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Test Firing My New Kiln For The First Time


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#1 Pugaboo

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Posted 06 July 2013 - 10:40 AM

Well it's taken a long time to get to this point let me tell you. I took over a month to get the electrician to actually show up and install the wiring and new 50 amp breaker. After that well I did something stupid and messed up my back so was. Kind of outa commission for awhile. I painted the first coat of kiln wash on the shelves this week. Thank you everyone for all your help on that subject your pointers and suggestions made it very simple and easy to get what I think is a goof smooth even first coat.

Yesterday I vacummed the garage and moved anything out that I thought might be a problem and set up my steel shelf for the posts, shelves and other kiln gear. I also found some metal pieces at the hardware store to use as shims since the back legs needed to be up a bit to get it level and it said not to used wooden shims.

I finally got brave enough to drill a hole in the bottom and top for the Orton kiln vent. Was much easier than I thought! Well except for laying on the floor trying to get their new spring loaded cup installed underneath the kiln! Back is still wonky and thought for a minute I'd have to play the tune help I've fallen and can't get up! I did manage to get up it wasn't pretty but I'm on my own two feet again lol.

I went and bought a dryer vent and hose. This was actually one of the things that also delayed me. My house has hardiplank cement siding and the manufacturers website said only special materials and blades could be used to cut and set up the dryer vent. So I dithered around not wanting to ruin the siding on my house or cause a leak from water getting in, seriously don't think hubby would understand THAT. Soooo what I ended up doing was using the side garage door. I wanted to be able to open it anyway for airflow since there are no other windows in there. What I did was cut a piece of plywood to fit the door opening about 4 feet up leaving the top open. I then cut the dryer vent opening through it and installed the vent out through the center. The open door actually holds the plywood in place. Not a perfect solution but I hope it will work as both my air flow and vent openings. I could have just left the door open and ran the vent on the ground out through it to the outside but I live in the national forest and am terrified of slithery things coming to visit so the plywood blocks the bottom and keeps them outside where they belong. Doing this of course means I can't leave with the kiln running but for safety issues I shouldn't be leaving anyway.

This morning I loaded the shelves positioning them at the correct heights to place the ^06 cones in the center and in front of the peep holes as instructed. Allowing for room away from the thermocouple and used 1/2 inch posts for the bottom shelf right above the floor of the kiln as suggested. Also allowed for a least one element row to be between each shelf. I put 2 test cones on each shelf.

I have a question the books say to place the shelf posts above the legs of the kiln stand for support. But then they also say to use 6 legs, 3 per half shelf.... How do you do this? When I placed the posts in line with the legs the other 2 posts did absolutely nothing in helping to support the shelves. I'd really like to know what the secret is to get 6 posts, 3 per half shelf with 4 positioned above the kiln stands legs om each level and still have a balanced shelf. I have an 8 sided kiln and shelves.

I entered all the starting data into my kiln log book. Not sure exactly what all I am supposed to record so basically put everything in it. The number of shelves, type of shelves, post heights, cone placements, cone number, and drew a picture of where everything was placed in accordance to the kiln and stand. I also wrote down the starting number on my electric meter as well as all the programming data the controller gave me on review. Probably over kill but if something goes wrong maybe my teacher will be able to at least look at what I did and tell me what I did wrong.

Once loaded I programmed the Bartlett V6-CF controller to do a fast glaze fire. And am now sitting here watching the temperature rise and listening to it click and hum its way to hopefully the proper temperature.

Only thing I am not sure of is how long its supposed to take to run through a fast fire ^06 glaze cycle. I'm too scared to leave the room now that its running... Guess I should have brought snacks!

Terry
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#2 Nancy S.

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Posted 06 July 2013 - 11:09 AM

Even with a vent, aren't there still some fumes? Do you have a CO detector in there with you, just in case? (And a fire extinguisher? Safety first!) :)

 

I read that the posts just need to be in line with each other for support, but I figure someone with more actual experience can answer your question better...I'm interested to know as well!



#3 Pugaboo

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Posted 06 July 2013 - 11:19 AM

I'm sitting here 3 feet from the kiln and it doesn't really have any smell at all but then I'm not firing any ware in there just shelves and posts prepping the elements to make sure they are properly oxidized.

Yes I have a fire extinguisher about 8 feet from the kiln in the room as well as one in each room of the house.

I realize it would be better to have the vent going out one wall and the fresh air coming in another but the set up just doesn't work for that. Even if I had vented it through the wall it would have only been around the corner from the open door so am hoping it doesn't make any difference but then someone with firing experience may be able to tell me differently.

Will keep you posted am up to 883 degrees!

Terry
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#4 Diane Puckett

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Posted 06 July 2013 - 02:54 PM

Good for you! you must be excited.

Keep in mind that the kiln vent does not ventilate the room. In addition to the vent on my kiln, I have an exhaust fan installed at the peak of the ceiling above the kiln. I got it from Grainger www.grainger.com. The role of the ventilation fan is to remove fumes and reduce heat. When the kiln is firing, I have at least one window open across the room, even in winter. Someone with more experience may tell you differently, but IMO, sitting in an unventilated room with a firing kiln is not a good idea.

To keep critters out of the vent, I covered it with a cover meant to go on a dryer vent. The one I got is green plastic and came from Lowes.
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#5 oldlady

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Posted 06 July 2013 - 07:51 PM

good for you!!!

 

never heard of the nonsense of putting the posts inside in line with the base legs.  to put half shelves in, just put the posts where the crack between halves lines up at the sharp point at the end of the crescent so one half shelf is on one half of a post and the other end is the same.  the outside center of the half shelf gets one and the center opposite gets one.  that is 4 posts if you use half shelves.  if you are using only half shelves, no whole ones, mark the place you put the posts so you can line them up each firing.  a black magic marker triangle put on the top brick works for mine.  that way you can see where all of them go as you load.  you will need to renew the marks if the firing fades them too much.  

\

it would be so simple to send a drawing of this but how???


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#6 Pugaboo

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Posted 06 July 2013 - 09:19 PM

I have a 3 foot by 3 foot opening at the top of the outside door so there is air coming in from outside. The garage is also quite large with plenty of airflow. I don't plan on sitting next to it every time I fire it just wanted to make sure all the connections were good since everything was newly installed and had never been used before. I felt all the wires, metal conduit, metal venting and the wall behind and around the kiln periodically while it ran for the first time today to make sure nothing heated up overly. I purposefully installed it in the garage rather than the studio so I could avoid being in the same room with it on a regular basis.

It took 3:56 hours to run the full cycle successfully. It is currently cooling off and am not sure how long it will take to get to 150 degrees which is when the book says it can be opened but am thinking tomorrow morning I ought to be able to pop it open and see what the test cones did.

Terry
The world is but a canvas to the imagination - Henry David Thoreau

#7 Pugaboo

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Posted 07 July 2013 - 12:23 PM

I thought you all might like to see the kiln set up so here's a picture. The shelf to hold the kiln accessories is out of frame to the left. I had a dedicated electric line run from the breaker box in metal conduit to a special shut off switch then on to the outlet for the kiln. The vent is plugged in and run from a different circuit. Plywood nots pretty but I plan to paint it white so from the outside at least it will match the colors of my house and be less noticeable when its in position. It's an easy slide to remove the plywood from the doorway and off to one side by the wall to allow the door to shut or for me to go out and read the meter which is just around the corner.

Not sure what everybody else's kiln setup looks like so kind of had to guess how to position everything and basically went with what the kiln manual said for safety setup.

Terry

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#8 oldlady

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Posted 07 July 2013 - 12:39 PM

WOW!   how did you suspend it from the ceiling???


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#9 Benzine

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Posted 07 July 2013 - 02:00 PM

WOW!   how did you suspend it from the ceiling???

That's the easy part, it just requires some bolts.  The big issue is, getting the posts, shelves and ceramics works to stay in there.


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#10 Pugaboo

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Posted 07 July 2013 - 07:35 PM

I don't know why the thumbnail is upside down no matter what I do it flips upside down when I attach it. Sorry and yes getting the shelves to stay in there was a real challenge. Lol

Terry
The world is but a canvas to the imagination - Henry David Thoreau

#11 PresToo

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Posted 08 July 2013 - 08:41 AM

So Terry, how did the firing go?



#12 Pugaboo

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Posted 08 July 2013 - 03:44 PM

PresToo - thank you for asking.

The firing completed successfully, no early shut downs or wiring heating up too much, which was one of the purposes of the test firing along with oxidizing the elements and cooking on the first coat of kiln wash. I want to shout YAY it didn't blow up, burn down the house or have any mysterious shutdowns!

The temperature in the kiln seemed to have a bit more variation from top to bottom than I thought it would. The top shelf cones only got to about the 2 o'clock mark, the middle cones were at the 6 o'clock mark and the bottom shelf seemed to be a bit more than that since it was starting to crumple a bit at the tip where it touched the shelf. I asked a question about this under another heading and was told this is kind of normal for an electric kiln. The kiln was also empty except for shelves, posts and cones which I am told could make a difference with heat transference and retention, etc. I will see my teacher tomorrow so am going to take the cones and kiln log with me and ask his opinion.

After that I will load it up for my first bisque firing and am reading through my books to find a good basic cycle to start with for that. I am looking for a basic yet reliable cone 04 bisque cycle for hand made (not thrown) pieces, mostly slab but I also have a coil vase waiting to be bisqued as well. Would like to load that tomorrow and fire the next morning since I don't know how long a bisque load will take and am still leery of going to bed with it running downstairs. I know I will get more comfortable with it running without my constantly checking on it but its going to take awhile.

Terry
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#13 Pres

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Posted 08 July 2013 - 04:07 PM

Programmable kilns do have that problem, as most run off of one probe maybe two. I fire my old L&L without setter and do the switches each individually to balance out the kiln temp.  You will find that a full load will balance out better, as radiant heat is better in a full pack.


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#14 oldlady

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Posted 17 July 2013 - 03:14 PM

pugaboo, this picture of my neighbor's beautiful pot shows the triangular mark i put on the top of the kiln bricks to show where the posts go.  it is faint in the one closest to you because that is where the opening is and it gets hot there and burns it off.

 

computer and phone are working again.  god loves west va but sometimes i wish it could get into at least the 20th century!

 

it won't work.  my neighbor who designs web pages says that loading this was so difficult because of the software installed by cad.  she calls it stu......d.


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#15 Claypple

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Posted 19 July 2013 - 08:45 AM

Programmable kilns do have that problem, as most run off of one probe maybe two. I fire my old L&L without setter and do the switches each individually to balance out the kiln temp.  You will find that a full load will balance out better, as radiant heat is better in a full pack.

Most likely she has another problem too: On my experience, some kilns are nor programmed to fire to the temperature the manual says.

I mean: if the ^06 should be fired to 1886 according to the manual, when you push the ^06, it tells you it will go up to 1990 (e.g.)

I had to reset the cone temperature manually, especially for the high cones, otherwise the kiln was over-firing.



#16 Marcia Selsor

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Posted 19 July 2013 - 09:39 AM

It is amazing how cool the exhaust pipe is. That has always impressed me.

 

Marcia



#17 Pugaboo

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Posted 19 July 2013 - 10:15 PM

Hey everyone - was without Internet Alllllll day talk about torture! Anyhow I was reading through catching up and saw the subject had popped up again so thought I would update.

I did a bisque firing and the cones all bent perfectly so you guys were right that having ware in the kiln helped balance the heat. I also think doing a bisque firing was slow enough it also helped even the heat by giving it enough time to soak through all the layers.

I too was impressed with how cool everything stayed on the exhaust pipe. I put my hand in front of the vent outside and barely felt anything. I touched the pipe between the motor and the outside connection again nothing. Makes me feel better about it running to know at least that part isn't hot to the touch. Now touching the kiln NO WAY. Left the fan running once the computer shut down the cycle and it cooled the kiln off quickly. The books said to allow twice the length of the cycle for it to cool down enough to open. Well the bisque cycle I did ran like 15 hours and it took just about 12 hours to cool off with the fan running. I'm not sure if that will cause a problem I for a glaze firing or not so I guess we shall see once I do one.

I did notice during the test firing that the kiln temperature on the controller popped up slightly higher than the chart in the book said for a cone 06 and I was just beginning to worry that I might have a problem when it shut off automatically completing the cycle. I will make note of final temps to watch this if it appears I have an over firing problem and adjust the temp manually if I have to. But the full load of bisque I ran with cones all bent nice and even and not over, well at least I don't think they over bent as I'm kind of guessing by what the pictures in the book says a properly fired cone should look like.

So that's it for now.

Happy firing everyone!

Terry
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#18 OffCenter

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Posted 20 July 2013 - 07:44 AM

"I did notice during the test firing that the kiln temperature on the controller popped up slightly higher than the chart in the book said for a cone 06 and I was just beginning to worry that I might have a problem when it shut off automatically completing the cycle."

 

Don't worry about that. Cones don't measure temperature; they measure heat work. While a chart may give 1828 F. as the temp for cone 06, that is just for a kiln heating at a little over 100 degrees and hour. If you were firing slower, say 30 degrees/hr, the temp for cone 06 would be approximately 1795. If you were firing faster, say 280/hr, the temp for cone 06 would be about 1860.

 

Jim


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#19 Pugaboo

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Posted 20 July 2013 - 08:10 AM

Offcenter - thanks!
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