27 September 2015

The Power of A Small Multi-Use Kiln

I love my big, very capable kilns, but so many times they just are not the right solution for my smaller projects. Having a smaller multi-use kiln for making jewelry, firing metal clays, making drawer pulls or glass bracelets, small ceramic projects, pulling vitrigraph stringer, bead annealing, and enameling is just a must in my studio. I'd be lost without my little wonder of a kiln!

Here are some kilns that I really like as they do A LOT for the money... It's definitely hard to choose which one is best. It really just depends on what smaller projects you like to do and how much flexibility you need.

The Evenheat Copper Kiln
I love this kiln because of its front loading capability. It makes for easy access and loading. It allows you to do all of the above except vitrigraph and bead annealing. The really nice thing is that this kiln pulls less watts then most other kilns, while still making the temps we need. If you have power challenges in your studio, this kiln plugs into any household 120V receptacle, so you'll have an easy time getting the "juice" you need. The Copper excels at ease of use. It is built entirely of firebrick to offer the metal clay artist the opportunity to explore materials in the higher temperature ranges. Many clays require temperatures up to 2200F and the Copper has the capability to get you there. The Copper also finds use in china and porcelain painting, ceramics, and glass. The Copper is stock equipped with our easy to use Set-Pro control with preset metal clays programs as well as allowing for custom programming. The Copper sits comfortably on table tops and includes a stand.

The Jen-Ken Fuse Cube 9/9 
The AF3P Fuse Cube 9/9 is a workhorse and is perfectly powered for it's size. This kiln is bigger than other small kilns. The inner dimensions are 9"square letting you stack shelves for metal clay, or put in a really big vitrigraph pot without having to purchase an extra collar! That makes this kiln a bargain. Depending upon which model you order, you can do everything I listed above. You can even order additional bottoms to make this a vitrigraph. The height is real advantage for this kiln!  It is also nice and deep allowing you to fire a metal clay carbon vessel inside. In addition, you can slump and drape small items, make tons of glass jewelry and fire ceramics up to 8" tall! Fuse Cube 9/9 Flex: Add the "take-a-part" feature and this kiln comes apart to allow you to utilize your maximum creativity! The AF3P Fuse Cube 9/9 is great for metal clay, fusing glass jewelry, glass bracelets, enameling, ceramics, and it comes apart so that you can make vitrigraph, too... talk about multi-function! Plus, it is also good for making samples and test tiles because of its speed.

The Olympic HB86E
This kiln is a rocket, because it heats very quickly! The reason this kiln is special is because it's super powered, going really fast up to temp and having the ability to hold that temp for long periods. That is especially important when pulling vitrigraph stringer. This nifty little kiln is truly multipurpose! We use it to fuse, anneal beads, fire Metal Clay, as a vitrograph, and to make bracelets. You can even fire small ceramics. The top and bottom are removable for the ultimate in versatility. This little wonder does it all! It is important to note, that when the bead collar or blank collar are added, the maximum temperature on the HB86E reduces to 2000°F.

The Paragon Caldera Digital 
This is one of Paragon's best sellers because it literally can do anything! It's used in a lot of studios as a dedicated vitrigraph kiln because it fires fast and stays there! You can order extra collars for bead annealing, enameling, or just depth! You can also order extra bottoms too! This kiln is a sold workshorse that has a great reputation. You can make jewelry from the amazing silver, bronze, and copper clay, fire ceramics, porcelain, or stoneware jewelry. When you are ready to try something new, fire china, decals, try enameling, and glass in Paragon’s digital Caldera kiln. Glass compatibility and glaze color tests are fast and easy. The Caldera fires rapidly to 2350°F/1287°C.

If you are a fan of Vitrigraph Stringer and want to have your own set up, but don't want to deal with ladders or a permanent shelf, Here's a very cool solution!! The Table-Top Vitrigraph Stand!

What will you do with your multi-use small kiln?

Your Kiln Gal,

03 September 2015

New Tech! Easier Programming + More Control

As most of you are aware, I've been involved in glass and metal clay for the last 15 years. To be very honest with you, there have been just two serious technological advances that have impacted kiln firing during that time. The first innovation was the introduction of the full fiber kiln that is fired with no ceramic shelves, and the second is the graphical interface touch screen controller. Those of you who read the FROG BLOG know that I like to chat about the coolness and innovation of the fiber kiln. I have one, and I LOVE it! 

But, for this blog and I am sure many to follow, I'm going to explore the newest innovation, the TAP Controller. (Click the link above to see a video on how the main features of the controller work.)

The TAP Controller is the first of it's kind, but you can be sure that it won't be the last. The introduction of the touch screen controller with a graphical interface is a very long time coming. We've had iPhones and Androids for over 10 years, but still, no digital controller company has offered much more than a microwave interface. So why now?
Scott Shannon, President of SDS Industries

It's simple. It took outsiders (SDS Industries) with a love for tech and a passion for their kiln to bring us into 2015. Thanks so much from all of us!

Scott Shannon, his wife Brittany and their Engineer buddy, Matt Quantz, all millennial generation tech folks, knew there had to be a better way to deliver kiln control and a host of other cool features in a format that just makes sense and is easy to use. It took them some time, and the support of the glass fusing community through a stellar Kickstarter Campaign, but finally, it's done and available to the public.

Now the most important question... HOW CAN I GET ONE?
  • When ordered from Kiln Frog, ALL new 240 volt kilns, and some 120 volt kilns from Jen-Ken Kilns and Evenheat Kilns are available with the the TAP Controller.
  • Kilns ordered with the TAP Controller will ship at the end of September, so you could have yours in 30 days! Now, that is a WOW moment!
  • And, current kiln owners... HANG TIGHT! You can't buy the TAP Controller directly YET as a retrofit replacement for your current controller, but that is coming soon. Both Jen-Ken and Evenheat will be creating services that allow current kiln owners to upgrade to the TAP Controller with pre-loaded service benefits and programs specific to their kilns.  It won't come cheap, upwards of $450, but new technology seldom comes at bargain prices. 
  • Finally, there is no need to flood SDS Industries with phone calls to purchase a TAP Controller. At this point, SDS is only selling direct to kiln manufacturers and not all are ready for the upgrades.
Right now, Evenheat Kilns & Jen-Ken Kilns are leading the way with the TAP Controller and they are working very hard to meet the demand. Take it easy on them. They're really good people and can't wait to get you your new high-tech stuff!

Email us (kilnfrog@gmail.com) with any questions! We can't wait to hear from you!

Your Kiln Gal,