it puts out flames, big, open flames.
Not really, although you can really feel the heat. The flames are
contained within a ceramic fiber cone attachment that sits on top of
the metal part that a pan would normally sit on. Then there is a
screen on top of the cone and that is where you place your pieces
for firing. The pyrometer threads through the ceramic fiber cone,
directly into the heat. The gauge is on the outside at a convenient
angle for viewing. I got one to try out so I could tell my students
about it and like it a lot. I have it in my tiny one room apartment
and did the first firing right by the window cos I was concerned
about the fire/fume issue too, but it's not really such a big thing.
I have done the subsequent firings in the same place 'cos it's the
best ventillation, but don't really have any concerns about it. You
do have to monitor the temp constantly, if it rises above 1650 you'll
be in trouble with melting, so it's not like you can start it up and
go about other business, but you would have to monitor it even closer
if you were using a torch.
I think it's a great option for those who don't want to spend
$500-600 on a kiln. You can enamel with it (although I haven't tried
it) and they are trying to work on a way to fire inside the cone
instead of on top so you can fire glass in it as well. I've fired
beads and boxes and they've come out well.
Try it. I think you'll like it.
Lora Hart ~
Certified PMC Instructor