There are a number of different Brent wheels for different sorts of potters. The wheel that my co-worker so graciously gave to me was a lower model wheel. Now this does not mean that things are plastic rather than metal, that the control board is slapped together with shoddy parts, or that the wheel has any sort of inferior workmanship. The lower model just has a smaller motor. In my case it was a 1/4 horse power motor. Its drive, torque, and strength are more for classroom use than a professional potter. Brent (now AMACO, American Art Clay Company) makes great, reliable wheels from the bottom of the totem pole right on up to the top. So even though my wheel is a lower model, its still a Brent and it will last me a long long time.
Excited for the possibilities, I decided to look into an upgrade. I called AMACO and talked to a wonderful man, Bob Randolph. Bob couldn't have been more helpful! He explained parts of my wheel to me, from the control box to the foot pedal to the wheel belt. My mentor, Mel Jacobson, always said that I needed to learn how my equipment works so that I can do all of the maintenance myself.
I decided to do some business with Bob. The wheel was running well but was having a few issues (would start turning while the foot pedal was off...). He walked me through dismantling the control box and foot pedal, pulling wires and screws out right and left. I saw the interior of the control box for the first time (see part of it in the picture on the right). I shipped the box and pedal to Bob and he fixed it and shipped it back in two days! Now thats service.
Bob also sold me a motor, 3/4 more horse power than my old one. That means that I now have a supped up Brent with an entire horse power motor on there! I have the equivalent of a Brent CXC for about $1200 less than I would've spent on a new one. I feel like a car junkie. I'm considering runner lights, a dual exhaust, and new sound system too ...