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Trying To Figure Use Cost Difference Between Kilns

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Thanks to my first good month of gallery sales (yaay), I'm finally ready to replace my OLD 18"18" interior kiln with an oval Olympic kiln that is 30x20x29 deep OR one that is 37x25x29 deep.  The smaller is 8.5 cu ft; the larger is 12.8 cu ft. 

 

There will likely be times when the larger kiln is not full and I am "wasting" electricity to fire it.  In order to judge just how wasteful that would be, I need to know how much electricity would be used by each.  I think I would rather have the extra space in case I need it, but it does cost $500 more, and will certainly cost more to run it.  I can see that the larger kiln uses 50% more electicity, but I can't seem to figure where to go from here.  Any help would be appreciated.

Jayne

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HERE

 

In general, you're only going to be wasting a couple dollars by firing a round kiln when it's not completely full. Worse for the environment? Sure. Worse for your pocketbook? Not much, especially if you're selling what you make. And if you need the big kiln sometimes, then get the big kiln.

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Thanks, Neil.  I know that you're an L&L distributor, but my pocketbook is limited, and I'm lightyears from production firing, so I'm hoping that the less costly Olympic will serve my needs (like firing once every week or so).  I'm looking at the controllers, and wondering if a 3-k digital controller is adequate.  It's not like I'm doing fancy glazing, although I can dream!  (Damn, I wish I were 30 so that I'd have 30 years or so to learn about clay and glazing and so forth.  Ah well....)  I see that it costs an extra $100 to upgrade to the V6CF or RT1000, and coming from using an old kiln with "low", "medium" and "high" settings, I wonder if a 3-k would be adequate. Can you advise?

thanks, Jayne

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My oval is 30 x 42 x 33.5 deep. Very big 20 cu ft.^10 . The electric rates here are very low...9.5 cent/kwh

It is an Axner kiln from Olympic with extra insulation, ITC, a coil in the floor with independent switch to

help even out temperatures, a Bartel controller. With your sculptures you might want to think large.

I fire large slabs for raku in it. I just made new large saggars and fired them in it. I also fire ^6 glaze and bisque. It isn't that hard to fill it up if you are work large.

I estimate it costs about $12 for a very slow bisque and maybe $18-20 for a glaze depending on how it is

loaded.

I also have a smaller electric and a small test kiln.

Marcia

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Thanks for the information, Marcia. I googled ITC and found it at Big Ceramic Store, but I couldn't find anything on "Bartel controller".  And how would I go about looking for the "large coil" that you use?  

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Thanks, Neil.  I know that you're an L&L distributor, but my pocketbook is limited, and I'm lightyears from production firing, so I'm hoping that the less costly Olympic will serve my needs (like firing once every week or so).  I'm looking at the controllers, and wondering if a 3-k digital controller is adequate.  It's not like I'm doing fancy glazing, although I can dream!  (Damn, I wish I were 30 so that I'd have 30 years or so to learn about clay and glazing and so forth.  Ah well....)  I see that it costs an extra $100 to upgrade to the V6CF or RT1000, and coming from using an old kiln with "low", "medium" and "high" settings, I wonder if a 3-k would be adequate. Can you advise?

thanks, Jayne

 

I'd go with the V6CF if you can afford it. Very user friendly, great functionality.

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"User friendly" is the magic phrase!  Hope it comes with a brief, easy-to-read manual!  (I've just bought a Prius, and when I saw the car manual AND the separate manual for the 6" navigation screen, I darn near cried!)  You're clearly The Man, so I'll spring for the V6CF on your recommendation. 

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If you go with the ITC coating keep it off the elements -Also it used to be cheaper from Bailey ceramics over Big Ceramic store. The price went up when the company was bought out a last fall. Bailey may have the old stock at old pricing.

Mark

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Thanks for the information, Marcia. I googled ITC and found it at Big Ceramic Store, but I couldn't find anything on "Bartel controller".  And how would I go about looking for the "large coil" that you use?

 

the kiln comes with the coil in the floor.It has an independent switch on the bottom of he control panel.

Bartel controller is a fairly standard computer controller on kilns.

Marcia

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Here is a similar model to my large electric except It was produced to order by Olympic for Axnerpottery. the coil in the floor was optional. several Brands have coils in the floor but not all have an independent switch. This model has a Bartel controller mounted on the side.http://www.greatkilns.com/popups/electric_oval/5.html

Marcia

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I just got an Olympic 1823HE (aka a SMALL kiln) and sprang for the upgraded controller. I'm very pleased with it since I have never run a kiln before and having a selection of buttons that's say Slow Bisque, Fast Bisque, Slow Glaze, Fast Glaze is at least giving me a starting point. The controller seems very user friendly and some of the options are things like a preheat setting, a delay setting (great for starting a bisque load in the wee hours), Hold setting (of course), a Vary setting which I am too dumb to even understand yet, and it allows you to create your own custom settings as well. Most of that is way above my head still but I have used Slow Bisque, Fast Glaze, Slow Glaze, Preheat, and Delay. I personally think its worth every penny of its $100 upgrade.

 

I went and visited the Olympic Factory and they were kind enough to walk me through and show me their stuff. I even got to examine and "try out" different sized kilns while I was there. By trying out I mean I got to see and touch and reach inside different sized kilns to see which would work for me. I have a seriously messed up back with 2 surgeries so far so I needed something I could reach into easily with shelves light enough for me to bend over and place in position. The fact that they are close enough for me to do that is actually the reasons I ended up going with Olympic, my limitations made it really important to be able to try out the different sized units. I belong to a group studio as well so anything too big for my small kiln I can easily take up there and have them fire for me AND lift in and out of the kiln thereby protecting my back. For me a small kiln at home and access to a larger one is the perfect combination.

 

Good luck on choosing your kiln and its options.

 

Terry

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Pugaboo,

That visit to the factory sounds like a great way to shop for a kiln. It is like sitting at a wheel to see if it fits.

I am happy with my Axner Super kiln built by Olympic. I have had Cress, Crusaders, Crucibles from Seattle Pottery, Paragon,etc. They had all served well. My Crucible test kiln is about 20+ years old. I replaced the switched once about 4 years ago. Making sure you can reach the bottom is a good idea. I have to stand on 2 cinder blocks to do that.

 

Marcia

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Bartlett Inrtruments

 

There's been a lot of discussion here about the value/not value of ITC. Search here on the forum and you'll find lots of info/opinions.

[/quote

 

Bartlett, that is it. Bartel's was the refractory company in Billings, Montana that I worked with for 30 years. sorry about that.Having a CRAFT moment "can't remember a **@@! thing!"

Thanks Neil.As for ITC, I have been using it for more than 15 years. I think it works. All opinions are subjective.

 

Marcia

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Don't forget that a full kiln takes longer/costs more to fire than a smaller load.

 

Kilns are dirt cheap, considering the wholesale/retail value of each load. My 10 cu.ft. L&L usually has between $500 and  $1000 in it.

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