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mkregor

Low Amp Kilns?

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I'm currently debating whether to spend good money upgrading my electrical to try and get a large older kiln working, or purchase a smaller new one that uses fewer amps.  Lately I've noticed quite a few decent size 240v kilns that use relatively few amps and still boast cone 8 to 10.  Olympic fires 3.29 cubic ft. of pots on only 26 amps, and Paragon's Biggest Little Kiln fires 2.9 cu. ft. on 28 amps.

 

I'd love to hear from anyone with experience using these types of low amp kilns.  Are there drawbacks?  Is it simply that they fire more slowly?  Do they really achieve cone 8 - 10?

 

Thanks!

Matt

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I have had a AIM low amp test kiln for 15 years, never had any problems with it.  It can fire fast , C6 in 6 hours, I tend to slow it down a bit, so the time table will be more like my larger kilns.  I have fired it up to C7 and tried anything 8-10, just a waste with oxidation firing.  The higher temps doesn't make much difference in the  glaze,  also wears the elements out faster and adds to your electric bill.  I would get one that is programmable, they didn't have those when I bought this one and get the largest one you can.  Mine is the  8"x8" I use it for glaze testing not much else the largest pot I could fire would be 6"x6"x7",    Denice

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I have an L&L Liberty Belle, 2.5cf that works on a 30 amp breaker. The advantages are several. I enjoy quicker turn-around time since I'm currently only a weekend potter that I don't have to spend several weekends to "fill the kiln". The smaller kiln was less expensive to begin with and less expensive to install.  Should I "grow" to need a larger-capacity kiln, my experience with lessons learned in my first kiln will save money in mistakes avoided. The electronic control coupled with smaller capacity enables me to experiment with different firing schedules to see the effect they have on the glazes - all at a considerable cost-savings. The smaller capacity also drives me to experience the "pipeline of process"...some of my work is always wet, some drying to await the bisque fire, some waiting the glaze fire, and I enjoy more often the joy of opening the kiln following the glaze firing! The kiln capacity also frees me to make larger pieces without having to rent space in a larger kiln from a studio.  Without getting into the "Ford/Chevy" debate of brands, I am very pleased with the quality of design and construction that is apparent in the kiln I purchased.  Best wishes to you - I hope you're pleased with the choice you make!

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Thanks for the opinions!  I've been leaning toward the option of an automatic controller, and it sounds like they really do add benefits, especially if one is a "weekend" potter.

 

Best,

Matt

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Lower amperage kilns use lower amperage simply because they are smaller. If the kiln says it will get to cone 8 or 10, then it will. In fact, smaller kilns generally have a better power to size ratio than big kilns. An L&L e18S-3 or similar size kiln can hold a fair number of pots, especially if you don't work very large. That size kiln will generally run on a 30 amp breaker. A digital controller will give you a lot more firing options, with cooling cycles and such. Message me if you need info on L&L.

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