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About mkregor

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    Los Angeles, CA
  1. You'll probably get the answers to all your questions in the F.A.Q. section at the top of this forum. Most medium/larger kilns in the U.S. run off of 240v, but you should ultimately wire for the voltage used by the kiln you purchase (220v, 230v, etc.). I've been going through this recently and I've discovered that, basically, the biggest cost in re-wiring comes when you upgrade the amperage. Upgrading the voltage from, say, 120v to 240v can be done by running two separate, opposing phase 120v circuits into a singe 240v outlet utilizing your existing home's wiring. But, upgrading amperage requires re-wiring with thicker gauge wires. This takes more labor and costlier materials. It depends on where you live and the path that your wiring will need to run, but you should expect to pay between $500 - $1000 to upgrade your amperage. Depending upon the size kiln you purchase the necessary amperage can range from 15 - 50+. There are also small (test) kilns which run off of standard 115v if you make small items. I've also discovered a number of mid-size kilns that run off of 240v and use only 21-25 amps -- which could likely be drawn from existing wiring. In short, how much you need to spend upgrading your electrical will depend on your choice of kiln. Don't forget to factor in any safety equipment necessary (a ventilation kit, for example). Kilns produce many toxic fumes that should not enter your home. Again, you will probably find all your answers in the F.A.Q. section, but this is a start. Good Luck!
  2. Thanks all! I feel much more confident about diving in and bisque-ing! Now all I need are peep hole plugs !
  3. Neil, Fortunately it does have a kiln sitter, so I don't have to worry about the final temp. My concern has been about the qualitative need for ramping and soaking. I've seen many firing schedules emphasizing a specific rate of increase over time. I'm getting the feeling that there may be a bit of hysteria in those. Can I infer the same from you?
  4. Hi all, I haven't been able to find any firing instructions for my old AIM kiln. Even the folks at AIM said they didn't have any . So I'm left with power dials that go from 1 to 10, and no idea how that translates into temperature. I'd like to be able to test this kiln without spending money on a temperature gauge/controller only to discover that what I really need is a new kiln. I have a bunch of different low fire cones, and was thinking of using them as a visual guide for reaching temperatures, but the more I think about it the more I imagine endless permutations of dial-adjustments matched to cone-slumps and time-monitoring. Am I crazy to think I could do a ramp/soak firing without having even a temperature gauge? Thanks, Matt
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. Thanks for all the replies. The kiln is indeed 17x27, and there are elements in all three rings. I like Dick's logic, especially if AIM's current model 1718 is claiming cone 10 from 22 amps. That makes cone 8 at 20 amps sound about right. Also, schmism, no need for concern about the circuit. When I mentioned that it was 'fried' I was actually quoting a service rep from the electrical company. (I couldn't be at the house when the electricians were there, so I got the report second hand). After checking the box, the breaker is fine and the outlet is back to outputting 240v, so there really wasn't any damage. Now the big decision is whether I shell out the money to upgrade the amps for a big manual kiln that may or may not function properly, or spend a little more to purchase a new automatic one rated for fewer amps, but with less space. Hmmm...... Matt
  8. Hi all! I found a large old AIM Kiln at a thrift store for $50 , and it looks in good condition (pics attached). Based upon the badge specs of 230v 20amps, I had an electrician install a 240v outlet on a 30amp circuit. I fired it up and everything worked for a few minutes until it shut down, and wouldn't restart. After checking continuity through all the wiring, I decided to check voltage on the outlet. Sure enough it was out of whack. I called the electrician back and he confirmed that the circuit was fried. After connecting the kiln directly to the power drop at the circuit breaker we discovered that it was pulling 45-50 amps. The electrician pointed out tiny print on the label for the Kilnsitter indicating 45 amps! So, we were both confused. Why does the badge on the control box indicate 20 amps if the Kilnsitter, which is the distribution point for electricity to all three rings, needs 45? Even if it's simply extremely deceptive labeling (which is actually indicating that EACH RING requires 20 amps) wouldn't the sitter need at least 60 amps to function? Also, almost every kiln I've seen made by almost every manufacturer has an LT Kilnsitter indicating 45 or more amps -- regardless of the amp specs for each individual model (some as low as 15 amps). Is it true that any kiln with a sitter will require wiring up a 50 amp circuit (at a cost of around $800)? And finally, why would a Kilnsitter, which is simply a heat sensitive shut-off switch, dictate amps drawn? Can anyone shed some light on this seemingly ubiquitous contradiction in specs? Thanks! Matt
  9. oldlady, I like this tip. It has the benefit of being both scientific and graceful Just to be clear, do you do this to the plaster after it's been poured into the mold, or to mix it in the bucket, or both? Matt
  10. Good News! Today I opened the mold, flipped the board over and it's working beautifully -- no plaster comes off! I think it was similar to what you described High Bridge. I bet if I scraped off the top inch or so I'd have exposed solid plaster. Next time I'll definitely mix by hand. Thanks for all the advice!
  11. Mark, Good question. I did weigh both the water and the plaster, and added plaster to the water. Part of why this is perplexing is that I followed the USG product directions to the letter. At this stage all I can assume is that it is possible to over-vibrate the plaster once poured, or that the mixing must be done very slowly. Matt
  12. High Bridge, My memory is fuzzy (I let it set up for 3 weeks), but I think there might have been some surface pooling. Does that indicate something? Min, Thanks for your advice about hand mixing. I've noticed that other people do that, so I'll try that with the next one. I too am not a fan of dust -- too many allergies, and asthma.
  13. It just occurred to me that the photo I attached might be mis-leading. That is not a picture of the plaster board. It's the underside of the clay I wedged on it. All those specks of plaster got pulled into the clay leaving behind a pitted surface on the plaster board (seen in this attachment). Does this clarification change anyone's opinion, or is it all just a result from the same problem? Matt
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