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JDP

RETRO FITTING A KILN SITTER?

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Hi all I can see from other posts that you are a very helpful bunch

I am attempting to buy a second-hand front loader which has a simmerstat but no controller. Can't afford to retrofit a controller  and I have used kilns in the past with kiln sitters which are helpful enough to get the results I need. Is is possible to retro-fit a kiln sitter? As these are mechanical devices I suspect that would be more difficult than the electronics of a controller? I am UK based and my husband is an electrical engineer so we can deal with any technical stuff.

Thank you in advance

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No I don't have one, I need to find out if they can be bought separately as they seem mostly to be fitted to top loading hobby kilns. I wasn't sure how it would fit in to the electrics but maybe that's what the in-house electrical engineer will have to  figure out :rolleyes:

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Internal is 13.5 x 14 x 20 inches 24amps 220/240volts. I am trying to find out from the seller (on e-bay) what the top temp is but have had no response (!).  I also wondered if we could upgrade it with extra coils if it is rated below 1200Celsius 

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No, I want to fire stoneware. I think I may buy all the bits and build my own, that way we can make it fit the supply I have in the studio. It would be more fun anyway. 

Thanks everyone for your input

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You can put a sitter on it, but it won't cost that much more to build an external digital controller setup, and the digital system will be easier to build. A sitter will cost you $180US, a controller will cost $290. All supporting hardware (transformer, relay, thermocouple, outlet) can be had for under $100.

If you go with a Sitter, you'll need a vented box to mount it in, conduit, and wire to connect it to the existing control box on the kiln. You'll have to make sure you get the correct length sitter tube, which will depend on the depth of your mounting box and thickness of your kiln bricks.

You can't add more coils to the kiln, but you may be able to use different coils to increase the max temp of the kiln. You'd have to check with the manufacturer. Otherwise, you can find someone who rolls custom coils. Of course, it will draw more amperage then, which may mean upgrading the wires in the kiln, and will definitely mean larger service wires and breaker. At 2.2 cubic feet at 24 amps, it should go to cone 10.

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This is soo helpful, thank you very much. I think the costs here in the UK are higher as the cheapest controllers are over £300 GBP, but I absolutely take the point about the kiln sitter. I am going to do a load of research on elements and sizes etc to see what we can make. So I will be looking on the forum for any posts about electric kiln building. Thank you again for your help

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I've never met anyone who built their own electric kiln. It's nothing like building a gas kiln. You can't build your own electric kiln anywhere near as cheaply as you can buy a used one, and cutting element grooves in the brick is not something you should ever want to do. Add in the sheet metal, welding up a stand, building the control box and all the parts, a hinge system, and you'll be in way more than a $300 used kiln that just needs new elements and wires. Find a used kiln with bricks that are in good condition, and do what needs doing to the electrical system to make it work.

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Thanks Neil but you might be a bit shocked at the prices of second hand kilns on eBay here in the UK. Small 13amp top loading hobby kilns go for upwards of 660GBP, around USD860, and that is WITHOUT a controller. I can get the parts I need for around GBP400 plus a controller and have an in-house electrical engineer to help. It is not going to be a big kiln as I only have 3.5kw to play with but it will get me started again after a long time away.  I have some basic instructions from one of my old books from the 1970s and insulation materials technology has come a long way since then. I may look at trying to import a controller from the US if the voltage is not incompatible as they are less than half the price of UK models.Anyway I do love a project. Even if it only works for bisque it will be a start and I'll learn something. Thanks for the advice though you may turn out to be very right and I'll have to use the materials for a gas kiln.

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I have been looking for a second hand kiln which just needs new elements etc for months and they are like hen's teeth but will keep looking.  I wish it were possible to get the kind of deal Liambesaw managed with his )$75 kiln - very jealous

Edited by JDP

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27 minutes ago, JDP said:

I have been looking for a second hand kiln which just needs new elements etc for months and they are like hen's teeth but will keep looking.  I wish it were possible to get the kind of deal Liambesaw managed with his )$75 kiln - very jealous

I found mine on Craigslist but there are a lot of places way better than eBay to look.  Facebook marketplace is one of them, another is a pottery store!  Should be plenty of old kilns in the UK

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Thanks Liambesaw. I have been looking in various places for months but it is very different here. There aren't the amazing deals you can get in the USA sadly. It must be a supply and demand issue. We are a much smaller population.

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That was a good deal. Haven't seen anything remotely close to that. I'm in the South now but happy to travel to collect. Can always visit rellies if it's north of Newcastle.

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liam, do you still have the sitter you removed?   maybe you can send it to jdp for the price of postage?   i think i have an old one somewhere but it would take some time to find it  (if it is all there).

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It looks like a slightly bigger model to mine but I think the floors have metal underneath and wheels on the bottom. At least that's how mine is.

Probably a little more than 13amp too as the description says use oven socket.

The lids are not great on these kilns.

If the electrics are good and the kiln sitter and elements work it's a bargain for something to get you back into the game. Even just for the brick structure I would buy it if I was closer and had space for it.

 

Turns out it's only an 8 hour round trip <_< hmmm :lol: I will control my hoarding instincts. 

Edited by High Bridge Pottery

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14 hours ago, High Bridge Pottery said:

The one in the ebay link is in the south-east. Looks ok for £100

This is all really kind of yuo, I can't see an ebay link anywhere? Most of the eBay kilns get massively ramped up in price with the auction. I'll see what I can find by searching eBay again. Thank you

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3 hours ago, High Bridge Pottery said:

It looks like a slightly bigger model to mine but I think the floors have metal underneath and wheels on the bottom. At least that's how mine is.

Probably a little more than 13amp too as the description says use oven socket.

The lids are not great on these kilns.

If the electrics are good and the kiln sitter and elements work it's a bargain for something to get you back into the game. Even just for the brick structure I would buy it if I was closer and had space for it.

 

Turns out it's only an 8 hour round trip <_< hmmm :lol: I will control my hoarding instincts. 

Is it the one in Plymouth with a starting bid of £100? The Buy now price is £250. Can't see where it says it needs a cooker/30amp point. I have a 16amp/3.5kW supply in my workspace so I guess I could modify the electrics  and certainly use the bricks.

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13 hours ago, neilestrick said:

The wall bricks look really good. Lid looks a little sketchy, maybe a fiber rebuild job, hard to tell from the photo. If the floor is in good condition it's a buy.

Thanks for the advice Neil

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