Firebox-8 Kiln Height Extension

Click Image to Learn more about the Firebox-14 Glass (Melting) Fusing Kiln

Click Image to Learn more about the Firebox-14 Glass (Melting) Fusing Kiln

Needed several ‘Fire-Bricks’ to complete an Aluminum melting foundry furnace I was building… so went down to a local Art Supply store.

Much to my surprise the store was closing and I walked in on a liquidation sale and ended up buying 2 electric kilns for a very good price.

The Larger of the 2 Kilns is a SKUTT Firebox 14″x 14″ x 6.5″ deep Kiln specifically made for melting/fusing glass because it is digital programmable to ramp up the temperatures and also slowly cool the glass.   If you click on the image above you can read more about the Kiln’s abilities.

The smaller Firebox-8 kiln is manually set with a digital temperature display.

Firebox-8 and Firebox-14 Kilns and other items from Sale

Firebox-8 and Firebox-14 Kilns and other items from Sale

My mother use to make Glass Beads & Fused Glass Artwork and my little brother was nice enough to send me some of her Artworks after she passed.

While I always wanted to try it the cost of the kiln to get started seemed too high … However, the prices of these 2 kilns were just too good to pass up and along with Fused Glass there are many other items the Kilns can be used for that I will discuss later in this post.

Below are some examples I found online showing different fused glass items…

Fused Glass items Example I found online

Fused Glass items Example I found online

Another Example of Fused Glass Jewelry

Another Example of Fused Glass Jewelry

Along with Jewelry … Beautiful Serving Plates can be made …

Slumped Fused Glass Sushi Dish Set

Slumped Fused Glass Sushi Dish Set

After purchasing the kilns, I was told to come back that Friday to learn how to run  them and also was invited to make a piece of fused glass artwork …

Cut & Broken Glass in Kiln before 1st Melting

Cut & Broken Glass in Kiln before 1st Melting

The plan was to stack different colors of glass on top of a single large sheet of iridescent glass and then fuse the different glass items …

Ceramic Mold for 'Slumping' (Melting) the Glass in to Create a Shape

Ceramic Mold for ‘Slumping’ (Melting) the Glass in to Create a Shape

After fusing, the cooled flat glass was put on a mold shape to then re-melt the glass just enough so that it would ‘Slump’ into the shape of the mold …

Broken Slumped Glass that Broke and Re-Fused in Kiln

Broken Slumped Glass that Broke and Re-Fused in Kiln

My first attempt at a fused glass piece of artwork cracked in the Slumping phase but got lucking because it continued to melt and re-fused itself back together in a very interesting piece of Artwork!!

Different Light Changes the Color of the Glass Artwork

Different Light Changes the Color of the Glass Artwork

The crack is smooth and fused very strong to create an interesting item which looks completely different from other angles and lighting…

It certainly wasn’t planned but I would now be let down if it had not cracked and then refused because it is a One-of-a-Kind piece of Artwork!!

First Try and Glass Artwork on My Dresser

First Try and Glass Artwork on My Dresser

The Kiln I will probably use the most is the smaller Firebox-8 … The plan is to use it to anneal and normalize steel to make it easier to machine and then harden and temper, etc.  ~ Also to melt small quantities of Aluminum for casting items.

To better understand the process of Tempering, Normalizing, and Annealing Steel you can watch a set of Videos by MARC LECUYER ~ He has a very interesting fun sense of humor, and certainly knows his subjects!!

( CLICK the Images Below to be Linked to the YouTube Videos )

HEAT TREATMENT OF STEELS PART 1, MARC LECUYER

Click to View Video about Tempering, Normalizing, and Annealing Steel

Click to View Video about Tempering, Normalizing, and Annealing Steel

 

HEAT TREATMENT OF STEELS PART 2, MARC LECUYER

Click Image to View Part-2 of Steel Heat Treating Videos

Click Image to View Part-2 of Steel Heat Treating Videos

The Firebox-8 Kiln goes up to about 2000 Degrees Fahrenheit but it is a bit shallow for some of the items I want to use it for; therefore, the need for the Height Extension Add-on I built using the extra Kiln bricks.

Smaller Firebox-8 Kiln before Height Extension was Added

Smaller Firebox-8 Kiln before Height Extension was Added

I didn’t really need SolidWorks for this project, but just for the fun of it, drew the Kiln Height Extension into SolidWorks CAD software using the scrap metal dimensions of items I had in the shop.

Probably many ways to do this, but as usual, I look around the workshop and try to build items using whatever ‘Scrap Metal Engineering’ items I can find.

SolidWorks CAD Concept of the Kiln Height Extension

SolidWorks CAD Concept of the Kiln Height Extension

As mentioned, the reason I went to the Kiln Supply Store was to buy Fire Bricks for an Aluminum Foundry Furnace I am building and ended up buying extra Kiln Fire Bricks to create an Extension to the Firebox-8 Kiln to take it from 4.5″ deep to 13.5″ deep.

Kiln 'Fire-Bricks' rated for temperatures up to 2300 degrees

Kiln ‘Fire-Bricks’ rated for temperatures up to 2300 degrees

As everyone knows, heat rises and this smaller kiln goes up to 2000 degrees F.

I only need it to go to about 1250 F. to melt Aluminum so removed the lid and stacked some fire bricks on the top of kiln and then carefully set the lid on the temporary extension experiment … Even with the extended height it easily reached 1300 degrees and I did not have it even close to turned up all the way.  Yay!!

Cut Sheet Metal for Outer Kiln Extension Box

Cut Sheet Metal for Outer Kiln Extension Box

Used some 0.136″ thick sheet metal I had leftover from another project to make the sides for the Kiln height extension …

Welding the Sheet Metal parts together to Create a Height Extension Outer Box

Welding the Sheet Metal parts together to Create a Height Extension Outer Box

Used a Sharpie Black marker to draw lines to help remind me the pattern of where the kiln bricks would be located and then drilled and welded some angle to to box for mounting it to the existing kiln body.

Welding on Angle Mounts to the side of Extension Box

Welding on Angle Mounts to the side of Extension Box

After the welding was finished I tested the fit-up of the kiln bricks inside the box and everything fit as expected.

Cut some of the Kiln Bricks to fix better in corners around the welds

Cut some of the Kiln Bricks to fix better in corners around the welds

Added some High-Temp glue to the bricks where they touch the outer metal to help hold them in place until I could screw in the self-tapping screws.

Used some Temporary high-temp Glue to Hold Bricks in Place

Used some Temporary high-temp Glue to Hold Bricks in Place

The kiln bricks are too soft for the screws to hold the brick but the purpose of the screws is to create little spikes going into the Fire Bricks so they would not slip up or down when I was moving the Extension from the welding table onto the existing kiln.

Also, there is always a possibility at some later date I may wish to remove the kiln extension and use it in it’s normal shallow depth and the screws (spikes) will help keep items in place until the extension section can be put back on.

Pre-Drilled Holes in Sides to make Self-Tapping Screws Quicker to Add

Pre-Drilled Holes in Sides to make Self-Tapping Screws Quicker to Add

Glued the Fire-Bricks and put in a test screw and then let the glue dry for several hours before continuing on with the project …

Allowed Glue to Dry before Mounting Extension to Kiln

Allowed Glue to Dry before Mounting Extension to Kiln

Once glue had set … screwed in the rest of the self-tapping screws …

Screws act as Spikes to Better Hold the Bricks from Slipping Up or Down

Screws act as Spikes to Better Hold the Bricks from Slipping Up or Down

Used the existing stainless steel kiln hinge to attach the kiln lid to the top of the extension section and it works great!!

Finished Kiln Height Extension

Finished Kiln Height Extension

Used 3/8″ All-Thread to keep the Section Tight but not too tight … Kiln bricks are very soft and would crumble with too much pressure … by using 4 nuts on each section of All-Thread I was able to lock the section in place and it can not get any looser or any tighter …

Used Existing Stainless Steel Hinges to Mount Kiln Lid

Used Existing Stainless Steel Hinges to Mount Kiln Lid

Later I added Refractory Cement to fill in gaps and connection areas …

Refractory Cement that Withstands working temperatures up to 3000-Degree F

Refractory Cement that Withstands working temperatures up to 3000-Degree F

MEECO’S RED DEVIL 610 Refractory Cement
( Withstands working temperatures up to 3000-Degree F )

Inside View of Kiln Extension Prior Adding Refractory Cement

Inside View of Kiln Extension Prior Adding Refractory Cement

Also put a 3/4″ Thick hard Refractory Shelf on the bottom of the kiln …
( Not shown in these images )

Used All-Thread to Secure the Extension to Existing Kiln

Used All-Thread to Secure the Extension to Existing Kiln

Added Wheels & Leveling Bolts to the base of the Kiln Stand …

Added Wheels & Leveling Bolts to Kiln Base

Added Wheels & Leveling Bolts to Kiln Base

The Digital Pyrometer has several test holes in Kiln to be able to know the temperature at different locations inside the kiln …

This Firebox-8 Kiln's Temperature is Manually Controlled

This Firebox-8 Kiln’s Temperature is Manually Controlled

The Fire-Bricks used in the Extension are very good at insulating and there is very little temperature change inside the Kiln … Certainly good enough for the items I need to use it for …

Digital Pyrometer Allows for Accurate Setting & Checking Kiln Tempatures

Digital Pyrometer Allows for Accurate Setting & Checking Kiln Tempatures

For very specific temperature settings I will use the Larger Firebox-14 Glass Fusing kiln because it can be programmed for different temperatures and time holds at a specific temperature so the kiln can be started and run for many hours without being watched.

I will NOT be modifiy the larger Firebox-14 Kiln in ANY way!!  It is perfect the way it is 🙂

Color Standards for Steel Tempering

Color Standards for Steel Tempering

In future posts will show some of the items created with these kilns.

Sometimes the unexpected tool finds are the best!!  Whoo Hoo!!!!

— CHEERS …

.   .   .

 

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