[Clayart] controllers/safety

Owen Dearing owen at mugrevolution.com
Fri Oct 26 12:40:05 EDT 2018



> 
> 
> It would seem there are two possible reasons why anyone would actually need a computer controlled kiln. One of course would be the ability to change settings without having to be present. And the other would be if you are firing a very finicky glaze that needs really precise temperature control during downfiring. 
> 
> Given all the electrical issues that occur with a manual kiln  it would seem the added expense and issues of an electronic controller would prevent most people from going the electronic controller route.
> 
> And I would think that Kiln manufacturers would know exactly what the recommended operating temperatures for their kiln components are. 
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> 
> Paul
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>> 

Hi Paul,

I have been firing a home built natural gas firing kiln for 25 years now, I’ve built basically the same kiln 4 times over the years between moves and doing refinements to the original design. 

I’ve been getting interested in clay body formulation and have been finding that it’s just too long for me to wait 2 months (my average time between firings in the big gas kiln) to get results. So, I put my feelers out and got a decent deal on a small test kiln that can only be fired with a controller. One firing and I was sold - this (the computer controlled kiln) is a great tool to have. As you probably know, and as far as I can tell, virtually all brand new kilns are computer controlled. I think that Mel had to order a custom built manually firing electric kiln a few years back. I do all my bisque firing in an ancient large oval kiln and turning up the switches every few hours has never been a problem. The same would be true if I drove a model T with a crank start at the front of the engine. It still works great, but isn’t it nice to get into a new car and not even need a key to start the engine?

Long story short, I am looking towards cutting back the amount of time I spend making pots in the next few years, and I want to get a smaller kiln. This will involve electric (my choice), reformulating my clay and glazes to cone 6, and I think it will allow me to keep my hands in the mud without it being the entire immersion of my focus, while at the same time allowing me to continue a smaller revenue stream as I go into a semi-retirement mode.

Thanks to all who have chimed in on my error message problem. My electrician buddy happened by yesterday so I got him to take a look and he says there’s no need to buy the whole box, the wiring is pristine. He noted that one of the wires on one of the relays was showing signs of having been overheated, and he wondered if a fried relay would give that unknown error message. He didn’t have his ohm meter with him, but will stop by at some point in the next few weeks to test it for me. So at least I know that I don’t need to spend the extra +-$350 for the replacement of the full box. I may well need a new controller and relays replaced but no biggie. I’m looking at a virtually brand new kiln at about a third the cost of a new one even with the new controller. I’m counting my lucky stars on that deal for sure. I look at this kiln as my bridge kiln to work out the kinks of going to electric cone 6 firing, once I know for sure that’s what the definite future, I will invest in a more robust kiln. The L&L and the ConeArt kilns are the ones I’m considering but that’s a topic to discuss in 2020!

Cheers, Owen



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