Ode to kiln controllers... - WarmGlass.com

Ode to kiln controllers...

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Morganica
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Ode to kiln controllers...

Postby Morganica » Sun May 10, 2015 5:54 pm

Small whine ahead--please ignore 'cause I just need to vent.

However did we fire stuff without a computer controller?

Somebody at work was selling a tiny kiln with an infinite switch--cheap--so I got it for firing PMC and test samples. Two firings later, and I'm about ready to throw this thing across the room. I cannot believe that I used to fire EVERYTHING with an infinite switch.

Of course, when I was using that old kiln I didn't stick thermocouples into the kiln and hook up a data logger so I'd know just how wildly the temperature was fluctuating inside that kiln. Now I can see 30-degree temperature swings every time I touch that dial. If the pieces weren't so tiny they'd be exploding. I've got a firing schedule coming up that calls for holding the process temp at 1450F for an HOUR...yeah, like THAT's gonna happen...

Wow. Maybe it's just better not to know.

I have a feeling there will be a tiny kiln with an infinite switch for sale very soon. This is driving me nuts.

End of whine.
Cynthia Morgan
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Kate Saunders
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Re: Ode to kiln controllers...

Postby Kate Saunders » Sun May 10, 2015 6:26 pm

Ha ha, I'm about to dig out of storage and hook up my ancient first kiln, sans kiln controller, to anneal glass beads in. I'm already dreading it and eyeballing those really nice little annealing kilns....

Marty
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Re: Ode to kiln controllers...

Postby Marty » Sun May 10, 2015 10:32 pm

We walked around with timers and we looked in the kiln a lot. Faith-based annealing.

Bert Weiss
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Re: Ode to kiln controllers...

Postby Bert Weiss » Mon May 11, 2015 9:29 am

A couple of decades ago, I visited Murano. Every shop I went in to used a "garage: for annealing. This was a large brick oven that was set at a temperature, probably 920ºF. At the end of the day, they would shut off the heat and let it cool. I was pretty much shocked. They have been at this for a while. It works for them...
Bert

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Terry Gallentine
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Re: Ode to kiln controllers...

Postby Terry Gallentine » Mon May 11, 2015 11:58 am

I have been working without kiln controllers for many years. Most of my work is relatively thin and pretty consistent in thickness. I usually let the kiln cool at its own rate through the annealing cycle and I haven't had any issues yet. The natural cooling rate is affected by the amount of kiln furniture (shelves and molds) in the kiln and this increased thermal mass seems to slow cooling adequately for me. Since I am not firing thicker pieces, my overall firing times are relatively short so I can monitor the temps on an hourly basis without too many problems. I am considering a controller for soaks and just so I have some some high temp shutoff security. Kiln controllers are nice but not a necessity for everybody.

MarkNotMarc
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Re: Ode to kiln controllers...

Postby MarkNotMarc » Mon May 11, 2015 1:07 pm

Cynthia,

Maybe you just need a side hobby like throwing ceramic mugs (on the potters wheel, not at the wall) lol

Mark

Morganica
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Re: Ode to kiln controllers...

Postby Morganica » Mon May 11, 2015 2:24 pm

Well, if you go back to the time of the ancient glassmakers, they didn't even had kilns; they had brick-lined pits and ovens they fired with charcoal and their "kiln controllers" were slaves or small boys detailed to watch the firings overnight. I guess it worked, because stuff like this is still pretty much intact after more than 2000 years:
Image

Mark, I've tried throwing--my mom's an incredible artist on the potter's wheel--and if you think that kiln is gonna hit the opposite wall of my studio you should see the blotches of clay that were trying to be ceramic mugs on the wheel, but now closely resemble something from Jackson Pollock... Apparently potter's wheel talent skips a generation. ;-)
Cynthia Morgan
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JestersBaubles
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Re: Ode to kiln controllers...

Postby JestersBaubles » Mon May 11, 2015 2:55 pm

I bought my first little kiln, a Paragon SC-2, with a bead door, window, and controller. I don't use the bead door (since once I started fusing I tossed the torch), the window gives me the warm fuzzies, but I don't know what I would do without a controller... probably never fire very much!

I always thought if anything happened to the hubby, I would get a pool boy. I guess what I really need is a kiln boy! :mrgreen:

Dana W.

Jordan Kube
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Re: Ode to kiln controllers...

Postby Jordan Kube » Mon May 11, 2015 4:23 pm

One thing they have going for them in Murano is the convection in their ovens. It's not something most people have in their electric kilns.

Tom Fuhrman
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Re: Ode to kiln controllers...

Postby Tom Fuhrman » Mon May 11, 2015 6:16 pm

Electronic controllers have allowed fusing to be easily accessible to 1000's. without them I doubt nearly as many would be involved. I wonder what will happen to all those when the fused glass manufacturers cease to exist. how many will make their own glass? prior to the late 70's we had no compatible glass manufacturers or controllers. We actually had to think outside the box and learn a lot by trial and error. but we had fun!

Marty
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Re: Ode to kiln controllers...

Postby Marty » Mon May 11, 2015 6:35 pm

Tom- backintheday... No kids, no college funds, no health insurance. Cheap rent, lots of work available, we bought cars for $50, the dope was cheap, we were happy with beans and rice and roadkill etc.
It was fun.

nbobb
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Re: Ode to kiln controllers...

Postby nbobb » Mon May 18, 2015 6:13 pm

Roadkill??? LOL. Don't think I ever resorted to that, but the other stuff, yeah...
Nancy Bobb
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Ed Cantarella
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Re: Ode to kiln controllers...

Postby Ed Cantarella » Fri Mar 16, 2018 9:50 pm

My first kiln. Caldera, dial temperature meter. Not the big one they have now - like maybe a 2"(5 cm.) square. LOL. Yeap, timer. Sometimes the phone rang or nature called. Glass died a fiery death.
HER last words were, "I'm melting, melting . . . " Dissenting opinions generally welcome for comic relief or personal edification. Sometimes both.


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