Posted 24 July 2013 - 10:29 PM
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.
The world is but a canvas to the imagination - Henry David Thoreau