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Bottom Element Shrunk

fix or replace ?

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#1 jrgpots

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Posted 07 November 2013 - 10:19 PM

What is the best way to stretch this element? A propane torch and 2 pairs of pliars to stretch???

Jed

#2 Marcia Selsor

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Posted 07 November 2013 - 10:25 PM

I think you are correct, but I have never done that!
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#3 Mark C.

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Posted 07 November 2013 - 10:36 PM

Neil is the man for this question. I only know how to stretch the sky.

Mark


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#4 Min

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Posted 07 November 2013 - 10:42 PM

Um, I wouldn't use pliers to hold the elements as it would be easy to damage them. I would heat the element a section at a time until   it glows orange with a propane torch then use 2 pieces of wood and gently stretch them open. Very hot smoky job.



#5 jrgpots

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Posted 07 November 2013 - 11:01 PM

Um, I wouldn't use pliers to hold the elements as it would be easy to damage them. I would heat the element a section at a time until   it glows orange with a propane torch then use 2 pieces of wood and gently stretch them open. Very hot smoky job.


Thank you. I have a couple of wooden parallel clamps I could use. It's time to learn a new skill. I have to finish landscaping my front yard first. No, I'll do it tomorrow night after work. I'm anxious to get this done.

Jed

#6 Min

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Posted 08 November 2013 - 01:15 AM

 

Um, I wouldn't use pliers to hold the elements as it would be easy to damage them. I would heat the element a section at a time until   it glows orange with a propane torch then use 2 pieces of wood and gently stretch them open. Very hot smoky job.


Thank you. I have a couple of wooden parallel clamps I could use. It's time to learn a new skill. I have to finish landscaping my front yard first. No, I'll do it tomorrow night after work. I'm anxious to get this done.

Jed

 

The wood will burn and char. There is likely no advantage to using a clamp as you have to work fast once the element is heated and there is no point in wrecking your clamps.  it just takes very minor pressure when the element is very hot. A couple pieces of scrap wood, one in each hand and gently move them apart. You'll probably be able to only do an inch or two at a time to keep the element hot. Don't attempt to stretch the element unless its glowing hot or it will break. The heat coming back at you is an issue, need to stay out of the heat in your face when you are that deep into the kiln. (obviously safety like power off and have water to quench the wood if and when it ignites)  We use a piece of hardwood dowel with a grove cut in the end for inserting element pins or staples, if you need to staple the element in that works well.



#7 neilestrick

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Posted 08 November 2013 - 09:36 AM

Yes, heating it up will do the trick. But you have to work quickly as the coil will cool down and harden very fast. But with the entire coil out of the bricks, it would be faster to replace it. You'll spend a long time trying to get that much stretching done. The heating technique works best with just a small section. Which brings up the question: How did the entire coil come out? Surely that didn't happen in one firing.....


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#8 jrgpots

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Posted 09 November 2013 - 01:11 AM

Yes, heating it up will do the trick. But you have to work quickly as the coil will cool down and harden very fast. But with the entire coil out of the bricks, it would be faster to replace it. You'll spend a long time trying to get that much stretching done. The heating technique works best with just a small section. Which brings up the question: How did the entire coil come out? Surely that didn't happen in one firing.....


Neil, I'm glad you asked. The kiln is a cress FTX 27P that I picked for $100 about a month ago. It came out of local college studio. They were updating to digital so they didn't bother clipping the element in place when it came out of its lower groove. If I can fix it without replacing the element would be great. It looks like it has very little oxidation on it.

I still haven't pulled a 240 line to the garage. I have plans to build a kiln shed behind the garage and have been delaying wiring the garage and just pull the line to the shed. Right now I'm using a commercial studio kiln. I also am coverting an old 18 inch Paragon electric kiln to natural gas. It cost me $50. My garage studio now has great tables, my extruder, and brent C wheel, and plastic containers.

The short version is that I am getting closer to a great setup. Until then, I will be heating and stretching elements.

Thanks for the help

#9 Min

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Posted 09 November 2013 - 11:47 AM

 

Yes, heating it up will do the trick. But you have to work quickly as the coil will cool down and harden very fast. But with the entire coil out of the bricks, it would be faster to replace it. You'll spend a long time trying to get that much stretching done. The heating technique works best with just a small section. Which brings up the question: How did the entire coil come out? Surely that didn't happen in one firing.....


 If I can fix it without replacing the element would be great. It looks like it has very little oxidation on it.
 

 

If you think you can remove it from the kiln without it breaking it would be much easier to do the heating and stretching on a concrete floor with old firebricks under the part you are heating, rather than in the kiln. The reason we use wood not pliers is twofold, firstly the wood is softer than the element therefore less likely to damage the wire, secondly as the wood chars it conforms to the shape of the element somewhat and makes for a larger contact point.



#10 neilestrick

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Posted 09 November 2013 - 12:53 PM

It won't really do any damage to just leave it on the floor, either. I would pin it into place, not touching the shelf posts, but it will probably still work fine. It may run slightly cold on the bottom - I would test it- but there's a good chance it will work.


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#11 jrgpots

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Posted 09 November 2013 - 02:50 PM

Thanks guys

#12 Babs

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Posted 10 November 2013 - 05:16 PM

Don't know if You have Murphy working where you are but Murphy's Law even in Ceramics would go like this:  In this case, you will have toiled for hours, heating and pressing element sections, and inhaling pollutants, upside down in your kiln and in the last heat and press, the element will snap!

SO my advice, I live with Murphy constantly in my thoughts, is to, as the advice above said, pin the element in situ as it lies and put up with a lower firing in that area until this element dies in place!

Who were the lazy sods who did not secure it in the correct place?  Some one not footing the bill for a new element that's for sure!

Good Luck.

 



#13 jrgpots

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Posted 12 November 2013 - 01:25 AM

Don't know if You have Murphy working where you are but Murphy's Law even in Ceramics would go like this:  In this case, you will have toiled for hours, heating and pressing element sections, and inhaling pollutants, upside down in your kiln and in the last heat and press, the element will snap!
SO my advice, I live with Murphy constantly in my thoughts, is to, as the advice above said, pin the element in situ as it lies and put up with a lower firing in that area until this element dies in place!
Who were the lazy sods who did not secure it in the correct place?  Some one not footing the bill for a new element that's for sure!
Good Luck.


What do you think about this idea?
1. Drill small holes in each of the corners of the bottom element groove.
2. Thread a loop of nickle cad wire into each hole.
3. Loop these wires around the element.
4. Heat up the lower element until orange, then turn off.
5. Pull the loops of nickle cad wire tight, thus stretching the element back its groove.

Would this work?

Jed

#14 Mark C.

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Posted 12 November 2013 - 02:24 AM

Would it be easier/faster to buy a new element?

This is one of those sounds great until you try and it may still be great or not.

Let us know how it works

Mark


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#15 neilestrick

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Posted 12 November 2013 - 09:57 AM

You'll just break the element grooves.


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#16 Min

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Posted 12 November 2013 - 03:02 PM

I think this comes down to how much time you have and how much money you are willing to spend. It could take the better part of an afternoon to stretch out the element and pin it. Or you could save yourself a lot of sweat and aggravation and buy a new one. Guaranteed the new one will work, gamble if heat and stretch will snap the element, since you are working on the entire element odds are increased for an accident. As soon as we see an element sagging out of its groove we heat and re-pin it, shorter the repair the less chance of snapping. 



#17 neilestrick

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Posted 12 November 2013 - 06:22 PM

You could put in a new one in 20 minutes, and make a lot of pots with your leftover time.


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#18 TJR

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Posted 12 November 2013 - 06:34 PM

Neil is the man for this question. I only know how to stretch the sky.

Mark

Isn't it;"scuse me while I kiss the sky."

TJR.



#19 Mark C.

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Posted 13 November 2013 - 05:34 AM

 

Neil is the man for this question. I only know how to stretch the sky.

Mark

Isn't it;"scuse me while I kiss the sky."

TJR.

 

That's Jimmy's line mine is about stretching it with fireworks

Mark


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#20 Bob Coyle

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Posted 13 November 2013 - 11:04 AM

If you are on a real tight budget and can't buy a new element you could get another person to help it wold go preety fast. Have one person heat and the other gently stretch the coil.






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