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Roberta12

Drooping elements

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I wanted to name this post "oh poop" but decided against that.  I changed the elements and thermocouples yesterday, then ran a fast glaze cone 5 load.  The ramps and temps were spot on.  I opened the lid this morning to find this.   This is the first time this has happened and my husband asked "were the elements too short? Were they all seated in the channels?"  I have to say, no they weren't.  They were slightly extending but to my way of thinking they would have settled back into the channels.  But I was wrong.  So my question is, can I heat them up with a torch and poke them back in the channel??  I really don't want to purchase new elements.  ugh.  Next question, how long before I am no longer making stupid mistakes?????

elements 2.jpg

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Folk do it.. there are posts here.look forward to many forward bending asanas:-((

Were they the right ones for yoyr kiln.

There are little "pins" you can purchase to hold the now stretched elements in place.

Not a nice job Roberta. All the best.

Hope Neil has a gentle on the body solution for you.

Looks likec. they stretch was just as they come through the wall.

Your last question.....mistakes are where learning occurs. Fast becoming my mantra

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52 minutes ago, Roberta12 said:

I wanted to name this post "oh poop" but decided against that.  I changed the elements and thermocouples yesterday, then ran a fast glaze cone 5 load.  The ramps and temps were spot on.  I opened the lid this morning to find this.   This is the first time this has happened and my husband asked "were the elements too short? Were they all seated in the channels?"  I have to say, no they weren't.  They were slightly extending but to my way of thinking they would have settled back into the channels.  But I was wrong.  So my question is, can I heat them up with a torch and poke them back in the channel??  I really don't want to purchase new elements.  ugh.  Next question, how long before I am no longer making stupid mistakes?????

elements 2.jpg

I would put them back in with a torch regardless, you are stuck. The key is to not compress them so much that the coils touch. You have only fired them once so they still should be reasonably flexible and you may be able to remove and judiciously shrink them until you can neatly get them back in. This is odd that they moved out this much  so hopefully they were cut to the right length to begin with and are the right elements.  Next time maybe corner pins if you are going to replace with the same.

Since this is L&L  with their element channels, Neil may have seen this and have an idea.

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Thanks @Bill Kielb  Yes, they are the right ones.  I truly do have the best phone support.  A service guy in Portland but  I always have to stretch them a bit, maybe 3 inches in order to get them seated in the channels.  And I am very cautious about stretching them too much.  I think I erred in the other direction.  Should I put the torch right on the element, then poke it in the channel??

 

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41 minutes ago, Roberta12 said:

Thanks @Bill Kielb  Yes, they are the right ones.  I truly do have the best phone support.  A service guy in Portland but  I always have to stretch them a bit, maybe 3 inches in order to get them seated in the channels.  And I am very cautious about stretching them too much.  I think I erred in the other direction.  Should I put the torch right on the element, then poke it in the channel??

 

You may have to take up some slack elsewhere so judiciously anywhere you heat it red hot it will bend like butter. Some of those areas look to be out so much that if you collapsed them right at that point all the coils would then be touching. Try and find locations that are stretched a little excessively and you should be able to gain som room in these other other areas to help you put these back in without coils touching the adjacent coil. Your elements are very likely flexible enough that you can gingerly remove a foot or two to work on. Ultimately you will need enough room to shrink the sections back in with the torch. You can try heating areas of the elements that are stretched a bit more while in the channel and often these areas will shrink when you do this providing room for you to then heat the crawled areas and place them in more easily. Patience and good luck! I once put a  kiln back together where nearly all the elements had crawled out nearly everywhere.  It took time, but it ended up pretty perfect and is still firing today.

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With L&L elements, they must be seated into the corners when you install them. They ship the elements slightly short, so that means either putting them into the corners so they're springy and under tension, or stretching them further so they lay into the corners without any tension. Personally, I prefer the latter. With new kilns they tend to hold under tension just fine, but with older kilns where everything has shifted a bit it's easier to have them lay into the corners without tension.

As for your predicament, they should still be quite flexible and stretchy after only one firing, so you should be able to get them into the corners without breaking them. If you have to torch them, do so, but I don't think you'll need to. A little bending here and there with needle nose pliers, and possibly crimping the coils back together where it's drooped a lot and you should be fine.

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Jam those miscreants back into shape.  

My kiln has some droopers courtesy of the previous owner, they don't affect the firings so much, but they sure are ugly.  I've tried torching and pinning them but they're just so noncompliant that I have given up.  Luckily I have a set of brand new elements, I'm just waiting to install them.  I have fired my kiln 41 times since I got it and the dang elements are still more than capable of reaching cone 6 in record time.  Come on kiln, let's get along!

I think Ill be replacing the thermocouple before the elements, seeing as how I had a shelf collapse last night and it bent the TC at a 90 degree angle.  But it still is registering the temperature correctly too, so who knows.  

Kiln maintenance, the untold harrows of being a self sufficient Potter.

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If can't get into groove, pin the in a few places where they droop ..wire, right stuff of course, staples into brick work..lessens the droop into the future.

Nice to read that your task won't be so onerous.

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thanks for the good words.  I did put the elements back in the channels.  Is the one I have a close up of going to be a problem since it's wonky?  I did the paper test and all elements were firing.  Whew!  

I really appreciate your help.

Roberta

repaired elements.jpg

repaired number 2.jpg

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This happened to me once. I had overstretched an element a little, and it came drooping out on the first firing just like yours. It was still flexible enough to nudge it back into place. It looked a little wonky just like yours, but from then on it had a normal life span. 

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I'd be putting pins/ posts dont know right term on any area where they are not sitting down into the channels.

A couple where they hit the beginning of the channels on coming through the wall of kiln. Also where they are looping upward away from bed of channels. And in the corners.

Don't give them a chance to slip out and stretch or they will.

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Place, white triangular ceramic pins into brick above the element.

Tried to post pic but not small emough....

The elements will expand and if not contained will spew out again.

Experience talking here. I'll get to my comp. And shrink photo

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5 hours ago, Babs said:

How do you manage to chisel them clean....dont get them contaminated in first place I guess.

If you have a melted element or a glaze spill, one section of the channel (about 4 inches long) can be removed and replaced. 

And to agree with Neil, if the element is tucked in correctly, the corners of the channel act like pins and hold the element in place. It’s a very smart design. The inside of my 16 yr old L&L looks new. I’ve replace maybe three sections of channel over the years. 

Roberta’s elements will soon lose their flexibility and will no longer be able to pop out. 

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8 hours ago, Babs said:

Lhs 2nd and 3rd elements down look a bit vulnerable. See what you mean by hard brick channels. 

How do you manage to chisel them clean....dont get them contaminated in first place I guess.

Last year a chunk of glaze fell into one small section of the channel, burning out the element and messing up the channel..  We took the kiln apart and removed that brick/channel and put it all back together.  Yeah, pins won't work but I think they are properly seated in the channels now.  That is the beauty of the L&L.  I ran a bisque load last night. When it cools I hope to find all the elements still in their channels.  If not, I will work on it.    Potters are handy people! And not easily discouraged!  I only have occasional moments of panic now.  :D

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