31 January 2019

Troubleshooting Your Controller

From electrical power issues to temperature, display, and keypad problems, Paragon Kilns has designed a Troubleshooting Guide for the Sentry Controller

Even though it was created by Paragon for the Sentry 2.0, this guide can help with almost any digital controller as the basic principles are the same. 

With of all the great insight included in the guide, my favorite part is how it describes the six basic parts a digital kiln uses to control heat. And, understanding how your kiln works will simplify all of your troubleshooting efforts!  

29 December 2018

ALERT: Price Increases Ahead

It's all about saving money, right? So, we wanted to give everyone a heads up that both Paragon and Evenheat will have price increases in January. Evenheat's new prices will go into effect on January 1st and, Paragon will follow with new prices on January 15th. 

We also wanted to let you know that Evenheat has discontinued the following models: Fishbone, Studio Pro 15, GT 4050, GT 14-6, Hot Shot, Ten Cubed.

Thank you for all of your business, and referrals in 2018. The kind words sent to us in e-mails, social media posts, and reviews mean everything to us! We are proud to be your partner in your creative journey and look forward to continuing to provide you with groovy prices, free shipping on all kilns and outstanding customer service.

Wishing you all the happiness and success for 2019!
Gail and Stacey

22 December 2018

Introducing NEW sizes of Bullseye ThinFire!

Bullseye ThinFire shelf paper is now available in two new, economical sizes! One roll is wide (32.75’ x 41), the other is narrow (65' x 20.5), but each is the same square footage. Choose your size based on your kiln and studio space. They are easy to store for either home or commercial use. And the best part – they dispense right from the box! No need to unpack - just pull out the ThinFire you need and go! These economy-sized rolls are a great addition to the ThinFire family!

If you are not familiar with Bullseye ThinFire, it is a ceramic-impregnated shelf paper that provides
excellent separation between glass and kiln shelf in firing applications up to 1600˚F (871˚C). Compared to more conventional ceramic fiber materials, it produces a glossier finish on the shelf side of your project, creates less binder burnout odor, and is lighter in weight (for easier handling and storage). Compared to kiln washes, ThinFire reduces shelf preparation time and improves surface release. Each piece good for one firing only.

Learn more about ThinFire...

16 December 2018

How Low Voltage Affects Firing Time

Knowledge is POWER! Making sure you have the correct voltage is one of the most important factors of kiln efficiency!

Plug the kiln into the correct circuit.
Low voltage can double the firing time. If your kiln is firing too slowly, make sure the voltage listed on the kiln’s electrical data plate matches the voltage of the electric circuit. The electrical data plate is usually located on the side of the kiln or the switch box. Firing a 240-volt kiln on 208 volts reduces the kiln’s power by 25%.

Even a small drop in voltage can affect the firing speed.
Low voltage has the same effect as firing with worn out elements. Even a small drop in voltage can slow down your kiln. For example, we test-fired a 120-volt kiln that took 5 hours and 3 minutes to reach 2331°F (1277°C). On a separate electric circuit, the same test kiln took only 2 hours and 30 minutes to reach 2350°F (1287°C). The difference in voltage between the two circuits? Only 7 volts.

Fire the kiln when the voltage is highest. Turn off other large appliances.
If your kiln ever slows down temporarily, do not assume that it is due to worn elements. The voltage to your building may have dropped due to peak demand. Have an electrician check the voltage under load while the kiln is firing. Until you know the voltage, an amp reading of the kiln won’t tell you much, because low voltage also causes low amperage.

If the voltage is low during a period of peak demand, fire your kiln when the electrical demand is lower and the voltage is higher. Fire at night or early morning. Also, turn off other large electrical appliances such as a clothes dryer while the kiln is firing.

Program at a slower rate.
A digital controller will show error messages when it has been programmed at a faster rate than the kiln is capable of firing. This can happen even when the voltage is normal and the kiln is new. You may be using a firing schedule that is designed for a faster kiln. In this case, program at a slower rate.

Moist clay can slow down the kiln.
Another reason your kiln may be firing slowly is that the firing chamber has too much moisture. Firing moist ceramic greenware or moist glass molds can slow down the kiln. Dry these materials before firing them.

Reduce the load density.
Overloading a kiln with a dense load of ceramics and kiln furniture can also slow down the firing.

Have the power company check the transformer.
If the kiln still fires too slowly after following the suggestions above, have the power company check your voltage and readjust the transformer for your area if necessary. You can also request that your power company put a voltage recording unit at your location to check the voltage over an extended period.

08 December 2018

Big Power in Small Multi-Use Kilns

We know that everyone loves their big, very capable kilns, but so many times they just are not the right solution for smaller projects. Having a smaller multi-use kiln for test tiles, making jewelry, firing metal clays, small ceramic projects, pulling vitrigraph stringer, bead annealing, or enameling is just a must in our studio. We'd be lost without our little wonder of a kiln!

Here are some kilns that we 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.

Evenheat Copper Kiln 
We love this kiln because of its front-loading capability as it makes for easy access and loading. The other really nice thing is that this kiln pulls fewer watts than 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 is also 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 making it a true multi-use kiln!

Not to be left out... we also love the Evenheat V8. The V8 multi-purpose kiln is sized perfectly for home studios, teachers, instructors, and test kiln use. It's capable of all firing types and techniques including glass, vitrigraph, ceramic, metal clays and more. Its stackable design makes placement easy, especially with vitrigraph work. The V8 easily transforms into the ultimate Vitrigraph kiln with its Vitrigraph base accessory. Vitrigraph use highlights include a corner mounted thermocouple which offers more usable floor space and allows for larger pots up to 7.25".

Olympic HB86E 
This kiln is a rocket because it heats very quickly! The reason this kiln is special is that 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, and as a vitrograph. 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 Olympic HB89E is another great option. Same flexibility as the HB86E and fires to 2,350°F on just 120 volts but, with more space and a hinged lid. Plus, the attached stand allow this kiln to be used on any surface, including countertops.

Paragon Caldera Digital 
This kiln is a solid workhorse that has a great reputation. It is one of vitrigraph kiln because it fires fast and stays there!  Also, with a separate top and bottom, the Caldera is stackable and completely portable. The kiln is easy to carry to seminars or take on vacation. Paragon's best sellers because it literally can do anything! The Caldera fires rapidly to 2350°F so, it's used in a lot of studios as a dedicated. The basic Caldera is part of a unique kiln expansion system. You can order extra collars for bead annealing, enameling, or just depth! For a digital kiln that can do this much, the Caldera is surprisingly affordable.

Jen-Ken Fuse Cube 9/9
The AF3P Fuse Cube 9/9 is perfectly powered for its 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 on 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 a 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!