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Old 06-12-2015, 10:12 AM
Mitcheal Veenstra Mitcheal Veenstra is offline
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batching in wire

Morning folks..

I've been digging in the search function a little on the 'corning protocol' that I had a dim recollection from previous years and found this gem that has Brice melting spruce pine batch in a wire furnace. http://talk.craftweb.com/showthread....rning+protocol

I'm in the processes of setting up a small shop running one of the Skutt GM818-3CR wire crucible furnaces that takes a 75 pound pot I got from Pete.

I'd originally planned on melting spruce pine cullet, but as we are having issues getting that now I've been looking around for options and I'd really rather not go to spectrum unless I have to.

Is anyone currently melting spruce pine in a small electric furnace successfully without horrendously short element life? It looks like if I can keep the temps low, I should be able to get decent life. I'm not all that confident on a 2250 soak at 7 hours...

Also bringing the pot up to the gathering port and sealing it in with a frax gasket to keep fumes away from the elements would also tend to extend the life of all things I'd think.
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Old 06-12-2015, 10:22 AM
Eben Horton Eben Horton is offline
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A friend was successfully melting Phillips batch in a Denver for years. Changed elements every 5 to 6 months. 9 months made them happy. He switched to spectrum nuggets due to the fact it was shipping out of a warehouse very close to him and could just pick it up.
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Old 06-12-2015, 11:53 AM
James Burts James Burts is offline
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We are currently using Spruce Pine batch in a Denver. We give it more time to melt and fine out, rather than trying to really crank up the temperature, but it seems to work pretty well for us.

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Originally Posted by Eben Horton View Post
A friend was successfully melting Phillips batch in a Denver for years. Changed elements every 5 to 6 months. 9 months made them happy. He switched to spectrum nuggets due to the fact it was shipping out of a warehouse very close to him and could just pick it up.
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Old 06-12-2015, 12:02 PM
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Pete VanderLaan Pete VanderLaan is offline
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Richard Huntrods has been melting SP batch successfully for years in a small wire melter with excellent element life.
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Old 06-12-2015, 12:15 PM
Allan Gott
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Originally Posted by Mitcheal Veenstra View Post
Also bringing the pot up to the gathering port and sealing it in with a frax gasket to keep fumes away from the elements would also tend to extend the life of all things I'd think.
This is the critical protocol Mitcheal. Frax is not stable in the long run but a cast refractory isolation ring, using frax as the interface between kiln wall/isolation ring/crucible will work fine.

Refractory will provide additional heat sink for your appliance and superior resistance to glass attack. Mock it up tightly with 1 1/2 or 2" styrofoam, cast with a high temp refractory product.

Keep it simple.

Last edited by Allan Gott; 06-12-2015 at 12:30 PM. Reason: clarity
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Old 06-12-2015, 03:05 PM
Brice Turnbull Brice Turnbull is offline
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Hi Mitchael,
yes it can work. I am very hesitant to get too excited about a manufactured kiln, but if you've got energy, enthusiasm and patience when needed you will make it work for you and it can get you going.

The Skutt kiln you listed has only one layer of brick, a pitiful amount of insulation. It will be expensive to heat and wear out the elements prematurely to keep it hot while the heat warms your studio neighborhood as it seeps out.

Also, a 75 pound capacity crucible is a lot to chew on for a wire melter, especially with only one brick layer. It might work though (for batch). It would work better with cullet I think.

In the specs it says the wire size is "8". If that means 8 gauge Kanthal A1, then that is good. I currently use 10 gauge, and after much trial and error I feel anything smaller than 10 is too light weight for what we're doing.

Just to let you know, I used Spruce Pine batch until about 8 months ago (so, about 14 years) in my own design of wire melter. It does work. I now use cullet because I just got weary of the dust, and the last year I didn't have a good dry storage for the batch, so as it got wet in the rain & snow it changed, and often I would pull 'snowballs' of unmelted batch out of the melt during my work week.

I used Spruce Pine cullet, and really like it. Then I couldn't get any for 10 weeks, so I started using Spectrum 2 nuggets which I can pick up in Denver (about 2.5 hours away, versus 5 days away for the SP). I am happy with it. It seems to be compatible with all my stock of Kugler and Reichenbach and Gaffer (and a bit of Zimmerman) color. It is easier to melt than batch, and no dust.

If you go with batch, do your own tests to see what is the lowest temperature at which you can melt batch into good, clear glass in your furnace. Then start to shorten the peak melt time. Start with perhaps 11 hours at 2275 and work backwards (lower temp, shorter time) from there.

It will take a while (months) to get a good feel for your best cooking time & temp. Also, keep at least one spare set of elements on hand at all times.

Enjoy.
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Old 06-12-2015, 04:56 PM
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Sky Campbell Sky Campbell is offline
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Some extra insulation and a simple SCR controller will go a long way with extending element life.

I worked out of a top gathering furnace about a week in someone else's studio. I was surprised how much hotter it needed to be to achieve a decent working temperature for the glass.

This won't be very popular but I would much rather work out of an invested pot with wire above then wire below in a sealed chamber. I think with this configuration you won't have to push the elements as hard and you would expect at least a year out of a set of elements.

To each his own. We all know of many ways to skin this cat and what works for one won't always work for another.
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Old 06-12-2015, 05:00 PM
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Pete VanderLaan Pete VanderLaan is offline
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Keeping your charges small is I think, enormously important for something like this. Then it will work. Too much, you'll get lumpy gravy.
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Old 06-12-2015, 06:33 PM
Brice Turnbull Brice Turnbull is offline
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Yeah, good point Pete.

With both batch and now cullet, I have pretty good results with small (8 pounds?) scoops thrown in at a time, let it go flat, add more.
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