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Picture of Homemade Electric Kiln
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I was frustrated with the price of electric burnout kilns for ceramics, metal annealing, glass enameling, and melting precious metals etc,. so I decided to build my own. Most kilns that run at these temperatures cost between $600 and $1200. With a little help from a guy at a ceramics store, I built one for about $120 (not including the power controller and pyrometer). This little electric kiln can get up to 2000 degrees F and is easy to make without any special tools besides a handheld router. I also wanted one that I could take apart and replace the element, since these are inexpensive.

Materials:
1. 8 x 10" bolts with nuts- 1/4" diameter
2. 7 x soft fire bricks (4 1/2" x 9"- make sure they are soft)
3. About 7 feet of angle iron from Home Depot (this is the frame) (4 x 14" legs/corners, 2 x 9" floor supports)
4. One sheet of thin aluminum (for the door). At least a 9" by 9" square
5. One 1/4 inch x 24" coiled heating element (stretched to 29 1/2") out of 16 gauge Kanthal wire. I had this wound for me at the local ceramics store. Joppaglass.com also is good source.
6. One small hinge with screws
7. Fire proof pins (should come with element)
8. Short outdoor extension cord rated to at least 10 amps (cut down to 3 feet)
9. Variable controller-I've seen them on ebay for $20 rated at 15 amps. Try ebay or Harbour Freight Tools. I already had one with no markings from an old kiln.
10. 1" thick Kaowool- about 1 foot square

Tools:
1. Hand held router with 1/4 inch bit
2. Wrench
3. Needlenose pliers
4. Hacksaw
5. Wire cutters/stripper
6. Drill
7. Tin snips
 
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Sure Hacksalot made it!4 months ago

Thank you for this Instructable - it was one of the key documentations I needed for making my own so that I could make my fiance's engagement ring (http://www.instructables.com/id/Casting-Rings-From-Startup-to-Finish/).

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That is amazing. I used this kiln to make my fiance's engagement ring too but I didn't document it like you did. I will definitely be using your walk-through to improve my process for when I start making the wedding bands! Thanks!

Wolfgar77 (author)  Sure Hacksalot4 months ago

that is awesome! You are the first to post one! Do you have an instructable for your ring? That is a cool setting- did you make it out of Pmc clay?

Yes, I detailed the ring making, kiln build, vacuum chamber construction, and the necessary step-by-step guide to all (see the link above). I actually ended up 3D printing the initial ring using a polyjet printer available at school and then converting it into wax using a rubber mold (the 3D printed parts didn't burn-out the best) before casting.

I would have had a much harder time with everything without your instructable!

Wolfgar77 (author)  Sure Hacksalot4 months ago

sorry, I didn't see the link:) - I love the PID controller! That is a nice upgrade-I'll have to add one to mine. I make jewelry also but I'm old school. I want to learn the lost wax casting so I'll be visiting your instructable often in the future. Congrats on your engagement!

We're on Hackaday!

http://hackaday.com/2014/12/10/casting-engagement-rings-or-other-small-metal-parts/

RobBBorger1 year ago
This is great!! Simple and functional. And very well explained, I have no doubt I can make this with your instructions. Thank you so much, I would never be able to afford one otherwise.
altomic1 year ago
awesome. i want to make so I can blow glass. wondering how I could do it and bam -your instructable. thanks.
rwlarkins1 year ago
Terrific!!. I have been trying to find an inexpensive kiln for copper enameling for years. Never could afford a store-bought one. Thanks. This appears to be fairly easy to build.

Robert Larkins
Jugfet1 year ago
An excellent project and so simple!
I'll be assembling one of these soon for smelting Tin (Sn) ore.
Wolfgar77 (author)  Jugfet1 year ago
Thanks!
Thanks! I have been wanting to make -- not a high temp kiln, but a low temp oven for polymer clays, and this instructible gave me insight on how to construct it.
mssadnblue1 year ago
Thank you so much for showing how to make a kiln! I have been wanting one forever but where I live they usually run $1500 and up -- way out of my budget. Now I will be able to build my own at a much more affordable price. Thanks!
Wolfgar77 (author)  mssadnblue1 year ago
You are more than welcome. I was in the same boat! Necessity is the mother of invention.
Awesome Ible!!!

Expensive store bought kilns have the same problem with the elements popping out - they heat up, expand, and voila, out they pop! (so don't take it personally!)
My paragon kilns have metal staples that hold the elements into the channels - they often come loose and need to be pushed back in, I believe they're just steel - would that work?

Also, for around your door - perhaps a woodstove gasket would work? I've used it instead of foil as a gasket, works great, cheap as hell.

Either way, nice job. Looks a helluva lot nicer than my waffle iron kiln!
Wolfgar77 (author)  bonecholampworks1 year ago
Thanks- your waffle iron kiln is a great idea and one of the first ones I looked at before building this. I almost built your waffle iron kiln but for some of my projects I was afraid it might be too small. Thanks for some of my original inspiration!
kaj.paget25 days ago
Thank you. Aces, wonderful, horray, it's like I have an answer. I too upset over high prices of burn outs:)
But I only thought it was possible to build homemade. But you have shown the world this possibility. Thank you very much for this post
kjones76 made it!1 month ago
Here is my build. I built a digital ramp/soak controller and changed the rear wiring a bit. Thanks for the idea and great instructions. Joppa Glass built the element for me.
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Wolfgar77 (author)  kjones761 month ago
Awesome job! I hope you find as many uses for it as I did!
ssbk2310 months ago

Great presentation. Could you be a bit more specific about the controller?

A link would help a lot understanding what to purchase.

Thank you.

Wolfgar77 (author)  ssbk232 months ago
The reason I didn't post a link is that I didn't want to steer anyone in a direction I didn't go myself. My controller was from an old kiln and had no markings on it. I did update the instructable to offer suggestions but I really can't help anyone with that step until I buy one myslef.
afljhdiuhya5 months ago

How wide is the inside of the kiln?

Wolfgar77 (author)  afljhdiuhya2 months ago
Read the comments or do the math.
kjones762 months ago

Do you know how many Ohm's the element is? I'm trying to order one and they are asking about the Ohm's. Or can you post a link where you got your element with a model? Thanks

Wolfgar77 (author)  kjones762 months ago
I had my element wound for me at a ceramics store so I don't have that information. Your element will depend on the voltage of the outlet you plan to use. Mine is small, so I designed it to run on 120V while most larger kilns run on 240V. The breaker is also rated at 15 amps on my house circuit. I don't know that most ceramics places rate their elements by ohms though. Joppaglass.com rates their element by the voltage of the power source, the gauge of wire and max amperage draw of the circuit. Then you can decide on the arbor size of you element (the outside and inside diameter of the element coil) and cut the coil to the length you want. My advice is to go to Joppaglass.com and talk to them.
Alright, I've been talking back and forth with JoppaGlass and the last thing he needs to know is the gauge of the wire? Would you happen to know or have calipers to measure it? If so, he will keep this info for people who what to purchase that are following your Instructable. Thanks
Wolfgar77 (author)  kjones762 months ago
I already did an update - not sure that it really matters that much as long as your arbor is the size of the channels you cut - but I am sure it is 16 gauge wire.
Thanks! I'm waiting on a quote from JoppaGlass. When I hear back and get everything built I'll post a link from them. With all the interest maybe they will stock this element. I've got all my other pieces ordered so hopefully ill have it built in the next couple of weeks.
Wolfgar77 (author)  Wolfgar772 months ago
I updated the instructable to reflect this information

I am so excited to get the built but i just have one question can you link where you can buy all the materials?

Wolfgar77 (author)  kyle.barnett.7932 months ago
I didn't buy anything online - I either had the tools, or bought materials at the hardware store or ceramics store.

Thank you so much for this instructable. I'm going to school for Art and definitely fell in love with sculpting. This kiln will definitely save me money to pay for the classes that'll end up costing me an arm and leg.

Wolfgar77 (author)  creativityiscourage2 months ago
You are welcome - glad it helped :)

This instructable seems to be missing the making the element step. No?

Wolfgar77 (author)  nathanaloysiusbash2 months ago
Read the instructable! I had a made for me!
Oh ok. I didn't see where it said that. I still dont see where it says that.
weish1 year ago
do you think a setup like this, maybe with an extra layer of firebrick and spackled with fire cement, could get up as high as 3000F? this looks like a great idea, and if it could get hot enough it'd be a good, low cost solution

I know I'm replying to a year-old comment but for the record, this type of kiln maxes out at about 2000 F because the heating element melts at 2190 F (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kanthal).

I know there are several types of metal alloys used in heating wire. Kanthal A-1 can operate at a continuous 2500 degrees farenheit.

Wolfgar77 (author)  jerry.schulteis4 months ago

you are wrong- the NiCr has higher tolerances than that- I have got this little kiln up to 2300 F with no problems at all. I don't know what the upper limit is, and elements vary, but generally they can take more heat than you think. Anything higher for melting iron etc. should probably done in a gas forge/kiln anyhow.

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