Introduction: How to Operate a Kiln

I did this at TechShop Menlo Park.
I'm working with a beautiful old school Duncan kiln. The older types have the same functions and order of operation which will be discussed in this instructable. If you have a newer digital one your life will be even easier.

Step 1: Arrange Shelving and Pieces to Be Fired

Prop open the lid arrange shelving on the inside to fit your pieces. I'm firing a low temperature clay sculpture and some pre-baked tiles with glaze.

Step 2: Choose an Appropriate Cone Number

Your product (clay or glaze) should have a cone firing number suggested. Follow directions and choose an appropriate cone number to not over or under-fire you pieces. 

Step 3: Cone Installation

On the inside of the kiln, you will find small 3 metal prongs. Gently lift the middle one and set the cone across the bottom 2.

Step 4: Plug In

This kiln has a special wide thee pronged electrical plug. It needs a particular outlet to fit in.

Step 5: Start the Kiln

The metal clamp shown in picture flips up and down. The cone you placed on the inside is keeping it in the up position. As the kiln reaches desired temperature, the cone will bend allowing the metal piece on the outside to flip down powering the kiln off. 
When the flip is up as shown in picture the start button is reachable though the middle hole.
With lid closed and all but top peep holes plugged (refer to first picture) start the kiln and bring up temperature slowly to prevent cracking. On low for an hour, medium for 2 hours, then turn to high and wait for the cone to bend turning the kiln off.
Allow the kiln to cool off before opening it as this temperature shock could crack your pieces.