Tightening the element connectors is one of the most important steps in replacing an element.
Tightening an Element Connector
Reader Response: Making a kiln last longer in hot weather
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A Kiln Story: An International Kiln
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TIGHTENING AN ELEMENT CONNECTOR
Recently I test-fired a kiln that had loose element connectors. (The element connectors attach the kiln wires to the heating elements.) The element connectors were only hand tight, plus half a turn more. The kiln should have pulled 15 amps. With loose connectors, it pulled only 14.3 amps.
After I tightened the element connectors, the kiln pulled a full 15 amps. I increased the power of the kiln merely by tightening the connectors. Not only can a loose connector reduce the power to the elements, but the connector will also probably burn out later.
The following instructions are for the barrel connectors that Paragon uses. Getting the connector tight applies to any type of element connector, however.
When you install a new element, always use new element connectors. You will find a brass screw and a stainless steel screw in the element connector. Use the brass screw to hold the lead wire and the stainless steel screw to hold the element.
Hold the element connector barrel with Vice-Grips locking pliers. This will prevent the barrel from twisting as you tighten the stainless steel screw that holds the element.
Use a 1/4” nut driver to tighten the stainless steel screw until it is snug. Then use a 1/4” box-end wrench or a ratchet with 1/4” socket to get the screw tighter. Tighten it 1 1/4 turns past the point of firm resistance. If you have a torque wrench, tighten to 30 inch pounds. (We use Utica TC1-150RA torque wrenches at Paragon.) Do not worry if the stainless screw head breaks off as long as the screw threads have not stripped out.
It is difficult to get the connectors tight enough with a 1/4” nut driver alone, because that tool requires a strong hand grip. It is much easier to tighten element connectors with a ratchet or box-end wrench.
The last Kiln Pointer was about ventilation in the kiln room. Charlie Spitzer of Cave Creek, Arizona wrote, “I’m in Phoenix, and I have two kilns in my garage. The ambient temperature there is frequently over 110 degrees F even without the kilns being on, and higher when they are firing.
“I put a small desk fan under the kiln control box, blowing upward. This sucks cooler air off the concrete slab floor and directs it through the vents on the bottom of the control box and out the top, enhancing the natural cooling circulation in the control box.”
Q. I have two kilns next to each other, but I never fire them both at the same time. Should I still keep them 3’ apart?
A. No, you don't need to keep them 3' apart. The 3 foot recommendation is for kilns that fire at the same time. This is to avoid a buildup of heat.
A KILN STORY: AN INTERNATIONAL KILN
By Betty Jean Scott of Las Vegas, Nevada My Paragon QuikFire 6 has traveled around the world. I purchased it from Judy Conway of Vitrum Studio. Several months later, we received our overseas travel orders assigning us to the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, Russia.
Through Judy, we bought a 220-volt muffle for my kiln, which was extremely easy to change. (The Paragon instructions were very thorough.) This allowed me to continue my glasswork while overseas. After two years in Moscow, we were assigned to three years at the embassy in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
I create lamp work beads over flame and use my Paragon kiln for annealing the glass. But mostly I create fused glass cabochons for my jewelry. I will often spend over an hour filling the 6” x 6” shelf with several completely different intricate designs before placing the hood on top and firing the glass.
During our time overseas, I made many friends. There is something about ladies and crafts that provide a common bond. I used my kiln to introduce my friends to glass and worked with each of them to bring their creations to reality. One of my honors was to be invited to bring my jewelry to the Australian Embassy in Kuala Lumpur for a show and sell.
I can say that many people, friends, and their families, all over the world today, are wearing glass made in my Paragon Kiln.
“Pottery, as you know, is frustrating. But we could not fully enjoy success if we did not experience failure. The whole experience is profound.” --Steve Burtt
NEWS: KILN FACTORY TOUR VIDEOS
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Marilee Guttridge, a porcelain artist in Galt, California, has subscribed to the Kiln Pointers longer than anyone else. Thanks, Marilee.
Recently I watched the 1959 Russian movie “The Ballad of a Soldier.” It is beautifully filmed in black and white. Though I had to read English subtitles, this is the best romance movie I have ever seen. The haunting story crosses barriers of time and culture.
With best wishes,
Arnold Howard Paragon Industries, L.P. – Better Designed Kilns 2011 South Town East Blvd. Mesquite, Texas 75149-1122 Voice: 972-288-7557 & 800-876-4328 / Fax: 972-222-0646 firstname.lastname@example.org / www.paragonweb.com
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