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Experience with Rio's KilnMinder


#1

Hey Kids,

I’m looking at the Kilnminder that Rio sells and want to buy it. I
understand it can be retrofitted to hook up to your computer. This
sounds perfect for me, but I can’t find any on it. Does
anyone know who I would talk to to get this done? Where do you
purchase the program KilnMind that you need ? And what else I might
need to go with it? If you do, please enlighten me.

Many Thanks and Happy ChrismaHanuQuansica (or whatever) To All
Kevin Knoch


#2
Where do you purchase the program KilnMind that you need ? 

Kevin, being ever curious I searched for this, and found little.
www.gesswein.com also carries it, and has the manual as a PDF file
online. I’d say to call them or Rio for the answer to your question.

Otherwise - I’ve posted this before - we use a hard-wired electrical
timer. Not one of those cheap lamp-timers, it’s a 30 amp electrical
box with a timer in it, that just comes on at midnight, in our case.
We’ve used it for 25 years with no electrical or casting issues. It
cost like $35…

http://www.donivanandmaggiora.com


#3

Kevin, I called Rio and they walked me through how to program my
kilnminder. (I had purchased it from Rio.) If you can"t get the info.
you need from Rio, I can send you a copy of mykilnminder manual, if
you wish.

Andrew


#4

Hi Kevin:

One of the kiln-brains out at school is a Kilnminder II, but I got
it from Gesswein. It’s worked like a champ for 10+ years. Had a
psychotic episode a few years back, but a trip back to Gesswein, and
a few hundred dollars fixed that. Definitely worth the money. I’ve
got one on my (mothballed) burnout kiln at home too.

The wonderful thing about them for the small studio is that they
burn out while you’re either busy or asleep. You can cast first thing
in the morning, let the kiln cool all day while you shoot and sprue
more waxes, and load up again last thing in the evening, and you’re
off to the races. Either way, it lets you worry about other things
than where your kiln temp is right now. I’ve run 8-10 hour burnouts
by hand. It stinks. Having a kilnminder (regardless of brandname) is
worth every penny.

One comment though: I always make sure the brain is separate from
the kiln. That way if either one of them blows up, you’ve still got
the other. When my kilnminder at school fried, I had a second burnout
oven to fall back on, but if I’d had to, I could have disconnected
the kilnminder, and run the burnout by hand, the old-fashioned way.
(cursing all the while, doubtless.) If the kiln fries, new kilns
without brains are much cheaper than kilns with brains.

FWIW,
Brian.

PS–> One more comment re Kilnminders: mine is a Kilnminder II, and
about 10-12 years old. The newer ones are likely different, but one
of the things I like about it is the interface. It doesn’t have one.
You flip switches to set the various modes and temps, and it only
does one day of delayed start. It’s not very ‘friendly’ but it does
exactly what you tell it, and it’s very clear about what that is. My
smaller burnout oven is a newer Kerr with a built-in brain. That
thing has an LCD that displays real words. It tries to be ‘friendly’,
and sacrifices clarity in the process. If you’re not careful, you’ll
end up starting your delayed burn a day later than you planned
because of a difference of opinions (yours and its) about what a '1’
day delay means. I don’t enjoy having semantic arguments with my
tools.


#5
Otherwise - I've posted this before - we use a hard-wired
electrical timer 

Yeah thanks John, for the help, but I need more than a timer. You
guys, I take it, are just letting the kiln kick on at midnight and
letting it run straight up to 1350 or whatever with no stops along
the way? Since my casting shop is an uninsulated shed about 30 yds.
from the house, I need to be able to hit my temperature mark reliably
whether its 22F degrees outside or 70F. This aint happening now.


#6

Hi Kevin,

I really like the Neycraft Programmer, I’ve had two of them for many
years, they work great and they are super easy to program up to 4
different burnout cycles. I’m not sure what the advantage of hooking
it up to your computer would be. It seems to me that once you set you
programs for the type of casting you do, you really don’t need to
monitor it…that’s the idea anyway. The KilnMinder seemed a bit more
complicated and less intuitive. Just something else to consider.

Mark
http://www.progresstool.com/pd_neycraft.cfm


#7
The newer ones are likely different, but one of the things I like
about it is the interface. It doesn't have one. You flip switches
to set the various modes and temps, and it only does one day of
delayed start. 

Okay, I have to ask, why would you need to delay your oven start any
more than one day? If I could plan that far ahead I would be a
jewelry store owner, not a jeweler, and could have some poor lackey
like me adjusting the oven till midnight. Or do I misunderstand ?

The wonderful thing about them for the small studio is that they
burn out while you're either busy or asleep. You can cast first
thing in the morning, let the kiln cool all day while you shoot and
sprue more waxes, and load up again last thing in the evening, and
you're off to the races 

Thats the ticket ! Because by the time I get up and walk out back 30
yd.s, adjust the oven, look at the sky, pet the dog, and get a glass
of water, I have absolutely no clue what I was so fervently working
on 3 minutes ago. The doctors say its too many head injuries, but I
think it may have been the 1970’s.

Keep those flex-shafts turning people.


#8

Thank you Andrew,

I called Rio and they walked me through how to program my
kilnminder. (I had purchased it from Rio.) If you can"t get the
info. you need from Rio, I can send you a copy of mykilnminder
manual, if you wish. 

Actually, thanks to the power of ganoksin, A very kind person from
Rio e-mailed me and at least is going to check into the price of the
special order kit to interface the kilnminder with a computer. I
also have the PDF download of the KilnMinder manual, but its very
vague about this aspect. I don’t think I’ve ever found so little
on the internet about anything. Try it.


#9

Hey Mark,

I really like the Neycraft Programmer, I've had two of them for
many years, they work great and they are super easy to program up
to 4 different burnout cycles. I'm not sure what the advantage of
hooking it up to your computer would be. 

I haven’t seen the neycraft programmer I guess… How much is it? I
only have accounts at 2 suppliers, but I would love to see some
specs on it. As far as what the advantage would be… you are right,
as long as you know how long your casting cycle should last you
should be able to just walk away and let it run, huh ? I guess what
I’m thinking though is if your casting oven was outside in the cold,
cold,dark, and you suddenly wake up in the middle of the night and
realize that the program you selected was wrong and ending on a
temperature that was not what you need for that particular metal,
then you could change it from inside the warm,warm, house. Plus, I
was thinking that the software, if it isn’t too expensive, would
make that Kilnminder a little more user friendly…like maybe I
could more easily program it.

I do see what you’re saying though, I need to think about how much
good it would actually do me instead of thinking of the ‘cool gadget
effect.’ The info I’ve been able to find so far is scant on how it
would work.

But…I am a sucker for cool gadgets. we all have our problems don’t
we.

Kevin K.


#10
You guys, I take it, are just letting the kiln kick on at midnight
and letting it run straight up to 1350 or whatever with no stops
along the way? Since my casting shop is an uninsulated shed about
30 yds 

Yes, Kevin, you seem to have a real need for something. People who
are casting 30 flasks a day want to have a scientific method, too,
to keep errors to a minimum. It’s just to say that for us, casting 3
times a week more or less, a simple timer does the job quite nicely.
I had a long conversation with a Kerr rep once about a problem
product that they tried (and pulled) and he had no problem with that
method, either.

http://www.donivanandmaggiora.com


#11
Thats the ticket ! Because by the time I get up and walk out back
30 yd.s, adjust the oven, look at the sky, pet the dog, and get a
glass of water, I have absolutely no clue what I was so fervently
working on 3 minutes ago. The doctors say its too many head
injuries, but I think it may have been the 1970's. 

I have no head injuries (that I recall), and didn’t do anything
interesting in the 70’s, but I’m the same way. I suspect you have
plenty of company. Thanks for the chuckle.

Noel


#12

About a computer interface… I use one but then I also use an
industrial process controller. One temp set at a time with more
smarts about how it gets there and how it holds than I could care to
understand. Computer watches the time and sends new temperature
settings for the desired cycle. (dumb simple basic program, RS 232
connection)

My computer and controller usually get along fine. Best practice is
to run the last working cycle again without me mucking about the
settings in the middle. My computer and controller are about 20’
apart, 30 yards is within the specifications but why bother. You have
to be out in the cold to stack, punch the start buttons and make sure
that the right lights work. If a burnout crashes at 3:00 AM I don’t
want to know about it since I probably can’t fix it. Disaster
recovery is best done in daylight after at least a cup of coffee.

With a fancy multi program dedicated turnout controller about the
only time I see a need for a computer interface is during initial
programming. Cryptic keypads and abbreviations of abbreviations on a
minimal display of abbreviations while holding a “manual” in the
back corner of the cold casting room bring back bad memories from the
80’s. A soft chair in a warm clean room with a big screen and
keyboard are much nicer. You have to make your own choices. Eating
is good, luxuries are really nice, I just don’t plan on leaving
enough $ for a 12’ hole when 6’ is more than enough.

Jeff
Demand Designs
Analog/Digital Modelling & Goldsmithing
http://www.gmavt.net/~jdemand


#13
Okay, I have to ask, why would you need to delay your oven start
any more than one day? 

Some folks don’t work weekends, stack friday and cast monday
morning.

Jeff
Demand Designs
Analog/Digital Modelling & Goldsmithing
http://www.gmavt.net/~jdemand


#14

Hi Kevin,

I haven't seen the neycraft programmer I guess... How much is it?

It’s about $1000 US. I have three burn-out cycle programs that I set
that I can choose from and an extra program I use to hold a flask at
casting temp for extended periods (if I run out of metal and am
waiting for delivery for instance). I delay the start so it’s ready
to cast when I come in the next morning. I run a nine hour cycle so
I delay the start until 9pm and it’s ready at 6am. The delay just
saves electricity mostly.

Mark