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Fused by the sun...

16:37 PM 07/10/2011

Currently Luffy The WeatherQube is reading 104 degrees. (http://luffy.nimitzbrood.com)

Unfortunately for me that's with a fair amount of humidity. I wonder if there's a market for a rubber "gutter" to catch all the sweat us fat people generate in this kind of weather and recycle it. I could call it "The Gut Gutter" and sell millions. *ahem*

There is one odd thing that this much sun brings to mind though - solar Fresnel projects. I was out on the front sidewalk earlier using one of the plastic 12" Fresnel magnifiers to test a theory and yes you can fire enamels using a solar setup. Though honestly it was an extremely small piece and I had to keep it moving quite a lot or the enamel balled up due to heating too small an area too quickly. What I need now is someone to throw out a dead rear-projection tv so I can steal the parts from it including the front lense.

And you definitely need a frame of some sort to do this. Not beause your hand may not be steady enough but because any time the lense warps you lose your focus. I think even a 24" lense will do what I need it to.

It's not that the enamel kiln isn't working it's that I like finding green alternatives to things like this. (And not just because 500W of electricity is on my electric bill when I fire the kiln up.)

Speaking of which the kiln works just fine it's the user that is a noob. I really need to work out the right mixtures and firing times for what I'm doing. Mashblock was right - I need a pyrometer. Not in the budget just yet though so I'm firing things by eye. Orange peel surface or glassy surface or anywhere in-between.

In other things we've had red raspberries two days in a row. I have to get out there with the shop vac and make sure to suck all the Japanese beetles off the bushes though or we won't have any more this season. And I need to get all the garden hooks and pots up or nothing else will get started. I should be doing that instead of writing here but..104 degrees.

Did I mention I made a very crude Princess Luna symboled copper and enamel wrist cuff. My second piece of enamel jewelry. It didn't fire well due to the fact that the strip of copper runs off the kiln plate at both ends but I think I have a better idea that I'm going to try tonight. (And yes I'm secure enough in my manhood to wear a copper cuff with a crescent moon symbol on it. Bite me Fox News.) Oh and clear enamel flux? Did I mention it fires pale pink? WTF?

Well I'm off to try and fire more enamel!

Cross-posted from Dreamwidth ( http://nimitzbrood.dreamwidth.org/235563.html ) but feel free to comment here as well.

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( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 16th, 2011 01:23 am (UTC)
Kiln stuff
There are cheap(~$20) DMM's that read temperature directly when you plug in a K thermocouple. If you keep the the meter well away from the kiln(a couple feet will do) one of these makes a decent "pyrometer". Not the most accurate thing in the world, but good enough for glass.

Is that lil' thing only 500W? I thought it was 1000W or so; guess I can't go check now since it's in your garage instead of mine. Either way, all you need to make it (manually)controllable within its limits is repeatable temp monitoring and a biggish incandescent dimmer - think duty cycle.

Jul. 16th, 2011 02:40 am (UTC)
Re: Kiln stuff

I was actually looking at this IR model:


It goes to a max of 1652F which is well above where I want to be and doesn't touch the heating disc. (I need all the heat I can get! ^_^ )

As for power control I actually have a full-blown theater rheostat that would work quite nicely. :-)
Jul. 16th, 2011 10:30 pm (UTC)
Re: Kiln stuff
I thought about an IR gun but having used them for other things, decided against it. Besides, I'm too cheap.

A thermocouple used in a kiln shouldn't touch any heating elements, or in fact anything at all - that would defeat the purpose.

A big rheostat would do the job, but waste a lot of power - that's why you can get them for scrap value or less. A Triac dimmer would be much better for this application.

My kiln actually does use resistance to control heat output, but only by wiring elements in series - no waste that way. There are various solid-state control schemes that amount to a giant lamp dimmer, but they're expensive - full on, the critter draws ~6200W! Again, I'm cheap.

However, it also has a *lot* of thermal inertia... Earlier today, I realized that all I need to do is rip the control board out of a microwave oven and use it to feed a contactor - instant duty-cycle control, and a timer to boot. I have everything I need for this - gonna try it soon.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )



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