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b.schmitt

Feedback On Olympic Medallion Kilns?

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Hello Forum,

 

I'm new to the group. I'm shopping for my first kiln and am wondering if anyone has any experience or feedback with the Olympic Medallion series of kilns.

 

I'm thinking of the MAS1818HE with the V6-CF controller. From ClayKing, this would only be $1080 delivered including a furniture kit. Olympic claims that their lower prices are due to their factory location near the supply of firebrick.

 

I've also been shopping for a used Skutt KM-818, though then would have the uncertainty of a used kiln.

 

I plan to fire porcelain to cone 5-6 and would prefer the digital controller. I'm limited to 240V, 40A breaker.

 

Any thoughts or feedback would be much appreciated. 

Brian

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I am not a fan of that 3 key orton controller, because of the lack of input keys you have to go through a bunch of steps to enter programs..  In terms of the quality of the actual kiln, I have found generally that olympics seem to lack a nice fit and finish, and sometimes I feel as though there were corners cut in the design to save a bit of cash...  At the end of the day, it will fire your work, but it may not be as convenient or nice as a slightly more expensive kiln from skutt, l&l, etc.

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welcome to the forums

I think they cut few corners on quality as mentioned above

they will fire your work but in the long run you get what you pay for.

I have seen their largest gas car kiln and it was lacking in a few regards 

The owner has not been happy with the kiln in terms of quality or the service from manuafacture 

The way it was packed or how it has held up in use.This was a gas kiln

My thought is for a few dollars more after being a starter may want it to last longer or be worth more if you decide to resell

reviews in the ceramic equipment world are non -existent

only find them from owners who tried the stuff and are willing to talk

my next electric if I ever get another will be an L&L

Mark

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Please check out your local craigslist.  In the midwest there are no less than 20 kilns on CL within 400 miles of were i live.  Avg price for an avg size kiln is $400 with kiln furniture.  There are probably 10 decent ones for $300 or less. 

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Schmism has it right.  I've seen everything from old manual kilns to top of the line digital controlled Skutt's.  Watch craigslist for a couple of weeks and check a few out.  Quality varies, and be careful of the overpriced ones, they will be easy to spot with a little research.  

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In general, you get what you pay for in a kiln. If it's the lowest price kiln of its size on the market, it's probably not the best quality. That said, kilns of the size you're looking at generally hold up better than big kilns since they have fewer bricks and smaller lid/floor slabs. There's just not as much weight causing shifting and wear on the bricks. So it'll probably hold up fine compared to other kilns of that size. What you'll gain from a more expensive kiln is thicker, better quality stainless used for the outer jacket and probably a better hinge, both of which contribute to less shifting and wear on the bricks. I would also check to make sure the control box on that Olympic is hinged, otherwise repairs are a pain. With an L&L you'll gain a stand with a solid top for better support, hard element holders which protect the bricks, and a standoff tilt down control box which is super easy to work on and keeps electronics running cooler.

 

Whichever route you go, get the better controller. It's worth it.

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The problem with buying a "starter kiln" is that a good kiln can last for 10+ years, You'll have to change elements, relays and whatnot, but they last otherwise. It may be better to look at it as your first kiln, not a starter kiln, and spend a little extra on quality.

That said, I don't own an Olympic kiln, an acquaintance of mine does and has nothing but problems running it. I don't know if the problem is her or the kiln. I own a Bailey Kiln and an L and L kiln. Both are excellent kilns, but my favorite is the Bailey, it is just plain built better. Better hinge, better casing, better quality all around, it also has more insulation resulting in cheaper firings, and a guaranteed slow cool. The thing I like best about the L and L is the ceramic element holders, however, if I ever buy another new kiln, it will be a Bailey.

 

Either brand is great in my opinion. Whatever you get Neil is right on about the controller, get the best controller you can afford, it will make the world of difference.

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I own an Olympic Kiln. I got the OLYMPIC FREEDOM 1823HE PKG. I also bought it through Clay King but since I live about an hour away from Olympics factory made arrangements to pick it up myself rather than paying for shipping. I have only owned it a year but it has been a wonderful kiln for me. I have run about 15 cone 04 bisque loads through it and 15 cone 6 glaze loads, it has never failed me. If you go to the Olympic Kilns website you can read more about their different models and their feature between them. I went with Olympic because I wanted to touch and feel the different sized kiln before buying because I have back issues and wanted to be able to load the kiln with the least stress on it. I got the 12 key controller and it is a dream to use I have not yet set up a custom cycle but have used the slow bisque, fast bisque, slow glaze, fast glaze, preheat, delay settings and it is very easy to understand and use. The kiln has the stackable sections so when it comes time to replace the elements I plan to try and do it myself since I can take it apart ring by ring work on it and reassemble it, but hopefully that is a few years away!

 

Also the art center here in town has 2 Olympic kilns, huge ones and are happy with them and they take a beating getting fired sometimes twice a week every week with questionable (insert running, exploding, mysterious happenings) student work. Also the owner of Olympic is a local and has said been very helpful with the art centers kilns. There is also a repairman in the area that the center has used to replace elements so he also knows and works on them. I got the small size I did because of electric box constrictions and also the art center is 2 blocks from my home so if I have larger pieces I take them up there to fire in their large kilns.

 

If I can help further do not hesitate to ask a year ago I was in your shoes and it is very confusing and daunting to decide which is the right one for you. I had reasons for going with Olympic and basically you will have to decide which options are most important to you and which ones you have to have and which ones you can live without.

 

Terry

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Thanks for all the welcomes and replies.

 

I started taking pottery classes and I loved it, so I bought a skutt wheel to get better. Well I didn't realize how much better I would be with the time and my own wheel. I am getting to the point now where I am throwing beautiful things then crushing them down and drying the clay out to practice more. I didn't think I would need a kiln so quickly after buying a wheel, but I am getting ready to get one in the near future. It seems like the average reviews is leaning towards bailey and l&l. I will look into those more. 

 

Like you all said, when your spending 1000+ spending another 300-400 isn't that much more for something that last a long long time.

 

Thanks this forum has proved to be one awesome place, its nearly impossible to find information on the net that isn't sales.

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