does not require maintenance as the years wear on.
A finely tuned electronic controller will maintain the desired speed no matter how much clay is piled onto the wheel.
This is a great feature, especially for those with tunnel vision when it comes to sculpting and throwing. Plus, those that are new to potter’s wheels will find this useful.
Free-Turning Wheel Head
The wheel head is free-turning and does not require the motor to be on.
This is wonderful for modeling a finished piece or doing fine detail work.
The legs of the Shimpo are adjustable. Whatever you prefer, free-standing or tabletop, you can adjust the legs into one of five heights.
This is great for those that enjoy changing things up in their workspace.
Spare table-feet also come with the Shimpo; pop them on the adjusted legs to increase stability and protect the floor. This is a thoughtful gesture and one that is unique to Shimpo.
Remote Foot Pedal
In order to accommodate throwing positions of all kinds, the remote foot pedal has a long tether and can be moved wherever you desire.
This is great for those that enjoy working from all angles.
Lefties and righties will have an easy time using the Shimpo VL Whisper, making it a great accessory for educators accommodating all types of learners.
Flip a switch and the wheel will turn in the opposite direction.
Another feature that makes the Shimpo great for classrooms and novices is the built-in breaker.
This device prevents the motor from overloading and can be thought of as a kind of insurance against students accidentally overworking the motor.
Whether you’re starting a new hobby or are already a seasoned pro, investing in a product that doesn’t perform how you’d like it to can by very deterring.
Fortunately, Shimpo doesn’t leave you hanging and instead offers a long 5-year warranty should you notice faults or malfunctions in your pottery wheel.
You’ll need to contact the company and they’ll replace or repair your wheel so you can be confident about your purchase.
Shimpo VL Whisper Potter’s Wheel Review
Pottery is supposed to be a calm, relaxing art form. Working on a sculpture with the sound of grinding gears in your ears for hours is, perhaps, the least relaxing thing in the world.
Thus, is it so, so wonderful that the Shimpo is near silent. Yes, it’s true!
In fact, few potter’s wheels can claim to be as quiet at the Shimpo, which is precisely why this wheel is called the quietest wheel on the market.
Even running at full speed, barely a whisper of sound will be heard from the Shimpo.
This goes a long way not only if you’re crafting in your home, but teachers won’t have to yell over the sound of a number of pottery wheels going at the same time, and students can feel much more relaxed while working.
Fine Speed Control
No one likes having to constantly adjust the speed as their sculpture grows. It’s bothersome and puts a stutter in your artistic groove.
The DC motor boasts enough power to keep the wheel spinning at a constant speed no matter how much clay you pile on – and this includes maintaining the same speed as your sculpture grows in weight. That is some serious torque!
The foot pedal is also super responsive so you can easily sink into a nice crafting groove.
If you like to sink into a rhythm while sculpting, we are certain you’ll love this feature just as much as we do.
Good for Fine Detail Work
Slowing things down is exactly what we want sometimes, right?
Modeling a finished piece, checking all of the angles, or etching in fine details can be hard if the wheel head is locked in place when the motor is off.
So we were super excited to play around with Shimpo’s free-turning wheel.
Not all of us have the steadiest hands, and we found carving more delicate details and smoothing out small bumps so much easier with the Shimpo VL Whisper!
Highly Adjustable to Different Needs
Art classrooms host a unique brand of chaos that requires people to be flexible. Artists, especially young ones, cannot be constrained by sitting at a desk!
Free your kids and let them set up to create anywhere in the room, on a desk, the floor, or a low bench.
The Shimpo’s adjustable legs, reversing wheel, and tethered foot pedal make it a wonderful tool for such freedom.
Since your students can set everything up the way they like it in minutes, there is no better tool for the creative classroom!
Built-In Safety Regulators
It isn’t just drivers that have lead feet, you know! Some inexperienced potters may rev the motor a little too hard and can cause it to overload and burn out.
A motor with a built-in breaker has a minuscule chance of overloading causing less worries in the classrooms, and less mistakes overall.
Easy Maintenance and Disassembly
Aside from offering full coverage and a deep reserve that will take a long time to fill, the splash pan has a raised rim in the center, so when separating the halves for cleaning, liquid cannot spill out.
Look, let’s be honest here, most of us hate cleaning. Creativity is fun, but washing up after an inspired session is a drag. But a splash pan like this is great for minimizing mess!
This is a big bonus for teachers, cutting cleaning time in half, and saving more time for crafting.
Great Customer Service
A warranty is great when it comes to investing in a new or existing craft, especially when you can actually use it.
Users have raved about Shimpo’s customer service, and are impressed with how helpful, patient, and informative they are.
They’re eager to please and helpful when it comes to troubleshooting, and if all else fails, they keep their word on their warranty and are known for promptly replacing a faulty product.
You can always worry less with a company that’s willing to help!
At 150 pounds, this is a very heavy potter’s wheel.
Students in the classroom will struggle to move the Shimpo – which may be a positive point, depending on what your students are like – and they will require assistance.
Elderly potters may wish to enlist the assistance of a friend or neighbor to move their wheel into place.
If you struggle to lift heavy weights, then perhaps finding a permanent place for the Shimpo to sit is advisable.
On the plus side, a heavy potter’s wheel means that there won’t be any chance of the whole thing toppling, right?
Some users who teach classes have noticed that the chords on the Shimpo can be a little frail when moved around frequently.
After regularly moving the pottery wheels, users noticed the power chord would break or get easily damaged.
While those who craft in a permanent place or only move it from time to time won’t be bothered, it can be a trouble for teachers who need to rearrange their classrooms often.
Trouble Hanging Onto Torque
While this was only a concern for a small number of users, some found that when adding clay of over 15 lbs to the wheel, it would lose some torque.
Torque is pretty essential when it comes to centring clay, and could lead to a sloppy product if you don’t have the torque you need.
Other users reported no issues when using loads of 20 – 30 lbs, so these could be rare cases. Either way, if your wheel isn’t performing how you’d like, this is a great time to contact customer service.
In spite of being remarkably heavy, the Shimpo VL Whisper is a wonderful pottery wheel for the hobbyist, professional, and classroom.
An adjustable height, quiet motor, and remote foot pedal make this machine adaptable to a variety of workspaces, and it’s an easy wheel to adjust to for both beginners and advanced potters.
There is no quieter potter’s wheel on the market. So if you appreciate silence, this is definitely the machine for you.
Where to Buy the Shimpo VL Whisper Potter’s Wheel
Shimpo has impressed with their line of pottery wheels and the Shimpo VL Whisper is no different, with potters and enthusiasts spreading the excitement at every chance.
It’s always best to check crafting and specialty shops, but thanks to this wheel’s popularity, it won’t be hard to find both in-store and online.
To start, check out the following online retailers.
But of course, you can also find this pottery wheel on Amazon.
That’s all for our Shimpo B003CUVPCW review. Have we tempted you to give this wheel a spin?