Kiln element dropping dust - WarmGlass.com

Kiln element dropping dust

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barclayb
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Kiln element dropping dust

Postby barclayb » Mon Jul 21, 2014 5:23 pm

I have a Skutt Hotstart, and the element is in the lid and isn't enclosed. The pins loosen every time I fire and the element jiggles around some; brick dust falls into the chamber (luckily it seems to happen after the glass has re-solidified).

Question: is there something I can do to enclose the element? Some barrier to put between it and the glass?

[I recently replaced the lid because of kiln dust issues where dust was falling before the glass solidified. It's not a new problem.]
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Arnold Howard
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Re: Kiln element dropping dust

Postby Arnold Howard » Tue Jul 22, 2014 1:11 pm

Is the element bulging out of the groove?

Sincerely,

Arnold Howard
Paragon Industries, L.P., Mesquite, Texas USA
ahoward@paragonweb.com / www.paragonweb.com

barclayb
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Re: Kiln element dropping dust

Postby barclayb » Tue Jul 22, 2014 5:10 pm

Arnold Howard wrote:Is the element bulging out of the groove?


The new one isn't bulging out; the previous one was. Apparently it was moving around and causing brick dust to drop. The pins fall out very easily. The new lid (a month old) already has pins loosening, with every firing.

I replaced the kiln lid, complete with new element. (I'm coming to hate that top element.)

I've vacuumed the lid pretty thoroughly with a shop vac (which could be better - it doesn't have one of those nozzle tools).

And it's dropping dust, luckily after the glass returns to a solid state. (The reason I replaced the lid was that dust was falling before that and getting incorporated into the glass. Ick.)

I'll message you. :)
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Arnold Howard
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Re: Kiln element dropping dust

Postby Arnold Howard » Tue Jul 22, 2014 5:27 pm

barclayb wrote:The new one isn't bulging out; the previous one was. Apparently it was moving around and causing brick dust to drop. The pins fall out very easily. The new lid (a month old) already has pins loosening, with every firing.


Is the dust coming from where the pins are loose?

Sincerely,

Arnold Howard
Paragon Industries, L.P., Mesquite, Texas USA
ahoward@paragonweb.com / www.paragonweb.com

Drewcilla
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Re: Kiln element dropping dust

Postby Drewcilla » Wed Jul 23, 2014 12:21 pm

I have a Skutt Firebox and have been having the same problem--kiln debris and pins falling out. I can't tell if the debris is where the pins fell or not. I have not been able to get the pins back in. My glass dealer recommended that I NOT vacuum the top.

Since my Kiln is in the garage I've wondered if maybe vibrations from car driving in causes the problem. Anyway, I try to remember to wipe the top with a cloth before I put glass in to fire.

Drewcilla

barclayb
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Re: Kiln element dropping dust

Postby barclayb » Sun Jul 27, 2014 11:09 pm

Drewcilla wrote:I have a Skutt Firebox and have been having the same problem--kiln debris and pins falling out. I can't tell if the debris is where the pins fell or not. I have not been able to get the pins back in. My glass dealer recommended that I NOT vacuum the top.

Since my Kiln is in the garage I've wondered if maybe vibrations from car driving in causes the problem. Anyway, I try to remember to wipe the top with a cloth before I put glass in to fire.

Drewcilla


Well, it's reassuring that someone else is having a similar issue. (Sorry!) It was the Skutt manual that recommended vacuuming the top of a new kiln lid ... ??? I'm pretty sure that my next kiln won't be a Skutt.

Do you wipe the inside of the kiln lid? Does it help?

Thanks, Drewcilla!
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Drewcilla
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Re: Kiln element dropping dust

Postby Drewcilla » Mon Jul 28, 2014 11:36 am

Yes, I was wiping the inside with a cloth. But, I just read in the fusedglass.org ebook on Ending Fused Glass Disasters that they recommend using a vacuum very close to the top but without actually touching it. So, that's what I tried yesterday. Hope it helps. Also, I read somewhere that if the brick material is crumbling, you can get a special cement to paint on the brick. My kiln is only a year and a half old.

barclayb
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Re: Kiln element dropping dust

Postby barclayb » Sat Aug 09, 2014 3:07 pm

Drewcilla wrote:Yes, I was wiping the inside with a cloth. But, I just read in the fusedglass.org ebook on Ending Fused Glass Disasters that they recommend using a vacuum very close to the top but without actually touching it. So, that's what I tried yesterday. Hope it helps. Also, I read somewhere that if the brick material is crumbling, you can get a special cement to paint on the brick. My kiln is only a year and a half old.


Thanks, Drewcilla, I didn't know about fusedglass.org!

I've been taking a continuing ed pottery class, to build a few molds, and the teacher said that a kiln shouldn't do that until you'd been using it maybe 4 or 5 years. That's good affirmation that this isn't normal, which is somehow reassuring.

Thanks for bringing up the kiln cement. I got some and it started cracking, too, on the next full fuse. Then I used a dental pick to chip out flaking brick and cement. Some of it was really soft (spongy). Not sure if it was a good idea to chip all that out (without filling it back in) but I think the problem is somehow related to the pins sliding out (on every damn kiln run).
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DonMcClennen
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Re: Kiln element dropping dust

Postby DonMcClennen » Sat Aug 09, 2014 9:29 pm

I think most of us vacuum our lids on a regular basis. I vacuum agresssively with a powerful shop vac. With the expansion and contraction of the heating and cooling elements some wear (dust) is bound to occur. I vacuum often my Euclid and my Evenheat kilns (16yrs. old) . I would doubt if the manf. of your kiln is to blame. I would also advise against "crash cooling" ... this practice will increase element movement and shorten element life!
"The Glassman"

Drewcilla
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Re: Kiln element dropping dust

Postby Drewcilla » Sun Aug 17, 2014 2:55 pm

Thanks, Don. I had good results when I was vacuuming with my shop vac. Then I was warned against it. I will go back to doing that.

Drewcilla

Jerrwel
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Re: Kiln element dropping dust

Postby Jerrwel » Sun Aug 17, 2014 3:47 pm

barclayb wrote:I have a Skutt Hotstart, and the element is in the lid and isn't enclosed. The pins loosen every time I fire and the element jiggles around some; brick dust falls into the chamber (luckily it seems to happen after the glass has re-solidified).

Question: is there something I can do to enclose the element? Some barrier to put between it and the glass?

[I recently replaced the lid because of kiln dust issues where dust was falling before the glass solidified. It's not a new problem.]


My solution to the pins falling out was to buy nichrome wire, cut the wire into ~1 1/4 inch pieces, and replace fallen pins by pushing one end of the wire piece into one side of the element channel and then the other end into the opposite side of the channel with needle-nosed pliers. None of my wire replacements have dropped out while I still experience the original pins dropping; all the pins will eventually be replaced. Have had no dust problems since I started this process; I also vacuum the lid, but not aggressively.
Jerry

barclayb
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Re: Kiln element dropping dust

Postby barclayb » Sun Aug 31, 2014 12:42 am

It's pretty bad. There are fissures in the lid and one chunk, that's holding in about 1 foot of coil, could easily be pulled off and is likely to fall anyway. The channel is too narrow for me to get wire in crosswise. I've tried patching it some with kiln brick cement but without much success. Some of the chunks have been about 3/4". Where it looks like the brick is bulging out, the brick is bulging out.

I should have emailed Skutt before posting here and will do that right away.

Meanwhile here are a few photos; this just doesn't seem like it should be normal for a new kiln lid.

[Photo doesn't do it justice.]
Attachments
kiln lid for Skutt 002 zoom 2.JPG
fissure.jpg
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Buttercup
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Re: Kiln element dropping dust

Postby Buttercup » Mon Sep 01, 2014 4:07 am

This seems to be a recurring problem with kilns with brick lids. I've never had one so am only guessing that the problem might be addressed by revising the way the element is held in the lid. Recently my brick kiln needed the lid rewired. As this is a home-made kiln we just repeated what was done originally and I took photos in case they could help someone else. There has never been a problem with anything falling from the lid.

Would it be possible to do away with the brick in the lid and replace it with Ceramaguard or some other suitable high density fibreboard? I don't know what holds the brick in place in the kilns that are causing so much grief but a slight modification might allow the change. One of the nice things about HD fibreboard is the fact that it can easily be cut to any shape. Here are some photos. This is a rectangular lid but it could be any shape.

DSC02478.jpg
New lid liner prep viewed from underside. Note the 25 mil Ceramic fibreboard. The strips will be attached and they seal the lid when it closes.

DSC02479.jpg
new lid liner viewed from underneath with elements reinstalled. The elements are held snug to the liner with 'u' shaped wire loops poked through from the underside and bent at 90 deg. on top so they don't dislodge.


DSC02480.jpg
Flipped right side up. The element ends are poking through. The little marks that look like ants are the bent ends of the wires securing the elements. Ceramic fibre blanket covers it and insulates it from the expanded metal lid. The element ends were brought up safely to the connectors in an enclosure on top of the expanded metal lid.

DonMcClennen
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Re: Kiln element dropping dust

Postby DonMcClennen » Mon Sep 01, 2014 10:52 am

It appears from your photo that the "bulging" piece between element grooves has actually fractured from the lid itself.You can see the break up inside the element channel.... could this have been caused from a dropping of the lid?? This will call for major lid reconstruction or replacement. Don
"The Glassman"

barclayb
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Re: Kiln element dropping dust

Postby barclayb » Tue Sep 02, 2014 1:57 am

Buttercup wrote:This seems to be a recurring problem with kilns with brick lids. I've never had one so am only guessing that the problem might be addressed by revising the way the element is held in the lid. Recently my brick kiln needed the lid rewired. As this is a home-made kiln we just repeated what was done originally and I took photos in case they could help someone else. There has never been a problem with anything falling from the lid.


I'm seriously impressed! And reassured that there's a solution - not having a brick inner-lid. I admire you who build your own kilns. You're generous to share your techniques.

I'm frankly too impatient and uncoordinated to build a kiln or rebuild a lid. I just want to make simple things for us, our family, and friends -- bowls, incense burners, candle holders, and maybe some tiles per Richard LaLonde (who is an awesome teacher).

I bet you've helped plenty of other people by posting this.


DonMcClennen wrote:It appears from your photo that the "bulging" piece between element grooves has actually fractured from the lid itself.You can see the break up inside the element channel.... could this have been caused from a dropping of the lid?? This will call for major lid reconstruction or replacement. Don


Nope, no drops. Just gentle closing. It's broken quite a bit more in the past 2 days. (I'm going to keep using it up until the Death Knell and plan to get a fiber-lid kiln.)


Question 1: do the fiber-lid kilns shed fiber particles?

Question 2: does it really matter where the elements are in a, say, 14" x 14" kiln chamber at 1450 degrees? At that temp, it seems as if the heat in a smallish space would be evenly distributed. (Vague, vague memories from thermodynamics class ...)
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Buttercup
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Re: Kiln element dropping dust

Postby Buttercup » Tue Sep 02, 2014 3:29 am

Quote :I'm seriously impressed! And reassured that there's a solution - not having a brick inner-lid. I admire you who build your own kilns. You're generous to share your techniques.


Basked in the praise for a full thirty seconds but have to confess: It's home-made in the sense that it was made for me by a friend. Not 'home-made' by me but we did tackle the lid rebuild. The rest is just a brick box in an angle-iron frame with rods threaded through the bricks to keep it all together, and a hinged expanded metal lid, like the old kilns at Pilchuck. That's where I got the inspiration. I think we'd be confident to build one if necessary. So much help and information is available, on this board, on the 'net and from component suppliers. If you tell the element supplier the area to be heated and the maximum temp. they'll know what to supply. Some people wind their own elements but that's outside my realm. I'm also lucky enough to have an electrician neighbour who re-connected it safely.

Nothing has ever flaked off the HD fibreboard in my kiln. That's just my experience but I've never heard of it happening. As for the positioning of the elements it probably depends on what you want to do. When the top-fired brick kiln was in rehab I fired painted glass in a small side-element ceramic kiln. It has the elements dropped into grooves in the brick in such a way that there is no direct exposure of the glass to the elements as there would be with surface-mounted elements, or even elements in grooves perpendicular to the brick surface. I believe I've read on WGB that side elements are better for 'drops'. I know top firing provides more even distribution of heat across the whole piece with flat glass. I'm sure you'll get answers from more knowledgeable people. Jen

Arnold Howard
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Re: Kiln element dropping dust

Postby Arnold Howard » Tue Sep 02, 2014 12:11 pm

barclayb wrote:Meanwhile here are a few photos; this just doesn't seem like it should be normal for a new kiln lid.


It is difficult to tell from the photos, but it appears that the kiln cement patches have been applied too thick. The coating must be very thin, or it will form little cracks and flake right off. The cracks that form when the coating is too thick typically look like the network of fissures in dried mud puddles.

Sincerely,

Arnold Howard
Paragon Industries, L.P., Mesquite, Texas USA
ahoward@paragonweb.com / www.paragonweb.com

barclayb
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Re: Kiln element dropping dust

Postby barclayb » Tue Sep 02, 2014 9:39 pm

Skutt has kindly offered to replace the lid with one that doesn't use pins; I'm excited to try it!
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(pronounced Barkley)
servant of cats


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