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Old 03-16-2021, 05:40 PM
Daniel Sviland Daniel Sviland is offline
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Annealer Element Life

So just a question for the Hive - do annealler elements have a life span? They all still work.....and get hot (eventually)but if does appear to be taking longer to get up to working temp. Any input is appreciated
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Old 03-16-2021, 05:55 PM
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it is well known that as elements age, they do increase resistance and that has been well documented. Best to plan on orderly replacement schedules. SCR'S help as does good hygiene putting elements in. Then checking connections helps as well. The temps you run at are important as is the acidity of the glass melted.
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Old 03-17-2021, 02:57 PM
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In my experience kanthal wire at annealing temperatures can last a long time. The more wire the less watt loading the longer they will last. I would check your connections amd clean them up thatís where failure is prone to happen. Resistance in those connection is energy lost.
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Old 03-17-2021, 06:29 PM
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quite right.
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Old 03-18-2021, 11:19 AM
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How old are you elements? At annealing temps elements should give years of service. If we're talking months, or a year, then it would point to some other problem.

If you have a decent multimeter you can check the resistance (everything cold and disconnected). If you decide an element change is warranted note the resistance of the new one before installation. Follow all the advice already given in this thread.

Cleanliness is more important than many of us realize. It's actually a good habit to clean your annealer routinely. Vacuum the element grooves with a brush attachment on your shop vac at least once a month. I learned this from potters that do a lot of dirty stuff inside kilns sometimes.
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Old 03-18-2021, 12:07 PM
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Potters do dirty stuff?

Who knew?
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Old 03-18-2021, 04:43 PM
Rick Wilton Rick Wilton is offline
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the elements in my fusing kilns are over 12 years old and glass melted to them in a few spots. Still waiting for them to crap out, they are fired daily and usually a few times. Going to 1550f or 830c much hotter than an annealer.
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Old 03-18-2021, 04:53 PM
Art Freas Art Freas is online now
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Cleaning the connections. So just where they connect to power and use something like heavy duty scotchbrite? In our shop we have only lost one element in 8 years and that one was on the floor under the shelves and got some crap on it.
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Old 03-19-2021, 08:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Art Freas View Post
Cleaning the connections. So just where they connect to power and use something like heavy duty scotchbrite? In our shop we have only lost one element in 8 years and that one was on the floor under the shelves and got some crap on it.
Yes just the connection. Do be careful Sod’s law has a amazing way of biting one in the butt.

I like to bring the annealer up to temp kill the power and just tighten the connections.
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Old 03-19-2021, 08:58 AM
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If I actually did have an element fail, I would turn it all off and then take a torch to the two points of failure and heat them until they glowed. Then quickly pulling the sections straight. Then once more up to a red glow and twist the two parts together. It works very well. The pair I have now is working on 23 years but is scruffy looking. .
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Old 03-20-2021, 03:30 PM
Michael Ahlefeldt-Laurvig Michael Ahlefeldt-Laurvig is online now
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Daniel, please search the archives for my continuous disapproval of kanthal elements in an annealer. Its a 40 year old misconception in the US stemming from ceramists going to glass.
Its just silly. If anything they could limit your own life span.
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Old 03-21-2021, 07:31 AM
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Maybe I could start a separate board for you michael.

"General things to avoid"

I did buy the oven element by the way and it looks to be about 3500watts which should do what I want. I have to poke new holes out the back of the lehr. I've avoided that by kick starting my 25 year old lehr which has still got the same kanthal elements but has a controller that is finicky.

Maybe we could just name that board "SOAPBOX" and people could just get things off their chests. Sort of like Gilda Ratner used to do , like " Violins in schools. "
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Old 03-21-2021, 09:46 AM
Michael Ahlefeldt-Laurvig Michael Ahlefeldt-Laurvig is online now
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A kanthal spiral element could have killed me. It was a annealer in the US. The element slumped out of its groove while hot and slumped-down on the K type TC, and the whole annealer became “hot” it zapped me when I grabbed the door handle. Thanks to a wood floor I wasent grounded well and I didnt get the full Amps, just a hell of a scare. Thats my aversion to having hot wires in a annealer. Its personal.
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Old 03-21-2021, 10:52 AM
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Your point is well taken but has some limits. I think that the effort to groove softbrick to accommodate the elements is flawed from the getgo as well as the tendency to increase resistivity as the element ages are a good basis to simply avoid using them.

The downside is that I suspect the oven elements will not do well if you want to try slumping anything.

The element installations are really the issue. A good quality installation will encase the element in a quartz tube or will insert an alumina rod in the element prior to sticking it in the wall. I think the quartz is preferable since you still don't have to have a groove, but do need a quality way of adhering it to the wall. I see a lot more of these in slumpers so that schmutz ( as technical term) doesn't fall into the workpiece. The down side is a loss of cubic inches of hot zone space.

Do keep in mind I was joking. The only serious shock I've ever gotten in the studio was from a welder.
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Old 03-21-2021, 12:11 PM
Michael Ahlefeldt-Laurvig Michael Ahlefeldt-Laurvig is online now
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It was a normal annealer, it had run for 3 years. I did not build it. Nobody could have anticipated this would happen, it would be called an accident.
Please start a new section where 65+ can let steam go, Im really pissed off the 30-40 age cant do shit, they don't know which end to hold a hammer
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Old 03-22-2021, 08:03 AM
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I'll send them all to stand in your front yard.

So, the element grounded to the thermocouple sheath? The sheath was in direct contact with the frame? I have wooden handles on my lehr.
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Old 03-22-2021, 08:52 AM
Michael Ahlefeldt-Laurvig Michael Ahlefeldt-Laurvig is online now
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The TC was all metal, so yes it grounded in the outside wall of the annealer
It was about 3mm in dia, Ive never seen one like it afterward
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Old 03-22-2021, 09:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Ahlefeldt-Laurvig View Post
The TC was all metal, so yes it grounded in the outside wall of the annealer
It was about 3mm in dia, Ive never seen one like it afterward
***
And for good reason..
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Old 03-22-2021, 09:46 AM
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Our annealers have wood handles, not sure if that is the reason but they are non-conductive.
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Old 03-22-2021, 09:24 PM
Daniel Sviland Daniel Sviland is offline
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Thank you for the info, the annealer has had the same elements for 15+ years, I will isolate and take readings on the resistance.
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Old 03-23-2021, 10:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Ahlefeldt-Laurvig View Post
It was a normal annealer, it had run for 3 years. I did not build it. Nobody could have anticipated this would happen, it would be called an accident.
Please start a new section where 65+ can let steam go, Im really pissed off the 30-40 age cant do shit, they don't know which end to hold a hammer
Was it the your generation that failed the next? I canít help but feeling we all should be held responsible for what we pass on to the next generation.
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Old 03-23-2021, 01:43 PM
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The early group of teachers were really renaissance men in the sense that they had to do it all. Building a glass shop is an infra structue challenge now. It wasn't so bad in 1970. We built these furnaces from crystolite brick and they failed after one year, maybe a bit more. At the time, 68-69 I recall Dudley doing some color work with his preposterous color furnace, but no one else. RISD had a class catalog showing the ingredients for glass but it went no further than that. JM marbles and keystone cullet were the supply chain.

By 1972, things were changing fast . The schools continued to diss private shops but Orient and Flume, Jim Lundberg, Steve Correia were making private shop inroads and selling stuff at renaissance fairs all over California. They really led the charge in sophistication. Glass was far less clunky, much more graceful and there were so few of us, 300 maybe by then. The world was your oyster.

The, comes 1976 and as Fritz said "Money changed everything" Dale was making the blanket cylinders and I remember being down at Viola's house with him and he swore he's never make another. ( about 40 were made) . Then, here's this phone call and someone wants to buy three of them for 2K and we loaded back into the car right then for the school. Then Mark sold his piece for $3500 bucks , Dale went to see Italo and this dollar race was on.

I think in its own way, the disconnect was right there.

People were going to Pilchuck and making stock for sale. The shows in the east were bringing $100K in sales. The notion of art was getting tough to sell. People took on helpers that had blinders on to just make their product. Learning became narrowly focused. By the 80's this was the dominant action. The schools were still filling up but by '85, the real technical achievements were happening in private, not in schools. A big sea change. This was about the time that the non ocean going vessels were teaching in classes. That too had a remarkable effect on the quality and quantity of what was made. Handblown glass in airline catalogs. Target selling glass by the '90's.

I've always had the sense that the explorative work in design began to ebb by 1990. It slipped just a bit but one saw more mass produced work than before. The gallery approach shifted with a few less galleries. The recession in 91 hurt a lot of players and from my point of view, things were pretty static with some notable exceptions like Billy Morris. Italian work became the brass ring to catch and making filigrana glass was the norm. More teaching more students, blah blah blah.

Somewhere around 2000, the economics had a wrench in the gears and there was more material than could be absorbed by a less than infatuated public. More teaching more students and student teachers. The renaissance guys retired and left curious examples of what should teach a glass class. The shop tech was born and the students in school no longer built the tools, the shop techs di or the places like Wet Dog, further distancing the kids from the process.
Michael is correct that they didn't know shit about their tools and that has been going on for some time. The schools didn't really want these people starting yet more studios. Schools began to shut down programs. The ignorance went on and it's with us today. Now a Skutt kiln is a glass furnace. Got a pumpkin?
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Old 03-23-2021, 01:49 PM
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Was it the your generation that failed the next? I canít help but feeling we all should be held responsible for what we pass on to the next generation.
****
I agree within limits. My concern with the current crop is that they don't want to think about the problem, they want the answer.
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Old 03-23-2021, 02:46 PM
Tom Fuhrman Tom Fuhrman is offline
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In combination with all that went on was the advance of technology. When annealers went to digital control and electric furnaces came on the scene they changed things. very few know how to repair a GB4 controller or any of the other controllers that are commonly used and I still can"t program many of them. I stillo rmeber being on Mark's shop in the early 90s and he still was more comfortable using the older Coleman Barber graphing controllers. it may not be much different than the days in the factories that only one individual knew how to batch and produce colorants successfully. Show up make what sells and someone else takes care of everything else.
The same thing has happened in other fields as well. What person can work on a vehicle that was produced in the last 3 years without having a specialty and relying on their computer or diagnosis equipment to solve the problems. new Tesla mechanics have no wrenches, only a laptop. Medicine is going that way as well with Doctors doing more and more tele-visits, relying strictly on blood work and findings of an MRI.
Technology has changed a lot more than we want to accept unless it makes it easier for us to get from point A to B. I'm glad I had a chance to be involved with the glass movement before it became such a technology oriented and diverse marketing scene. I have to say we worked hard, played hard and had a lot of fun times. Glad I got out when the fun became less and less.
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Old 03-23-2021, 04:02 PM
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Mark and I were reminiscing two nights back. He still uses the Coleman Barber.

I on the other hand have 30 year old Love 16A's but they aren't the same as the new ones.
I liked my old Honeywell's and Wests even better. They went "Clunk". The shop shook.
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