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Tips, Techniques, and Questions -- Technical questions or tips

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  #1  
Old 2008-01-10, 11:41am
jaubles jaubles is offline
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Default AIM kiln

Hi I was wanting to purchase a small kiln. One that I can use for fusing small jewelry pieces and then i was thinking of also wanting to learn lampwork.

There is a small AIM kiln that has a 2" bead drawer on the bottom. DOes anyone use this one for lampwork?

I was also seeing there is a vulcan a small test kiln the peices stack and I was thinking maybe theres a attachment like the hot box ( I think) has a piece you can get for a annealing.

I just dont want to spend $ on a kiln that wont allow me to use for possible lampwork in the future. can I have my cake and eat it too? LOL

thank you Jenn~
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  #2  
Old 2008-01-10, 12:21pm
di di is offline
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The drawer would be perfect for conditioning certain glass applications to be used with your lampwork.
di
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  #3  
Old 2008-01-10, 12:36pm
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Peach Blossom Beads Peach Blossom Beads is offline
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Yes, you can use the AIM for beads and fusing. It's a bead DOOR, not drawer. It's 2" high and on hinges. You'd put your mandrels in thru the door preferably onto a kiln couch. It comes in stackable pieces too, so what you do is take the collar containing the bead door out, and then re-stack it and fuse in it. Clear as mud? I have a feeling you're talking about the AIM 84BD? It's perfect for what you want to do. But the 84 BD is only 8"x8" inside. If you want to fuse larger objects, you need a bigger kiln.
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  #4  
Old 2008-01-10, 1:54pm
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I have the Aim 84BD as my primary bead annealing kiln. I think it's a fairly popular choice for people who want a kiln that isn't strictly an annealer, although as taramaq says, the interior space is limited. I'm not a fuser, so I can't say how limiting the size would be. You can't fit an 8x8 kiln shelf in the 84BD. I have a couple of 6x6 shelves, and I think there's a slightly larger shelf available that will fit. (I don't think it's 7x7 -- I think it's some intermediate size.) The smallish kiln shelves aren't as widely available as larger shelves, but you can find them if you do some Internet searching. (I do some Precious Metal Clay in my kiln, and use it to slump the edges on dichro strips before torching them -- that's why I have kiln shelves even though I don't fuse.)

I'm happy with the 84BD as an annealing kiln. I bought mine originally with an infinite switch controller and pyrometer due to budget constraints, and later bought a "field kit" digital controller. The "field kit" means that the digital controller is a stand-alone that just plugs in to the existing non-digital controller, rather than being hard-wired into the kiln. (I didn't want to ship my kiln back to Aim for a new controller, or, God forbid, try to install a new controller myself.) If you can possibly afford it, you'll want to get the programmable digital controller. I have the Fuji PXV-3, which I do not recommend (it works all right, but the manual is incomprehensible, and it doesn't store any programs -- you have to re-enter the program every time you change it). I didn't think it was being sold anymore, but Aim still has it listed on its website. There's a newer Fuji controller model, which does store different programs, and at least one model of Bartlett controller that you can get on the 84BD. I did a little Googling, and found an 84BD at MountainGlassArts with a Bartlett for $599 -- I haven't done any price comparisons, so I don't know if that's currently a good price for it or not:

http://www.mountainglassarts.com/s.n...0?it=A&id=1010

Here's a similar price on the Paragon Caldera, which is about the same size -- if I'm reading this site right, this price includes shipping:

http://www.clay-king.com/itempcald.html


EDIT: I just looked on eBay, and darned if Aim hasn't come out with a new model -- the 104BD, which looks exactly like the 84BD, except it's 10x10 inside, not 8x8.

http://cgi.ebay.com/NEW-AIM-104BD-FU...QQcmdZViewItem

Kilnwest is a dealer for Aim. As a matter of fact, Kilnwest might BE Aim -- Aim is in Corvallis, OR, which is where Kilnwest seems to be. Although this auction is for the kiln with the infinite switch/pyrometer combination (digital pyrometer is just a thermometer, not a digital computer controller), there's no reason that you couldn't get a digital controller for this kiln. It would cost another couple of hundred dollars at least, but worth it if you can afford it.

Looks like the "might be too small problem" is taken care of.

I haven't been paying much attention since I'm not in the kiln market, but I've been seeing posts giving me the idea that Aim might have been slow in supplying kilns lately. I know people have been dissatisfied with one particular seller (not Kilnwest), but I'm not sure whether or not people were unhappy with the company itself -- of course even if they were, I guess there could be two sides to the story. Anyway, I can't say whether there is or is not a problem lately, just that you might want to look into it. (I'm a happy Aim customer, but I've had my kiln for a bunch of years now.)

EDIT AGAIN: I looked on eBay and I think I see the Vulcan test kiln you mentioned. It's really small for fusing -- you definitely won't be doing any saucers in there -- and it's not a good choice for bead annealing unless somebody makes an add-on ring with a bead door for it, and I couldn't find any indication that there was one. It's too small to fit even a short mandrel inside, so you'd be restricted to batch annealing (cooling your beads in fiber blankets or vermiculite, then annealing them all at once later.) Some beads won't survive the cooling process -- they need to go straight from the torch into the kiln. Sculptural beads that have some parts much thinner than others are notorious for cracking during cooling. Large beads and some types of glass (like Lauscha clear) also don't like fiber/vermiculite cooling. I never managed to get an encased bead to survive cooling before I got my kiln, but that might just have been bad technique on my part. Anyway, if you're investing in a kiln, you don't want to spend a bunch of money and lock yourself into batch annealing, even though you may decide to batch anneal anyway from time to time.

Jen-Ken makes some models you might want to look at (although they also have one or two so-called "annealers" without bead doors, tsk tsk.) My only complaint about Jen-Ken is that I find that the handle on their bead door, which is metal, gets really hot. It must not bother everyone, though, because they sell a lot of kilns with it, and they haven't changed it.

You mentioned the "Hot Box," which is an Evenheat product. I don't love it for an annealer because it's a top-loading kiln without a bead door. Unless they've changed the design since I last saw a new model (which is possible), even the add-on ring didn't have a bead door. The only way to stick in a mandrel was to put it in straight down from the top, which meant your hand got blasted with heat unless you stopped to put on a glove. That's not something I want to do when I'm worried about getting a hot bead into the kiln before it gets cool enough to crack, particularly if it has fiddly little bits on it like arms or legs or wings.
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Last edited by Emily; 2008-01-10 at 2:43pm.
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  #5  
Old 2008-01-10, 4:04pm
jaubles jaubles is offline
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OmGosh!! thank you Emily for all the helpfull info!! and Taramag AND di too!

Last edited by jaubles; 2008-01-10 at 4:35pm.
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  #6  
Old 2008-01-10, 4:24pm
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I have a 94BD that I ordered last August through Trev's and it took 3 months, so I really believe the problem is AIM, not a particular supplier. The sense that I got is that they don't necessarily make and ship the kilns in a first in/first out order date way. If the supplier pesters them, they may send them a kiln that was intended for someone else. Frustrating, but a nice quality kiln once you finally get it.
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  #7  
Old 2008-01-10, 4:29pm
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Peach Blossom Beads Peach Blossom Beads is offline
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Yup, AIM can take a while. But you can also order DIRECTLY from THEM! If I had to do it over, that's what I'd do. So, be prepared. You may not get it for 3 months. They're a small company but they're kilns are totally worth it.

You may also want to look into getting a Glasshive kiln. Sorry, don't have a link.

Holy typing, Batman! Emily, I love your posts, but how do you feel like it??
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  #8  
Old 2008-01-10, 4:29pm
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I looked at Kilnwest's eBay feedback after I posted, and there was one stretch with a bunch of complaints about shipping delays, right in that time period. Recent feedback was good. It looks like something was going on with Aim a few months ago -- hope it's been straightened out.
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  #9  
Old 2008-01-10, 4:39pm
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That seems to happen a lot, though. They had been very backed up earlier last summer. When I ordered, Phyllis at Trev's asked how long the kiln would take and was told 3-4 weeks and it took far longer than that.

While you can order directly from, AIM, it'll cost you more. Most of the suppliers give discounted prices.
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  #10  
Old 2008-01-10, 6:15pm
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I have 94BD (with 9" x 9" inside).
I like it even though they sent me the wrong voltage. I ordered 240v and I got 120v instead. I received my kiln exactly like what they told me 6-8 weeks (I got mine on 8th week), but the replacement part took a month
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  #11  
Old 2008-01-10, 7:24pm
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Whoops! I just posted a thread on this same thing! I was looking at this http://www.glasswolfstudio.com/produ...1?productId=36

The kiln (AIM 94BD), with bead door and Bartlett controller comes to $534.95 + shipping = $574.90. Seems to be the best price out there.

Any one have any experience with this company?

EDITED: Just spoke to the guy that owns the company. VERY helpful and extremely nice. I'm going to get mine from Wolf Glass.
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Last edited by vickgould; 2008-01-11 at 6:24am.
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  #12  
Old 2008-01-11, 9:35pm
Tancaro Tancaro is offline
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My experience with AIM was not good. After almost 3 months I ended up getting a refund. They kept promising next week, then the next week, then the next.... That said, my understanding is that their product is wonderful if you have the time to wait for it. I ended up with a Jen Ken and love it!
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Old 2008-01-12, 3:00pm
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AIM 84BD $512.50
AIM 94BD $522.50

If you want a bigger annealing kiln consider either the AIM CR413 or AIM CR420.
The built in bead racks and quartz covered elements are terrific features.
http://www.vicartglass.com/products/...ln%20FLBK.html

Current wait time to get an AIM kiln is about 3 weeks (although I just had a pair shipped within a week of ordering).
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  #14  
Old 2017-03-21, 8:49pm
barbieyoung barbieyoung is offline
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Default AIM Kiln Heating confusion

I just acquired an AIM Kiln and I have programmed the digital controller as needed for annealing my beads, however the darn Kiln will start heating up as soon as I plug it into the wall, WITHOUT the controller being turned on. After about 1 minute of the Kiln being plugged in I then turn the controller on and it says the temp is already up to 600 Degrees... This is my first Kiln and I was wondering if anyone has run into this issue ??
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Old 2017-03-22, 5:33am
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Sounds like a stuck relay but I am just guessing at the moment.

Does it otherwise run a correct annealing program? Gets up to the correct temp and then cycles the hearing element off and on ?


My other thought is possibly a problem where the hot wire and the return wire in the outlet is back wards. Just grasping at straws here.


Have you called the company that made it?
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Old 2017-03-26, 9:37am
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I have had my little aim for 16 years and is the only kiln I have ever had and I LOVE it! I have never used it for fusing, but it's a great little bead kiln!

Peace Wendy
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