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Old 06-21-2017, 10:58 AM
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Pete VanderLaan Pete VanderLaan is offline
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Feedback please.

So, I had a very irate customer I did not know call me earlier in the week with a sad complaint. He and his wife had gotten a new kiln and a High Temp Crucible and they did their set up. The man claimed that the kiln had a defective switch which in turn broke the pot and the Kiln company replaced both the pot and the switch. So he put it all back together and fired it up and seven days later, the pot broke with a crack through the bottom. Unhappy Camper.

So he called me up, why I'm not sure since I don't think I supplied him with the crucible and he complained about the pot, so I asked him my normal questions about how he fired it up, what he did, blah blah blah, my normal questions and I got that he filled the pot with Sys nuggets, turned it on and brought it up at 300 degrees and hour.

I was not at all surprised the pot broke in that environment. It surprised me that it lasted eight days. So he blames the crucible. He says there are no instructions offered when the pot comes and that we should repair the kiln and replace the pot. Interestingly, his story was quite different when he wrote to Jeff and had photos. He said

QUOTE:"Here's the pictures of the crucible. As noted it was at temp for eight days , batched it twice at six to eight pounds at a time. pre-heating the nuggets. didn't have any trouble before with crucibles. I realize that they don't last forever but expect more than a few days thanks ."QUOTE

Quite a different story than the one I got on the phone.

Now I am not at all inclined to issue instructions for how to fire a pot simply generated from the factory since there are so many different ways the pots get used or abused . Some people melt steel in them. We don't offer instructions if we sell softbricks. Kiln manufacturers don't offer firing instructions with kilns, Spectrum doesn't offer instruction on how to melt glass nuggets. I am willing to advise people if they call and ask for a firing schedule and I do that frequently but I don't offer it generically. I like to hear what it is they're up to before getting specific.

I don't usually have these sorts of issues with people that fire with Gas but with the wire guys, it's more frequent. They buy a converted Ceramic kiln and it has a controller stuck on it and it has somehow become a glass furnace. One manufacturer tells their clients they can run at 2380F continuously. Then elements fail, it cools down full and they lose the pot. Its the same company that sells them 16 inch pots to go in a kiln with a 17 inch interior diameter.

My newer question should be "who was your teacher?"

I would like some reaction though.
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Old 06-21-2017, 11:06 AM
Marty Kremer Marty Kremer is offline
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"Kiln manufacturers don't offer firing instructions with kilns"

Unfortunately, they do. And when the clueless users complain that the pre-programmed schedule didn't work they don't even have the knowledge to ask questions, they just blame.
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Old 06-21-2017, 11:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marty Kremer View Post
"Kiln manufacturers don't offer firing instructions with kilns"

Unfortunately, they do. And when the clueless users complain that the pre-programmed schedule didn't work they don't even have the knowledge to ask questions, they just blame.
********
I listened to a kiln maker at Corning since the Spruce Pine booth was the next one and the rep explained that it was fine to run the kiln at 2380F continuously with no issues.

Well, I suppose you can but it won't go well.

Maybe a better example might be that a castable maker will tell you on their website how much water to add to the material but they will not tell you how to fire the casting. There's some presumption of competence.
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Old 06-21-2017, 11:44 AM
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I don't know Pete. Some people are just going to buy and boat and run it full tilt boogie and not put the drain plug in. Then complain that it sunk.

Not knowing you don't know is a dangerous thing.

They are cheap little things and they serve a purpose but when you try and make the other parts of the system do things they are not made to do you get issues. Sometimes you just have to learn the hard way.

Last edited by Scott Novota; 06-21-2017 at 11:57 AM.
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Old 06-21-2017, 12:10 PM
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But Scott, I don't want to learn the hard way...
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Old 06-21-2017, 01:44 PM
James Ennis James Ennis is offline
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I don't care, I just want to blow glass.
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Old 06-21-2017, 04:23 PM
John Riepma John Riepma is offline
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It seems like it would be a small thing to include general instructions for heating up with every crucible.

Then you could be entertained differently by hearing about how the instructions were followed [u]exactly[u] and the thing still broke. Riiiiiight.

People are going to do what they're going to do, and the more free-range they go from any directions given the greater the possibility that it's not their fault. When I was gainfully employed I always tried to make sure that those folks had access to my competitors.
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Old 06-21-2017, 05:41 PM
Brice Turnbull Brice Turnbull is offline
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My opinion would be that, yes, new crucibles should include a maximum recommended degrees/hour, and then maybe should also say, "be aware that the design of the heating chamber can greatly affect the performance and life of the crucible".

The degrees/hour is the important part, and it really is useful, and I wouldn't trust the telephone game to get the correct info to the end user by telling an engineer at a kiln company what the recommended degrees/hour are when he/she is first designing a kiln. Eventually, that will get warped and somewhere down the line a customer service or sales person will be giving 6th hand info out incorrectly, or not at all.

So much more helpful and reliable to write two sentences on paper and a website you control.

Just my 2 cents.

I'm no longer a noob, and I still don't really know the accurate (tested?) rate. I call and ask each time I order a crucible. A noob has almost no hope of knowing they should call, who to call, nor an instinct about what sounds 'wrong', and what sounds like good information.

Yes, some people are living in a self-centered, self-serving bubble. But some people are just inexperienced, or had a half-educated teacher and would really love help from someone who knows what they're talking about.
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Old 06-21-2017, 06:15 PM
Eben Horton Eben Horton is offline
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Here my 10 cents.

You should give a very generalized guide to bringing a pot up to working temp and just have it on your website. Maybe one for a gas furnace and one for an electric one.

Spruce pine batch co has a guide for melting their batch.

I mean... you don't want to have a reputation for being a grumpy pot dealer do you?
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Old 06-21-2017, 06:16 PM
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Once for a while I got really stupid and built & sold "white box" computers. That lasted less than a year, and I learned way too many horrid lessons (the biggest being "don't do that ever again".

"Warranty" work was the worst. Especially "warranty" claims after the official warranty period was well up. Usually I was willing to give the benefit of the doubt, and even frequently eat the cost of some things, UNLESS... the story changed on the second telling.

If the story changed, then I charged full price for the repair. It was my experience that anytime the story changes you are getting "shenanigans". You'd still get my full sympathy for the problem, but repairs would come at full price.

Sounds like shenanigans on the crucibles here.
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Old 06-21-2017, 06:32 PM
Peter Bowles Peter Bowles is offline
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It wouldn't actually be that hard to make a basic warm up schedule available as a part of sale.
Something that outlined the basics of starting with an empty pot, rate to inversion, rate through inversion and then onwards. A note on flame impingement, minimum proximity of elements etc.
Also a rate for switching off might help specifically for up and down users.

It is actually hard to get this information, especially if you've never worked for any length of time in another studio and been exposed to it - after all, warming up a pot is not a frequent thing for most studio operators.

The tricky bit is to make any recommendations not sound like any guarantee of success - and perhaps that's why its becoming tricky to offer advice of a general nature.
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Old 06-21-2017, 06:56 PM
Brice Turnbull Brice Turnbull is offline
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Oh, I think I missed part of your question Pete.

No, I certainly don't think you are responsible to replace the crucible in the situation described.

I second Peter's note that it is hard to find technical info on care and feeding of a crucible.
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Old 06-22-2017, 12:37 AM
Art Freas Art Freas is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eben Horton View Post
Here my 10 cents.

You should give a very generalized guide to bringing a pot up to working temp and just have it on your website. Maybe one for a gas furnace and one for an electric one.

Spruce pine batch co has a guide for melting their batch.

I mean... you don't want to have a reputation for being a grumpy pot dealer do you?
Just for reference Spectrum does have instructions on how to batch.
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Old 06-22-2017, 12:40 AM
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You can't be responsible for people not doing their homework, or the bad advice from the kiln makers. This is the kiln maker's communication problem. Sucks for everyone that they don't provide a solid schedule, but I bet they'll revise it after enough newbies like this complain.
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Old 06-22-2017, 01:01 AM
George Vidas George Vidas is offline
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Education is expensive.
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Old 06-22-2017, 01:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eben Horton View Post

I mean... you don't want to have a reputation for being a grumpy pot dealer do you?
Grumpy pot dealer, HA!

End user problems will never go away.

You might as well make any guidelines you can suggest a product to buy.
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Old 06-22-2017, 05:03 AM
Lawrence Duckworth Lawrence Duckworth is offline
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When I startup I use the John Riepma ramp schedule that was posted on this forum a few years ago.
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Old 06-22-2017, 06:24 AM
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Pete VanderLaan Pete VanderLaan is offline
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I am , based on the recommendations from those of you who took the time to answer me that I'll write a set of operating instructions with great reluctance.

My reason is that people tend to hear what they want too hear first and secondly that you can always tell a glassworker but you can't tell them much .
In the last five years, the rise in usage by wire kiln people has exploded yet the experience level in that group remains low technically. It's all been dumbed down to buy cullet, dump cullet in pot turn on pot. There's simply no subtlety in it.

Currently we do sell crucibles to two kiln makers and they supply them with their kilns. One really wants to sell kilns to the Boro bunch and tells their clients that running at 2380F is no problem. I simply reject that. It is a problem for the elements and the 90% alumina makeup of the pot is not suitable to Boro. Soda Lime glasses and lead glasses are fine. The same manufacturer now buys our 16 inch pot to sell with the kiln leaving 1/2 inch clearance from the element to the pot wall. They started with the 14 inch inch worked pretty well. They just about all tell people to fill the pot with cullet and turn it on.

Another manufacturer lately simply doesn't answer the phone. We do get blamed when people do what the kiln people suggest.

So, I'll write it up .

Thanks for the feedback.
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Old 06-22-2017, 08:18 AM
Peter Bowles Peter Bowles is offline
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Value adding

As an added service, you could offer customers a kiln Buddha or a lucky three legged frog to appease the furnace gods. Peace of mind at only $30. And if the pot cracks you can no longer be responsible as its all in the hands of karma.
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Old 06-22-2017, 09:32 AM
Tom Fuhrman Tom Fuhrman is offline
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Do what other manufacturers for other types of items. Charge twice as much for the product initially to cover a warranty that you might have to give. Automotive companies do this to cover all their recalls and warranty issues. Also, in fine print , at the bottom of your recommended usage, make a statement that unless the the guide lines are strictly followed and can be documented the warranty is null and void. This seems to be the way to do business in the world today. In addition, have an attorney write it all in legal terms and it will be almost impossible for you to have to absorb any returns or costs for non compliance unless they want to pay the price for litigation.
All the shipping companies find a way to not be responsible for breakage whenever I filed. It was always my fault for not packing per their specs.
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Old 06-22-2017, 10:32 AM
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Pete,

Sorry, I might be the only one that does not think instructions are a good idea. No matter how it cracks the people are going to tell you that they followed those instructions and your pot is the reason.

Maybe I am a cynic but if it looks easy they are going to expect it to be easy. Then point the finger of blame when things go wrong at the people saying it is easy. I would rather them point it at the kiln guys giving info than at you giving info. Alas, I have been known to be wrong. I guess maybe you just have to do it and ride that goat.

Last edited by Scott Novota; 06-22-2017 at 10:37 AM.
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Old 06-22-2017, 11:43 AM
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Pete VanderLaan Pete VanderLaan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Novota View Post
Pete,

Sorry, I might be the only one that does not think instructions are a good idea. No matter how it cracks the people are going to tell you that they followed those instructions and your pot is the reason.
********
I happen to agree with you Scott. When I ask questions, It's a little like Columbo. If I have printed out the entire do's and don'ts then it is really easy to claim that all instructions were followed.

We already have a quick change in the story from " I filled the crucible and turned it on at 300F per hour" to, "I preheated the cullet and did everything carefully ", while no longer mentioning the ramp up speed and now claiming the kiln should be replaced.
Doing What Tom suggest puts the price of the pot out of sight and people will just go elsewhere so, it doesn't really work out. I don't really care for dealing with idiots. Mary Beth handles this stuff better than I do.

But, I have asked here and I can see that most people want some guidance. Maybe I should end the whole thing with
"Shit happens"
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Old 06-22-2017, 02:13 PM
Art Freas Art Freas is offline
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Pete I get where you are with instructions. Kind of my bottom line is, there will always be cementheads. No instructions will cure that, they are just cementheads. However there are well intentioned folks that your instructions may keep from doing something out of ignorance and good intent. Write your instructions for the good folk, not the cementheads.
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Old 06-22-2017, 02:32 PM
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I like that. So, which are you exactly?
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Old 06-22-2017, 06:05 PM
Josh Bernbaum Josh Bernbaum is offline
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Maybe all that's needed is just a disclaimer on your website and on a piece of paper with what gets sent out warning not to heat up the crucible too quickly, not to leave it at 2380F, and not to whack it with a hammer.
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