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Found 8 results

  1. A couple years ago, I got a Duncan EA-820 manual kiln off of Craigslist. Paid about $50 for it. My garage was already wired with a 240v outlet, so I was excited to start exploring pottery. However, when I turned the kiln on, I heard a clicking so rapid, it would more aptly be described as a chattering. After some basic troubleshooting and Googling, I found it was the relay which was clicking. Thinking, perhaps the relay was bad, I replaced it. The new one not only clicked repetitively, but promptly began to melt. Frustrated, I moved on to another project and then life got in the way. My kids have recently developed a huge interest in pottery, so I'm giving the kiln another go. I've been able to find wiring diagrams online and everything internal to the kiln appears to be wired correctly. I've got a 240v outlet on a 40amp breaker with 8 guage wire, so that seems to be in line as well. Any idea what could be causing the relay to act this way? I'm stumped and before I go down a rabbit hole, I thought I would check to see if maybe I was missing something obvious or if anyone in the forum had gone through a similar experience.
  2. Hi, I am not an artist, but am helping my daughter set up a new studio in her garage. Or a garagio as I believe it is sometimes called here. She has worked in a community studio for some time, and now wants more control over her work. The plan is to slowly add to the studio and eventually transition to it over the next year or two. She recently bought a used Skutt KM 1027 kiln which we wired up while I was visiting. This kiln has built in diagnostics, so I was wondering if regularly testing the element resistance is really needed most of the time. From the diagnostics screen you can have the kiln measure full load amps, voltage under load and unloaded, and the current through each set of element pairs individually. It does not seem to have an automatic resistance measurement, but these built in readings seem adequate for most day to day monitoring. I checked the service manual, and it states that an increase in resistance of more than 1.5 ohms indicated elements that need to be replaced. For the elements in this kiln, that is about a 5 or 6 percent increase. Using ohms law, this would mean that a decrease in current of 5 or 6 percent would also indicate worn elements. If you have a kiln with built in diagnostics, shouldn't it be fine to just monitor any drop in current until you see a significant change? My daughter certainly has a good quality multi-meter, and regularly checks the elements in her smaller Paragon kiln using it. But the wiring on the small kiln is less complicated and easier to access. Unplugging the larger kiln and opening up the access panel to individually check the element resistance seems like overkill unless there is an indication of issue. Particularly given the built in diagnostics. What do you folks do? Now I know that if a problem occurs, nothing beats directly reading the element resistance, because you might have other problems. A relay might be going bad, or there could be a poor connection somewhere. There might also have been a drop in line voltage under load, although the kiln does measure that as well. But on a regular basis, it would seem fine to trust the current readings, and not break out the multi-meter until there was more of an indication that something was going wrong. How often do you folks break out the ohm meter and test elements at the source? And do you open up the access panel and test the resistance at the connectors as Skutt shows in their manual, or just probe the elements inside the kiln? Also, would it depend on weather the kiln has any built in diagnostics? I will probably call Skutt to get the official story, but sometimes the folks using the equipment on a day to day basis have more practical advice. By the way, the kiln is supposed to be capable of reaching cone 10, but she only plans to fire to cone 6. Does that have any effect of how carefully she needs to adhere to the recommended replacement resistance? The elements right now are showing less than 1 ohm of resistance change,and are not warped or sagging. But I was wondering in the future what advice to give her.
  3. Hi all, I've posted about this local clay body before and I'm checking with the forum to get ideas on trouble shooting another issue. I'm firing to cone 05/04. The body itself is a beautiful lowfire body but after the bisque it gets a white scum on the surface . I'm not sure what it is that's causing the whiting but I think that the clay body would be gallery quality were it not for this blemish. I have sanded the surface after firing and the white can be removed. Obviously this is not a solution but it confirms that there is a beautiful clay body just below the surface. Any ideas of how I can resolve this kind of issue in the clay refining stage? I have links for some images below https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BwDDXHDlS0HGMHVKZVE1VDJuNkUzY2JIbXFFZ2NwMWJ6RHR3/view?usp=sharing https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BwDDXHDlS0HGa2Q1LXFkMy1sLVlMaGJBdkE3djN5RUtxNnhJ/view?usp=sharing https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BwDDXHDlS0HGMjZQZ1kzb1JnQklZbzc1WExhM1Q2VWVUVjFz/view?usp=sharing https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BwDDXHDlS0HGSjFXa2MycWRLcVZwVlJPNWxMM0VYTjlwQ0tn/view?usp=sharing
  4. Hey y'all -- So I have an old Jenken sitter kiln I got from a retired potter (along with my other equipment). Earlier this year I converted to fire with gas (downdraft), using a homemade cast-iron burner with a squirrel-cage fan. I don't have any issues getting it up to temperature, but I have noticed that it is significantly cooler closer to the bottom of the kiln, and it feels like an unacceptable portion of my work is not getting the heatwork it needs. I don't load anything on the floor of the kiln, but have some bricks to help steer the heat. I've tried a couple configurations, but every time I fire there are very significant differences across the strata of the kiln. I'm pretty frustrated and can use some guidance. Some details The burner sits underneath the kiln and fires upward into the kiln, close to its edge. There is an external chimney made of soft firebrick. The flame enters the chimney through a port on the side of the kiln, which is on the other side from the flame's entry, floor-level. I've cut a little bit off of the shelves I'm using to allow for the heat to move unimpeded. I'm not an expert by any means -- my initial thoughts are that the heat is moving past the first shelf too quickly, or has no reason to linger there. I'm considering placing the second shelf offset, so as to block the flame and persuading it to move around toward the top of the kiln, sort of like a spiral. I'm concerned about possible crackage, though, or any issues I might not be foreseeing. Just curious about any thoughts that y'all might have. I understand that gas kiln conversion problems are probably tricky to diagnose, but I'm wondering if there's something elementary I could try that I've overlooked, or some kind of general troubleshooting checklist for those of you who have more experience tinkering with this method than I do. thanks! Kevin
  5. Hi everybody, This is my first post here, nice to meet you all. I have a question about some result of fired colored porcelain. I am making some unglazed porcelain objects, with the goal of having a very matte finish. Now I have made a test with porcelain colored with a black stain, I have added 4 % to the slip. The stain is based on Co-Fe-Cr, it's standard stain I purchased at a ceramic supplier, the same goes for the slip. What I did: First did a bisque fire (electric kiln) until 950 degree Celsius (1742 degrees Fahrenheit) I removed the objects and finished them (sanding) to a more smooth finish In the kiln again, fired until 1230 degree Celsius (2246 degrees Fahrenheit) The result is a matte looking porcelain, but it has some unwanted glossy spots on the surface (see attached photos). I do not understand why this is happening. Maybe somebody has an idea what could be the cause of this? Thank you in advance. greetings, Patrick Hartog
  6. Hello there, As I live in a rural area I'm having trouble finding someone who is both qualified and available to look at doing repairs on my hobby kilns, so I've been very much thrown in the deep end. I've been working in ceramics for about a year now, making mostly jewellery. I've experienced several challenges with my Ward HPF4 hobby kiln, the most recent of these is unresolved. My electrician (let's call him Richard) initially installed 15 amp power (for a 15 amp kiln) and I ran a dozen or so firings with no problems. After one firing I noticed a slight melted flare on the electrical power point plug holes and next time I fired up there was nothing happening. Richard then upgraded the power point and kiln cord to 20 amp, admitting that he should have thought to install 125% of the required amps to start with. He had to replace the contactor at that point, which looked like it really should have gone long ago. I did a successful bisque firing after that and I noticed that the kiln was much quieter. Then the next time I went to do a glaze firing I found that every time I'd turn the kiln on, the fuse switch in the fusebox would trip. Richard did look at the kiln again but didn't want to get too involved. I haven't been able to get anyone else to look at it so far. My frustration has driven me to research a little and, to my surprise, I'm starting to get a bit interested in the components and wiring. Yesterday I removed the wiring box from the main body of the kiln so I could have a look at the concealed side of the simmerstat - just looking generally for abnormalities in the wiring and connections. Well, I found that the connections are pretty rusty and the wires look scorched - hardly surprising since it was wedged right against the outer wall of the kiln. I am in the process of obtaining a replacement (a TYJ6333 to replace the existing TYJ02B) and am fairy confident that I can fix it myself. I imagine it's a simple case of replacing the wire connections from one unit to the other and I notice they are fully labelled, which helps. Should I solder the connections or is this not generally done? Also, I'm thinking of cutting a square of fibre cement to fit in between the simmerstat and the outer wall of the kiln (if it will fit). Does this seem reasonable? Or can anyone suggest a superior material for this? In the meantime... out of desperation I bought (cough) a couple of other second hand kilns. One (a Skutt test kiln) was damaged in transit and I am repairing it (waiting for parts). It seems to be just a bent sensing rod in the kiln sitter and possibly a replacement plunger & button. I think I can do that. Finally - the other one is a Tetlow K4A - just like the one pictured. It has an energy regulator dial, an on/off switch and a thermostat dial and temperature reading display. I have fired this kiln three times now. 1st firing - The on/off switch switched itself off after about half an hour. I angled a stick at it to keep it 'on' and the firing progressed. The kiln gained heat rather quickly. For instance, it was already at 560'C (1040'F) when I turned it up to 400'C (752'F), up to 720'C (1328'F) when I turned it up to 600'C (1112'F), up to 840'C (1544'F) when I turned it up to 800'C (1472'F). Once about 850'C (1562'F) was reached, it shut itself down, as in... the 'on' button was still on, the green light was shining on the thermostat but temperature had dropped and the kiln wasn't making any noise. The 'on' switch no longer seemed to work. 2nd firing - After replacing the on/off switch using only pliers and very little expertise I got the kiln firing up again. It steadily approached 800'C in a similar fashion and once again did not fire much beyond that. 3rd firing - I re-did the on/off switch connections with proper crimpers and then soldered them. I fired the kiln up again (empty this time, just for something different) - this time all the way up to high. At around 850'C (1562'F) was reached, it shut down again. Dials and green thermostat light still on but no noise and no heating going on (It's the same when I turn it back on). I'm pretty sure that after this final firing the red light display connected to the simmerstat/energy regulator dial no longer illuminates as it did before. Also, the on/off switch is kind of stuck on. Is it possible that the on/off switch is not as generic as I think it is and just needs to be properly replaced with a Tetlow brand switch? I had a good look inside and the electrics overall look fantastic. Today I had another look and did notice something irregular. I just added a picture of some of the wiring in this actual kiln. Can you see a bit of darkness at the connection of the top red wire? Also a slight burned look to the casing in the middle of the front vertical edge of the simmerstat? I'm thinking that if I replace the simmerstat it might all just work again. It currently has a TYJ 6336 simmerstat but I'm thinking that any of the TYJ type simmerstats will work as long as it's 15 amps. Will I have to replace that one wire as well? Or more than one? If so, how do I find out what type of wire I'd use? I'm thinking that if this doesn't work I'd be looking at replacing the thermocouple. I would welcome any feedback or musings on my situation. Best regards, Indra
  7. Hello all you experienced glaze chemists, I have been using this recipe at my studio for a few months now and I really like it except that when it's thick it moves more than I'd like. I'd like to slightly adjust it so it's a little more stable. Any recommendations? Also, the iron oxide and copper carb wouldn't affect any of this, right? Soto Amber - Cone 6 Frit 3124- 32% Feldspar Minspar- 26% Silica- 19% Calcium Carbonate- 13% EPK- 10% --- Red Iron Oxide- 3% Copper Carbonate- .75%
  8. I fired (04) my kiln last night (Skutt KS Manual) and everything went fine. It did cut off at the appropriate time, BUT the sitter switch did not fall. (Which is weird.) The timer still had 3 hours left and the breaker was not blown. When I tried to test and see if the kiln could be turned back on this morning, it won't respond at all. No lights, no noise, nothing. I just put new elements in the kiln in the fall. I don't know a lot about the electrical or "how it works" of kilns, so anyone with ideas or advice will be a great help and much appreciated. Thank You!
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