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RonSa

Test Kiln - Is This Another Crazy Idea?

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RonSa    188

Since I've started mixing my glazes I'm finding that a test kiln would come in handy.

 

I've come across another used kiln that is the same exact model as the once I have, a Duncan 820 with a sitter.

 

It has no stand (I can weld one up) hinge is busted (couple of bolts and it will work again). The shelves are for a larger kiln but I could use the ones I have or cut down the over-sized ones. Its in decent shape with only a few small chips on 3-4 bricks. Visually the elements look ok but since there is no outlet that will fit the plug I'm really guessing if they work. The lady that owns it says she bought it used 10 years ago and only fired it up once when she first got it.

 

Before I forget to mention the kiln is sitting on a cement floor that seems to be pretty dry. Nearby cardboard boxes that are also on the floor look like they've been there a while and don't have any moisture stains. Looking inside and down the bottom of the kiln looks ok.

 

I can have it for $30

 

Here's what I'm thinking and I'm hoping someone will tell me I'm nuts for thinking what I want to do.

 

There are four rows of bricks with two elements each with the sitter smack dab in the middle between rows 2 and 3. I'd like to remove the bottom  and top row of bricks to make a smaller kiln. I'd use the 2 knobs to control the heat.

 

Since my kiln is 3cf this one might come around 1.5cf -  the final size will be approximately 17" wide by about 12" high.

 

My kiln is rated at 24amps so I'm guesstimating this conversion will be about 12 amps (I will verify this later). I already have a few 240v/20amp outlets on a single line.

 

I'd have to do something with the jacket since its one solid piece. Its something I can handle.

 

What do you think? Should I go for it? Or maybe just spend a few more bucks and buy a 120v test kiln?

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neilestrick    1,379

You can't remove sections and expect it to work the same way. The elements are made to put out a certain amount of heat for that kiln. If you remove sections, the area of heated bricks (wall bricks) to non-heated bricks (lid and floor) changes, so the original calculations no longer apply.

 

As a test kiln, that's still too big. If you're really just needing to run glaze tiles or a couple of mugs for tests, get a baby kiln.

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RonSa    188

Thanks Neil, I know you would give me a honest answer.

 

What size baby kiln would you suggest?

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Denice    243

I would buy it and resell it or sell yours and keep that one since it has only been fired once.  I have a AIM test kiln that the interior measures  8"x8"  I often wish it was a little larger, I can fire 5 test tiles in it.  I ordered without a shelf kit and cut up broken shelves to fit the kiln with a tile saw, you could also buy a large shelf and cut it into smaller shelves that would also save you money.  A built in pyrometer might be helpful in your testing.    Denice

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RonSa    188

Denice,

 

Even though she fired it once she bought it used. The one I have is in better shape.

 

I still might buy it to have replacement bricks if needed. I'm sure the shelves are worth more than $30 too.

 

Neil,

 

1CF is the minimum size I'd like. I went to L&L's site and unless I'm missing something they are all 0.5cf. I was looking at the DLH11-DXB 240/20.Is there a bigger one that you might know of?

 

Also, since my kiln has a sitter and the idea of a test kiln is to replicate the conditions on the main kiln wouldn't it be better to look for one that has a sitter instead of a controller?

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neilestrick    1,379

Mine is the same size as the L&L test kilns.

 

You actually want the controller, because you're going to need to do a controlled cooling in the test kiln in order to simulate the cooling rate of the big kiln. Otherwise the baby kiln results won't be anything like the big kiln. I used to try to run glaze tests in my baby kiln and they were pretty worthless. It heated up too fast and cooled way too fast. The melt was wrong, the color was wrong- everything was different than the bigger kilns. I finally put a digital controller on it and now it's priceless.

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