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Ceramic kiln for PMC?


#1

My name is Lori Kovash and I am a “small time” jewelry designer. I
have worked with PMC for a couple years and now and I am now faced
with NO kiln. I do have a Duncan model EA-122 pottery kiln the
Artist Plus. does anyone know if I can use that for my PMC or do I
need to purchase one from Rio Grande? Any advise would be helpful.
Thanks!


#2
   does anyone know if I can use that for my PMC or do I need to
purchase one from Rio Grande?  Any advise would be helpful. Thanks! 

PMC is very versatile, I even used a hot air gun (the ones used for
paint stripping made by Wagner 750/1000F) with pmc3 and it worked
well. Torch firing is fun to try out, but I melted a bunch of my
first test subjects. Experiment with little pieces of clay to get a
feel for if it works or not. The key is temperature and/or time. Of
course I would love to have the larger model PMC kiln because i’m
using a flower pot kiln for my flask burnout. Bottom line is, if you
can afford to purchase a kiln, refer to the great posts on this forum
(Comes up alot).

Jonathan Brunet


#3

Hello Lori,

(BTW everyone, Orchid’s own Suzanne Wade is the new editor of the PMC
newsletter - Congrats, Suzanne.) When I first wanted to fire PMC, I
checked with my ceramic artist friends. They said their kiln would
work, BUT they were afraid that the temperature control was not very
precise and the kiln would exceed the PMC firing temp during the
"soaking time." Not to mention firing up a big kiln to do a few
tiny bits of jewelry is expensive.

Although I’ve not tried it yet, there is a new PMC that can be fired
with a hot air gun! It’s called PMC3. If you’re not familiar with
the PMC website, here’s a link
http://www.pmclay.com/frames/welnewsF.html

The Users Manual (covers all forms of PMC) can be downloaded from
this link http://www.pmclay.com/frames/welnewsF.html

An alternative to fire your regular PMC would be to locate someone
who conducts classes near you and have them fire your pieces. Have
fun Judy in Kansas


#4

Lori,

I asked this very question of Studio PMC’s technical editor Tim
McCreight for an upcoming article on selecting a kiln, and the answer
is, well, maybe. But you may find it frustrating, with a good chance
of failures.

According to Tim, most ceramic kilns will easily attain the 1650
required for firing PMC, but there can be large hot and cool spots in
a ceramic kiln, and a pretty wide discrepancy between those spots. In
other words, while one portion of the kiln is at the right temp for
fusing the PMC, another part is so hot it will actually melt the PMC.
This is especially true for original PMC, which requires two hours at
1650 deg F., and will only tolerate a variation of plus or minus 20
deg or so. You may have better success with PMC+, which can be fired
at temps ranging from 1470 to 1650 and needs to soak for just 10
minutes, or with PMC3, which has a firing range of 1110 deg F to 1650
deg F, and also only needs a 10 minute soak.

For more on this topic, try the PMC Guild website at
www.pmcguild.com. You might also want to consider Guild membership,
and request a copy of the Spring 2003 issue of Studio PMC, which will
include both Tim McCreight’s article on choosing a kiln, and an
article on homemade torch kilns for PMC+. (Guild membership is $25 a
year, for anyone who’s interested.)

Good luck!

Suzanne

Suzanne Wade
writer/editor
Suzanne@rswade.net
http://www.rswade.net
Phone: (508) 339-7366
Fax: (928) 563-8255


#5

Hello PMCers, I am having very good luck with a small enameling kiln
that I bought from Amaco (in Indianapolis) for about $125.
According to PMC instructions, it can only be used with PMC3 (I can
only get it up to about 1200F), but it works wonderfully with that.
It is really just a fancified “flower pot kiln” but it safely gets
the job done with ease. It holds more than I ever have to fire at
one time and the firing cycle is only an hour (although I let it
cool down at its own pace - which takes a several hours). Tom


#6

If one wishes to spend less than $500.00 on a kiln, I recommend the
Ultra Lite Bee Hive Kiln by JEC Products, also sold by Rio. This is
the same kiln that is used for granulation and enameling. You use
the standard Ultra Lite kiln with a ceramic insert. It’s very easy
to use, and more consistent than torch firing. With three ceramic
inserts, it’s $150.00. See www.jecproducts.com.

The problem with torch firing is that it’s hard to tell if the item
is fully cooked. I love the Paragon SC 2 and would buy another one;
it’s computer controlled, beeps when done, and can be filled three
shelves high. I have used it successfully in weekend workshops with
13 students.

The problem with PMC 3 is that it is significantly more expensive
and less strong when fired if fired at the lowest temp/time (as it
would be if fired in the “flower pot” or “Hot Pot” kiln that used
solid alcohol fuel). To me, it makes more sense to buy the Ultra
Lite, at a price that is easier to swallow than the $500.00 for the
big kiln.

You can fit about five pieces at a time, are spared the pain and
wait of mailing out to a firing service, and it’ll hold you until
you realize you can’t live without a big kiln.

(usual disclaimer.)

Elaine Luther
Chicago area, Illinois, USA
Certified PMC Instructor
@E_Luther


#7

A pottery kiln is fine but it works better if you have a electronic
thermostat that measures temperatures rather than using cones for
temperature accuracy. My Skutt kiln has a computer programmable
temperature control which automatically moderates the temperature and
lengths of firing to whatever I have programmed. Apparently the newer
versions of PMC can be fired with just a torch for a few minutes but
I have not tried these yet. Good luck. Susan Brandoli @Brandoli