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  #1  
Old 2009-04-15, 10:42pm
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Default What Kiln do you recomend

I find my self in a position of needing a new Kiln, I have been using a Jen Ken af3p with the bead door for a couple years and have been very happy with it. However due to a seperation I now need to purchase a new kiln. I work mostly with boro making pendants and the ocasional sculpture. I plan do do some bead making, not my favorite thing to do but I've got a decent supply of soft glass so I might as well use it. I really enjoyed the interior size of the af3p as it is 11 inches wide on the inside. I like the idea of a front loader however it seems to find one of similer capacity the price is way more that I have.

So please chime in and let me know what your recommendations are.
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  #2  
Old 2009-04-15, 11:00pm
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What is your price point? I prefer Paragons myself and would suggest the Paragon Bluebird XL from someplace like Clay King http://www.clay-king.com/paragon_bluebird_xl.html or if funds are limited the regular version http://www.clay-king.com/itempbluebird.htm.

Mike A's new Kiln http://www.auralens.net/kiln_beadannealer.cfm looks interesting, but I am not sure when it will be a for sale to the public.

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  #3  
Old 2009-04-15, 11:43pm
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Thank you for those recomendations I had not see them. I have been looking at the paragon SC3 beacuse I like the size of the door, which would enable loading scuplture work. I have seen the AF3p on ebay for around $590 delivered and was hoping to keep my expenditure below 700. Although "Mike A's" looks like it would be awesome as far as size and it is listed at 799. I am torn between buying what I can afford and buying what I think I will need in the future.
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  #4  
Old 2009-04-16, 12:22am
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  #5  
Old 2009-04-16, 1:10am
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AIm 99ls/d is a great deal. Check out the melting pot forum and look for someone by the name kgd who sells em on the forum(he's also the new owner of AIM) i bought one recently for 650.
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  #6  
Old 2009-04-16, 2:43am
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I second the aim kiln. I use a 9169 and never had any problems with it.
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  #7  
Old 2009-04-16, 5:28am
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i use an aim 9169 too and like it.

i have also owned a paragon f120, which was nice.

you should buy what you can afford, but try to get a digital controller, it will make annealing cycles much easier.

i also own evenheat and jen ken kilns they all seem to work fine.
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  #8  
Old 2009-04-16, 5:54am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J.Meader View Post
Thank you for those recomendations I had not see them. I have been looking at the paragon SC3 beacuse I like the size of the door, which would enable loading scuplture work. I have seen the AF3p on ebay for around $590 delivered and was hoping to keep my expenditure below 700. Although "Mike A's" looks like it would be awesome as far as size and it is listed at 799. I am torn between buying what I can afford and buying what I think I will need in the future.
http://www.auralens.net/kiln_beadannealer.cfm
Mike mentioned to me last night he might be selling the original RANA kiln he's used in his studio. You might want to send him an e-mail (mike@auralens.com).

The interior is 12" wide x 12" deep and 4" high, with one door.
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  #9  
Old 2009-04-16, 6:56am
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I have an Arrow Springs kiln and when I ordered it I ordered an extra ring so that when I do sculpture I can put in the ring to get the height, but when I do beads I don't have to heat up that extra space. It has worked well since around '94 with no problem whatsoever. It has a bead door and the top opens also.
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  #10  
Old 2009-04-16, 8:01am
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Good morning everyone, I am feeling the love for the af3p. I will checkout the Aim Kilns (when I get to work ) Has anybody had any experience with the Kilns from Mike A ? I like the size but am worried about relieablility since I know nothing about them. Are the Paragon and Aim Kilns reliable ?

I would love to support Arrow Springs as they are about 10 miles from me, but unless I am reading the priceing incorrect they seem to be rather expensive since you purchase the kiln seperate from the digital controler (which I feel is a MUST) Let me know if I wrong on this.
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  #11  
Old 2009-04-16, 8:13am
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I'm going to second the Arrow Springs kilns...made well, built to last....and spendy, yes. But, you pretty much get what you pay for. And, you could pick it up...no shipping expense! I've had mine running almost daily for 4 yrs...friends have run theirs daily for over 10 yrs without any problems at all.
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Old 2009-04-16, 8:16am
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And one more positive thing about the AS kiln/controller, the unattached controller can be used on other kilns, in case you decide to size up at some point in time.
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  #13  
Old 2009-04-16, 8:26am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J.Meader View Post
Has anybody had any experience with the Kilns from Mike A ? I like the size but am worried about relieablility since I know nothing about them.
As far as reliability is concerned:

Mike has been making kilns since 2002 and has built over 200 of them; they are being used by glass workers around the world. He/we warranty them for 5 full years including the heater(s), contactor(s) and controller (except for electrical spikes).

One thing to watch for on Paragon kilns: they do not wire the kilns to meet the National Electrical Code. Kilns like the Bluebird XL draw 14 amps, and should be run on 20 amp circuits with a 20 amp plug on the end. Instead they claim that the kiln can be used on a 15 amp circuit and it has a 15 amp plug on it. NEC states that the maximum load on a circuit can be no more than 80% of its rating; a 15 amp circuit has a max load of 12 amps.

A number of their kilns, including 240 volt models, do not meet the requirements of the NEC.
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  #14  
Old 2009-04-16, 10:14am
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Just a quick correction, Paragon does say that the BlueBird XL needs a 20 amp circuit,. For some reason they put a standard plug on them which is not correct acording to NEC.

Next time I am home, I might run over and ask them what's up with that since they know me fairly well there from the number of kilns we have purchased from them. That way I can check out the scratch and dent area and see if I can get another Bluebird XL cheap since I love that kiln.
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  #15  
Old 2009-04-16, 11:14pm
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I am starting to lean towards the Arrow Spring AF138 I like the size and the option of both the front and top openings. I have a pyrometer I could use until I save up enough to get a digital controller. Plus I would be supporting the local guys. The Aim Kilns look pretty good too. and I dig the idea of a custom paint job on the RANA kiln but that top element hanging out looks sketchy. Thanks for the input, anybody got any others to suggest ?
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  #16  
Old 2009-04-17, 12:07am
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I LOVE my Paragon Caldera (with bead door, digital controller and window). I can fuse with it (even boro, it goes up to 2350 degrees). It's 8" in diameter x 10" tall inside (so I can make small sculptures).

I have it plugged into it's own wall socket, and have had no issues with electricity unless I try to share the circuit with something else. I got mine on sale from Clay-King. If it broke tomorrow, I wouldnt' even look at another kiln, I'd get the same one. It's the one and only thing I've ever bought in glass-making where I didn't want a bigger, better, nicer one of yet.
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Old 2009-04-17, 6:14am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J.Meader View Post
and I dig the idea of a custom paint job on the RANA kiln but that top element hanging out looks sketchy. Thanks for the input, anybody got any others to suggest ?
Can you tell me what you mean by "sketchy"?

The element is supported by stainless steel wire, is totally encased and electrically safe - it's not energized. It works the same way that an element in a kitchen oven works, and those are suspended from the roof and raised above the floor as well. By spacing the element away from the insulating material, more of the energy is applied to the air in the kiln.

Kilns that have their elements buried in the insulation take more energy ($$) to run because they have to heat the insulation FIRST before the heat can get to what is in the kiln. That's why so many kilns are essentially overpowered - they need additional wattage to overcome the mass of insulation, and you pay for that additional wattage with higher operating costs.
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Old 2009-04-17, 10:56am
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Quote:
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Can you tell me what you mean by "sketchy"?

The element is supported by stainless steel wire, is totally encased and electrically safe - it's not energized. It works the same way that an element in a kitchen oven works, and those are suspended from the roof and raised above the floor as well. By spacing the element away from the insulating material, more of the energy is applied to the air in the kiln.

Kilns that have their elements buried in the insulation take more energy ($$) to run because they have to heat the insulation FIRST before the heat can get to what is in the kiln. That's why so many kilns are essentially overpowered - they need additional wattage to overcome the mass of insulation, and you pay for that additional wattage with higher operating costs.
Now there is a guy that believes in the product he is selling. I appreciate this and will take a closer look at your product because of this.

I am sure my "sketchy" comment comes from my own ignorance. After reading some of the claims from other manufacters I was under the assumption that the elements could shock me if touched with a tool or mandrel. Some of the kilns out there have no element exposed and that seemed like a safety issue to me.

So from what you wrote I am assuming (again) That the element is not going to shock me and is securly attached to the kiln. How far into the chamber does it hang, I would like to know since that area is a commodity that is being purchased. Also I see that most kilns run an element that looks like a coiled wire and yours is solid, could you explain the differance to me

Thanks
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Old 2009-04-17, 11:52am
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Hey, no problem!! The actual coils themselves are inside the "element", totally encased. You cannot get a shock from them. The casing is 'Incolloy' and is used to encase high temperature heating elements. The elements come to us straight and we bend them to fit our requirements. At each end of the heating element is the actual electical connection, insulated from the encasing by a ceramic insulator. The actual electical connection is outside of the kiln muffle (the ceramic fiber kiln body), but inside the metal case.

It hangs down approximately 1/2" from the roof of the kiln body, and while you can't see it in the pictures on the website, there is a block in place to keep you from running straight at the element -- not that you would -- the temp of the element is around 1700 F when energized and at kiln temp (say 1000 F) when not energized.

The length of the element (or how far into the kiln it runs from the back towards the front) is 8.5 inches.

These elements have been used by us in our kilns since 2002 and we have had only 1 element go bad in all that time. This type of element also has a higher proportional wattage output than coiled wire does because of the denser and shorter run of the element.
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  #20  
Old 2009-04-17, 12:04pm
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Ed, I think she is looking for how much hight is lost because of the element in the top. What is the hight from chamber floor to the bottom of the element? This would be very important to me since I do sculpture and don't want to top of the glass too near the 1700 degree element.

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  #21  
Old 2009-04-17, 12:10pm
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Thank you, couple more question for you Ed, I am qouteing the following from your website

"unlike fire brick annealers which hold heat for long periods of time. This means the annealer cools down according to YOUR exact cycle, not the annealer's, resulting in faster return to ambient room temperature."

So if it is not made out of fire brick, What is it made out of ?
And doesn't this mean it would use more electricity to maintain the heat level ?
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  #22  
Old 2009-04-17, 12:25pm
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You lose half an inch of the top of the kiln, so the actual usable height is 6.5".

It is cast ceramic fiber refractory, similar to board refractory material, but cast into a mold shaped as we need for the kiln body.

No, because of the design of the heating element and the use of cast refratory, we use less energy. Most of the energy spent on brick kilns is heating up the very dense bricks. It takes quite awhile to get a brick kiln up to temperature. The bricks contain a lot of mass and it takes a lot of energy to heat up that mass.

A test run on the kiln ran a 7 hour 30 minute "cycle" - 1 hour 40 minute heat up and garage, then a 5 hour 50 minute annealing cycle with a boro striking cycle built in.

The heating elements were actually energized for 3.1 hours (there's a built in hour meter on the kiln). The kiln element is .975 kW. At my house, I pay $0.166 kWh. So, .975 x 3.1 x 0.166 = $ 0.502 to run the kiln. Fifty cents!
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