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About neilestrick

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    Porcelain Pottery & Kiln Repair

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     Grayslake, IL

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  1. They are fragile, so you'll have to rely on your people being careful when loading and unloading the kilns. They'll last a really long time if you can avoid breaking them, though.
  2. Shouldn't be any difference. The element wire would be thicker, but the resistance and amperage draw would be the same. If you're going to be buying a lot of new kilns, it would also be worth checking out other brands to see what they have to offer, as they may be able to increase the efficiency of the maintenance requirements. Paragon and L&L, for example, don't need pins to hold the elements in place, which make element changes much faster. Have you considered type S thermocouples? With the volume of thermocouples you go through, they might make sense financially. This ca
  3. The cobalt could be mixed with water and painted on, but it'll probably smear or bleed when you brush a clear glaze onto it. Majolica method would be an easy way to go, or put some gum solution in your cobalt water mix so it hardens when dry.
  4. I would take a needle tool and carefully dig out around the handle and see if you can get it to loosen up with some twisting of the handle.
  5. Is the motor turning but the wheel head isn't, or is the motor buzzing but not turning? If there's a buzz but the motor doesn't turn, then maybe the motor has seized up from not being used. If the motor has a little access port that you can open and get to the insides, open it up and blow it out with some compressed air, or through louvers at the bottom of the motor. Also try rotating the wheel head as you engage the pedal, as that may loosen it up and get to working again. If the motor is turning but the wheel head isn't, then you probably need a new belt.
  6. I can't give you specific instructions, but assuming this is built like most wheels, typically everything is held together with set screws and bolts, and on most wheels it's fairly obvious how they go together once you get a good look at them. I'd start by removing any parts connected to the shaft, like the fly wheel and wheel head, so you can see how the bearings and shaft are assembled and mounted to the body.
  7. If you want to recycle clay, it sounds like this would be a good deal, even with car rental costs. Assuming it's in working condition.
  8. @bayanMM So you're only getting 150 or so firings from a set of relays? That's not all that uncommon for Skutt kilns. Their control boxes tend to run a little hot, and heat is what kills relays. The cooler the control box, the longer they'll last. One of my kilns had a set of relays that went almost 700 firings. SSR's will definitely last longer, but it's going to be an expensive upgrade for sure. SSR's will also improve element life, but I can't say just how much. I've never seen a test that shows how much better it actually is. Could be 5%, could be 25%. They won't improve the results f
  9. @Anne Lythgoe @47runner make sure your thermocouples are touching the ends of the protection tubes. To adjust them, loosen the screws in the porcelain block that holds the thermocouple, push the TC all the way forward until it hits the end of the tube, then tighten the screws. Also make sure that your thermocouple wire connections are tight, at the block, the terminal strip, and the controller. Has this always been a problem, or is it a new issue? How many firings do you have on the thermocouples and elements? That's a really old controller. That could be a problem. Old thermocouple
  10. @Anne Lythgoe Lots of possibilities, but first give us some more information: 1. How old is your kiln? 2. What firing schedule are you using? 3. What is the age of your elements and thermocouples? 4. What type of controller? 5. Have you changed the thermocouple offsets? What are they set at?
  11. Is the Cress a cone 10 kiln? I'd get a digital Cress over a manual Duncan any day.
  12. $120 for one element? That's incredibly high priced, like double what elements for most kilns cost. I'm also not a fan of lid elements, as they are difficult to replace, and when you do replace them it damages the bricks a little bit and they drop bits all over the top layer in the kiln. Not worth the hassle, and unnecessary. So I'd avoid the Paragon. The 18" width is very limiting. You can't fit serving bowls, platters, etc in a kiln this size, since the shelf is only 15.5" wide and the posts take up a couple more inches. They're good for small things like mugs and vases, but not much
  13. That's good idea if you want to make sure you're never experiencing any sort of temperature drift at all due to aging thermocouples, but in reality most people go 100-150 firings without any big issues. How long they last depends on how hot you're firing, if you're doing long soaks at high temp, what type of clay you're firing, if the kiln is vented or not, etc. A visual check of the TC condition and the occasional use of cones to check accuracy is really the best way to know when to change them.
  14. If it's single zone, then you have to load it to take advantage of hot spots and cold spots. If an area is running hot, load that area more densely. If it's running cold, load it looser. Also, are all of your elements the same age? If not, you could have some elements that are more worn out than others, resulting in uneven heating.
  15. I have my TC's about 3/8" from the end of the tubes, and I haven't seen any flaking into the kiln yet after about 20 firings. Definitely some flakes visible inside the tubes, though. So far so good.
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