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Michael Chaddock

Anyone ever made a pottery kiln into a heat treat oven?

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I picked up an Evenflow ceramics kiln over the weekend for way cheap, all of the elements work great. It is an older model so it uses cones for temp. control. So here is my current tentative plan, since I only have $40.00 invested so far, save up to purchase a kilnsitter temperature controll unit (about $250) , cut a hole in the top which would allow blades to be suspended on wire and pulled when ready (cover with fire brick when needed). Has anyone here ever done anything like this befor?  If so I would love to hear your thoughts, differing ideas etc. even if you think I should just sell the thing to a ceramic artist and move on haha.

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Just buy a cheap PID on Amazon and a good quality thermocouple from Omega for example. If you're not comfortable with wirings have it done by an electrician. It should work just fine but pottery kilns are usually larger so it will consume more electricity.

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I am going to convert this enamel kiln into a HT kiln as well. It's quite simple really... Basically the same process as I did for my tempering toaster oven. 

IMG_20190610_121452.jpg

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19 minutes ago, Joël Mercier said:

Just buy a cheap PID on Amazon and a good quality thermocouple from Omega for example. If you're not comfortable with wirings have it done by an electrician. It should work just fine but pottery kilns are usually larger so it will consume more electricity.

Joel, what is a PID? Sorry for my ignorance..

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Sorry, it's an electronic temperature controller. I have one similar to this. https://www.amazon.com/Inkbird-Temperature-Controllers-Thermostat-ITC-106VH/dp/B01N6OCKV9

Of course, the supplied thermocouple is low temperature and not suitable for kiln purpose. You'll have to buy a high temp one with an oxydation resistant jacket.

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I just found a pic of my toaster oven setup. I simply bypassed the original thermostat and ran a thermocouple through the back. I also put a firebrick inside to increase the thermal mass and stability. It cycles +-1°f!

IMG_20180606_165012.jpg

Edited by Joël Mercier

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auburn instruments is were i get my pid controllers i got one off ebay/amazon to save a bunch of money and used it to control a toaster oven to dry wood and almost burnt the oven up it was over 100deg f off and i could not get it to adjust to correct never had that issue with the auburn even with other suppliers thermocuples

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9 hours ago, Joël Mercier said:

Sorry, it's an electronic temperature controller. I have one similar to this. https://www.amazon.com/Inkbird-Temperature-Controllers-Thermostat-ITC-106VH/dp/B01N6OCKV9

Of course, the supplied thermocouple is low temperature and not suitable for kiln purpose. You'll have to buy a high temp one with an oxydation resistant jacket.

 

13 minutes ago, dragoncutlery said:

auburn instruments is were i get my pid controllers i got one off ebay/amazon to save a bunch of money and used it to control a toaster oven to dry wood and almost burnt the oven up it was over 100deg f off and i could not get it to adjust to correct never had that issue with the auburn even with other suppliers thermocuples

Thanks so much for the info guys!!

 

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Dragoncutlery, is there one you would recomend for a 220V kiln?

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My recommendation would be to build a completely separate control box: Preferably a metal enclosure (to help with cooling the SSR) fitted with cable and plug to plug it into a mains socket, power to the PID controller taken from inside the box and the PID controller output switching an SSR, which switches the power to a power socket on the front of the box.

I fit a miniature thermocouple socket to the front of the box so that the thermocouple just plugs in. 

The one in the photo is larger and much fancier than necessary, having been assembled for a 28"-long HT oven I built. 

 

DSCF6974.JPG

 

Once built, it can be used to control pretty much anything: Austenitizing HT oven, tempering oven, salt pot, electric crucible furnace. 

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Did you mean Auburn or the one I have bought from, Auberin?

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It'll almost certainly be Auber Instruments.

Auber tend to be highly rated in America. They don't have a presence in Europe so I have not used them myself.  I use Omega or Automation Direct for the ramp/soak controllers on my HT ovens. Both seem to be US companies with a presence in the UK. Both have knowledgeable and patient technical support staff. I gather Auber also have knowledgeable and patient support staff.

The best advice I can give to anyone on controllers, VFDs and other electronic gizmos is as follows:

Shop around. Read the specs carefully and list the "possibles". Find the manuals online and download them. Read them. Properly. This is likely to mean printing hard copy and making notes. If you are more together than me, it'll probably involve multi-coloured highlighters. If you don't understand at least most of what is in the manual, cross it off your possibles list. If you cannot download the manual from a readily accessible website without signing up to being spammed, cross it off your possibles list.

Read any reviews you can find on your possibles list. Narrow down your buying choices so that you can make an informed decision.

There are some geeky folk on the forums (I count myself among them) who have some general experience of PID controllers, VFDs and the sort of stuff "we" might find useful. If you run into a problem and need to ask for help online, there's a pretty good chance one of these geeky types can help, but only if they can access the manual. A link to the manual gives you a good chance of assistance. No link to a manual means you are on your own.

Manuals are expensive things: paying a specialist writer-of-manuals to write a manual (in their own language) does not come cheap. Keep this in mind.

 

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