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Experience with Rio Grande PMC kiln


#1

I would appreciate hearing thoughts, comments (based on experience
with this unit or similar ones) on whether how fast ramping a Rio
Grande PMC kiln up to 1800F. or 2000 F. working temp-- achieve temp
in one hour, three hours, whatever??-- is done will have any effect
(and if so, what??) on the life of the kiln and the electronic
controller unit over time.

Many thanks!
all best,
John Neary
Tesuque, NM, USA


#2
on whether how fast ramping a Rio Grande PMC kiln up to 1800F. or
2000 F. working temp-- achieve temp in one hour, three hours,
whatever??-- is done will have any effect (and if so, what??) on the
life of the kiln and the electronic controller unit over time. 

The “PMC Kiln,” which is the Paragon SC 2 or 3 (depending on when it
was purchased) reaches 1650 in 15 minutes when run at ramp speed 5.
I’ve never taken it up to 1800 or more, so I don’t know how long,
but a bit longer. Certainly not three hours.

If you write or call Paragon, they could tell you.

I have been told by other kiln owners that running the kiln at ramp
speed 5 a lot will shorten its life – that it wears out the
refractory material.

My experience is consistent with that. I often run it at speed 5 in
workshops, and indeed, the refractory material is getting pitted a
bit. However, in short workshops, I have no choice.

My Paragon SC 2 is 9 years old and gets hard use – I drag it around
to workshops in the trunk, I wrap it in a blanket in the trunk, pack
it up still warm and wheel it around on a cart. It is holding up
beautifully to this. I would buy one again.

One of the reasons I would is that all the parts are available.

All that said, you may want to look into a different kiln with a
higher upper range, since I think it’s not good to run a kiln so
consistently at the top of its range. Again, call Paragon to ask
questions, and they have lots of how to videos on their site.

Elaine
http://www.CreativeTextureTools.com


#3

Hi John,

The Rio Grande PMC kiln is actually manufactured by Paragon. It’s
basically their SC-2 model with a few programming changes on the
computer. I’ve been a Paragon rep for a couple of years now, and I’ve
taken their basic kiln maintenance workshop at the factory in Texas.
I actually just finished writing a magazine article about ceramic
fiber kilns for Art Jewelry Magazine, although I’m not sure yet when
it will be published.

It costs literally pennies to operate these small ceramic fiber
kilns. They heat to full temp in less than an hour. I have not fired
mine to 1800 or 2000, so I can’t give you a precise time frame, but a
firing at 1600 with a 5 minute hold takes less than half an hour
total. I’m sure a couple hundred more degrees would only take a
matter of a few more minutes to achieve.

I’ve found the kiln to be a real work horse. I teach classes with
mine using a wide variety of firing schedules and really pushing it’s
limits all day long. I also wrote my book, Enameling on Metal Clay,
using this kiln. It worked great for enameling as well as for metal
clay. I’ve had no problems with the unit or the controller at all. My
current model is probably about a year and a half old. I’ve sold
hundreds of these kilns and none of my customers has ever had a
problem.

The SC model kilns are a ceramic fiber kiln rather than a brick
kiln. The elements are embedded in the ceramic fiber rather than
exposed. This has both pluses and minuses. On the minus side, if the
element goes out you have to replace the entire ceramic muffle, not
just the element, so it costs a bit more. Again, I’ve never had this
happen, nor have any of my customers, so I don’t think it’s a huge
issue. On the plus side, it’s this ceramic fiber construction that
allows it to operate so fast and inexpensively. Ceramic fiber heats
more quickly and easily than kiln brick. It’s also more flexible than
kiln brick, so the fast heating won’t break it or reduce it’s
lifespan.

If you have more questions just ask! You can also contact me off
list about pricing info if you want. Here’s where to contact me:

http://www.pameast.net/contact

Pam East
www.pameast.net