Make jewelry from the amazing silver, bronze, and copper clays that are shaped with simple tools and fired. Or even fire ceramics, porcelain, or stoneware jewelry. When you are ready to try something new, fire china, decals, enameling, and glass in Paragon’s digital Caldera kiln. Glass compatibility and glaze color tests are fast and easy. The Caldera fires rapidly to 2350°F/1287°C.
Steel Stand, Stackable Design
The original Caldera and Caldera-S kilns were placed on top of four firebrick blocks. The new Calderas now ship with a sturdy 2 3/4" high x 14" x 12 3/4" steel stand, complete with mar-proof rubber feet. With a separate top and bottom, the Caldera is stackable and completely portable. The kiln is easy to carry to seminars. Take it with you on vacation. For a digital kiln that can do this much, the Caldera is surprisingly affordable.
A True Workhorse
“I love, love, love the Caldera. I not only fuse glass and work in metal clay, but I teach a lot of classes, so I'm firing the kiln all the time. It is a true workhorse. In three years I have not had one problem with it. I have done drop ring vases, small pot melts, small dishes, and candleholders in it. It is inexpensive to run on 120 volts.” --Lisel Crowley
Imagine the glass you could make with this kiln: Sag, slump, and fuse. Make small bowls, pendants, earrings, cufflinks, and even bracelets. Enjoy the glittering beauty of dichroic glass. This kiln will give you a haven of creative enjoyment that you will especially appreciate when life gets hectic. You will soon find that glass fusing is addictive. Do not be surprised if glass takes over a large part of your life.
The Joy of Testing
You will never outgrow a small kiln. If you later buy a larger kiln, continue to use the small one for testing or small projects. Perfect a new design in the small kiln before running production quantities in the large kiln. A small test kiln is invaluable in solving ceramic glaze problems and perfecting difficult glazes such as crystallines.
The Caldera in the Classroom
A Caldera is a nice addition to school programs. A test kiln is relatively inexpensive. With the Caldera, students can make gifts in time for a birthday or holiday instead of waiting until the school’s large kiln is fired. A test kiln creates enthusiasm for a clay program. Students can test glazes while they feel the momentum instead of waiting to fire them in the large kiln.
New teachers inherit bags of unlabeled clay in their classrooms. Many loads of clay have been ruined because they were fired to the wrong temperature. With a Caldera kiln, you can easily test unlabeled clay.
Strong Lap Joints
To strengthen the firing chamber, the firebrick corners are fitted together with L-shaped notches. This type of joint lasts longer than the butted joint and the "picture frame" mitered joint found on competitive brands. Rugged construction makes this kiln a little workhorse. The base is versatile and can be flipped if one side is damaged. The lid and base are interchangeable unless you order the lid with a glass window.
This kiln is built to last. Elements are coiled from the finest high-temperature wire available. They use heat-dissipating element connectors refined and proven over many years in Paragon kilns. The thermocouple, which senses temperature in the kiln, is protected with a high-nickel stainless steel sheath for long life.
The Caldera switchbox is coated with a durable high temperature, water-base finish. We chose this type of paint because of the low emissions during spraying. This creates a safer working environment for our employees and cuts down on pollution. The Caldera is proudly made in America to exacting standards.
- 2 ½” insulating refractory firebricks
- Dropped, recessed brick grooves protect the element for long life.
- Vented switch box, heavy duty wiring for years of reliable service.
- The Caldera, even with a collar, still fires to 2000°F/1093°C
- A heavy-duty steel stand (complete with rubber feet) is included with each kiln.
The Optional Glass Window
You can order your Caldera with an optional glass window in the top. The glass window is rated to 2300°F (1260°C), so it can easily withstand glass fusing temperatures. Please note, however, that the window reduces the kiln’s maximum temperature to approximately 2100°F (1148°C) and is meant for glass fusing. (You can still fire porcelain and stoneware jewelry even with the window, but you will need to plug the window with ceramic fiber.)
The basic Caldera is part of a kiln expansion system. Add a collar for annealing glass beads or enameling small copper pieces. Add 4 ½” of height to the Caldera with a Caldera-BC collar, which has a 7½” x 2” door on the side for annealing glass beads. The Caldera-X is the same type of collar, but without the bead door. Explore copper enameling with the 6 3/4” tall Caldera-E collar.
Caldera-BC Bead Collar
Caldera-E Enameling Collar
Warning for the Caldera Kiln Equipped with a Lid Safety Switch and Collar
The Caldera kiln was intended to be a stackable kiln with a separate lid and bottom. However, the lid must be hinged to the Caldera body when a lid safety switch is installed. To stabilize a Caldera kiln that has a hinged lid, we attach the kiln body and kiln bottom together with two latches.
If an unlatched collar (enameling, bead, or extension) is mounted between the Caldera body and the kiln bottom, care must be taken when opening the hinged lid. Do not open the lid past 90 degrees (where the lid is straight up) unless the lid leans against a heat-proof support behind the kiln.
Please be aware when firing the Caldera with any collar in place, the maximum temperature is reduced. Enameling Collar – 1800°F; Bead Collar – 2000°F; Extension Collar – 2000°F
Digital, 3-Key Simplicity
The Sentry Xpress controller fires in either Ramp-Hold or Cone-Fire mode. Control both heating and cooling with simple 3-key operation. The Caldera includes an on/off toggle switch so you can turn off power to the controller when the kiln is idle.
Features of the Sentry Xpress 3-key Controller for Ceramic Kilns
Fire to a pyrometric cone by merely entering cone number and slow, medium or fast speed.
Program Review lets you check the program you are about to fire.
Set a temperature alarm to remind yourself to close a vented lid.
Design Ramp-Hold programs with up to 8 segments (steps).
Skip a segment in Ramp-Hold during firing.
Hold (soak) the temperature in both Cone-Fire and Ramp-Hold.
Control both heating and cooling in Ramp-Hold.
Add hold time in Ramp-Hold during firing.
Change the target temperature in Ramp-Hold during firing.
Temperature Display throughout firing and cooling in your choice of °F or °C
Thermocouple Offset adjusts the thermocouple readout.
Set the Delay to turn on the kiln later to suit your schedule.
Error Messages report mechanical problems such as a disconnected thermocouple, stuck relay or broken element.
12 Month Warranty
LED Lights show whether you are in program, review, or firing mode.
Colorful, illustrated Sentry Xpress instruction manual. Download it from the “Additional Information” section below to review these features in more detail. Master the controller before you even buy the kiln.
Convenient to Ship
The Caldera can ship by UPS for lower shipping cost and faster service. Specially designed cartons and foam padding assure that the kiln will arrive safely. Save the box and foam packing inserts so you can conveniently move the kiln while on vacation or to seminars. Unstack and load the kiln sections in minutes.
“It is Such a Sweetie!”
Emma Ralph is a prominent, full-time bead maker who lives in Coulsdon, a town in Surrey, England. She has loved making beads since her teens. “Ask any beadmaker--it's an addiction we cannot break!" she said.
Emma fires a Paragon Caldera kiln. “I use my Caldera mainly for batch-annealing small glass beads, but occasionally I fire up some PMC,” she said. “The Paragon Caldera is my first kiln. I have been so impressed with the all-round performance and service. Is there nothing that kiln can't do? It is such a sweetie! I thought the manual and paperwork that came with both the kiln and digital controller were both excellent.
“I particularly appreciate the way that there is so much information for diagnostics and repair / maintenance in the manuals,” she said. “When I showed my engineer husband the various diagrams and technical specs, he made those lovely reassuring noises of ‘ah’ and ‘I see’ that every woman loves to hear. In other words, if anything goes wrong, he can fix it . . . yeah! With so many products these days, if something goes wrong we are expected to trash it and start again. But with the Paragon Caldera, it is so refreshing how the paperwork explains that various parts will wear out from time to time and how they can be replaced.
“The tips in the manual for fusing, annealing and even using PMC were also excellent and very appreciated.”
Have something good to say about the CALDERA? Tell Us
"In my opinion the Caldera digital is the number one choice for multi-purpose firing arts. With the 120 Volt, 5-15R household wall receptacle, most artists will not need to have electrical work done. What is even more amazing is that this little powerhouse kiln that can run off 120 volts can do so much! We originally purchased it to fuse Dichroic glass jewelry but were quickly able to expand our product line to include Fine Silver, Copper, Bronze and other mixed metals, Annealing of Lamp worked Beads and Boro marbles, Raku and Ceramics, and Enameling with the help of this versatile kiln. (And we still have not tapped into all of its talents.) I prefer a brick kiln for firing the newer versions of high fire metal clays requiring temps over 1900*F. The Caldera has a great sized chamber for the stainless steel containers used to hold the carbon required for the base metal clays; plus the top loading chamber makes adding additional carbon into a hot steel container safer and easier than with a front loading kiln when performing two part base metal firings. Don't get me wrong, I love my SC-2 muffle kiln, but there are just some things at which I feel my Caldera is better. For the price you can't go wrong for this much durability and versatility. " - Julie Cannariato, ArtZcat Creations, Rowlett, TX
"I LOVE my Caldera. Originally purchased for Vitrigraph Murrine pulls (from my GAAC 2013 Project award), it is now also being used to Bisque fire clay for use in Obvara firings at my studio. My blog: nanopod.me" - Tosca Teran, Toronto, Canada
"I purchased a Paragon Caldera with a digital controller. I am a hobbyist making small jewelry pieces, beads, and buttons. My ceramic buttons and beads are handmade with stoneware clay fired to cone 6. I must tell you, I am SO pleased with my baby kiln. It does a beautiful job every time and is so easy to run. I love it and will recommend one to whoever asks! Thank you for putting out such a great product!" - Marti Conrad, Harrisville