I recommend green #3 safety glasses (after testing a handful of safety glasses of different shades). Green #3 is dark yet light enough to enable you to see the firing chamber.
During a recent test firing, I pointed a bright LED flashlight into a kiln at around 1800F. (Someone else lifted the lid for me.) That flashlight is so bright that the rest of the kiln was dim by comparison. I haven't yet pointed the flashlight into a peephole. (The test kiln in my office is very small and doesn't have a peephole).
To get a wide view through the tapered peephole, you have to move your head from side to side. If you need to place the cones close to the peephole, put a bent cone on the shelf and position it where you can see the tip. Use that as a guide in positioning a straight cone. If the straight cone is too low, the tip will disappear when the cone bends.
How much space it too much, when lid warps. Will flipping lid help. My lid sets pretty well when cold, but develops a lot of space when firing. I know some space is ok, but mine looks abnormal, over 1/4" in places. Is there a high temp blanket that would help with this?
The center of the lid bows slightly inward toward the firing chamber at high temperatures. This is because the outside lid surface is cooler than the inside surface. The expansion of the lid causes a slight gap between the lid and kiln body but not enough to affect the firing.
If the hinge does not allow the lid to float freely, the front of the lid can rise 1/4" - 1/2", causing heat loss. Placing a weight on the front of the lid can add stress to the firebricks. Instead, adjust the hinge so the lid has play that will allow it to float when the firebricks expand.
Thanks ya'll. I'll keep working on it. I may have to nibble a bit on the firebrick to get the pins to go in at an angle. Maybe some bent-nosed needle nose pliers will do it. I hate to put the pins straight in. AHHHH just had an idea. I may be able to dremel off some 45 degree places on the back side of the lip that's causing the problem. I have an old Jenkins kiln that I hauled off for someone. The element channels ARE beveled at a 45 possibly so pins can be inserted that way. hmmmm ja
The SnF-24 should not need element pins. If it were my kiln, I would not alter the brick grooves to make room for the pins. Push the element all the way to the back of the groove where the firebricks meet, the element should lie flat in the grooves when you fire the kiln.
The video link shows an employee installing an element at the factory. (It is near the 3 minute mark.) Notice that he pushes the element into the groove and maintains a constant pressure against the element. If you let go of the element half way through the installation, the element will not stay in the groove later.
Twisting the ends of the element with an extra piece of wire reduces the electrical resistance at the pigtails. If an element connector is loose, however, the connector will glow pink. The connectors and terminals must be tight. A loose connector on a relay will produce enough heat to destroy the relay.
I have been doing a cool down program for years, which bring out the speckles in my stoneware nicely. But, when I spoke to the guy at Skutt, he said he never heard of a cool down program like mine(with attitude). So now I am wondering if I have been doing it wrong. I hold at several temperatures and let the kiln cool from one to the other without putting in a rate to slow the cooling from one to the other. But I start holding at 1800 and let it drop at 50 degree intervals until 1550 with the longest hold at 1600.
There are many ways to program the Ramp-Hold mode. To slow the cooling, most people add a segment that contains a specific cooling rate. Adding segments with holds and full rates, as you have done, is another way to achieve similar results. (The full rate allows the kiln to cool at its normal cooling rate.)
Including witness cones on at least one shelf in every firing will simplify the calibration of a new thermocouple. The witness cones will also alert you if the thermocouple begins to drift in temperature.
If you determine that the controller is receiving power from the transformer and that the controller is dead, you can return it to Bartlett Instruments. Sometimes they can refurbish a controller for much less than the cost of a new one.
Thank you for reply! I'm limited in my choice because we're working with a 30 amp breaker and re-wiring is not currently an option. I'm not completely up on my electrical knowledge...will pulling only 20 amps mean that it'll take longer to hit max temp, or that there is a chance it will not hit it at all?
I didn't realize that glass was your primary medium. In that case, the Janus-1613 may be a better choice than the TnF- or Xpress-1613-3. At any rate, the 27-amp TnF- and Xpress-1613-3 kilns can fire on a 240 volt, 30 amp circuit. The circuit must be wired with #10 copper or heavier.
By the way, I hope it doesn't seem that I'm trying to sell Paragon kilns on this forum. I rarely answer posts that ask for purchasing recommendations.
for my new studio. We have both 120 and 220 v electric with 30 amp breakers.
My question is: will porcelain FULLY vitrify at 2300°F (the first kiln) or 2350°F (the second)?
Thanks for considering a Paragon kiln. Of the two kilns you are looking at, I recommend the 1613, but not in the Janus series. The reason is that since you will fire porcelain, you need a high amperage kiln. The TnF-1613-3 and the Xpress-1613-3 pull 27 amps (6,400 watts). The Janus-1613 pulls only 20 amps (4,800 watts). The TnF-1613-3 was designed by Seeley during the mid-1990s. They tested literally hundreds of porcelain doll heads in the prototypes of that kiln.
The only difference between the TnF-1613-3 and the Xpress-1613-3 is the controller. The TnF-series controller has 12 keys, and the Xpress-series has 3 keys. The Sentry Xpress 3-key controller seems to be gaining in popularity over the Sentry 12-key controller, because the 3-key is less expensive and has most of the features of the 12-key. However, programming the 12-key is faster, because you can type the temperatures from a keypad. The temperatures in the Sentry Xpress 3-key are selected by scrolling.
A loose wire connected to a relay will overheat and burn out, causing the relay to fail. When that happens, replace not only the relay but the wires that are connected to it, or at least the wire terminals. This is because once a push-on terminal becomes too hot, the terminal will lose its spring tension, resulting in a loose connection. That, in turn, will cause the new relay to fail prematurely, too.
From your description, an element connector is loose. That will cause the element connector to glow pink. I would replace the element connector. Make sure the new connector is tight.
I would not redesign the wiring in the switch box. It would be far easier to obtain the original wiring diagram and to use that as a guide. You might be able to identify the kiln from the electrical data plate or by posting a picture of your kiln.
I'm considering getting my own kiln, but I know next to nothing about how to operate one, where it needs to live while not in use...nothing! I belong to a city operated studio for a very nominal annual fee where we can have everything fired at no additional cost, so it might be difficult to justify the cost. I'd like to find a "Kilns for Dummys" type book to learn more....is there such a thing?
If you want a copy of our ceramic kiln manual, I will mail it to you. Just email your address to me. A lot of research went into the manual, and most of the information is general.
Is this a typical front loading gas kiln? If so, just build an arch. It's just as quick and infinitely stronger. I wouldn't trust mortar to hold together the top of a kiln that is any more than 28 inches across. Give us some more info about the kiln. Size, shape, wall thickness, materials, etc.
Arches are elegant and very strong. We use that design on larger kilns. Should you decide to make a flat top, here is a video that shows how to cement the bricks together. As you will see, making a lid is an art form. The people who cement lids for a living are as skilled as brick layers. Note that the bricks are not sprayed with water, because the cement is applied very rapidly to the bricks. The long pan is essential.