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How To Program My New 6-Key Electronic Controller For A Slowww Bisque?


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#1 Isculpt

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Posted 12 October 2013 - 07:34 PM

My shiny new Olympic kiln with the fancy Bartlett 6-key electronic controller just arrived.  Yaaay!  I've never used an electronic controller, and after reading the manual with its kinda skimpy instructions, I'm really, really confused. I'm firing sculptures that tend to crack unless I preheat them for a long while, so I want to program the kiln so that it preheats for 8 hours below 212 degrees, then slowwwwly bisques to 06.

 

I've run a test cycle with the empty kiln, allowed it to cool to 100 degrees, and now I've loaded the kiln.  The Ramp/hold program asks:

(1)  how many segments I want (Two??)

(2)  rate of temperature rise (100 degrees? - since it's already at 100 degrees, that would keep it below 212, right?),

(3)  end point temperature (200 degrees?)

(4)  hold time (8.0 hours)

 

After entering this info, the readout shows 250 degrees....So obviously, I've guessed wrong about how to program this gizmo.

 

Can anyone tell me how to achieve what I'm after? 

 

Thanks, Jayne



#2 Isculpt

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Posted 12 October 2013 - 09:39 PM

Okay, nevermind.  It finally occurred to me to stop Googling "how to fire with an electronic controller" and to look for a Bartlett manual instead.  Done. I think I've got it figured out.  We'll see.......



#3 perkolator

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Posted 14 October 2013 - 04:17 PM

for heavy sculpture (like 1" thick) i will usually do some sort of simplified firing schedule that allows a good amount of preheat  (we usually once-fire our sculpture).  My typical schedule is 5 segments, the first 3 stages being the pre-heat.  I'll vary the times of hold depending on the piece, usually increasing the time as the heat increases to purge water out before firing.  For thicker work, i'll slow it down even more (to something like 75*/hr then 150*/hr during the actual firing).  thinner work or a faster firing would be a 1, 2, then 3 hr hold for the first 3 sections (still 6hrs pre-heat)  you can make it even shorter, but for stuff that tends to crack I wouldn't go less than 4hrs preheat, also watch how fast you ramp up.  typically, the preset cone-fire mode is for thin pottery stuff even on the slow setting, not sculpture (at least not to the scale we work in my studio)

 

example - 9hr hold to ^04:

1- 50*/hr to 188* hold 2hr

2- 40*/hr to 199* hold 3hr

3- 30*/hr to 208* hold 4hr

4- 100*/hr to 450* no hold

5- 200*/hr to 1941* hold 15min

 

it's been quite a while since blowing up any student work with such a simplified conservative firing schedule.  they sometimes stick greenware in the kiln that's questionably dry and still no issues.  with time you'll be able to spurt out a firing schedule no problemo.  best advice is to blow stuff up and learn the limit of how fast you can push it.



#4 Isculpt

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Posted 14 October 2013 - 08:44 PM

Wow, thanks for the details of your schedule!  Before I found your message, I set the kiln to preheat for 12 hours -- maybe overkill for half-inch thick work that is 2-4 weeks old, but I'm suddenly having lots of trouble with my clay sculptures cracking while they dry (no idea why this has started happening!!), so I'm being very cautious in the firing.  I then used the "slow bisque" setting.  All in all, the kiln ran for 24 hours and everything came out okay.  Now the work has to survive the copper carbonate firing, and then the underglaze firing, so I'm not out of the woods yet, but I'm feeling hopeful!  My crappy old kiln has a broken kiln sitter, a funky element, and measures 18"x18"; while the new kiln with electronic controller is 35" long x 29" high --- so I feel like I'm driving a Maserati in the studio now!






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