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

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  #1  
Old 2013-06-17, 11:02am
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Default Kiln and humidity

Repost here as I didn't get any feedback on the studio forum, thought maybe it was in the wrong area,.


A friend of mine is starting her wonderful journey into lampwork. She was showing me her set up, and had her Paragon Caldera kiln on her kitchen table, which is about 20 steps from her back porch where she will be torching. That means every time she finishes a bead she must run it into the house. (Told her I was not crazy about the kiln being on the wooden table with only 2 tiles elevating maybe 2 inches). Anyway, I digress.

My question is, Since this is GA and can stay at 100% humidity for days on end, can she keep her kiln out there next to where she is working? Will the kiln absorb the humidity? I think it would not be a problem as it will dry out (if it does absorb) by the time it reaches 940º +. But told her I would ask the people who know for sure. I hear of folks torching in garages, back porches etc, but hadn't seen humidity addressed. TIA Pam
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Old 2013-06-17, 11:36am
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My kilns (I have 3) live in my garage. Granted, it is not as humid in Kansas as it is in Georgia, but we get a lot more extremes in temperature, and they've done just fine. The oldest one is a Paragon bead annealer/fuser, about 10 years out there now... Whatever humidity the kiln bricks would pick up would be long gone by the time they got to temp.

Do have her get it off the wooden table though Even on a piece of concrete tile, or metal. My table top kilns are on stainless steel tables; the other is a huge floor one, and it's on legs so it's not sitting on the floor.
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Old 2013-06-17, 12:47pm
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We are here in Georgia too. Our studio is basically a shed in our backyard. It is very humid in there. We haven't had any problem when the kiln is used frequently. Our old kiln did fail, and we think it was due to humidity, but it sat unused for nearly two years in the studio with no climate control. So my suggestion is to bring it into the house for long periods of non-use, but as long as it isn't getting exposed to direct rain it should be okay. I would call Paragon to make sure, but I really don't think it would be a problem.

Now our Oxy-Cons do not work well in humidity and two of them will not work at all in humidity. I go out and turn on a dehumidifier a couple hours before we start torching. Once the vent fan is turned on the air becomes just as humid as if we were outside, and the Oxy-Cons fail in a short time. If the studio were closer to the house we would run hoses from the house to the studio.

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Last edited by Protege; 2013-06-17 at 12:54pm.
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Old 2013-06-17, 2:33pm
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Karin and Protégé, thanks for your replies. I will pass the info along. Pam
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Old 2013-06-17, 2:51pm
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These states are the most humid in the US, in order:

Florida, Texas, Missouri, Georgia, Louisiana, Hawaii

So concentrator owners in areas with high humidity can expect their machines to die a little sooner. I'm in deep S. FL, and this is why I chose to spend the extra money on an Airsep oxygen generator rather than a concentrator. If I didn't spend that $2600, I would have gone through 5-6 concentrators in the past 11 years. My generator is almost 11 years old and has been maintenance free. There is a significant difference in the operation of a generator vs. a concentrator.

If you want to prolong the life of your concentrator, the best thing to do is keep it indoors in the a/c. I have ran a hose that was long enough so I could work outside on my carport while the unit was inside. My door had jalousies, so I removed one bottom glass pane and put in a wood panel with a hole in it for the hose to go through.

As far as kilns and humidity, I don't think there is anything to be worried about. 960 degrees dries out every smidgeon of moisture.
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Last edited by Lisi; 2013-06-17 at 6:46pm.
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Old 2013-06-17, 3:00pm
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WOW had no idea about the humidity and the oxy-cons. Am in GA and mine is in the A/C. I would probably die if I had to torch in this terrible heat.
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Old 2013-06-17, 3:37pm
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Tell her to keep the door of her kiln ajar when she turns it on, until it reaches about 300...it helps vent the moisture out of the kiln, and I've been told it's easier on the elements.
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Old 2013-06-17, 3:47pm
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Thanks Lisi. We are considering switching to purchased oxygen. We have two dependable old oxy-cons and the two newer won't-work-in-moderate-humidity let alone GA humidity oxy-cons. The oxygen generator sounds attractive though.

It was the electronics that the humidity fried on our old kiln from sitting there expanding and contracting in the damp heat and cold. It still works, but the buttons don't work. So it is stuck on 1,100 degrees. We just use it for striking boro:ramp it up, soak, and crash it. It works great for that. We just can't change the temperature, or set the annealing cycles.
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Old 2013-06-17, 3:58pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by glasser View Post
WOW had no idea about the humidity and the oxy-cons. Am in GA and mine is in the A/C. I would probably die if I had to torch in this terrible heat.
That's good! Air conditioned environments are very low humidity, so you will get a long life out of your concentrator.

At the time, I really didn't want to spend almost three thousand dollars on an oxygen machine, but there were a couple of things that made me decide to go with an Airsep industrial model. One was that generators systems have an internal dryer which keeps the $800 sieve beads from getting soaked. That is one of the reasons they are so expensive. The other thing was that Val Cox had an OG-15 generator, and she had it for about 7 months (if I remember correctly) and she had to get the sieve beds replaced. That was really expensive. She was in PA, with moderate humidity. That scared me a little...into writing a bigger check! lol
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Old 2013-06-17, 4:08pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Protege View Post
Thanks Lisi. We are considering switching to purchased oxygen. We have two dependable old oxy-cons and the two newer won't-work-in-moderate-humidity let alone GA humidity oxy-cons. The oxygen generator sounds attractive though.

It was the electronics that the humidity fried on our old kiln from sitting there expanding and contracting in the damp heat and cold. It still works, but the buttons don't work. So it is stuck on 1,100 degrees. We just use it for striking boro:ramp it up, soak, and crash it. It works great for that. We just can't change the temperature, or set the annealing cycles.
For humid environments, you can't beat the Airsep generators. They are terribly expensive but worth every single penny and more. When I used mine indoors in a/c, that was for a very short period of 5 months. For the rest of the time I have owned it, it has been running in a studio indoors with no a/c. About 4-5 days a week for the last 10 years. All I have ever had to do with it is wash the external foam filter.

BTW - recently I took a 16 day break from making beads..the longest break EVER in 11 years!

Oh, here is the latest model which is similar to what I have. Mine is an Airsep AS-12A, the higher pressure model which is like the Topaz+.

http://www.airsepcpd.com/airsepcpd/pdfs/Topaz.pdf

There are other generators out there like Unlimited Oxygen's Psyclone and the Hurricane, but I don't know if the mechanical workings of them are like the Airseps. They are much less expensive.
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Last edited by Lisi; 2013-06-17 at 4:12pm.
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  #11  
Old 2013-06-17, 4:28pm
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Could the moisture cause any of the metal parts to rust? That would be my only concern. How about putting the kiln on a cart with wheels? She could store it in the house when not making beads and then wheel it outside to use it. Harbor Freight has a bunch of fairly inexpensive steel carts. Some even have cupboards or drawers that she could use for storing her lampworking tools.

Great looking shedio, Protege!
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Last edited by artsyuno; 2013-06-17 at 4:31pm.
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Old 2013-06-17, 6:50pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by artsyuno View Post
Could the moisture cause any of the metal parts to rust? That would be my only concern. How about putting the kiln on a cart with wheels? She could store it in the house when not making beads and then wheel it outside to use it. Harbor Freight has a bunch of fairly inexpensive steel carts. Some even have cupboards or drawers that she could use for storing her lampworking tools.

Great looking shedio, Protege!
This is what I did for years, but for the last 5 years my kiln has been out in a partially closed in carport. It is an 11 year old Paragon. No rust that I can see.
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Old 2013-06-17, 7:42pm
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Thanks for the link Lisi. That is out of my reach at the moment, but someday!

And thanks Felicia. We had it built especially for the studio. The front 10' X 6' is studio, the last 4 feet is garden shed (with a wall between the two and a separate door).
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Old 2013-06-18, 6:08am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by artsyuno View Post
Could the moisture cause any of the metal parts to rust? That would be my only concern. How about putting the kiln on a cart with wheels? She could store it in the house when not making beads and then wheel it outside to use it. Harbor Freight has a bunch of fairly inexpensive steel carts. Some even have cupboards or drawers that she could use for storing her lampworking tools.

Great looking shedio, Protege!
I meant to say that earflier too, your little shed is sweet!
That is a good idea about the cart, especially with the drawers. Also a good idea to keep the door ajar for a bit. Thanks ya'll!
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Old 2013-06-19, 6:01am
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I live in soggy central florida. As far as operating the kiln, I dont see a problem. But,,, the humidity may eventually effect the electronics, and contacts etc. If it has a guillotine door the spring may rust a little over time.
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Old 2013-06-20, 6:13am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Protege View Post
It was the electronics that the humidity fried on our old kiln from sitting there expanding and contracting in the damp heat and cold. It still works, but the buttons don't work. So it is stuck on 1,100 degrees. We just use it for striking boro:ramp it up, soak, and crash it. It works great for that. We just can't change the temperature, or set the annealing cycles.
The manufacturer could probably repair your controller for a nominal fee. Bartlett Instruments and the Orton Ceramic Foundation make most of the controllers, and both companies will test and repair their controllers.

Sincerely,

Arnold Howard
Paragon Industries, L.P., Mesquite, Texas USA
ahoward@paragonweb.com / www.paragonweb.com
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Old 2013-06-20, 9:40am
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Thanks Arnold. I would like to get it fixed. I am not sure who the controller was made by. Another item for the to-do list.
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Old 2013-06-22, 5:32pm
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I live in a very humid, salty environment. We don't buy nice vehicles, or nice appliances. In five years, this is my third computer, for example.
My workshop is a tin garden shed in the back yard - a rusty one

It was with much trepidation that I bought myself an oxycon last year, and am paranoid that it just won't fire one day. It will be a case of simply chucking a thousand dollars down the drain.

The kiln I use is an old brick ceramic one with an analogue sheathed probe pyrometer.
When I first got it, I was covering it with a plastic BBQ cover to keep the moisture out. I learned that this was making matters worse, encouraging more condensation, rather than less. So I don't cover it up at all, now, but keep the door closed once I've harvested my glass. It's still around 50 celsius when I do that, so still nice and warm and dry.
What happened while I was covering it was that the condensation would occur in the power housing, not the kiln itself. The safety cut out would kick in before the switch was even fully engaged. The electrician we got out to look it over said that it wasn't being damaged (any more than any other damage that salt or moisture does), but just doing what it's supposed to. If I needed to use the kiln, and there was condensation, I'd have to sit a fan in front of it to try to dry it out so I could get it going. Gah!

As for the oxycon, I do cover that, but only with breathable sheeting. The last thing I want in that is condensation either.

So, if it's humidity you're worried about, by all means cover it, but not with plastic.
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Old 2013-06-22, 7:52pm
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Hey, Di

I'm in the same situation since I moved to the California coast (not complaining or anything). Just got my stuff set out and I have covered everything with terry towels, no plastic. I have coated all my metal tools with light oil and have put them in covered boxes. My studio is also really no more than a garden shed…or since I don't have a garden, just rocks and a covered sheltered area outside.

It's only been a few days since I set up but I do worry about my kiln also. Today I removed it from the plastic I brought it down in and covered it with a towel because I'm not using it right away. I have an electronic controller. Since it's a Jen-Ken I assume it can withstand some humidity as it was built in Florida and it's way more humid there than here. I'm keeping an eye on things for sure!

My oxycon, also covered completely with a large terry towel.

Crossing fingers.
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Old 2013-06-22, 7:57pm
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Hiya!
How ya doing???
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Old 2013-06-26, 12:00pm
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Thanks to all who responded to my friend's question. I keep trying to get her to come in here, but think she must be shy. Anyway she is up and running. Has put her kiln on a metal rolling cart from HF. So at least I got it off the wooden table for her. lol.
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